- If you are trying to avoid huge crowds, do not visit Walt Disney World from about the 20th of December until after the new year. When the kids are out of school, the crowds are immense. Going before the 20th or so, though, allows you to navigate fairly easily through the parks and also enjoy all of the festivities of the holidays; decorations are already up at the parks, so you’ll get to see some of the wonderful sights without having to deal with hordes of people.
- If you have decided to spend Christmas Day in the Parks, plan on getting up very early. This probably won’t be an issue, particularly if you have wide-eyed, excited children in your party! Magic Kingdom may reach maximum capacity at 10 or 11:00 am, and if you arrive after the park is full, you will not be admitted entry. The other parks will still be extremely crowded, but likely will not completely fill up, at least not so early in the day. Plan on very long lines and slow movement through the crowds.
- Between now and December 21st, you can go to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on select nights. This is held at Magic Kingdom, and you will need to purchase an additional ticket to the event on top of your regular admission. These tickets sell out quickly, so as soon as you know which day you want to go, call and order your tickets! Magic Kingdom will be open to partygoers until midnight, and during that time, you’ll be able to enjoy access to some of the attractions, free cookies and hot cocoa, fireworks, live entertainment, and a special holiday-themed parade.
- Prices for Disney resort hotels will spike right around Christmas. For example, the average per-night fee for one of the value resorts in the beginning of December is just under $120; during the week of Christmas, the fee rises to an average of just under $200 before dropping again after the first of the year.
All in all, Christmastime is a wonderful time to visit Walt Disney World if you don’t mind higher prices and very large crowds. Since my family lives in Florida, we usually go during the first half of December at some point to enjoy the decorations, the cool weather and the low crowds. My advice would be to avoid the week of Christmas if you have young children who won’t be able to tolerate long lines and a lot of people, but if you have older children who have always dreamed of spending Christmas Day in Walt Disney World, then give it a try, while preparing them ahead of time so that they have realistic expectations.
Have you traveled to Walt Disney World during the Christmas season? What was your experience like?