Editor’s Note: Lou’s email inbox is often full to overflowing with questions from listeners. As such, he has enlisted the WDW Radio Blog writers to assist him in answering some of your questions.
Hi Lou, I was just listening to your show 443 about hotel lobbies and you elude to lobbies during the holidays without getting into a ton of detail on the lobbies at the holidays, and I have listened to your other shows (I don’t remember the numbers) about Disney at the holidays, but I don’t remember a ton of info about the hotel lobbies at the holidays. Do you have a show about hotel lobbies at the holidays, and if so, which number? If not, you should do one as being from RI, I have not gotten a chance to be down at Disney World during any holidays except for Easter and would love to hear more about them. Love your show- keep rocking. Best, Bobby
Hello, Bobby from RI! Did you say Walt Disney World during the holidays? It happens to be my favorite holiday and my favorite time of year to visit the resort. With over 1,300 trees that are joyfully decorated with 300,000 yards of bows and ribbon, how can guests not get immersed in the spirit of the most wonderful time of the year at the most magical place on Earth?
Before I move on to your question about Walt Disney World resort lobbies during the holidays, let me point you to a few WDW Radio Blog posts from 2015. In the spirit of the well-known holiday song, the WDW Radio Blog team presented a 12-day Christmas Extravaganza. Our writers counted up from 1 to 12 with numbered, Disney-themed subjects for each of the 12 days until Christmas. You might also check out Ruby’s blog post about experiencing the holidays at Walt Disney World without visiting the parks.
I may not be able to tell you about all of the Christmas trees at all of the Walt Disney World resort hotels, but I can provide you with some highlights.
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground:
There is a small lobby in the Reception Outpost at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground where you will find a decorated tree. It’s a festive tree that has themed ornaments, similar to trees that you might see at other resort hotels. But to get the full impact of the holidays at Fort Wilderness, I suggest that you wander beyond the resort entrance to see one of the lesser known, and most impressive holiday displays on Disney property. Take a short boat ride from Disney’s Wilderness Lodge or the Magic Kingdom to the Fort Wilderness Marina, and take a stroll through the Fort Wilderness campsite loops, where you will find some over-the-top holiday displays created by campsite guests. There are blow-up Santa Mickeys, star shower laser lights, decorated trees, piped-in music, miles of lights, garland, plush Disney characters in windows—more holiday displays than you could ever imagine. And if you happen to be at the resort on Christmas Eve, make sure you check the resort timetable and drop by the Fort Wilderness Campground for the afternoon Christmas Golf Cart Parade.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa:
There is no doubt that the centerpiece of the Grand Floridian during the holidays is the majestic Victorian tree in the lobby. Standing five stories tall and trimmed with elegant swan decorations, you will want to take the elevator to the upper floors of the hotel to snap a few pictures of the tree from different angles and heights. Also in the lobby is a life-size gingerbread house! It takes the Grand Floridian bakery team two months to bake the shingles, cut them, and affix them to the house with royal icing. Throughout the holidays you also can hear regularly scheduled Christmas carol and string quartet concerts.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge:
This resort may not be on the Monorail line or accessible by boat, but the Christmas tree in the lobby of the Animal Kingdom Lodge is very unique and something you don’t want to miss. It is artfully decorated with hundreds of African-inspired decorations—some ornaments made by children staying at the resort. Take the stairs or elevator and travel the catwalks and balconies to see the tree from all heights and angles, which will give you a unique perspective of the tree’s massive size and grandeur. I have not personally experienced it, but at 5 PM each night during the holiday season, Cast Members will teach children how to play drums, organize an impromptu parade through the lobby, and have a tree lighting ceremony.
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn:
If you appreciate the warmth and intimacy of smaller Christmas trees, then you will enjoy the trees in the lobby of the BoardWalk Inn. Unlike the ornaments on the multi-story trees at the Grand Floridian, Animal Kingdom, and the Wilderness Lodge, the tree ornaments in this lobby are vintage-themed and are very intricate. There is also a “Sweet Treats” gingerbread store that sells miniature gingerbread houses and other holiday treats.
Not to be outdone by the moderate and deluxe resorts, each of the value hotels on Walt Disney World property proudly display Christmas trees in their lobby. But the tree at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort deserves a special shout-out. The tree is white tinsel, with ornaments of multicolored balls and drawings of the popular Disney characters from the animated films.
It’s been great celebrating Christmas at Walt Disney World with you, Bobby! If any readers have favorite Disney World resort trees that I did not mention, please comment below.
(Photos from the author’s personal collection.)
Looking for Magic is Kathy @ Two Roads Photo. As a librarian, walker of many miles, and Paper Bag Princess, Kathy dreams of having coffee with Belle at the castle and co-administering a fantasy book discussion group. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.