Christmas Week Advice for Disney Veterans


Our family (2 adults, 2 kids: 9 and 4) will be visiting the WDW parks during Christmas week: MK 12/24, AK 12/26, HS 12/28, EP 12/30 & 12/31. We’ve been more than a hundred times (last time was for 2 weeks in August 2017), but never between Christmas and New Years. I know it will be INSANE, but I’m curious to find out from others who may have been in recent years just HOW insane, and if you have any advice for enjoying as much as possible. Particularly looking forward to being in MK at midnight on 12/24 and celebrating my wife’s 47th birthday with late-night fireworks in EP on 12/31! We’ve just done multiple days at each park 3 months ago, so it’s not CRITICAL we see absolutely everything, and we’ve already got FP+ for each of the days, and ADR for most days to avoid getting locked out of the parks (just in case of a closure).

Anyone have any advice or experiences they’d like to share about being in the WDW parks for Christmas week & New Years’ Eve? We’d greatly appreciate it. Peace and Blessings (and Pixie Dust!) for the holidays to you!!

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My wife and I did the MVMCP in 2016. Your right, things were crazy and the park was crowded more than we expected. Others out here will swear they had a wonderful time for the extra money they spend for MVMCP, but unfortunately I’m not one of them. We got a Christmas cookie and hot Chocolate after standing in long lines. The show at the castle was good if you could see it in the crowd which was constantly pushing and shoving for position. Very rude people the time we were there. All and all I wouldn’t do it again and waste our money for the added hours we should have had in the first place. As I stated, others have had a wonderful time and I hope you and yours do too.

Replying to @DocHopper’s comments. There is nothing that I have seen or read that has convinced me to pay the huge sum of money to attend the Christmas Party.

As for the crowds, follow a TouringPlan to the letter. Use the Lines App to follow it and re-optimize when needed. That is your best bet to dealing with the crazy crowds!

@DocHopper, sorry you had a bad experience at MVMCP. The times we have done them were more about a “special experience” than anything else. It is (almost) prohibitively expensive, though the times we went weren’t as crowded as you describe. We’re not planning on doing any of the MVMCPs during Christmas week; I’m sure if the parks are crowded enough to worry about closures, the parties will be close to sold out and just as crowded as when you went. For me, MVMCP was a nice experience to say we’ve done, but I wouldn’t do it regularly.

@adamwsh, Thanks for the advice. We’re definitely planning on creating TouringPlans and making use of the Lines app. We use Lines every time we’re in the parks, if for no other reason than to help the community with actual wait time updates.

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Here’s the thing I tried to point out in my post. Some people have a great time it appears and feel MVMCP is worth the extra money and I mean extra. You should understand that the time Disney closes the park to non MVMCP participants is time you should have had with your regular admission.

THIS. The parties are an outrageous money-grab by Disney for a few “special” M&Gs that cost them almost nothing and could just as easily be in the park on a “normal” night. The special parademight cost a bit more to run, but they used to have a “free” parade every night until they cancelled MEP. Sorry Disney, but you’re not going to get my money for one of these “parties”…

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As I own Disney stock, you would think I would be overjoyed to see people waste their money. Of coarse the parks are only a very small part of Disney Stock and it isn’t doing all that well. I have a hard time believing that people actually pay out this extra money for time they already paid for but won’t be allowed to use. I and my wife did MVMCP in 2016 and the MK was packed. There must be some type of discount for Florida residents and others to make the park that crowded. As stated, we had a miserable time with the long lines and pushing and shoving to get anything. Others will disagree and state they had a wonderful time. Good for them. Personally I would never do it again. Now with the new dog policies I suppose they can use them for reindeer and pull Stanta’s sleigh or lap up the spilled coco and cookies. I guess I am a bah hum bug kind of person. I tried to get in the Christmas spirit that year and we bought all the add-ons to light up the night but to no avail. Sorry MNSHP and MVMCP are a waste of money and a ripoff.

Disney needs to dump ESPN and ABC and go back to what works. ESPN in particular is a money hole that needs to be sold off.

Problem is that they are now looking at purchasing FOX network.

Really sorry all of you are so disappointed in MVMCP and/or Disney in general, but that’s not at all related to what I was asking about, especially since there aren’t any MVMCP events during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, which is what I was asking about.

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Interesting how we all have different perspectives. I went to the Halloween party at Disneyland in late September, and to 3 MNSSHP’s in October, all with friends, not my family. Loved all 4 and thought they were worth the cost. The MNSSHP’s were so much less crowded than the non-party nights.

I have not been this week since I was 16 years old (and am now 43 :scream:) but…we do go during Easter week many years which can be almost as busy. I think you will do fine, it’s not like it is a once in a lifetime trip as you are Disney veterans. What has worked best for us during the busy times: go to morning EMH at 7am. Stay late. Nap midday to make up for the lack of nighttime sleep. Decide on a few must dos, and everything else is just bonus. Have a wonderful trip!

