Christmas is my favorite holiday because there just seems to be magic in the air all around. Walt Disney World is my favorite place to vacation for the exact same reason! Combine the two, Christmas and Walt Disney World, and you have double the magic! Here are 5 tips to make your Holiday trip to Florida even better!
1. Be Prepared for Crowds
Unless you are going the 2 weeks after Thanksgiving, you need to be prepared for crowds. I used to be a public school teacher so the only option for us was to travel over Winter break between Christmas and New Years. Yes, it is crowded, comparable to the busiest days in the summer, but if you plan ahead you can avoid the worst of it. If you are staying on grounds take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours by either going early or staying late. One night we arrived at 8 PM and closed the Magic Kingdom down at 2 AM. We rode every single ride! Use the Fast Past system as much as possible and make those plans ahead of time using the app, My Disney Experience (available in the App Store and Google Play store). Finally, take a break in the afternoon. Go back to your hotel and rest, swim, or relax in your room.
2. The Weather is Tricky
We live in Illinois, where yesterday it was 70 and today it is 35. We are used to cold, but we were not prepared for cold weather in sunny Florida. So unprepared in fact, that we left all our hats, coats, gloves, and sweatshirts at home. When we arrived, the Orlando area was experiencing record cold. Seriously, it was really cold,
and we did not have anything to keep warm. Walt Disney World made a lot of money off of people like us who were unprepared and had to buy our souvenirs early (i.e. gloves, hats, and coats!). Check the weather before you go and pack those just in case items. The good news is that by the end of the week it had warmed up and we were doing this…
3. Take advantage of character meals
If meeting princess and classic characters is on your list of to-do things, consider booking a character meal or two during your visit. Since it can be so crowded the lines to meet characters in the parks can be very long. Booking a character meal ensures two things, you will get to meet characters and you will be feeding your family while you are waiting to meet the characters. You also have the advantage that the characters will come directly to your table, sign your autograph books, and give you a little attention. Most character meals count as one sit down meal on the Disney Dining Plan. The Dad in your family may be exceptionally happy to not have to stand in line and even get his picture taken!
4. Go to EPCOT
The holiday season is magical all over Walt Disney World, but perhaps the true meaning of Christmas is most present at EPCOT. EPCOT hosts a Candlelight Processional 3 times each night from November 28-December 30 this year. Celebrity narrators, including Whoopi Goldberg, Neal Patrick Harris, and Steven Curtis Chapman, read the story of a Savior born in Bethlehem while choirs provide a traditional backdrop of music. The countries around the World Showcase feature traditions, food, and decorations native to that country as well. Plan ahead as this even fills up quickly! It is a wonderful experience for a family!
Disney knows how to decorate for any time of the year, but at Christmas Disney magic is everywhere. The castle is transformed at Magic Kingdom, there are gigantic Christmas trees at every park, and Hollywood Studies features the best light show on Earth (in my opinion). The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is not to be missed. One of my single favorite Disney memories, involves this event. We rounded the corner onto the Streets of America, the lights were dancing to my favorite Trans Siberian Orchestra Christmas song, and there was snow falling from the sky. We just stood there in amazement at the magic around us. Take your time here, look at the detail, grab a cup of hot chocolate or an ice cream bar, and sit and enjoy the Magic that Disney is so good at.
Sarah Garner was born, raised, and continues to live in Central Illinois, which is a very long way from the Mouse’s home in Florida. A former public school teacher, turned homeschool Mom, she enjoys reading, quilting, and cooking (but really only has time for the last one). She has been to Walt Disney World 17 times and her family recently took their first Disney Cruise. She has been married to her high school sweetheart for 11 years and they have a 7 year old son and a 6 year old daughter.