Ready to take a break from the Parks and see what the resorts at Christmas look like at Walt Disney World?! We’ve rounded up our Best Disney Resorts to visit for Christmas to help you take a break and get away from the crowds.
- 1 Walt Disney World Resorts during Christmas
- 2 The Grand Floridian Resort at Christmas
- 3 The Yacht & Beach Club at Christmas
- 4 The Boardwalk Inn at Christmas
- 5 Disney’s Wilderness Lodge at Christmas
- 6 Fort Wilderness at Christmas
- 7 Gran Destino Tower at Christmas
- 8 Animal Kingdom Lodge at Christmas
- 9 Visiting Walt Disney World Resorts for Christmas
Walt Disney World Resorts during Christmas
Walt Disney World at Christmastime is simply magical. The decorations, the smells, the entertainment, the treats, where to begin?! We are big fans of taking a break from the Parks during what’s considered to be the busiest time of year and heading over to the resorts. Each resort is all decked out for Christmas in its own theme, so it can be difficult to know where to start! Read on for our favorite Disney resorts to visit at Christmas time.
Best Disney Resorts to Visit at Christmas time
You can’t really go wrong with any Disney resort at Christmas time! They’re all beautifully decorated and beautifully themed. Disney hotels at Christmas can be a destination all their own. Stop by to check out the decorations. Grab some holiday snacks. You can easily enjoy a full ticket free day just exploring the Disney hotels decorated for Christmas.
The Grand Floridian Resort at Christmas
While the rest of these are in no particular order, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is at the very top of our resort list for Christmas at Walt Disney World. Featuring a life-size gingerbread house, that just fills the entire resort lobby with the most wonderful holiday smells, this gingerbread house is a masterpiece in itself. They actually start creating this beauty in June! A sight to behold, this is one resort not to miss during Christmas; and even better, it’s an easy ride on the monorail from Magic Kingdom, so if you’re tight on time, this is an easy one to fit into your schedule.
Not only is there a Grand Floridian Gingerbread House, but also a little gingerbread shop where you can buy some of your favorite gingerbread treats, including a roof shingle! Add in a several-story Christmas tree, and beautiful poinsettias throughout the lobby, and let the Grand Floridian get you into the holiday spirit.
The Yacht & Beach Club at Christmas
An easy walk over from Epcot, Disney’s Beach Club Resort boasts the most elaborate Gingerbread Carousel. This life-size, rotating carousel is beautifully decorated and even has quite a few hidden mickeys to be found. Add in a fun, beach-themed Christmas tree and plenty of decorations through the lobby and this is one display you won’t want to miss. And since it’s super easy to get to from EPCOT, this is one of our favorite Disney resorts to visit at Christmas time for families!
The Beach Club’s sister resort, the Yacht Club has its own kind of magic. Not only does it have a grand Christmas tree in its own lobby, but also an adorable little village display, complete with a running train, mountains, and shops. It’s the kind of thing you really have to see to appreciate; but if you’re already headed to the Beach Club (which you should be), it’s an easy stop that’s well worth the extra steps. This year, 2023, Yacht Club is actually getting its own Gingerbread Display! We don’t have the details yet, but we are excited to see what Disney cooks up for the Yacht Club lobby.
The Boardwalk Inn at Christmas
After you’ve seen The Beach and Yacht Club, be sure to stop over at The Boardwalk Inn. While their holiday displays change every year, you can count on classic, vintage décor that may seem like something out of a Norman Rockwell Christmas card. In the past, they’ve had gingerbread houses and other fun displays in the lobby as well as a beautifully adorned Christmas tree on the front lawn.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge at Christmas
If the Grand Floridian feels just a little too fancy for you, head on over to Wilderness Lodge. Disney Wilderness Lodge at Christmas is one of our favorites! An easy boat ride over from Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is one of our all-time favorite resorts on Walt Disney World property. And at Christmas, it gets even better. The rustic charm of this resort is so cozy and inviting and even more so at Christmas. This resort was made for Christmas! With the 60-foot Christmas tree in the lobby, plenty of decorations throughout, Christmas music playing, and their signature fireplace, this resort will give you a homey, relaxing holiday feel. We’d argue that during the holidays, it may actually be the best place to escape those Christmas crowds.
