Must see Resorts at Christmas

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by vdarrell, Jun 8, 2008.

  1. vdarrell

    vdarrell DIS Veteran

    Apr 7, 2008
    Which resorts are a must see?
    The most decorated ,and any thing special going on during the Christmas season at certain resorts.
    We are taking a day to just tour the resorts.
    How should we start out (staying at ASMo) and wanting to end at the Poly. for a dinner at Spirit of Aloha.
    Also how would we get to each one?:santa: :santa:
  2. jacksmom

    jacksmom DIS Veteran

    Jun 25, 2002
    GF and WL are great! I would do a Monorail Resort tour then take a boat from Contemporary over to WL! You could then do a carriage ride from WL!:rotfl:
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  4. disneyag

    disneyag DIS Veteran

    Apr 29, 2001
    The WL had a great tree. The gingerbread carousel at the BC was amazing. And, of course, the gingerbread house at GF was spectacular.
  5. myladyisatramp

    myladyisatramp myladyisatramp

    May 29, 2005
    The GF gingerbread house is awesome, I missed the pointsetta tree last year that doesn't come out till day after thanksgiving we were told. The Carousel Horse at BCV is awesome also.
  6. Seahunt

    Seahunt DIS Veteran

    Jan 19, 2002
    :goodvibes You might consider taking the "Yuletide Fantasy Tour" if it's your first time at WDW during the holidays. Here's some info about it here on the DIS :cutie: :

    Yuletide Fantasy: Get a behind the scenes look at how holiday Magic is created at Disney World. You'll see how the Magic Kingdom is transformed into a scene from Currier & Ives, how Epcot captures the international flavor of the different cultures and their traditions, and how the Disney Resorts are transformed during this special time of year. You'll get an insiders look at the "tricks of the trade" and the enormity of this annual undertaking. At the conclusion of this walking tour, you'll receive a special holiday gift.

    Review by Bob Varley

    Tour times 9AM and 1:30 PM (No tours on Sundays or Christmas Day)

    Tour requirements: Ages 16 and up with Photo ID

    Price: $69.00 per person plus tax. Discounts available are 15% for AAA, AP, DVC, and 20% for Disney Visa Card holders

    Tour Starting Location: Epcot at the Guest Relations window outside the main entrance to park on the right.

    The tour is approximately 3 1/2 hours long and gives you a behind the scenes look at how Disney creates all of the magic happening at Walt Disney World this holiday season.

    Your tour includes Epcot’s World Showcase, Disney MGM Studio's Streets of America, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, backstage at Holiday Services and a walk up Main Street at the Magic Kingdom.

    We’re always looking for DIS Unplugged podcast segment ideas. Thanks to a suggestion by ‘Mommyceratops’ I was sent on the Yuletide Fantasy tour.

    The tour gets you up-close and personal in seeing how Walt Disney World is decorated for the holidays. Not only will the guides get you into the holiday spirit, you’ll learn how some holiday traditions began.

    First, there are occasions when I use an ECV. If you do the same or need a wheelchair, you should discuss your needs when booking this tour and they’ll let you know what your options are. Personally, I found it best to leave the ECV behind for the day and walk with the rest of the group. You should also know that a deluxe motor coach was used to transport us from one location to the next, which meant being able to climb a few steps to get to my seat. Again, let them know what your limitations are and they’ll do their best to accommodate you if possible.

    Now onto the tour. After getting on the bus, our first stop was the backstage area of Germany in the World Showcase. Our group of 20 was split into two groups of ten. We were each given headsets which allowed the tour guides to communicate without the need of us crowding close by to hear what was being said. This is a nice touch as it gives you a little freedom to check things out as you walk around.

    As we toured Germany we were told of that country’s holiday tradition, the ‘Christmas Pickle.’ You can find many websites out there that talk about this. Here is just one of the more popular tales about how it began: A very old Christmas Eve tradition in Germany was to hide a pickle deep in the branches of the Christmas tree. The parents hid the pickle while the children slept. On Christmas morning, the child who found it received an extra gift from St. Nikolas.

    During the tour we passed through the gift shop in Germany where there’s a big display of glass pickle ornaments for sale. If you want to start this tradition, you may want to pick one up on your next visit to Epcot. (It sure beats hiding a real pickle in your tree.)

    After visiting Germany, we stopped at the Italy, United States and Japan pavilions. At each country we were told fun facts about the countries and their holiday customs and traditions. Here are just a few of them:

    There are 7 different colors of Poinsettias available and 90,000 of these Christmas flowers are used at WDW during the holidays. The color chosen in the USA pavilion is called Freedom Red.

