July is Amerikitsch’s WDW month– I visited the parks in December 2014 and I thought it’s time to post about my trip. Check back all month for Disney related posts!
This post will cover some information on four hotels that are located near the Magic Kingdom. My family and I rented a car that allowed us ease of transport between the hotels and parks. **TIP: if it fits in your trip budget, I highly recommend renting a car. There are buses that transfer guests from Disney hotels to the parks, but they can often be crowded. Driving allows you to go on your own schedule and visit other hotels if you wish to see them.**
This is the first batch covering Disney hotel properties. We visited each of them to see the holiday decorations and feel the “vibe.” They are all quite distinctive and Disney had multiple price points for all guests. The hotels in this post are located near the Magic Kingdom. More information can be found on their official site.
The first hotel we visited was the Polynesian resort. It’s one of the older Disney hotels on the property and has great island theming. Unfortunately, they were going through massive construction when we visited (December 2014), so much of it was closed up. I bet it looks ever better now!
We visited during the holidays, so there was a lot of great wreaths and garland all over the hotels.
One of my favorite touches was that they have a dole whip station in the hotel! This is usually only something seen in the parks, so I bet it’s a sweet treat for the guests.
During this trip I collected many of the press pennies (search online “Disneyworld Pressed Penny” for a printable list), and every hotel had at least one machine. I loved that they decorated the machines to match the hotel. The Polynesian also has a great island-themed shop and when we were there the was a pinboard out (trading pins appeared to be a bigger deal in Florida than California).
After we visited the Polynesian, we hopped on the monorail and rode over to the Grand Floridian.
The Grand Floridian is definitely a more upscale hotel, I felt a little sloppy in my t-shirt and jeans. If you’ve been to San Diego or are a fan of the film “Some Like it Hot,” you may recognize the style of the hotel is modeled after Hotel Coronado.
There was a large Christmas tree that was a popular spot for photos; it also appeared that some locals were coming to take photos near the tree for their Christmas cards. It’s very light and old-money beachy in style. They also had beautiful character accents in the marble floor.
The pink isn’t exactly traditional Christmas style, but it was beautiful and fit the hotel.
My favorite part of the hotel was the life-size gingerbread house made of REAL gingerbread! They even had people inside selling cookies. It was too cute and had great details!
**TIP (for the pin traders): There are a few stores inside Grand Floridian, but if you’re looking for pins, be sure to check out the menswear shop. They had a book of trading pins behind the counter.**
After a forgettable lunch we hopped back on to the monorail to check out the Contemporary.
Probably one of the most well-known hotels at Disney, the Contemporary was a lot of fun to walk around. They have a nice shops, but my favorite spot is outside. As you can see from above, we had a beautiful and clear day with chairs to relax outside.
As you can see, there’s a nice view of Magic Kingdom. We didn’t have time to go back any evening, but I bet it’s a great spot to watch the fireworks!
They had a cute ‘Frozen’ gingerbread display with a matching pin available.
There are these huge Mary Blair murals inside the Contemporary which I think are worth a visit on their own. I didn’t crop out the people at the bottom of my picture so you may see the scale of these works of art.
This wreath was found in the little cafe and I wish we had eaten here instead of GF. Hopefully I’ll visit again and spend more time checking out the murals!
A few days later we visited the Wilderness Lodge Hotel. While it is not accessible my monorail, the AAA map lists this as a hotel near Magic Kingdom.
They had cute topiaries outside!
The interior was incredible! It felt like we were inside a giant log cabin. They also had a massive Christmas tree.
Their restaurant, Whispering Pines, which we tried to get in, was booked up. I know I mentioned this in a previous post, but I can’t stop recommending getting advanced reservations before your trip!
They had this giant fireplace with rocking chairs nearby. Since it was the holidays, they also had carolers and bell players. It was very festive and “cozy.”
Their Mercantile shop was so cute! My mom loves the lodge style, so we found lots of great items there.
These four hotels are geographically close to the Magic Kingdom and on the higher end of the Disney properties. The Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge (and Fort Wilderness), and Grand Floridian also have ferry boats service to the Magic Kingdom without having to get stuck in the larger, more crowded ferry for everyone else.
Check back for coverage of other hotels in the coming weeks! Have you stayed at a Walt Disney World property? How was it? I’d love to hear your opinions, let me know in the comments. Thanks!