Tips/Advice Needed for WDW over Christmas Week - Please help!

We recently purchased a week at a villa in Kissimmee right near the All-Star complexes at WDW for the week of 12/23 - 12/30. That’s right… Christmas.

This was not a planned trip, but the opportunity came up and we are getting a great deal on the villa, so we jumped. Now, though, the questions and planning begin so I am hoping there are some WDW Christmas veterans out there to help me educate myself a little bit.

I’m a fairly competent Touring Plans user, and my family and I have cruised through the parks with no issues using the plans on previous trips, but we have always avoided level 10 days. Our family is also pretty comfortable with an ambitious agenda/itinerary, so our concern is not necessarily avoiding the chaos, but we would still like to minimize it as much as possible. So if anyone can provide insights, tips, or recommendations on the following, it would certainly be appreciated… this is for a total of 8 travelers!

  1. Park Hopper or no Park Hopper?
    I’ve seen conflicting recommendations from a lot of trusted sites, so I’m curious to know what experiences you’ve had. Is it worth the money for the flexibility to start the day at one park and end at the other, or with crowd levels all the same does it make more sense to just pick one park for the day and commit to it all the way?

  2. Is a VIP Tour worth considering/worth the money?
    It is very expensive. Does a good touring plan on a crowd level 10 day do ‘enough’ magic to minimize the chaos that the VIP tour cost is unnecessary? I would certainly like to apply that money to some other great experiences on the trip if we don’t do the tour. So is an experienced Plans user better suited just doing their best with a plan and applying that money to some other great experiences/opportunities, or is the madness of this week so much that the VIP tour is all the ‘experience’ we need?

  3. Realistically, how many rides should we ‘plan’ for each day at the park?
    Our kids know they aren’t going to be able to ride ‘everything’, but when we start putting our plans together is there a target number of things we should try and fit in?


I do not have advice but I have many similar questions as our dozen or so trips have all been in lower/moderate crowds. Have you done any hypothetical TPs? I made a random one or two for CL10 days and it didn’t seem too bad. Although I’ve always had great luck with the TPs in the past 5 trips (CL5-7s mostly), I can’t believe that the wait times and walk times would be as low as they are predicted in my TPs for CL10 days. I hope a bunch of seasoned high-crowd visitors chime in.
ETA we are planning Spring Break with 10s almost every day not Christmas week

My advice? Run! Don’t do it!


Well, we went once during that week (actually, it was the day after New Year) and had the most awful time. We got in a total of 6 rides in one day, waited 2 1/2 hours for Peter Pan’s Flight. The park (MK) shut the gates down because they hit max capacity.

You couldn’t PAY me to go to Disney the week of Christmas/New Years. Seriously. If someone said they would give me an all-expense paid trip, but I had to go that week, I’d find something else to do.
But that’s just me.

Personally, I’d say Park hoppers would be a waste of money. It is doubtful with those crowd levels that you could possibly get through a park in a day anyhow.

I can’t respond to this one (other than to say I can’t respond to it)

Not a lot.

Oh, I know I’d find good ways to use the trip.

Like, get all the best ADRs that I’ve been waiting on because my budget does not allow me to eat TS every trip.

Do all of the things you don’t stand in line for, like: watch every Dapper Dans show on Main Street, or hang out watching the Citizens of Hollywood.

Etc, Etc.

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I always prefer park hopping as an option, especially if I want to keep options open. I know its not free, so your budget may dictate otherwise, but at a flat $75 cost, it adds $12.50/day to a 6 day park pass… so, I pretty much add it by default if I am buying a 5 day or longer pass… just because the daily cost is minimal (in WDW terms). If I was only going for 3 or 4 days, I might not add it.

But at least if you headed to MK and it is nuts (it will be) you might decide after a few hours to head to EPCOT (where it will also be nuts, but spread out more… :smile: )

Just my $.02 worth…

When we were there, it wasn’t just the lines that were bad. It was LITERALLY shoulder-to-shoulder crowds in the walkways by noon. We just hated it. And for the record, we actually got into the park for free…my wife’s aunt worked for WDW and got us in that day and the following day (Jan. 3). The third was better. We enjoyed that day. But Jan 2 was miserable. I remember my DS3 at the time just laying on the ground crying while standing in line.

So, yeah. We’d rather spend money somewhere else than get into Disney free when it is that busy.

Interesting. We’re the opposite. If we have 5 or 6 days, we wouldn’t bother with a park hopper. Less than 5 days, we would.

