Curious about Christmas in the parks?

Hello there everyone! So I’m just curious for those who have just spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the parks, how did it go? How crazy was it? How were the FPP lines? Would you go again at that time? Did you really even get to enjoy your time there or was it all hustle, bustle and stress?
And one more if you’ve been to WDW in May would you say it’s best to go first week or the second week? If it makes a difference? TIA! Hope everyone’s having a wonderful week.

Hi! I have only been during Christmas time, so I have nothing to compare it to. We were there for Christmas 2015 and I loved, loved, loved, the decorations and special feel of being there at that time. We spent Christmas Eve at our hotel and at Disney Springs and while it was crowded, it wasn’t unbearable. We spent Christmas day at Animal Kingdom and were not bothered by the crowds at all. We did MK later in the week and on one of the days my family refused to get up early so by the time we arrived, the crowds were massive and my plan was up in smoke. I would say that was our only “bad” day, but we were at WDW so it was still better than being anywhere else! On the following day, when we got up early for MK and followed my plan, it was crowded, but we had a great experience. Epcot was fine for us as well, crowded, but manageable with our touring plans.

Overall, we used carefully crafted TP’s, used only 3 FPP’s each day (sometimes we didn’t even need those), took a midday break on most days, and saw and did a lot. Except for that one MK day, our Christmas at WDW exceeded my expectations.

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We loved it. Yes it was a bit crowded but we were able to do everything we had wanted to. On the 24th, we were in Epcot and Breakfast at Akershus and then when right on FEA with no fastpass, went up over to Future world and did rides and shows, then came back to World showcase where for a good bit of the day, we went from Mexico, Norway and China, but also had lunch at Biergarten with the CLP package) in German. We took our time, then went to the 645pm Candlelight Processional. Right after that we went to Monsier Paul for Dinner.
MK on Christmas, we had Breakfast at BOG, Lunch at LTT and then Dinner back at BOG. We enjoyed it and since it was the 3rd day we had been in MK, we just took our time.

We really enjoyed this trip, and it was Andrea’s first visit to WDW. To me, the stress would be from trying to expect to do to much and not have a plan.

May - I would say the 2nd week, going closer towards the middle as in many places kids are still in school.

I hope this helps

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Thank you!

Sounds doable for some but I still don’t think I could do it, that many people would stress me out.

Yes, stress is one thing that I did notice from some guests, also the crowds were big. We wanted to be there on Christmas and knew it would be crowded, that is why we did 3 meals in the park, all where we could sit down and relax away from everyone. We are going back again next year over Christmas, however for us, since we will be in MK for at least 3 days, we will probably go to a different park or even to Disney Springs. With that said, it was a very magical Christmas and we wouldn’t have done it any different.

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We just returned from a trip that ended Christmas day. The crowds were 10 in all the parks every day we were there. Our previous trips were October, first week of November, and first week of January - 4 trips over 20 years. The first week of January was almost as crowded as the week before Christmas because the South American kids get out of school for their summer vacation then.

Though it was great to see the beautiful holiday decorations, I would not go back again from Thanksgiving to January 15. Crowd levels made it impossible to get fastpasses for the rides we wanted after our 3 Fastpass+'s were used, which was always before lunch. For the whole week we were able to get only one additional fastpass, for space mountain.

Transportation was very crowded. They added more buses, so we didn’t have to wait long for a ride, but we almost always rode standing.

It was very difficult to change reservations for meals after the 6 month out opening of dining reservations. If you don’t plan your trip that far out, you will have trouble with dining reservations. We found, quite by accident, that if you show up for your reserved time and ask to move it to later in the day, the cast member will usually accommodate you, though you might be eating later than you wanted.

Things that happened this trip with crowds that had not happened before:

Lost luggage
Longer wait times for child swap (than we expected from our intricately prepared touring plans) because the FP lines were so long.
Impossible to see the hidden Mickeys because of crowds.
45 - 90 minute waits for character greets
Memory maker photos were not spur of the moment - 30 minute waits for photographer
Full buses -Standing room only
Slow walking behind strollers and wheelchairs everywhere
Missed attractions & shows on plans because of slow moving crowds
Crowded restaurants = slow service
No fastpasses available after initial 3 FP+ in morning
Park hopping was not feasible. The transportation took way too long.
Afternoon return to resort aborted by time necessary to get out of park and back to resort (90 min)
Park time lost before & after dinner by 90 minutes needed to get to resort restaurant

