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World Showcase Garland

As we know, the Disney Imagineers are masters when it comes to detailing their parks and hotels. And the holiday decorations they display at this time of year are no exception. Each November, Holiday Services decorates 24 resorts including Disney's Vero Beach and Disney's Hilton Head Island, 4 theme parks, 2 cruise ships, the Disney Cruise Line terminal and Castaway Cay, the Disney Reservation Centers, Downtown Disney Marketplace, and more than 400 merchandise shops.

I couldn't possibly cover all of this so I won't even try. And instead of focusing my attention on some of the more obvious decorations, I'm going to discuss an often overlooked, yet important part of the Christmas adornments, garland. Specifically, the garlands of Epcot's World Showcase.

Let's start in Canada. If you take a closer look at this yuletide tradition you'll find snow shoes, antlers, trout, and geese mingled into the evergreen.


Canada Garland.jpg

Canada Garland


In the United Kingdom, traditional ornaments are mixed in among plaid ribbons, mistletoe, and holly.


United Kingdom Garland

United Kingdom Garland


Eifel Tower ornaments can be found in the France Pavilion garland along with wine bottle ribbons and bows.


France Garland

France Garland


Since Morocco is essentially a Muslim nation, it does not receive any Christmas decorations.

Japan too is not a Christian country, but limited decorations can be found here -- for instance this garland in the Yakitori House. Here we find Japanese lanterns and fans mixed in with evergreens and pinecones.


Japan Garland

Japan Garland


In the American Adventure we find garland laden with a plentiful bounty. Patriotic ribbons and stars also complement the strands.


American Adventure Garland

American Adventure Garland


Elaborate masks adorn the garland in Italy as well as ornaments and ribbons displaying wine grapes.


Italy Garland

Italy Garland


In Germany, cuckoo clocks and teddy bears add a playful touch to the greenery.


Germany Garland

Germany Garland


Like Morocco and Japan, China is not a Christian nation so the decorations here are sparse. But in the Nine Dragons Restaurant you can find garland featuring flower blossoms, ornaments with Chinese lettering, and ribbon with an Asian design.


China Garland


In Norway you'll find cold-weather favorites like ice skates and snowflakes. Also keep an eye out for Santa and Christmas stockings.


Norway Garland

Norway Garland


Since it's perpetually nighttime in the Mexico Pavilion, the garland here is festively lit with multi-colored lights. In addition, Mexican handicrafts can be found nestled among the greens.


Mexico Garland

Mexico Garland


Here are a few interesting facts about what goes into decorating Walt Disney World and a description of some of the Christmas trees found around property.

The Holiday Services warehouse, which houses the decorations when not in use, covers approximately 50,000 square feet of space.

Decorating takes place on the graveyard shift. Most guests are asleep at this time and the resorts and parks are magically transformed overnight.

Holiday Services transports nearly 150 semi-trailers of decorations each November to various points around Walt Disney World and beyond.

Almost 8.5 million lights are used.

15 miles of garland are hung -- a lot of it in World Showcase.

1,314 wreaths are hung ranging in size from 12-inches to 84-inches (and 25-feet).

300,000 yards of ribbon are made into bows each year.

98% of the lighting used for the holiday décor is LED (Light Emitting Diode). LED's use 1/10 of the power of a traditional incandescent bulb and has a lifespan of 100,000 hours versus 1,000 hours.

2% of the lights used are compact fluorescents which are 21% more efficient in power conversion than incandescent bulbs. These also have a lifespan of 15,000 hours versus 1,000 hours.

Icon trees (large centerpiece trees) used in the parks and resorts range in height from 45 to 70-feet. These trees weigh from 28,000 to 32,000 pounds.

More than 5,500 lights twinkle from the branches of some of these trees.

Each of the trees at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and the Disney's Hollywood Studios are 65 feet tall. The tree at Disney's Animal Kingdom is 55-feet tall.

The tree in front of the Contemporary Resort is 70-feet tall and is decorated with about 35,800 white LED lights and the ornaments are illuminated with compact florescent bulbs.

