12 Must-Do’s of Christmas: #4 Tour the Deluxe Resorts

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Tour The Deluxe Resorts

One of my favorite things to do during Christmas week at Disney is resort hop. We’ll always find time to tour the resorts. The resorts are an excellent way to escape the park crowds. During Christmas, the Deluxe Resort lobbies are all beautifully decorated.

Take a break from Magic Kingdom and hop on the monorail. The Contemporary features a large gingerbread mural on the fourth floor. Last year the mural was Frozen-themed and features hidden Olafs. We made our own scavenger hunt – one of the tasks was finding all the Olafs. The spot sells edible souvenirs, such as cake pops, gingerbread and sugar cookies.

After finding all the hidden Olafs, take the monorail to the Polynesian resort. The Polynesian doesn’t have a gingerbread display, but it does have a gorgeous tropical-themed Christmas tree in the lobby. If memory serves me right, there are a few gingerbread houses scattered throughout the lobby, as well.

The Grand Floridian is the “grand finale” of your monorail tour, and rightfully so. The Grand Floridian has the most gorgeously decorated lobby year-round, but it really dazzles during Christmastime. At the center of the lobby is a towering, elegantly decorated Christmas tree. The real draw is the life-size gingerbread house, with a real working chimney. The chimney pumps out the smell of fresh gingerbread, really setting the mood. Like the Contemporary, there is an edible souvenir shop located in the gingerbread house. I believe a Disney photographer is on-hand during the daytime, so your family can take a photo in front of the tree.

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The towering Christmas tree in the Grand Floridian lobby.

No trip to the Magic Kingdom resorts would be complete without a stop at the Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness. The resorts are a bit off the beaten path, making them one of Disney’s often “forgotten” resorts; but the resort is a must-do during the holiday season. The resort is one of the best-themed on property, fully immersing guests in the Pacific Northwest. Once you enter the resort, you’re instantly transported, making it feel as though you’ve just stepped foot inside a snow lodge. It’s the best of both worlds – a ski lodge without the snow! At the center of the lobby is a towering Christmas tree with Native American-inspired decorations. The lobby is anchored by a gigantic stone fireplace. With plenty of places to sit (I love the rocking chairs) you can really take some time to relax and enjoy the scenery. It’s especially nice after a huge dinner at Whispering Canyon, which emits a delicious smell of smoked meats and barbecue throughout the lobby. I love to grab a nice cup of cocoa and sit around the fireplace before touring the grounds and heading over to Fort Wilderness.

Fort Wilderness is another great holiday spot. The resort caters to campers, who arrive early in December and deck out their camping space. Trailers and motorhomes feature lights, inflatables, even scaled models of Walt Disney World. The campers really go all out! Fort Wilderness offers a horse-drawn carriage ride through the grounds. It’s extremely peaceful and a truly memorable experience.

Magic Kingdom isn’t the only park with beautifully decorated Deluxe Resorts. After a day at EPCOT or Hollywood Studios, hop over to the Baordwalk area. The lobby at the Boardwalk Inn features a Bread & Cookie shop made out of gingerbread! Like The Contemporary and Grand Floridian, the resort has a variety of beautifully packaged edible souvenirs, making them a great gift to bring home. The lobby is decorated with tons of evergreen and holly, which plays well against the elegant decor.

After the Boardwalk, head over to the Yacht and Beach Club. The Beach Club features a life-size carousel made of gingerbread. Each of the horses on the gingerbread carousel are made of chocolate and fondant. They each have a different name and theme. The resort’s neighbor, the Yacht Club, has a Holiday village with a miniature train. Both resorts feature Christmas trees with a nautical theme, sticking to the resorts’ roots.

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Last, head over to the Swan and Dolphin. It’s considered off-site, but it still has plenty of beautiful decorations. At night, the palm trees lining the path between the two resorts come to life with Christmas music and synchronized dancing lights. The entrance to the Swan Resort features a rotating door filled with Christmas scenes. The Dolphin Resort features a huge Christmas tree that seems to touch the ceiling! It’s white with blue decorations and features a working train set at the bottom.
I definitely recommend going resort hopping. It’s a fantastic way to escape the crowds for a while and unwind. Take a break from navigating the crowds of Magic Kingdom by sitting around the fireplace at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, or walk from EPCOT to Hollywood Studios and stop by the resorts on the way.

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