If you’re heading to Walt Disney World for the holidays and looking for some Festive, Fun, and Free Things to do at Disney World for the Holidays look no further. Christmas at Walt Disney World typically begins the second week of November with the arrival of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Luckily, you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy Disney World for the Holidays. In fact, just taking a stroll around the Disney Boardwalk can help get you into the Christmas spirit. With loads of decorations at the Boardwalk Resorts, this hidden area of Walt Disney World goes all out! With entertainment, Christmas merchandise in the shops, festive movies on the lawn, and seasonal meals and desserts there is plenty to do for the holidays on Disney’s Boardwalk.
Disney’s Boardwalk Christmas Decorations
Of all the Disney Resorts at Walt Disney World, the Boardwalk Resorts are the ones that really step up their game for the festive season. Filled with unique decorations all themed to each resort, you can find easy seaside holidays here. From seashells and boats on the Christmas Trees to vintage carousel decorations honoring a seaside fair, everything here pulls from that 1930s theme of seaside New England towns, this area is known for.
When do Disney Resorts Get Decorated for Christmas?
Christmas at the Disney Resorts starts with decorations around the third week of November. Around the same time, Disney Gingerbread Houses across some of Disney’s Deluxe Resort also get completed. In fact, if you’re looking for signature Christmas Trees at Disney, and larger-than-life Gingerbread Displays, Disney’s Boardwalk has some of our favorites! But of course, you can find Gingerbread Displays at Walt Disney World at other resorts too. Let’s dive into the Disney Boardwalk Christmas activities, decorations, and special events for the holidays.
Boardwalk Inn Resort Christmas Decorations
Disney’s Boardwalk Inn has an atmosphere of the olden days at the seaside. The newly renovated lobby is covered in pastel colors, which offset the classic white light Christmas Trees. Filled with classic decorations, we love the BoardWalk Inn lobby for the seating areas, nearly Carousel Coffee counter, and the music. You can find classic holiday music from the golden age playing across the resort, but we like it best from the old-time radio in Belle Vue Lounge on the second floor.
Best known for a gingerbread version of Disney’s Boardwalk this gingerbread display includes cute storefronts of the Boardwalk Bakery, Trattoria al Forno, and even a Ferris wheel. Each year this Disney gingerbread display changes, but we’ve even seen a little chef Mickey in this display in the past, complete with Christmas cookies. You can find this display set up in the resort’s main lobby. Plus, you can also grab gingerbread goodies for sale at the nearby counter.
Disney’s Yacht Club Christmas Decorations
Disney’s Yacht Club has a classic Christmas tree and sometimes even a train display in the lobby! It’s always worth a shot to go and look. With poinsettias everywhere and classic sailboat decor, we love that this resort is classy and traditional for the Christmas season. Plus, as home to the Ale and Compass restaurant, and you can often find specialty meals throughout the season. Both budget-friendly and lowkey, this is a great place to get away from the holiday crowds at Walt Disney World.
This resort also has a shared gift shop with the Beach Club Resort which has loads of holiday merchandise and acts as the Quick Service Restaurant at the Yacht Club. Complete with grab-and-go foods and a coffee counter, you can always count on seasonal coffee flavors and a collection of Christmas Treats at Disney World showing up here.
Disney’s Beach Club Christmas Decorations
The Disney’s Beach Club is by far a must-do Disney Resort for Christmas. Featuring a lifesize Gingerbread Carousel at Disney this display is the piece de resistance of Walt Disney World Gingerbread displays Second only to the exquisite Gingerbread House at the Grand Floridian Resort. This carousel is part of history, with over 20 years of Gingerbread tradition at Walt Disney World. It features a new theme every year, with each piece carefully baked and decorated to match the theme. Artfully crafted to favorite Disney themes and movies, this Gingerbread Carousel is made entirely from gingerbread and frostings. With hidden Mickeys and authentic details specific to the theme. It’s by far one of the most meticulously detailed gingerbread displays on Disney property.
Swan and Dolphin Hotel Christmas
Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Hotels are Disney Deluxe Resorts that offer Disney Boardwalk access. These sister resorts are also within walking distance to and from EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. Including holiday decorations, seasonal merchandise, and seasonal snacks, there’s so much to do for Christmas at the Swan and Dolphin. Be sure to check with the resort ahead of time, for updated Christmas happenings. ( 2021)
- Santa’s Holiday Hangout at the Swan Pool. Visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus and their elf Kandy Kane is available for a special visit at the Holiday Hangout at the Swan Pool. Offered from 6-8 pm on select nights throughout December. Pre-registration is required but available to all guests.
- Kandy Kane’s Holiday Movie Marathon. Available to all guests, you can tune into channel 49 at the Swan and Dolphin hotels to get access to 24 hours of holiday films, shows, and classics.
- Pastry Decorating. Kids can add decorations to cookies at the Holiday Hangout area at the Swan Pool. This holiday activity happens in the evenings from 6-8 pm, and reservations are required.
- Santa’s Dancing Lights spectacular. The palm tree-lined causeway connects the Swan and Dolphin Hotel and lights up at night to the sounds of holiday music. This show loops every 10 minutes.
