Home for the Holidays at Golden Oak
Could you imagine that being home for the holidays would mean a frosted evening filled with twinkling lights, snow and Elsa? A chance to feel like a real-life Cinderella? Neil Patrick Harris reading you the Christmas story and a fireworks display to ring in the New Year? That's just what it meant to Golden Oak residents when they relished one magical event after another this past holiday season.
The Turkey Trot kicked off the holiday events with Golden Oak's first-ever 5k. After a light breakfast of pastries, muffins and fruit, two energetic Cast Members—dressed in full turkey costumes—egged-on residents to join them in a jog. In all, more than 40 residents—and the two turkeys—trotted through the community.
"Those turkeys really stole the show," said one resident. "It certainly made it a fun race!"
On Thanksgiving Day, the culinary team at Summerhouse created a delicious traditional holiday dining experience served family style for residents as if they were in their own home. The meal included Carolina heritage breed roasted whole turkey, creamy mascarpone whipped potatoes, country green beans with Vermont herb butter, sage-scented bread stuffing, candied sweet potatoes with toasted pecans and brûléed marshmallows, house-made cranberry sauce, warm artisanal breads and apple or pumpkin pie.
Residents were transported to Epcot® to see Neil Patrick Harris host the Candlelight Processional on December 2. His moving reading of the Christmas story, accompanied by a full orchestra and a choir singing songs of hope and joy, reminded residents of the true meaning of the season. Five Golden Oak Cast Members lent their voices to the choir and gave residents a special connection to the performance.
The Resident Holiday Party on December 19 delighted the young and young at heart when they were met at Summerhouse by a flurry of twinkling lights and a Frozen winter wonderland. Children could barely contain their excitement when they were greeted by Anna and Elsa from Frozen! Olaf also joined the party and residents had the opportunity to capture photos with their favorite Frozen friends in a special Summerhouse location that was transformed to celebrate the evening. After photos, there were cookies to be decorated, faces to be painted, caricatures to be drawn, and snowballs to be thrown! Following a dinner at Markham's, the children finished the evening with a friendly snowball fight; with special indoor snowballs of course!
"It was such fun getting pictures taken with the Frozen characters," said a resident. "Summerhouse was transformed into a beautiful winter scene and the food was wonderful, as usual."
On New Year's Eve, many residents began their evening with a celebratory dinner at Markham's. After dinner, residents had the option to board private transportation and experience a private viewing area near the France Pavilion at Epcot®, ringing in the New Year at the "Illuminations: Reflections of Earth" fireworks display. With a warm drink bar and delectable desserts, residents were seated at festive tables right on the water to enjoy the show and welcome in 2015.
"I can't think of a better way to start the New Year off than to have a waterfront view of such a stunning show," one resident said. "It started my year off right."