A Charlie Brown Christmas Said It Best: Christmas and the holiday season are too commercial. While the same, and more, can be said at Walt Disney World these days, especially in light of Genie + and Disney’s recent waves of extras. Fortunately, all is not lost! Like a Christmas miracle, there are still places in Walt Disney World where guests can experience the best of Disney and the magic of the holidays for free! No park ticket, park reservation, Genie +, Lightning Lane or wallet is required.
So let’s expand on these options, starting with the Walt Disney World resort hotels.
Disney World Resorts
Many guests are unaware that they can visit one of the Disney World Resort hotels, even if they are not staying at that particular resort or at a Disney resort. Admittedly, parking may be prohibited to visitors from time to time; but those looking to experience the Contemporary Resort, Wilderness Lodge, Polynesian Village Resort, Beach Club and beyond can still access it via Disney’s free transportation options.
From now on, each Disney complex, from the cheapest to the most expensive, knows how to decorate the rooms for the end of the year celebrations; and while it is true that the same is true of parks, many resorts do their best with fewer people and without any cost or hassle. Here are some of the best:
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
During the holidays, the Grand Floridian is like a Christmas card that comes to life. As well as a massive Christmas tree covered in ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ Victorian ornaments, the resort also offers a life-size gingerbread house that must be seen. In addition, the two displays make great backgrounds for Christmas cards. I’m just saying.
Along with gorgeous wreaths, garlands, live music, and more, the resort also has special treats and purchase deals that don’t require park entry, in addition to four different stores.
Finally, the enchanted Magic Kingdom fireworks can be seen (and heard!) From the resort, especially at the resort boat launch.
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort
Even though the Wilderness Lodge gingerbread hut has yet to return, this luxury resort is still worth a visit this time of year.
In addition to the tree that practically scratches the lobby ceiling, the aesthetics of Wilderness Lodge’s log cabin – paired with its various fireplaces – can make you feel like you’re in a ski lodge in the mountains by opposition to central Florida! It’s also another prime spot for those photos and where you can grab a holiday drink or treat.
Premium! The resort’s DVC wing – known as Boulder Ridge Villas – also features its own Christmas decor in its mini-lobby with even more fireplaces and rocking chairs.
Fort Wilderness Campgrounds
Right next door at the WDW Campgrounds, long-term campers put on some amazing holiday exhibits. Just about all campsites have at least one fairy light or lawn ornament… while some go EVERYTHING. Plan an evening to sip cocoa, and wander through the site’s loops to experience different versions of Disney Christmas decor.
Disney Yacht and Beach Club
Much like the Grand Floridian, the lobby at Disney’s Beach Club has its own life-size gingerbread display. However, instead of a house, the Beach Club has a moving carousel that’s usually themed around a Disney movie. This year the theme is The little Mermaid and is covered in fun details.
Now the Yacht Club doesn’t have a massive gingerbread display, but it does have a tree decked out in yachts, as well as a detailed train village with locations related to the Disney movies and the resort itself. .
Finally, the prime location of the Yacht and Beach Club allows guests to not only experience the Boardwalk, Boardwalk Inn, Swan and Dolphin Resorts and the Skyliner, but guests can also view some of the Harmonious Fireworks from EPCOT from the park of the complex.
One of the best places to go Christmas style in Walt Disney World is Disney Springs. Not only is no admission required, even parking is free in the Disney World shopping and dining district.
Of course, Disney Springs is one of the best places on property to shop and eat while on vacation. In fact, many restaurants have special themed menus for this time of year that are absolutely worth a visit.
That being said, for the sake of this article, I’m going to stick with the free vacation deals to this Disney destination.
A snowfall in Florida
One of the biggest draws of the Very Merriest After Hours event at Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the Disney version of the snow or the “snoap”. However, at Disney Springs, a “snoapfall” occurs every night in Town Square.
Live Vacation Entertainment
Disney Springs also offers free live entertainment most nights of the year, but even more during the holidays. Sure, there’s live music courtesy of DJs and artists, but snowflake skaters and waders dressed as Toy Soldiers are also out.
The Christmas tree walk
Disney Springs also offers its annual Christmas Tree Walk, which features around 20 themed Christmas trees spread throughout the neighborhood in search of patrons.
Not only will adults appreciate the level of Disney creativity that goes into these decorations, but kids will have fun with the themes that range from Black Panther at Moana and even the 50th anniversary of Disney + and Walt Disney World.
Winter encounters with the characters
In the spirit of the season, another free activity is a socially distanced encounter with Santa Claus! However, instead of having to queue, families can use a virtual queue and shop, snack or explore Disney Springs while they wait for the happy old elf.
But Santa isn’t the only character available to meet at Disney Springs. The second level of the Coca-Cola Store also features interactions and photos with the adorable Coca-Cola Polar Bear!
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Merry and Bright Theme Park Tickets and Travel Deals
Our Get Away Today travel partners are here to help you create new family memories with discounted theme park and hotel tickets. Extra days, big savings, travel packages and more.
If you’re looking for the perfect Christmas present for the whole family, surprise them by unboxing the news that they’re going to Disney World (or cruise, Disneyland, Adventure by Disney, Hawaii… Get creative!)
Take advantage of the latest deals while you still can, with your MiceChat travel partners on Get away today – HERE
Let’s hear from you
Enjoying a Walt Disney World vacation doesn’t have to be expensive. Did you know there was an abundance of free activities around the resort? Do you have a favorite free WDW activity for the holidays? Did we miss anything from the list? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below.
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