We have a trip booked for Dec 20th - Dec 25th. These are not my first choice in dates. We are meeting other people there and those were the dates they needed. I’m so nervous about the level 10 crowd days and star wars opening. I’m not even sure I want to go. We have been twice before and have a trip planned for Food & Wine with my siblings in 2020. I’m thinking about telling my husband to skip this year (something I never thought I would say).
I would not go those days, if left up to me. Between the normal Xmas insanity and the absolute madhouse that HS will be because of SWGE and the other new rides, you couldn’t get me to go for free. I am going in April and then don’t plan to return until maybe summer of 2021.
I would not go during those dates. It already is pure insanity, so much that the parks cannot be reasonably enjoyed by the average visitor. If you also factor in Galaxy’s Edge, at least HS will be a absolute madhouse and the rest of the parks are not much of an improvement in terms of crowds.
I would not go during that time if someone paid me. We went during that time for one days years ago and it was miserable. We even got in for free. Didn’t matter. We we’re miserable. (They shut down the gates of the park the day were there because it hit capacity.).
ETA: I should say we didn’t go the days before Christmas, but after. I can’t speak to those specific dates
I think it depends entirely on what you think you will accomplish during that time.
I would not be a good time to try any ultimate touring plans or the “every ride at WDW in one day” challenge.
If you’re content with a few pre-booked FPs, some high-capacity shows, and whatever you can get for a 4th FP and some standby lines, plus the general ambiance, then I would go for it.
If that sounds absolutely terrible to you, then I would skip it.
We were there at Christmas (17th-31st) and from our experience the week between Christmas and new year was the worst for over crowding, it was pretty insane and I probably wouldn’t do that week again! The days 20th-25th weren’t as bad, yes it was busy but with our FPs and ADRs it was actually ok. We were in MK on Christmas Eve and it was the parade that created the most crowds…they were pretty insane! But they opened up the sidewalk beside Tony’s so you could by pass them.
Should you go? Well, if you’ve never been at Christmas before and it’s not your first trip…I would seriously consider it. Just set your expectations differently…your not going to see/do everything, but to be there is an experience!
ETA - of course the SWGE wasn’t a factor for us…
They parks are crowded at Christmas, but if you have a good plan and not a ton of expectations, it’s a nice time to go. I love Disney at Christmas. However, you could not pay me to go anywhere near HS with GE opening up. That will be another type of crazy I’m not ready for. We were there 12/21 - 12/28 in 2018. I thought the crowds were manageable, especially at EP. We took a resort day on the 25th. I wasn’t up to those crowds that day.
Who would be going? I wouldn’t do it with kids. But if it was just going to be adults, and you’d be happy with a few rides, the parade and fireworks, some meals, and some people watching I’d go just to experience the Christmas magic. I went to New Year’s Eve two years in a row, in 2000 and 2001, and had a great time. I just listened to the Backside of Magic podcast and they were both there over Christmas, and they said the fast pass lines actually moved really quickly.
I would be going with my husband and 2 boys ( 6 and 4). We would be meeting my step-daughter, her grandmother and sister. They go over Christmas break every year and seem to have a great time. They stay 10 days and have hoppers though. I have always wanted to see christmas Disney but not sure if its worth it. My boys favorite thing is the pool. I was thinking maybe skip epcot (they didnt care for it) and do 3 days of the other other parks super early on EMH days ( we are morning people) and be back to the hotel by the afternoon. . My husband can go off with the others if he is feeling brave . It just seems like a lot of money to spend 50% of the trip at the pool.
In my experience, Christmas Disney is not that different from regular Disney in the parks. Some of the resorts are very nicely decorated, but on the whole the crowds are the biggest difference.
From our experiences during Christmas time (December 17 - 26, 2016, and again December 19 - 31, 2017). A few things, Yes it does get crazy, it gets crowded. With that said, if you go in with the attitude that you can’t get everything done and most importantly have a good TP in place, you can actually enjoy yourself. My wife does not like big crowds however, she had a wonderful time both times. For us, we are limited on when we can go due to her being a teacher and I work Road Construction. Our next trip is March 9 - 16, 2019. We love to take in everything around us and also to enjoy ourselves. We refuse to let the busy crowds detract from where we are, at WDW. The times have changed and it is getting busy most times of the year. When SWL opens up, it will be crazy and don’t expect HS to not be crazy for a long, long, long time to come. Think about this, FOP in Pandora still has very long wait times first thing in the morning. With careful planning, it doesn’t matter when you go.
Another thing, lighten up on yourself and enjoy yourself. Plan, plan, plan. And when you get there, you can have some of the best vacations you have ever had, even if it will be on the crazy side.
I completely agree. We have been over the holidays and it was crazy busy, but we knew it would be and we didn’t plan on doing everything. The right attitude and expectations make a huge difference.
We went for 4th of July this past year. I was really concerned, but DH was even more concerned.
I made a lunch reservation at Crystal Palace so I knew there would be a long, cool midday break. I planned to get to the park between 10:30 - 11, knowing that we’d be there for the duration until after the fireworks.
We had fastpasses spread out for a leisurely pace.
It turned out to be a great day. It really is all about managing expectations. Prepare for the craziness and just know that there are spots all over the park where you can take a break and regroup if necessary.
For the holidays, I would work in lots of time to go to the hotels to see the decorations. That’s pretty low key.
Also, in doing the TP, there are a few settings you can change that help.
Up near the top, above the FastPass+ selections section is a section called : Plan Preferences (Optimize or Evaluate to save settings)
On the right side is Waiting vs. Walking which gives you 3 options: The default here is the Balance, which is in the middle then you have Minimize Walking or Minimize Waiting.
On the left side is the Walking Speed which has 4 settings. The default is Average. Your other 3 choices are : Very Relaxed, Relaxed, Fast.
For the crazy/busy times, I normally will change the Walking Speed to Relaxed which does increase the walking time a little. For a day like Christmas, New Years or 4th of July; I would change ti to Very Relaxed as it would be hard to walk at a fast pace.
The upcoming trip we are going on, we have everyday in the parks as Relaxed, just in case.
Also remember that the benefit of the plan isn’t strictly in the plan itself. Especially on super crowded days, predictions can be wildly off. The benefit of the plan is in having an idea of what you want to do, how to get to it, and what adjustments you want to make on the fly. The benefit is insurmountable on a busy day, but is very attitude dependent (i.e. “I can’t believe we have to miss this! I put it in the plan and now we’re 2 minutes behind! My whole trip is ruined!” vs. “Oh well, let’s skip this and be ahead of schedule for the rest of the day and maybe find something cool to look at along the way.”)