12 Months of Christmas in Disney World

So, your friend just came back from Disney World and told you how it was the most magical place to be in the whole world for Christmas.  You’d like to jump on a plane and be there right now to bask in the balmy holiday season of sunny Florida, but you just can’t make vacation plans in the fall and winter.  Is there any way to visit Disney when it’s convenient for you, but still enjoy Christmas while you are there? You bet!

Most Disney fans know that visiting the parks at Christmastime can be one of the most festive and enjoyable vacations that your family can take.  What happens if you can’t visit during the holidays, but you still want to feel some holiday cheer while you are in the World?  Well, as usual, Disney has you covered, with Christmas-themed experiences that span three of the four parks and a few spots outside of the parks.

The most obvious place to go to feel the Christmas Spirit all year round is one of the four Christmas shops that populate Disney World.  Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe is located in Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom, and while it isn’t the biggest Christmas shop on property, it does weave itself into the story of its host land better than any of the others.  The Shoppe is actually three separate late 18th century locations that have been combined; they are the home of a music instructor (Ichabod Crane), a woodcarver’s shop (the Woodwrights) and the home of German folk artists (the Kepples – a nod to Walt Disney, whose grandfather’s first name was Kepple).  The exterior still maintains the appearance of three separate facades; the stores are connected inside, but have each maintained their respective personalities.  This is not only a great place to shop for Christmas souvenirs, but Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe also really helps to tell the story of Liberty Square.

There are two other Christmas shops within the parks that help to tell the stories of their locations.  The first is housed in the Germany Pavilion of Epcot’s World Showcase: die Weihnachtsecke. This shop offers many Christmas items, specializing in those that exhibit German craftsmanship.  This is also a perfect place to get a pickle ornament, a German Christmas tradition.  The other in-park shop is It’s a Wonderful Shop, located in the Streets of America section of Hollywood Studios.  Like many spots in this section of the park, it is dressed to appear as though it is being used to film a Christmas movie: decorations are visible, but props and “off-camera” areas are left untouched.  These two are small shops, but offer nice, quick doses of holiday cheer.

They’re sweating from making snow angels. In Florida. In July.

The biggest Christmas Shop on property is located in Downtown Disney and anchors the Marketplace: Disney’s Days of Christmas.  This massive shop houses everything you can think of to hang on a tree, place on a mantle or top an antennae. While the other shops offer better theming, this is definitely the place to go if you are looking for the widest selection. There is also personalization offered on most items. (Tip: Get off the bus at the Marketplace end of Downtown Disney and make this one of your first stops.  By the time you are done walking the other shops and are returning to your bus, your personalized items will be ready!)

There are a few other locations to get your year-round Christmas fix during your Disney World vacation.  The first is Winter Summerland Miniature Golf, which tells the story of a holiday-themed vacation spot for Santa’s off-duty elves.  It’s a little off the beaten path, but Christmas fanatics won’t want to miss it.  Two attractions also offer some allusions to Christmas.  Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress features four scenes, each set in a different time of year.  The final scene, which reeks of the ‘80s, is set during Christmas in the home of the story’s family.  A much more subtle reference is made in the final scene of Soarin’, which features a flyover of Anaheim’s Disneyland during Christmastime, made most clear by the Clark Griswold-inspired lighting of it’s a small world in the upper right-corner of the park.

So, don’t be a Grinch if you can’t make it to Florida during the actual Christmas season.  Take advantage of these experiences to keep a Disney-themed Christmas with you all through the year!

Advertisements

Hallmark Keepsake Disney Ornaments 2013 – Updated

During DW Dads’ Christmas in July celebration, we previewed this year’s Disney-themed Hallmark Ornaments.  Since then, some new ornaments have been released, so now is a good time to update the list and head out to your local Hallmark store. For the sake of those of you who could use a reminder, or those of you who are new readers, here is the updated 2013 list of ornaments:

Added – Mater Peekbuster ($17.95)
Motion-activated Mater makes noises when someone spies on the gifts!

Mater Peekbuster

Mater Peekbuster

Added – Mickey Mouse Clubhouse ($14.95)

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

Added – Yo ho! Let’s Go! ($12.95)

Yo Ho! Let's Go!

