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Seafood Boil

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Top insider tips for getting the most out of Disney World during the holidays

Top insider tips for getting the most out of Disney World during the holidays

One Disney-loving mom shares her insider secrets for a magical Disney World vacation over the holidays.

When my family moved from Maryland to Florida two years ago, we bought our Walt Disney World annual passes almost immediately after driving over the Florida state line. Living 90 minutes from the most magical place on earth has made us a bit obsessed, and these days we find ourselves doing something Disney-related almost every weekend.

Since we’re not shy about our love of Mickey and friends, we’re routinely inundated with questions from out-of-state friends wanting advice on what to prioritize when they make the trek to Orlando during the holidays.

Walt Disney World ushered in the season in early November — and after several reconnaissance missions, here’s our family’s guide to the best things to do and see at WDW during this festive season.

DISNEY SPRINGS Disney Springs may not be a theme park, but the retail and restaurant complex has a number of holiday-themed activities.

The Void at Disney Springs offers virtual reality adventures ranging from Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, where you move through a special mission as a Storm Trooper, to their newest experience released just in time for the holidays, Ralph Breaks VR, based on the film “Ralph Breaks the Internet.”

Disney Springs insider tip: Santa’s Chalet is the best place to get that Santa pic. Why here? Because you don’t have to wait in line. Put your name into a queue and you’ll get a text message when it’s your turn. While you are waiting for that text, head to Splitsville Luxury Lanes for some bowling in a beautiful facility.

While lots of restaurants offer holiday-themed specials, we love the deals here. At Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’, guests who dine in their “ugly” Disney Christmas sweater get get a free slice of Hummingbird Cake with holiday sprinkles and at Mario & Enzo’s Ristorante, families who attend their Sunday brunch in Christmas pajamas get a complimentary photo to take home.

To save money while feeding your family, check out the family-style plates at Wine Bar George (they feed 2-4 people) or hit a happy hour at Terralina Crafted Italian Restaurant or Paddlefish — both offer gorgeous water views and unbeatable food and drink specials.

Disney Springs insider tip: Don’t miss the Christmas Tree Trail, a walking path lined with 27 themed trees that represent classic films like “Toy Story” and “The Jungle Book.” Along the way, try peppermint cotton candy and Mickey Mouse gingerbread cookies.

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