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Top 5 Walt Disney World Resorts at Christmas Time by Liliane Opsomer

Holidays at Disney World , Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World , Walt Disney World

Tastes differ, so the most important thing to remember is that Disney goes all out decorating its parks and resorts for the Christmas season. No matter what hotel you book, you will discover unique, themed décor. Here are my five favorite hotels during this most wonderful time of the year.

Disney's Wilderness Lodge

1. For an all-American Christmas, my all-time favorite is Wilderness Lodge. The decoration is elegant and provides a tranquil and warm atmosphere reminiscent of the National Park lodges. The four-story-high Christmas tree is decorated with Native American-inspired ornaments, and fireplaces and rocking chairs invite guests to sit back and relax. 


While at the lodge you may consider dinner at Artist Point, one of the best restaurants on Disney property.

Disney's Fort Wilderness Campgrounds

2. Another favorite of mine is Fort Wilderness Campground, where guests go out of their way to decorate their campsites. Huge inflatables are everywhere, and RVs are dressed in Christmas lights. Just walk around the campground, or (for $79) take a 25-minute “sleigh” ride through Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground.

The holiday decorations on display at the campground are incredible, some as elaborate as those you find in many neighborhoods back home at this time of the year. The sleigh rides are available 5:30-9:30 p.m. and depart from Crockett’s Tavern. Even though the horse-drawn vehicle is wheeled, it is a lovely experience. The only thing missing is the snow.

Ft. Wilderness is also home to the Hoop-de-Do Musical Revue. The show is slightly adapted during the holidays and the performers don their holiday best. So get ready to join them for some memorable tunes such as “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays” and “Another Tennessee Christmas.” Prices for the show range from $64 to $72 for adults and $34 to $43 for kids ages 3-9.

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

3. If you are looking for the mother of all Christmas trees, it can be found at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. The five-story tree dominates the lobby, and the Victorian-inspired Yuletide decor is absolutely beautiful.

Another view to behold is the life-size gingerbread house. Every day, except Sundays, you can enjoy a presentation by a pastry chef who gives tips about creating and decorating a gingerbread house. These presentations take place several times a day and are free of charge. Guests even get a free recipe and a taste of some absolutely yummy gingerbread. Did you know that the gingerbread house is 16 feet high and uses 1,050 pounds of honey and 800 pounds of flour? It takes more than 400 hours just to bake the gingerbread!

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

4. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, a four-story-tall tree decorated with African-inspired ornaments, such as African musical instruments and beautiful wooden-carved animal masks, commands your attention upon entering the lobby. There is plenty of seating available to just relax and feast your eyes on this giant Christmas tree.

Throughout Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, there are uniquely decorated smaller trees and spectacular decorated wreaths and lit garlands.

Disney's Beach Club Resort

5. You also do not want to miss the gingerbread carousel at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Pastry chefs use 100 pounds of icing, 50 pounds of dark chocolate, and 36 pounds of honey. Also, 100 pounds of confectioner’s sugar and 96 pounds of bread flour go into the structure.

Every year the carousel features new, gorgeously decorated edible horses.


Bonus: At the Martha’s Vineyard-themed Disney’s Yacht Club, right next door, check out the Christmas tree that is adorned with sailboats befitting the nautical theme of the hotel. Kids will love the Disney-inspired Christmas Village display with its running train. 

Good to know: Christmas events at Disney’s resorts can range from carolers, brass bands, and country singers to Christmas cookie decorating, readings of The Night Before Christmas, and even visits with Santa. On Christmas Day, all resorts offer free cookies and punch in the lobby. When you are staying at a Disney property, check with the concierge about special events happening at your resort.

Liliane Opsomer is the coauthor of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids and visits the parks several times a year.



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