Do you know how to enjoy the Disney Resort Christmas decorations for free? And yes I did put the words free and Disney together!
In case you may not know, doing a holiday decor resort hopping tour at Walt Disney World is my new yuletide tradition.
It’s a fun way to enjoy the Disney life on a budget, since you’ll be able to save one of your precious park hopper days on your trip.
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Christmas Disney Traditions
The holiday decorations at Walt Disney World are absolutely amazing! Believe it or not, Christmas starts at Disney around the first week of November.
It’s something I tried for the first time a few years ago with OutdoorsyDiva and now I am totally hooked!
If you do plan on visiting the Orlando area during the holidays, then you’ll want to add the Disney hotels to your list of must do’s.
This article will give you an easy step-by-step Disney Resort Christmas decorations tour checklist.
Trust me you can do this!
After you finish this guide, holiday resort hopping at Walt Disney World may also become your own tradition too.
Best Disney Resort Christmas Decorations Route and Tour
Before you start your festive Disney World Christmas adventure, you’ll want to prep for your day. You can do this by having water on hand, comfy shoes for walking, and patience as you use Disney’s bus system.
Hipster Power Tip: Use the New Skyliner transportation system to navigate through the Hollywood Studios and Epcot area resorts faster.
Be sure to give yourself at least 4 hours for this tour. This will give you enough time to explore all the holiday activities and decor at each Disney resort.
So, if you’re interested in doing your own free solo (or family) self-guided Disney Christmas resort tour, then here’s my top recommended path.
1 – Disney Springs Christmas Decor
Starting at Disney Springs will keep your parking cost to zero. You can park your car there for free and roam around to check out their holiday décor and seasonal treats.
Christmas at Disney Springs is a perfect way to kick start your free Disney resort holiday tour. The buses in this area usually start running at 8:30 a.m.
Learn more about parking at Walt Disney World for free here!
While there, try a seasonal treat at one of the kiosks or one of the top restaurants. You will also be able to sit back and listen to holiday carols along the waterside promenade on certain days.
Christmas Trees at Disney Springs
A Disney Springs must is to walk-through the majestic Christmas Tree Trail. Each Christmas tree is highly themed to a Disney fan favorite attraction, resort, and more that’s complete with music and snow!
Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt
While visiting Disney Springs, you’ll want to participate in Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt where you have to find all the items on Stitch’s lost list.
Santa Claus at Disney Springs!
No visit to Disney Springs during the holidays would be complete without seeing Santa Claus. He will be there ready to snap a photo with you!
2 – Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort Christmas Decor
Hop on the bus at Disney Springs and go to Animal Kingdom Lodge where you will get lost in the magical Christmas displays of the African-inspired resort.
The views around Animal Kingdom Lodge are enough to make you have that teary-eyed Disney moment, but adding a Christmas touch to it makes the magic even more real.
The massive lobby will welcome you with an equally massive Christmas tree, standing tall and decorated to perfection!
Sit in the oversize chairs and enjoy the ambiance of Animal Kingdom Lodge.
3 – Fort Wilderness Campgrounds Christmas Decorations
Take the bus over to Fort Wilderness Camp Grounds for yesterland-inspired adornments.
This resort is perfect for anyone who enjoys the outdoors, Disney, and Christmas!
The Fort Wilderness Campgrounds not only have log cabins available for rent, they also allow RVs to station there, which is where you will see some of the most creative holiday decor on the grounds.
Fort Wilderness also has pathways lined with holiday garland and lights with a Christmas tree near the heart of the campgrounds.
4 – Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort Lodge at Christmastime
After leaving the campgrounds, take the boat and cruise over to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort.
This is my absolute favorite Disney resort on the holiday resort hopping route!
The lobby gives a similar invite as the one in Animal Kingdom Lodge, but Fort Wilderness Resort Lodge just feels like Christmas is supposed to happen there.