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So sorry that you had the issues you did. I may have been because of how large a group you had. We did have lost luggage but it was all fixed by the end of the first day
The lines were long but not as bad as I had thought they would be. We used TP for each day and most days were ahead of it and even able to do so things at spur of the moment. We also built in some free time each day.
Our longest wait for a Character greet was 20 minutes but I do know that they did get very long, just tried to do around the parades or fireworks and first thing in morning, or catching them as we walked by and there were not a lot of people in line.
Memory makers photos, we never had longer then a 5 minute wait and most of the time were either able to get them right away or with only 1 family in front of us.
The restaurants were crowded but we only experienced slow service a few times with BOG for the Dinner being the worst.
We were able to secure additional FP+ after we had used the initial 3, even on days where we had them scheduled into the afternoon.
We only park hoped 2 days and that was not really an issue for us
We also didn’t have huge issues with the bus transportation but it did get crowded and even though we were able to get seats, almost all the time ended up standing to allow a child, a parent and child or older person to sit.
We also used LYFT a number of times which for us worked out.
I am thinking for us, it was a combination of things, and one of the big things being only a party of 2. We are going back this coming December and and instead of from 12/17 to 12/27, we are going from 12/21 to 12/30, may even add one more day so we check out on 12/31.
Again so sorry you had such a bad experience.

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What is LYFT?
Yes, I too think a big part of our problem was having 7 people to tour with and 14 for dinners. Fast passes for 7 close to each other are much harder to find than for 2. I am also comparing this trip to previous trips that were not at Christmas. On those trips we could walk right on to most attractions, needing fastpass only for the really popular ones. The FP lines were then no waiting except for the next car or boat to board. I was spoiled! Even the maid service at Christmas wasn’t as good as before. We got only one towel animal and toy lineup the whole week.
I’m glad to have seen Disney during the holidays. The parades and decorations were worth the trip. Future trips will be at less crowded times.

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LYFT is like Uber but we found on their website all the way at the bottom under promotions a code for $55 credit, which was $5 off a ride for 11 rides.
I never had been at Christmas time, had swore I never would go and wouldn’t you know it, due to my work - road construction and being off mid November til Mid March, and Andrea being a school teacher, well Christmas time seems to be about the only time we can go for any length of time.
We never got any towel animals or toys, but that was ok, our room was always cleaned and the few issues we did have with it, were taken care of as soon as reported - The drain stopper in the tub wouldn’t go up high enough to allow the water to drain fast enough and we ended up taking it out, the next day, it was replaced and the other issue was the shower curtain hooks had black on the part that goes against the curtain rod, I reported that and they came to replace those in less then 20 minutes.
Andrea had never been and she loved most of it, just a few issues, such as the long days I sometimes had planned and wasn’t that impressed with Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, in that we had planned on doing rides a lot during it and well the lines were very long, but as she said, if we had not done it, she would be wanting to do it and that we should plan a short trip there so we can catch it earlier in the year, maybe even catch both MNSSHP and MVMCP in the same trip, if possible.


Due to my husbands crazy schedule we have to always plan pretty last minute trips according to Disney planning etiquette, like 2-4 months before :flushed: (I know it stresses me out a little too lol) and I am not a super organized ocd type planner so I will have most of the basic things planned but if things change and we have to go with a different plan we don’t make a big deal, it’s only my husband and I so we’re able to be pretty flexible and laid back with our plans, that being said a tight plan is not fun for us therefore going when it’s that crowded would be a total waste of our time and money because there’s no way we’d ever wait 2 hours to ride a 10 second ride or want to deal with all the chaos an enormous crowd brings, we’ve seen many rude and inconsiderate people on our trips in the past 5 years so I’m sure more people only adds to that. I’m glad to know it works for some families and that you can actually enjoy your time together on level 10 days but that definitely doesn’t work for everyone. Anyway thank you all for sharing your experiences I always enjoy reading trip reports and things like that. Hope you all have a magical weekend and continue to Disney on the way that works for you and your family’s!

We are going to be in WDW December 24th-January 1st 2017. Touring Plans say Animal Kingdom will most likely open at 8am. We were hoping to do a before park breakfast at Tusker House, but they start reservations at 8am. Did the park open at 9 when you were there on Christmas?

@constanze, We were at WDW this past Christmas and we went to MK. I do know that Animal Kingdom hours were 8am - 830pm. I believe there is somewhere here on touring plans that you can see past hours but I know that you can also look at Kenny the Pirate here to see hours going all the way back to 2014 (near the bottom of the page :
I do hope this helps you.

AK opened at 8:00 on Christmas day 2015.