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travel tips

Travel Tips: Free Holiday Lights Tour at Disney World

Looking for some low-budget fun at Walt Disney World® in Orlando, Florida? We have travel tips for a self-guided tour to experience the magic and holiday lights for FREE!

Download the free My Disney Experience app to navigate throughout Walt Disney World.

Step 1

Start at Disney Springs in the late afternoon – we recommend getting there around 4:00 p.m., as the sunsets about 5:30 p.m. EST this time of year. Park in the complimentary “Orange Garage”.

Spend 1-2 hours strolling around Disney Springs and take in the holiday lights and decorations. And, of course, the magical blue spring water that shimmers in the midst of it all. There’s even a “Christmas Tree Trail” that walks you through Disney stories with some snow! Grab something to eat at one of the many restaurants or a drink out on a patio bar; or do so at the end of the night.

Step 2

Use the complimentary bus transportation and hop on the bus to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. The wait time for the bus can be 10-30 minutes.

Go into the lobby at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge to view the large Christmas tree in the center and the decorations hung around the beautiful wooden architecture. Stroll out to the boat launch area, which is outside in the back of the hotel. Follow the signs, look at the map on the My Disney Experience app, or ask someone for directions if you need them.

travel tipsStep 3

Take the complimentary boat transportation from Wilderness Lodge to Disney’s Contemporary Resort. It’s a short but relaxing ride.

Head into Disney’s Contemporary Resort after the boat docks. You’ll go in on the lobby level. Stay to the left and take the elevators up to the 4th floor. Once you’re on the 4th floor, there are restaurants and shops to explore. A Fantastical Gingerbread House is also on display on this floor – don’t miss it. When you see the gingerbread house, walk to the right of it and out the doors marked “exit.” This will take you toward the bridge that goes to the hotel, but instead of going on the bridge, turn left onto a viewing deck. There in front of you will be a fantastic view of Cinderella’s castle! Check the app or ask a cast member when the fireworks start at Magic Kingdom that evening – you can then plan to get back to this viewing deck in time for the fireworks display, which will glimmer right above the castle.

Step 4

Take the complimentary monorail (enter through security on the 4th floor of the Contemporary Resort, near the elevators you took up to the 4th floor) to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Remember to enjoy the view out of the monorail window along the way.

When you arrive at the Grand Floridian, you’ll be let off the monorail right by the resort’s entrance, where the large Christmas tree is. It’s a grand welcome, for sure. Spend time walking around on the balcony and main floor. A Fantastical Gingerbread House is right in the center as well. Be sure to go around the back of the gingerbread house for a fun surprise! The Grand Floridian is so majestic that it’s definitely worth taking a seat for a few minutes to take it all in.

travel tipsStep 5

Get back on the monorail and take it back to Disney’s Contemporary Resort in time for the fireworks display at Magic Kingdom. Go to the viewing area on the 4th floor that we directed you to in step 3.

Enjoy the fireworks. And perhaps you’ll want to purchase a cup of hot chocolate to accompany the show.

Step 6

You can take a bus at no cost from the Contemporary Resort back to Disney Springs. Or you can hop the boat back to the Wilderness Lodge and take the bus from there to Disney Springs the same way you came.

Step 7

Once you get back to Disney Springs, have a nightcap and take in the holiday lights one last time.

If you’re in Orlando this holiday season, we hope you enjoy the festivities and have a great rest of the year!