Disney At Christmas
Disney at Christmas sounds like a great idea. And it can be. Walt Disney World goes all out to transform the theme parks and the resorts into a celebration of Christmas. There are Christmas trees, special shows and even a Christmas party. It might even snow on Main Street USA.
But before you decide to do Disney at Christmas here are five things you need to know.
Think you are the only one who thinks a Walt Disney Christmas vacation would be great? Think again. In fact the week before and the week after Christmas are the busiest weeks of the year.
That translates into long lines for everything from attractions to dining. It also means long lines just to get into the parks (if you can get into the parks.) Which leads to the second reason you might want to reconsider Christmas at Disney.
Got your heart set on meeting Mickey Mouse? Or is there another attraction you simply must do? You are probably not alone. You will figure this out when you get into the line.
Have you ever noticed one of those signs in a restaurant that lists the capacity of the restaurant? That number comes from how many people they can legally squeeze into the dining room. Someone in the government decided the facility is big enough for X amount of people. Any more than that would be dangerous.
What applies to restaurants in your hometown also applies to Walt Disney World. Yes, unfortunately, you could get to the gate of the Magic Kingdom and be turned away. That would just ruin your vacation would it not?
And it does happen. In fact there are days you can count on it happening. New Year’s eve almost always ends being one of those days at the Magic Kingdom. In the week between Christmas and New Year’s eve you can count on the Magic Kingdom reaching capacity and being closed to certain guests at least twice.
To learn more about park closures due to crowds read this article from Touring Plans.
Advanced Dining Reservations And Fastpasses
Those same crowds standing in line with you and filling the parks to capacity also need to eat. There will be long lines at most of the restaurants.
If you want to sit down for a full-service meal you better have reservations. But even reservations are hard to come by. If you have your heart set on eating at a particular establishment, good luck.
If you are not familiar with Fastpass+ you should be. It is a reservation system for Disney attractions that let you cut down considerably on your time in line. Guests staying at Walt Disney World resorts can pick them out up to 60 days ahead of time.
Of course there are going to be a lot of people trying to get the same Fastpass you want at the same time you want. So again, good luck to you!
Even if you get the the ones you want do not count on walking right onto your favorite attraction. Even in slower times of the year that rarely happens. Fastpasses reduce your wait time they do not eliminate it. Even the Fastpass return lines can be long during the Christmas season.
Walt Disney World operates its resorts on a supply vs. demand principle. Every day of the year is divided into on of three categories. They are value, regular and peak. Value is when there are the fewest people trying to book a room at Walt Disney World. Peak is when the most people are trying to book a room.
Based on supply and demand prices are cheapest during value season. Disney is doing everything it can to try to lure people into one of its resort hotels. When it is peak season everyone is trying to get a room at one of the resort hotels so rates are higher. This is an example of how it looks:
You can get a room for $102 per night in April.
The same room costs you $203 during the Christmas season.
Not only are the rates highest during peak season, which obviously includes Christmas, Disney does not offer many (if any) discounts. They do not have to. But there are some really good discounts offered during value season. You might even get Disney to pay for your food.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Turns out Mickey Mouse is a big fan of Christmas. Starting and mid-November he hosts a special Christmas party called Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. The party is held select nights until almost Christmas.
During Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party there are special experiences. You can meet characters you normally do not get to meet. There are free cookies and hot chocolate. There is even a special parade and “snow” on Mainstreet USA.
So why is Mickey’s party a reason not to got to Disney at Christmas? First because while the party may be very merry it is not free. Tickets start at around $74 for adults and $69 for children ages three to nine. While these tickets let you get into the Magic Kingdom they are not traditional admission tickets. You cannot enter the Magic Kingdom until 4 o’clock. If you want to get in before 4 you need a separate admission ticket.
If you want to remain in the Magic Kingdom after Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party starts (normally at 7) you have to have a ticket for the party. That means if you want to spend the whole day in the Magic Kingdom on one of the days Mickey is hosting his party you can expect to pay up to $180 for an adult.
Of course you can just skip the party and leave at 7. But if you are staying for more than a few days you can count on the party being offered at least twice during your stay. That means two days you could have to leave the Magic Kingdom at 7.
Should You Skip Disney At Christmas?
Not necessarily. I am not saying you should never go to Disney at Christmas. I am saying you need to do some research first. Disney is beautiful at Christmas and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is great.
You just need to be aware of what you are getting yourself into. Do not be like a man I recently read about. He decided to take his family to Walt Disney World for Christmas and couldn’t believe the crowds. He had been told, incorrectly, that the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve was not busy. When it turned out to be not only very busy but the busiest week at the Magic Kingdom he had some buyer’s remorse.
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And thanks for stopping by Walt Disney World By Grumpymickey!