Dec 2, 2023Disney, Events, Florida, North America, USA0 comments

Christmas is probably the best time of year to visit Walt Disney World in Florida. Somehow, Disney magic and the wonder of Christmas just make the perfect combination.

And we all know that Disney goes all out when it comes to decorating for the holidays. That is especially true for the eight Deluxe Disney resorts.

But which of these resorts has the most stunning decorations? Maybe you are planning a Christmas trip to Disney and are trying to decide which hotel to book or maybe you are wondering which resort is worth a visit to check out the decorations – read on to find out which of the resorts is this year’s winner (at least in my book).

I visited all eight Deluxe Resorts this week and checked out the decorations for you. Read on for my ultimate, completely subjective ranking of which Deluxe Disney Resort has the best Christmas atmosphere!

Christmas wreath with seahorse, Nemo figure, mistletoe, and bows

Each resort is decorated uniquely – decorations reflect the resort’s theme

#8 Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Disney’s Contemporary Resort has never been my favorite Deluxe but lately it has grown on me. During my May trip to Florida I was impresssed by its cool 70s vibe.

So I was looking forward to seeing what this iconic Disney hotel would look like decorated for Christmas.

Unfortunately, I was quite disappointed!

The highlight was a cute gingerbread house shaped like Magic Kingdom’s castle (though I did like some of the other gingerbread houses more).

Gingerbread House Display at Disney's Contemporary Resort: Silhouette of Castle

The Gingerbread Castle is cute but less impressive than some

There were also some Christmas trees, wall decorations, and wreaths but overall it was quite meagre.

Possibly because of the huge open spaces inside the Contemporary Resort, the Christmas decorations seemed like an afterthought. Kind of like a small tree stuck in the corner of an office building.

Stark lobby of Disney's Contemporary Resort with some Christmas decorations along the wall

For my taste, there was way too litle Chrismas decoration

So unfortunately, Disney’s Contemporary Resort ends up at the bottom of my list. Well, I guess not every resort can win.

#7 Disney’s Polynesian Resort

In contrast to the Contemporary, the Polynesian is my favorite Disney Resort and I dream of one day staying there. It just has the coolest vibe (and the view of the Magic Kingdom… and the Vulcanoe Pool).

But when ranking the deluxe resorts for Christmas sprits the Polynesian unfortunately doesn’t quite cut it.

It wasn’t that the Christmas decorations weren’t beautiful. I really love the unique styling of the Christmas tree decorations at each hotel. The South-sea themed ornaments at the Polynesian were especially cute.

Southsea-themed Christmas Tree at Polynesian Resort in front of large window with view of gardens and pool

A pineapple as the Christmas tree topper is certainly different

No, for me the problem is more that Christmas and Polynesia just aren’t a natural match. When I hear Christmas I think of snow, pine trees, hot cocoa, and cute cottages and not of pineapples and luaus.

Lobby of Polynesian Resort with South-sea themed Christmas decorations

Still my favorite resort though!

So in spite of the beautiful Christmas decorations the resort just didn’t make me feel very Christmas-ey and unfortunately only lands on place 7 of my ranking. (I did mention this was a subjective ranking, right?)

#6 Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

The first thing I saw when I entered the lobby at the Animal Kingdom Lodge was the huge tree and it was awe-inspiring.

Huge Christmas Tree in lobby of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

The Christmas Tree at Animal Kingdom Lodge is very impressive

I thought the resort would for sure be a top contender in this competition but the more I looked around the less I thought so.

Aside of the awesome tree, there is also a very cool gingerbread model of a zebra and a giraffe.

Gingerbread Display at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge: model of a giraffe and a zebra

The animal models are beautiful but not very Christmasey

But as cool as that gingerbread model is, it also highlights why Animal Kingdom Lodge is not in my top when it comes to the Disney Deluxe resorts with the best Christmas vibe.

Just like Polynesia, Africa doesn’t really scream Christmas to me. And it seems Disney is aware of that.

Aside of the gingerbread animals and the tree, there was comparatively little Christmas decoration. In certain parts of the lobby you couldn’t even tell at all that Christmas was near.

In contrast to most (or even all) of the other Disney Deluxe Resorts there also was no Christmas music playing at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

So AKL remains a great destination when resort hopping to enjoy the African vibe and the animals, but when it comes to Christmas, the resort only makes it to number six.

#5 Disney’s Beach Club

Now the New England vibe of the Beach Club does seem a good fit for the Christmas season and I did enjoy the decorations at this Epcot area resort.

The Christmas trees have a nautical theme and the Beach Club’s gingerbread “house” is one of my favorites. It actually isn’t a house but rather a carousel and it even moves!

Gingerbread Carousel at Disney's Beach Club Resort

Maybe the most impressive of the gingerbread “houses”

So why only #5? I hate to say this but the Beach Club lobby just wasn’t as impressive as some of the others. I had never noticed that it looks a bit pokey cozy.

So for me, the Beach Club decorations were pretty good but not the best and this resort lands in the middle of the pack at number 5.