The newest decoration at Walt Disney World is a 25-foot wide Mickey icon with 18 foot elliptical ears. It is mounted on the north side of the Contemporary Resort and is decorated in boxwood foliage and lit with 11,400 white LEDs.

The largest base section of an icon tree weighs 18,000 pounds and is 26-feet wide. It can be found in Town Square at the Magic Kingdom.

Icon trees are transported to their locations on flatbed trucks and are lifted into place with a 70-ton crane.

Downtown Disney Marketplace has a playful 45-foot exterior tree located near the Once Upon a Toy store decorated with oversized toys such as Mr. Potato Head, Barrel of Monkeys, and Scrabble pieces to name a few.

In the lobby of the Grand Floridian Resort is a special attraction, a 40-foot tree glowing with 45,000 LED lights, elegant ornamentation and Victorian bouquets.

The tree in the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge reaches 45-feet high and is adorned in a rustic motif of canoes, moccasins, sleds, teepees that are aglow with flicker flame bulbs.

In the lobby of the Jambo House at Animal Kingdom Lodge you'll find a 45-foot tree adorned with authentic African décor of handmade baskets and reproductions of traditional African masks cascading down to the floor.

Kidani Village at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge is decorated with handmade ornaments from villages throughout Africa.

The tree at the Beach Club Villas is trimmed with beach cottage flair, beach balls, sand toys and shells.

Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort uses a color pallet of sky blue, coppers, and browns, and adorned with smoke glass and crystal. Its tree topper is a one of a kind hand crafted crystal star.

The previous post in this blog was My Disney Story.

The next post in this blog is Blizzard Beach.

Comments (21)

cathy mullen:

Hi Jack,
With so much to see at Christmas I'm so glad you took photos of all the garland because I'm sure it gets overlooked.
Now I haven't been at DW for Christmas since way back in 1999 so I would like to see photos of some of the trees at Downtown Disney and at the AK. I do remember the trees at the GF,WL, and the Beach and Yacht Clubs.
Thanks again for the beautiful photos.
Have a magical day!

Hey Jack!

Neat blog post! We are heading down for a quick Christmas trip this weekend.

Going to print out this blog and take it with me! Thanks!

I'm a stat girl, so I love all the details you put in here! :)

Phil Hatton:

Jack: If you get a chance to watch the show that HGTV did on decorating the WDW parks and resorts, it is very informative. According to them it took 9 nights to have the World ready for Christmas. Have a Merry Christmas.

Suzanne lefever:

Once again Jack you have us very excited for our upcoming trip! Just a quick question, we will be arriving 1/1 at Wilderness lodge, any suggestions on which Christmas decorations we should see first/ not to miss? really want to see the GF, and the gingerbread house, and world showcase, and don't forget the studio!

Jack's Answer:

As you probably know, the Christmas decorations start to come down shortly after New Years so you need to act fast.

Of course, the gingerbread house at the Grand Floridian is nice as is the tree at the Wilderness Lodge -- but you already know that.

I think the train layout at the Yacht Club is worth seeing as is the gingerbread carousel in the Boardwalk lobby. Main Street in the Magic Kingdom is a must as are the Osborne Lights at the Studio. Also, this year is a second gingerbread house in the Food Court of the American Adventure in Epcot.

Tuckenie:

Hey Jack,

The tree at Kidani Village also has electric butterflies with wings that open and close slowly. It's very beautiful!

Love the blog!

Brittany:

Jack,

I am always waiting for your next blog. I am so wanting to make it to WDW for Christmas! While we go every year, December just doesn't seem to be an ideal time for us to get there. Your pictures of the details really help to hold me over until we can make it there! Thanks, as always, for the fantastic and entertaining information!
Have a very Merry Christmas!!

Deanna:

Jack, this is such a cool blog! I love how all the decorations are themed specifically to each country. I'll be sure to watch for the different garland types when I sneak down for a few days between Christmas and New Years. Thanks for exposing another overlooked attraction at WDW!

Suzie:

I noticed that there was garland but I never noticed what was on it. Thanks for bringing it to our attention! Disney never misses a detail, do they?