    Italy’s traditions are more religion based while Germany is more celebratory. (Think St. Nikolas.)

    Once back on the bus we went to Disney MGM Studios. Our tour guide discussed how Hollywood has influenced some of our holiday traditions over the years and the movies that have become part of the season’s “must see’s.”

    At Disney MGM, we headed to the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Here are some facts regarding this very popular Disney display:

    90 % is original lighting from the Osborne family’s personal displays

    There are 5 million lights used and it takes 10 weeks to get it set up

    If you ever spotted the purple cat and wondered why its part of a Christmas display, here’s how this began. When the Osborne lights were shipped to Disney World, the cat, which they used for Halloween, accidentally got mixed in with everything else. Now you’ll find the purple cat in a different spot each year.

    Next we got on the bus and went to one of my favorite hotels for the holidays, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Our guides explained how the Victorian theme of the hotel influences the holiday décor.

    One of the highlights at the Grand Floridian is the life size, 12 foot tall Gingerbread House in the lobby. Each year a new design is used and it takes 840 hours to complete it. This year there are two chimneys which send out puffs of gingerbread scented smoke at timed intervals. If you go, see if you can find the 19 hidden Mickey’s that have been added to this year’s house.

    A nice surprise waiting for us on the bus were roasted chestnuts and pieces of gingerbread. Speaking of which, bring a bottle of water or something to drink as nothing is provided. Also eat something before the tour. After a couple of hours, you’ll thank me. Also take a bathroom break before the tour begins. (There’s a 10 minute rest stop in MGM.)

    Next we went backstage to the Holiday services area. This is a huge building in the backstage area behind the Magic Kingdom where it’s all about the holidays 365 days of the year. Some fun facts:

    25 cast members work full time year round getting ready for the Holidays.

    To set up all of the decorations, they bring on an additional 45 cast members during the height of the season to help.

    Since 1996, all of the trees are artificial

    They have a device called a magic box that can hunt out any bulbs that are burnt out in a string of lights.

    Disney has Christmas wreaths in sizes from 12 inches to 25 feet. Next time you’re in Downtown Disney West Side, check out the wreath on the Cirque du Soleil building. Yup you guessed it, not the 12 inch one; it is the 25 foot wreath, the largest of them all.

    Our final stop was at the Magic Kingdom. One of the fun facts we found out was the Main Street window display competition. Cast Members are given a window to decorate and judges choose the winner. Here are some more holiday tidbits:

    The Magic Kingdom decorations have a fruit theme. This is a tradition rooted in Walt’s childhood.

    The Christmas tree is 70 feet tall with 500 ornaments and 5000 lights.

    The new castle holiday lighting was installed over 5 weeks by six cast member “elves.” They used 5 miles of cable, 200,000 LED lights and 32,000 square feet of fish netting.

    Overall I was very pleased with the tour. The tour guides have all kinds of information available pertaining to the holiday displays. I suggest that prior to the tour you make a list of questions that you’d like to ask. They will go out of their way to try and get you the answer.

    Cameras are allowed in the guest areas but not in the backstage parts of the tours.

    Another tip is to travel light for the tour. You will be able to leave a bag on the bus when you get out, but as you go through each park, security will be checking your bags on the bus.

    Not to spoil the surprise, when you finish your tour you will be getting a nice souvenir to take home with you.

    I recommend the Yuletide Fantasy tour as a must do.

    Gingerbread house at GF on allears

  7. Knavey

    Knavey Mouseketeer

    Feb 1, 2008
    AKL Christmas Tree and decorations are incredible.
  8. mickeynut1

    mickeynut1 DIS Veteran

    Apr 16, 2007
    The WL is our favorite resort at Christmas time, followed by the GF and the BC ::yes::. Have a great trip....there's nothing like Christmas at Disney :santa: :santa:.
  9. vdarrell

    vdarrell DIS Veteran

    Apr 7, 2008
    Thanks everyone.
  10. Terk-1

    Terk-1 Cinderella's Castle is My 2nd Home!! Only 1,3

    Aug 26, 1999
    Grand Floridian
    Wilderness Lodge
    Beach Club
    Yacht Club
    Animal Kingdom Lodge
  11. Lilolvr

    Lilolvr DIS Veteran

    May 13, 2004
  12. BamaFan121s

    BamaFan121s DIS Veteran

    May 15, 2006
    I would definately suggest you see the decorations at The Grand Floridian. The decorations are beautiful and the Gingerbread house inside is amazing. It makes the whole lobby smell heavenly!

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