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Disney World @ Xmas

doublebubbls

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OK This may be a dumb question :confused: ....But wife would like some conformation.
How bad is it during xmas at the park? :shrug:
We have been many times during summer months and a few times during spring break. The kids have the week before xmas off this year and we are looking at booking, But wanted to know if we will be in lines for an hour or HOURS :annoyed: .
Again this will be week before xmas...not xmas week.
Thanks for any input.
 

JPrisco

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Estimated crowd calendar per Touring Plans:
Date - Crowd Level - Best Parks - Worst Parks - Special notes

December 15, 2012 7 out of 10 EP MK
Sun, December 16, 2012 3 out of 10 MK HS Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party*
Mon, December 17, 2012 8 out of 10 EP HS MK
Tue, December 18, 2012 6 out of 10 MK EP Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party*
Wed, December 19, 2012 8 out of 10 EP MK
Thu, December 20, 2012 8 out of 10 EP AK MK
Fri, December 21, 2012 9 out of 10 MK HS EP
Sat, December 22, 2012 10 out of 10 MK AK EP
Sun, December 23, 2012 10 out of 10 EP AK MK
Mon, December 24, 2012 10 out of 10 HS AK MK Christmas Eve
Tue, December 25, 2012 10 out of 10 MK AK EP Christmas Day
Wed, December 26, 2012 10 out of 10 MK AK EP

Enjoy
 

dumbydee

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I was there a few years ago the week leading up to Christmas and the parks were crowded but with a good touring plan very doable. The longest we waited in line was maybe 45 minutes.

Be prepared with a touring plan, get to the parks early, use the fast passes and it is not bad at all.
 

MichaelColey

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We've always avoided Disney during the busiest times, but I've read quite a bit about it. The week before Christmas is bad, but not as bad as the week between Christmas and New Years. New Years Eve is absolutely crazy. I read some reports about the most recent New Year's Eve, that MK was at capacity (and turning away many guests) from 10am on, that some of the more popular rides had wait times exceeding 4 hours, and that even the least popular rides had waits of 60-90 minutes.

If you're going to go during a busy time, I strongly suggest that you read and research on easyWDW.com. Picking the right parks each day, hitting rope drop, using FastPasses effectively, and choosing the right order to do the rides/attractions can make a HUGE difference in how much of an impact the crowds have on you. Even in slower times, it can help quite a bit.
 

andex

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Was there this year! Sucked! Never again between x- Mas and new years!!
Just my opinion!
 

Purseval

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Disney at any major holiday time is best enjoyed by park veterans, people who have been on multiple visits and to whom rides aren't important. That way you are free to wander around enjoying the sights and sounds of the holiday while others are wasting their day standing in line. It is not the kind of place you'd want to be in on your first or second visit to the park unless your only goal is to say you were there for that special day.
 

SOS8260456

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Disney at any major holiday time is best enjoyed by park veterans, people who have been on multiple visits and to whom rides aren't important. That way you are free to wander around enjoying the sights and sounds of the holiday while others are wasting their day standing in line. It is not the kind of place you'd want to be in on your first or second visit to the park unless your only goal is to say you were there for that special day.
Couldn't agree more. We had one of our best New Years Eve's at Disney. We always get annual passes though and this made a big difference. We traveled with friends who had day passes and they did not enjoy it as much as we did. While we were content people/decoration watching, they were determined to get the "most" for their money when they used up a day pass.

THe decorations are awesome and the Candlelight Processional at Epcot is a not-to-be-missed experience.

Lisa from PA
 

vacationhopeful

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Agreed. Was there last month from Dec 10-17. It was great. Parades were crowded as well as the fireworks, but managable.

Was there Jan 15-22 again. Stood in line for Soaring for over 60 minutes (long story, but it was the last day and the EMH visit on the 1st day involved a "passenger of size" and getting off the ride after the safety check). That was the longest wait all week, but planning & EMHs truly helped.

During the January visit, multiple people made comments about the Xmas holidays thru New Year's was super crowded. Lots of foreign guests in January, particularily tour groups from Brazil (everywhere).
 

