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La2kw 01-04-2008 03:22 PM

DVC Resort Holiday Decorations Trip Report with Photos.
We just returned a few days ago from two weeks at WDW. This was our first time to go in December and first time we had been to WDW for the holidays. We have been to Disneyland many times during the holiday season and were quite excited to be going to WDW this year. We usually go to WDW in the summer, so we were also looking forward to the cooler weather and the fact that we would not be sweating every minute we were there! Not to mention not having those sweaty people bumping into me. :laughing: We also were interested in comparing crowd levels between this time of year and July, which is when we normally go. (From 12/24 on it was much worse than July.) DW and I are both teachers and we have to high schoolers, so we can only travel on school breaks. We loved all the special events this time of year- it was almost like seeing WDW for the first time (we are WDW and Disneyland veterans having spent 20 years visiting WDW and 45 years visiting Disneyland. DW loves holiday decorations, so we did spend time visiting all the deluxe and DVC resorts. I thought I would post a trip report of mainly photos of the holiday decor.

This was a last minute trip, so we didn't have enough points to stay the entire trip at OKW (our resort of choice), so we did spend some of the trip at Hilton Grand Vacations Club on International Drive. This is an excellent resort and has almost everything the DVC resorts have with the exception of two things- place settings for 4 instead of 8 and the fact it's offsite. Now the place settings is no biggie, but I have two teens that eat alot, so we were constantly doing dishes because there were only 4 plates, 4 bowls, 4 mugs, etc. I am glad DVC puts settings for 8. Being offsite was not a huge hassle because we always rent a car anyway, but having to drive to HGVC was a pain because evidently Orlando does not know how to build proper roads and freeway offramps. :confused3 The traffic around that resort, with the combination of the Premium Outlet Mall, Dixie Stampede, Publix, and Mary, Queen of the Universe Shrine was ridiculous. It was practically gridlocked on Christmas Eve and took us over 20 minutes to move 1 mile. :sad2: Now, we have traffic in L.A., but at least we have offramps and alternate routes to get to your destination. I'm sure most big cities are that way. Orlando is seriously deficient in that respect. In any case, we enjoyed HGVC and would definitely stay again for a couple nights to save on some points or to spend the night before checking into our DVC resort. We got an excellent rate AAA rate of $116/night, which helped to take the sting out of the idiotic traffic situation. The experience just made me even happier that we are DVC members. We were glad to check in to OKW.

Here are some photos of HGVC in case anyone is interested:

Full kitchen with a serious lack of place settings.

King bedded master bedroom.

Alcove with spa tub, closet, and door to bathroom.

Spa tub which is larger than most of the DVC resorts and almost as large as OKW spa tubs.

Screened in balcony (we prefer the screenless versions onsite, but wonder how much pesticide we are exposed to, making screens unnecessary :scared1: )

Real patio furniture, not the plastic kind like DVC.

Great lake view.

Our travel tree.]

Now on to our favorite Disney resort, OKW!

The decorations here are very bright and tropical.

See the fish?

More to come...

La2kw 01-04-2008 03:40 PM

OKW continued.

Lobby tree.

Tree inside Olivia's lobby.

Even Conch Flats General Store isn't left out.

Good's Food's to Go.

Community Hall.

Community Hall tree.

These lamposts on the bridge are decorated and light up at night (along with all the other garlands and wreaths).

Up next: BWV.

La2kw 01-04-2008 03:58 PM

We are not big fans of the BWV, but we thought their holiday decorations were some of the best. They really did a nice job capturing the "boardwalk" theme, IMO.

Entry to lobby.


Loved these garlands in Seashore Sweets.

La2kw 01-04-2008 04:16 PM


Main lobby.

The Solarium.

Villas lobby.

Next up: VWL

DisDaydreamer 01-04-2008 04:27 PM

Great shots.... Thanks.

Wilson.dvc 01-04-2008 04:44 PM

Great Pics. Thanks for posting!

squitty 01-04-2008 05:04 PM

Wonderful photos.

Thank you for posting.

