Christmas Visit 2020 Advice Please

Thoughts/Advice please. Considering visiting the parks Dec 23-29. My husband, myself, 18 and 14 year olds. Husband is not “Disney-fied” (poor man- lol) and I don’t want to ruin any future trips by scarring him with crowds during holiday time! Trip would be the kids’ Christmas gift… daughter is a senior… so would be a big trip for her. I’ve always avoided this time of year for fear of the crowds.
On the other hand… visiting this year at holidays will be unique in with lowest crowds prob ever that time of year b/c of Covid. We won’t miss Character Greetings …
We want to stay at the Contemporary (he wants park view… I don’t feel it’s necessary).
Am I crazy to consider this trip this time of year?? I realize this is a very unique year and very hard to predict …

Thank you!

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Welcome!

The only frame of reference for this during COVID is Labor Day weekend. It was the first “big” holiday weekend since the parks have been open for a while. The parks were all at their capacity. While that was not nearly the number it normally would be it still looked / felt busy.

Obviously, the world is a bit “fluid” right now and it’s hard to know. If I were to wager it’s still going to be pretty busy. People seem to becoming “used” to this “new normal” and are becoming more open to travel.

I would look at trip reports on here from people that went over that weekend to get a better idea.

Personally, and I know I’m in the minority, I don’t want to go right now. So many things are not happening that make the parks special. The rides don’t have all the effects turned on, there is limited atmosphere in the streets, no shows or fireworks & so much more gone. (on top of all this WDW is still charging FULL price!??!)

If I were going to take someone on their very first trip I’d wait. No need to wear masks and it’ll feel more “Magical” with everything in full force. I don’t think WDW will make a very good first impression, especially at the cost, during these COVID days.

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Thanks for your advice! These are really great things to consider!

My kids and I have been several times and love it all… my husband (not so much… he’s not really a fan ;( and I’d hate to make his impression of the mouse any worse…

Hi, there are a lot of trip reports right now during this crazy time. Two live ones now too. Here is the link. They might give you a better idea of what to expect and plan for.
https://forum.touringplans.com/c/walt-disney-world/trip-reports

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We were at MK in August on a Saturday on a day that they filled to capacity, or close to it. Frankly, it was one of the busiest days we’ve experienced at Disney World in years. While some rides are very short (Omni-mover rides), other rides have such limited capacity (by as much as 1/4 to 1/3) that the waits were actually LONGER than when we usually go. However, when we went back to MK on a weekday the following week, it was WAY better.

I say this because I would expect the parks to be much like that first MK day during the Christmas break. So just because overall crowds are lower, doesn’t necessarily mean WAIT TIMES are significantly lower (in some cases they are, in others, they aren’t).

You have to consider what you think your husband likes and doesn’t like about Disney. Will the changes for this pandemic time period make a difference in that?

For us, typically what makes us love Disney really isn’t the rides. In fact, as amusement parks go, Disney, frankly, has very few great/thrilling rides. What sets Disney apart for us is ambiance/experience. The magic of being transported, the way the cast members interact, the details of each attraction/land. And, well…truth is, this August trip? Some of that magic was gone, for sure. We had to bring some of the magic into the parks with us. So if you want to convince your husband of the magic, it will be an uphill battle right now. Just the fact that you can’t even just walk into a gift shop if you want at times, or easily hop into a line for food alters the experience.

That isn’t to say you can’t have a great time. We had a great time. But since this trip included our DIL, who had never been, we did find we kind of had to “explain” the magic that is missing from time to time since the experience of it was definitely diminished.

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My wife is similar. She “kinda” likes them, but typically only wants to be in the parks for about 2 - 4 hours. (definitely in the morning before it gets hot)

She will typically find a table indoors and read a book or go back to the hotel while my daughter & I play. So I understand trying to “make it fun” for your spouse so they have a good time & want to come back.

Also, as a “dad” who looks at the costs I get that aspect as well. I’d hate for y’all to get down there and he not really have a good time because of masks, crowds & lack of “magic” while paying thousands of dollars.