You’ll also be welcomed to oversize rocking chairs with multiple fireplaces to feel as if you’re having a winter fest in the deep woods of Northwest America.
The holiday tree inside Fort Wilderness Lodge is the best Disney resort Christmas tree.
The detailed Christmas Disney ornaments of the animals and the perfectly hung lighting, are all factors that make this my favorite resort to spend the most time in while on my Disney holiday resort tour.
5 – Contemporary Resort Christmas Decor
Hop on the boat again and ride from Wilderness Lodge to the Magic Kingdom gate area and board the monorail to go to the Contemporary Resort.
You will see lots of Mary Blair inspired gingerbread creations each year inside the Contemporary Resort.
Be sure to pick up a few holiday cupcakes and other treats inside the Contempo Cafe.
The show stopper is the large and splendid holiday tree outside the resort that greets you from the front of the property.
If you were driving onto the property of the Contemporary Resort, then you would see it.
6 – Polynesian Resort Christmas Decor
When leaving the Contemporary Resort, board the monorail and head over to the Polynesian Village Resort. Here you will get a tropical style holiday feel.
Because of the tropical theme, you may not get the Christmas feel right away, like the Wilderness Lodge, but you’ll definitely enjoy another rendition of the yuletide decor and traditions.
7 – Christmas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
Continue your Disney Resort Christmas decorations journey from Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort to the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, which will be the next monorail stop.
The Grand Floridian will transport you back to the elegance of Victorian charm. The lobby alone is incredibly grand and gorgeous and is the perfect place to end your journey on the Magic Kingdom monorail resort trail.
Ginger Bread House at The Grand Floridian Resort
You’ll want to listen to the sounds of the band playing classic Christmas tunes as you take in the scent of gingerbread.
This exquisite smell will be coming from the life-size house made completely out of gingerbread, which takes months to complete.
Don’t forget to get a photo in front of the gigantic Christmas tree. It is the center piece of the Grand Floridian during the holidays and is a wonderful spot to hangout and enjoy the atmosphere.
This is the place to be and the epitome of your resort holiday tour.
8 – Epcot Resorts Christmas Decorations
End your holiday adventure at the Epcot Resorts. You can do this by taking the monorail from the Grand Floridian Resort to the Transportation Ticket Center.
Once there, hop on a bus to the BoardWalk Inn.
The BoardWalk Inn is a perfect way to end the night and you can also see the fireworks from both Epcot and Hollywood Studios while sitting outside.
You can also visit the other Hollywood Studios and Epcot Resorts if you still have time in your day.
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
- Caribbean Beach Resort
- Swan and Dolphin Resort (not an official Walt Disney World resort)
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Once you’re done, take the bus back to your car at Disney Springs and catch a special holiday show while you’re there.
Hipster Power Tip: In order to complete this perfect holiday hotel hopping schedule, you’ll need to start first thing in the morning.
Christmas at the Disney Parks
If you have park tickets or if you are a Disney Passholder, then add:
- A Visit to Main Street U.S.A. and the Christmas Shoppe in the Magic Kingdom
- Tour around Epcot World Showcase for Festival of the Holidays
- Nightcap at Hollywood Studios
Final Thoughts on Disney Resort Christmas Decorations
I hope this simple step-by-step resort tour for Christmas at Disney helps you. The holidays at the Disney Resort Hotels are truly magical during this time of year.
So, don’ worry about trying to make it to each hotel. Just enjoy your moments exploring the ones you get to and save the others for another Disney visit!
Let me know what your favorite holiday route is at Walt Disney World for the holidays in the comment section below.
If you enjoy this article, then you’ll love these:
- Best Disney Christmas Resorts
- Epcot Candlelight Processional
- Disney Christmas Decorations
- Epcot Festival of the Holidays
- Tips for Doing Christmas at Disney World
Read the Disney Vacation Planning Guide for your next dream trip!
Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!
(Original Article Date: December 16, 2013/Updated October 14, 2019)