We all know that Christmas time at Walt Disney World is magical — from the decorations on Main Street and the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, to the Osbourne Lights and the Candlelight Processional. Exploring the parks will definitely get you into the holiday spirit. But Disney World is much more than just the parks. It is well worth the effort to take a break from the parks and do some holiday resort hopping.
A great place to start is just exploring whatever resort you are staying in. While the deluxe hotels have a bigger scope of decorations, each resort will have decorations in line with its theme.
Once you venture out, don’t forget to bring your RapidFill mug (filled with hot chocolate!), and check out our list of places you can explore along the way.
Besides just taking a day out of your trip to resort hop, one easy way to check out the decorations is to take a break from the parks and head to the resorts in that area. While you are at Epcot that means you can walk or take a Friendship boat to check out the Boardwalk and then the Yacht and Beach Club.
Many of the deluxe resorts will have a large gingerbread display, usually in the lobby, but don’t forget to check out the rest of the decorations too. In fact, during our recent trip one of my wife’s favorite parts was the different garlands for each resort.
The Beach Club will generally have a working carousel made of gingerbread – complete with hidden Mickeys.
This year, the Beach Club decor was also probably my favorite.
After touring the Epcot area resorts, you might head over to the Animal Kingdom. From there you can take a short drive or bus ride over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
You can even set up a reservation at one of the fantastic restaurants there, or spend some time watching the animals to make a full excursion out of it.
However, if you start in Kidani Village, don’t think that Jambo is just a repeat. The decorations in Kidani are very pretty and themed wonderfully, but the Jambo House lobby is breathtaking, especially once the sun goes down.
For your Magic Kingdom day you can do the same thing. One area to check out, especially at night, is the are around Fort Wilderness and the Wilderness Lodge. The lodge itself is decked out, but from there you can take a wagon ride around the Fort Wilderness campsites to see some great RV decorations. You can take the boat from the Magic Kingdom to reach this area.
The other part of the Magic Kingdom area that can’t be missed are the monorail resorts. If you board the monorail from the Magic Kingdom, your first stop will be the Contemporary. While there are many decorations around the resort as a hole, the feature of this hotel is the gingerbread display, which is Frozen themed this year. Rikki recently did a profile on the gingerbread displays here and at the Grand Floridian, which you should definitely read here.
If you only have time to visit one resort, however, it should probably by the Grand Floridian. As you enter, the first thing you will probably see is the enormous tree in the middle of the lobby.
Once you get closer, however, you will also see the gingerbread house that is so large that there is a store inside of it, also selling gingerbread (you can also check out the recipe to make your own here).
While you are there, also take a moment to enjoy the lobby pianist or band, depending on who is playing at the time.
As you can see, the Disney Resorts have some exceptionally beautiful and interesting decorations that are sure to get you in the holiday spirit, and the ones here are just the beginning.
Which resort is your favorite to take in the holiday decorations? Let us know in the comments!