I think the reason we do it this way, is that with a longer trip, we generally pack the days slightly less (especially with a 5 yo and a 9 yo) so, the opportunity usually arises more often (especially later in the trip) to pop into a different park just to do one or two things… or to pop into EPCOT for a treat or meal… etc.

On shorter trips, the days are slightly more packed… and economy of time keeps us in place.

Interesting to hear how different folks view their planning.

Just interested in seeing what helpful advice people give.

I think Park hopper depends on what your plan is for breaks and eating. If you want to take advantage of eating at different parks on the same day or doing rides or activities at more than one park or if you want to take an afternoon break and head to a different park toward evening then it might be worthwhile but when we went we did one park per day. On our arrival day we did MVMCP so we didn’t buy a park pass ticket for that day. We did a few non-park things around lunch. We toured the hotels to see Christmas decorations and had lunch at Roaring Forks in wilderness lodge. We went to Disney springs for their Christmas tree walk and lunch at the Earl of Sandwich. We also listened to the storytellers at Epcot holidays around the world and watched some of the shows in Epcot. Finally we booked a table service dinner packages for Fantasmic at Minnie’s holiday dine at Hollywood and Vine. We got to meet Santa goofy and the rest of the gang.
I do not know about booking a VIP tour.
As far as rides again it depends on what you want to ride as some rides will be more popular than others. We did jingle cruise first thing in the am which was a must have on our list. I would prioritize your choices and then run some touring plans. Also It seemed to me that going to frontierland first got us on more rides in that section of the park then if we had gone to fantasyland first

I was afraid that would be someone’s response haha!

I appreciate it!

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This is really helpful! Thank you!

you know, I’d say if it was your first or second trip, don’t do it; but it sounds like you are seasoned WDW travellers; so yea keep your expectations low and do stuff you can’t do at other times of the year. I say DO IT

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We are in the exact same boat this year. We have been during busy times, but never anything like Christmas. We have the same mentality- we aren’t trying to do “everything”, but rather enjoy everything the season has to offer and hit our main must do’s. My family of three have never gotten hoppers, but we are for this trip. Mainly so we can escape some of the crazy if we need to. Sometimes just a change of scenery can give a different perspective in my opinion.

I don’t have any real advice to offer you, but just wanted to say you’re not alone in your thinking/planning. Everyone wants to say how miserable it is, but I have to think if your family visits at least annually on a regular basis then one trip during Christmas isn’t going to ruin your life :wink:. Of course I say that now with no real experience so who knows, I may be here trying to deter someone from going this time next year myself.

I’m planning on throwing some money at dessert parties and things like that to get us the best experience for the holiday specific things where possible, but no VIP tour. But our main focus isn’t rides. With that said, my initial/rough plans assume we will do our three FPs each day plus three extra attractions. Probably more at MK while pulling subsequent FPs (there are only three of us). I plan to RD for the first three days then do late night entertainment and sleep in the last few days. I to did some rough touring plans and was a little surprised by the times also. I’m anticipating it to be much worse than that.

We are also planning more TS meals than usual (and character meals too so we don’t have to wait in those lines also). My thinking is this gives us a known/upcoming escape from the crowds for bits of time throughout the day.

Hope this helps!

We were at WDW over the crazy holiday time a few years ago. Every day was a CL 10. And like you we had previously avoided CL10 days and we were experienced park goers. We had a great trip. My best advice is to be realistic. I know it sounds simple, but we all just took the time to enjoy the atmosphere and the holidays decorations and seasonal attractions. We knew we could not do everything and we were okay with that from the beginning.

We have APs so we always have the capability of park hopping and we tend to PH most trips, but we didn’t on the holiday trip. With the CLs so high, everything just took extra time include traveling between parks.

A VIP tour I’m sure would be great, but it’s so expensive. I think with a good TP and reasonable expectations you can a great trip without that extra cost.


Please don’t be afraid! We’ve been before and are going this Christmas. And I agree what others have said, if it was your first or second visit, I would say no, but if you’re a veteran it will be fine! Enjoy it for what it is, take in the atmosphere, you may do and see things you wouldn’t on a ‘normal’ trip.
We have a park hopper, but that’s only because we are on a U.K. ticket, so I can’t help you there.
I wouldn’t go for a VIP tour, I think they are super expensive! But that’s just my opinion :grin: but saying that, with 9 of you, it may be worth it.
Go with your 3 fast passes, RD and anything else is a bonus!
It will be fine…and enjoy the special holidays with your family :grinning:


Thank you so much!

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I think that is the mindset we are taking into this trip. We know it won’t be like our ‘normal’ visits, so we are just going to be celebrating the holiday and we will appreciate whatever we are able to do.

Thank you

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