Christmas 2019 WDW Trip Report and Disney Lessons

This past holiday, I got to cross off a Disney Bucket list item- holidays at WDW! It was epic in many ways- Holiday decorations! Epcot Festival of the Holidays goodies! WDW when it isn’t sweltering hot! However, we also learned some hard lessons along the way as WDW at this time of year is a whole other animal than any other time. (Yes, I went in fully aware of the crazy crowds. Still, knowing is different from experiencing. :sweat_smile:)

DH, DMIL, DD10, DS7, and I took an EARLY flight into MCO on Saturday, 12/21. To make our 6am flight that morning, we planned on all getting up at 3am and leaving the house by 3:30. Unbeknownst to me, DD10 was so excited that she woke up at midnight and couldn’t go back to sleep. I came out of my bedroom at 3am to see DD10 sitting on the couch, happily dressed, and ready to go. Hmm…only a few hours of sleep for my child who regularly gets double the amount…what could go wrong? :stuck_out_tongue:

We arrived at the Yacht Club at 9:30am via Magical Express. Our usual routine is to start off our Disney trips with a leisurely meal at a resort table service restaurant. Since most people head to the parks by the time we arrive, we never made an ADR. Yes, this was the beginning of Christmas week but STILL- it’s the Ale and Compass, not something highly coveted like Beaches N Cream. We arrived at the A&C podium and heard something I never thought I would hear from A&C: “I’m sorry. But we’re fully booked the entire day.”

Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.

First Disney Holiday Lesson: You NEED an ADR, even for restaurants that don’t usually require one during in-between meal times.

But hey, I’m in WDW! I’m going to be calm and happy. We’ll just head to Epcot and eat at one of our favorite counter services, Les Halles. No problem!

But first, some snapshots of the beautiful Yacht Club holiday display:

We headed over to Epcot and guess what? The dreaded blue Mickey comes on when we try to scan in with our new MBs. Guest Relations hypothesizes that since we hadn’t technically checked into our hotel room yet (our room wasn’t ready), the MBs weren’t activated. :thinking:Regardless, we spent a bit of time fixing the problem. While my children were constantly asking why we aren’t going in yet. (We’ve never had a problem scanning in before). And they’re hungry. Starving. Gah. This was the first year I didn’t get actual physical tickets when I ordered them through Undercover Tourist. So we couldn’t even use physical tickets to scan in.

Lesson learned. Always get the physical tickets. Just in case.

We finally head in and have a delicious breakfast/lunch at Les Halles. And what’s breakfast without a special Buche de Noel? :yum:

Our first FP wasn’t until 2 hours later so we leisurely browsed World Showcase, checked out the holiday decor (some pavilions were very sparsely decorated since Christmas isn’t celebrated there), did a half-hearted attempt to find Chip and Dale for the Holiday Scavenger Hunt, and window shopped in MouseGear. This was when I learned another Disney lesson- most holiday gear are SOLD OUT way before the holidays actually hit. I had planned on getting the peppermint Minnie Ears. Nope. The Chip and Dale cookie jar. Nada. Holiday Snacks Pin set. HAHAHA…sold out weeks ago. There were a few holiday merchandise scattered here and there but I would say it was only 25% of what I had seen advertised when first released.

Third Disney lesson: Buy your holiday Disney merchandise right after Halloween. :roll_eyes:

I drowned my shopping woes in food and drinks:

Feast of the Three Kings: Pastelón (Sofrito-marinated Beef with Sweet Plantains and Olives), Coquito (Tropical Eggnog with a Bacardi Gold Dark Rum Floater), and a Chocolate Crinkle Cookie

Bavaria’s Cider Flight: Possmann Pure Hard Apple Cider, Possmann Pure Hard Black Currant Apple Cider, Schöfferhofer Pomegranate Hefeweizen

Onward to our first FP at SE. Problem #299 of the day: Our MBs lit up blue when we tried to scan in. sigh I showed the Cast Members our FP on my phone’s MDE so they nicely let us in. I couldn’t really enjoy the ride as I was worried about what was up with our MBs. After we exited the ride, I left my family to enjoy Project Tomorrow while I scurried over to yet another Guest Relations. Turns out our MBs just weren’t linked properly to our accounts. She said something about us having too many tickets/MBs. I think Disney just forgot to link our MBs before they sent them.

We were able to use our FPs for MS and TT without any further incident. For dinner, we noshed at various Festival of the Holidays kiosks.

