Visiting Walt Disney World (WDW) during the holidays has been on my bucket list for some time now. May of 2014 was the last time I visited WDW. Ever since, I’ve been yearning to get back to the most Magical place on Earth. Unfortunately, traveling became difficult while attending my Senior year of college and starting a full-time job. Luckily, the opportunity arose to travel to WDW at the beginning of this month. Currently, my cousin is killing it in the Disney College Program, so my Aunt and I decided visiting was a must. Coincidentally, we booked our trip on Mickey’s 90th birthday; planning the trip only 11 days before departing to Orlando, Florida. I’d be lying if I said I was the spontaneous type; I’m definitely a planner. Hey, sometimes you just have to let the reigns go. Excitement quickly rushed over me, and I knew I would have the best weekend ever at WDW.
Immediately after booking the trip, I realized flying in Friday night would allow us time to grab dinner and check out Disney Springs. Last time I was in Orlando, Disney Springs had not opened yet. For years I’ve wanted to check out Disney Springs. I decided to search their website for events occurring during my trip date, and realized the Christmas Tree Trail had been open since November 27th, 3 days before I was to fly out. I was instantly sold on this event. The holiday season is my favorite time of year.
I always count down to days until I can decorate our Christmas tree. I have always marveled at the fact that every Christmas tree is different. It is inspiring to see how different families decorate their Christmas trees. Do they use only colored lights? Do they string a popcorn garland on the tree? Do they drape ribbon around the tree? There are many different methods of tree decorating. The idea of Disney Springs providing a trail of 27 Disney-themed Christmas Trees, was enough to blow my mind.
The Christmas Tree Trail was more magical than I ever could’ve anticipated. The incredible detail in which the trees were decorated, transported me straight into my favorite Disney films. I find it amazing that each tree was PERFECTLY decorated, with not one branch lacking in creativity. The trail displays 27 trees, all dedicated to differing, beloved Disney characters. To name a few Disney tree themes: 101 Dalmatians, Mary Poppins, Mickey & Minnie Mouse, Peter Pan, Tangled, Cinderella, Robin Hood and more. My top two favorite tree themes, because picking one is impossible, were Mulan and The Jungle Book.[URIS id=2204]
The Mulan themed tree truly capture my attention. It was covered in Cherry Blossoms, something I’ve never seen. The tree did a terrific job portraying Mulan. The tree dedicated to The Jungle Book, decorated head to toe in fruit and feathers screamed FUN. Tropical jungle meets Christmas tree. Just to add more magic, fake snow periodically fluttered about surrounding each visitor and tree. Dazzling the brightly lit night sky, flowing down with grace. It reminded me of back home in New England. If you are a hardcore Disney fan, I promise you this is worth the trip to Orlando alone.[URIS id=2215]
On the first full-day of vacation, we visited Hollywood Studios in the morning. I had never been to Hollywood Studios, so of course I was really excited to check it out. One of the aspects of Hollywood Studios I was looking forward to the most was Toy Story Land. I can happily say it lived up to my wildest expectations. I felt like I was shrunk and thrown inside one of the Toy Story movies.
The Slinky Dog Dash coaster ended up being my favorite ride of the whole trip! We shockingly got on the ride in 10 minutes, the wait time for this ride is usually over an hour. However, the real star of the show was the holiday takeover at Toy Story Land. The Christmas lights were extremely large to, again, give you the appearance of being shrunk. The Woody statue that greets you on your way into Toy Story Land was sporting a cute holiday scarf. Buzz Lightyear walked around meeting park guests all while wearing a Santa hat. There was also a Rex Statue wearing reindeer antlers. Below you can see all the festive decorations I saw while at Toy Story Land.[URIS id=2232]
Speaking of captivating holiday decorations, Magic Kingdom honestly took my breath away. If you’ve been to Magic Kingdom, you know the iconic moment when entering the park, being overwhelmed by the whimsical Main Street USA. At the end of Main Street, you get a glimpse of Cinderella’s castle off in the distance. If you think that moment couldn’t be more breathtaking, you haven’t seen anything. During the holiday season, visiting Magic Kingdom is unforgettable. I was instantly in awe of the massive Christmas tree towering over all park guests. It was decorated to the nines, and encompassed the magical aurora of WDW.
The overall holiday decorations and cheer spread throughout the park made me feel like I was in a winter wonderland, yet I was in 80 degree weather. From lights everywhere, to wreaths, to holiday twists on fan favorite rides (Jungle Cruise got a new look as “Jingle Cruise”). Holiday season is magical as it is, but add that with the wonder of Magic Kingdom, you have me sold every-time. The white-light display on Cinderella’s Castle made it look like the castle was constructed from crystals. I was also able to shop the beautiful ornament selection and buy my mom a light up enchanted rose ornament, it is stunning.[URIS id=2285]
On the final day of my quick weekend trip, I knew I couldn’t miss Epcot. During the holiday season, Epcot is known to go all out. Not only did Epcot offer a Holiday Cookie Stroll, but gave guests the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays Passport. The festive passport listed the holiday kitchen offerings at each of the countries located within Epcot’s World Showcase. It was an extra fun experience to check off what holiday-themed treats and sights I took part in. I was able to try several delightful Holiday treats. At the Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen, I tried one of their holiday offerings, the Holiday Green Tea “Yule Log”.
At the Le Marché de Noël Holiday Kitchen, my aunt got, but let me try the of course, the Bûche de Noël au Chocolat “Christmas Log”. It was a decadent chocolate cake, with a creamy chocolate filling. For a holiday drink, she chose the Holiday Kir. It is a sparkling wine and Monin cranberry syrup. At L’Artisan des Glaces, in France, I had to try their seasonal Glace au Pain d’Epices, which is a Gingerbread Ice Cream with Gingerbread Pieces. This was incredible! It had the coldness of ice cream, with the warm and comforting taste of gingerbread cookies.
Another aspect to Epcot during the holidays is each country in the World Showcase is decorated in a way relating back to aspects of their designated country. It was cool to experience and sight-see the different decorations. In France for example, there were holiday decorations utilizing the Eiffel Tower, a French staple. Outside of the United Kingdom, there was a large holiday teapot that many park visitors stopped to photograph. Everyone knows afternoon tea is a must in the UK. Overall, the holiday season at WDW is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I would 100% recommend visiting ANY Disney park this time of year. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to spend my first few days of December 2018.[URIS id=2258]