Booked WL for Christmas, Shall I CANCEL?

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by biggroofy, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. biggroofy

    biggroofy DIS Veteran

    Jan 8, 2006
    We have booked WL from Dec 22 - 26 with DD5 and DD9. WAS very looking forward to it, since I wanted my children to have a special Christmas...BUT after I read this blog, I started shaking....shall I keep the reservation, or postpone it to March???

    We will be getting off Disney Fantasy on Dec 22, and booked our flight back to Canada on Dec 26. While comparing the price difference between Christmas Week and March Break, I tempted to stay in WDW for Christmas, adding extra pixie dust to the Christmas travel.

    After reading the above Blog from Jack, and also googled a bit about Christmas in the world, it appeared that it will be extremely packed, people are wall-to-wall, and theme parks may closed at 10am due to full capacity.....scary!

    We are on Dining Plan, and lucky enough to make most of the ADRs (including dinner shows) during our stay. We only purchased 3-day park tickets since I don't think the kids will enjoy the crowd and long queues that much.

    1). We have a few ADRs at MK (e.g. Lunch at CP). I bet we will take the 7:40am boat each morning at hopefully get into MK by 8:00am. We are also traveling with the grandparents. They won't come to the park until noon, what if the park is closed and they could not meet us for lunch?

    2). One of the purpose was to see the Christmas decor and lights, and take pictures. However, if it is too crowded, or if re-admission is declined due to capacity then we may not be able to do so.

    3). Will the resorts (e.g. WL) be extremely packed too, say the pool, playground, etc?

    4). On Dec 24 we plan to visit AK and have early dinner at Jiko. It's Christmas Eve but I hope AK will be less crowded. If we take Disney Transportation, how do we return to WL from AKL? Shall we take a taxi?

    5). IF, we really postpone, and change our reservation to March 2013. What ELSE we can do in Orlando? Our airfare is non-refundable, unchangable, so need to find some alternatives.

    Any thoughts, comments, opinions, are welcome. I am totally LOST right now :headache:
  2. DznyCrzy11

    DznyCrzy11 "When you wish upon a star, makes no difference wh

    Jun 28, 2011
    I read the link and YIKES!!! That would scare me too, lol. I have never been during that week. When I was a child we always went the 2nd week of December and it wasn't bad. I do know that my mom had been there on Christmas Day, before me, and she said "never again".
    1. Do the park tickets you have expire? If not you can always use them in March.
    2. Are you getting a rental car? If so, you can check out shopping in Kissimmee. There's a "Ripleys belueve it or not" on International and of course there's always DTD.

    Sent from my GalaxyS II
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  4. Wood Nymph

    Wood Nymph DIS Veteran

    Sep 19, 2012
    Your trip sounds lovely and it would be a shame to change plans now. As far as your resort goes, it will probably be at full capacity, with restaurants being busy, but since it is a deluxe hotel, your resort stay should be fine. I would think that the Wilderness Lodge runs at full capacity most of the year, so your stay should have normal crowds.

    I wouldn't depend on the blog of one person to make your decision. Those pictures that he has are for Dec 29th of 2011, after Christmas. I would assume that WDW would be much busier after Dec 25th than before it.

    I haven't been there at that time of year since 1985, so I'm not sure how the crowds will be, but I'm sure there are some people here who do know. :)
  5. magicaldisney

    magicaldisney DIS Veteran

    Sep 8, 2005
    His pictures put it all into perspective doesn't it. I personally would never spend money (and a lot of it) to visit WDW during that time of year unless I had been there before. I think if you concentrate on enjoying the Christmas atmosphere and not worry about doing rides/shows you could enjoy yourselves. For me, a trip during this time of year would be all about seeing the decorations and having some nice meals I might otherwise not do.

    Even if you have ADRs, if the park closes due to capacity, you are out of luck, they will not let you in. That means it is very conceivable that the Grandparents will not be joining you in the parks. I'm not sure if the resorts and resort transportation are just as busy.

