Spending the holidays at a Disney park is one of the greatest opportunities for a theme park tourist. And who would understand the best strategies for such a visit more than the Disney Vacation Club experts who participate in our roundtable discussions? Find out the best hacks for visiting the parks during the holidays. Then, read on to discover what's in store for Disney theme parks in the coming year.
Our panel consists of Kristen Tutas from Resales DVC, Paul Little from DVC Rental Store, Nick Cotton from DVC Resale Market, Melissa Mullett from David's Vacation Club Rentals, and Scott Ferraioli from DVC-Rental.com.
What are your favorite parts of the holidays at Disney theme parks?
Paul Little, DVC Rental Store: We love being at Walt Disney World the night before many of the decorations are installed. A good amount of the decorations will be installed overnight while you are sleeping. This is true especially at the resort hotels. It is so magical to go to bed and awake to see the World in all of its holiday splendor. I also love the Magic Kingdom at night. The Christmas decor and lights make it even more magical than normal.
Kristen Tutas, ResalesDVC: I love the decorations and the entertainment offered at the parks, like Holidays Around the World at Epcot. There’s also something very special and comforting about walking down Main Street and seeing the castle lit up in sparkling lights.
Melissa Mullett, David’s Vacation Club Rentals: I have a few favorites when it comes to celebrating the holidays at Disney theme parks. My first and most favorite part is the amount of detail that goes into decorating for the holidays. I love the Tin Toy Soldiers on display when you first walk into the Magic Kingdom, Cinderella’s Castle decorated in a Winter Wonderland Theme and all of the perfectly decorated Christmas Trees found at each Disney Vacation Club Resort. Disney puts so much time and energy into decorating for the holidays that you feel as though you are at home no matter how far away you are.
My second favorite part of the holidays at Disney theme parks is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. The excitement and festive joy are palpable. This party is one of my absolute favorites; nothing kicks off the Christmas Season more for me than filling my face with an endless amount of sugar cookies and hot chocolate all the while seeing Santa atop his red sleigh at the end of the Christmas Parade.
Nick Cotton, DVC Resale Market: The experience of being at the “happiest place on Earth” during the most joyous time of year! It’s really hard to beat that combination. On top of that, the weather in Orlando is typically great during the holiday season, too. Also, it’s great to see the holiday festivities you cannot experience during other times of the year such as Candlelight, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and the new Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!
Scott Ferraioli, DVC-Rental.com: Disney goes all out for the holidays. Lights, trees, decorations, music, the amazing holiday performances at EPCOT, and new foods really make Disney shine (pun intended) during the holiday season. It's an absolute must see and my favorite time to visit all of the parks. My personal favorite probably would be enjoying all of the lands around the World Showcase at EPCOT.
What's your favorite DVC resort during the holiday season?
Paul Little: The Grand Floridian has to be my favorite. The Victorian style of the resort seems to boost the Christmas atmosphere. And where else in the world can you purchase gingerbread treats at a gingerbread house? A close second would be the Wilderness Lodge. The giant Christmas tree is my favorite tree at Walt Disney World.
Kristen Tutas: While most would say Wilderness Lodge, my favorite DVC resort during the holidays is the Grand Floridian with its beautiful Victorian decor and life-sized gingerbread house.
Melissa Mullett: My absolute favorite DVC resort during the Holiday Season is Wilderness Lodge. As a Canadian, the holiday season typically reflects cold nights spent around a warm fireplace with friends and family sipping on a mug of hot chocolate. Wilderness Lodge’s ambiance during the holiday season is cozy, rustic, and warm, which encompasses all of the things that I think of when I think of my Canadian home during the holidays. Wilderness Lodge is the only DVC resort where I will find myself sitting by a fire in a rocking chair admiring the beauty of their Christmas Tree when it’s 80 degrees outside.
Scott Ferraioli : While all of the DVC resorts are decorated wonderfully, I have to give the nod to Wilderness Lodge/Boulder Ridge slightly over Grand Floridian. Wilderness Lodge already has the Pacific Northwest theme, and when you take into account the huge fireplace, stream running through the lobby, and the gigantic Christmas tree and garland, it's really hard to beat.
Nick Cotton: Wilderness Lodge (Boulder Ridge and soon to be Copper Creek). The resort has a very warm, home-like feel to it that makes it a natural fit during the holiday season.