Efficient Parenting Counsel on Teens

by Blake Taylor

While it’s a little sad to see kids grow out of their “Toy Story” and princesses obsessions as they mature their way to adulthood, one of the many benefits of traveling to Walt Disney World with older kids is being able to experience so much more that you hadn’t been able to see before.  Taking in more thrill rides, sending the kids off by themselves for a couple of hours without worry, staying out later at night…the list goes on.

Another prime example of this is taking in some of the “less-exciting” attractions throughout Disney property that might be deemed dull or boring to preschoolers.  However, with older kids and teens who can tolerate and even find interest in slowing down and learning new things, these experiences can be very rewarding.  Here are my top 5 favorite out-of-the-way places to visit in Walt Disney World during the holiday season of November and December.  They might be a bit of a journey to travel to if you’re not staying at these specific resorts, but they are very much worth seeking out, and are perfect if you’re looking for something to do away from the parks.

5. Yacht Club Train Village

I admit this is the only item on this list I haven’t seen in person, but I wish I had.  From what I’ve seen, this miniature Christmas village complete with a working model train is amazing.  Think the mini German village in Epcot, but all dressed to the nines in its winter finest.  The Yacht Club is within walking distance from Epcot’s “back door,” its International Gateway entrance.

4. Peppermint Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

While this item is technically inside the Magic Kingdom, it still qualifies for this list as being certifiably out of the way from the crowds.  Sleepy Hollow is a counter-service dining window located in a quiet corner of Liberty Square.  The place is notorious for its delicious chocolate-chip cookie ice cream sandwiches, which have scoops of ice cream between two warm, giant cookies.  It’s a little messy, but it’s awesome.  During the Christmas season, the regular vanilla ice cream can be replaced by request with peppermint-flavored ice cream.  Yumorama.

3. Wilderness Lodge Ambiance

The atmosphere of the Wilderness Lodge is serene itself any time of the year, but at Christmas, there’s an extra layer of magic to the air.  The colossal tree and surrounding garland that adorns the lobby makes the perfect backdrop for a calm rest in a rocking chair or couch, away from the hustle and bustle of the parks.  While you’re here, be sure to make a trip to the Villas building to check out the Carolwood Pacific Railroad room—a small, cozy tribute to Walt Disney’s love of trains.  It’s filled with fun pieces of Disney history, and again makes and ideal spot for a quick (or long) rest.  The Wilderness Lodge is a peaceful ferry ride away from the Magic Kingdom.

2. Grand Floridian’s Gingerbread House

This is a life-size house made entirely of real gingerbread.  It’s quite something!  It stands in the lobby of the Grand Floridian Resort, right on the Magic Kingdom monorail line.  While Guests aren’t allowed inside the house, they can take pictures outside of it and admire its exterior detail all they like.  Cast Members sell all sorts of gingerbread items via one of the house’s windows.

1. Fort Wilderness

Fort Wilderness is one of my favorite Walt Disney World resorts because of its sheer versatility, and at no time is this more apparent than during the Christmas season.  Guests who are using Fort Wilderness as a campsite for their campers and RVs are allowed to set up their own decorations and lights—and they really pull out all the stops.  Wow!  Boy, are they worth making a special trip to see.  Lights, toys, inflatables, a Cinderella Castle made of gingerbread…you name it, someone probably has it.  It’s really quite something.  Being one of my favorite Disney experiences, the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue makes a wonderful compliment to a trip to see the campers’ lights.  The show even has some special Christmas elements throughout the program just for the holidays.  It makes for a great ending to a magical night.

What is YOUR favorite, out-of-the way holiday detail to check out when you are in Walt Disney World during the holidays?  Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Blake recently graduated from high school and has been surrounded by Disney literally since birth, having had a Mickey mobile in his crib.  Blake enjoys helping peers plan WDW vacations and writing for his Disney blog, BlakeOnline.com.

3 Responses to "E.P.C.O.T. – Top 5 Out-of-the-Way Disney Holiday Spots"

  1. Thanks so much for this! Although our family of 5 has averaged spending 12 days a year at WDW in the past seven years, we’ve never been at Christmas. This December our family will be going for the first time during the Christmas holidays for 11 nights. And, our kids are all officially teens now. I can’t wait to see Disney World at this time of year and look so forward seeing things we don’t usually see. You have given us a good list to get started on that!! :)

  2. We just went for the first time, during christmas this past Dec. 2011. Notout of the way, but the Osbourne light show was something my kids 11, 14, 18, all wanted to see more than once.
    out of the way I would say The grande Floridian decorations.

  3. We’re from Australia but have had the fortune to travel to WDW 6 times over the last 10 years – that’s how much we love it. Of all of these times, 3 of them have been during the Christmas period which we have since decided will always be the time we will go as it is such a wonderful time to be around WDW.

    As for our pick of out of the way places to visit, the pontoon boat ride from Old Key West Resort through the Downtown Disney has got to be one of our favourites. During the Holidays, they quietly play on board old crooners singing Christmas tunes interspersed with Disney Christmas tunes.

    It’s a slow and peaceful ride and wonderful to do both day and night. Like a couple of the top 5 above, it’s a bit out of the way, but that’s the whole point I guess. Give it a try next time you’re there.

    http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/old-key-west-resort/recreation/

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