Holiday’s always bring out the best in the Orlando area theme parks. From extensive decorations to themed shows and parades, the Christmas season is one of the most popular times of the year to visit the Orlando theme parks.
Crowds levels during this time of year are typically very high and on par with what is experienced during peak summer holiday’s like the 4th of July and Labor Day weekend. Special event tickets like Epcot’s Candlelight Processional Dining Package and Universal’s Holiday Tour are booked months in advance so if you want to experience these offerings, planning ahead is a must.
Just as important as planning what parks to visit and special events to experience is which hotel to choose. Finding the perfect place to stay during your Orlando holiday vacation can really make a major difference during your visit.
If you thinking about staying any of these amazing hotels, we would appreciate if you can use our links when making the reservations. Endless Summer is an affiliate with Marriott, Hilton & Expedia.com and receives a small commission for each stay that was referred by our website. This allows us to continue to continue making great content for our audience.
Read on to check our selection of the best Orlando hotels which to visit for Christmas and the Holiday Season.
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is one of the finest hotels not only at the Walt Disney World Resort but throughout all of central Florida. From it’s Victorian themed architecture to the spectacular views of the Sevens Seas Lagoon and Disney’s Magic Kingdom Theme park, this 867-room masterpiece is one of our favorites.
This exceptional hotel is one of the most popular on-site resorts and during the holiday season, Disney takes it to another level. Along with extensive holiday decorations throughout the resort, the hotel features a fully decorated five-story Christmas Tree and a 14-foot specialty made gingerbread house.
The Gingerbread House takes an extensive amount of time to build and includes more than 10,000 pieces of gingerbread, over 1,000 pounds of honey, 700 pounds of chocolate, 600 pounds of powered sugar and 800 pounds of flour.
If you are looking for an over-the-top Christmas holiday experience and have a budget to match, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is the place to stay.
The Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center
Christmas at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center is not just a time of the year for this hotel, but to be a major seasonal event. This massive 1,500 room resort is transformed into a winter wonderland and features some of the finest holiday entertainment and experience in all of central Florida.
The resort offers a number of free and premium (paid) events and experiences not only in the hotel itself but also within it’s 482,745 square foot convention center. For 2021, some of the highlights of what is being offered include:
- Mission: Save Christmas Featuring Elf
- Cirque: Spirit of Christmas
- The Greatest Story Stage Show
- Shine Light Show
- Snow Flow Mountain
- Snowball Build and Blast
Due to the popularity of this hotel during the holiday season, rooms sell out quickly so if you are interested in staying, make a reservation as early as possible.
The Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
Located on-site at the Universal Orlando Resort, the 750-room Loews Portofino Bay Hotel is an Italian-inspired resort showplace. The hotel features an extensive Harbor Piazza which hosts an enormous Christmas Tree and other seasonal decorations.
In addition to the decor, the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel hosts Holiday Harbor Nights which is also held in the Harbor Piazza. This holiday event features food, wine, music and a Christmas Tree lighting ceremony. This event is held on November 26, 2021 and costs$ 75.00 per person ($105 VIP).
Other holiday features and events at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel include:
- Hanukkah Menorah Lighting Ceremony (Nov 28th to Dec 6th)
- Holiday Cookies & Beverages in the Lobby
- Kids’ Holiday Crafts & Activities in the Lobby
- Christmas Day Dining
- New Year’s Eve Party on the Piazza (premium experience)
The Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World
The Four Seasons Resort Orlando originally opened in 2014 and is located on-site at Walt Disney World, just minutes from the Magic Kingdom. This award winning hotel features 443 rooms and suites in a 17 story building. Features and amenities include a five acre water playground which includes a lazy river and water slide.
The entire resort gets dressed up for the holidays with seasonal decorations along with a chocolate holiday-themed lobby display handcrafted by their own pastry chef and his team.
The “Festive Season” at the Four Seasons Orlando includes special holiday dining including a character breakfast with Goofy and his friends as well as an array of family oriented holiday activities which include:
- Story time with Santa and Mrs. Clause
- Jingle Bell Crafts
- Snowball supervises swim time
- Holiday dive-in movies
- Holiday themed treats
- In-Room Festivities (holiday themed play tents, in-room decorations and fireworks glow party dessert amenities)
The Grande Lakes Resort (Ritz-Carlton & JW Marriott)
The 500-acre Grande Lakes Resort features two of our favorite Orlando area hotels; the Ritz-Carlton Orlando and the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes. This massive resort features an 18-hole championship golf course, three swimming pools including a lazy river and adults only pool along with an enormous Ritz-Carlton Spa.
Beyond exquisite holiday themed decorations, the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott feature a number of events and activities for the holiday season including:
- Holiday Carolers
- Santa’s Teddy Bear Tea
- Santa Tuck-Ins
- Tree lighting ceremony
- Holiday Cooking School
- Gingerbread School
- Breakfast & Story Time with Mrs. Claus
- Special holiday dining
- New Years Fireworks Show
In addition to those items above, kids will enjoy taking the Grande Lakes Express (train) around the resort to view the holiday lights and decorations.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Another amazing on-site Walt Disney World resort makes our list of the best Orlando hotels for the holiday season. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge bring a rustic feel to Christmas and its something the entire family will remember.
This resort is huge and features over 1,300 room, two African-inspired pool areas and multiple dining options. What makes Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge unique is the adjacent “savannas” (four in total) which are home to over 200 hoofed animals and birds.
As you would expect, Disney goes all out with the holiday decorations which includes a massive Christmas Tree in the main lobby. In addition to the décor, there are a number of on-site holiday activities at the lodge.
Several years ago the Endless Summer family celebrated New Year’s Eve at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and it was a memorable experience. We had dinner at “Boma – Flavors of Africa” then spent the rest of evening in the lobby along with dozens of other guests. There was entertainment for adults and activities for kids along with drinks and snack were available throughout the lobby.