Lobby of Beach Club with small Christmas tree and garlands

Is the lobby at the Beach Club smaller than at other resorts?

#4 Disney’s Boardwalk Inn

I did love the Christmas decorations at the Boardwalk Inn, one of my favorite deluxe resorts (if only the pool was nicer).

They had a very traditional American look with a red, white, and green color scheme. Think old-fashioned popcorn balls, mistletoe, candy, and bows.

And the gingerbread house is another of my favorites. I just love Chefs Mickey and Minnie in the kitchen!

Gingerbread House at Disney's Boardwalk Inn: model of Boardwalk Deli with silhouettes of Disney characters in windows and Chefs Mickey and Minnie in the kitchen

Love the detail of the Boardwalk Inn’s Gingerbread House

So why did the Boardwalk Inn miss out on one of the top spots? Well, as beautiful as the Christmas decorations here are, they just don’t pop here like they do at some of the other resorts.

I think this is because the “regular” decoration at the Boardwalk Inn is already quite colorful. So with the Christmas overlay it is just a little bit too busy for my taste.

Lobby of Boardwalk Inn with large Christmas Tree with traditional decorations

Gorgeous Christmas deco but just a bit too much going on overall

An excellent effort and definitely worth a visit but unfortunately Boardwalk Inn is only #4 on my list.

#3 Disney’s Yacht Club

Not only does the New England theme of Disney’s Yacht Club fit great with Christmas, this deluxe resort also had not only one or two but three hightlights.

First, there is a quite impressive tree in the middle of the lobby with a unique sailing theme.

Lobby at Disney's Yacht Club with Christmas Tree

This Christmas tree definitely stands out

Second, there is an impressive gingerbread model: a lighthouse! And finally, there is a winter-themed miniature railroad.

Lobby of Disney's Yacht Club with Christmas Tree, Gingerbread Lighthouse, and Winter-Themed Miniature Railroad

There is loads to see at Disney’s Yacht Club

All in all, the Christmas decorations at the Yacht Club were impressive and really conveyed the Christmas spirit.

The only reason Disney’s Yacht Club ended up at #3 and not at the very top of the list is that I enjoyed the Christmas decorations at two other resorts even more.

#2 Disney’s Grand Floridan Resort

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is famous for its Christmas decorations so you may be surprised that it is not on the very top of my list.

It has a lot going for it: The impressive white lobby is the perfect backdrop for the huge Christmas tree. 

Huge Christmas Tree in lobby of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort themed to 12 days of Christmas

The Grand Floridian’s lobby is stunning at Christmas time

There are plenty of decorations all through the public spaces and the gingerbread house is huge. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is definitely worth a visit to check out the decorations!

So why is this Monorail resort only in second place? The Grand Floridian ended up being a victim of its own popularity.

Whereas most of the year the Grand Floridian’s lobby is an oasis of calm and quiet, it was quite noisy and busy when I stopped by.

There were loads of people posing with the tree and lining up at the gingerbread house (as well as regular hotel guests checking in and out).

Open lobby of Disney's Grand Floridian Hotel with huge Christmas Tree and Gingerbread House

Everyone wants to check out the Christmas decorations at the Grand Floridian

So even though they played atmospheric Christmas music and the decorations were beautiful, it didn’t feel as Christmas-ey as my number 1:

#1 Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

For me, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge has it all: a theme that fits perfectly with Christmas, great decorations, and a festive atmosphere.

The huge tree in the lobby is (almost) as impressive as the one at the Grand Floridian.

Lobby of Disney's Wilderness Lodge with huge Christmas Tree

The Wilderness Lodge Lobby made me want to just stay and soak up the Christmas vibe

The log cabin-style and the large fireplace make you feel like you are spending the Christmas season in a Rocky Mountain chalet.

Lobby of Disney's Wilderness Lodge with large Christmas wreath over fireplace and several smaller Christmas Trees

All in all, for me Disney’s Wilderness Lodge had the best Christmas theming and is therefore number 1!

Can’t get enough of Disney Christmas decorations?

Make sure to check out the Christmas Tree Stroll at Disney Springs for more amazing decorations!

Final Verdict

Christmas is a wonderful time to check out the various Disney resorts! Remember: even if you are not staying at a Disney resort and don’t have a park ticket you are still a valued guest and welcome to enjoy the various resorts (aside of the pools).

Aside of the parks and Disney Springs, Disney’s Deluxe Resorts have some of the best Christmas decorations. While all resorts are lavishly decorated (well, other than the Contemporary), some definitely had more of a Christmas vibe than others.

For me, Wilderness Lodge, the Grand Floridian, and the Yacht Club are at the top of the list when it comes to that holiday feeling!

How about you? Which Disney resort is your favorite when it comes to Christmas decorations?

Do you feel like an expert when it comes to the Christmas decorations at Disney’s Deluxe Resorts now?

Try my Disney Resort Tree Quiz!

Lighthouse made of gingerbread at Disney's Yacht Club

Hi, I am Kitty and I love to travel! Welcome to my blog, where I share all I have learned on my trips - good and bad - to help you have a better, cheaper, and more perfect vacation!


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