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Christmas by the Numbers at Walt Disney World Resort

Decking the halls at Disney World is a huge task!


Mickey Wishes You a Merry Christmas
© The Walt Disney Company
If you've ever struggled with getting your own holiday decorations in place before guests arrive for that pre-holiday party, just imagine decking the halls of the 40-square-mile Walt Disney World Resort where hundreds (if not thousands) of guests arrive daily. I've had the opportunity to go behind the scenes to see the preparations that go into such an undertaking. Here is some of what I learned.

It takes 150 tractor-trailer truckloads of decorations to adorn the 22 resorts, four theme parks, two water parks, Downtown Disney and more. Where do you store that many decorations? One very large warehouse!

In an area that might resemble Santa's Workshop, an entire staff of Disney "elves" begin their year-long task of planning, designing, gathering, building and assembling shortly after Christmas. The decorations begin rolling out of the warehouse and into the tractor-trailers around the first of November and begin magically appearing in the resort hotels and theme parks — mostly in the middle of the night.

About every five years, and on a rotating basis, the decorations for the resorts are redesigned. Those that aren't slated for redesign are repaired, wrapped in plastic and returned to the warehouse for storage and use next season. That sounds easy, but we're talking hundreds of trees, wreaths and other decorations, so this might actually take months to complete.

Here are some numbers that may amaze you:

  • You think you hate untangling and hanging your Christmas lights? Consider this. Over seven million lights are hung throughout the Walt Disney World property for the holidays.
  • Speaking of lights, just one 45-foot-tall centerpiece tree in Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa lobby features nearly 60,000 miniature LED lights.
  • In my world, garland is measured in yards. At Disney World, garland is measured in miles — 11.3 miles to be exact.
  • While I might use a few feet of ribbon on my Christmas tree, more than 300,000 yards of ribbon and bows will be draped over 1,360 Christmas trees throughout the Vacation Kingdom.
  • How do truckloads of decorations make it around the world without ever leaving the Disney World property? They are bound for the 11 countries at Epcot's World Showcase.
  • Just how big are the Christmas trees at Walt Disney World Resort? Some are pretty large, like the tree at Disney's Contemporary Resort with a base that is 26 feet wide and 28,000-pound showcase trees at the theme parks.
  • Pastry chefs across Walt Disney World Resort cook up six life-sized sweet creations, including one 16-foot-tall gingerbread house at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and one life-size gingerbread carousel at Disney's Beach Club Resort. Imagine measuring 1,050 pounds of honey for just one gingerbread house!
  • Finally, how many holiday musicians, characters, storytellers, singers and entertainers perform daily throughout all four theme parks? Over 800.
There is no doubt that you'll enjoy the decorations during Walt Disney World's holiday festivities, because they are sure to be as spectacular as the numbers behind them.

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