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Beyond the Parks – Holiday Edition

The holidays are a magical time to visit Walt Disney World. There are so many festive happenings and activities to see and do. While the big events at the parks such as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights and The Candlelight Processional are a huge draw for many Guests during the holidays, there’s actually a lot to enjoy beyond the parks.

Gingerbread Houses at the Resorts

During the holidays the Deluxe resorts pull out all the stops to create some magical and festive gingerbread creations. An entire day can be spent touring the various resorts in order to marvel at this year’s confectionery concoctions.

The most impressive by far is the giant gingerbread house in the lobby of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. The 16 foot high house is also a working gift shop. Guests can purchase gingerbread shingles as well as other delicious goodies.

Photo Courtesy of Disney Parks Blog


This year, Disney’s Contemporary Resort has put a Frozen spin on their gingerbread creation. At Disney’s Beach Club, feast your eyes on a beautiful Holiday Carousel. Right next door at Disney’s Yacht Club, they feature a holiday village that includes sugar mountains. The lobby of Disney’s BoardWalk has a replica of a Jersey Shore concession stand that serves holiday treats.

Gingerbread creation from Disney’s BoardWalk, December 2010

The houses are on display until the first week in January.

Festival of the Seasons: Downtown Disney

Grab yourself a Holiday Turkey Sandwich from Earl of Sandwich and a festive drink from Starbucks, and stroll around Downtown Disney enjoying Disney’s Festival of the Seasons. The area turns into a festive wonderland complete with live entertainment, photo opportunities and much more. As you stroll you can listen to holiday carolers, watch street performers or dance at a festive dance party. Santa is also on hand to take plenty of photos and listen to all of your holiday wishes.

Disney’s Festival of Seasons runs from November 14- December 29.

Sleigh Rides at Fort Wilderness

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Oh what fun it will be to ride around Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground in a one-horse open sleigh. Every night during the month of December, hop aboard a horse drawn carriage and take a trip back in time.  Festive carriage rides depart every 30 minutes for a 25 minute journey to explore and enjoy the woodlands of the resort.

Due to the popularity of the event during the holidays, reservations are strongly recommended. They can be made up to 180 days in advance by calling (407) WDW-PLAY.

Winter Summerland

At Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course, it’s Christmas all year long! Located right outside the Blizzard Beach water park, Winter Summerland is a vacation retreat for Santa and his elves and features two fun-filled family courses celebrating winter and summer.  You can’t help but feel festive as you putt through 18 holes of holiday fun! We took a closer look at Winter Summerland in our Beyond the Parks series about miniature golf.

As you can see, Walt Disney World has so much fun to offer during the holidays beyond the parks. What special activity would you like to do?


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