Take a FREE Christmas Resort Tour at Walt Disney World!
So few things at Walt Disney World are free, but, I assure you, this holiday tour IS COMPLETELY FREE! This is a fantastic non-park day activity for your vacation. Walt Disney World Resort is usually completely decorated for the holidays in early November, including theme parks, Disney Springs, and the resorts. Typically, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is the first resort to get decorated, too, so an early November stay here can be extra magical! This year (2022), the first Christmas Party is scheduled for November 8, so I fully expect the decorations to all be up and ready by then. So how do you take a Christmas Resort Tour?
Where to Start?
The easiest place to start this tour is the Magic Kingdom. It’s a general starting point, central to the resorts you’re going to tour, and you can get there for free from any other resort on property. From there, you could go to any of the resorts but my personal recommendation? Walk over to the Contemporary Resort!
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
First, head to the promenade, where you can see this GIGANTIC icon Christmas Tree. Resembling a mashup of the 1970s and Who-Ville, this resort Christmas Tree is one of the only ones that is actually located OUTSIDE of the building. And because of this, many people don’t get a good look at it. No word on if the gingerbread display or inside decorations will return in 2022, but as things inch closer to “normal,” chances are good! Once inside, you’ll want to head to the 4th floor, where you can catch the monorail. But first, SHOPPING!
Disney’s Polynesian Resort
Next stop: the Polynesian! Mele Kalikimaka! Christmastime at the Polynesian is inspired, as is the entire resort, by the south pacific. As you peruse the lobby in it’s grand decorations, stop by Pineapple Lanai! Get an alcohol or non-alcoholic Dole Whip and roam around the resort. Then head back to the monorail station for the next stop on our Christmas Resort Tour!
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
If you’re down for a GRAND holiday display, the Grand Floridian is just what you need. Not only does this resort have a massive icon tree, but it also has a giant gingerbread house. In fact, the gingerbread house at the Grand is usually no elaborate they actually serve treats, like cookies and cocoa, from right inside the house! From the Grand Floridian, either walk, take the boat, or hop back on the monorail, and head back to the Magic Kingdom. From there, you’ll catch the boat launch to the Wilderness Lodge!
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Boulder Ridge Villas
And now, you’re at the best resort at Walt Disney World (I said what I said). Themed after the Pacific Northwest, this resort is spectacular any time of the year, but just look how EXTRA magical Christmastime can be! I highly recommend taking the elevator up to the higher floors, too, because this one you MUST see from every single angle! But don’t stop at just the main lobby. Walk out toward the bus stop and into the DVC property. Boulder Ridge is also decorated and NO TRIP to Wilderness Lodge is complete without a stop in the Carolwood Pacific Room!
Fort Wilderness Campground
While there isn’t an elaborately decorated lobby to see at the campgrounds, there are a TON of great decorations to see. You just have to look for them! The RV sites and tent sites are always decorated. Consider taking a carriage ride at night to see the campsites all lit up. People sleep on this stop but, for me, the Campgrounds are always a ton of fun!
From the Campgrounds, or Wilderness Lodge, depending on which choice you make, take a boat back to the Magic Kingdom. Again, this gets you some free transportation to your next stop on the tour: Disney’s Boardwalk Inn.
Disney’s Boardwalk Inn & Villas
Hopefully the inside decorations return in 2022, but if not, head out to the lawn to take in the beautiful Christmas tree. Then, grab a margarita and enjoy a leisurely stroll over to your next stop: Disney’s Yacht and Beach Clubs.
Disney’s Yacht and Beach Clubs
Don’t miss the adorable Christmas village at Disney’s Yacht Club! This elaborate diorama is gorgeously adorned with Christmas touches with the perfect amount of Mickey Mouse blended into it. It creates a Germany Pavilion-esque feel to it. The Imagineers certainly know what they’re doing! Then head over to the Beach Club, where you can find something entirely edible….
Featuring another fully edible gingerbread creation, Beach Club is another stop you’ll want to make. 2021 featured this amazing The Little Mermaid carousel. I wonder what 2022 has in store for us! Now, head over to the International Gateway at EPCOT and hop on the Skyliner. It’s time to make your way to the Animal Kingdom Lodge!
The easiest way is to Uber or Lyft, but the free way is to take the Skyliner to Hollywood Studios, and transfer to a bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Similar to Wilderness Lodge, the Animal Kingdom Lodge lobby features a massive Christmas Tree. It is themed, of course, with animals, as is the rest of the resort. It’s a trek to get out to the Lodge, but if you have the time, it is definitely worthwhile.
From here, your tour can end, or you could extend it to include Disney Springs. Disney Springs features a Christmas Tree stroll, with trees themed for different Walt Disney films, nightly snow, and more. Not to mention you could get some Christmas shopping done.
These are certainly not the only resorts decorated for Christmas. If you REALLY want to tour the resorts, every single one of them has decorations of some kind or another. But the moderate and value resorts aren’t done up nearly as elaborately as the Deluxe! Which Walt Disney World resort is your favorite at Christmastime?