Christmas Experiences

This is my first trip to Disney World during Christmas. It’s a 100% surprise for the wife and kids-they won’t know until I wake them up to go to the airport.

With that said I’m just looking to hear about folks’ experiences during Christmas time-anything you want to share the good, the bad, and the ugly sweatshirts of Disney at Christmas.

Well, if you are going during the Christmas to New Years stretch, I have one thing to say: CANCEL NOW, BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

We were there once during that time period. It was miserable. Didn’t really enjoy it at all. Just remember the sea of people, waiting like 2 1/2 hours for Peter Pan, etc. Will NEVER EVER go again during that time period, even if someone PAID me to do it.

But, if you are going EARLIER in December then…forget anything I just said. :wink:

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We have been the week at Christmas time. It will be busy–very busy so I think the key is to manage expectations. You won’t be able to do everything, so pick the things that are most important to you and focus on doing those. We had a great time despite the crowds. The atmosphere is wonderful at Disney during Christmas.


I have only been to DLR during Christmas. Long ago, I am talking 30+ years the park wasn’t a big thing just before Christmas because people were elsewhere shopping for presents. This is before Disney became a merchandise orgy.
Last time I went was on Dec. 22, 1998 on my DH’s birthday, and I swore I’d never do it again. It was so uncomfortable with all the crowds. The rides with the oldd fashioned Fps weren’t bad but it was just trying to walk from A to B that was difficult.
However, I have a nephew and family with premium APs that go for 3 days to DLR over the Christmas holiday every year, and they love it!

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We must be crazy too, but we also will be there for the first time over the holidays (12/26-1/2) and then UOR until 1/6. It will be crowded, but honestly I am not too worried. We have been to Disneyland during CL 10 days, and it feels significantly more crowded than WDW ever has to us. Our usual trip to WDW is during spring break, often around Easter and we never have issues getting things done. In order to help with the crowds, we have booked part of our stay at the new Gran Destino tour at CSR. We booked Club level so we can buy the extra fastpasses for some or all of the 5 days we are eligible. I think this will help significantly with the headliners. We usually don’t park hop, but will this trip. Also we tend to book dining packages and dessert parties to also lessen the wait for shows and to give more personal space during fireworks and such. We do many of these on our non holiday time trips as well, so no real added cost. It may not be the trip I think it will be, but I honestly think as a frequent visitor to both coasts multiple times a year, if we miss some things it won’t be a big deal. I would not recommend the holidays for a first trip, but if you have been multiple times and know how to tour effectively (rope drop, touring plans, great initial fastpasses plus knowing how to modify them and catch any drops), plus dessert parties and dining package…this all will lead to the best trip possible during the busiest time of the year. Hope you have a wonderful trip!


Our Trip is 12/20-12/23 and managing expectations is a point well taken. We’ve been to WDW many times…just never at Christmas. I’ve got Mickey’s Christmas Party (probably will be a sold out one so it will be A to B crowds) and some great ADR’s.

Any particular resorts that are decorated-that are don’t miss or anyone have any experiences with Chip N Dales Christmas Tree Spree Hunt in Epcot.

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We’ve gone to WDW twice during Christmas week. It is busy, but if you have a touring plan, it’s easier. Just realize that you can’t do everything. This year they are introducing more Christmas decorations in Animal Kingdom, which sounds delightful. Last year, HS was fully decked out and was the prettiest of the parks.

I think it is a wonderful time to go. The weather is cooler and the added theming is just awesome!

If you have time, try to work in visiting WL and AKL. They both are gorgeous during Christmas.


Good. You should survive then. While busy, crowds don’t hit 10+ levels until Dec. 25. So the fact you are going those days ahead of time will help immensely, I’m sure.

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We will be on our second WDW trip 12/15 - 12/22, our first Christmas time trip. We are really looking forward to the parks and resorts being decorated for Christmas.

We are going to follow this guide for the resort tour:

We are also going to do the Christmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs.

We will be doing the Chip N Dale Christmas Tree Spree. I have read that this is challenging but we are game and we are four adults: me, DH, DD21, and DS19, with 2 days in Epcot. We plan to tour WS, Mexico to about Italy on 12/16 and Canada to Japan on 12/22. If we actually do the Tree Spree and I have time, I’ll post something on Lines or the Forum on our search status on 12/17 or 12/18.

Merry Christmas, WDW style!


