If you’re planning a Walt Disney World vacation at Christmas and aren’t visiting any of the resorts, you’re missing out! The deluxe resorts, in particular, are dressed to the nines in evergreen and gingerbread. They are an easy and welcomed diversion on a regular park day.
Four deluxe resorts are accessible via quick and easy transportation from Disney’s Magic Kingdom – perfect for an afternoon getaway from the park crowds. A leisurely visit to all four should take about three hours. Let’s get started!
Wilderness Lodge and Boulder Ridge Villas
We’ll begin our Magic Kingdom-area resort tour with a relaxing boat ride from the Magic Kingdom resort boat launch to Wilderness Lodge. Once at the resort dock, while everyone else on the boat heads straight into the Lodge, take a walk around the geyser, pass the Geyser Point restaurant and head to the Boulder Ridge Villas DVC building adjacent to the bus stop.
While in the DVC building, you will enjoy a lovely tree in the cozy four-story lobby and balconies adorned with greenery. Rock in one of the rocking chairs or step into the adjacent Carolwood Pacific Room with its holiday decor, Christmas music playing, and game tables inviting a round of checkers. Chances are you might see two … maybe three … other people your entire time here. When can you ever say that at Disney World?
After enjoying the peace and quiet at Boulder Ridge, take a short walk out the front door and down the covered walkway to the Wilderness Lodge main building. Here’s the real show-stopper with the gargantuan tree in the center of the spacious lobby. Take a higher look by ascending the stairs that start beside the Whispering Canyon Cafe and admire all the perfectly-themed wreaths and decorations on your way up to a higher vantage point.
Walk back out to the boat dock to proceed to resort #2 – the Contemporary Resort. There are several different boat routes and one will circle Bay Lake, taking you straight to the next resort. However, I wasn’t patient and chose to hop on a boat back to the Magic Kingdom instead from which I walked to the Contemporary.
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
The walking route means you’re first introduced to the Contemporary’s outdoor tree before going inside. This tree is HUGE but pretty basic in decor with a few random glass ball ornaments.
Proceed inside the tower building and up the elevator or escalators to the fourth floor. At the north end (opposite Chef Mickey’s) you’ll find an impressive gingerbread display. Cinderella, the Prince, and Fairy Godmother are created in an adorable Mary Blair-inspired design. Gingerbread treats are available for sale at a kiosk beside the display.
The Contemporary is one of the quick stops on this tour so after about 15 minutes, head on over to the security checkpoint and up to the monorail station. We’re off to resort #3!
Polynesian Village Resort
The Polynesian’s Christmas tree is set up off to the side in the main atrium. While smallest of these resort trees, it’s quite lovely. Covered in tropical flowers and fish ornaments, it’s themed perfectly for its location. Still, the decorations at this resort don’t take long to admire, and soon we’re off to the final resort on this tour.
Rather than heading back up to the monorail and going through another security check, it’s a gorgeous Florida day, so walking to the Grand Floridian is a quiet and tranquil choice. Stop at the bench swing in the sand on the edge of Poly property and listen to the Christmas music while you take in the Cinderella castle view across the Seven Seas Lagoon.
Grand Floridian Resort
The first Grand Floridian building you’ll reach on this walking tour is the DVC villas building. Take a walk inside to see the beautiful lobby and its Mary Poppins penguin fountain. There are a few dainty decorations, but nothing outlandish or noteworthy.
Continue walking on the covered walkway to the front entrance of the Grand Floridian. The elaborate swags, birch reindeer, and greenery greet you before entering. Once inside, the smell of gingerbread is immediate and, if you’re visiting in the afternoon, chance are that the band or pianist is playing Christmas music.
This lobby is the busiest of the tour and, if you didn’t already buy gingerbread treats at the Contemporary, the line at the Grand’s gingerbread house will make you regret it! Take in the view by ascending the main staircase to the upper level and, if a seat is available, just sit and relax for a bit, enjoying the ambiance.
A Disney Photopass photographer will likely be available to take photos in front of the tree and an additional cast member is waiting on the other side to take a picture with your own camera either in front of the tree or gingerbread house. Take time to admire that gingerbread house – there is so much detail to take in!
On my tour, this was dinnertime so I stopped in the Gasparilla Island Grill for a quick bite to eat before heading back to the Magic Kingdom. Being the most popular Disney resort to visit at Christmastime, chances are the monorail line will be ridiculously long leaving the Grand Floridian. Instead, walk out to the boat launch and enjoy a quick ride back with just a few new friends. SO much more relaxing!
Hope you enjoyed your Magic Kingdom area resort tour this Christmas. Which stop was your favorite?