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If You LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas Week...

Discussion in 'Theme Parks Attractions and Strategies' started by allmydisneydreams, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. allmydisneydreams

    allmydisneydreams Mouseketeer

    Jul 6, 2010
    I am a teacher and the times that we can go to Disney these days are very limited. DH and I are trying to decide if we should go for Christmas break this year. We are thinking we could do both our traditional Christmas stuff (just in Orlando) and some Disney fun, too. I am torn because of all of the horror stories about the crowds - if you LOVE Christmas week will you tell me why??? Any advice? I am also trying to decide what to do on Christmas Eve morning.

    Here is my tentative plan:

    12/21 leave NJ @ 1:00pm and drive straight through to Orlando
    12/22 arrive @ Windsor Hills sometime around 10am - rest, get groceries, get a Christmas tree, decorate it and bake some cookies, relax and chill with the kiddos (we have three - 13, 10, and 3 yo)
    12/23 Sea World (we have passes and our little guy is Polar Express obsessed)
    12/24 Breakfast @ Ohana, tour the resorts, afternoon rest, Christmas Eve services and traditional Christmas Eve at "home"
    OR MK 8-12 - plan to tour just New Fantasyland, lunch at CS Be Our Guest, afternoon rest, Christmas Eve services and traditional Christmas Eve at "home"
    12/25 Traditional Christmas morning (breakfast and gifts) - maybe take a drive to the beach
    12/26 Legoland (I really don't want to go, but I promised the 10yo we'd do it next time we were in FL)
    12/27Hollywood Studios
    12/28 Day Off
    12/29 MK
    12/30 Downtown Disney and leave in the evening to drive home.

    We are absolute rope drop people, but we won't have EMH. I think the parks open at 8, so we would get there at 7, and I told DH that we should probably choose 2-3 "goals" in each park and consider anything else we saw gravy.

    Hollywood Studios would be TSM (we've never made it there), Fantasmic and Osborne Lights

    Magic Kingdom would be New Fantasyland mainly - I'd also love to see the snow :)

    Please don't tell me I'm crazy ( I am already aware of that:rolleyes1)

    Thanks for any input:3dglasses
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  3. mom2rtk

    mom2rtk DIS Veteran

    Aug 23, 2008
    Without knowing yet how the BOG lunch thing will go, I'm not sure I'd want to brave it. If you really want to do it, I'd watch here for reports after 11/19 for how the waits are. If it's bad in November and early December, I woudln't want to be anywhere near there on Christmas Day. They could do such an efficient job with it that it's not a big deal. Or it could be insane, as in you have to line up soon after rope drop.

    With such limited park time, I just don't know that I'd spend a huge chunk of it in line for BOG.

    I do love your balance of family down time, Disney, and other parks. I love your plan for spending part of Christmas at the beach. I'd love to do that myself one day.

    It does seem that you have realistic expectations an know you'd have to be there before the parks open.
  4. pookybean

    pookybean Mouseketeer

    Feb 7, 2002
    i agree...idk anything about the other parks, but your plan seems very balanced and you know what youre getting into.

    i dont think your crazy! you go when you can and make the best of it (we will be there christmas week too!). we are planning to soak up the christmas stuff and if theres anything we dont see, well we'll be back! i am planning on skipping BOG this time around, itll be nuts. we are usually like "whoa thats a loooong wait" and then do it the next trip...we are looking forward to FINALLY meeting Tiana this year, maybe we'll get rapunzel too now that merida is around! lol

    i bet youll have a great time and everyone back home will be jealous!
  5. johnnyr

    johnnyr DIS Veteran

    Feb 15, 2003
    I've done Christmas week many times. This year, as much as I wanted to go, I just couldn't bring myself to do it again and have opted to go to a Caribbean island for some relaxation. It's ridiculously crowded. You have to have patience and go with the flow. If you try to fight the crowds, it will be a miserable trip. Go with the expectations of not doing everything you plan because with the crowds they get during that week, it will be impossible to stay to a schedule.
  6. momsavealot

