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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tip Tuesday: Holidays at the WDW resorts

Beach Club Gingerbread Carousel

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

In this final installment of tips for the holidays at Walt Disney World, I wanted to take you not to any park, but to some of the different resorts around Walt Disney World.

While the parks do have wonderful and amazing holiday decorations and events, the resorts also deck their halls with some incredible displays, including edible art!

No visit to Walt Disney World at the holidays would be complete without spending at least some time seeing the different displays at the resorts, so let's start with the monorail resorts.

At the Grand Floridian, be sure to stop by the life-size gingerbread house. That's right, it's life-size!! Where else can you find a recipe that calls for more than 1,000 pounds of honey, 140 pints of egg whites, 600 pounds of powdered sugar, 700 pounds of chocolate, 800 pounds of flour, 35 pounds of spices, tons of creativity and a pinch of Disney magic and pixie dust!

In addition to the huge gingerbread house, be sure to take a moment to listen to the live music being played up on the balcony by a small orchestra. Also, be sure to bring your PhotoPass card, because Disney's photographers set up a mini portrait studio in front of the huge tree in the lobby each evening. You can get top-quailty portrait photos taken with no sitting fee. They'll go right onto your PhotoPass account (yet another reason why PhotoPass is such a great idea!).

Continuing around the monorail loop, we come to the Contemporary and Polynesian resorts. Each resort also displays their own confectionary creations. The Contemporary has different gingerbread displays each year (this year, it's a gingerbread tree and characters inspired by Mary Blair), while the Polynesian displays holiday decorations with a distinct polynesian flair.

While we're in the Magic Kingdom area, you must take a quick boat ride over to Disney's Wilderness Lodge. Here you will find a massive tree filled with different rustic decorations. As you walk into the lobby, you are immersed into the sensation of the holidays in the great northwest. It's as if the snow is falling outside and you're snug inside by the fire. It's well worth the trip just to see this lobby.

As we leave the Magic Kingdom area resorts, we travel down the monorail, through Epcot and the International Gateway and on to Disney's Beach and Yacht Club resorts. These resorts host two more wonderful edible holiday displays. At the Beach Club, be sure to see the working gingerbread carousel (pictured above). Yes, I said it's working -- it acutally moves. Like all the other gingerbread displays, there are plenty of hidden mickey's abound, so keep a sharp eye out!

At the Yacht Club you'll find a wonderful train set featuring many Disney Department 56 houses.

Continuing around Crescent Lake, we take a quick stop at the Dolphin Resort where there is a huge tree made entirely of white poinsettias.

Next up is the Boardwalk resort, where we find another gingerbread creation - a gazebo with a model train set running around it. Again, more hidden mickeys are all over the place. While at the boardwalk, be sure to see some of the beautiful garland strung throughout the lobby.

Finally, we make our way over to Disney's Animal Kingdom resort for what might be the most interesting holiday display, simply because it's so different from the rest. Another huge tree greets us as we enter the lobby. This tree is covered with African-inspired ornaments. Like the Wilderness Lodge, it's worth a visit just to see these decorations.

The holidays are one of the best times to visit Walt Disney World and I hope these series of tips will help you enjoy your holiday visit to the happiest and merriest place on Earth!

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