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Old 10-12-2009, 05:02 PM   #1
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Should we go to WDW at Christmas? Help please!

Hi! I just found this site and I hope you guys can help me figure out what to do.

I made reservations off WDW site for Dec. 22 - 29. We have 5 kids ages 8, 10, 11, 13, and 15. I have always wanted to go to WDW for Christmas and I really wanted to give my kids that "magical Disney Christmas experience".

I am a member of another board (not Disney related) and I posted several months ago that we were planning on going during Christmas. I was told by someone that goes a lot that it was a bad time to go, very crowded, long lines. We thought about it and decided to go anyway and stay longer so that if we didn't get to ride a lot of rides one day, we could make it up another.

Now I am about 2 weeks away from having to pay for our condo or cancel without penalty. I am second guessing myself and wondering if we should go during spring break next year instead.

Like I said, I really wanted my kids to wake up Christmas morning and go to Disney but I don't know if that's the best things to do.

We went during our spring break 3 years ago and the crowds were not bad and the weather was good. Can anyone help me decide what to do?


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Old 10-12-2009, 05:13 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by cutekidsinc View Post
I posted several months ago that we were planning on going during Christmas.

1- I was told by someone that goes a lot that it was a bad time to go, very crowded, long lines.

2- We thought about it and decided to go anyway and stay longer so that if we didn't get to ride a lot of rides one day, we could make it up another.

Now I am about 2 weeks away from having to pay for our condo or cancel without penalty.

3- I am second guessing myself and wondering if we should go during spring break next year instead.
1- I have to agree.

2- It will be OUTSTANDINGLY busy during your trip.
It will peak on Christmas Eve and stay busy all the rest of the week after Christmas.

3- That will be busy, too, but not "Christmas Week" busy.

Still, Christmas at WDW will be magical... but BUSY, BUSY, BUSY!

to the DISboards.

(Wish I had better news.)
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Old 10-12-2009, 05:30 PM   #3
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It sounds like you really would like to go during Christmas. Yes, it will be busy but you also sound prepared for it.

Spring Break is not going to be that much slower and depending on how the economy goes it could be busier.

Christmas time is magical at WDW and if you have your heart set on it I would go then over Spring Break because of the lights and festivities.

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Old 10-12-2009, 05:44 PM   #4
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I think you will probably be able to do only a fraction of what you could do on a non-Christmas week. But if that's OK with you, then prepare, have a really tight plan, and enjoy!
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Old 10-12-2009, 05:48 PM   #5
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Just be aware that if you're staying offsite you can't take advantage of Extra Magic Hours and that if the parks are filled to capacity you won't be permitted in. Only onsite guests are guaranteed to get into a park.
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Old 10-12-2009, 05:57 PM   #6
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Yes, it will be very crowded. However, I can't think of a more magical place to be for Christmas! As long as you realize you won't be able to do "commando" park riding and are ready to just enjoy the atmosphere, go for it!

We'll be there this year during Christmas. I know we won't get a chance to ride a ton of rides, but just being there is so wonderful! Go check out all the decorations for the resorts, hit what parks you can, and enjoy! MK and Epcot are simply wonderful during Christmas!