Twinkstarr

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Disney at any major holiday time is best enjoyed by park veterans, people who have been on multiple visits and to whom rides aren't important. That way you are free to wander around enjoying the sights and sounds of the holiday while others are wasting their day standing in line. It is not the kind of place you'd want to be in on your first or second visit to the park unless your only goal is to say you were there for that special day.
Preach to the choir! We are DVC members and usually do 2-3 trips per year. 5 Thanksgiving trips under our belts. I am :eek: when listening to my parents at school talk about how they do WDW during spring break or Xmas.

But then again, we usually hear someone complaining during Turkey week that it's not fair they don't hold a few extra tables for people who don't have ADR's. You know the type, I'm special and don't need an ADR for a character buffet during spring break.
 

MichaelColey

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Agreed. Was there last month from Dec 10-17. It was great. Parades were crowded as well as the fireworks, but managable.
Dec 10-17 is actually relatively slow compared to the week before Christmas and the week between Christmas and New Years. We went a couple years ago during that time (early to mid-December) and loved it.
 

TSPam

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with Christmas on a Tuesday this year many will not get to Disney until the Saturday prior (Dec 22nd).
In the last two year that I was in Disney at Christmas the crowds didn't get really busy until the 20th.

If you are able to go the whole week before christmas arriving say the 15 and leaving the 22 you should have a great week. The Saturday will be busy with locals and then it will be ok until about the 20th. I would do all of the rides that you want early on, take full advantage of fast passes.
Disney tends to add hours if it is busy so you get extra time in the parks later at night.
The last Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is usually around the 18th of December and then the special fireworks and the parade are added to the regular park activities (ie no need to go to the party) Magic closes at 7pm on party nights

I just love Disney at Christmas. The decorations, the Candlelight Processional, Osborne Lights, special singers and activities. It is great.

I don't need to do rides that much any more so I get a fast pass for the one I want and enjoy the park until the time comes up for the fast pass. I often use the fast pass near park closing as they are good from your start time until end of day.

I you are with II the getaways are inexpensive for the week ending before Christmas
 

MichaelColey

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December certainly is an incredible time to go to Disney. Even if you skip all the rides and just focus on the special Christmas attractions and events, I'm not sure you could get everything done in a week. We went for a week in early/mid December in 2010 and plan to do it again this year, but we might have to make it two weeks this time.
 

DianeV

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We went the week before Christmas last year and it was fine up until a couple days before Christmas. Even then it wasnt horrible but we went home on the day after

This year we went 12/30-1/6 and it was ALOT busier. However getting to the parks early and using fast passes you can still get on what you want
 

SOS8260456

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Even if you skip all the rides and just focus on the special Christmas attractions and events, I'm not sure you could get everything done in a week. We went for a week in early/mid December in 2010 and plan to do it again this year, but we might have to make it two weeks this time.
This is why Disney should not be limited to a "once in a lifetime experience". See, even you agree, you need to do it again. :)
 

Twinkstarr

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However getting to the parks early and using fast passes you can still get on what you want
All of us "old hands" know this, but you would be :hysterical: at what some people call early at WDW.
 

Catira

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All of us "old hands" know this, but you would be :hysterical: at what some people call early at WDW.
:rofl: Couldn't agree more! The majority of people on vacation do not want to wake up early and do rope drop at Disney. Plus the fact that it is probably cold, who wants to get out of a warm bed?:zzz: We have gone several times during Xmas, and as long as you actually have an idea as to what park crowds are and if you are able to do EMHs you will be ok. We arrive at rope drop to the parks and usually by noon we are heading out to have lunch and rest. Then back in the evening for parades and firework shows.
 

Twinkstarr

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:rofl: Couldn't agree more! The majority of people on vacation do not want to wake up early and do rope drop at Disney. Plus the fact that it is probably cold, who wants to get out of a warm bed?:zzz: We have gone several times during Xmas, and as long as you actually have an idea as to what park crowds are and if you are able to do EMHs you will be ok. We arrive at rope drop to the parks and usually by noon we are heading out to have lunch and rest. Then back in the evening for parades and firework shows.
Had one mom look at me like I had a 3rd eye when I told her if you go during spring break(ours is always around Easter) you need to be at the park for the opening, and they were staying on site. Her idea was to show up for early EMH at MK 30 minutes before regular hours. It was packed and on top of it she was clueless on using FP's.:wall: On non-EMH they were wandering into parks at 10:30-11am.

