While Walt Disney World at Christmas is always festive, fun, and magical, it’s the Disney Resorts that really put the icing on the cake. While it’s true that crowds and prices are highest at Walt Disney World during the holidays, it’s also when you’ll find the entire resort at its most beautiful! With Christmas lights everywhere, themed trees, special performances, and holiday activities, the Disney Resorts are also the most festive this time of year. From elaborate gingerbread displays to festive trees, and treats, here is what you can find at the Disney Resorts for Christmas at Walt Disney World.
When Does Christmas Start at Walt Disney World?
With the arrival of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on November 9, 2023, comes decorations, seasonal snacks, and more. Christmas Decorations at the Disney Resorts, however, sometimes take a little more time to get up and running, though are usually completely finished by the week of Thanksgiving. This includes the slew of Gingerbread Houses at Disney Resorts; check out everything you can see at the Disney Resorts for Christmas.
- 1 Disney Resorts at Christmastime
- 2 Disney’s All-Stars Resorts
- 3 Animal Kingdom Lodge
- 4 Art of Animation
- 5 Beach Club
- 6 Boardwalk Inn
- 7 Caribbean Beach
- 8 Contemporary Resort
- 9 Coronado Springs
- 10 Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds
- 11 Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
- 12 Old Key West Resort
- 13 The Polynesian Village Resort
- 14 Pop Century Resort
- 15 Port Orleans Resorts
- 16 Disney’s Riviera Resort
- 17 Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
- 18 Swan and Dolphin Hotels
- 19 Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort
- 20 Yacht Club
Disney Resorts at Christmastime
As one of our favorite things to do for Christmas at Walt Disney World without a Park Ticket, the Disney Resorts offer up holiday fun in all shapes and sizes. So, what happens at Disney Resorts for the holidays? So many things! In addition to all the specialty activities specific to each resort, almost all of the resorts have a few staples in their holiday lineup.
- Movies on the Lawn. As part of any Disney Vacation, you can grab a spot on the lawn, beach, or terrace to see an evening film. And during the holidays the films are holiday-themed. So you can look forward to Muppets Christmas Carol, The Santa Clause, Nightmare Before Christmas, and more!
- Christmas Trees. All of the Disney Resorts have a Christmas Tree, whether it be big or small. You can find them decorated with themed ornaments specific to the resort.
- Seasonal Merchandise. And it comes as no surprise that each resort has a variety of Disney Christmas merchandise. From apparel to gifts to plush.
- Seasonal Snacks. Because we go crazy for food, we always look forward to holiday snacks. And each resort has a special array of unique Disney snacks throughout the season.
Disney’s All-Stars Resorts
Disney’s All-Stars Music, All-Stars Movies, and All-Stars Sports Resorts are collectively known as Disney’s All-Star Value Resorts. Offering up loads of holiday fun. You’ll find holiday Movies on the Lawn, Christmas Snacks in the commissaries, and Christmas Trees and decorations in the lobby. However, each resort has its own schedules and activities.
Animal Kingdom Lodge
As one of our favorite resorts, the Animal Kingdom Lodge goes all out for the holidays. For instance, while all resorts have decorations, Animal Kingdom Lodge also has activities. Even if you’re just visiting there are opportunities to make cards, and crafts and learn more about African culture. Sometimes you can even see a Christmas choir in the lobby. And due to the easy nature of this resort, plan for rocking chair time on the porch, and fireside s’mores on the terrace. And be sure to check out the Gingerbread Display at Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Art of Animation
As one of Walt Disney World’s most popular resorts, Art of Animation boasts the most colorful building areas featuring Cars, Little Mermaid, Lion King, and Finding Nemo. In addition to all the decorations, merchandise, and snacks, you can also head to the poolside bar for seasonal drinks. Make time to enjoy holiday movies on the lawn. See the Christmas Tree in the lobby. And be sure to browse seasonal merchandise in the gift shop. As home to one of our favorite commissaries, Landscape of Flavors, you’re sure to find holiday foods throughout the season. Plus, due to the close proximity of Pop Century Resort, we also recommend heading over to Pop via the walking trails to take in even more holiday fun!
The Beach Club is home to the life-size spinning Gingerbread Carousel that is part of more than 20 Years of Gingerbread Tradition at Walt Disney World. Prominently displayed in the lobby, you can find a newly themed carousel every year. Previous years have seen many Disney themes. However, one of our favorites was Peter Pan. Featuring horses with elements from the film, Nana the dog, a pirate ship, a treasure map, and more! In addition, you can even catch the recipe on a scroll if you’re looking to make a gingerbread treat of your very own. This year’s carousel is themed to The Little Mermaid. And features hand-painted holiday characters, handcrafted gingerbread shingles, and fondant snowflakes. The carousel can be seen at Beach Club from early November to January 2.