On the other hand, if your goal is to ride ride ride, then you won't be very pleased with the crowds.
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Old 10-12-2009, 06:06 PM   #7
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whatever you do dont let all of us make your decision for you................having said that. my family is an experienced travel group. we would not go over x-mas week if we were staying off site. actually we would never stay off site anyway. as experienced people we would consider it from an onsite point of view with the experience helping us to navigate the treacherous waters that are the holiday crowds and we would be there strictly as observers and not worrying about rides. as a first or second timer i would not even attempt it from an onsite point of view and knowing that the kids are going to ride, ride, ride...now....that opinion has the benefit of 19 years of hindsite.....but.......gridlock, and that is what you will encounter, can be very frustrating
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Old 10-12-2009, 06:15 PM   #8
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Does your spring break coincide with Easter? Because if not, crowds might not be too bad. With the ages of your kids, they will want to go on the rides with the longest lines. Having a big family myself, I hate to be in crowded situations - easier for us to get separated, harder to get a place to sit, etc. If you leave the parks during the day, you might not be able to get back in. I know my older 2 would be miserable with the waiting on lines and the crowds - no amount of christmas decorations is going to sway them.
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Old 10-12-2009, 07:43 PM   #9
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I would encourage you to go for it. So many people go to WDW at Christmas or any other time for that matter and have unrealistics expectations. I think the biggest key is to be informed and prepared. Research, research, research and frequent these boards. Come up with a reasonable itinerary knowing that you will have to be flexible once you arrive. I think if you go prepared for big crowds and have a plan in place to handle them, you and your family could have a magical time.

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Old 10-12-2009, 08:49 PM   #10
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Last year we decided to go to Disney between Christmas and New Year's. We've been to Disney many times, and we LOVE Disney at Christmas time (we usually go in early Dec). We arrived on Dec 26 and stayed off site (we decided at the last minute to go and all of the reasonably priced Disney rooms were booked). We knew it was going to be crowded, but we were pretty prepared and we did have ADRs for lunch every day at one of the parks or monorail hotels.

Our hotel was right by a back road that led onto Disney property by Animal Kingdom. Although we weren't eligible for EMH, we just went to a park that did not have the early morning entry. We were able to ride a lot of rides getting there right at park opening til around noon or 1:00 pm. After that, we found the parks to be really crowded. We did leave a few times and come back around 6:00 pm or so, but it was still really crowded.

New Year's Eve, we went to Epcot and stayed for the first fireworks show! It was VERY CROWDED trying to leave the park after that. We went to Chevy's for a late dinner and just went back to the hotel. New Year's Day, we went to DHS where we rode many rides without too many bad lines.

Again, if you plan ahead, you can go and have a great time! We didn't like the crowds in the afternoon/evening, so we just left and had dinner offsite, visited with family, and just had fun in the local area and at our hotel. Be sure to have ADRs if you plan to eat at any restaurant in the parks.

Although we did have a good time for our New Year's trip, we don't have any plans to return during that time frame any time soon. (We much rather go in early December to see the holiday decorations) But I am really glad to have gone and actually experienced Disney for New Year's!!!!

If you decide to go ahead with your plans, have a great trip!!!!!
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:16 PM   #11
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Our first trip to Disney World in 92 over Christmas we stayed at the Beach Club. I was 12 my sis was 14 and its something we will never forget. We stayed 8 nights and the 24, 25 and 26 were the only days i would say were really busy at the parks and Christmas day at the Magic Kingdom is nuts over 250K people in the park so go watch the parade and leave to do something else. Another thing about going over Christmas is that the park hours are extended so you have more time in the parks. We walked out of the Magic Kingdom at midnight and it was 70 degrees weird for us being from WA state. But if its your first trip to DW go for it you'll never forget it.
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:53 AM   #12
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It is beyond busy, it is literally GRIDLOCK. As an offsite guest you need to be aware that if the parks close to capacity( and they do....EARLY) off site guests are the first denied access.My advice if you really want to do this is have a plan.This is not the trip to sleep in and leisurely show up at the parks.Get there for rope drop and plan on staying there, use fastpass ,use fastpass, use fastpass...If dining inside one of the parks restaurants appeals to you, you need dining ressies and you need to make them now.People were making dining for that week in Sept and alot is booked because of the holiday mixed with the Free Dining Promotion.Have a list of priorities of what you want to see..Understand now you will not see everything, you will not do everything.If that is ok, then go for it
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:09 AM   #13
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We did it last year for the first time.I posted and got the same responses and thought I was going to be wasting a lot of money by going. Thought oh no I will not get to do everything we wanted and I was going to be miserable. It was not anything like that. We stayed on site so we could take advantage of EMH, which we only did at night. We were at all parks at rope drop and we were able to do and see everything we wanted to and sometimes more then once. We actually rode TSM 4 times in one day. The only thing that is important is to have a plan and stick by it. There is no time for sleeping in but if you plan right you can probably get a nap in. Be prepared to get up early and stay up late, hence the nap. Its not the nightmare everyone says it is.

