This year, I’ve teamed up with some of my very favorite bloggers (and friends!) to share stories of our favorite Disney-related holiday memories. Some of them are heartwarming, some of them are hilarious. All of them will put you in the spirit of the season.
Today’s post is the third in our series of eight holiday posts from me and my friends, and we’re all pretty lucky because it was written by Emma from A Pinch of Pixie Dust. If you don’t read her blog, you totally should! This former cast member is very authoritative … but she’s also so childlike and fun. There’s a real sense of wonder in her stories. And I think you’ll especially love this one.
I was so excited for the Christmas season when I worked at Walt Disney World. When you work in any place day after day after day, there’s a danger that your surroundings will start to seem dull. Now, obviously, at Disney World that danger is rather less than it would be anywhere else, and I did love hanging out in the lobby of the Boardwalk Resort all the time; but still, I was excited for the holiday transformation that I knew was coming!
First came the gingerbread. Like many of the deluxe resorts, the Boardwalk gets its own gingerbread display – this year it’s a Boardwalk-inspired candy stand, which sounds so cute. That year it was a Lilo and Stitch inspired bakery with a Chef Stitch causing havoc.
One day some of the rugs and furniture were whisked away, and the next the sweet construction started! While the chefs were putting it up, the whole place smelled SO deliciously of gingerbread. Some cast members walked around with trays of samples. There was a time lapse camera set up to film the gingerbread creation, and I may have taken a few extra laps around the lobby in the hope that my red hat would get captured on it. 😉
It was good to be informed about all the gingerbread displays around Crescent Lake, because lots of guests would come in expecting to see a gingerbread carousel, which is at the Beach Club! And while the Boardwalk did have a train, the really impressive locomotive layout is over at the Yacht Club. I can understand why you might expect a carousel at the Boardwalk though. I think they should do a gingerbread Ferris wheel someday…or maybe a whole gingerbread amusement park!
One day I arrived for my shift and found that Christmas had really arrived. My view from behind the front desk was suddenly framed by big garlands bursting with ornaments, and in every corner of the lobby there were trees and ribbons and poinsettias and snow-gilded evergreen. I know some of the other deluxe resorts have the truly gigantic trees and displays, but I fell in love with the Boardwalk’s decorations. I felt like I was working in a winter wonderland.
There were new fun details to show to guests – like the hidden pickle ornament, which that year was ensconced among the ornaments in a swag over the mantelpiece. The mini train layout also attracted crowds, and each train car was labeled with the name of a restaurant down on the boardwalk – they were even connected in the same order they stood down on the Boardwalk!
During lunch I might get changed out of my costume and sprint down to the Boardwalk Bakery for a peppermint cupcake. And as Christmas got closer, as I was walking down a backstage hallway, I might run into Mickey or Minnie dressed in snowflake sweaters. They and Santa came for meet and greets in the lobby the week before Christmas.
If you work at Disney World, you will probably be working on Christmas day; I did, but everyone was in such a festive mood, I didn’t even mind. I think at least 75% of the people – grown-ups and children – passing through the lobby that day were wearing Santa hats or holiday gear of some kind! My very favorite cast member Christmas memory, though, came not on Christmas Day but shortly before.
It was a family I checked in. The dad and the little boy, who was probably about 10, ran off to look at the Stitch display while I got the mom her keys. She confided that they usually come at the holidays but hadn’t been planning to that year – they had only booked a short trip at the last minute. The son was convinced that the only real Santa is the one at Walt Disney World, and the mom didn’t want to miss one of the last years he might believe. It was so sweet, and the whole family was so excited and happy. Once I sent them off, I headed backstage to make some extra magic happen. That night there was a plate of milk and cookies sent to their room – with a note from Santa of course. 🙂
How cute is that?!? Have you ever received some special magic at Disney Parks and Resorts? Tell us about it below!