Christmas at Walt Disney World: Decorations at the Contemporary and Wilderness Resorts

Updated for 2017!

Christmas holidays can be an absolute zoo at Walt Disney World, between larger crowds to longer waits to traffic jams. But the Christmas decorations are absolutely fantastic. You can stay at one of the resorts, and you can also “Resort Hop,” but either way you are in for a real treat.

Let’s head over to the…

Contemporary Resort

[Read more…]

Disney World Christmas by the Numb3rs!

Disney World Chef Mickey's at Christmas

There is something truly magical about all the holiday decorations at Walt Disney World, but wow, are the crowds crazy that week after Christmas. In recent years, the Magic Kingdom has closed around ten or eleven a.m. and only reopened to new guests after 6 p.m. That’s a lot of people. The Magic Kingdom parking lot, which holds 12,000 cars, often reaches capacity during this week. Lines for roller coasters are often well over a 120 minute wait.

So for those of you that passed on the WDW crowds or didn’t have the means to take a vacation this holiday season, our Cheapskate Princess Christmas gift to you is some holiday trivia from Disney by the Numb3rs.com.

So Merry Christmas!

Are You Crazy Enough to Go to Walt Disney World at Christmas?

Disney Springs at Christmas Mickey topiary

Christmas Trees

When you glance at the tree in your living room, remember that 45 to 70 foot trees are used all over the Disney World property, the tallest of which is the 70-foot tree at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Take a long time to decorate your tree? It takes 6.5 hours to set up one 65 foot Disney Christmas tree.

A total of 1,500 Christmas trees decorate the WDW property, including theme parks, resorts, and Downtown Disney.

What is the life span of a Christmas tree at WDW? Only about five to six years.

8.5 million lights are strung throughout the property, with 98 percent of the lighting used being LED lights.

Ready for Christmas at Disney? You May Need Some Advice…

Decorations

300,000 yards of ribbon and bows are draped over the Christmas trees across property.

A total of nine hours of installation are needed to complete all the holiday decorations for the interior and exterior of Main Street, and it appears and disappears suddenly like Disney magic…

15 miles of garland and 3,000 wreaths are hung throughout the WDW property.

600 decorations made of popcorn are created by hand, decorated, and painted by Disney artists to be used on the different Christmas trees.

The base is on the Main Street Christmas tree in the Magic Kingdom is 26 feet wide.

The Disney World Resort with the Most Fabulous Christmas Decorations? The Award Goes To…

Mickey Mouse treats for Christmas

Downtown Disney

The wreath lighting up the Cirque du Soleil building at Downtown Disney’s West Side is 25 feet in diameter.

Guests can shop for holiday merchandise at Disney’s Days of Christmas shop 365 days of year.

Storage

54,000 square feet of warehouse space is used for the holiday services facility, with one room in this warehouse set aside for storing all the ribbon.

25 full-time Cast Members work in the holiday services warehouse facility year round, and the number quadruples when they go to install the decorations. (Let me just say that THIS is the job I want to apply for – Disney holiday decorator!)

40 trailers are loaded for the installation, and these trailers will be returned more than 150 times before the decoration process is completed  for 24 resorts, four theme parks, Downtown Disney and other locations.

Ten days are needed to remove all the holiday decorations at the end of the season.

Why Take A Disney Vacation During Christmas? The Holiday Decorations Are Better Than Yours!

Hollywood Studios

There are ten miles of twinkling rope lights in the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Floral Decorations

200 holiday topiaries are used to decorate the Walt Disney World resort.

100,000 poinsettias are used to decorate all of WDW landscape. 8-foot towers of poinsettias, which resemble big red Christmas trees, have been a traditional favorite of guests for years.  It takes 170 poinsettias to create each big red Christmas tree, and it takes two Cast Members an entire day to assemble each of these poinsettia Christmas trees.

Speaking of poinsettias, 30 to 40 are used to make just one of the poinsettias balls you will see hanging all around WDW.

Disney World Grand Floridian at Christmas

Can a Cheapskate Afford to Stay at Disney World During the Week of Christmas?