    momsavealot DIS Veteran

    Mar 26, 2008
    OP, my husband is a teacher and we are attempting the same thing as you. Leave NJ on 12/21 and head down to my brother's in Ft. Lauderdale for Christmas Eve and morning. ON the way down, we will stop at Legoland to surprise the kids. Then, later on Christmas Day, after a relaxing morning, head to Disney to stay at Pop Century for the rest of the week. Like you, I have a few things I want to see, but other than that, I have very low expectations for doing our usual marathon run of rides. We have done Disney trips before so the kids have done most of the rides already. I just want to see the castle with the icicle lights, Osborne lights, Candlelight Processional and the hotels all decorated for Christmas. I also made a reservation at Be Our Guest for dinner one night. Altho the food doesn't look that appealing (esp. for my kids), I think it will be a nice experience. I was going to stay off site, but I thought with this being a crowded week, we needed those extra magic hours just to get into the park. I'm bumping this up, because I hope more Christmas veterans can give us some advice. My advice to you right now is read some trip reports (there is a thread for that). I read one called the Ultimate Survival Guide to Disney at Christmas and it was really informative and well written. Good luck!:dance3:
  7. AlohaAnnie

    AlohaAnnie DIS Veteran

    Jul 10, 2006
    We had to go the week of Christmas Last year. It is very crowded but you can manage it if you go in know that it will be very very crowded and take your time and be patient.

    We stuck with seeing the Christmas stuff at Disney and focused less on rides and such. We did ride our favorite rides & shows.

    It also snows at Osborne Lights along with Main Street. We had a wonderful time.

    I highly suggest parade at MK, find a spot early on main street. We also did Candle Light Processional on Christmas Eve as a package. It was wonderful made us feel like we were back home at Church.

    If you like gingerbread & cream cheese icing, I highly recommend the Holiday Cupcake. So good!

    I think your family will have a wonderful time at Disney! Enjoy! We wouldn't trade the experience of Christmas at Disney for anything.

  8. jimjenkids

    jimjenkids Mouseketeer

    Feb 1, 2012
    we are just one of the many crazy:wave2: people that LOVE christmas at Disney world......we have been going every toher year for the last 4 trips....we are now the family that does however skip MK on the 25th, but hop around teh other parks that day. I love the OSL and the fake soap snow, the MK parade is great, just not on the 25th. If you are aware of the crowds and are prepared for the worst, it wont seem bad at all, we like it! everyonr tried to warn us and talk us out of it, but we were surprised that it wasnt as bad as others had said, but maybe we are crazy. Use the fastpass and be sure to do the TSM first thing in the park-so you get one....use the single rider line if it there.....you will love it!
  9. ms mouse

    ms mouse DIS Veteran

    Aug 10, 2007
    We love Christmas week but you have to really go with the flow and realize you just can't do everything. If you want to see MK I would go one of the first days of your trip. The crowds aren't so bad before Christmas day but the week after Christmas it becomes crazy. The decorations are beautiful and it wonderful walking around hearing Christmas music but the lines are much longer. We don't do counter service during Christmas week, the lines are long, the weather iffy and we like the break of sitting down away from the crowds. Just go with the right attitude and you will have fun, its our favorite time to go and we like the weather better than the summer (and we are from the south).
  10. fairestoneofall

    fairestoneofall DIS Veteran

    Jan 15, 2007
    we went the week before Christmas last year, which is crowded (although, not as crowded as the week OF Christmas). we went knowing we'd have to use FP wisely and that we might not get to do things multiple times. there were times that we just went to whatever had the shortest line. we still had a great time!

    i think your expectations are realistic. so go. have fun! i love WDW at Christmastime.
  11. organized mommy

    organized mommy Mouseketeer

    Jul 31, 2007
    We too are heading down for our first Christmas in Disney. Leaving MD on the 20th in the evening hoping to drive all night! We were just there in Feb knowing that we would be back for Christmas. But for me, it's all about the Christmas stuff! I can't wait to see the castle and parades as well as the OBL. DD will be 9 and DS will be 6 months! We we are only doing MK and DHS. We are going to to universal and Seaworld also as DD was in my belly the last time she was there! We are staying OP as we will be bringing our mobile house behind us! With all DS necessities already to go! So any advice is greatly appreciated!