I told her getting an early start is important at WDW when you go for major holidays and want to get on the rides. If you want lazy get up late vacation, do a few pool days and skip the parks or perhaps look at a different sort of vacation.

Wow the dirty looks I get when I give out that advice.
 

spencersmama

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I like I am going to be the contrarian of this post, but here I go!

I think if you are used to coming to WDW during spring break and summer time, I bet the week before Christmas next year will not be any more crowded than what you have experienced. Probably less crowded on the Mon, Tues, and Wed of that week. (I assume you meant the week of Dec. 15-22.) I'm betting the way Christmas falls on a Tuesday, most school systems will still be in school for the beginning of that week. Our school calendar (Florida) just came out for next year. We get two full weeks off and the vacation will start on Thursday, Dec. 20th - Wed. Jan 2nd. I know my niece and nephew that live in the NE typically get less time off than we do, so I expect them to have Dec. 24 - Jan 1st off.

You would probably love coming here during Christmas time. There are a lot of special activities and decorations that are a lot of fun. I think with good planning, you would be able to experience most of them. I love the Osborne family light display in Hollywood Studios and have gone every year since 1998. The Candlelight Processional is a traditional telling of the (religious) Christmas story in a cantata format at EPCOT. My husband loves that. Epcot also has a lot of little traditional holiday activities and displays from around the world in the countries. The castle looks absolutely magical lit up in its sparkly clear lights.

My tips:
If you go, make reservations for dining! Find out about special dining programs. For instance, they have a special package for the Candlelight Processional. You make reservations for dining at a certain time and then you get admitted into a special reserved area of the pavilion for the Processional. The cost is about the same as going to the restaurant and ordering off the menu, but you have guaranteed seating. (You still wait in line, but they let those people in first before the line of people just waiting for the show.) I did this a year or two ago on either Dec. 23rd or 24th coming back from a cruise with a group of 6 and had great seats even though the park was crowded. They also have a similar thing with dinner and reserved seats at Fantasmic in Hollywood Studios and Finding Nemo in Animal Kingdom. (Ask about using Tables in Wonderland or Dining Plans with these programs. Not sure if they allow it.) I would definitely recommend doing this dining/reserved seat thing on the Thurs., Fri and Sat as it will probably be busier those days. (I personally make a sit down reservation almost every time we are in Disney. I think it's nice to get to get out of the crowds, take my time and relax for a little bit to recharge. And I don't mind taking my time and getting my money's worth on refills of Diet Coke!)

When you go to to the park, have each person choose one ride that is their top choice. You can get a fast pass every 2 hours. I don't know how old your kids are, or what they like, but there are certain rides that run out of FP's earlier than others. I try to get those first, depending on our family's priority. There are times for FP return, but you don't have to stay in that window. You can use them any time after the start time up until the park closes, so don't worry about running from one side of the park to the other. (A lot of people don't know that they will take the FP after the time. I have found discarded passes left places on the FP dispensers. I take them and silently thank the uninformed! :p )

We live pretty close to Disney and have annual passes, so I am probably more relaxed about seeing and doing everything than some of the posters. I have been during almost all times of the year though. I never get to the park when it opens. When we go during busy times, I tend to go around 4 pm and stay until closing, taking a break for dinner. The parks stay open later. Magic Kingdom is usually open until 11pm or midnight. I have been there as late as 2 or 3 AM on Extra Magic Hour days.) I find the crowds thin out after the parades and fire works. My kids are older and are also night people. The people that tend to stay are adults or teens, so some of the "little kid" rides hardly have a wait. The big rides are much less crowded as well, in my experience.
 

spencersmama

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Forgot to say, I do go to Disney Quest in the morning right at or after opening. Most people go later at night after some of the parks have closed. If you go early, parking is much easier and the lines for the virtual rides are much faster. Lunch is cheaper and much easier to get reservations at most of the DD restaurants than dinner.

