So you’ve decided to visit the Walt Disney World Resort during Christmas week. This time of year can be extra magical, but it can also be extra crowded. While it is one of if not the most crowded time of year at the theme parks and resorts, it can be completely manageable if you plan ahead.
Get to the parks early
If you like rides you’ll want to be in the parks early, regardless of which parks you’re visiting, and whether or not you have FastPasses already to go. The middle of the day can be packed, and by packed I literally mean you’ll be in a group of wall-to-wall people. Even while the entire property is booked solid this time of year, you can still get on some of your attractions with a short wait if you get to the parks when they open in the morning.
Eat at off times
Thankfully Disney has been really great in recent years about managing guests who reserve tables in quick service restaurants. During peak weeks like this, you’ll usually see lines to get into quick service restaurants, and cast members will hold guests who have not ordered from getting to the seating area so that guests who already have their food can find a place to sit. Even so, the lunch and dinner rushes at quick service restaurants can come with long waits. If you don’t want to be waiting in yet another line to have a quick service meal, plan to eat at off times or grab snacks throughout the day and eat on the go. If you’re reading this post to plan ahead you can always look for reservations at table service restaurants too to avoid this issue altogether.
Grab parade and fireworks spots earlier than usual
If you usually arrive to your “spot” for the parade or fireworks 40 minutes early, plan on securing that location at least an hour if not earlier this week. It’s a simple fact that the more guests that are in the park, the earlier they’re all going to start setting up for parades and fireworks. If I’m visiting during this time of year, I like to take this opportunity to have that lunch or dinner. Since you’ll be waiting for the parade anyway, you can have half of your party hold your spots on the curb and have the other half go and grab a quick service lunch.
Try the “less popular” attractions
Never done the Carousel of Progress? It’s your lucky day because this is the time of year to do it. Any show attraction that continually accommodates large amounts of guests at a time is going to be your saving grace in the middle of the day when the parks are most crowded. Since many show attractions in the Magic Kingdom do not even use FastPass, and the ones that do are few and far between and have lots of seating, you can usually get into these attractions with short waits even during the busiest week of the year.
Don’t leave the park in the middle of the day on Christmas
Christmas is one of those holidays where at least the Magic Kingdom (and sometimes the other parks) are filled to capacity. What this means is that if you leave the park, there is no guarantee that you’ll be let back in, so only leave the park if you’re aware of this and okay with it. This is another reason why you’ll want to arrive early on Christmas, because if the park is closed due to capacity in the middle of the day and that’s when you arrive, you aren’t getting in. Disney does prioritize who gets to go in the park when it’s getting close to capacity (ie: a guest with a one-day Magic Kingdom ticket will always get in before an annual passholder for instance) but it’s still worth knowing that capacity is a real possibility during Christmas Day.
While the parks will quite literally be packed, you can still have a good time visiting this week! Plan to be a little bit more strategic than usual in the way you go around the parks, but don’t stress or let the crowds get to you. And don’t forget to be kind to Disney cast members who are in the parks helping you create magical vacation memories during the holidays.