December Trip Report

Here’s a report of my recent trip to WDW from December 17th to December 24th with my DH and DS6. This is my first time sharing a trip report-I hope it helps someone. This was our second trip of the year. We stayed at CSR the first week of June. We’ve also stayed at CBR, Buena Vista, and the Swan in the past.

We chose to stay at Pop Century to save money. We booked through Orbitz, which was very simple way to save money following advice detailed in the forum. We bought discounted tickets using Undercover Tourist, which was also simple. We are lucky to have a direct flight with allegient to Sanford from our hometown’s airport. We find using Sanford airport very easy and less stressful overall. We intended to use a town car shuttle to our resort, but got a great rate through Alamo for a rental car a couple weeks before the trip. The trip from Sanford to the resort is quite simple with a route that allows us to avoid the tolls.

We got the exact room we requested using TP fax, room 6416 in the 70s section. We chose the location for proximity to the pool and the main building. Note that there is a smoking area right along the walkway from that side of the resort to the main building that you pass by any time you go to food court, buses or pool. Our initial impression of Pop was that it wasn’t a place we’d necessarily choose to stay again. There wasn’t anything wrong with it-the room was clean and staff was friendly, but the theming isn’t to our taste and the pool area is underwhelming in comparison to CSR and CBR. We also missed the larger beds. The food court is what you would expect. It was usually busy and took a long time to get through the lines even at non peak meal times. However, we had such great luck with the buses that the resort won us over. We never waited more than 5 minutes for any bus the entire trip-no exaggeration! We love that there is one bus stop and a line for each park. We like trying new resorts, but wouldn’t hesitate to stay there again. I may even choose it over the moderates because of the superior buses.

Our first day in the park was Friday and we were attending the last MVMCP of the season. We decided to use a park ticket that day to take advantage of low crowds before the party. We knew crowds would be building the rest of the week and wanted to get as much done at MK as possible this day. Our first stop was a visit with Santa. The wait was about 20 minutes but well worth it. My DS6 has never met Santa as he’s always been too scared. Santa could tell he was anxious and really worked to get him to be comfortable. DS randomly told Santa he wanted a computer for xmas. Santa told him he had a surprise in mind for him. Nice save, Santa, we appreciate that! After that we enjoyed touring with low crowds until our 4:30 ADR at BOG. DH got the lamb and I got the braised pork. His food was good, but my meal was disappointing. The piece of meat was mostly fat, and I should have sent it back. We love BOG in general but I won’t order the pork again. After dinner we went to the front of the castle for the 6:15 castle lighting. It was crowded in the hub, but worth it. We then went to do more attractions in tomorrowland and fantasyland since we don’t do characters-DS just isn’t interested in them. We had fun being at MK with low crowds and all the holiday cheer. We went searching for a spot for the projection show and fireworks about 20 minutes before it began. We were heading to a location that I read about on Disney tourist blog but saw that the FP area was nearly empty so we went in there instead. We were able to sit for both shows, which was great. It was so nice to not have to hold DS the entire time. After that we went to Main Street and easily found a spot on the curb for the second parade. I wanted to watch on Main Street to have the castle in the background and experience the snow. Both DH and DS didn’t like the snow at all. Seriously?!? DH and I took turns sitting with DS to hold our spot while the other went shopping. This was our first time watching a parade from the curb and I have to say I wouldn’t do it again. It’s actually hard to see the floats as they approach and not a great angle in my opinion. I would have preferred to be standing in the row behind those sitting. The people to our left stood which made it hard for us to see the floats as they approached, but we didn’t want to stand to obstruct the family behind us. We will watch the parade from Frontierland next time. DS6 was still going strong so we went back for more attractions after the parade and left a little after midnight. As many other reported, cookies weren’t great but we enjoyed specialty cupcakes from the bakery.

The next day we slept in and headed to Epcot in the afternoon. We had lunch at Sunshine Seasons for the first time. We’d eat there again for sure! We did Agent Ps in the UK pavilion. That was a lot of fun and made us spend more time exploring things we’d never noticed. DS made friends and played in the maze area and then we enjoyed the British Revolution band. We headed to France to catch a storyteller. DS6 was not into that at all, which was a bummer. We had fish and chips for dinner on our way out and scored a table right in front of the pub in the UK. We left early since we had RD at DHS the next day. We were pleasantly surprised by the crowd level. We expected much worse and thought it wasn’t any different than when we visited in June. It was actually more enjoyable because the temperature was mild.