    The best way to get back to your resort from your dinner at AK would be to get a taxi. You could use Disney transportation, but seeing the lines for that would scare me off.

    Keep in mind that spring break time isn't a dead time to visit either, though not at Christmas crowd levels.
  6. Missytara

    Missytara I'm all ears!

    Apr 3, 2009
    My boss did the week between Christmas and New Year's.

    Was it worth it to try it once? You bet.

    Would he go back? Not on your life.

    He showed me pictures of their adventure into Epcot on New Year's Day and I swear I could't imagine doing it every year, but you gotta do everything at least once.

    I say go for it.
  7. OKW Lover

    OKW Lover Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle. DIS Lifetime Sponsor

    Apr 29, 2004
    Lets put somethings in perspective though;
    • The Blogger lives in Orlando and visits the park regularly (multiple times a week). That means that they have plenty of time to see/do whatever they want whenever they want. For them there is no need to deal with crowds if they don't want to.
    • The OP lives in Toronto and doesn't have anywhere near the flexibility of the Blogger. They are going over the holidays because that's what fits in their schedule.
    • As the Blog says (and its no surprise) the holidays themselves are very busy times at WDW. That means that lots of people go and enjoy this time despite the Blogger's perspectives.
    • The parks are open with extended hours. Sometimes a particular park (most likely the MK, never Epcot) will be closed to new guests. However it will usually reopen later in the day/evening as guests leave the park. Even if it doesn't, there are three other parks to enjoy - all of which are decorated for the holidays.
    My advice to the OP is to go and enjoy yourself.
  8. buzznina

    buzznina DIS Veteran

    Oct 18, 2007
    I wish I can say "just go for it" but only you and your family knows how you will handle the crowds. If you do not get frustrated or upset easy and can go with the (SLOW) flow, than it should be good. The biggest issue is that there is a possibility that the park will be closed for when your grandparents go. WDW does close the parks to resort guests last, i.e. when park gets to a certain capacity they stop letting in non-resort guests first. If you are only going for the christmas atmosphere and not really for rides then I think it will still be worth it. How does your grandparents get around, cause it's going to be slow and sometimes shoulder to shoulder. Will they have an issue with the large crowds, do not need grumpy grandparents:) If parks are to crowded during the day, head back to the resort and try again in the evening.
    We will be spending our first New Years at WDW, but we are not expecting to get a lot of rides in and will be taking it super slowly.
  9. biggroofy

    biggroofy DIS Veteran

    Jan 8, 2006
    Thanks for the comments.

    @DznyCrzy11: I don't have any existing park tickets, I am buying the Magic Your Way Pkg so tickets will expire 14 days after first use. It seems to be very expensive to add the "No expiration" option to the tickets.

    I admit that the fact that if we can hand,e the crowd at Christmas, it will fit well in our schedule, and I save airfare for flying again in March. I knew that Christmas is the peak season, and we don't expect to do 20 rides in a day ;) The ideal plan is to visit MK on Dec 22 and 23, and AK on Dec 24....that's it. Dec 25 we will stay and enjoy the facilities in WL, and hopefully it will be warm enough to swim. We have a 5pm Mickey BBQ at FT so didn't want to rush either.

    DW and I had a debate on Go or Postpone, the key points were:
    1). Value of money: will the kids enjoy? it is true that 7 day tickets (if we do in March) does not cost a lot more than 3 day base ticket
    2). Opportunity cost: looking at 4-star resorts in Orlando, Christmas weeks may bump up from $199/night to $599/night, compare to WL room cost $470/night which is not bad. Since our flight is on Dec 26, we will need somewhere to stay anyhow.
    3). Reality: now with DD9 in Grade 4, it is almost impossible to pull her out for a week during low season, I can foresee that our future trips will be limited to March break, summer (too hot!), and the least preferred Christmas :(
    4). Strategy: Will it work if we get into the parks at 8am and leave at noon every day? DD5 may want to see the new Fantasyland, although she should have met most of the characters on Disney cruise prior to Christmas.