Yo Ho! Let’s Go!

Added – Jack’s Sleigh O’ Scares ($19.95)

Jack's Sleigh O' Scares

Jack’s Sleigh O’ Scares

O, Hunny Tree ($29.95)

Baby’s First Christmas ($14.95)

Baby's First Christmas
Baby’s First Christmas

The Band Concert ($34.95)

Mickey’s Gumball Machine ($17.95)

Mickey's Gumball Machine
Mickey’s Gumball Machine

Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim ($17.95; 5th and final in the Mickey’s Christmas Carol series)
Brave Little Tailor ($12.95; 2nd in the Mickey’s Movie Mousterpieces series)

Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim Brave Little Tailor
Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim
Brave Little Tailor

Two to a Chair ($17.95; pull string to see Mickey and Minnie cuddle)

Two to a Chair
Two to a Chair

A Hunny of a Holiday! ($14.95)
A Bounci-ful Christmas! ($12.95)

A Hunny of a Holiday! A Bounci-ful Christmas!
A Hunny of a Holiday!
A Bounci-ful Christmas!

Various Princess/Minnie Mouse Ornaments ($12.95-$19.95)

Various Princess/Minnie Mouse Ornaments
Various Princess/Minnie Mouse Ornaments

Cinderella’s Castle ($24.95)

Boo and Mike ($24.95)

Boo and Mike
Boo and Mike

Crush and Squirt ($17.95; 3rd in the Disney/Pixar Legends series)

Crush and Squirt
Crush and Squirt

Dusty ($14.95)

Dusty
Dusty

Buzz is on a Mission! ($17.95; push the button to hear Buzz talk)
Astro-saurus Rex ($14.95)

Buzz is on a Mission! Astro-saurus Rex
Buzz is on a Mission!
Astro-saurus Rex

The Rainbow Connection ($19.95)

Agent P Saves the Day! ($14.95)

Agent P Saves the Day!
Agent P Saves the Day!

Pirates of the Caribbean ($17.95)

Jango Fett ($14.95)

Jango Fett
Jango Fett

AT-ST ($29.95; press the button to hear sounds)

AT-ST
AT-ST

Yoda ($14.95)

Yoda
Yoda

Wicket and Teebo ($17.95; set of 2; 17th in the Star Wars series)

Wicket and Teebo
Wicket and Teebo

At Jabba’s Mercy ($32.95)

Iron Patriot ($14.95)
Here Comes the Spider-Man! ($17.95; press the button to hear the song)

Iron Patriot Here Comes the Spider-Man!
Iron Patriot
Here Comes the Spider-Man!

Don’t forget that there will be some new Disney ornaments available in the fall. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or subscribe to us here on the blog to keep up to date with all of our newest articles!

Related articles

A Target Disney Shopping Trip

Christmas shopping season is in full swing, and retailers have been breaking out the big sales since early October.  If you have kids, you have probably noticed that nearly all of the big box stores have Christmas Toy Catalogs that include deals that run until Thanksgiving.  Even if you are just shopping for some special kids in your life, you can find some good prices on popular toys for Christmas.

I recently took a trip to Target to take advantage of a few coupons.  I wasn’t that surprised to see that the items I came home with were all Disney (we’re pretty predictable!). The Target toy catalog is filled with coupons for various popular brands.  Many of these brands sell Disney-themed items, so it worked out that I could use multiple coupons.  Also, there was a $5 off of $50 toy coupon attached to the back of the catalog that was mailed to my house, so I wanted to break that threshold (that was pretty easy!). Here’s how my list broke down.

