Credit: Paula K

The Best Disney World Resorts to Celebrate the Holidays

One of the most popular times of year to visit¬†Walt¬†Disney¬†World¬†is, unsurprisingly,¬†Christmas.¬†¬†Even a Guest lamenting the loss of the Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights will admit that¬†Disney does the holidays in style!¬†¬†WDW starts decorating for the holidays right after Halloween – in fact, one of our favorite things is to visit WDW from the end of October to the first week of November, so we can enjoy Halloween and¬†Christmas¬†decorations¬†in the same visit!¬†¬†So, if you’re planning a visit to Disney¬†World¬†during¬†the¬†holiday¬†season, where should you stay?¬†¬†Here are some top picks for WDW Resort Hotels that really step it up at¬†Christmas.¬†

Disney‘s¬†Wilderness Lodge

Disney‘s¬†Wilderness Lodge Resort gets top marks by Guests for its¬†holiday spirit!¬†¬†As soon as you step into the charmingly rustic seven-story lobby, you’ll see why.¬†¬†Center stage is the 60-foot Christmas¬†tree, with its classic decorations in red, green, and gold.¬†¬†Poinsettias, wreaths, and a beautifully lit woodland scene of deer and trees dot the Resort.¬†¬†Wilderness Lodge¬†has plenty of comfy places to curl up and enjoy the scenery – try a spot by the fireplace, in a rocking chair.¬†¬†Humphrey the Bear’s gingerbread cabin, an edible display that debuted a couple of years ago, was a hit, but it’s unknown so far whether it will return in 2021.¬†¬†Luckily, the traditional¬†Christmas ambiance is enough of a reason for a visit!¬†¬†

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort

Looking for more¬†holiday¬†fun in the great outdoors?¬†¬†Take a quick walk or boat ride over to¬†Disney‘s Fort Wilderness Resort to check out the decorations put up by the campers, and while you’re there, take a¬†holiday¬†sleigh ride through the woods (on throughout the month of December).

Disney‘s¬†Grand Floridian¬†Resort & Spa

When visiting¬†Walt¬†Disney¬†World¬†during the holidays, we never miss a chance to Resort-hop over to¬†Disney‘s¬†Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, because it features perhaps the most famous of¬†Disney‘s life-size edible displays: the huge, impeccably decorated¬†gingerbread house, from which you can buy¬†holiday¬†treats!¬†¬†Check out the recipe (anyone know what half a ton of honey actually looks like?), and learn about the process of creating this yummy behemoth.¬†¬†There’s something timeless and nostalgic about the classic elegance of a Victorian¬†Christmas, and it’s evident everywhere in the¬†Grand Floridian, from the towering, elaborately festooned¬†Christmas¬†tree¬†in the lobby to the opulent¬†holiday¬†touches throughout the Resort.

Disney‘s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter

Most of the WDW Resort Hotels listed here belong to the Deluxe Resort tier, since those Resort Hotels tend to have the most magnificent¬†holiday¬†theming and displays.¬†¬†But¬†Disney‘s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter, in the Moderate Resort tier, definitely holds its own at¬†Christmas!¬†¬†Plus, it’s a more affordable alternative to a Deluxe Resort for Guests for whom budget is a priority.¬†¬†Port Orleans Resort also enjoys close proximity to¬†Disney¬†Springs, where you can enjoy even more WDW¬†Christmas¬†fun!¬†

French Quarter, as its name implies, is inspired by the romance of the French Quarter in New Orleans – and it’s a stunner, any time of the year.¬†¬†With its wrought-iron railings and its cobblestone streets, it lends itself particularly well to¬†Christmas¬†theming.¬†¬†During the holidays, marvel at the many colorful¬†Christmas trees decked out in Mardi-Gras-esque decorations, and gaze at the lampposts adorned with garlands.¬†¬†Take a romantic stroll along the gorgeous Sassagoula River, or enjoy a festive beignet at the Scat Cat’s Club – Caf√© to complete your¬†holiday¬†experience.

Disney‘s Contemporary Resort

No matter what¬†Disney¬†World¬†Resort¬†you’re staying at, it’s always a treat to spend some time at¬†Disney‘s Contemporary Resort – watching the monorail pass right through the Resort lobby never gets old.¬†¬†And who doesn’t love being able to walk to¬†Disney‘s¬†Magic Kingdom?¬†¬†During the holidays, there’s even more to enjoy at the Contemporary Resort.¬†¬†Outside, make sure you stop and gawk at the positively massive¬†Christmas¬†tree in front of the Resort, featuring retro decorations (selfies, anyone?).¬†¬†Back inside, head to the lobby, where Guests love to view the Mary Blair-style edible¬†Christmas¬†displays (most recently, this has consisted of a¬†Cinderella Castle¬†with a Frozen twist).¬†¬†Note: for 2021, there’s no word yet on whether the gingerbread display will be returning, possibly due to construction at the Resort.¬†¬†But here’s hoping!

Disney‘s¬†Beach Club¬†Resort

For a whimsical take on the holidays, a Guest needs to look no further than¬†Disney‘s¬†Beach Club¬†Resort.¬†¬†From November until January, the popular life-size carousel (yes, it even spins) returns, in all its gingerbread glory.¬†¬†Unlike many WDW Resort Hotels, you won’t find a huge central¬†Christmas¬†tree¬†here, but don’t let that deter you –¬†Beach Club Resort has some of the most elaborate¬†holiday¬†d√©cor of any¬†Disney¬†World¬†Resort!¬†¬†For 2021, the theme of the carousel is¬†Disney‘s Little Mermaid, and one of the carousel horses clearly takes its inspiration from Ariel.¬†¬†Ten points if you can spot Scuttle and his dinglehopper.¬†¬†Too easy?¬†¬†Try searching for the 21 hidden gold Mickeys that are part of the display!

One of the great things about¬†Disney‘s¬†Beach Club¬†Resort is its location adjoining¬†Disney‘s Yacht Club Resort.¬†¬†This means a Guest can easily walk over the Yacht Club lobby to check out the miniature¬†holiday village complete with working train!

Bottom Line

Spending any part of¬†the¬†holiday¬†season¬†at¬†Walt¬†Disney¬†World is simply magical!¬† Staying on property at a Disney Resort¬†Hotel¬†will maximize that¬†holiday¬†magic.¬†¬†All¬†Disney¬†Resorts¬†decorate for the holidays, but if you’re looking for the most spectacular displays on property for your¬†holiday¬†celebrations, think about staying at or visiting one of these Resort Hotels.¬†¬†Let¬†the¬†holiday¬†magic begin!¬†

About Stacy Milford

Stacy has lived in 4 countries on 3 continents, and travels whenever humanly possible. Passionate about music theatre, dessert, and adventure in the great wide somewhere, she visits Walt Disney World every year, usually during Halloween! Stacy currently divides her time between writing and teaching English as a second language to children in China, and is pretty sure growing up is over-rated.