Disney’s Boardwalk Inn is a Disney Deluxe Resort that is situated on the Disney Boardwalk. Therefore, you get access not only to the treats within the resort but also to Disney’s Boardwalk Bakery just outside. Every year the lobby gets decorated with garlands, wreaths, and a Christmas Tree. But, in addition to the basics, you can also find the Gingerbread Display of Disney’s Boardwalk itself! Complete with Trattoria al Forno and a Chef Mickey in the bakery. Meanwhile, you’ll also want to head to grab gingerbread treats for sale in the lobby nearby. However, keep in mind that since this gingerbread display is not on the official list for Disney this year, it may not return anytime soon. The resort is still gorgeous and worth the stop though, so be sure to add this one to your Disney Resort Decorations Crawl.
Head to the islands for the holidays at Caribbean Beach! This moderate resort gets dressed up with garlands, wreaths, and a tree in the lobby. And if visiting, you can plan for holiday movies on the lawn, and seasonal treats at Centertown Market. In addition to the holiday fun at Caribbean Beach, the walking paths also get you access to Disney’s Riviera Resort, and the Disney Skyliner! Offering up, even more, holiday stops for your holiday tour at Walt Disney World.
Disney’s Contemporary Resort is a Monorail Resort within walking distance of Magic Kingdom. The Contemporary showcases holiday shopping, seasonal treats at Contempo Cafe, and sometimes even a Gingerbread display! Most importantly, it is home to Contempo Cafe, which is one of our favorite Disney Quick Service Restaurants. No matter what time of year you visit, you can always find something new and seasonal in the bakery case here. And the holidays are no exception! After all, being on the monorail line from Magic Kingdom, you can not only stop at the Contemporary but also the Polynesian and the Grand Floridian for loads of holiday fun.
If you’re looking to get away for a little bit of elegance and ease this holiday season head to the Coronado Springs Resort. This Spanish-themed resort has a variety of restaurants featuring holiday treats and meals but also offers up a festive holiday flavor all its own. For instance, Coronado Springs offers an activities guide, like all the resorts, each month. And this resort features one of our favorite floor-to-ceiling lobby trees which can be found at Barcelona Lounge. Head here for specialty coffees and drinks and to take a break from the Christmas chaos. Similarly, you can head up to Dahlia Lounge for views of the parks from the rooftop and seasonal drinks. Check out our Christmas Tour of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort for all the things to enjoy through the holiday season.
Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds
Spending time during Christmas at the Walt Disney World Resorts wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds. This resort brings the most unique offerings to help celebrate the holidays. With the Disney Resort guests getting into the holiday season just as much as the resort itself, there is a slew of fun holiday activities to enjoy at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds. Because you can get to Fort Wilderness, via the boat launch at Magic Kingdom, we think this is an easy one to add to your holiday stops.
- Horse Drawn Excursion. Holiday Sleigh Rides are available throughout December. A carriage can fit 4 adults, costs $75 dollars for 25 minutes, and gets you a classic horse-drawn sleigh ride through the woods.
- Rent a Golf Cart and See the Decorations. Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds consists of camping sites, the Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, and RV loops to drive through and see holiday decorations. With many guests adding inflatable Disney characters, garlands, and lights to their campsites, there are plenty of decorations to see. We love grabbing hot cocoa and strolling through a few loops near the boat dock ( if you’re not staying there). And if you are staying there, you can decorate your rented golf cart and take a drive throughout the resort to see all the festive things you can find.
- Chip ‘N Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long- Holiday Edition. If you’re looking for an opportunity to get in a few Christmas Carols for the season, then head to the Meadows. At the bonfire and outdoor movie theater area, you’ll find Chip and Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long and Cowboy John telling jokes and singing songs.
Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
One of the most elegant resorts at Walt Disney World is The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. With the famous life-size gingerbread house and floor-to-ceiling tree, this resort has the feeling of a Victorian Christmas. In addition to the decorations, you can also find a gingerbread shop stationed near the gingerbread display with treats to take home. And if you’re looking for a relaxing holiday vibe, grab a treat and settle in the lobby. Meanwhile, there is often holiday music being played throughout the season which lends to the classic Christmas feeling of this resort. Visiting the Grand Floridian Resort during the holidays is one of our top things to do at Disney World for Adults. The grandeur, Enchanted Rose Lounge, and general classy feeling of this resort is perfect for any Disney World Adult Vacation.
Old Key West Resort
Sailing into the holidays, Old Key West Resort brings out garlands, trees, and colorful bright decorations and lights for the season. With seasonal merchandise in the Conch Flats General Store and seaside elements, like starfish, shells, and fish ornaments, this resort makes you feel like you’re in Key West for the season. After all, as one of the Disney Vacation Club Resorts, Old Key West can easily feel like your home away from home for the season.