DS7 had Bianca Neve (Italian Flatbread, Mozzarella and Parmesan)

DH got Bratwurst from Germany while my carnivorous DD10 had a turkey leg.
DMIL and I split items from the France booth:

Le Marche De Noel’s Rillette de Saumon (Salmon Spread with House-made Bread), Bouchée à la Reine Traditionnelle (Turkey and Mushrooms in a Veloute Cream Sauce served in a Light Puff Pastry), and a Frozen Hot Chocolate Martini (Grey Goose Vanilla Vodka and Chocolate Milk)

By this time, DD10 was almost passed out on the pavement from exhaustion so back to the resort we went to unpack and get ready for GE the next day! I was also hungry again within the hour…should’ve gotten more food. :sweat_smile:


I understand your disappointment.

It was our first Christmas visit last year. And I too, was disappointed that the holiday merchandise was sold out. We went to MVMCP on 12/10. They were out of MVMCP ornaments and two of the shirts I wanted. We didn’t go to Epcot until 12/ 17. They were out of the Festival of the Holidays shirt and ornaments.

Thanks for sharing! Hope you had a great time despite some disappointment.

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“Should have gotten more food.” Lol!


Day 2: Galaxy’s Edge!

We arrived at HS at 6:15am for park opening at 7am. This is the sea of humanity we found:

We scored a Boarding Group of 25 for Rise and then joined the loooooong line for MF. It took us about an hour before we rode MF. It was exhilarating but I think next time, I will volunteer to be the engineer instead. Being the pilot is cool but I concentrated so much on “flying” around obstacles that I didn’t pay any attention to the screen as a whole! :grimacing:

As we were exiting MF, our Boarding Group got called but DH declared that he would pass out if we didn’t eat so we went to Docking Bay 7 and ordered 2 Bright Suns Breakfast Platters that included a
Three-Cheese Egg Bite, Pork Sausage, Purple Potato Hash, and Mini Mustafarian Cinnamon Roll.

After this tasty interlude, we got to join the Resistance! Extremely impressive but I still love FOP more. We were hungry again so back to Docking Bay 7 we went. And we ordered almost the entire menu. :rofl:

Smoked Kaadu Pork Ribs and Batuuan Beef Pot Roast

Endorian Fried Chicken Tip Yip and Surabat Shrimp & Noodle Salad,

Oi-Oi Puff (Raspberry Crème Puff & Passion Fruit Mousse) and Batuu-bon (Chocolate Cake, White-Chocolate Mousse, Coffee Custard)

We then spent the next 2 hours just wandering Batuu’s shops. The off and on rain probably kept the crowds lower than it would’ve been otherwise. We also tried both Green and Blue Milk. Uh, as a SW fan, I can now say I tried it. But I don’t think I’ll get it again. Blue Milk was slightly fruity but Green tasted like how I imagine grass must taste like. :grimacing:

We exited GE through Toy Story Land and grabbed the alcoholic hot chocolate flight:

And a Santa Alien!

We then proceeded to baffle Photopass photographers. I had read on various Disney fan sites that Photopass would be offering a special holiday Magic Shot for each park (and 1 in DS) for Annual Passholders. I went to each designated location and the photographers stationed at each spot had no idea what I was talking about. sigh

But hey, I found Stitch in various costumes:

Indiana Jones Stitch!

Rocker Stitch!

We had some more holiday snacks while DH and DD10 rode RnR:

Holiday Blondie filled with Orange Peel, Dried Cranberries, and Slivered Almonds topped with White-Chocolate Ganache
Chocolate Chestnut Pinecone (Chocolate Chestnut Mousse on a Crispy Praline Leaf)

After resting at our hotel briefly, we headed to the monorail resorts to check out their Gingerbread Houses/holiday decor. Unfortunately, the line for the treats at the GF Gingerbread House was INSANE at this time of day (late afternoon) so I had to forego more sweets. For now.

The Gingerbread display at the Contemporary was cute but a little underwhelming after GF. But way quieter. I think there were only 2 other families checking it out when we were there. Since the line was non-existent, I easily got some cookie treats.

Since the Poly isn’t really known for their holiday decor, we decided to stay at the Contemporary and grab a quick dinner at Contempo Cafe. The entrees we had were of course delicious but the Cookies N Cream cupcake was disappointing as the frosting was super artificial tasting. Still, it looked very pretty.