Jack's Comment:

It's not just the World Showcase garland that is themed accordingly, everything is -- everywhere. Next time you're at Disney World during the holidays, take a look around. You'll be amazed at the details.

julie:

Love it!! Thanks for the pics, I hope to make it to Disney for Christmas on e year.

Josh:

Jack
Thanks for the great pics. All the garlins are absolutly beautiful. It must be magical being able to go to disney world during the holiday season. I want to go so badly but have not been able to find the time yet. Thanks again.

Bernadette DiVincenzo:

always enjoy all your articles and pictures. I love WDW at Xmas and it is truly amazing how much time and effort they put into making it so special. Thank you for all your time and effort. Everyone appreciates you.

Angela M:

I love it! When I was there over Thanksgiving my family thought I was crazy for taking all kinds of pictures of the decorations. But to me they are just as fascinating as the rest of the attractions at the park. Glad to see I'm not the only one who takes these sort of photos!! Thanks!

Erin :

On our way home from WDW last week, we stayed for a night in Hilton Head. Along the back edge of the parking garage under the main building were all these sawhorses on wheels. We were naturally curious so my husband looked at each one and they had numbers like HH027, pictures and descriptions of all sorts of Christmas decorations. We figured they probably stored them in a storage facility off site but never in a million years believed that they came from Florida each year. But it makes sense now. Cool! Thanks for giving us more info.

Meagan:

hooray for Norway adding figure skates :D

Carolyn:

Great post as usual, Jack - but to be a tiny bit picky, coo coo clocks?? It is actually spelt cuckoo clocks, after the birds! Sorry, not being at all critical, but I get very obsessive about detail ....... :-)

chris:

I just returned from two weeks at WDW. This may sound a little off-the-wall, but as I was looking at all the decorations there were no horns on any of the trees or garlands. I noticed this after the first day and then started looking specifically for horns the rest of the trip. I had been to WDW one time previous during the holiday season and was pretty sure there were horns around. Do you know if there is a reason there are no horns on the decorations, or am I remembering incorrectly and were not used before? Sorry for the odd question.

Jack's Answer:

First, I'm not sure what kind of "horn" you're talking about. Do you mean an animal horn or a musical horn? Either way, I don't have an answer for you. I have no idea what criteria Disney uses for their decorations. However, I did see an animal horn on the Canada garland. If you're talking about a musical horn, it could be that Disney is worried that brass or other metals would rust or tarnish in the elements. Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

stacy:

THANKS JACK!

It's going to be a few years before we are back for the holidays and your blog is what gets me through these long stretches. Not too mention I love hearing the details/facts about WDW! Keep up the great work. It's SOOO appreciated!

Beth Tominski:

Hi Jack,

It has been 10 years since I have been to the parks at Christmas time, but I think they are absolutely beautiful. I have taken pictures of the garland and other decorations in many of the stores and restaurants. My husband thought I was nuts, but I have used the pictures to create holiday decorations at our house. Thanks for the pictures.

Beth

Martha:

Jack
How about some pictures of all the Christmas trees at the hotels & other special places. It would be great to see them instead of "imagining" from your great descriptions. I'd love a peek at the Contemporary's new Mickey icon - sounds cool.

The garland photos were spectacular - could really see the themeing. Disney does nothing without thinking it through.

As always - a great blog.

Sarah:

Love the pictures of the garland. I am so glad someone else notices all the small details and effort the WDW castmembers put into the decorating! I can't wait to take pictures of all of the trees at the different resorts. My mom and I are going this weekend, so I am printing this out so we don't miss a thing!

Kait:

Hi Jack,

Scoping out some more of your blogs and came across this one; I'm currently planning a trip November 1st -9th with my fiance and another couple (we're going that week to try and fit in Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party and the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival) and I was wondering if you remembered if a lot of Christmas decorations are up around the rest of the "World" during that time. (I've been twice in November but closer to Thanksgiving than Halloween). Thanks!!

Jack's Answer:

It's Disney's goal to have ALL the decorations up by Thanksgiving Day. That means they start decorating in early November. However, I have no idea in what order they begin. But given the time frame you mentioned, you will see very little holiday adornments.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 6, 2009 5:00 AM.

The previous post in this blog was My Disney Story.

The next post in this blog is Blizzard Beach.

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