- Deck the Halls. As part of the holiday fun at Swan and Dolphin, there are holiday trees, gifts, and even Christmas cookies and milk to be had throughout the season.
- Chocolate Display. Featuring a Santa Sculpture that is made of 1286 pounds of chocolate at the Swan. This display can be found at the entrance of the Swan Hotel near the il Mulino New York Trattoria restaurant.
If Staying on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or New Year’s Day.
- Holiday Treats. The restaurants at Swan and Dolphin Hotels offer a variety of holiday menus at restaurants across both hotels. Typically served up on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
- Santa’s Magic Key. Want to make sure Santa’s gifts make it to your room? If you’re staying on December 24th, you can get Santa’s Magic Key at the Concierge desk to hang on your door, to indicate you’d like your packages delivered.
Disney’s Boardwalk Christmas Activities
What is there to do on the Disney Boardwalk for Christmas? Holidays at Walt Disney World include festivities both in and out of the parks. Therefore it provides loads of things to do, no matter how long your vacation is. Whether you’re staying on the Disney Boardwalk at a Disney Resort for the holidays or just visiting for a free day at Disney, here is all the holiday fun you can find at the Disney Boardwalk across the resorts and shops.
Disney Resort Gift Shops
Each Disney Resort gift shop along the Boardwalk includes specialty seasonal treats. You can grab pre-packaged Gingerbread Popcorn, Hot cocoa, and even Christmas stocking stuffer treats and candies. These gift shops often also have all the holiday merchandise, pins, and Christmas décor that is hard to find elsewhere on Walt Disney World property. Therefore, grab it while it’s available! Check out all the Disney Christmas Merchandise on shopDisney.com if you need even more Disney Gifts to add to your collection.
Christmas Snacks at Disney’s Boardwalk Deli
This quick-service restaurant at Walt Disney World releases holiday treats throughout the Christmas season and is by far one of the best places to snag the latest holiday cupcakes, cakes, or cookies. Often featuring flavors like gingerbread, peppermint, chocolate, and caramel, holiday treats, and desserts get dressed up for the holidays. Check out all the Christmas Snacks at Walt Disney World. After all, Christmas only comes once a year, so indulge a little.
Market at Ale and Compass Seasonal Coffees and Snacks
Also within Disney’s Yacht Club is the Market at Ale and Compass. This grab-and-go market includes a variety of snacks and holiday merchandise. The Market also serves a Gingerbread Latte for the season, which is one of the only places you can find this drink! This is a great place to grab a quick breakfast or stop by for a browse of all the latest holiday merchandise.
Trattoria al Forno Holiday Menu
Absolutely one of the best places to eat at Disney World, if you’re in the area, be sure to head to Trattoria al Forno, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Plus, this Disney Boardwalk Restaurant also offers both Thanksgiving and Christmas. So if you’re looking for somewhere to grab Christmas Dinner at Walt Disney World this may be it! These are limited-time only and require a reservation.
Holiday Movies Under the Stars
While all Disney Resorts host movies on the lawn for guests in the evenings, and display their own schedule, Disney Boardwalk Resorts offers a more visible Movie Under the Stars experience. Often held on the lawn out front at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, you can see Chip and Dale setting up for the movies. The Santa Clause, Mickey’s Christmas Carol, and Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas are shown throughout the season at the resorts.
Disney Boardwalk Christmas Entertainment
Part of the experience of the Disney Boardwalk is experiencing the entertainment. Jugglers, magicians, and comedians take to the boardwalk to display their craft. During the holidays these performers often change up their acts to include more holiday fun. You can find performers on the Boardwalk, just outside the Boardwalk Inn Resort, and even inside the Boardwalk Inn lobby itself during colder evenings.
Disney Skyliner Resort Holiday Tour
The Disney Skyliner Station is located right next to the Disney Boardwalk at EPCOT’s International Gateway and offers the chance for a ride to and from the Disney Skyliner Resorts. Disney Skyliner Resorts include Disney’s Riviera Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Pop Century Resort, and Art of Animation. All of these resorts include Christmas Trees, specialty seasonal snacks in the bakery cases, and decorations across the property. Simply hop on the Disney Skyliner Gondola and stop at each resort along the way. This is a free fun and festive experience to add to your Disney Christmas Vacation.
EPCOT International Festival of Holidays
As a result of EPCOT Park’s proximity to the Boardwalk, we’re adding the Festival of Holidays to this lineup. If you’re staying on the Disney Boardwalk for Christmas heading to this EPCOT festival is worth the time. Since the Boardwalk is only a short walk away. Featuring cultural treats honoring the holidays in each country you can see decorations, get seasonal snacks, and check out all the latest Disney merchandise.
Disney’s Boardwalk at Christmastime
There you have it! Everything that happens at Walt Disney World’s Boardwalk for the holidays! We hope this post has been helpful in helping you plan some Christmas fun at Walt Disney World’s Boardwalk. Check out even more things to do for Christmas at Walt Disney World Without a Park Ticket.
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.