If you’re travelling to Walt Disney World during the holidays you’ll notice a few things that may have you wondering when the “vacation” part of your vacation will start. (P.S. it won’t!) This time of year has more crowds, more families, more fights, more everything. You will need to get away. One of our absolute favorite parts about the holidays so far has been seeing the decorations at the Disney Resorts. We often take time to escape the parks for a meal, tea or just to get away from the crowds. Here are a couple things you can expect to find at the resorts during the Christmas season.
Disney Resorts Christmas Decorations through the Holidays
Decorations at the Disney Deluxe Resorts popped up this year early at most places on November 15th to coincide with Epcot’s International Festival of Holidays. For the most part everything was up and fully decorated by the 19th, aka the week of Thanksgiving. We’re pretty sure this timing is the same every year, so if you’re planning for a resort decoration crawl, plan it before the crowds ascend to higher crowd calendar levels.
Disney’s Contemporary Resort kept up its annual tradition of setting up a themed gingerbread house right behind the Fantasia shop in the monorail courtyard. While not hard to find if you walk around a bit it’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. Next to the display you’ll find a sign withe fun facts and how many hidden mickeys you can hunt for. Tip: The hidden mickeys on all the holiday decorations seem to be tiny gold mickey head stickers or actually carved into the gingerbread. You’ll also find a small station where you can purchase little gingerbread snacks and other treats to hold you over until your next stop.
Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House
Definitely one of our favorite resorts, Animal Kingdom Lodge dresses up for the holidays like nothing you’ve seen. The large tree, decorated with handicrafts, and animal images is able to be admired while making ornament crafts in the lounge and listening to seasonal music. If you venture down to Kidani Village you’ll see the smaller tree featured at the top of this post, and get the chance to hear carolers in the evenings in the lobby. This resort is such a great escape from the park crowds and seeing it decorated to the nines was a nice treat. Tip: If you venture to the 5th floor you can get access to the bridge and a better view of the tree.
The Boardwalk Inn | Disney Boardwalk Epcot
Found on the Boardwalk, The Boardwalk Inn is attached to Epcot World Showcase and features a mini gingerbread house village featuring the storefronts on the Boardwalk. Inside this display you’ll see Mickey cooking up a storm. A small table with gingerbread snacks for sale sits right across from the display in the main section of the inn.
Beach Club | Disney Boardwalk Epcot
If you’ve never been to the Beach Club, its time to stop by. This Ohana inspired carousel features Lilo and Stitch. You’ll notice the first hidden mickey is easy to find on the ingredients podium. The carousel is set right in the middle of the lobby area and the first thing you see when you enter the resort.
Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
The Grand Floridian Resort really embraces the holidays with a floor to ceiling tree and a life sized gingerbread house that takes 2 months to put together. You can typically plan to see the gingerbread house by the second week of November, the tree, however doesn’t make its debut until Thanksgiving week along with the other resort decorations. The gingerbread house is home to a very small gingerbread shop which is inside the gingerbread house, staffed by two workers. Keep an eye out for the hidden mickeys and the smoke billowing out of the chimney. You can buy a gingerbread shingle here for 9 dollars, big enough for two to share. The tree is decorated with swans and bird cages and all things gold and pink.
The Polynesian Resort and Villas
The Polynesian features an island inspired Christmas tree near the giftshop on the first floor. As you can see this is not a two story tree, but still quite beautiful, and matches the decor around the rest of the resort.
The Wilderness Lodge
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is absolutely gorgeous on any normal day, so add a 4 story tree to the lobby, and it quickly becomes our favorite place to be and an absolute must-see tree during the holidays. Tip: Don’t make getting there too hard on yourself. Just hop on the Disney Wilderness Lodge Boat at the Resort Dock near the front of Magic Kingdom and return the same way. Better yet plan for a lunch at Roaring Fork or a meal at Whispering Canyon Cafe or Geyser Point Bar and Grill to make the visit a little more substantial. The tree is decorated in native american ornaments, all things bear, moose, camping, and anything great outdoors.
Whether you’re trying to pack in all the things or just have a fun filled family Christmas at Disney, we definitely recommend taking a tiny break to see some of the resorts we share here. The downtime will probably be much needed. Enjoy!