A parting shot of the giant Contemporary tree as we left:

We all returned to the hotel to get the kids ready for bed and then, shockingly, for the first time in YEARS, DH was still awake enough to join me in my evening jaunt back to the parks while the kids slept (and DMIL stayed with them). During our usual summer trips, the heat just saps DH’s energy and he’s exhausted by evening. Since it was December, that was no longer a factor. (Then again, the colder weather then caused him to have a cold by the end of the trip. :roll_eyes:) But for that night, it was glorious and we got a Disney date night!

We finally got to try Baseline Taphouse!

Afterwards, we meandered through GE and browsed the shops.

We also found 2 more Stiches:
Jedi Stitch

This last Stitch underscored our dedication. The store he was in was closed already but we peered in through every window (while probably freaking out the cast members cleaning up inside) until, success:

I have no idea what he’s supposed to be- Elvis? Artist?

We had a wonderful, quiet evening. Which was nice since the next day…definitely did not go according to plan.


Loving this report so much! And making me think Christmas might actually be worth dealing with the crowds…though it sounds like the “hiccups“ are coming! Can’t wait to read what’s next!!

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Day 3 started at 4:30am because DD10 woke up with a fever. :face_with_thermometer:
In summary, our planned AK/DS day (and my plan for a MK night) became a total wash. DD10 and I spent half the day in a nearby urgent care waiting behind a looooong line of people before being seen and getting meds. Even the day was gross as it was continual rain all day. We spent the last half of the day resting in the hotel room. Wow it hurt to let go of FOP FPs. :cry:

I went to Epcot that night to get a few consolation snacks:

Yukon’s Canadian Wild Rice and Ham Soup with Almonds served with a Pretzel Roll

Shanghai Holiday Kitchen’s Chengdu Street Fries

L’Artisan des Glaces’ Peppermint Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich

On Day 4, we headed to MK “late” around 9am. (If we had been 100%, we would’ve been knocking on those gates at 7am rope drop). However, although DD10 was feeling better, we tried to take it easy that day. Since it was Christmas Eve, I KNEW the crowds were going to be insane so we went in not planning much aside from a few FPs and some window shopping.

We all rode the Jingle Cruise and then hung out in various shops. (Partially to shop and partially to warm up- it was COLD!) It was nice to just browse around and not hurry from FP to FP. In fact, we decided to let go of our FPs for Barnstormer (my kids still love this beginner coaster even though it’s a ridiculously short ride) as we didn’t want to schlep all the way to the other side of the park. While awaiting our 3rd planned FP for 7DMT, we had some more treats (but of course!):

Friar’s Nook’s Loaded Buffalo Chicken Tots

Storybook Treats’ Gingerbread Sundae

A quick jaunt on 7DMT and then we returned to the main hub to be struck dumb by this crazy sight:

The caption is courtesy of DD10. Yep, we were definitely at MK on a Crowd Level 10 day.

One more snack:

Cheeseburger Spring Rolls!

I had scored last minute FPs for HM but we couldn’t get to HM as we were on the wrong side of the parade route. :unamused: I had seen the crazy crowd and just thought, eh, it’s just crowded cuz it’s MK on Christmas Eve. I completely forgot that the parade was scheduled around then and that’s why all of humanity was gathered on Main Street and the hub.

Disney Lesson: Plan accordingly so as to not be trapped on the wrong side of the park during parade times.

Since we were trapped on the wrong side anyway, we browsed the Christmas Shop in Liberty Square. It was decently empty at that time since everybody was at the parade. We finished shopping just in time before the parade finished and then crossed over to the HM. However, with the parade finish came a huge people dump onto the HM FP line. The FP line now extended past the standby line. :grimacing: We decided to forego the HM FP because the line looked that bad. Because I felt bad for disappointing DS7 (he was excited about the FP I got for HM), we headed to MILF (another favorite of my kids). I tried to grab a FP for MILF but it was a no go. We wound up waiting about an hour on the standby MILF line. This was definitely a low point as we were caught in exactly the crazy Christmas situation I had wanted to avoid. My grand plan of just sticking with FPs we had (or could obtain last minute) went out the window due to guilt and sheer stubbornness on my part. :roll_eyes:

My kids love MILF though so I think it was worth it. :sweat_smile: The Christmas overlay was adorable. While we were waiting on line anyway, I stubbornly refreshed MDE over and over until I was finally able to obtain 3 more HM FPs. Yep, I’m stubborn.

After riding HM, we were way over the time I had planned for us to be in MK. So as to make our Bluezoo dinner reservation, we had to forego taking the boat over to Wilderness Lodge to check out Geyser Point. We also ran out of time to see the gingerbread display at Boardwalk. :cry: But Bluezoo more than made up for it!