    Trying to talk DH into leaving the 18 so we could make it in time for a MVMCP night since that is what I really want to see and it would be cheaper than buying a day ticket!
  12. allmydisneydreams

    allmydisneydreams Mouseketeer

    Jul 6, 2010
    Thanks Everyone ... You are making me feel better about this:thumbsup2 I hadn't thought about counter service being crazy busy. Maybe I'll see if there are any ADRs left for those days. Now that I think about it I think my BOG plan is a bit crazy - don't want to spend three hours in line. Are the crowds really better the 23rd than the 26th? So much to think about ...
  13. fairestoneofall

    fairestoneofall DIS Veteran

    Jan 15, 2007
    don't pay to go to the party. once the last party is done, the nightly fireworks ARE the Christmas fireworks. and they also have the party Christmas parade as the daytime parade.
  14. Moms

    Moms Mouseketeer

    Apr 28, 2008
    We are educators doing our first Christmastime trip this year ... we will be at home for the holiday then head south from Chicago on the 27th ... arriving at the Boardwalk on the 28th. We have ADR's and will do the parks according to those as we don't expect to do that much "hopping" (although we will have the option). We have been to WDW many many times so we have no problem missing any of the basics. We do have CP reservations on the 29th (lunch at Le Cellier) and will "snack" our way around the world showcase on NYE but other than that and the Osborne lights there are no real "must do's". We just plan to soak up the ambiance and enjoy! :cool1:
  15. momof2disprincesses

    momof2disprincesses I love my INCREDIBLE family!!!

    Jan 20, 2005
    We've gone several times at Christmas and LOVE it! Despite the crowds, it is one of my all-time favorite times to be at WDW.

    We have daughters in high school and college and having them miss school for Disney is just not do-able anymore, so we go when they both have matching breaks (which often is Christmas and Easter).

    We've learned to deal with the crowds.

    Hit the highlights of the holiday season that you've mentioned: Osborne lights, Candlelight Processional, resorts all decked out, etc. Watch the MK fireworks from the Poly beach or the 4th floor of the Contemporary.

    We too go off-site for church on Christmas Eve and avoid MK on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

    Personally, we're planning on trying CS at BOG sometime that week. It is CS. Go early or late (not around noon) and if it's insanely crowded or busy, skip it. Either way, you can go in and see it.

    It truly is a magical time to be at WDW. Enjoy!!
  16. organized mommy

    organized mommy Mouseketeer

    Jul 31, 2007
    My big question is do I pay the price for the party or do I pay the price for a full day ticket when all I want to see and do is in the party? Plus, we will have a guaranteed in vs the possibility of closing because the park is at maximum?
  17. luv2boys

    luv2boys DVC Boardwalk Villas

    Sep 27, 2001
    we will also be there for our first Christmas Dec. 24-29th. Only doing MK and Studios...MK on the 24th (heard to avoid it on the 25th) and Studios on the 25th. Other days, resort decorations, beach day, etc. We have never been at this time but have been before. Have told family that we will not be able to ride everything like we have in the past and that this will be a lets hit a few of our favorites and then relax, looking at decorations, enjoy parade, etc instead of the run, run, run we usually do. My boys are 13 and 16. Sounds like I need to make a reservation for the 24th and 25th instead of counter service....are we talking normal lines for food or hour waits?
  18. MouseTrip07

    MouseTrip07 Mouseketeer

    Aug 4, 2006
    We will also be down from Dec. 24-29, driving from Ohio. We recently bought a new RV and decided to "break it in" at Fort Wilderness. We were just at WDW in June. This trip we are planning to do a some resort-hopping to catch the decorations and (as of right now!) we are getting just one day hoppers for one marathon park day (NOT Christmas day!).

