The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort is Santa’s Favorite Resort, and while the season is a little different this year, guests of the hotels can enjoy plenty of holiday cheer. On select days through the remainder of November and much of December, Santa (in his vacation attire), Mrs. Claus and elf Kandy Kane return to greet guests of the resort. Unlike most years, this experience is just for those staying on property due to social distancing measures. There are hotel discounts on select dates this season! We were invited to check out Santa’s Holiday Hangout and also took a walk around both resorts. Here is a look at what you’ll find at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin this holiday season!
There is signage on property for Santa’s Holiday Hangout.
Normally, Santa and Mrs. Claus can be found on the causeway. Hopefully they will be back in this location next year, but guests can still enjoy “Santa’s Dancing Lights Spectacular”. The resort says on the website, Join us on the causeway located between the hotels as dancing lighted palms come alive every 10 minutes in a musical & light display designed to delight!
The resort added the synchronized lights a number of years ago now and it really brightens up the causeway.
There was a sign pointing to Santa Claus.
There are social distancing markers in the Santa’s Holiday Hangout area. Temperatures are also taken.
Santa’s Holiday Hangout includes cookie decorating and the meet and greet with Santa. The Splash Bar is open for guests wanting to purchase drinks (including hot chocolate with or without alcohol).
Mrs. Claus and Kandy Kane were greeting guests. We were invited to interview them.
This is the first year that Mrs. Claus has a different book than The Polar Express.
Here is our video with Mrs. Claus, Kandy Kane and Santa!
Santa can be seen in the distance here, in his normal meet and greet setup but in the new location.
Kandy Kane stands in front of two photo op deer.
Mrs. Claus and Kandy Kane take a socially distant photo with Santa.
We so much enjoyed getting to see them again this year. We’ve been visiting them at this meet and greet since 2013 and it is nice to see Santa, Mrs. Claus and Kandy Kane doing well and greeting guests.
The two reindeer have been part of the Santa location for years.
Another offering at Santa’s Holiday Hangout is cookie decorating, and it is included.
There is a photo op when entering into the building.
A notice says that guests are required to wear masks at all times.
Tables are distant from one another and it wasn’t busy when we decorated cookies.
We received a kit of two Christmas tree cookies and two gingerbread man shaped cookies.
The decorating part didn’t go perfectly but they taste really good!
Mrs. Claus and Kandy Kane make the rounds inside too.
Mrs. Claus showed us two hidden Mickeys on the tray.
The bartender at the Splash bar made us two drinks.
Santa’s Favorite Cocoa has Stoli Vanilla Vodka, Kahlua Coffee Liqueur and house-made hot chocolate. There is also a non-alcoholic version.
We also visited the life-size Santa display which has been in the Walt Disney World Swan each Christmas season since 2010. The Nutcracker and train were added in subsequent years.
The display is created by Laurent Branlard, the longtime Executive Pastry Chef at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort and his pastry team. Branlard is the only two-time winner of the World Pastry Team Championship. There are about 3000 pounds of chocolate within the display.
Almost every item is constructed of chocolate.
The display is next to Il Mulino and will be less busy for social distancing purposes when the restaurant has not yet opened.
The Dolphin lobby looks beautiful also. The lobby had been redesigned in 2017, I can’t believe it has been over 3 years since then.
The stunning chandelier stretches 20 feet from the ceiling with nearly 1,000 strands and about 10,000 individual crystals. And the colors changed as I took photos.
Inside of the quick service location Fuel, there is a small gingerbread house with a Mickey Mouse shaped wreath.
There are snowmen and Christmas trees as part of the house.
The swan fountain includes festive additions again this year.
The resorts both look beautiful. The Swan is a smaller hotel and my favorite of the two to stay at. I really like that Christmas trees are added to the revolving doors each year.
Thank you to the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin for inviting us to Santa’s Holiday Hangout! The press release is below with more information.
Here is the press release:
- On select nights beginning Nov. 27, the new Santa’s Village experience will give the young and young-at-heart a chance to experience the sights, scents and sounds of the holidays.
- Playful elves will host socially distant reindeer games and guests will enjoy specialty drinks from Santa’s ho-ho-hometown in the hotel’s restaurants, take part in holiday cookie decorating and meet and take socially distanced pictures with the big man himself.
- The full slate of Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort holiday activities include:
- Santa and Mrs. Claus Meet and Greets – Santa, Mrs. Claus and Kandy Kane, decked out in their favorite Florida vacation attire, will meet guests on select nights Nov – Dec. This unique, socially distanced holiday photo opportunity is filled with Florida flair, featuring reindeer, palm trees, flamingos and holiday cheer. Event dates: Nov. 27-28, Dec. 4-5, Dec. 11-12, Dec. 18-19, Dec. 21-22.
- Cookie Decorating – Fun has never tasted so sweet! On select nights, families can participate in a favorite holiday tradition – cookie decorating. Kids and parents alike can unleash their creativity on frosted sugar cookies from the hotel’s award-winning food and beverage team, then devour their delicious creations. The cookie decorating will be arranged with special health protocols in place.
- Life-Size Chocolate Holiday Santa Scene – Constructed entirely of chocolate, this life-size sculpture weighs approximately 2,000 pounds! The sculpture, created by two-time world pastry champion and the resort’s executive pastry chef, Laurent Branlard, is showcased in the Swan Hotel. It features chocolate Santa sitting in his chair; a 7-foot-tall, 400-pound chocolate nutcracker; chocolate fireplace; chocolate Christmas tree and chocolate toy train. The scene will be displayed throughout December and is 100 percent edible. However, any chocolate lovers thinking of taking on the challenge of consuming this enormous sweet should consider that it is 4 million calories! (And unfortunately, the sculpture is not available for tasting.)
- Dancing Lights Show – A dazzling musical light show transforms the outdoor causeway each evening into a holiday spectacle with dancing illuminated palm trees and favorite holiday tunes. The performances occur regularly from sunset through 10 p.m.
- Magic Keys for Santa on Christmas Eve – How will Santa deliver presents to each guest room without a chimney? With a magic key of course! Children can hang a magic key on their door to help Santa find his way on Christmas Eve. Magic keys are available on Dec. 24 at the concierge desk.
- Deck-The-Halls Decoration Packages – Extend the hotel’s festive décor to your guestroom. Guests can order a Deck-The-Halls decoration package, where elves will transform their room with holiday-themed décor and leave behind some tasty treats and a specialized holiday note for the kids. This is an ideal way to surprise the family after returning from a fun day in the theme parks! Hanukkah packages are also available. Advance reservations required. Fees apply.
- 24/7 In-Room Holiday Movies – Families can enjoy round-the-clock holiday cheer with a variety of free holiday-themed movies available in-room.
- Guests can join all the holiday excitement with rates starting at $167 per night. And, if they are on the nice list, they can also enjoy a special bonus: up to 50% off a second room. Just use the code: SANTA.