I recently returned from a four-day solo holiday trip to Walt Disney World to savor all the Christmas decorations and holiday events. There is really nothing like Disney World at Christmas and it was a wonderful way to be immersed in Christmas spirit! Here are my superlatives from the trip …
Best Experience – Parade on Main Street USA
Watching Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime parade at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party from the curb on Main Street USA is one of those experiences that lives up to the hype and more. Yes, you must spend valuable party time just sitting on concrete to keep your spot. Yes, it’s crowded. Yes, it’s absolutely, 100% worth it (and this is coming from someone who prides herself on avoiding Disney crowds and lines!).
Attending the party solo, claiming a first-row spot was relatively easy for me one hour ahead of the 9:30 parade. I found a single space at the curb in front of the Emporium where I could see all the way down to the castle by leaning forward a bit (while being on the end of the curb and not blocking anyone’s view!). During that hour-long wait, Main Street is brightly lit with festive Christmas music blaring and “snow” blowing all around. It’s an incredible atmosphere to just sit and be and soak in the Christmas atmosphere. The Kringle Krew shows up to dance with the kids in the street and then the parade marches right down Main Street with the best backdrop on the entire parade route. I watched the second parade from Liberty Square and while it was still incredible and I easily walked up to a front row seat just 15 minutes ahead of time, the atmosphere paled in comparison to Main Street USA.
A+ Highly recommend
Best Gingerbread Display – Beach Club gingerbread carousel
The Grand Floridian gingerbread house gets all the glory, but my favorite gingerbread creation at a Disney resort is the Beach Club’s carousel. Not only is the Beach Club lobby far less crowded, but this carousel is gorgeous, intricate … and spins! The entire space smells so sweet and each horse is uniquely decorated. The detail of this piece is breathtaking!
Best Resort Decor – Wilderness Lodge and Boulder Ridge
Gingerbread aside, the Wilderness Lodge is the best decorated resort. I may be biased because it’s my favorite Disney resort … period … but the towering tree in the expansive lobby is quite a sight to behold. And do not miss the lobby of the Boulder Ridge DVC building right next door. This was easily my second-favorite resort lobby overall with another tree in a smaller space and each balcony decorated in garland. And no one is there. The adjacent Carolwood Pacific room with its roaring fireplace and inviting game tables was completely empty. Such a perfect place to sit in stillness during a busy afternoon exploring the Disney resorts.
Best Hidden gem – Epcot Norway storytellers
Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays features storytellers in many of the countries. Norway’s is incredibly fun and entertaining. Sigrid, a farm girl, and Julenissen, the barn Santa, do an amazing job telling their story. If you see only one storyteller, definitely visit Norway!
Best Attraction – “Jingle” Cruise
There isn’t much competition in the holiday overlay category, but I’m pretty sure the Jingle Cruise would win anyway. I’m a huge fan of the typical punny script at the Jungle Cruise and the Christmas version with holiday decor added to many of the scenes throughout the ride is right up my alley! I rode it twice and the script was only about half the same between both skippers so it was worth a repeat.
Best Food – Epcot Festival of the Holidays
Seared Salmon with Maple Whisky Glaze in the Yukon, Cavatappi ai Quattro Formaggi in Tuscany, Turkey dinner in the USA … Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays is filled with incredible, delicious food!
Best Entertainment – Voices of Liberty
The Voices of Liberty appear as Dickens carolers at Christmastime and are as fabulous with Christmas carols as they are with classic Americana. Watch them twice if you have the time as their set can change. I only heard their gorgeous rendition of Silent Night the second time.
Best Park Decor – Hollywood Studios
Epcot is a close second, but Hollywood Studios was my favorite park overall. Decorations cover every corner of the park from Sunset Boulevard to Echo Lake to Toy Story Land and Christmas music plays throughout. Even guitar-led Christmas tunes thematically fill the Rock ‘N Roller Coaster courtyard. It’s an incredible place to just walk around, admire the decorations, and soak in the Christmas feeling.
What are your favorite places to visit at Disney World at Christmastime?