Fort Wilderness at Christmas
If you’re looking for a whole new kind of pace, be sure to head on over to Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. Grab some hot chocolate, rent a golf cart, and drive around Fort Wilderness campground to see all of the fantastic decorations put up by the campers there. Walt Disney World itself doesn’t do a whole lot for Fort Wilderness, but the campers go all out. Think Christmas lights, life-size castles, Cinderella carriages, the works. The possibilities are endless here, and you can easily make a night out of these festive holiday displays.
In recent years, Walt Disney World has gotten more strict about letting guests rent golf carts if they are not staying at Fort Wilderness. But there are other ways to see these fun displays! Book a holiday sleigh ride at Fort Wilderness, which will get you right where the action is. Or take the bus over to Fort Wilderness and feel free to walk around and take a look at the lights. There are internal shuttles that can take you to different locations of the resort, and it’s usually cool enough in the evening during Christmastime for walking around.
Of course, if you’re interested in staying at Fort Wilderness, this will be your best bet to being able to fully experience it. We have stayed in both the cabins at Fort Wilderness and rented an RV at Fort Wilderness. And they’re both great options that give you a totally different Walt Disney World experience!
Gran Destino Tower at Christmas
Gran Destino Tower often flies under the radar. It’s technically not a standalone resort, is slightly out of the way, and is part of a large, moderate resort. But we think it deserves a lot more attention than it gets, and Christmas is no exception. We think this is a great Disney resort to visit for Christmas for a few reasons. It has a gorgeous towering Christmas tree, reminiscent of what you’d see in a deluxe resort. Along with that, it also has several other smaller trees all around the lobby that just add a little something extra.
Gran Destino is also home to many great lounges and restaurants, which gives you a great excuse to make the trip to visit it. Grab a coffee or cocktail at Barcelona Lounge, enjoy the beautiful atmosphere and cuisine of Toledo, or dine al fresco at Three Bridges. Check out everything to do at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort for Christmas.
Animal Kingdom Lodge at Christmas
Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of our favorite resorts, especially at Christmastime! Not only does it have one of our favorite Christmas trees, but it now also has a gingerbread life-sized baby giraffe display! This includes Ginger-affe along with the baby zebra Debra, who’s made of chocolate. We love this new addition to the resort for the holidays. It really showcases the incredible skill of the pastry team there, and well it’s just really cool to see! You can also find fun holiday snacks and treats at The Mara, the quick-service restaurant at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Be sure to read our post on the Gingerbread Display at Animal Kingdom Lodge for Christmas.
When do Disney Resorts decorate for Christmas?
Generally, Walt Disney World starts decorating Magic Kingdom on November 1st. You can expect to see Magic Kingdom fully decorated for Christmas by the first week of November. After that, it’s like a slow trickle of decorations around Walt Disney World. The resorts tend to get decorated last, but you can expect to see them dressed up for the holidays around November 15.
Visiting Walt Disney World Resorts for Christmas
As you can see, there is so much magic around the Walt Disney World resorts at Christmas! The holidays are simply magical at this time, and visiting the resorts is one of our favorite activities. And best of all, it’s one of the Free Things to Do at Disney World for Christmas! And even if you’re not able to stay at or visit one of the deluxe resorts on this list, all of the resorts are beautifully adorned. So no matter where you are, you can still enjoy the festive feelings throughout Walt Disney World.
Have we convinced you to visit these resorts at Christmas? We sure hope so! Imagineers spend months working on resort decorations; so be sure to plan some downtime in your holiday trip to enjoy all that the season has to offer. Check out all the Gingerbread displays at Disney Resorts across Walt Disney World during the holidays.
Have you been to any of the Walt Disney World resorts at Christmas? Let us know if you have a favorite!
Melanie Renee is a photographer, writer, designer and mom. Visiting Disney destinations since 2010, she is also an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. When she's not creating her next coffee recipe, or designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's seeking beautiful sunsets and planning her next trip .