Deck the shops with boughs of holly … fa la la la la, la la la la! The Disney Springs Christmas decorations certainly give shoppers and diners a reason to be jolly. Many of the stores and restaurants have their own Christmas trees or garland on display in addition to the popular Christmas Tree Trail, making Disney Springs a must-see destination during the holidays.
From a Winter Waterland with Santa and Mrs. Claus, to a Christmas Tree Stroll scavenger hunt, we've made our list of special festivities at Disney Springs (and checked it twice) so that you can get in on the holiday fun too.
Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail
As the main holiday attraction at Disney Springs, the Christmas Tree Trail just keeps getting better each year! This year's Christmas Tree Trail has been modified to a Stroll to ensure that social distancing can be maintained — which means the featured trees are spread all around the four neighborhoods of Disney Springs! Each tree has a different Disney theme. Many of them are based off of movies (this year, these featured flicks included “Frozen” and “Star Wars”) while others are based off of Disney World attractions, such as the Haunted Mansion. I’d suggest spending an extra minute at each one to comb through all of the details. Just be prepared to move out of the way if other frog families are waiting to take a picture.
We won't spoil where you can find them, but here's a full list of the themed trees:
- Toy Story
- The Princess and the Frog
- The Lion King
- Star Wars
- Mickey & Minnie
- The Haunted Mansion
- Disney Parks
- Disney Springs
While there are only 12 trees this year (fewer than years past), there is a special twist. As you walk around admiring the trees, you can participate in a scavenger hunt for a festive surprise!
Christmas Tree Stroll Scavenger Hunt
Before you start your tree tour, pick up a free Christmas Tree Stroll map at the Disney Springs Welcome Center, Disney PhotoPass Studio, The Art of Disney or House of Blues Gear Shop. (Psst — these spots are also the redemption locations where you can go after you complete the hunt.) The map comes with stickers that represent each tree's theme. When you come across a tree, place the corresponding sticker onto the correct blank space on your map.
Once you’ve completed this merry mission, show your completed map to a cast member at one of the redemption locations for a festive surprise.
Lily and Tad filled out their own separate maps so they could each get a prize. It’s the perfect activity to keep the tadpoles busy while one parent sneaks away to get some secret Christmas shopping done!
Also, don't lose your map! On the back of it, you'll find discounts for various restaurants and retail locations at Disney Springs. All of the offers are valid from Nov. 6 to Dec. 30, 2020. By the time we were done, we were hungry frogs and got 10 percent off of our dinner at Blaze Pizza!
Meeting Santa at Disney Springs
In 2019, guests were able to meet Santa at his chalet at the end of the Christmas Tree Trail. In 2020, to maintain a safe distance, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be floating by. That's right — the duo take to Lake Buena Vista in a Winter Waterland of colorfully decorated pontoon boats. As with other character experiences at Disney World, Santa and Mrs. Clause appear at random (but frequent) times throughout the day. My Disney Experience shows that they can appear anytime between 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., but we once saw them at 5:30 p.m. so it's likely that they continue until it gets too dark outside.
One of the best places to see Santa and Mrs. Claus is from the West Side Lakefront Walk (the sidewalk behind Jaleo, House of Blues and Starbucks). They start and end their journey at the Disney Springs West Side boat launch, so you get to see them as they set out and return. They're also close enough to talk to you! Frog tip: A live DJ stationed by the Disney Springs food trucks announces their arrival and plays music as they make their way around the lake. Another good location to spot them is from the Marketplace bridge.
Disney Springs Christmas Entertainment
A live DJ spins tunes during the day and at night in front of World of Disney at the Waterside Stage. It's a great way for the tadpoles to let loose and burn off energy before bedtime … that is, if all the shopping hasn’t already tired them out! We also spotted roaming and pop-up entertainers such as toy soldier stilt walkers, a capella groups and Christmas carolers throughout Disney Springs.
And for the first time ever, guests can experience "snow" flurries at Town Center and the West Side!
