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Walt Disney World’s Yuletide Christmas Tour
Walt Disney World’s “Yuletide Christmas Tour” takes place on specific dates during the holiday season – I would suggest that you check on Disney’s website for the correct dates as they change each year.
As we had taken “The Keys to the Kingdom” tour at Magic Kingdom and Epcot’s “Undiscovered Future World” tour a few years ago, and thoroughly enjoyed them both, we thought it would be a great idea to take the “Yuletide Christmas Tour” especially as we were visiting Orlando at that time of year. What better way to get into the Christmas mood?
Before we left for Orlando we telephoned Disney to make reservations as we had been told that they do get booked up well in advance, especially as this is a seasonal tour. We were told to meet early in the morning outside Epcot and when we arrived we were surprised at the amount of guests waiting. It soon became apparent that not everybody was on the same tour as us and that this was the meeting place for three other tours that were being offered that day.
Everybody was given a name badge and we were taken backstage to board our bus, a luxury Disney Cruise Lines coach. This is one of the best parts of any Disney tour – going backstage to areas that guests never see unless they are part of a tour group. We were driven to the back of World Showcase where we were split into two groups. Walking through into Epcot we found ourselves in Morocco where our tour guide explained the Islamic holiday month of Ramadan. Not very Christmassy I thought but interesting all the same.
We walked onwards to Japan where we discovered unknown (to us) facts about the Japanese New Year and then to the American Adventure and lastly to Germany. Our tour guide was full of interesting facts about each of the countries and how each of them celebrates Christmas and their holiday traditions.
Back on the coach we travelled to MGM Studios and visited the Osborne Lights where our tour guide recounted the story of how these special lights happened to end up at the studios.
Next stop Magic Kingdom. Lots more information including facts we had never realised before, even though we have been visiting Magic Kingdom at Christmas time since 1991.
The Grand Floridian was our next stop, one of our favourite hotels. The most magnificent tree stands in the lobby with the biggest ornaments you have ever seen. One interesting fact is that the lights used on this tree are LED which burn cooler and use a fraction of the power. We were able to spend a couple of minutes wandering around the hotel, visiting the life size gingerbread house, from where you can buy miniature versions, and soaking up the atmosphere in this Victorian themed hotel.
Our last stop was the one we had been looking forward to the most – the home of WDW’s Holiday Services Team. A group of dedicated people work in this area year round preparing for the next Christmas. It can take up to two and a half years to design and build the decorations for a particular area. Floor to ceiling shelving fills the warehouse although, of course, being Christmas time most of the shelves were empty as the decorations were all in the parks and the hotels!
The tour lasts about three hours and at the end we were presented with a special “Yuletide Fantasy Tour” pin. You do not need a park pass to take this tour but if you have an annual pass you will receive a 15 per cent discount, do not forget to mention this when you make your reservations.
All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our tour and thought it was three hours well spent.
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Page added on: 27 February 2009
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