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My Favorite Disney Parks Christmas Decorations

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit it: most of these are trees. The Christmas decorations found at Walt Disney World Resort are some of the most exquisite around. We love the detail that goes into each and every decoration around property. I love these decorations so much that I watch the Christmas special on how the Imagineers do the transformation overnight every single year.

I’ve been so blessed in my life to be able to visit Walt Disney World during the Christmas season many times and I love the extra magic in the air. While I have not visited Disney during Christmas in the age of COVID, I have fond memories of years past. And as far as I am aware, my favorite decorations have stayed the same.

Take a look through some of these magical decorations with me:

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Main Street U.S.A.

Is there anything more glamorous than walking down Main Street, U.S.A. when it is all decked out for Christmas? I’d have to say no. I think this is my favorite sight in all of Disney. There’s something absolutely magical about walking through those gates and being completely absorbed in it. I know it’s Magic Kingdom and everything, but it never feels more so than at Christmastime. The wreathes and garland strung all over the street makes the place feel like a fairy tale. It never disappoints. And at the very end of the street sits the most beautiful sight: a sparkling Cinderella Castle. But we’ll get to that later….

Related: Toy Soldier Takes a Tumble During Christmas Parade

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Grand Floridian Lobby

I can’t even pinpoint my favorite one decoration in the Grand Floridian lobby. It’s just…all of it. From the moment you walk through the front doors of the Floridian, you are hit with the sweet and spicy smells of gingerbread. Years ago, the Grand Floridian also roasted chestnuts right there in the lobby, which was always such a fun treat. I don’t believe they’ve done this in years, though. But the life-size gingerbread house still stands! The gingerbread house, plus the massive and elegant Christmas tree, make this lobby one of the most beautiful sights in all of Disney.

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Animal Kingdom Lodge Tree

Speaking of scrumptious lobbies, Animal Kingdom Lodge is such a fun place to hang out around Christmas. This lobby is a different kind of feast: a feast for the eyes. There are so many little details to notice and savor. I love the giant Christmas tree in the center. This tree is different from all the other Park trees because it features so many beautiful African ornaments. From gorgeous animal carvings to special symbolic ornaments from Africa, I always manage to spot something new each time I visit. Plus, this year, Animal Kingdom Lodge delighted guests with a giant giraffe made out of gingerbread! So cool!

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Gertie’s Holiday Getup

Gertie is my favorite dinosaur in Disney. I mean, how could she not be? The gentle giant resides in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Echo Lake. For the holiday season, Gertie likes to get in the spirit, too. When the Park switches from fall decor to Christmas decorations, Cast Members install a cute little (it’s actually probably giant) Santa hat on Gertie’s head. They also hang a red ornament from the leaves she munches on. It’s absolutely hysterical and can be so easy to miss! The little details like this one are the things that make Disney different. They could have easily left the dinosaur as is and no one would have noticed or minded. But they go that extra mile to make sure every day is as magical as possible.

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Cinderella Castle

The ultimate Disney decor would have to be the glory of Cinderella Castle itself. Regally seated at the end of Main Street U.S.A., Cinderella Castle literally and figuratively shines brightly during the Christmas season. The gorgeous castle is decorated in thousands of light bulbs that make the entire structure look like it is covered in glittering snow and ice. The Castle is best experienced at night. It illuminates the entire Park. You can see those twinkling icy lights all the way from the Polynesian Resort across the Seven Seas Lagoon. This backdrop makes a fantastic Christmas photo!

Related: Florida man designs dazzling Christmas lights show for his neighborhood, with a little help from Disney

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Tower of Terror

The addition of the projections on Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios was a welcomed surprise. This change came a few years ago now, but it is still a fan favorite. I absolutely love Sunset Boulevard, leading up to the grand finale that is Tower of Terror. While the street itself is decked to the nines with Christmas decorations, the Tower is so fun. Throughout the course of the night at Hollywood Studios, Olaf has a special little show projected onto the Tower of Terror. Several other Disney characters make appearances as well. It’s so festive to watch the Tower change from being wrapped like a present to looking like a massive gingerbread house. I could just sit on a bench on the side of the street and watch all night long!

Related: Holiday Line Up: Celebrating the Different Holidays at Walt Disney World

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Bonus: Disney Cruise Line Atrium

Okay, so this isn’t in the Disney Parks, but it’s the Cruise Line, so it almost counts. I LOVE the atria of the Disney Cruise Line fleet during Christmastime. Much like in the Parks, the Crew on the ships decorate everything overnight to become a winter wonderland. There’s a great, big tree, wreaths, garland, and even a gingerbread house! It’s a little slice of Christmas even in the Bahamas!

 

About Molly Elias

Molly Elias has been a dedicated Disney fan since she was 18-months old. She has grown up with and learned from Disney her whole life. As her family's main vacation spot, Disney World is a place of love and laughter and magic for her. Her family also prides themselves on their Disney Cruise Line knowledge and would rather be on the high seas with Mickey than anywhere else in the world. Molly plans to keep Disney in her life forever, while also pursuing a writing career. She recently completed a master's program in creative writing in the hopes that someday she will be able to be a writer for the Happiest Company on Earth. Molly keeps Walt's famous quote at the forefront of her life: "Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."