Home Disney Planning Tips Checking out the holiday cheer at Disney World Resorts

Checking out the holiday cheer at Disney World Resorts

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Checking out the holiday cheer at Disney World Resorts
Credit: Susan

Walt Disney World Resorts are always so beautifully decorated during the holiday season. Here is our 2021 holiday resort hopping tour! Come see what the displays look like this year and make plans to visit the resorts.

Port Orleans Riverside

Credit: Monica

Our tour begins at a moderate resort: Port Orleans Riverside. Themed after the rural romance of Louisiana, this resort has beautiful decorations at Christmas. Huge mansions and quaint cottages intersect to make you feel like you’re in two places at once.

For Christmas, Disney installed hanging garland from the porte cochere leading into the lobby. It is very subtle and romantic in keeping with the overall theme of the resort.

Credit: Monica

There is one giant tree in the middle of the lobby with magnolias and glass bulbs wrapping the tree. Large swooping garland hangs from the balconies of the lobby and wreaths line the lobby walls.

Inside the gift shop you will find more garland hanging from the displays and miniature trees as well. Magnolias are definitely the theme and help tie everything together. Also in the gift shop, gift boxes have been added to the display of Donald, Huey, Dewey, and Luie. Poor Donald!

Port Orleans French Quarter

Credit: Monica

Heading next door is another Port Orleans resort: French Quarter. The theming of this resort is more fun with a New Orleans jazzy vibe. This whole resort makes you feel like you are walking down the streets of historic New Orleans with the cobblestone streets, gas lamps, and iron balconies.

For the holiday season, you will be greeted with beautiful wreaths hanging from the walkway lights at Jackson Square and heading up to the lobby area.

There is garland everywhere hanging from the balconies. They are adorned with masks, crowns, and ornaments. It looks so beautiful and Southern!

Credit: Monica

There are four trees instead of one big tree located inside the lobby area. They are in each of the four corners of the lobby and continue with the same New Orleans pageantry the resort is known for.

You can find more wreaths and garland accenting the walls, posts, and rails. The hanging garland with lights just pop out at you! The gift shop even has hints of Christmas with garland on the walls.

Heading out to the pool area, however, you will find more garland wrapping the lampposts. This is in contrast to the lack of decor at Riverside, so French Quarter does have a slight edge.

Beach Club

Credit: Monica

Right outside the International Gateway at Epcot, Beach Club has a very unique holiday display: a Gingerbread carousel! This life size carousel actually spins and is themed after The Little Mermaid. There are four horses each with its own theme: Ariel, Ursula, Prince Eric, and King Triton.

Each horse is intricately detailed to the character it represents. My family enjoyed looking at the carousel and pointing out all the little details.

Credit: Monica

There are also Mickey Mouse and 50th anniversary adornments as a nod to this golden celebration. The carousel is a sight to behold! Read more about it HERE.

Elsewhere at the resort, you will find the typical garland and wreath displays. Spend your Christmas at the beach at Disney’s Beach Club.

Yacht Club

Credit: Susan

Just next door is Yacht Club, which is a bit more sophisticated than its sister resort Beach Club. This resort has a more New England nautical atmosphere with darker blue hues.

While Yacht Club does not have a gingerbread display, it does have some other decor out for Christmas. The first thing that you notice when you walk in the lobby is the giant Christmas tree! Various types of boats and glass bulbs adorn the tree which also match the garland hanging from the balconies.

Credit: Susan

There are smaller trees, wreaths, and more garland on display throughout Yacht Club’s lobby area. There is also a train display! The Christmas village display has snow-capped mountains, trees, and little houses.

You can see the nods to restaurants located in both Yacht and Beach Club like Yachtsman and Cape May Cafe. There are also various displays for Mickey and friends as well as Frozen. There’s a lot to take in here! Be sure to take your time and explore every little detail.

I did find it a bit odd to have a train village in a nautical-themed resort, but this display is very unique! You won’t find anything like it elsewhere on property except for the tiny village in the Germany Pavilion.

