Profmatt’s last minute Xmas trip planning


#1

Regular readers wil know that about 24 hours ago I got it into my head that I should throw caution to the wind and buy myself a little happiness by booking a Christmas trip to WDW.

After a lot of vacillation, I finally committed and made the (non-refundable) reservations for my flight and hotel (ASMo.) Then, during a literally sleepless night, I started putting the schedule together.

That process has continued during today and I now have a pretty solid first draft.

I’m very open to comments and suggestions, though here are some notes to bear in mind first.

  1. Frustratingly I cannot book any FPPs until Disney UK loads the reservation into the main system. This may take “up to seven days”, which would be a catastrophe if true. I have managed to book three FPPs for the 20th at DHS because I booked MVMCP and the system gave me one day’s worth of FPP availability.

  2. So my plans include aspirational FPPs, or don’t include any at all. At this late stage it’s more a matter of seeing what’s available than booking exactly what I want.

  3. Similarly for ADR’s. There’s no question of thinking, “I’d love to eat at X.” You scan down the list of what’s available and decide which one you want.

These things being said, I’m pretty happy with what I ended up with, so far as ADRs are concerned. I wanted to choose restaurants that (a) were not duplications of ones I’m planning to visit in July next year, and (b) are ones that I’ve never been to before but always kinda wanted to but could just never manage to squeeze them in. It’s worked out pretty well — and made next year’s planning a little easier as there’s some I can stop trying to squeeze into gaps in the schedule they just don’t fit into.

Satu’li has featured in both my last two trips and features in next year’s. It’s just so good and such great value for money.

Sanaa featured last year but I didn’t revisit this year, nor have I planned to do so next year. So it’s a welcome feature of the Xmas plan.

Other than that, all of the ADRs are new to me.

I booked MVMCP because I felt like that was compulsory, and I also booked the Tony’s parade viewing package because the parade looks awesome and I don’t want to be fighting for a spot.

I’ve considered and even tried booking other extras — dessert parties, the AK VIP tour, Toy Story Land EMM — but there was either no availability or the timing didn’t work with my schedule.

This is probably just as well. I really do want to focus on simply enjoying being at WDW during this trip. If that means queuing for two hours to ride SDD and FOP, then so be it.

I’ve scheduled visits to all of the Deluxe resorts to enjoy their Christmas displays and decorations.

Some other notes:

  1. I had originally planned to visit from 21st to 27th (ish) but getting the flights I wanted at the price I wanted, and getting the hotel I wanted, meant I ended up booking 18th to 24th. This will mean some frantic rescheduling of work commitments, but I’m actually glad about how the dates worked out. In particular it means Calvin and I will be together on Christmas Day. There was a question as to whether I might get very upset on the 25th, being alone at WDW. No more.

  2. I’ve spent about £2,500 so far. I booked Premium Economy seats for the flight. On the outbound flight this was partly to get the seat nearest the door so that I can be one of the very first off the plane and into immigration. I also just really hate flying and Premium Economy will make it a nudge less miserable. (I found that Upper Class didn’t add as much value as I thought when I tried it this summer. Those flat beds aren’t actually that comfortable: it’s basically like sleeping on the floor with a seatbelt and an undersized duvet.)

  3. I’ve cancelled my original Christmas plans which resulted in a refund of £650 and I’m going to cancel a trip I was going to make in March and another in April (for my birthday). These will save another £700 or so. Adding in the cost of the airport hotel and my ADRs, the net cost will be under £2,000 for the six night stay. I’m pretty happy with that.

Yesterday was an odd day. I was very depressed during the day (to the point where I did actually worry a little about myself) and then I so obsessed about this trip and planning it that I literally could not sleep at all last night. That’s never happened to me before. I’ve powered through today and plan to go to bed at a reasonably normal time. I hope I sleep the sleep of the righteous and catch up (some of) what I missed.

All in all, I’m happy with my decision and I’m cautiously excited about the trip. I’m nervous about Calvin and leaving him behind. He’ll be looked after by a friend who’ll be moving into my house. He’s known her since he was a puppy, though they rarely see each other nowadays as she moved house. That’s all good. The slight worry is that she has a dog of her own and she’ll be bringing him with her. Calvin’s known him since they were both puppies, but I’m not sure how well they’ll do living together. But ultimately, he’s not going to die: he’ll be looked after in his own home. I’m only away for eight nights in total.

And I have to get away. I feel like I need this break.

Here’s the schedule. It looks better on screen than on this slightly garbled pdf. Hopefully you get the various bits of colour-coding.


#2

Next up:

  1. I need to develop an understanding of how MVMCP works and what the best strategy for it is. I’ve got food and the parade sorted. But rides and fireworks and shows? No idea.

