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Disney holidays are here. What it takes to make magic at Disney World.

  • The holidays arrived at Disney World seemingly overnight, but preparations take all year.
  • Decorations start getting loaded on trucks in September.
  • More than 40,000 decorations are used to deck out the Florida resort and Disney Cruise Line.
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Lisa Borotkanics may not be an elf, but she’s definitely one of Santa’s helpers. 

And Mickey’s.

Borotkanics and her team at Disney Holiday Services work all year to make Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line holidays feel magical, even if it’s hot outside.

“In Florida, we own summer, right?” the Holiday Services manager said. “We have to make fall … because we can have amazing parades and wonderful holiday foods, but if it doesn’t feel like it, what’s a festival?”

The same goes for winter, which her team evokes with a crafter’s wonderland of seasonal decor.

Borotkanics gave USA TODAY a peek at preparations over the summer, on a tour of Holiday Services’ main warehouse and workshop, which some liken to Santa’s workshop. “This is where all the magic happens,” she said.

Questions and answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Merry Grinchmas:Holiday celebrations at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort

From salmon to scarlet, every color poinsettia imaginable is used to  decorate Disney World for the holidays. Holiday Services manager Lisa Borotkanics points out a few.

How long does it take to decorate Disney World for the holidays?

Depending on the park, like EPCOT, we do in one night.

Magic Kingdom, we’ll do in two nights because we’re switching over from Halloween. So we have to take all the Halloween out, and then we put in some of the Christmas decor, so it feels good right when you walk in. As a guest, you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ But that’s not all. We got one more night, and then we’ll finish the rest of it.

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