Grand Floridian Resort

Often referred to as the flagship hotel of the Walt Disney World Resorts, just standing in the Grand Floridian five-story lobby is a journey into opulence and splendor.  There are six restaurants to choose from. Pull up a chair and listen to the frequent musical entertainment,  which ranges from a pianist seated at a grand piano to a Disney big band playing Christmas favorites.

A massive 40 foot tree decorates the lobby, twinkling with more than 45,000 lights. This tree is erected all in just one night.

A 16-foot-high by 18-foot-wide gingerbread house is built each year in the lobby of the Grand Floridian for the holiday season. It occupies 200 square feet of lobby space, and it will take ten men a total of six days to create the gingerbread house. The list of ingredients is enough to make any pastry chef nervous with anticipation.

  • 1,050 pounds of honey
  • 600 pounds of chocolate
  • 800 pounds of flour for the honey dough
  • 180 pounds of apricot glaze
  • 35 pounds of spices

Once all these yummy ingredients are combined into the 2,000 pounds of gingerbread, it will take 400 hours to bake the 10,000 individual pieces.  As far as decorating, 140 pints of egg whites are used to create 500 pounds of royal icing.  And a whopping 600 pounds of powdered sugar are used to dust the gingerbread house to make it look like snow.

Can a Cheapskate Afford to Stay at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort During Holiday Season?!

Disney World Main Street at Christmas

Wilderness Lodge

Consistently rated as one of the top authentic-themed lodgings in Orlando, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort is like stepping straight into the Old West.  Tall pines, thick forest, and a 450-acre lake all add to the feeling that you have left sunny Florida and magically traveled to Yellowstone National Park’s Old Faithful Inn, one of several rustic landmarks used as inspiration for Wilderness Lodge.

Wilderness Lodge has five restaurants that offer everything from fine dining to quick counter-service snacks from breakfast through dinner.

Wilderness Lodge’s soaring six-story lobby is decked out for the season with festive wreaths and garlands.

A 60-foot Christmas tree adorned with nature-themed decorations and 60,000 twinkling lights are the focal highlight of the Lodge’s holiday décor.

Take a seat in one of the rocking chairs by the 80-foot-tall fireplace, which depicts a built-to-scale replica of the Grand Canyon’s rock layers.  Warm your hands by the fire, and look around the gift shop in an equally warm and cozy shopping environment.

Can a Disney Princess Afford to Stay at the Contemporary Resort at Christmas?

 

And there you go, a little Christmas present just in time for those of you missing your time in Orlando.

Thanks to Disney by the Numb3rs for their always entertaining Disney facts. Stop by their site for some fun Disney trivia, and tell ‘em a Cheapskate Princess sent ya!

Disney World Christmas

Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Erin Johnson, our Cheapskate Princess Travel Agent

Erin Johnson, our Cheapskate Princess Travel Agent

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Erin, our Disney Vacation Planner with Destinations in Florida travel.  She offers promotions like Disney Trading Pin sets, autograph books, and free Mickey Mouse ear hats for kids under age 17.  We know our readers love free…

Give Erin a call at 214-697-7732, or send an e-mail to erin @ destinationsinflorida.com. 

Great Perks for your Walt Disney World Vacation at Destinations in Florida

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you dreaming of sugar plums and your next Disney vacation.

 

Cinderella Castle at Christmas: Photos and Trivia

Castle Dreamlights, lights on Cinderella castle, Cinderella castle, Cinderella Castle at Christmas

Updated for 2017!

How do you take a great American icon and bedazzle it? You add thousand of sparkley-twinkley lights, and bibbidy, bobbidy, BOO!! There you have Disney’s Cinderella Castle, and she’s all dressed up for the Christmas holidays.

Like fun Disney trivia? Here are some fun holiday facts from one of my favorite Disney sites, Disney by the Numb3rs.com. You can find all their numerical Disney trivia by using this Disney by the Numb3rs link. Let’s see what it takes to make the Castle pop.

Read: Can a Cheapskate Afford to Stay at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort During Holiday Season?!

