O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging


There will be a bit of a different flavor to the column this month. Those are the opening lyrics to the traditional German carol "O Christmas Tree." The author of the lyrics is unknown as is the composer. The song celebrates the very weird but time-honored tradition of heading out into the forest, felling a tree and dragging it inside your home - then decorating it. In the nineteenth century the trees were real and the decorations were mostly candy, baubles and bells. Today, roughly 50 percent of all Christmas trees are artificial and those decorations have been replaced with LED lights, tinsel, garland—and, if you're like me, more than a few ornaments featuring a famous mouse and his closest friends.

As I write this, I have just returned from a fun-filled week at Walt Disney World and was, once again, dazzled and amazed at the breadth of holiday decorations throughout the resorts and the parks. I thought for this column I would deviate from my usual pontification and opinions and offer you a challenge in keeping with the Holiday season: yes, it's time for Name That Disney Tree.

The rules are simple: The first picture in each set will be a close-up photo of a Christmas tree at Walt Disney World—and your job is to guess which theme park or resort is the location of that tree. Since I despise having to go the end of a column and turn the page upside down for answers, and I'm fearful you may drop your monitor attempting that, I'll simply show you a full-on shot of the tree in question in picture two and identify it for you. Got it?

Because my job is to inform as well as entertain you, I'll also toss in a few Holiday facts about Walt Disney World just to keep it interesting.

Ready? You can click on any of the photos for a larger image. Here we go with Tree #1:

Tree #1. Photo by Steve Russo.

Tree #1 – Epcot. Photo by Steve Russo.

This first tree is located in Epcot, just as you come in to World Showcase Plaza, the area where Future World meets World Showcase. There were a couple of clues there for you: the decoration with a maple leaf (Canada) and Geseënde Kersfees is Afrikaans for Merry Christmas. Ready to go again?

Tree #2. Photo by Steve Russo.

Tree #2 – The Boardwalk Resort. Photo by Steve Russo.

This one was a little tougher. The only real clue I could find is the clown ornament. Let's try something a bit easier.

Tree #3. Photo by Steve Russo.

Tree #3 – Disney's Hollywood Studios. Photo by Steve Russo.

The giveaway here was fairly obvious: the film at the tree's bottom.

Tree #4. Photo by Steve Russo.

Tree #4 – The Beach Club. Photo by Steve Russo.

This was a bit easier than the Boardwalk's. The fish should have offered a clue. The Beach Club lobby is loaded with holiday decorations including a gingerbread house and large carousel, but as you can see, its tree is smaller and sort of wedged in between two columns.

Tree #5. Photo by Steve Russo.

Tree #5 – The Yacht Club. Photo by Steve Russo.

Easy-peasy, right? The lighthouse was a dead giveaway. As you can see from the full shot, there's also a very, very large yacht as well.

Tree #6. Photo by Steve Russo.

Tree #6 – Kidani Village. Photo by Steve Russo.

From the clue photo, you'd have been OK guessing either of the Animal Kingdom Lodge resorts, Jambo House or Kidani Village. As you can see from the full photo, this is a smaller tree from Kidani. Jambo House's tree is much taller.

Tree #7. Photo by Steve Russo.

Tree #7 – The Grand Floridian. Photo by Steve Russo.

The clue here was the birdcage. The Grand Floridian boasts one of the largest and most extravagant trees on property – possibly rivaled by the Wilderness Lodge and Jambo House.

Tree #8. Photo by Steve Russo.

Tree #8 – Disney's Animal Kingdom. Photo by Steve Russo.

You got that one, right? Now let's check your score. If you got ten correct, math probably isn't your strong suit. If you knew all eight, you know your way around Walt Disney World during the holidays. If you scored fewer than eight correct answers, blame the photographer.

Hopefully, this little quiz has provided some fun. I promise next month I'll get back my normal curmudgeon-mode. In the meantime, here are a few Disney World Holiday facts I picked up at a press event back in 2009. The numbers today may have changed slightly but I'm sure they're no less impressive.

  • There are approximately 750 decorated trees throughout Walt Disney World property.
  • A wreath 25 feet in diameter adorns the Cirque du Soleil building at Downtown Disney.
  • There are more than10 miles of twinkling rope lights in the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.
  • Disney uses 150 tractor-trailer truckloads of decorations for 24 resorts, 4 theme parks and other locations.
  • There are 15 miles of garland strung and 1,314 wreaths hung throughout Walt Disney World.
  • More than 300,000 yards of ribbon and bows are draping Christmas trees across property.
  • There are more than 8.5 million lights strung throughout the resort.
  • 98 percent of the lighting used is now LED.
  • There are more than 800 performers each night at the Candlelight Processional.
  • There are more than 200 guest choirs during the entire run of the Candlelight Processional.
  • One 70-foot-tall tree takes center stage in Disney's Contemporary Resort entrance lobby featuring 35,800 white LED lights.
  • 11 countries are dressed for the Holidays around the World at Epcot's World Showcase.
  • A Christmas tree in Magic Kingdom has a base 26 feet wide.
  • 6 life-sized creations were cooked up by Walt Disney World pastry chefs, including:
    • One 16-foot tall gingerbread house at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, baked with 1,050 pounds of honey and involved more than 160 hours of decorating;
    • One life-sized gingerbread carousel at Disney's Beach Club Resort featuring ponies made of chocolate and fondant, giant candy poles, handcrafted poinsettias and hand-painted portraits of famous Disney characters.
  • There is a 100 percent chance of snow flurries during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.

Lastly, I want to thank each of you for reading my drivel and allowing me into your lives for this ever so brief period each month. I'm truly appreciative and wish you and yours the happiest and safest of Holiday Seasons. Be well, stay well, and Merry Christmas everyone!


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Steve's a Disney Vacation Club member that has been planning Walt Disney World vacations since 1984. Along the way, he's tried to learn everything he could about the Disney World resorts, restaurants and theme parks. He brings you that knowledge via planning tips and insights, often delivered with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

His three children are now grown but still vacation at Walt Disney World with Mom and Dad. The clan has increased to include a daughter-in-law, two sons-in-law and grandchildren. Steve is now retired and he and his wife, Barbara anxiously await their next visit to the World.

Steve is the author of So... You're Going to Disney World: How I learned to stop worrying and embrace the planning process.