MiaSRN62 01-04-2008 06:02 PM

Thank you so much for posting these photos La2kw ! They are gorgeous !

tgropp 01-04-2008 06:34 PM

We visited all the resorts except AKL and loved all the decorations. Thanks for bringing back wonderful memories

Kurby 01-04-2008 07:10 PM

those are wonderful pics - now i wish we could go around christmas

La2kw 01-04-2008 07:32 PM

Thanks for all the nice comments. I'm glad you all like the pics.

Now on to VWL. But first I have to make a comment. I was quite surprised by the decorations in the VWL building. The main building does a beautiful job of decorating all over the place. It seems like the VWL does not put the same effort into their decorations. They were nice, but definitely did not have the wow factor that the WL building has. Frankly, we were a bit disappointed after seeing OKW, BWV and the WL main lobby. Let me show you what I mean.

The main building lobby. You walk in and go "wow".

Love the Native American influences.

Even one of my least favorite restaurants is all dressed up!

The space above the entrance is nicely done.

The little bridge over the hot springs gets into the act.

More lobby area photos.

Close up of the garland.

We loved this little corner.

Details, details.

We can do without the moose antlers everywhere, but it's still nice.

Looks pretty good, huh? The pictures don't do it justice. If you want a holiday feeling, spend some time in this lobby.

Now, on the villas building.

Nice garland.

The tree is gonna look great in this lobby I bet.

To be continued...

La2kw 01-04-2008 07:50 PM

VWL Continued...

We walk in the door and this is what we see.

It's a nice enough tree. Nowhere near as detailed and as nicely done as in the main lobby. And what's with 1/4 of the lights not working? That just looks tacky. Doesn't anyone check those things? Now, I'm not sure how long those lights were out, but we were there just a couple days before Christmas and it really should look its best that week, IMO. I wonder if there's an electrical problem? Aren't they aware of the fact that the Grand Californian had an electrical fire in there tree a few years ago, which caused a lot of damage to the lobby there? Electrical issues should not be let go, IMO.

Here are a couple more shots.

The other thing I found tacky was the fireplace in the Iron Spike Room. Take a look:

Two potted poinsettias in their plastic pots and foil wrapper just like you can buy at any supermarket for five bucks. The dried flowers are there year round. All they did was add those two plastic potted plants and a small tree. They didn't even bother repotting them into something decent looking. I could not believe how bad that looked in comparison to the rest of the WL. I hope that I didn't offend anyone, but I really think Disney can do better in this department. They raised the bar at the WL, only to drop the ball at the Villas building.

Before I forget, I found some more OKW photos that I forgot to put in that section. Since that's my favorite resort, I'm putting them here because I don't want anyone to miss how good my home resort looks. ;)

Turtle Krawl Boardwalk

More inside Conch Flats General Store

Next is SSR.

mickeymorse 01-04-2008 08:15 PM

Thanks for posting the great pics. I'm in the process of purchasing at VWL and hope that they get it right next time. I personally haven't been there at Christmas but am looking forward to our first time. Maybe in 08.:yay:


La2kw 01-04-2008 08:33 PM

SSR seemed a bit light on decorations also, especially since it's such a large resort. What they did have was very nicely done.

Entry way to Carriage House.

Inside the Carriage House.

Merry go round horse (always there).

Lobby tree.

Racing theme on some of the ornaments.

We were there on Christmas Eve and there were a couple special things there for this evening.

One was Santa's chair and photo op area.

The other was lemonade and Christmas Cookies.

They made us take some even after we told them we were staying at our other home resort this year. The cookies were the same sugar cookies they had at MVMCP. We also saw them available at BWV.

Next is AKL

La2kw 01-04-2008 09:26 PM

AKV. AKL never has really done it for us, and we really have never had any interest in staying there. However, after seeing the Kidani Village model rooms at SSR, we really liked them. I do not like the size of the Jambo rooms, and do not think we would be happy staying in those rooms, but we may try Kidani Village once it opens. I would like to stay there at least once. In any case, the decorations here were nice, but I just didn't get that Christmasy feeling from them.

This is what you see when you enter.

The tree.

Santa's chair.

Lobby decorations. Not the same "wow" factor as WL.

To be continued...

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