Week before Christmas planning

I booked a bounce back last year with free dining for December 14-20 (Saturday to Friday) of this year. We have 6 day PH tickets. We’ve been to Disney at least once a year for the past five years, twice in 2018. I’ve never had this much difficulty trying to plan ADRs and park days. We’ve never been at Christmas time. Previous trips have been end of February, second week of April, late August over labor day weekend, and first week of October x3. I feel like we’ve ridden every ride and seen every show. My main goal is to see the decorations, hear the storytellers at Epcot, and see JBJB. I’m lukewarm on seeing SW:GE. If you’ve been at that time of the year, what do I need to know and what should I expect? How do I plan with the great unknown of park hours and the possibility of EEMH being extended after November? ADR day is June 17. It’s me, DH, DD16, and DS who will be 11.

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Hi. I went last year that same week and have it booked as a bounce back for almost those exact dates this year. My family has only been once but we don’t have many must dos on our list (Fantasmic, WS pavilions, storytellers, and the shows and walking paths at AK). Anything beyond that is extra and I’m quite happy to make it a resort heavy vacation. Oh - and the Skyliner! I’ve gone from :worried: to :star_struck: on the Skyliner. We’re also meh on SWGE, will see how the crowds and reports go this fall. Oh and Epcot Forever - the new nighttime show.

Given the unknowns about opening times, I’ll probably have a few breakfast reservations made and then drop them as we get closer. Earlier in the week crowds are lighter and then they build towards the end of the week. To take a break, I have that Thursday planned for resort hopping with the afternoon at Fort Wilderness for activities and I’m trying to make a Hoop Dee Doo reservation for that night.

I booked fairly last minute last year (late October) and was able to get every reservation I wanted using a combination of reservation finder and the Disboards thread for December ADRs.

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A few other things I forgot - MVMCP and the Candlelight Processional. We did both last year and liked them but will probably skip both this year. Both were great and I have wonderful memories - especially from MVMCP but I don’t want to spend the $ this time. I’d rather put it towards trying out new dining experiences.

We’ll also allow more time this year for Disney Springs. I’m not a big shopper but my husband the kids love the shops. I’m happy sipping adult beverages while they shop.

Make it a point to visit AKL, WL, and GF to check out the decorations in the lobbies; they are spectacular.


Love seeing the storytellers around world showcase. This is where a TP will come in handy to make sure you get to them all.

Candlelight processional, such a pretty, moving show.

If you have never been to MVMCP I would suggest go. We love it and go every year,though it is a bit pricey. Great parade and fireworks show.

If you into Christmas I would also recommend the Yuletide Fantasy tour. They will show you behind the scenes of where the build and store all the seasonal decorations.

As @bswan26 said visit as many resorts as you can. AKL and WL have huge trees in the lobby. You can visit all the resorts on the Monorail loop. GF is stunning at Christmas time. You can visit all the resorts with gingerbread displays as well. BW, BC,Contemp, and GF. Cant remember if YC had one or not.

Last thing I would add is the Christmas tree Spree in Disney Springs. The are so many uniquely, themed trees.

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Following it’s our first time going and we go the week before you… our crowd calendar was low til this week and it jumped up to a 8-10 the first couple days we are there :frowning:

Thanks @AlyQ I was thinking Thursday would be our off day with resort tours too. Hoop Dee Doo is a good idea. Crowd wise, how is it? Are we talking shoulder to shoulder or can we see some sidewalk? I’ve been in 10 crowds at MK in October where the walk between PP and Small World is jam packed but the rest of the areas weren’t too bad. I know all 10s aren’t created equally.

We were in MK on a 5 and a 10 day last year (Dec 16th and 17th). We did EMM the first day and a PPO BOG ADR the second day. By about 11am you could really feel the crowds (but still see the sidewalk) and if I hadn’t looked it up I would have guessed crowds were rated similarly both days. We were still able to snag FPs and get things done but silly things like Small World had 60 minute wait times posted fairly early on the second day.

One other thing of note, we booked last minute on the Ultimate Disney Christmas package last year. I highly doubt that will be offered this year but if it is, we’ll switch to it. It had a lot of exclusive events so we didn’t have to worry about any major FPs except 7DMT (and it included MVMCP too). If it’s not offered, we’ll try to approximate it with EMM or DAH (if they’re offered that week).

This was my first Christmastime trip to WDW and I was so in love with it. I almost switched us to late August (before SWGE) this year but just can’t do it. I’d rather have the heavier crowds with the lower temps than vice versa.

Thanks for the info. Crowded and 95 degrees stinks (literally and figuratively). Crowded with cooler temperatures would seem more tolerable.

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We have the same dates! I can’t add much because we try avoid restaurants (except for Epcot snacks), but I just wanted to say that you should definitely consider booking a Christmas Party at MK. The cool night air, faux snow falling down, cookies and hot chocolate, and decorations everywhere just make it really special.