2024 Holiday Festivities at the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

Holidays at the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

Each holiday season, like Santa’s elves, the Disney chefs work many hours creating larger-than-life displays from edible ingredients all across Walt Disney World Resort. In addition, when celebrating the Holidays at the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels, Guests will find that the resort goes all out! There are huge trees, holiday displays, special events and more. Really, Guess can celebrate the Holidays at the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels and not even step foot in a Walt Disney World theme park!

The following details are for Disney Holiday events for 2023 and are to be used for planning purposes. Details will be posted when 2024 information is released. 

Holidays at the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

Most of the gingerbread displays have delicious sweets for sale, and activities like gingerbread decorating. Don’t miss these special holiday highlights at the Walt Disney World resorts.

  • 70-foot-tall Christmas tree in Disney’s Contemporary Resort entrance lobby featuring nearly 35,800 white LED lights, and giant themed Christmas trees in the lobbies of Animal Kingdom Lodge, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Wilderness Lodge and other Deluxe resorts. Each tree’s decorations are themed to its particular resort. Also, don’t miss the largest wreath at the WDW Resort, which is 25 feet in diameter with 18′ elliptical ears. It is located on the exterior window 4th floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort facing Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.


  • Each year a Gingerbread display can be found on the 4th floor concourse of Disney’s Contemporary Resort from November 10 through January 6, 2024. This year’s Mary Blair-inspired 100th Celebration-themed Castle Display was designed by Walt Disney Imagineers for this momentous occasion for The Walt Disney Company. It stands over 17 feet tall with 612 pounds of sugar, 1012 pounds of flour, 112 pounds of gingerbread spice, over 4000 castle gingerbread bricks, and 12 sprinklings of magical pixie dust! And, be sure to keep your eyes peeled with the 12 hidden five-legged goats. For sale nearby, look for a selection of holiday treats.


  • The life-size, edible carousel at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, featuring ponies made of chocolate and fondant, giant candy cane poles, handcrafted snowflakes and hidden Mickeys. Each year has a different theme. This year, this gingerbread offering is inspired by Ducktales, with the horses themed after Donald Duck and his nephews, Huey, Duey, and Louie. To celebrate all the years of tradition, there are 22 hidden Mickeys to find throughout the display, as well as 434 pounds of honey, 25 pounds of spices, 200 pounds of icing, and a whole lot of creativity and talent from the culinary team! Holiday treats will be sold nearby.

Holidays at the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

  • The 16-foot Victorian gingerbread house at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is made from 1,050 pounds of honey, 600 pounds of powdered sugar, 800 pounds of flour, 700 lbs of Chocolate, 140 pints of egg whites and 35 pounds of spices. Plus, the gingerbread house actually serves as an operating store from which to purchase holiday goodies from 10am-10pm daily. You’ll find gingerbread shingles iced with chocolate, gingerbread cookies, gingerbread ornaments, miniature gingerbread houses and chocolates of all types, shapes and sizes, including Disney characters, peppermint bark, assort truffles and more! This year’s house runs from November 8 through January 1, 2024.

  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort features a train display with a rock candy mountain and village. Look for favorite resort locations within the display such as the Yacht Club Galley, as well as Mickey’s Village. New for 2023 will be a new gingerbread display at Disney’s Yacht Club. This will be a Lighthouse and was created by Pastry Chef de Cuisine Michael Craig who used the actual blueprints from the real lighthouse located outside the resort along Crescent Lake. This sweet version is not to be missed on your gingerbread festivities this year. Also, available for purchase are some sweet delights sold at the Holiday Pop Up Shop, including the new Lighthouse Fudge, which is a nod to this new offering.

Holidays at the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn features a display to impress from November 17 through December 27. This creation is a miniature version of some of your favorite spots found along the BoardWalk itself, including the BoardWalk Deli. Treats are available nearby.
  • Finally, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge where you’ll find one of the most adorable giraffes and zebras around. In the Jambo House lobby from November 22 through December 31, the Animal Kingdom Lodge bakery has continued the tradition with the Life-Size Baby Gingerbread Giraffe and Baby Zebra. This can’t-miss giraffe, or should we say ginger-affe, named Ginger and baby zebra, Debra, are made with a combination of gingerbread, sugar dough, and modeling chocolate. In fact, the giraffe stands near 7 feet tall. Tasty treats will be available like the Gingeraffe Cookie, Hot Cocoa Flight, and beer, wine, and cocktails!

Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground Sleigh Rides

Holiday sleigh rides will be available from late November – late December. A fire-engine red sleigh with garland and holiday lights will take you through parts of the 700-acre backwoods resort and along the shores of Bay Lake. The magic-makers at the resort’s Tri-Circle-D Ranch have equipped sleighs with tires for rides around property. Four adults or two adults and three children should be able to ride on each sleigh. You’ll depart from outside Crockett’s Tavern at Pioneer Hall and travel through the campground on a 25-minute ride that highlights many of the extravagant decorations put up by campground guests.  The holiday sleigh ride experience costs $84.00. Call 407-WDW-PLAY to make reservations up to 180 days in advance.

Character Appearances at Deluxe Resorts

Look for characters such as Mickey and Minnie to make appearances at most Deluxe resorts during the week prior to Christmas. Appearances typically occur throughout the day beginning in the afternoon and select times are listed below. Consult your resort front desk for more information and additional times. Also check the Resort Recreation Calendars for other Holiday experiences. 

TheMouseForLess Resort Tips

  • Due to the busy holiday season, many Walt Disney World Deluxe resorts will have restrictions for the Guest parking lots. The parking will be restricted to only those staying at the resort, attending a convention event at the resort or with dining, recreation or spa reservations. Because of this guests may have to park at Disney Springs or at a theme park and take a bus to the resort they wish to visit.
  • There are many holiday photo opportunities in the lobbies of Deluxe Resorts in front of towering Christmas trees and in many cases, Disney PhotoPass photographers are on hand. You can have as many photos as you like taken and added to your Disney Photopass card or packages. Dress up the family and have one taken for a family keepsake, framed holiday gift, or as your next family Christmas card photo.
  • During the Christmas holiday some deluxe resorts have served free treats such as snickerdoodles, apple cider, and candy canes, in the lobby area.

Holiday Events at the Swan and Dolphin Resorts

Santa has voted the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin his all time favorite resort! Every year beginning at the end of November, Santa and Mrs. Claus take a vacation at the Orlando resort to rest up before “the big night”! Join the Swan and Dolphin for a nightly tree lighting in the lobby, carolers, choir performances, cookie decorating, classic Christmas movies or hang out with Santa and Mrs. Claus at their special Florida tiki hut. At the Swan, check out the life-sized Santa, crafted from 1,200 pounds of chocolate, the chocolate Christmas tree, fireplace, toy train, and 7-foot tall, 400-pound chocolate nutcracker.

TheMouseForLess Swan and Dolphin Tips

  • The Swan and Dolphin Resort has a nightly light show featuring the palm trees that line the walkway between the two resorts. The tree display features dancing lights in hues of red, green and purple synchronized to holiday music. The show begins at approximately 6 p.m. each evening and continues throughout the night at 10 minute intervals.
  • You can read more about Christmas at the Swan and Dolphin on the blog of our travel partner, The Magic For Less Travel.

Click if you are curious about holiday events at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney Springs.

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