Polynesian Resort

Credit: Monica

Mele Kalikimaka! Enjoy the holidays in the South Pacific at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. This resort is so laid back and relaxing with its sandy beaches, lava pool, and lush tropical landscape.

The resort is decked out for Christmas! There is a giant tree in the lobby adorned with pineapples and tropical flowers. It’s even topped with a fish!

The tiki statues are also ready for the holidays! Garland and ornaments cover our little tropical friends.

Credit: Monica

The monorail entrance also has hanging garland, which is a beautiful sight to see when you step on or off the monorail. I adore the leaves, flowers, and ribbon. Walking out to the platform, the Polynesian keeps you in the Christmas spirit with more tropical-themed greenery.

The South Pacific theme continues throughout the Polynesian with more flowers and fruit themed greenery hanging around the resort. There are also a few smaller trees as well.

At the porte cochere you will be greeted with beautiful wreaths and garland! I love how they hang from the oars. Wreaths and garland also line the walkway of the new entrance. The bulbs light up, too!

Grand Floridian

Credit: Monica

Perhaps the resort that everyone thinks of when they think of Christmas at Disney is none other than the Grand Floridian. It has always been a bucket list item to stay here at Christmas. I have the privilege of staying here for a week, and seeing the massive Christmas tree and gingerbread house never gets old.

Of course I must start this portion of the tour with the amazing gingerbread house/treat shop in the lobby of the main building. It is the biggest and best gingerbread display. Not only is it so much fun to just sit and stare, but you can also purchase Christmas treats straight from the inside of the house!

You can read more about the 50th overlay for the gingerbread house HERE.

Credit: Monica

You cannot miss the Victorian-themed Christmas tree with the elegant ornaments. Bird cages, white flowers, and the 12 days of Christmas adorn the grand tree.

Looking up at the floors above you, you will see garland hanging from the balcony! Just take a moment to look around you when you visit the Grand Floridian at Christmas. It’s beautiful.

Like the other resorts, there is greenery everywhere. Garland drapes the stairs, and wreaths hang from the walls around the resort. Beautiful flowers and ducks set off some serious elegant Floridian vibes.

Wilderness Lodge

Credit: Monica

Trailing close behind the Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge may be the best resort to stay at during the holiday season. Who doesn’t want to spend Christmas in a cabin in the Pacific Northwest?! This is exactly why I decided to stay just one night at Wilderness Lodge after spending the week at the Grand Floridian. I just have Christmas FOMO, ok!

Let’s take a look around the resort.

Like the Contemporary, the Wilderness Lodge does not have a gingerbread display this year. Humphrey the Bear’s Gingerbread Cabin debuted in 2019 but was obviously put on pause last year. Time will tell if it ever comes back.

Credit: Monica

Like the other deluxe resorts, there is an over-the-top Christmas tree in the main lobby. Teepees, fur, and other natural outdoorsy elements trim the tree. Just sit down in one of those rockers in the lobby and enjoy the ambiance of it all.

Traditional greenery with poinsettias line the balcony edges, and wreaths hang from the walls around the resort.

This feel like a very traditional Christmas for those of us who live in the United States. With the log cabin architecture, totem poles, that giant fireplace centerpiece, and buffalo plaid it is easy to get swept away in the coziness of it all.

My favorite

Credit: Monica

Unfortunately, I could not visit every resort to see what Christmas decor was up. I would love to check out Animal Kingdom Lodge sometime! Value and moderate resorts don’t decorate on quite the scale that deluxe resorts do, so I decided to skip most of those. Additionally, the BoardWalk Resort did not set out their gingerbread display this year.

My favorite resort to visit on our little tour would be Wilderness Lodge. I am a sucker for the woodsy, at-home-for-Christmas elements Wilderness Lodge has on display. I felt the most at home even though we only stayed for one night.

For more Christmas resort tours from the past, check out our posts HERE and HERE.

What resorts do you like to visit at Christmas? Join the conversation in the comments below and on Facebook.


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