Yes, many have said they had a very good time. I must have gotten a bad evening to be there because ours was far from your experience. I am glad you and yours had a wonderful time. That said and the point to be made is that as a paying customer with regular park tickets for that night, you were cheated out of 2 hours of time you already had paid for. Then on top of that they hit you and yours up for more money ($100 a piece in my case), so you could stay the rest of the time you should have had anyway plus maybe an extra hour. If it was worth it to you and yours, then I guess you got what you expected. I love WDW and go their quite often. For me and my wife that is saying a lot as we are from ND and have quite an expense just for the flight out and back. Wouldn’t miss it for the world. On the other hand some of the experiences we have had lately kind of take away some of the magic.

I live in Washington State, so understand about the travel involved, I personally have been 3 times in 2017. It’s a long way, and a lot of money. I hear your perspective of the parties just as frequently as I hear the positive ones. I think money and worth is so subjective, and what is valuable to some is vastly different than to others. I love reading all the opinions, and am thankful there are options for everyone at Disney. We would be a boring group here if we all planned the exact same trip.

I unfortunately bought into it. We went and spent 2 hours in line for Moana (starting at 4:30pm) then SDMT and BTMR went down. Then the entire section past BTMR was closed for the parade so we couldn’t get to that area unless we fought through crowds at the hub then through Tomorrowland. People were so rude walking right into my 8 year old as if she weren’t there. By the time we navigated through the hub it was time to sit for a spot for fireworks. I found a great spot in the fake grassy spot in front of Casey’s and just relaxed with my family and then listened to the lame text me a merry xmas show (sorry I thought that was really stupid). Fireworks were beautiful then time to get up and stand in line for the parade. Already two people deep we found a spot in front of Casey’s and my kids were toast. My son who had been ill started crying and half way through the parade we just left. BUT we couldn’t get out because the parade was blocking the exits. The wonderful CM’s were trying to get us out but it was just nuts. We all said we not spend that money again on the MVMCP it was such a waste and not a huge difference in experience from the day. Maybe I was tired and a grumpy old scrooge but wish I hadn’t given Mickey’s handler’s our hard earned paycheck for that event.

I was beginning to think my wife and I were the only one’s that didn’t have a MVMC. I posted quite a while ago just what we went through that night and so I won’t bore those who have read it with the details again. I only post this to let you know your not the only one that would never do it again Sorry you had a similar experience. That said, WDW is still for the most part a magical experience.

Thanks for the good thoughts, @Wahoohokie! I know we’ll have a great time, though I can’t say I’ve ever left the parks for a midday nap. I’ve heard many give this advice, but I fear that the whole time I’d be lying awake thinking about everything I could be doing if I were at the parks. Plus, we usually stay off-property at a nearby timeshare, so the trip from the park to the tram to the car to the timeshare back to the parking lot and back to the park seems like it would take a lot of time. I can take my midday “nap” at one of the shows or even a “comfy” bench sear. Merry Christmas to you!

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I also have not been during that week in a long time (1997, to be specific), but I’ve been at 4th of July and Spring Break in the past few years. As long as you’re adjusting your expectations appropriately and don’t try to do too much then you’ll have a good time. Go in with the mindset that this trip is going to be different, and you’re not going to do as much but what you will do is still going to be great.

Do what you can get early FPs for, and use the Lines app. Since you’ve been so many times then I’d advise that you not try to do any huge attractions and maybe just focus on the more atmospheric stuff… see the details and shows and other things that are only there at this time of year. If you are they type who gets anxious thinking about what else you could be doing then 100-120 minutes spent waiting in a line could be very difficult to cope with, so maybe save the roller coasters (and other major attractions) for another trip when the lines won’t be stretched down the midway.

As far as midday breaks go, this is one time of year when I actually wouldn’t plan for them. The weather is going to be more conducive to a long day outdoors, and the lines for everything will be so long that you really need every minute of park time. Also, transportation (even in your own car or an Uber) can take forever, just due to the volume of traffic on the roads. I would, however, suggest a non-character sit down meal at some point during each day. Seating at any of the QS places is likely to be very, very difficult to find and you’re going to want to eat and have a moment away from the chaos and crowds. Also, most QS places will have long lines, especially at “normal” meal times so if you plan to eat there make sure you build in the wait to order when you make your plans.

Most of all, be flexible. Having a pre-made TP is good, but you can’t be married to it. You’ve got to be ready to shuffle things up. Have your walking speed set to “very relaxed” and avoid long cross-park treks whenever possible, because simply maneuvering the crowds can make it take much longer than usual to get from point A to point B.

Merry Christmas to you too!