How bad is Christmas week, really?

So how bad is Christmas week really? On a normal year, which we all know this isn’t. But in theory…

We had a trip planned for June which I pushed back to July but assuming I have to push it back again, my options are pretty limited. It’s a trip to celebrate my niece’s graduation, and once she starts college the days she is available don’t overlap with DS school schedule except for summer or (eek) Christmas. We wouldn’t go on Christmas itself, but the week between Christmas and New Years.

Apart from the increased cost (which, ouch!) are the parks so unmanageable that week that it isn’t even worth it? Assuming there will be crowds anywhere in the next year or so, if course.

We have been in January and over Easter week, which were very quiet and moderately busy respectively, but I don’t even know what to expect over Christmas.

Well…you literally couldn’t PAY me to go during this time period. But I despise crowds.

It isn’t that you can’t have fun…you just have to have MUCH lower expectations.

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We went during those dates 12/26/19-1/2/20. We had 8 park days at WDW, and 7 of them were no different than our usual spring break trips (early April). Only the 1 day was horrific, and that was Jan 2 at HS for some reason. Other than that…it was just great. If you are used to going during a time when school kids aren’t on break, so say middle of September, you might be horrified. if you usually got over holidays like MLK, President’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day…it won’t be much different. We would easily do it again.


Christmas week is supposed to be the busiest week of the year. We went during Thanksgiving week last year and it was so crowded I just looked at my wife and said “I have no interest in ever doing this again.” We will be going back eventually, but during a time where it isn’t nearly as crowded.

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++ @ryan1 I went during Columbus Day week last year (which I don’t think begins to compare to Christmas week) and I’ll never to that again.

I’m all about seeing the parks decorated for Christmas, but when I make that trip it will be the first or second week of December.

I’ve only been during this holiday time and it is crazy crowded. If you have a longer trip with plenty of days and good daily plans that include early morning hours, touring plans, Fast Passes, and patience and flexibility, it can be an enjoyable time to visit. The weather is comfortable, for the most part, and the decorations are fantastic. In short, it takes a long time to see and do things and it requires navigating dense crowds, but it’s doable.

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I always say have a good plan and stick to it, but also be flexible. Set realistic expectation. Always plan to RD, and plan for a good 20-30 min earlier than you normally RD. Take Breaks. And again, don’t set your expectations that you will “do it all” just do what you love. I think its manageable

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But you did have the benefit of CL fastpasses, right? Do you think that made a difference?

You are mostly confirming my fears. Oh dear. We will see what happens with July, I’m not cancelling anything yet. Thanks all!

We had them 5 days, and yeah I am sure they helped. We could have done it without, but as you know I am spoiled so wouldn’t consider it during that week. We only made rope drop 2 days out of 8 (to ride ROTR), slept in the others and took breaks too.

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I have no idea what that’s like :money_mouth_face:

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I’ve been around dec 26th -29th, I intentioally steered clear of christmas eve and day and nye. it was manageable but obviously crowded. Don’t expect to ride any high-ticket rides without a FP or two hour wait. Very early mornings felt surprisingly quiet to me. Restaurants are packed at popular hours, of you can work around them it’s much better. Same with transportation, peak hours are a nightmare but if you can avoid them, much less of a frenzy.

This is, of course, at a regular / non-pandemic time. I have no idea what will happen this december.

Any holiday week will be horrible. I am planning to go 1st week of December when crowds are typically low.

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We went the week between Christmas and New Years because that was really the only time we hadn’t been and I wanted to experience it. Let’s say, I’ll never do that again. I’m glad we went, experienced it but it was the absolute worst as far as getting anywhere and the waiting was unbelievable (for both rides and food - even with FP).

MK on NYE was absolutely the worse. You could not move anywhere - we were all shoulder to shoulder packed in like sardines. Again, glad I went because it was on my bucket list, but I will never, ever go again during that time.

When our trip got cancelled in April, we initially booked a trip for the week in-between but everything I read about the crowds scared me, so we moved it again to Jersey Week.

You might think about going early January if your college student doesn’t start back right away after New Year’s, and if you can take DS out of school for a few days. Between New Years and MLK weekend there is a little bit of a relative lull.

Can you go the week before Christmas? We went December 14-20 in 2019 and it was PERFECT. Crowds were much lower than other times we’ve been. My kids did miss three days of school (Mon, Tue, Wed) but they weren’t doing much those three days before Christmas break started. My DD even facetimed her AP Spanish class on our way in to Epcot for a PPO Garden Grill breakfast. Her teacher loved it.

I’ve been that week between Christmas and New Years. It was so crowded that I swore I’d never go then ever again. Now, that was back before FP+, so you had to get there at RD just to get a FP for the headliner in that day’s park.

The worst parts about going during that week are:

  1. Crowds: Everything is crowded from entrances, transportation, lines, and QS restaurant seating.
  2. Weather: There is a chance it could be nice, but odds are you will deal with cooler temps and rain…lots and lots of rain.
  3. Cost: Everything is a tad more expensive because Disney puts a surcharge on things during holidays.
  4. BTGs: It’s pretty much impossible to avoid the Brazilian Tour Groups when you go in the Winter.

All in all, I think you can still have fun going between Christmas and New Years as long as you are okay with crowds and it not being a park/ride focused trip. You could get lucky and have great weather for part of your trip, which lets you enjoy your resort pool. You can also find other things to do at the resorts and Disney Springs. It can be done, and enjoyed. I’ve just been there and done that…and prefer other times if I can make it work.

@threeprincessesfourprinces This might be our best option. DN doesn’t have her school schedule yet and I was hoping to not have to pull DS out of school at all, but Jan 1-5 or so might be ok. After missing months of school this spring, what’s a couple days next winter!

One thing to keep in mind about first week in January. Since Jan. 1 falls on Friday, it is likely that Jan. 2 will still be overwhelmingly crowded because people will head back on Sunday. Sunday, by comparison, should really empty out. So, when choosing dates related to right after New Year’s Day, be sure to look when people might return.

So, if I were to book something first week in January in 2021, I’d make sure arrival date is Jan 3 at the earliest.

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