Holiday Fun at Walt Disney World Outside of the Parks

Mickey's Tree at Walt Disney World

The holidays are a special time at Walt Disney World. There’s a different type of magic in the air, and it’s not just at the parks. Did you know there is a ton to do for the holidays outside of the parks?

From Disney Springs to the Disney Resorts, consider adding to your Disney holiday celebrations with these fun ideas. And the best part? They don’t cost a thing!

Disney Springs

Christmas Tree Trail

  • Where: Disney Springs Marketplace
  • When: November 8 – January 5, 2020
  • Times: 11:00am – 11:00pm daily

Don’t miss this spectacular showing of Christmas trees. Enjoy this breathtaking walk-through and see all 23 trees, complete with Christmas music and gentle snowfall overhead. Each tree is decorated with a unique Disney character or theme — one is better than the next! Some of this year’s themes include Mary Poppins, the Lion King, Disney Villains, and the Disney Theme Parks.

Disney World's Haunted Mansion Christmas TreeMeet Santa

  • Where: Disney Springs Marketplace
  • When: November 8 to December 24, 2019
  • Times: 11:00am – 11:00pm daily
  • How it Works:
    • Check in at the podium and provide your cell phone number.
    • They will contact you within 10 minutes to return and get in line to meet Santa!

He’s making a list and checking it twice… Don’t miss you chance to meet the one and only at Disney Springs. Have your camera ready for this special photo opportunity!

Meet Santa Claus at Disney Springs

Photo Credit: Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts

Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt

  • Where: Disney Springs (multiple locations)
  • When: November 8 to January 5, 2020
  • Times: 11:00am – 11:00pm daily

Stitch needs your help! Head out on a mission to find all of the 12 gifts on Stitch’s holiday gift list — but be prepared for lots of tricks from the little blue alien along the way.

How it Works:

  • Pick up a Holiday Gift Hunt booklet containing a map, clues and stickers at any of the participating locations.
  • Visit each site on the map, find the hidden Stitch, and then match the sticker to its correct location on the map.
  • Once you’ve completed your booklet, redeem your prize at one of the six locations!

12 Holiday Gift Hunt Stops:

  • Amorette’s Patisserie
  • Basin
  • Christmas Tree Trail (Mickey & Minnie Tree)
  • Disney Chase Visa Kiosk
  • Disney’s Wonderful World of Memories
  • MAC Cosmetics
  • Marketplace Co-Op
  • Once Upon a Toy
  • Rainforest Cafe® at Disney Springs Marketplace
  • Sperry
  • Super Hero Headquarters
  • Wolfgang Puck® Express at Disney Springs Marketplace

6 Prize Redemption Locations:

  • Amorette’s Patisserie
  • Christmas Tree Trail (Mickey & Minnie Tree)
  • Disney’s Wonderful World of Memories
  • Marketplace Co-Op
  • Once Upon a Toy
  • Super Hero Headquarters
Walt Disney World Orlando, Florida for the Holidays

Photo Credit: Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts


WDW Park Planners Tip: If you want to avoid the crowds at Disney Springs, consider visiting during the daytime. The crowds get heavier once the sun goes down, and for good reason! Everything looks even more magical with the festive lights, so if crowds don’t bother you, then it’s worth visiting in the evening.

Resort Tour

Just like the parks, the Walt Disney World Resorts transform for the holidays. No matter where you’re staying, you’ll get to experience some of the magic, but be sure to go check out some of the others. Here are a few favorites and some of the best decorated resorts — you won’t want to miss these!

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

The life-size gingerbread house is a “Must Do” for anyone visiting Walt Disney World over the holidays! In addition to this show stopper, the tree and other decorations are simply stunning. Definitely worth a stop in to see (and smell) the gingerbread house!

Life-Size Gingerbread House at Walt Disney World

Photo Credit: Disney Tourist Blog

Visit: Grand Floridian DVC Listings

Disney’s Beach Club Resort

In the resort lobby is a huge, “edible” gingerbread carousel — another one where you don’t want to miss all of the good smells! While this resort doesn’t have a tree, this centerpiece is so fun to see — and the rest of the resort decorations are beautiful, too!

Gingerbread Carousel at Disney's Beach Club Resort Lobby

Photo Credit: Disney Tourist Blog

Visit:  Beach Club DVC Listings

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

The decorations here are spectacular (the tree is one of the best!). The theming is done incredibly well and maintains the feel of AKL (Animal Kingdom Lodge) — it’s very cozy during the holidays. Be sure to keep an ear out for the African holiday music, too!

Christmas Tree inside Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby

Photo Credit: Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts

Visit: Animal Kingdom DVC Listings

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

The tallest tree at Walt Disney World is at the Contemporary Resort and stands at a whopping 70 feet! It’s beautiful at night, so be sure to check it out when you’re leaving Magic Kingdom!

Christmas Tree at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Visit:  Bay Lake Tower DVC Listings

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

This resort is always a crowd pleaser. Aside from the perfectly decorated 60-foot tree in the lobby, head to toe this resort is overall just incredibly festive and beautifully decorated!

Disney's Wilderness Lodge Christmas Tree in the Lobby

Photo Credit: Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts

Visit:  Boulder Ridge and Copper Creek DVC Listings

WDW Park Planners Tip: Add these resort stops to your vacation plans by visiting them before or after a nearby park! For example, if you’re going to be at Epcot, you can walk to the Beach Club to take a look and then hop on the Disney Skyliner to head home (depending on your resort). Or, if you’re going to be at Magic Kingdom, take the monorail around to the three resorts (Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian) or take the boat to visit Wilderness Lodge.



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