One of the most commonly asked Disney-related questions is whether or not it's a good idea to come to Walt Disney World during the Christmas holiday.
And while my honest answer is that if this is going to be your only trip here (for awhile) you might want to consider a time when the parks aren't mobbed to capacity, I always, always finish that thought with “but if you aren't pressed to spend every waking moment in the parks, come and enjoy everything that the resorts have to offer during the winter holiday season.”
But it's one thing to say that to you and another thing entirely to show you. So I went ahead and did some running around this week to grab pictures of all of the deluxe resorts at this time of year. And here they are…counting down to my absolute favorites
- Disney's Old Key West
Disney's Old Key West keeps it beautiful and simple with garlands and wreaths, poinsettias and beachy Christmas music. Toasting with a frosty beverage with a view of the decorations while a tropical version of White Christmas plays in the background is a lovely way to spend an afternoon.
- Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort
Another resort that keeps it simple, it's lovely to see Saratoga's racetrack-inspired wreathes, garlands, and tree – and to see the iconic Winner's Circle statue surrounded by poinsettias.
- Disney's Polynestion Village Resort
There's nothing quite like sitting poolside at Poly while Hawaiian versions of your favorite Christmas songs pay in the background. Poly is without question one of my absolute favorite resorts at Walt Disney World – and it does Christmas its way. You won't find the over-the-top holiday decor here that you will at the remaining resorts on this list. Instead, you'll get a gentle holiday spin on Poly's usual Hawaiian identity.
- Disney's Yacht Club Resort
It might not be the biggest on property (by a long shot) but I am a sucker for the Yacht Club's incredible Christmas tree – which is covered from head to toe is gorgeous models of various types of boats.
This resort lobby also boasts an incredible train display each year that my children and I could watch for hours, picking out details and just relaxing as the train circles its poinsettia-circled track.
- Disney's BoardWalk Inn.
My love for the Boardwalk knows no bounds and it's all the more…well…boundless(!) during this time of year. From its lobby tree to the gorgeous tree on the lawn to its garlands and wreaths and gingerbread recreation of itself, it's a resort that you really do need to visit this time of year.
- Disney's Beach Club Resort
The Beach Club Resort is high up on this list for one gorgeous reason – and it's not the amazing starfish in bikinis that are all over its wreaths and garlands. It's this insane working carousel, made entirely of gingerbread and chocolate, that graces its lobby every year and fills it with the smell of Christmas cookies. Last year it was Stitch themed. This year it's Donald and Daisy Duck.
- Disney's Contemporary Resort
And then there is the Contemporary. Where we lack the soaring lobbies found on the rest of this list that allow for a massive tree inside – but where we make up for that with a soaring outdoor tree that's one of the biggest and most beautiful on property, *countless* small trees everywhere you look inside, and a gorgeous Mary Blair-inspired gingerbread castle that we look forward to seeing every single year.
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AND NOW WE CAN STOP TALKING LIGHTLY BECAUSE IT'S TIME TO BRING OUT THE BIG GUNS. THE THREE RESORTS THAT ARE REASONS ALONE TO VISIT WALT DISNEY WORLD DURING THE CHRISTMAS SEASON.
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I almost want to say that these three are in no particular order because they all have such a firm hold on my heart.
- Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House
Can we just take a collective step back and just breathe in this picture?
I often say that, while there are 1,000 reasons to choose other Disney resorts, nothing is more objectively beautiful than Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. And there is no time of year that that fact is more true than now. AKL is visually stunning and the way that they make use of Jambo House's incredible lobby to house this spectacular, massive tree makes my head spin every year. Please, please don't miss it. It is the very definition of Christmas in Disney. The general cozy feel of the resort – with its warm tones and natural construction elements – not to mention its full indoor fire pit – make it a perfect home for the holidays.
- Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Be still my aching heart. The rustic soaring log cabin that is Disney's Wilderness Lodge was made for Christmas as much as The Greatest Showman was made for Broadway. Every time someone brings up the possibility of Christmas in Disney, I all but beg them to stay here if they end up coming. From the extraordinary, massive tree, to the roaring fireplaces surrounded by rocking chairs, to the wildlife-inspired holiday decor, I could happily spend every afternoon here during the month of December.
- Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
And then there is the grand daddy of them all. It might not be the coziest space in Walt Disney World at this time of year. There might not be a fire to curl up beside. The walls might not be made of logs or natural grasses. But if you are looking to have your family's collective socks blown off, you are going to want to be here during the holiday season.
The Grand Floridian does Christmas as only it can with its soaring lobby and massive bakery team and tones of rose and gold and silver. From its gingerbread house to its massive tree to its other indoor and outdoor decor, there is nothing – NOTHING – like the Grand Floridian during the holiday season. Your heart will skip a beat in the best possible way.
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So now you've seen my count down of everything that the Disney deluxe-level resorts have to offer during the holiday season. Do you agree that they are a destination in themselves – especially at this time of year?? If you could spend the holiday at any of them, cost aside, which would you choose??