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Special Holiday Events at Walt Disney World: Outside the Disney Parks

Any avid Disney World lover will tell you that a \”bad\” day at Disney is better than good day at home, but really, we all know that some times are just better than others at Disney World. Visiting around the christmas holidays is one of those good times!

Disney is beautiful at Christmas! Everything is decorated from Cinderella\’s castle right down to themed trees at each resort. This week I\’m going to hit the top five holiday things to see outside the parks!

5. Fort Wilderness: At Fort Wilderness, many guests bring their RVs and their decorations to Disney World year after year! This is a great location to drive through and see the decorations. You can even schedule a sleigh ride here for a special treat.

Cinderella Castle, Contemporary and more on a display behind an RV!

4. At Disney Springs, there are so many great things to see! In 2016, Disney started the Christmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs with 15 themed trees. In 2017, this has expanded to 25 themed trees highlighting many of our favorite Disney movies–The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Frozen, 101 Dalmatians, Mary Poppins and more! 

Mary Poppins themed tree!

3. Another interesting holiday activity is Stitch\’s Holiday Gift Hunt. This is a fun scavenger hunt in Disney Springs. It includes a special stop at the Christmas Tree Trail as well! This is a great activity for families with elementary aged kids or older since you have to work together, decipher clues, and discover all the spots where Stitch is hiding. Complete the mission and receive a limited-edition button. Pick up a map guide at the Disney Springs Welcome Center, Once Upon a Toy, Super Hero Headquarters, or the World of Disney Information Desk.

Map guide and button. (Photo Credit:

2. All of the Disney World resorts are decorated for the holidays, and you\’ll find a Christmas tree in each lobby. However, some of the resorts really go all out! Grand Floridian has a life-sized gingerbread house in their lobby! (The gingerbread house also contains The Bake Shop where you can find gingerbread ornaments, cookies, and gingerbread house kits, all made using a classic gingerbread recipe from Austria!) See the enormous tree, too, decorated with Victorian ornaments! The Contemporary Resort has a beautiful Cinderella Castle in the style of legendary artist Mary Blair. The 18-foot tall display is crafted from thousands of gingerbread blocks, rolled fondant, and a mouth-watering amount of modeling chocolate! At Beach Club Resort, there\’s a life-sized edible carousel featuring Lilo and stitch! Next door at Yacht Club Resort, there\’s a Holiday Miniature Train in their lobby! 

Gingerbread house and tree at the Grand Floridian

1. Meet Santa and test out the Photo Pass Studio! You can meet Santa in Disney Springs at his unique cottage on the Christmas Tree Trail near Once Upon a Toy. Santa is available noon-10:00 pm Monday-Thursday; 10:00am-10:00pm Friday-Sunday. There\’s even a unique way to wait–check in at the podium and give them your cell phone number. Go enjoy Disney Springs, and when you receive a text, return within 10 minutes to meet Santa! Then stop by the Disney PhotoPass Studio where you can choose from great themed backgrounds and make a fabulous family photo! These are even linked to your Memory Maker.

Riley with one of the great holiday backgrounds at the PhotoPass Studio! You can even include the whole family!

Honorable Mention: Stop by the Coca-Cola store and visit with the Coca Cola Bear! That makes a great Christmas photo, too.

So much to experience for the holidays without even stepping foot in the parks! Stay tuned for more blogs on the holidays in each park!

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