    Difficult decision ....
  10. HM

    HM My tag from the Tag Fairy is now too long to use.

    Mar 8, 2001
    We've done the OPs dates twice. I would suggest doing the parks on the earlier days and making sure you get to the park at opening time if you want to succeed in getting on a few rides before the crowds build. It's not an ideal time for riding popular rides all day, but the parks are beautiful and there are plenty of things to keep you busy once the parks start getting busy. Don't get discouraged.
  11. brucerob62

    brucerob62 Mouseketeer

    Aug 5, 2010

    OH yes its crowded. I have experienced it myself twice. YOu would think after the first time i would learn my lesson. BUt nothing beats the xmas decorations the people are just part of it..Pack alot of around 2 its better for counter service. And you have ADR's already which is a big deal. But you still may wait a little for your table. GET TO THE PARKS EARLY!..(ropedrop) I cant stress that enough..get your main rides in early get fastpasses for doing it again later. THats what we always do..go standby line get a fastpass for later to do it again. the middle of the day we wonder around shop..get an occassional ride in.. and take some deep breathes. We never go to a park on xmas day...i went to EPCOT on New years trip stayed away from all parks on that day. YOu can enjoy if you plan it right! 128 more days till our next DW trip!!!
  12. twinboysmom

    twinboysmom DIS Veteran

    May 26, 2010
    Hi Op. I would keep your vacation as planned. The resorts are at capacity often during the year and during spring break weeks they will also likely be at capacity too. I wouldn't worry too much about the pool as its Christmas time and the weather may not work for swimming. The playground will be fine. You may see a few more people than normal in the hotel lobby because the WL is so pretty for Christmas at lots of people come to take a look. Consider the bus for MK instead of the boat. We have found it quicker but your experience may vary.

    I would try to plan your park days using the calendar from I have never been let down with his park days. This might require you to make some changes to your ADRs but it might be worth it for your family, especially if you have people coming later during the day. Perhaps choose as many locations outside of the parks for lunch ADRs might help. My understanding is that it is the days after Christmas through new years that the parks are more likely to close so while your trip will experience large crowds, perhaps you will have a couple of days without closings. Good luck.
  13. biggroofy

    biggroofy DIS Veteran

    Jan 8, 2006
    @buzznina: We can take it slow, since for me, I just want something with Christmas atmosphere.

    Of course, my wife commented why spending extra $$$ at a Deluxe Disney Resort if we are not going to enjoy the theme parks? True...Talking about accommodation $470 is not unreasonable for a 4-star resort, but we are paying extra $2000(???) for 4 adults and 2 kids for 3-day base tickets pixiedust:

    I had a talk with DD9 this morning. She has some "minimum" requests: :cool1:
    "Dad, I want to go on some rides which I was not allowed during our last visit, i.e., when I was 7. Can I get on Splash Mountain and Space Mountain? If we have time I want to do Tomorrowland® Speedway and Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin® again..."

    DD5, I bet visiting Fantasyland + Dumbo + It's a small World, if possible, meet & greet with Rapunzel would be good enough for her.

    But the thing is ...if we spend 3-4 hours in MK each day (on Dec 22 and Dec 23) will we be able to accomplish the tasks? Mission Impossible? :rotfl:

    DD9 wanted to do Soaring in Epcot and Toy Story Mania in DHS which DW already banned. She said "It is tough even if you get into the park at 9am and issued a Fastpass at 6:30pm" :listen:

    Maybe I should mention WHY I picked to visit AK on Dec 24. I had the impression that AK is the LEAST popular theme park. Also pocahontas is DD5's favourite princess and she is not available on Disney cruise :)

  14. spiceycat

    spiceycat dvc-blt

    Oct 26, 2000
    from whjat I read you have 2 days 22 and 23 before the parks get crowded.

    the crowds really start on the 23rd - so AK that day may be iffy.