1. The Baby

It has been a few years since our older boys have been babies, so certain toys are in need of replacement.  Our supply of bath toys is especially low, since they don’t last as long as other toys. I spotted the $5 off Fisher Price coupon and went to the baby toy section.  There were lots of fun Disney-inspired Fisher Price toys, including toys that featured Dumbo, Dalmatians and the Lion King, but then I found what I was looking for:

Image

Fisher Price Finding Nemo Nesting Bath Toys: $19.99 ($14.99 after the $5 coupon)

2. 4-Year-Old

Next up was our 4-year-old, who is at that weird age when he can play with age-appropriate toys one minute, but be totally into whatever his 8-year-old brother is playing with the next minute.  With a new baby brother in the house, it makes buying younger kid toys easier, knowing they will get used by a few children over the next couple of years. There is one brand that immediately came to mind that would bridge all of these gaps: LEGO. We love LEGO in our house.  The older boys love the regular LEGO sets, but can also be found playing with DUPLO (the bigger blocks) from time-to-time.  There are some fun Disney Duplo sets out right now, including Disney Princess and Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  I finally settled on this set:

Image

Skipper’s Flight School: $39.99 (on sale this week for $38.00 – $5 LEGO coupon = $33.00)

3. The 8-Year-Old

I knew my 8-year-old would be a little tougher since he is getting to the age where he doesn’t really want toys anymore.  Instead, he’d prefer movies, video games and electronics. Luckily, there are more than a few Disney items in those categories, including one of this season’s hottest gifts for Disney fans: Disney Infinity.

We LOVE Disney Infinity and have been picking up most of the guys and discs as they come out. There are a few items, though, that would be nice for under the tree.  I picked up one of the newer sets that we didn’t have yet:

Image

Disney Infinity Toy Story Playset ($34.99 – $5 coupon = $29.99)

The Final Tally

So, the three items I purchased came to $78.  I also had that $5 off $50 toy coupon, so that dropped it $73.  After my RedCard 5% savings, the total was $69.35.  Not bad! It was nice to pick up Disney-themed gifts from some very popular brands and save some money at the same time.

We’ll feature some other Disney-inspired shopping trips over the next few weeks.  If you really want to put an amazing gift under the tree, why not contact DW Dads and let us help you plan that surprise Disney trip you’re giving the family this Christmas? Don’t forget, our services are FREE and we’ll always help you find the best deals for the vacation that fits your needs!

Food & Wine Festival and Disney’s Fall Discounts – A tasty combination

Yesterday Disney announced their Fall promotional discounts –41420480306 both free dining and room only discounts for select dates.  These promotions took me back to late last summer when my wife (Clare) and I decided we were going to take advantage of similar promotions offered in 2012 and we booked our trip to take our sons for 5 nights in November.  Because Clare is a NJ teacher we booked our trip to align with her 2 days off for NJEA teacher convention week (more on Jersey week in a future article).  This turned out to be a great time of year to go because we were able to take advantage of Christmas events, and the weather was very comfortable, but a big surprise for us was that we were able to catch the end of the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot Center.

We decided to spend our last full day of our trip at Epcot Center (mostly based on Touringplans.com projected crowd calendar).  We spent the morning enjoying the attractions in Future World and after a light lunch at Sunshine Seasons, we began our tour of the World Showcase to sample all of the great samplings Food & Wine Festival had to offer.  We knew from our research that many of the foods offered at the various stands could be purchased using a snack credit, so we saved all of snack credits for the festival.  Our first purchase was at the stand in Poland – the Kielbasa & Potato Pierogie with Caramelized Onions and Sour Cream ($5.00 or DDP Snack) and a Tyskie beer ($6 – no alcohol on DDP).  From a guy whose Polish side of the family has kielbasa at every major holiday, I was skeptical of trying it, but it was fabulous.  This was a perfect sampling to either eat alone or share with someone special (in my case – Clare). IMG_1902

We continued to tour the World Showcase, playing Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure with our boys, and stopping to meet various characters at meet & greets.  Our next food stop was in Canada for “Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce ($6.50 or DDP Snack) and Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup ($4.00 or DDP Snack).  These two “snacks” we simply amazing.  Once again we shared these samplings, and although the portion was a nice size, it was so delicious that we both wanted more.  

Canada-Filet-with-Truffle-Butter-Sauce

Our last stop was scheduled to coincide with the Eat to the Beat Concert Series where Big Bad Voodo Daddy was playing.  We stopped at the Hops & Barley stand to sample Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine Lobster Roll ($7.50 or DDP Snack) and Sam Adams Seasonal (12oz -$5.50) and sat at the picnic tables right outside the America Gardens Theatre to enjoy our huge and delicious lobster roll, as the boys danced to Go-Daddy-O.  That was our last Food & Wine Festival stop, as we then took in Illuminations with Mickey Ice Cream bars from the Chase VIP area (more on that in the future).  It was a wonderful day in Epcot made even more special by this great event.