Sunday was our day at DHS. We arrived about an hour before park opening and were first in line at the tapstiles. This was excessively early but we hoped to be let in early and do Jedi sign ups and still get to do TSMM at opening. This would have worked perfectly… We were first to sign up and easily made it to the place they were holding the rest of the crowds for park opening. We then went with the masses towards TSMM when DS announced he needed to go to the bathroom. Sigh. We stopped at the bathrooms on the way and ended up further back in the line than we hoped. It still worked out as we waited about 30 minutes to ride and this allowed us to experience our favorite ride twice. We then did Launch Bay for about an hour. My boys are big Star Wars fans so this was a lot of fun for them. We were ahead of schedule and ready to eat lunch but nothing was open yet. We waited for Min and Bills to finally open-15 minutes later than advertised. Food wasn’t great and we were disappointed by the menu change. After we ate it was time to go to our Jedi training show. When we checked in at 11:10, they were still signing people up for the evening shows. Jedi training was great. DS fought on the lower level against the seventh sister (?). Have your kiddo get in the line on the right when lining up if you want Darth Vader. Before our afternoon break we let DS play at the honey I shrunk the kids playground, which we’ve never done before. He loved it and it nice for sit and relax for a while. We did an afternoon break and came back for our ADR at Brown Derby. We were worried about getting back because of all the reports of traffic issues at DHS, but there was no issue at all. This was our first time eating at HBD and we both ordered the Cobb Salad entree. The salad was great and we intended to order desert there but weren’t impressed by choices. Instead we went to Starring Rolls next door for cupcakes, which was a great decision. We had a great time with attractions and Osbourne Lights the rest of the evening. Again we were pleasantly surprised by the crowds. We felt it was more manageable than our June trip for Star Wars weekend. We watched the fireworks from along echo lake in front of 50s prime time based on Liner recommendations. It was a great location to sit and enjoy the fireworks without the crowds.

The next day we went to AK. We intentionally arrived in the afternoon because of our late night at DHS. We had FPP for the safari when we arrived. The animals weren’t as active as we’ve experienced in the past doing the safari first thing in the morning, but it was still fun. It did feel more crowded here than the other parks, but again was similar to summer crowds and we weren’t miserable from the heat. We ate at Flame Tree-our first time eating here. We loved the covered seating area with the view of the water (and construction). The food was just ok-we like yak and yeti better. We took DS on dinosaur for the first time. He was not a fan. Luckily he didn’t scream and cry like the poor little girl behind us, but he made it clear he never wanted to ride that again! We had the last reservation time at Tusker House for dinner as suggested by another Liner. We enjoyed this a lot and the walk back through the empty park was beautiful.

Tuesday was a RD day at MK. Park opening was at 7 and we got to the bus stop about 6:10. We still made it well in time for the opening show because have I mentioned the Pop buses are phenomenal?!? Morning touring was great. We walked on everything we wanted to ride in Tomorrowland and Fantasyland between 7 and 9 am. That’s when our FPP kicked in and crowds at this time were still not bad at all. By 10:30 we were heading to Frontierland as the crowds in Fantasyland were building. We stayed until it was about time for the noon parade and headed to Main Street to leave. That’s when we got a glimpse of what the insane crowds actually looked like. It was clear we were getting out just in time! That afternoon we hung out at the pool and then headed to Hoop De Doo for dinner. I’m glad we gave ourselves an hour and a half to get there. We really enjoyed this and recommend you try it if you’ve not done it before.

Our last day was an Epcot day. In the morning we went to Winter Summerland for mini golf, which was a lot of fun. We made it to Epcot around noon and stayed until park closing. We had our CP lunch at Biergarten for the first time. The atmosphere was fun and the grapefruit beer is great, but DS and I didn’t enjoy the food at all. This was on my DH’s Disney bucket list so I’m glad we did it but from now one he can get his German food at the counter service there. We did several storytellers this day. We enjoyed La Befana and the Chinese Lion Dancer the most. We enjoyed a few drinks too! I recommend the Tipsy Ducks in Love. It’s unique and pretty strong. I loved Candlelight Processional but DH and DS only tolerated it for me. We watched illuminations from the unadvertised CP viewing area in front of Germany. This was a great spot to watch from. The entire back of WS was pretty much empty, while the area between Mexico and Canada was very crowded. Overall, Epcot was crowded this day but again not as bad as we expected.

As you can tell we had a great trip. We enjoyed it so much more than our last two trips which were both in early June. I think the weather was the difference for us. It was so much nicer to tour without the miserable heat. We expected crazy crowds, but were surprised by how manageable it was. We now intend to do December trips instead of June when possible. I’m anxiously awaiting my next year school calendar to be released so we can plan for next December. Hoping to rent a villa at AKL!


Thanks for posting, sounds like a great trip!

Thank you for your trip report! It sounds like you had a great trip!

I’m glad you had manageable crowds! I’ve been too nervous to go during holiday times. Question - did you have a FPP for the castle show, or did you just “sneak” in and they left you alone? We tried in Sept to sneak in because it wasn’t anywhere near full and got turned away.

There are no FPP during the parties so that viewing area is open for anyone.


Great report, thanks for sharing! I’m amazed & thrilled for you that the crowds were manageable! It seems like you had lots of great downtime to make your vacation oh so enjoyable!

Thanks for the report. We were there about the same time and agree about the crowds and weather. I am a teacher and we usually go in June. December wasn’t nearly as crowded as I thought it would be! I would definitely go back the week before Christmas!

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