Special Holiday Dining and Shopping at Disney Springs
Jock Lindsey’s Holiday Bar
Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar will be receiving a festive makeover again this year! Along with over-the-top decorations, the bar will have a limited-time menu with holiday eats and drinks. Be sure to stop by in your best ugly Christmas sweaters between Nov. 6, 2020, and Jan. 3, 2021. Available seasonal cocktails and bites include:
- Milk and Cookies by the Fireside – Butter cookies and coquito with rum
- Child Cookies and Milk – Chocolate chip cookie and milk
- C9 Light Deviled Eggs – Colored deviled eggs with shrimp and caviar
- Grandma’s Favorite Sliders – Venison sausage sliders, cranberry-bacon jam and watercress on brioche bun
- Papa Noel’s Churrasco – Flank steak with fried sweet plantains and spicy aji amarillo peanut sauce
- Jock’s Holiday Nog – Cinnamon- and vanilla-flavored cream liqueur, vodka, hazelnut-flavored liqueur and vanilla
- Mistletoe Mule – Vodka, lime, and passion fruit topped with ginger beer
- Very Berry Margarita – Tequila, coconut rum, cinnamon- and vanilla-flavored cream liqueur and cranberry juice
Other Specialty Holiday Sweets and Treats at Disney Springs
You won't have to look hard to find seasonal sweets and treats at Disney Springs! Here's what's on the menu for 2020:
- Amorette’s Patisserie
- Black Forest Parfait – Chocolate mousse with cherry cream and cherry liquor
- Holiday Mickey Mousse – White chocolate mousse, dark chocolate with chocolate chiffon cake
- Holiday Petit Cake – Almond Chiffon cake, Hazelnut Panna Cotta, Cherry jam, Chocolate pieces and hazelnut liqueur
- Mickey Santa Dome Cake – Large Dome Cake (Ask a cast member for available flavors)
- Peppermint Crème Brûlée – Chocolate Peppermint-infused custard with crushed peppermint, meringue and sable cookie
- Spiced Yule Log – Red Velvet Chiffon with spiced cheesecake filling, Dark Chocolate Crisp Pearls, garnished with chocolate ganache, poinsettia and a fondant reindeer
- The Ganachery (All items available through Jan. 3)
- Eggnog Ganache Square – Creamy bourbon eggnog covered in dark chocolate
- Gingerbread Ganache Square – Gingerbread spices combined with creamy milk chocolate
- Mickey Santa Piñata – Dark chocolate piñata decorated like Mickey Santa filled with marshmallow treats
- Cherry Jubilee Bubble Waffle – Cherry fruit filling and ice cream in a waffle (Available Dec. 1 to Jan. 3)
- Eggnog Crepe – Eggnog custard in a crepe with pralines (Available Dec. 1 to Jan. 3)
- Mickey Snow Globe Sipper Cup – Disney Annual Passholder exclusive (Available while supplies last)
- Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’
- Pumpkin Bread Pudding – Warm, house-baked pumpkin bread in a rich custard topped with rich vanilla bean ice cream and finished with a golden spun sugar garnish (Available Nov. 13 to Dec. 31)
- The Daily Poutine
- Gobbler Poutine – French fries with shredded turkey, gravy and cheese curds (Available through Jan. 3)
- Earl of Sandwich
- Holiday Turkey Sandwich – Turkey, cornbread stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and mayonnaise
- Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop (All items available through Dec. 25)
- Ghirardelli White Chocolate Caramel Steamer – Steamed milk, rich cocoa butter notes from the white chocolate caramel squares, classic caramel sauce, whipped cream and a touch of sea salt.
- Ghirardelli Peppermint Hot Cocoa – Peppermint with the decadence of Ghirardelli chocolate
- Peppermint Bark Ice Cream – Rich white chocolate ice cream blended with crunchy chocolaty peppermint bark and peppermint pieces. (Available in a cone, cup or any handmade dessert through Jan. 15.)
- Christmas Cookie Cupcake – Vanilla cake studded with red and green sprinkles topped with vanilla buttercream frosting with red and green sprinkles and a homemade sugar cookie coated in sprinkles (Available Nov. 27 to Jan. 3)
- Gingerbread Cupcake – Spiced ginger cake topped with cream cheese frosting and dusted with cinnamon sugar (Available Nov. 30 to Dec. 27)
- Chocolate Peppermint Cupcake – Belgian dark chocolate cake topped with bittersweet chocolate-peppermint frosting and sprinkled with crushed peppermint candies (Available Nov. 30 to Dec. 27)
- Gideon’s Bakehouse (opening soon!)
- Santa’s White Christmas Cookie – White Chocolate Chip Cookie filled with notes of coconut, sweet caramel, vanilla and nutty flavors with freshly ground locally roasted coffee beans throughout. The cookie elves have also added the crunch of coarse sugar, the Gideon’s signature sea salt and a pinch of Christmas glitter.
- Cookie Vom Krampus Cookie – Deep, dark triple chocolate velvet textured cookie filled with Andes Mint and available in its own special packaging.
- ... and more!
In addition, vending carts and kiosks around the property will have special offerings, including seasonal libations, a Mickey Christmas Tree popcorn bucket, a Peppermint Mickey bottle topper and a Mickey Jingle Bell glow cube.
Disney's Days of Christmas
Disney's Days of Christmas is your one-stop shop for Christmas ornaments, stockings and everything in between. Last year, each tree along the Christmas Tree Trail featured an ornament that could be found at Days of Christmas. This year, we stopped by and asked if they had any special Christmas Tree Stroll ornaments. Sadly, the store did not have any, but the cast member who we talked to said that they hope to have them again next year!
What's your favorite themed tree along the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail? Got any Disney Springs shopping or dining tips for the holidays? Be sure to share in the comments below!