The weather may or may not be warm enough for the water parks. This year would have been no problem for most people. Either way, they will be much less crowded crowded that time of year.
 

doublebubbls

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Thanks for the info

All I can say is thanks to all.;)
My family & I have talked it over and we are going to book and give it a try.
We know it is going to be crowded and have talked and do not need to hit all the rides. As we go every couple years and the kids are teenage now and just want all the thrill rides any way. We will get the FP on most rides and use them to our advantage. We just want to see all the xmas lights and parades this visit so that is all we will expect. The kids are in a charter school so they get 2 1/2 weeks off at xmas this year. We will be hitting most the rides first part of the week and then slow down the last half when it gets busy.
Again thanks for all the info. One last thing anybody ever take the train into Fla.
Looks like this is what we are going to do, It only stops in north Orlando but looking at a taxi to the resort. Any ideas on this?:shrug:
Thanks all
 

spencersmama

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Glad you are trying it. I think you'll love being there at Christmas. Where are you staying? PM me closer to the trip if you have any specific questions. My kids are 15 and 12. If they are adrenaline junkies, you may want to try the Universal parks, too. Much bigger coasters and the Harry Potter area is amazing if you are a HP fan.

RE: the train, I have no idea! I will be curious to hear if it works out. I have never had luck when I have looked into train travel in the past from FL to VA. Bad times, too long and too expensive, I always ended up driving or flying.
 

Twinkstarr

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All I can say is thanks to all.;)
My family & I have talked it over and we are going to book and give it a try.
We know it is going to be crowded and have talked and do not need to hit all the rides. As we go every couple years and the kids are teenage now and just want all the thrill rides any way. We will get the FP on most rides and use them to our advantage. We just want to see all the xmas lights and parades this visit so that is all we will expect. The kids are in a charter school so they get 2 1/2 weeks off at xmas this year. We will be hitting most the rides first part of the week and then slow down the last half when it gets busy.
Again thanks for all the info. One last thing anybody ever take the train into Fla.
Looks like this is what we are going to do, It only stops in north Orlando but looking at a taxi to the resort. Any ideas on this?:shrug:
Thanks all
About the train, go over to the DIS boards. Try looking at the Transportation sub thread. I know it's a popular way for East Coasters to get down to FL.
 

tomandrobin

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We have gone to WDW the week between Christmas and New Year Eve the seven years in a row. We have next year already booked this coming year NYE trip.

Yes, the parks are busy....but you already know that. We go for the holidays and family time. We love Disney at Christmas, everything is all decked out for Christmas. Celebrating NYE at midnight, with all those people is such a rush of excitement and celebration!

Hitting EMH is a must for attractions and prudent use of Fast passes. Plan nice dinners in the evening, see the shows, parades and fireworks.

People can skip the week of NYE all they want, but our family will continue to go every year. I still get goose bumps when the countdown starts just before midnight, then all the fireworks go off all around.....amazing!
 

tomandrobin

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One last thing anybody ever take the train into Fla. Looks like this is what we are going to do, It only stops in north Orlando but looking at a taxi to the resort.
From Durham to Orlando is 8hr drive?

From what I have heard, the train can be a pain with all the stops they make. Also, the cost can be a bit pricey. Have you looked at flights?
 

tomandrobin

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Oh...One more thing.

We do not ever wait an hour for a ride. The parks are open really early and really late. Maximizing the EMH and fast passes allows us to get on every ride we want.

For example, Magic Kingdom is open until 3am on Dec 30th. After the fireworks are over at midnight, the crowds dissipates fast and by 12:30pm the backs of the park is empty. By 1:30pm the park starts looking like a ghost town. Staying out late on the 30th is good for us, we already know that on the 31st we are sleeping in and not hitting the parks until evening time.

We take naps in the middle of the day, relax by the pool (weather permitting) or just do non-ride activities.
 
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