This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Christmas in DISNEY SPRINGS! Before we know it – almost before you can even blink – the end of the year will arrive and we’ll all be looking forward towards Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars – Galaxy’s Edge opening. But we’re not there yet! While we still have a couple weeks left in this year’s holiday season, let’s take a look at some great stuff going on at Disney Springs that could make any Grinch’s heart grow 3 sizes in one day (or in some cases, the Grinch’s stomach and/or liver.)
# 6 – Gingerbread Churro Balls at 4 Rivers
Back in November, the 4 Rivers Cantina Barbacoa Food Truck introduced a seasonal item onto their menu with the Gingerbread Churro Balls. The food truck – located outside of the World of Disney store – was already a must do because of the Taco Cone, but these new Churro Balls are a wonderful dessert option. With a crunchy outside and soft inside, the made-to-order balls are the Christmas present that your tastebuds wrote to Santa about. Be sure to dip the warm churro balls into the cream cheese icing for an even more unbelievable taste.
# 5 – Sundae Specials at Vivoli il Gelato
We’ve written a lot about Disney Springs in this fine blog series, but one venue we haven’t given much love to is Vivoli il Gelato. That might because the location is so close to both Eric McKenna’s Bakery NYC and Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Bar, two places we find ourselves at on almost every trip to the Springs. We decided to head in recently when hearing about some Christmas-themed sundaes added onto the menu, including the Mistletoe Magic. Crema gelato, red velvet cake, chocolate sauces and whipped cream make up the Mistletoe Magic. It is served in a waffle bowl, and the more you like red velvet cake, the more you’ll like this sundae.
With Mary Poppins Returns coming out in less than two weeks, we also had to get the limited time Chimney Sweep shake. This gives you a great cookies and cream taste because actual Oreos are blended into the gelato. It is served with a chocolate dipped cone and two red velvet ladyfingers form a small chimney at the top. The little chimney sweep coming out of the “chimney” is so great.
# 4 – Maple Bourbon Eggnog at The Polite Pig
Generally we’re not huge fans of eggnog, but Maple Bourbon Eggnog? Now you’re speaking our language. With equal parts bourbon and eggnog, its not too thick and creamy like most eggnogs we try. The brown sugar and cinnamon rim should also now be a staple for any eggnog made worldwide. A game changer. Also be on the lookout for a couple of new drink offerings including the WhistlePig 10yr Rye and Elijah Craig Bourbon. Talk about smooth.
# 3 – Amorette’s Patisserie
Many times when Disney tries to make snacks targeting Instagram people, they make snacks that look good but don’t taste that great (we’re looking in your direction Purple Wall Slushy.) Amorettes Patisserie instead makes snacks that taste incredible, but also look so great you don’t want to eat them and ruin it! The holiday season brought a whole bunch of new offerings to Amorettes, all of which are worth going out of your way to try.
And how about their gingerbread house display? Wow! Amorette’s you hit a home run this year.
# 2 – Christmas Tree Trail
While only in its third year, the Christmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs has gotten better and better each time, with this year being by far and away the best version yet. Free for all guests, the trail is open daily 11am-11pm and is filled with trees decorated to various themes. These themes can include specific characters (such as Mickey, Minnie and Pluto,) or movies (such as Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, Tangled, and Star Wars) and even one for the Haunted Mansion! There are over 25 decorated trees to check out, and we loved seeing trees for The Muppets, The Princess and the Frog, and Robin Hood. There are still no trees devoted to Theme Park Bloggers, but we have to believe that’s coming next year.
Many people have monorail toy sets at the base of their Christmas tree, but how many have tracks and trains around the entire tree!
Much like the Haunted Mansion poster above, throughout the trail there were some absolutely wonderful posters, several of which we wanted prints of to take home. Here’s one for the Grey Stuff.
Almost lost my mind seeing this poster referencing one of my all time favorite Christmas films: Emmit Otter’s Jugband Christmas.
Country Bear Jamboree!
Ever get the feeling Disney is trolling us all when they put out posters like this for the Dreamport?
A variety of snacks are available to purchase before walking the trail.
You can also get cotton candy.
# 1 – Christmas Cottage at The Ganachery
I love gingerbread houses almost as much as I hate making them. I always want one for my house, but every time I make one it looks like someone put it together after drinking a dozen Lapu Lapus and riding the tea cups for an hour straight. Thankfully my prayers were answered this year when The Ganachery released their CHRISTMAS COTTAGE. Because it’s made out of dark chocolate it’s not technically a “gingerbread house” but it looks like a gingerbread house and that’s good enough for me! The details on the cottage are absolutely incredible, including each shingle of the roof having a Mickey head.
You may recall earlier this year when we covered The Ganachery offering a chocolate piñata. Guess what? The Christmas Cottage also comes with a mallet so you can break open the cottage to reveal pieces of peppermint bark inside! Maybe I should say it allegedly is filled with peppermint bark, as both Captain Cruiseline and I have a cottage but neither one of us wants to break ours open to see the bark inside. Maybe this will be like a theme park blogger’s version of Seinfeld‘s The Contest, and we’ll see who can go the longest before breaking their cottage open. Mr. Cruiseline has an advantage though, if mine is still sitting on our kitchen counter by Groundhog’s day, my girlfriend will break it open by smashing it over my head.
Don’t forget the other great seasonal snacks at The Ganchery, including the various chocolates. They can be bought individually or combined to make a sharp gift for loved ones or co-workers.
There’s also a Santa Mickey piñata. Like the pinata we broke earlier this year it is filled with pieces of chocolate covered marshmallow and krispie balls.
Honorable Mention – The Decorations!
Throughout Disney Springs there are great photo ops to take pictures of and with, including this giant Christmas tree outside of Earl of Sandwich (and right in front of the Tree Trail.)
Another tree has these tags featuring stores and restaurants found at the Springs.
Deer artwork found outside Once Upon a Toy.
This deer sculpture found near the Orange garage was made out of metal.
Bike at Raglan Road.
Fun Santa hat used for effect at The BOATHOUSE.
A pair of snowman made out of “bobbers” at The BOATHOUSE. That’s terrific.
Seeing these guys outside of STK is just about an annual tradition for me.
This one is actually out all year long, but now is the only time it actually makes sense and is a great display to get some holiday pics featuring Disney characters.
BONUS LOOK: Disney’s Hollywood Studios
DHS may be in rough shape attraction wise, but of all the Walt Disney World parks it did the most to try and deliver the goods for people looking for Christmas fun. The usual stuff is back, such as the awesome designs around Echo Lake and Santa Gertie, but there’s also a whole bunch of new things, including a complete overlay at Toy Story Land! Around the park you’ll find new food and drink options, along with giant versions of Old Timey Christmas decorations that you would normally find at your Grandmother’s house. They are more than a little creepy, but also kind of great. It’s definitely worth going out of your way to check it all out.
So there you have it: Celebrating Christmas at Disney Springs! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).
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Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world famous Disney Cruise Line Blog, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and Nick, hot shot Michael Carelli, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.
FINAL PLUG! Did you know The 2019 Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando has a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX in it?That’s right, ANOTHER NEW ONE EXCLUSIVE TO THIS EDITION!Finally, someone came up with an actual reason to read a book. ORDER this baby now!