  2. I have some questions about packing: do I need warm and cold weather clothes? Shorts and long trousers? Sun block? My big hat? For my last two trips my strategy was hand-luggage only. That worked well and suited its purpose. But this time round (and next summer) I plan on minimal hand-luggage. It’s easier in the airport and on the flight.


#3

It looks great! Did you actually get Sci-Fi this late in the game, as well as Artist Point? If so, that’s awesome!

I was about to tell you that you needed to change your schedule in order to meet us, but we will both be in Epcot on the 23rd. Maybe we can work in a meet…


#4

Isn’t Artist Point the Snow White character meal by this point?

Just making sure @profmatt is aware or can check - but I think it changes sometime in December.


#5

I don’t know anything about the party, as we will not be going, even though we arrived that last night of the party.

Yes, you need both warm and cold weather clothes, preferably layered. Temps can be all over the place. The last time we went at Christmas, we just about froze on some days, and wore too much clothing on others. I would take sunscreen as the sun does shine in the winter.


#6

Yes, it is the Snow White character meal at that point. I believe the switch over happens this month.


#7

All those ADRs were acquired in the last 18 hours or so. Very pleased with what I got, despite the lack of choice. (In some cases when I chose a date and meal it just said there was nothing at all available!)

Yes, I’m aware AP has changed to a character meal. I’m fine with that. I want an excuse to visit WL to see the decorations and the meal and the characters actually appeal to me.


#8

I would be delighted to meet any Liners during my trip. I was lucky enough to bump into two Liners (two separate bumps!) during my trip in June, purely by chance. That was genuinely lovely.


#9

Cool! Just checking! I would have hated for you to think it was the old Artist’s Point and discovered it was a character meal.

Happy holidays!!


#10

Sounds great so far.

Now about getting to bed … It’s nearly 10pm, so I think you should get some sleep and come back to the replies in the morning!


#11

That was actually my plan.

Oh, one last update:

I’ve decided to go all-in on MVMCP so I booked the dessert party for the fireworks. Unfortunately, because I already have a reservation for the parade dessert party, the system thought I was being too greedy.

So I booked the dessert party using my dummy profile, in Calvin’s name. (With Pluto as the avatar :rofl:)

Will I go to Disney jail?

When I’ve done dessert parties in the past they just ask you your name when you check in. They don’t ask for ID or scan your magic band or anything.


#12

Wow-- great last minute trip!


#13

Doing Tony’s and the dessert party seems like overkill. You will be cutting into your time to enjoy the park and meet special characters. Plus, part of the perks of the party that you already paid for with your MVMCP ticket is free desserts and beverages throughout the park. I have heard really great things about the Tony’s party due to the parade viewing location. I would consider just keeping Tony’s and letting go of the fireworks dessert party.


#14

The dessert party is all about getting a good spot for the fireworks without hassle. I don’t care about the desserts.


#15

I will be there the same time! (Dec. 17 - 22.) Along with my mom and daughter, celebrating her graduation from Penn.


#16

I think it’s amazing what you have been able to put together in the past day.
Just curious if you have much interest in the holiday storytellers in Epcot or the food booths? You haven’t allotted a lot of time for that, but those may not be a priority for you. And have you thought about a dining package since you are doing the candlelight processional?


#17

The Tony’s event is available once it opens for the event until 12:30 (30 minutes past the end of the party?).


#18

WDW prep school has had a ton of great info on the party and holidays at the World in general. I would highly recommend you check out her podcast and website. https://wdwprepschool.com/holiday-christmas-season-at-disney-world/


#19

I agree with AK and HS the first 2 days because you’ll be awake so early, makes it easy to do FOP & SDD first. I know you listen to Backside of magic, so try for the FOP FPP drop if you can. I would suggest more eating at QS and lounges considering how many TS meals you’ll have in July, but it’s such a busy time of year that I would want TS meals for the guaranteed seat. Character meals are great value when you’re on the DDP but rather expensive OOP. Will you get an annual pass? it would make your ticket in July useless but I think as long as it isn’t used you can put it towards a future ticket. There will be food booths at EP for the holidays festival, I don’t think you’ve gone during a festival before? Eating and drinking around WS should be fun. Are Teppan Edo or Biergarten on your list for either trip?


#20

Many thanks to @Kkerr76 for that link — reading through all the extra Christmassy stuff in each park has really got me in the mood and excited :grin:

I’m not currently planning on rope-dropping. EMM at TSL was available on my DHS day but that’s also the day I’m doing MVMCP and that would end up being just too long a day.

Incidentally, my allocation of parks to days was based on the TP crowd calendar.