Greek style charred octopus with chickpea purée, aleppo pepper, red vinegar pearls, fennel, crispy potato

Deviled crab beignets (blue crab, marcona almond, New Orleans-style rémoulade)

Teppan seared jumbo sea scallops with braised beef short rib, silky cauliflower purée

Miso-glazed mero (hawaiian sea bass, shiitake-ginger rice, black garlic, sticky soy)

Togarashi seared tuna with torn tempura rice, kimchi salad, avocado purée, soy ginger sauce

Snapper saltimbocca with crispy prosciutto, clamshell mushrooms, sweet pea risotto, madeira sauce

And cuz DH didn’t think we had enough food :laughing::

Twice-baked potato with bacon, scallion, creamy cheddar, lump crab and hollandaise

For dessert, we had:

Some kind of play on hazelnut and chocolate “beignets”

and an incredible selection of truffles

In all, I got to experience MK on Christmas Eve so that was incredible. I wish I had thought to check out the window displays on Main Street- I didn’t realize until we were almost out of the park that the Emporium’s windows were filled with scenes from Mickey’s Christmas Carol. By that time though, time was tight and the crazy crowds were stressing us out enough that we weren’t enjoying the ambience/experience anymore. I am also wistful that I didn’t get to see MK lit up at night. (We were too busy packing our last night so I couldn’t go back out myself). I feel like I missed out on an iconic part of being at WDW at Christmas time. Still, we got to experience GE the other day, which I had not dared to hope for so I can’t complain. And who knows? Maybe I’ll come back one day for Christmas again. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Onto our last day!


ok all this food made me ridicilously jealous and hungry


Love your pictures. That crowd at Magic Kingdom was anxiety inducing. Lol!

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Christmas Day! And our last day at WDW :cry:

We stopped by the Beach Club to admire their holiday decor before heading to Epcot.

As we walked through the UK and Canada towards our first FP of the day (Living with the Land), we tried again to find Chip and Dale. No luck! :sweat_smile:

The Land had a holiday overlay for the first time. I appreciated the effort even though some was just…odd:

It probably would’ve been better at night since there were holiday lights scattered throughout.

2 more FPs of MS and Soarin and then off to the primary goals of the day: more Festival of the Holidays foods! I was actually pretty surprised by the low waits for the booths, despite it being Christmas Day (crowd level 10). The waits for F&W were usually much longer, even on lower crowd level days. I’m guessing this was due to different clientele visiting the parks? F&W park goers are more likely to be foodies and thus hitting the booths whereas the park guests visiting during Christmas week may not even be aware of the specialty foods offered at FH. Either way, I was happy to get more Holiday Booth foods!

Las Posadas’ Giant Tostada de Puerco: Braised Pork served on a Giant Tostada with Chipotle Black Bean Spread, Guajillo Sauce, Queso Fresco, Crema Mexicana, Pickled Onion and topped with Chicharron Dust

Refreshment Outpost’s Warm Caramel-Stuffed Salted Pretzel with Soft-Serve Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce

Karamell Kuche’s Gingerbread Cookie Sandwich

DS7 had more of the Italian flatbread from the other night while DD10 and DMIL opted for Katsura Grill’s Japanese food. While they ate, I sprinted around some more in a mad dash to find some more Chip and Dales and food!

Bavaria’s Potato Dumpling with Mushroom Sauce

Since I was under a time constraint, I asked Cast Members for clues- oh the shame! :sweat_smile: Both Italy’s and Germany’s Chip and Dales were in really out of the way places that I did not expect. They were both on the outskirts of their pavilions in a random side door of a shop or next to the bathrooms.

Two of the very few we found without any clues.

Sapphire’s Grilled Lamb Kefta Kebab and Grapes with Euro Cucumber, Red Pepper, Pickled Pearl Onions and Harissa-Cilantro Dressing

The kids also got some cool henna tattoos.

One more for France

And some treats for the road:

Yukon’s Frozen Coffee with Tap 357 Whisky

It was a very memorable trip full of ups and downs. Something about the holidays/crowds/shorter trip just magnified everything. I’m extremely grateful that I got to see WDW with Christmas decor, wistful that I missed MK at night and holiday events/overlays at AK and DS, but intensely happy that I got to try food from yet another Epcot festival. Would I do the holidays at WDW again? YES! My family, that may take some convincing. :sweat_smile:


OMG I want to travel with you! Yum! Great foodie pics.

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