The Polynesian Village Resort
If you’re looking for a laid-back holiday then The Polynesian Village Resort should be on your Disney Resort list for the holidays. With a tree in the lobby, and decorations throughout you can also grab festive treats, merchandise, and even special seasonal treats at the restaurants. We love Ohana for an easy family-style dinner and all the coffee at Kona Island. But, this time of year, you can also get seasonal Dole Whip, and Moana-inspired treats!
Pop Century Resort
Pop Century is one of our favorite resorts at Walt Disney World. With the convenience of the Disney Skyliner and shared pathways with Art of Animation, this resort gets you close to the action for the holidays. For instance, a hop on the Skyliner can bring you to Caribbean Beach Resort, and Disney’s Riviera Resort. To get in even more holiday resort hopping! In addition to the holiday movies on the lawn, there are also decorations, a Christmas tree in the lobby, and seasonal foods and drinks for the season. Found at Everything POP Shopping and Dining, seasonal flavors like pumpkin, and apple can be found in the treat case along with a variety of alcoholic drinks too.
Port Orleans Resorts
As Ferry Resorts at Walt Disney World, both French Quarter and Port Orleans Riverside get the benefit of waterside decorations and evening strolls to the sounds of holiday music. Visiting these resorts also get you close to Disney Springs, via a short ferry ride. Perfect for all that last-minute holiday shopping! French Quarter displays up colorful Mardi-Gras-inspired trees, garlands, and wreaths colored in rich blues, pinks, and purples. While Riverside shines with classic southern Christmas Decorations, complete with Magnolia flowers and classic accents. Meanwhile, while it’s not on the list here, you can sometimes find Gingerbread Beignets at Sassagoula, so be sure to check if you stop by!
Disney’s Riviera Resort
As the newest Disney Deluxe Resort at Walt Disney World, Disney’s Riviera Resort brings a sense of all things European to the holidays. With a tree in the lobby and festive foods both at Primo Piatto and Topolino’s Terrace, there are plenty of holiday flavors to be had. In other words, plan to stay here for a while. Grab a seat in the library next to Le Petit Cafe, order your coffee, and grab a treat and relax! Riviera is such an easygoing resort it’s a nice break from the crowds. Likewise, you can add even more ease to your day with a stroll along the pathway leading to the Caribbean Beach Resort.
Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa sports is an equestrian-themed resort. And displays a multi-story tree in the lobby covered in horse-related ornaments. Small trophies, jockeys, horses, and all things found at the derby are sure to be found on this Christmas tree. In addition to the regular lineup of holiday activities and treats, you can also find a Gingerbread Village of Saratoga Springs. Small storefronts and a village church and carousel all get decorated for the holiday. Stop by to see this little village and grab gingerbread treats from the gingerbread shop in the lobby.
Swan and Dolphin Hotels
So, you’re thinking of staying at the Swan and Dolphin Hotels? and worried there may not be enough Disney Holiday fun? Never fear. Staying at either the Swan Hotel or Dolphin Hotel gets you close to the Disney Boardwalk and offers Holiday fun at both resorts and experiences you can’t see at any other Disney resort. Check with the resort for details on seasonal activities, and schedules.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge at Christmas is a dream. If you love the winter snowiness of the Pacific Northwest, complete with log cabins, evergreen trees, and the feel of the fireside then this resort is for you! One of the Best Disney Resorts to Stay at for Christmas, Wilderness Lodge is the perfect place to get cozy by the fire, with a seasonal treat to take in the season. Featuring a floor-to-ceiling Christmas tree, Wilderness lodge also has a small Gingerbread Cabin in the lobby. We’re sure to see this little cabin return in the future. So, settle in and warm up by the fire. Be sure to check out the gift shop because while you can find seasonal merchandise, this shop also has wilderness-inspired apparel and gifts!
The Yacht Club gets dressed up for the holidays in all its classy New England seaside town glory. With trees in the lobby, the yacht life never looked more festive. the Yacht club is home to the Holiday Gingerbread Village with a miniature moving train. Yacht Club is also known for having one of the best gift shops for holiday merchandise, the Market at Ale Compass. But there are so many holidays treats to be found, check out the lineup of Disney Christmas Treats to be had!
Christmas at Walt Disney World Resorts
There you have it. Everything happening across Disney Resorts for the holidays. While we can never get enough Christmas inside the parks, it’s wonderful to experience the variety of Christmas happenings at all the resorts. With gingerbread displays, holiday snacks, merchandise, activities, holiday movies on the lawn, and more, there is plenty to do, see and eat this season!
Rochelle Mariah is a writer, designer and photographer with an MLIS in Information Science and a B.S. in Arch and Design. Determined to make Planning a DIY Disney Vacation easier she makes lots of lists and drinks lots of coffee. When not designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's watching old movies and planning the holidays. She has been traveling to Disney destinations since 2010.