Top 5 Off-the-Radar Holiday Experiences at Walt Disney World

December 1st, 2014 by Susan Kelly

When December arrives at Walt Disney World, a special holiday magic fills the air.  Of course you’ll find this magic at popular events like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom, but you’ll also want to discover some of the lesser known experiences available at this most wonderful time of year…

1.Over the river and through the woods…well, we’re not going to grandma’s house, but a jingling ride at Fort Wilderness can be a wonderful way to take in the holidays at Walt Disney World. Carriage rides are available all year round, but it’s even more magical in a sleigh covered in silver bells and boughs of holly! Many guests deck their camp sites out with elaborate displays throughout December, transforming Fort Wilderness into a winter wonderland.  Sleigh rides last 25 minutes and cost $70 for a party of four adults (or two adults and three children).

epcot_santas_village2.The biggest and best known draw at Epcot is the Candlelight Processional, but there are plenty of other exciting holiday entertainment offerings going on in the park. Rock out to Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of Christmas at the Fountain of Nations stage or catch the special holiday storytellers throughout World Showcase. While you’re travelling the world, you can sample seasonal treats like gingerbread ice cream from France and hot applejack cider from England – and collect stamps from each country in a Holiday World Showcase Passport, available at the country snack kiosks.  At the American Adventure pavilion, the Voices of Liberty are bundled up for the season and singing holiday carols inside the rotunda, and outside in Santa’s Village you can fill both Mr. and Mrs. Claus in on the latest addition to your Christmas list.  You don’t often get a photo op with both Santa and Mrs Claus.

osborne_lights

3.Goofy’s Winter Wonderland is a new addition to the gorgeous Osborne Family Festival of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. As you’re marveling at the shimmering lights, humming along to the carols, and searching for that hidden cat (it moves each year!), head down to the Tri-City Square where Santa Goofy holds court in a forest of glimmering trees each night. Is that beard real, Goofy?

4. Holiday decorations take over many of the Walt Disney World resort hotels come December. At the Yacht Club you’ll discover a deluxe train layout and Disney-inspired winter village , while next door, the Beach Club Resort gets a carousel with themed chocolate horses. Be on the lookout for hidden Mickeys!  A gingerbread stand springs up in the Boardwalk Resort lobgrand_floridian_gingerbread_houseby, and the Contemporary Resort has a special gingerbread display as well, which is Frozen-inspired for 2014.  If you’re visiting during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, you’ll find special activities and character meet and greets at the deluxe resorts.  Mickey and Minnie will be dressed in their Victorian holiday finest at the Grand Floridian (where there’s also a life-size gingerbread house complete with smoking chimney and shop inside), and you might even run into the big man in red himself.

5.There are decorated evergreen trees all over the parks and hotels at this time of year, but over at the Swan and Dolphin Resort they haven’t forgotten the palm trees. There’s a tropical, twinkling light show going on each night along the walkway between the two resorts. Flickering colored lights, synchronized to Christmas music, make the trees appear to dance!

swan_dolphin_light_show

Leave a Reply