 IMG_19201 IMG_1918

There are many ways to enjoy the Food & Wine Festival.  Some trips are centered on this Festival and its offerings, while others (like ours) it becomes a great bonus to an already full trip.  The dates for this year’s Food & Wine Festival are September 27 through November 10 and since Disney just released free dining dates and room only discounts, now might be the perfect time to talk to us about planning your getaway to enjoy this very tasty event! 

Christmas in July: Hallmark Keepsake Disney Ornaments 2013

Christmas in July is a fun diversion from the sweltering heat of the dog days of summer; but for Christmas fanatics, it truly is the official beginning of the most wonderful time of the year.  Lists start formulating and holiday plans start percolating; perhaps you begin putting the finishing touches on your planned Disney World Holiday Vacation. One store in particular makes the coming of the Christmas Season official: Hallmark.  It seems every year that their Ornament Premiere Weekend is earlier and earlier (this year it was on July 13-14).  “That’s okay by us!” exclaim Christmas crazies nationwide.  And judging by the Hallmark Keepsake Dreambook (read: ornament catalog), there is a vast intersection between two major fandoms: Christmas and Disney. Here are the new Disney Hallmark Keepsake ornaments for 2013. Keep in mind that while these are most of the Disney (and Star Wars and Marvel) ornaments available this season, there will be some new ones that become available in the fall.

O, Hunny Tree ($29.95)

Baby’s First Christmas ($14.95)

Baby's First Christmas

Baby’s First Christmas

The Band Concert ($34.95)

Mickey’s Gumball Machine ($17.95)

Mickey's Gumball Machine

Mickey’s Gumball Machine

Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim ($17.95; 5th and final in the Mickey’s Christmas Carol series)
Brave Little Tailor ($12.95; 2nd in the Mickey’s Movie Mousterpieces series)

Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim Brave Little Tailor

Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim
Brave Little Tailor

Two to a Chair ($17.95; pull string to see Mickey and Minnie cuddle)

Two to a Chair

Two to a Chair

A Hunny of a Holiday! ($14.95)
A Bounci-ful Christmas! ($12.95)

A Hunny of a Holiday! A Bounci-ful Christmas!

A Hunny of a Holiday!
A Bounci-ful Christmas!

Various Princess/Minnie Mouse Ornaments ($12.95-$19.95)

Various Princess/Minnie Mouse Ornaments

Various Princess/Minnie Mouse Ornaments

Cinderella’s Castle ($24.95)

Boo and Mike ($24.95)

Boo and Mike

Boo and Mike

Crush and Squirt ($17.95; 3rd in the Disney/Pixar Legends series)

Crush and Squirt

Crush and Squirt

Dusty ($14.95)

Dusty

Dusty

Buzz is on a Mission! ($17.95; push the button to hear Buzz talk)
Astro-saurus Rex ($14.95)

Buzz is on a Mission! Astro-saurus Rex

Buzz is on a Mission!
Astro-saurus Rex

The Rainbow Connection ($19.95)

Agent P Saves the Day! ($14.95)

Agent P Saves the Day!

Agent P Saves the Day!

Pirates of the Caribbean ($17.95)

Jango Fett ($14.95)

Jango Fett

Jango Fett

AT-ST ($29.95; press the button to hear sounds)

AT-ST

AT-ST

Yoda ($14.95)

Yoda

Yoda

Wicket and Teebo ($17.95; set of 2; 17th in the Star Wars series)

Wicket and Teebo

Wicket and Teebo

At Jabba’s Mercy ($32.95)

Iron Patriot ($14.95)
Here Comes the Spider-Man! ($17.95; press the button to hear the song)

Iron Patriot Here Comes the Spider-Man!

Iron Patriot
Here Comes the Spider-Man!

Don’t forget that there will be some new Disney ornaments available in the fall. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or subscribe to us here on the blog to keep up to date with all of our newest articles!