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braddillman 03-03-2013 07:26 PM

Going to Orlando for xmas/ny 2013
My wife has often thought of going for xmas and new years. So finally we are. We're staying off-site at the Fountains on i-drive for most of it, but we're considering either on-site at Universal for a couple of days, or maybe a short cruise.

I'm hoping some of the days will be warm enough for the pool. I've never been that time of year. Also, correct me if I'm incorrect but I don't expect crowd levels will not be at or near capacity.

alc571 03-04-2013 06:21 AM

Weather at Christmas can be unpredictable. This past year it was quite hot, but it can be quite cool as well.

Regarding crowds, Christmas to NY is THE busiest time of year in Orlando. Be prepared for very busy hotels and restaurants, and REALLY long lines at the parks.

Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina 03-04-2013 07:56 AM

Crowds, particularly at the Disney parks, will be at park-closure levels. We were in Orlando from December 23 to 30 this past Christmas, and Magic Kingdom was experiencing closures from Christmas Eve day on. Even Downtown Disney felt mobbed......tons and tons of people milling about everywhere.

Expect tons of traffic, tons of people, tons of lines. And not only at the Disney parks, either. We couldn't get a table at Olive Garden on I-Drive on at least two nights of our vacation because there were so many people waiting to be seated.

A 15 minute drive to the Poly took us an hour, as cars were stop and go as far as the eye could see.

That said, if you PLAN, PLAN, can be amazing. We avoided all Disney parks, added in a few less popular (but equally awesome) attractions, and had an incredible time. You can check out my trip report (the link is in my signature) for more details on how we spent our week. Christmas Day itself was spent at SeaWorld, and it was big crowds, no huge lines, nothing like we experienced a few days later. For any park days (whether SW or Disney or Universal) I would recommend staying onsite at the park of your choice (Universal and SeaWorld properties offer their onsite guests free front-of-the-line passes which are a Godsend), and planning on being to the parks at opening to enjoy what you can before the masses hit.

We had great weather overall. A couple of cooler days mixed in, but warm enough to hit Aquatica on Christmas Eve Day :thumbsup2 and even "hot" on at least a day or two.

If you have any specific questions, don't hesitate to ask!

2forMe 03-04-2013 08:18 AM

If you are planning on going to universal I would stay on site to get the early entry and front of the line access. It will be crazy busy.

As for weather in 2010 we went the week before Xmas and wore doubke fleece jackets ,hats and glives in the evenings. During the day pants and sweatshirts. My kids went swimming twice...but not me!!

tgropp 03-04-2013 10:44 AM

Like everyone said, After the 23'rd of Dec things get crazy busy...but so much fun. Weather as stated is like a coin toss. I have froze and I have had some Great weather. If you are there for 10 days, you will probally see both sides of it. But, you will enjoy it! Have fun.

braddillman 03-04-2013 11:30 AM

So, if we DID want to go to a disney park on the 25th, how early to arrive?
Or universal?

I'm really not decided, I'm not crazy about the crowds, but OTOH why go to Orlando and spend xmas day in the hotel pool (etc.)?

Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina 03-04-2013 03:02 PM


Originally Posted by braddillman (Post 47694017)
So, if we DID want to go to a disney park on the 25th, how early to arrive?
Or universal?

I'm really not decided, I'm not crazy about the crowds, but OTOH why go to Orlando and spend xmas day in the hotel pool (etc.)?

If you are totally stuck on Disney during the holidays, I wouldn't even consider staying offsite. After experiencing Disney traffic during Christmas week, I can't imagine driving to and from the parks. At least if you're at a Disney resort, you will have the bus, monorail and boats to utilize. I thought I had imagined what "busy" felt like, but until I saw it for myself...........I had no idea how bad "bad" really is :faint: . And we were at non-Disney parks that were not at closure status. The crowds at DTD (and SeaWorld later Christmas week) were enough for me.

I would plan to arrive well ahead of rope drop. You may well want to escape to the pool at your hotel in the afternoon. But then again, I think that's a PERFECT Christmas Day!! :thumbsup2

Do not discount the value and enjoyability of having Express Pass at the Universal parks or Quick Queue at SeaWorld. We had Express Passes for our Universal trip during New Years week 2012 and they were a Godsend. Made for an awesome trip.

Have you considered Discovery Cove? I would also highly recommend that park during the holiday season because they cap their park admittance at something really small (about 1000 guests, I think) so its a wonderful place to visit during a busy time.

Babooagain 03-04-2013 07:52 PM

we were down for Christmas a few years ago and stayed at the Hilton in DTD. They are the only non Disney hotel that offers extra magic hours. They offer shuttle services to both Disney and Universal. We found it extremely busy, but when we went down I planned on seeing parades, shows and decorations rather than concentrating on rides. We did Epcot on Christmas Eve so that we could do the Candlelight Procession and it was a great way to spend that evening. Christmas day we went to the Disney studios and spent the evening looking at the Osborne Lights and having "snow" fall on us so that it felt more like Christmas. We did IOA on Boxing day and had a blast. The lines for rides weren't as bad as at Disney. We saw the live performance of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and it was a lot of fun.
We weren't there for NYE so I can't comment on that but everyone there said it would be even busier.:scared1:

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