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My guess is that it will feel as busy as normal or busier. Without all of the attractions and restaurants open, without FP, shorter park hours, etc. it leaves less for people to do, which makes it feel busier even if the total number of guests in the park is lower than normal. I would read trip reports as suggested above, but I would also look at some recent videos on YouTube and check the wait times on the Disney app. To me, it seems like the wait times are longer than we saw on our last trip (in some cases double) and with the physical distancing, the lines are all over the parks. If you don’t mind waiting to experience the holidays, I’d go ahead and book it. I wouldn’t expect it to feel less crowded.

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Thanks all! Great advice!
It looks like the cancellation is very liberal?! Up to day of arrival?

I’ve read different reports and I think it depends if you book room only vs. package. It is prominent when you go to book it so you should be able to see it before you book it.

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Have there been any rumors about whether Disney will open up park hopping before the end of the year?

The rumors tend to speculate Spring 2021 at the earliest…

Booooo

I wouldn’t fall into the “trap” that the crowds are low right now. I check Len’s line app daily and watch a few other places that advertise wait times and they are definitely not short and that doesn’t even factor in that you will be going during the busiest time of the year. The narrative that crowds are low is deceiving (at limited capacity but lines are still long for rides) so I would do more homework if i were you and then make a decision to see if its something you want to do. What i can suggest is trying Universal. They have great hotel choices for very reasonable rates (Hard Rock is fantastic). They are offering discounted tickets where Disney is not (buy 2 days, get 2 days free) but the main factor to me would be Universal Express Pass…If you stay at one of their qualifying hotels you get to bypass the lines for EVERY ride.

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Universal is definitely much slower than WDW - especially during the week. However, the new daytime haunted houses are bringing out crowds on the weekends.

FYI - The Buy 2 Days Get 2 Days is a pretty typically Universal discount. They offer it pretty much year round, except during the “peak” times like July, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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There is obviously a difference between being crowded and having long lines…I think both WDW and Universal crowds are “light” compared to what most of us are used to but the lines are still pretty long…A park can be a little crowded but if you get to skip the lines, it makes a HUGE difference…for eg, MMRR is currently a 77 minute wait…At Universal, you could walk on to both of the Harry Potter rides if you had Express Pass…Express Pass negates the problem of when to go…You can go during busy times and not wait! I love it!

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Totally get it. Not debating the value of UXP. :sunglasses:

(Personally, I don’t stay at the deluxe resorts. I only use hotel rooms as a place to put my bags / shower / sleep while I’m in the parks all day / night - not lounging by the pools or dinning. So I’m a Endless Summer Resort or even “partner” hotel type of traveler.)

I like to wait & see how busy the parks feel and then decide if I want to buy UXP while in the parks. I’ve seen too many people book those deluxe stays just to get UXP when the queues aren’t terrible. Then, IMHO, you’ve “overpaid” for a hotel room.

But… I digress we are kinda getting OT … :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: (I just love Universal & take any excuse to talk about it!)

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Yah, and if memory serves, not only do you bypass the lines for all the rides, there is no limit on how many times you can ride. Not sure if Hagrid’s magical creatures is included in the Express Pass yet but they have a virtual queue for that one anyway. I think I’d avoid Christmas at WDW even during COVID.

There are two types of Express Pass… for each there still is a line, but it’s generally 1/3 of the time of the standby queue.

For $69 you can do each Express queue for each ride in that park once.

For $89 you get the Unlimited Express Pass - which allows you to do each attraction, using the Express queue, as much as you want.

Hagrid’s is not a part of either system - yet.

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Oh yeah I wasn’t debating that either if it came across that way! Just that it’s a nice benefit if you are staying on property at one of the participating hotels

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We’ve decided to go ahead and just do it! Booked for December 21-26th at Contemporary Main Tower! So excited - it’ll be a huge surprise for our kids. We will just go with the flow - I’ll plan as much as I can. I made my park reservations -
Dec 21st - arrival day and will try for a nice dinner somewhere
Dec 22nd - MK
Dec 23rd - HS
Dec 24th- Epcot
Dec. 25th- MK
Dec 26th- AK (and head home that evening on 7:30pm flight).

Any wonderful recommendations for Christmas Day dining reservations? Thanks for all this wonderful information - love this resource!

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