Cinderella Castle at Christmas, when does Cinderella Castle light up, how many Christmas lights are on Cinderella castle,

200,000 LED lights adorn Cinderella Castle, as they have every year since they made their initial debut in 2007.

500 strobe lights are used to help create the sparkling lighting effect.

32,000 square feet of fish netting are used to help hang the LED lights on the Castle.

And it takes 15 miles of cable to hang all the lights in place.

Are You Crazy Enough to Go to World Disney World at Christmas?

Cinderella castle, photo of Cinderella castle, picture of Cinderella Castle, Cinderella

Cinderella Castle at night

Of course you don’t have to stay at Disney during those ten days to enjoy the sights of the seasons, as holiday decorations start appearing throughout the parks by the first weekend in November and stay into the early part of January. And you always have the option to stay off property in a less expensive hotel. But for you to enjoy the holiday decorations during “Christmas” staying on property at a Disney Resort, it’s going to cost you more money than other times of year. That’s what a Cheapskate Princess calls a Disney Splurge.

Thanks to our friends at Disney by the Numb3rs, and stop by their site for some fun Disney trivia. Tell ’em a Cheapskate Princess sent ya!

Curious about more Disney Resort accommodation rates during the holidays? Check it out.

Read: Can a Cheapskate Afford to Stay at Disney World During the Week of Christmas?

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Now let our vacation planners help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Erin and Elizabeth, our Disney Vacation Planners with Destinations in Florida travel.

You can also e-mail them at cp@destinationsinflorida.com.

Great Perks for your Walt Disney World Vacation at Destinations in Florida

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Princess Travel Experts with Destinations in Florida travel, Erin and Elizabeth. You can also e-mail them at cp@destinationsinflorida.com.

Christmas at Disney World: Would You Spend up to $30 for a Christmas Ornament?

Mickey Mouse christmas ornament, Mickey Mouse snow man, Mickey Mouse Club, Christmas ornaments

Updated for 2017!

Souvenirs seems to take on an extra special sparkle during the Christmas holidays at Disney World. T-shirts, hats, coffee mugs, and rows upon rows of Christmas decorations. We put our Christmas tree up about November 1st every year, so I keep Christmas on the brain. But nothing good comes cheap these days, and with the retail cost of Disney holiday ornaments ranging from $10 to $30, I often wonder if this piece of merchandise is worth the expense.

Would a cheapskate pay up to thirty bucks for a Christmas decoration you will enjoy less than probably 1/12 of the year?

Read: The 5 Worst Times to Vacation at Walt Disney World?

fancy Christmas decorations, fancy ornaments, Disney ornaments, Disney Christmas ornaments

We went to the Cheapskate Princess fans on Facebook to see what they thought about buying Disney Christmas decorations.

Yes, it’s worth it.

Tonya,In 2005, we took our boys to Disney World for their first trip.  Zach was into Woody and Ryan was all about Buzz.  My parents bought each of them a Toy Story ornament with their names painted on the backs.  My boys are teenagers now, yet those ornaments are their favorite to hang on the tree still.”

Kelly-Ann, “No matter what time of year we go to Disney we always get an ornament. I love hanging them on our Christmas tree and remembering how much fun we had. They are worth the money in my opinion.”

Lauren, “I keep my ornaments year after year, so I look at it as an investment. I still have my honeymoon ornament from almost 10 years ago and many others.”

Read: Understanding Disney Park Closure Phases: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Tinkerbell ornament, Tinker bell Christmas,

Dana, “They do have wonderful ornaments this year. I love quite a few of them. But my favorites are the storybook ones that are priced around $10 each. And I think that is affordable for just how cute they are!!!!”

Carrie, “Every year we get out our special $25.99 ornament, and we smile and laugh and remember an incredible trip. Worth every cent.”

Sara, “We started a tradition our first year.  We buy one ornament in the Mickey ear shape and get it personalized with the year on it.  That way every year when we put up the Christmas tree, we can remember each year that we went and relive them.  Love it!”

Read: Are You Crazy Enough to Go to World Disney World at Christmas?

