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Disney World in December, Part 1

Disney World in December
The Lobby in the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, with the Christmas Tree and Gingerbread House.

Disney World in December

This past December, my wife Cindy, daughter Sophie, sister Robin, and I took a trip to Walt Disney World. We had been to Disney previously when the parks were decorated for Christmas, but this is the first time that we had actually ever checked in to the resort in December! There were a lot of other firsts that we were going to experience on this trip as well. Take a look at this list of accomplishments:

As a travel planner, you already know that we had a plan of attack. Since we only had a limited amount of time available (we checked in on December 1st and left for home on December 4th), we had a specific plan of what we wanted to do and when. Additionally, many of the items on our list were from our list of 22 Things to Do at Disney in 2022 (audio or video) that we recorded on our Podcast, On the Road with Mickey. If you’ve not seen our podcast, please go check it out! We’ve even got a YouTube channel for the show (shameless plug, please like and subscribe to our channel!)

December 1st was a travel day, we left home in Raleigh and arrived at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside just about in time for dinner. What was really neat was that Robin, Sophie, and I were surprised by Cindy because she had been in communication with our friends Randy, Sheila, and Jagan, and they surprised us when we got out of the car to go to our room!

Our next surprise was that the room we were given for our stay was a Princess themed room, so it was decorated with all sorts of touches that you wouldn’t normally have. I don’t have a lot of room photos, but here is a picture of our headboard followed up with a video of what the headboard did:

What made the visit with Sheila, Randy, and Jagan perfect is that we were able to exchange our Christmas presents for each other right there in the room, which was really convenient because we wouldn’t be lugging our presents throughout Epcot on Saturday. After we did that, we decided to go over to Riverside’s sister resort, Port Orleans French Quarter, to get some dinner and desserts.

I ordered us a half pepperoni, half cheese whole pizza to share — and I’ve got to tell you, the pizza that night at the Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory was absolutely incredible! Cindy chose to order a burger that was quite delicious as well. Of course, for dessert, many of the people went for the signature dessert at the French Quarter — beignets! So yummy, if you’ve not had them before, you’ve got to try them. If you have gluten issues, you can even get them made for you gluten free!

After dinner and catching up with our friends, it was time to head to our room for the night, as we had a busy next couple of days in store for us!

Friday, December 3, 2022

Friday was a big day for us! Today was the day we were going to go to the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party for the first time ever! Before that, though, and since we couldn’t go to the Magic Kingdom until at least 4PM because we only had a party ticket, we decided that we wanted to do some resort hopping and check out the Christmas displays at the various resorts. Before that, though, Cindy, Sophie, and I had a surprise in store for my sister Robin.

What Robin didn’t know was that I had been working with her youngest daughter, Stephanie, on making a trip to Walt Disney World so that we could see them while we were down visiting. Stephanie has two girls, so she and her husband Shane brought them over to Riverside while we were at breakfast, and this is what Robin encountered:

Robin would probably never admit it, but if you look at the look on her face, I think she’s trying not to burst into tears. Let me tell all of you, that one moment — despite all that we experienced and saw on this trip — was the moment that made the whole trip worth it.

Of course, Sophie and I talked about it on our Walt Disney World trip recap that we did on the podcast.

So, after we had that meetup, we all packed in the car to head over to Animal Kingdom Lodge — that was the first destination in our goal to check out the resort decorations. Well, little did we know was that you couldn’t drive into Animal Kingdom Lodge without a reservation because their parking was limited and the resort was at capacity, so we ended up driving over to Disney Springs. That became our base of operations. We parked at Disney Springs, then took the bus back to Animal Kingdom Lodge, where I recorded this video:

After we were done exploring Animal Kingdom Lodge, we took Disney transportation back to Disney Springs and went to lunch at Cookes of Dublin, a wonderful quick service restaurant where we enjoyed fish and chips! Then, we headed over to Disney’s Beach Club Resort to check out the incredible Gingerbread Carousel. After that, we went to the Yacht Club Resort (located next door) and saw their train layout! Here are two short videos of each of these experiences for you to enjoy!
After all of that, and there was only one destination left to experience — the Gingerbread House at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Since we have been going all day, we decided to drive from Disney Springs to the Magic Kingdom (where we would park at the Transportation and Ticketing Center) and then take the monorail over to the Grand Floridian. Here’s some of the pictures we took of the lobby:

After that, it was time to go to the party! But first, a helpful tip. When we were going to take the monorail to the Magic Kingdom, the line was incredible. We decided to go to the boat launch and take the resort launch from the Grand Floridian to the Magic Kingdom, and it easily saved us at least an hour I would guess.

Tomorrow we’re going to continue our look at our trip to Disney World in December as we focus on Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Then, the next day we’re going to look at our day at Epcot, culminating with the Candlelight Processional.

Thanks for stopping by today! If you are interested in talking about your next vacation destination, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me! You can submit a quote request, email me at, or call me at 919-606-6725. Thanks, and happy travels!

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