Thanks for sharing the guide. On our Mickey Christmas Party day we won’t be going into the park until four so I’m going to be pulling from that guide

I’m wondering on the Mickey Day if I should tap the magic bands or print off the barcode for the party to use as entry. I didn’t plan on using an actual park ticket for that day and didn’t want to accidentally burn one by tapping the band.

I wish I could say with certainty that MDE will not pull one of my park tickets when I tap in with my MB for MVMCP. Liners say that there are specific tapstiles for the Event Entry that are set up to only accept party tickets. I linked the MVMCP tickets to my account before I realized all the Disney’s IT issues. I’m going to bring my paper ticket and go to GS when I arrive to ask which form of my ticket I should use to ensure that one of my park tickets won’t be used, MB or paper.

Then, I’m in a knot trying to determine if I’m going to book any FPP with my party tickets… Liners report getting email warnings that their FPP will be dropped from the last day the park tickets. But this year’s MNSSHP liners report few emails on FPP being dropped from the last day of park tickets if they booked FPP using party tickets.

Gotcha-I’m thinking I’m going to roll how you are. In the end GS has at Disney has always been spot on so if there is a problem with a tickets I have faith in them. I do know that I won’t enter MK until 4 on the day of the party-

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I hate Christmas. I’m single and don’t really have any family and am super bitter.

Christmas at Disney is magical. It’s phenomenal. I loved every second of it. I went 18-24th last year and am going a week earlier this year.

Touring the hotels (I recommend GF, WL and AKL) was wonderful. MVMCP was insanely busy — don’t go expecting to ride rides — but so so so pretty. The Castle! Just lovely.

Candlelight Processional is a must-do at Epcot — and I hate religion. If it can melt my rocky heart, it can charm and delight anyone.

Oh, and I loved Sunset Season’s Greetings at Hollywood Studios. I found it entrancing.

You cannot fail to have anything other than an utterly wonderful time at WDW at Christmas.


If we were there at the same time I’d buy you a dole whip! Thank you for the recommendations on the resorts!

Who was your MC for the processional?

@mousematt doesn’t like Dole Whip, since he never had any on his last trip, much to the chagrin of @Randall1028 and me…

The MC was the lady from Moana, if I recall correctly. I like to stalk @mousematt… it’s the British accent of his…

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Christmas is AMAZING, but we definitely alter our planning and thinking due to the crowd levels. Managing expectations is key! I’ve taken the kids both before and after Christmas for 4 years now (depending on when their father has visitation). We always have a wonderful time, but it definitely feels different than our summer / spring trips. (This is pretty much our only C’mas present every year - kids don’t need more crap, so we make memories)

Weather may be warm & nice, or cold & rainy - we had one trip that started sunny mid-80s and ended with freezing rain (literally - I-10 shut down b/c of ice, so we stayed an extra day. ha!).

Christmas Processional is one of our absolute favorite things to do. It’s beautiful. Eating around the world at the little kitchens is so much fun - we love to try new things. We tour the countries and learn about all the traditions. We end up spending a lot of time in Epcot, now that I think about it. These things have very little wait. We’ve made some amazing memories, like my youngest helping “Barn Santa” cause mischief in the story at Norway. Priceless!!

For the other parks, we typically do the rides we have FP’s for and the favorites, but don’t try to hit everything. Just walking down Main Street with the “snow” is magical!

Busy days are a good time to discover places we don’t always stop for, like Carousal of Progress (kids love it), or Hall of Presidents. We play more of the park games - Sorcerers, Pirates, Agent P, find hidden Mickeys etc. Maybe listen to a podcast on the way or find a book with some cool facts about the world and go explore those little known intricate details. Lou Mongello has a good podcast for these things.

All in all, make a plan, but don’t go expecting to ride everything. Expect lines, expect being very close to a lot of people, expect that some people are grinches. I HATE walking through crowds - normally we’d speed walk between rides and I get so aggravated being stuck behind families that are strolling slowly, 10 people wide, taking up the whole walkway so no one can get around!! But Christmas is different - somehow I don’t mind the strolling and looking around quite so much - maybe because I plan for that, or maybe because it is so lovely with all the decorations and I want to take it all in.

I almost never make time to resort hop and you have a bit of a short trip, but the decorations are really very lovely in all the resorts we’ve seen and worth spending time to admire.

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ahem, and every other wholesome disney parks fan. :smiley:

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Wrong. He had a Dole Whip with pineapple upside down cake at Aloha Isle.

I stand corrected.