Mickey Mouse as Santa, Mickey Mouse dressed as Santa, Mickey Mouse Santa, Santa, Disney Santa,

No, it’s a bit pricey.

Ashley“I’ve always wanted to buy an ornament but the price really has kept me from doing so up to this point.  I still plan on getting one, but I’m still waiting to find the special one that I won’t mind dropping that much money on!”

Charlotte“I think ornaments are beautiful, but I can’t see spending that for them. I would want more than one for more impact and just can’t see spending so much for ornaments when there are smarter places to spend that kind of money this time of year. If it was after Christmas and I could find them on clearance for under $10, then maybe I would consider it.”

Looks like I fall under the no votes. As you can see by my photos, I love Disney Christmas decorations. I would readily admit they are quality items, and for what you get, they are probably worth what they charge. Unless you drop it. My non-coffee drinking son dropped his just-purchased coffee mug last summer as we loaded the car to come home from Disney. He then announced purchasing anything glass was definitely not worth the money. I have two metal ornaments, not even featured in my photographs, and both were purchased full price at $12.99, which was 2012 prices. Those same ornaments are now $17.99 each.

I haven’t found one for more than that amount that I just had to have, so strangers stare at me while I photograph ornaments I never purchase.

Read: The Disney World Resort with the Most Fabulous Christmas Decorations? The Award Goes To…

Walt Disney World Christmas ornament, Christmas at Disney, what to buy at Disney at Christmas

Find a sale.

Maybe what I need to convince me is a sale! All Cheapskate Princesses love a sale.

Kristie, “I love them but wait ’til they’re on clearance after Christmas to expand my collection!

Tom pointed out that you can find sales online, in fact, the Disney Store has sales going on all the time, and shopping on eBay can result in fantastic savings.

Dianna, “We got a few at the Disney store (at the mall, not at Disney) I don’t think they were that much, on sale I think.”

Gretchen, “I got some on clearance online from the Disney Store for super cheap when they had an extra percentage off a while back. They are plain Mickey glass balls. I’m going to personalize them with our names and the year.  Since I got a set of four for about $10 it’s quite a bargain!

Read: It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! Photos of WDW during the Christmas Holidays

Santa Christmas Ornament, Santa ornaments, Disney Santa ornaments, Santa, Disney Moms at Christmas

Find another store.

Jay is shopping non-Disney Stores. “While I love them – check out Target. They usually have Mickey shaped ornaments much cheaper than the theme parks.”

Check out this suggestion from Jarett, “If you visit any of the character warehouse stores, (I know there are two in south Florida, and at least two in Orlando) you can find them much cheaper. Not as big of a selection but always at least 10-20 to choose from. I just bought two for $5, and another for $10!”

So it looks like purchasing pricey Disney Christmas ornaments for some people are an investment in memories, the commemoration of special holidays and happy times.

And for others, paying full price on the spot is definitely out of the question, with the search for a bargain being front and center, regardless of when and where it was purchased.

Read: Where to Find FREE Disney World Theme Parks Christmas Music

Mickey Minnie Mouse Christmas, Mickey Minnie ornament

And if you want to pop over to the Disney Store online to their Ornament Section, just use this link. There are three pages of ornaments, just calling your name, but maybe you better leave your Disney Visa card in the other room, with someone financially responsible.

Disney Christmas decoration prices

Disney World Christmas decorations

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you checking prices, wondering how soon is TOO SOON to put up a Christmas tree!

In my opinion, it’s never too soon. We’ve had Christmas trees in our dining room for years now, covered in…key chains. You can read about it here:

 What to Do with All Those Disney World Key Chains? Put Them on a Tree!

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Now let our vacation planners help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Erin and Elizabeth, our Disney Vacation Planners with Destinations in Florida travel.

You can also e-mail them at cp@destinationsinflorida.com.

Great Perks for your Walt Disney World Vacation at Destinations in Florida


Amanda Major-Cheapskate PrincessAmanda Major is the creator of 
cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Princess Travel Experts with Destinations in Florida travel, Erin and Elizabeth. You can also e-mail them at cp@destinationsinflorida.com.