I've always loved the oh its horrible and packed and you can't do half of it thats why I've never been and will never go over Christmas advice. I've been there and done it and planning on doing it again!
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:41 AM   #14
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Will it be crowded? Yes.

Should you change your plans? NO!!!!!!!

Even with the crowds, this is the best time to go to Disney in my opinion. The atmosphere and decorations more than make up for the crowds and waiting time. I would recommend that you hit the parks early, get fast passes and save them for the evenings, while you get in line during the morning hours. When the parks become crowded, just enjoy the parks and use your fast passes when you want to. Have a great time. This won't be your last time spending Christmas at Disney. It even gets better when your kids are grown and you can go alone with your husband.
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:45 AM   #15
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sounds like you are restricted to school holidays, like most of us, so keep in mind your choices are more than likely going to be crowded ones no matter what. I mean, I am happy fols can go at "off-times" but some of us just can't so we need to do the best with what we can. I think it will be crowded to say the least...the off-site thing is the biggest issue I think you wil be up against, but with a family of 7 I totally get the need to be off-site. Here's the kicker in our family ( and we are booked 12/17-27, taking a few day break to see family and then returning to WDW for NYE) I have teens. They like to sleep. They like to catch up on sleep during their breaks. WDW is NOT the place to do that! My mantra is "sleep is for the weak!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" However, DS got sick on 1/2 our trips and so did I, so maybe we DO need sleep! Adding extra days was a good plan, tickets are not that much more expensive after the 5 day mark, and the condo prob goes by the week. I would, perhaps...try and move your days up? Arriving the 18th is possible? A lot of people will be arriving then, as most HS finals end the 18th and it is the start of almost everyones school breaks, but as you get closer to Christmas Day it will get more crowded each day. Locatio is key with crowds...and even those on site are only guaranteed entry into "A" park, not necessarily "any" park they want. At this timeof year I think park hoppers are a wise choice. You can get non-hoppers, see how day 1 goes, and then add the hopper option.
We went in '06 from 12/18-12/28, did a split stay at the WL/Dolphin. Crowds were weird, fairly crowded the 18/19...low the 20, 21...then BAM....22 on was pretty wild. When we were leaving on the mid morning of the 28th , our driver said that MK was already closed due to capacity, and I-4 was a traffic jam for miles. Is the location of your condo close? Are you planning any other parks than WDW? I would plan o remain in the parks once you do get in, again, hopping to dodge crowds maybe...so if eating back at the condo is in the plan/budget (other than breakfast) I would plan for that to change. I think your kids will love seeing WDW at Christmas, but it is all realtive...if you are from an area that does up Chirstmas lights etc big, has a ton of holiday activities...maybe it isn't THAT big of a deal. It is easy too be "drawn in" on these boards, lol...willing victim here ...my DD was pretty tired of hearing the continueing Holiday music after day 3, DS got kinda tired of every building smelling the same/Christmas cinnamon scent....DH would have been just as happy spending a few hours in the parks and then out for the rest...I am commando, so love it open to close. We LOVE the late night hours tho, are night owls...so EMH was a HUGE bonus for us. DH did head back to the room some days while we continued on. We did not see a lot of shows that trip, we did need FP for sure, and we did have a daily plan. I think Christmas is a great thing to see there, and if you did Easter before you have a decnet idea of crowds, they WILL be worse that Easter, but the crowds do not prevent you from the holiday decor, shows etc. Maybe ask the family? Is it a surprise trip? I know you said YOU have always wanted togo then, but do they? Some kids want to hang with their friends over Christmas break, are making plans of their own...either way, if you go have an awesome time!
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