    We were at WDW in December (not Christmas week) a few years ago and it was just magical. I am worried a little bit about the crowds, but I am going into the trip with the "go with the flow" mentality.

    83 days to wait! :cool1:

  19. PlutoTheDog89

    PlutoTheDog89 DIS Veteran

    Sep 19, 2011
    My family is going again this year. The last time we went was in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. We skipped last year as we went to a wedding in April down in Disney so we figured we'd wait it out. Both times we went, I was still in college, my mom had vacation time, my sister is a teacher and my dad is retired. Now, all the same, except I work in advertising where I am supposed to get that week between Christmas and NYE off. If not, I still have time saved up, but fingers crossed.

    The first year, my mom had her sixth sense kick in and insisted on not flying or driving because the weather would be bad. She insisted on taking Amtrak. After we fought her on it, we booked Amtrak. Well, if you remember 2009 Christmas, it snowed quite a bit on the 23rd. Luckily, after a delay, Amtrak ran and we were on our way down.

    In 2010, we decided to try again. This time, to drive down. Well, I broke my foot so we were down one driver. We made it down fine, though. We got down earlier than expected but the people at CSR were accommodating and welcoming.

    This year, following Sandy, we had the mentality of "we need to get away". Thankfully, we did not cancel the trip, yet. Aside from Sandy, we have a family member who is very sick, so hopefully things do not take a turn for the worst. We are flying down this year. So, hopefully our "mother nature karma" will be in our favor and we will get down fine.

    So, after this trip, I'll have a review of every possible way to get to Disney except walking.. :santa:
  20. Disneynut4ever

    Disneynut4ever DIS Veteran

    Feb 6, 2005
  21. jovimama

    jovimama Earning My Ears

    Nov 19, 2012
    Hi! I posted my tips on another thread (sorry don't know how to paste the link so just copied it here - I'm new here!). Hope this helps!

    This will be our third xmas trip to Disney. We were terrified the first time hearing about all the crazy crowds, but I have to say, we never never waited on line! It can be done. The difference between going this time of year and any other is that planning is a must. I got fantastic info here and joined some touring sites which helped a lot. My biggest tips are these (some have been said before):
    1) Plan Plan Plan. This is one time of year it is necessary - but like I said, with a little info and planning your family will have a fabulous time.
    2) Get to the parks before rope drop. It is amazing the amount we were able to get done in those first 1-2 hours before the real crowds come filing in.
    3) We stayed off property. This is the one time of year I was glad I did. It's waayyyy cheaper (for my family of 5, the savings was huge). With the money saved we were able to drive and park at the parks. The busses can be a nightmare this time of year. I would avoid them at all costs.
    4) Make advance reservations and make them early in the day for lunch and dinner. We ate 11AM lunches and 5PM dinners.
    5) Fast pass, fast pass, fast pass
    6) For crazy crowded events like fireworks and Fantasmic look into booking packages. We did the Fireworks dessert package at MK and had an amazing view with no crowding. We also booked Fantasmic dinner packages which allowed us not to wait in the crazy lines.
    7)Leave early afternoon. Exit the park as the herds of people are entering. It was amazing to us when we would overhear (more than once) families who obviously just entered the park eating lunch in a restaurant with us casually saying which rides they should go to. We knew they would be waiting for hours on end. We had already been on most everything and like I said, WITH NO WAIT!
    8) Check the weather and bring warm clothes! Last year was beautiful but the prior year was freezing. We had our winter coats, scarves, gloves, the works (especially good for waiting for rope drop).

    Christmastime is an unbelievable time to go to Disney, but it could easily be miserable. You do need to plan, plan, plan but it is so worthwhile! Enjoy!

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