Are You Totally Crazy to Go to Disney World at Christmas? Here’s the Facts

Amanda, Disney’s Cheapskate

I suspect a trip to Disney World at Christmas is on every child’s wish list, even if they don’t write it down, even if it stays in their heart of hearts.Disney Christmas decorations are simply fantastic, and it’s a magical time to be in Orlando. Adults love it too, maybe as much as the kids. Maybe more! Your kids are out of school, the weather is cool, and the sounds of Christmas fill the air. But is Christmas really the best time of year for you to visit Walt Disney World?

Here are the facts. Christmas Day to New Years is the absolute busiest time of year at WDW. I’ve been multiple times during this week, and crowd levels can feel absolutely insane, most especially mid-afternoon. Talk to anyone who has visited any Disney theme park this time of year, and they will all use pretty much the same words…crowded, crazy, and magical!  If you can only take off time from work during this week, and multiple thousands do, should you try to brave the holiday crowds?  If you are determined to be in the Disney parks after Christmas, get ready to stand in long lines and be surrounded by huge crowds everywhere you go.

Look at that photo of the Hollywood Studios entrance at 10 a.m. on Dec 26th, 20011. Can you feel the people surrounding you? Let that soak in a moment, because that photo? That’s the facts, staring you in the face. It took me by surprise, and I’d been planning this vacation for 11 months, knowing full well it would be busy. Ok, I expected it to be busy, but maybe not THAT busy, because we’re in a recession, right? Nobody has money to take a vacation, or so I deluded myself into thinking.  I think I had convinced myself it wouldn’t be all that bad, and this photo stands as proof that it was indeed bad. Yup, it was i.n.s.a.n.e.

Last year after Christmas, just after I took that picture with thousands of my closest Disney friends, three of four Disney parks reached capacity. If you can calmly imagine standing shoulder to shoulder with up to 92,000 people in the Magic Kingdom at one time, then you must really want to be vacationing at Disney World. Up to two hour waits without a Fastpass- yikes- that’s the facts. I found our best option was to leave the parks around one p.m. and go back in around six or seven. It’s still busy- crazy busy– but people start to leave after the fireworks, and lines are more manageable, especially if they offer Extra Magic Hours and you stay in a Disney Resort. However, we can’t all afford to stay on property.

So make no mistake, the fact is the week after Christmas is totally packed-out.  I advise visiting Disney the week after Christmas, no matter how beautiful and holiday magical, only a last resort vacationing choice, if you just can’t schedule a Disney visit any other time of year. Thanksgiving weekend is also very busy, but there are other options.

Books like The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World suggest two alternate times. This way you can still see the holiday decorations without waiting two hours to ride Space Mountain.

  1. After Thanksgiving to the week before Christmas.
  2. The second full week of November through the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Now of course, anyone reading up on the best time to go to WDW, that can, will try to schedule vacations during this time of year, and it might be more crowded then as well. But it can’t get any more crowded than right after Christmas.

I’ve stood on Main Street, U.S.A., as the clock struck midnight on Christmas Eve, ushering in a fantastic Christmas Day. The Disney snow was gently falling, the holiday lights were twinkling, and people walking around were extra-Disney-magically happy. Christmas carols were playing, and I was grinning, hugging my kids and taking their picture. (Cue the scary Snow White music here.) The fact is, thousands of people were waiting to descend upon the Disney parks the next day.

Do I recommend you go right at Christmas like we did? No. Would I go again at that time? Yes. Well, maybe. The fact is, it all really depends on how just bad you want to feel that Disney magic.

Thanks for visiting The Disney Moms today, and we hope your trip is magical, whenever you decide to go.

Amanda, Disney’s Cheapskate

Come see us at Disney’s Cheapskate Princess on Facebook and Cheapskate Princess on Pinterest.

Leave a Reply