Denise's Corner

Touring Walt Disney World on Disney’s Yuletide Fantasy Tour 2018 (w/a Quick Look at Disney Holiday D-Lites)

Hi everyone!

Last month, I was invited to a Christmas in July event at Walt Disney World where we previewed upcoming holiday park offerings, merchandise and sampled a combination tour of Disney’s Yuletide Fantasy and Disney Holiday D-Lites. The tour was more Yuletide Fantasy but it was nice to have a short preview of Disney Holiday D-Lites as well – Holiday D-Lites is more about onstage experiences, but experienced differently so it’d be impossible to have a full tour preview in July. It has probably been almost 20 years since I’ve taken a Christmas tour at Walt Disney World, I’ve taken other tours occasionally through the years – they are always a nice way to see behind the scenes at Walt Disney World. There is one big difference now in that many of the tours are run through Adventures by Disney – starting with the day-long tour, Backstage Magic, which I think I took in 1996. That has been around a long time, and I definitely need to revisit it. But back to Christmas – even though we are about to start celebrating Halloween in the upcoming days here in Orlando, the holiday season is really just around the corner. Taking a holiday tour is a wonderful way to experience the season in a new way. Here is a preview!

Disney’s Yuletide Fantasy tour has been reimagined, and runs 3 1/2 hours long. Backstage photography is never allowed on any tour though there are some photo opportunities and also we were at Amorettes Patisserie, which is an onstage area and photos are welcome and encouraged.

Disney’s Yuletide Fantasy costs $139.00 and is available for guests 12+, though minors need to be accompanied by an adult who is registered for the tour. I actually took my first Walt Disney World backstage tour (as part of special classes offered to Disney guests) around 1980 when I was in my teens, and I think that a lot of aspects of Disney’s Yuletide Fantasy would be as interesting to kids now as my backstage experience was for me back then.

We met early, before 8:00 a.m. at Epcot with the Adventures by Disney guides. We received headsets and boarded a bus to various areas at Walt Disney World. The guide does tell stories during the bus ride and offers facts about the holidays at Walt Disney World. There was also a yuletide log on a TV screen and you may see some favorite characters occasionally making quick appearances. The bus was decorated inside with garland.

Our first stop was at Holiday Services, where we had the opportunity to walk some of the aisles and saw not only Christmas decorations but Halloween ones as they were being prepped. Not only does the warehouse have to hold park decorations, but decorations for all the resorts and Disney Springs. We were actually in two different buildings, one which also was getting ready for the Epcot Food & Wine Festival.

One of the aspects of Disney Holiday D-Lites reads this way: Meet the gifted Event & Decorating Support team responsible for adorning Cinderella Castle in hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights. This is the one major part of Holiday D-Lites that we did do. I have been posting each year about the Cinderella Castle Dreamlights since they debuted in 2007, and it was fun to learn more about them. There is a 16-person team that starts adding lights onto Cinderella Castle in August, and it takes 6-8 weeks for that to happen. It only takes the energy from a few loads of laundry to power the lights for the show, the bulbs are very efficient. The lights are lit on Cinderella Castle through the Walt Disney World Marathon so runners can experience it. We also had one of our photo ops here, we wore goggles backstage as we went through the warehouses.

We also learned a little about the Candlelight Processional, one of my favorite events at Walt Disney World through the years and about Illuminations and the pyro that is launched.

Disney Holiday D-Lites is a 6 hour tour because it includes some of the holiday experiences that happen in the parks as well.

Back to Disney’s Yuletide Magic, though I expect some information we learned does overlap between tours.

The Walt Disney World Christmas tree hasn’t been real in years, I hadn’t even remembered which year it went from real to faux – it was 1996. The tree is 65 feet tall and has a 18,000 pound base. We watched a timelapse video on the bus of the decorations being put up, and that generally takes 2 days for everything to be installed. We were told that Magic Kingdom has the most poinsettias, which surprised me – I thought it would be Epcot.

During Disney’s Yuletide Fantasy, guests will go to the Disney Event Group building. I have a couple of friends who work there but had never known much about the location, which is quite different than the warehouses we’d visited earlier on. This is a modestly sized building where all the floral and gift arrangements come from. The floral area itself smelled wonderful, I could have stayed there for hours. It is really pretty amazing out of this relatively small floral area within the building how many floral arrangements are created and delivered from it – for the resorts, for weddings, in-room gifts and more. Apparently they deliver fresh cakes from here too, and have embroidering, engraving and helium. It’s a one-stop shop for the creation of floral and gift baskets on property and work goes on here 7 days a week and not quite 24 hours. This was my second favorite stop on the tour.

My favorite stop on the tour was Amorette’s Patissierie. We decorated a macaron unicorn lollipop, but on Disney Yuletide Fantasy, the project will be holiday themed.

The 2017 gingerbread display was available for us to photograph, but there will be a new one for 2018.

Amorette’s Patisserie has become a favorite location for guests at Disney Springs to purchase treats, sandwiches, and cakes from – and the desserts are not only delicious but beautiful. The macaron was nicely presented and there was a bottle of water nearby.

Here is what the macaron finished should have looked like, it looks a lot better than mine so I am showing that one.

I have taken a couple of dozen tours or so at Walt Disney World through the years, and I always find them a nice way to learn more about the parks and resorts. As someone who is at Walt Disney World a few times per week or so and has 41 years of visiting behind me, I still find myself learning new things. Find our more about the variety of tours at Walt Disney World here.

Thank you to Disney for inviting me out!