Holidays at Walt Disney World are more than just the theme parks. Holiday cheer and joyfulness extends beyond the parks and through the resorts as well. The holiday spirit is with you starting at the airport until you return (and really, Orlando International does a nice job decorating as well!). By the end of any Walt Disney World holiday trip, even the biggest Scrooge McDuck will be saying “Happy Holidays!” Join us as we share a DVC Duo holiday tradition of resort hopping to enjoy the holidays at Disney resorts!
The Monorail Loop
“Por favor mantengase alejao de las puertas!”. We kickoff our holidays at Disney resorts by exploring the monorail loop through the Magic Kingdom resorts. First stop the Grand Floridian. Let’s go back in time to the Victorian period and see how the holidays were celebrated. Stepping off the monorail and walking through resort doors you come eye to eye, well eye to branch with the most enormous Christmas tree in the lobby. After picking up your jaw you’ll notice off to the left a house. Not just any house, but a gingerbread house! Wait! Are people working inside that gingerbread house?! Yes. Yes, they are. It’s a fully functional treat shop with a variety of gingerbread snacks! Grab yourself a bite as you take in the rest of the decorations, no detail is too small! Make sure to look closely at the house, you may find a “Hidden Mickey” or two!
Beyond the gorgeous tree and eye-popping gingerbread house the Grand Floridian also has a 5 piece band playing a variety of Disney and Christmas favorites! Name that tune!
Jumping back on the monorail we head over to the Contemporary Resort for that modern holiday. Pulling into the Contemporary Resort you’re brought into the center of the hotel filled with restaurants and shops. Feast your eyes on the largest edible display on Walt Disney World property, no nibbling! Just outside the resort you’ll find the “contemporary Christmas tree”, with decorations that bring you back to what the future was in the 70’s.
If you’re spending Christmas at Walt Disney World and looking for that “Christmas meal” check out The Wave. The restaurant will be doing both a Christmas Brunch and Dinner, you can make reservations through Disney dining. It is one our of favorite places to eat!
Passholder Insight: If you’re over at the Contemporary Resort midday take a quick look in the check-in lobby, you may stumble upon Mickey his in tuxedo! No guarantee he’ll be there, but we’ve been lucky enough to catch him there during the holidays.
Last stop on the Monorail Loop is the Polynesian Resort. With tropical arrangements made up of warm color tones and bright flowers, the Polynesian Resort decorations are stunning. The only downside would be the limited number of decorations around the resort. In recent years, the Christmas tree has gotten larger and now with more room in the lobby area we could see this area really becoming a Christmas attraction! Our fingers are crossed.
Passholder Insight: What we like to do is begin our monorail loop journey at the Polynesian with breakfast at Kona cafe (Yumm!!!). Besides the great breakfast, it gives us more reason to check out tropical holiday decor.
Crescent Lake Loop
Our journey through holidays at Disney Resorts continues at Crescent Lake. Put on your best walking shoes for another “loop.” Our holiday stroll begins at the Yacht Club. For the purpose of our guide we will combine the Yacht Club and Beach Club, as everyone usually lumps them together. At the Yacht Club lobby, you’ll find a hidden holiday treasure. No not one of Chip ‘n Dales lost ornaments, but a Hidden-Mickey-filled alpine village that Disneyphile’s dream of! You could spend the better part of an hour admiring the details and nods to classic Disney.
New this year, Ale & Compass at the Yacht Club will be doing a holiday feast. Check out Disney Dining to make reservations.
Continuing the stroll over to the Beach Club you’ll find the best or second-best gingerbread creation depending on which Disneyphile you ask. We say the best! In the center of Beach Club’s lobby is a gingerbread carousel, that spins! Yup, that’s right, it’s a functional/edible carousel with four giant candy horses. Our favorite part is searching for all the “Hidden Mickeys”, can you find them all?
We finish off our walk at the Boardwalk, pun intended! Every year the lobby of the Boardwalk Resort has a different holiday marvel to discover. One year it was a fireplace with a famous duck stuck inside, and another it was a gingerbread house serving up festive treats. Last year we saw a gingerbread village built among the pine forest. What will they come up with this year? We’ll have to wait and see. We’re hoping the bring back the fireplace scene, as the fondant work creating the characters was impressive!
Holiday Lodge Anyone?
When we think holidays, what comes to mind? Snow, white Christmas, maybe even a ski lodge. If you’re looking for the lodge feel, make your way over to the Wilderness Lodge. Decked to the nines, it’s the resort that feels most like the quintessential Christmas we see in the movies. With garland strung from banisters, decorations scattered around the 60-foot centerpiece Christmas tree, add in the fireplaces with a crackling fire, the warm cozy feel of a log cabin, and you’re in a Hallmark Christmas card! If you’re part of the DVC Duo family, make that a ShoeBox Christmas card!
Prefer the “warmer” type of Christmas. No worries, head over to the Animal Kingdom lodge. Packing a similar punch as the Wilderness Lodge, except with African flare. You can never have too much flare! Right? Similar to the Animal Kingdom itself, the centerpiece Christmas tree is tastefully done in its themeing. It elegantly brings together the African culture with the more traditional “Christmas” feel.
Passholder Insight: Whenever we make the trek over to the Animal Kingdom, we like to add in a stop at any of the restaurants or quick-service locations. You can’t choose wrong! Don’t forget about Saana over at Kidani Village, the short walk is definitely worth it if you’re looking for Indian/African inspired cooking!
The holidays at Disney Resorts is definitely a blast. All of the resorts do something a little different and they’re a treat to discover. What is your favorite resort to check out? Let us know below or on our Facebook page!