    22 - looks only studio is open late after 8pm - but the MK is still open until 10pm

    23 - looks like both MK (10pm) and EPcot (9:30pm) will close at 1am and epcot 12:30am.

    now expect these times to increase. MK will have late hours (for only wdw resort guests) every day.

    the only problem is AK - it has only one late day and that is the 25th.
    that say - kept looking these hours are subject to change and believe they will change up to the day before.
  15. spiceycat

    spiceycat dvc-blt

    Oct 26, 2000
  16. mommyarewegoingback

    mommyarewegoingback DIS Veteran

    Apr 20, 2005
    I have personally been there the week leading up to the Day after Christmas for the past 2 years. Our touring plan is to get all rides in beginning of the day early in the week. The lines will get worse as you get closer to the 25th. It will be crazy on Christmas and the week following Christmas of course to NYE (which I've done and it is). Then on Christmas we go to epcot or hs. I've been at MK on Christmas day and those pictures are real, as are the super long lines for bathroom and counter service. But at Epcot, HS or AK, it's really not that bad. At Epcot you can see all the Santas around the world at Christmas and at HS you got the osborne lights, to put you in the christmas mood. I love it at Disney during the holidays and I hear WL is one of the best places to stay during the holidays (never been at WL though). So go for it!

  17. lanejudy

    lanejudy Moderator Moderator

    Oct 27, 2011
    I think understanding that it will be a very crowded time and being prepared to deal with / accept that concept is the first step towards having an enjoyable vacation despite the crowds. Managing expectations can make all the difference. Don't plan to do all rides, all shows. Plan some down time at your resort; plan some time to visit the other resorts and see the decorations. My responses to your specific qusetions are below in red...

    Enjoy your cruise and enjoy your WDW holiday vacation!
  18. jenrose66

    jenrose66 DIS Veteran

    Mar 17, 2005
    I have never been during Christmas (though I went 2 years in a row at 4th of July), so I can't comment to crowds, HOWEVER, the fact that you have your non refundable airfare set, I say you go and make the best of it :)
  19. PolyLover

    PolyLover Mouseketeer

    Jul 10, 2012
    I would stick to your original plan. You know what to expect--it would've been worse if you didn't expect crowds. We went two years ago on Dec 22 and it was crowded but do-able. And the decorations at the MK are so incredible. The castle with all the lights will bring tears to your eyes. And since it was so close to Christmas they made it snow on Main Street as we were waiting for the nighttime parade to start. It was a wonderful trip!! We stayed at WL for that trip and loved it for that time of year (usually we stay at the Polynesian). I would stick to the Deluxe resort (you mentioned possibly changing). After you've been on the cruise you are going to want the space and enjoy the fact that all deluxes have a daybed so your kids won't have to share a bed (ofcourse WL we get the bunk bed so our kids don't have to share a queen bed).

    Also take time to check out the resorts around the Seven Seas Lagoon, the decorations are amazing! You can take the boat over to the Contemporary and then hop on the monorail and hit the Polynesian and Grand Floridian. We always have a car since we live 5 hours away from WDW so driving around isn't an issue for us but I wouldn't recommend checking out other areas of Orlando at that time of year. If its super busy at WDW then its super busy outside the gates. You don't want to spend your time sitting in traffic just to go to outlets with millions of people. Enjoy the resorts and all that WDW has to offer. :cheer2:
  20. vatali

    vatali Mouseketeer

    Jul 10, 2007
    We do the week before when we have gone, several times now. In all honesty, his pictures tell 2 stories. If you have never done a busy time, this looks intimidating. However (and there is always a however in life) I have been when it is MUCH worse than what he shows there. Our first time to disney we did 19-27. The 26th was so unimaginably busy i can't fathom to tell you. I would have absolutly died to have the parks empty enough to push a stroller through it like on his videos. we rode 3 rides that day, with more than a 2 hours wait for IASM. The days before christmas, even this year, will be less than the ones after. 10 isn't always 10. I guarantee that your 10 on 22 is going to be a lot more managable than your 10 on 25 or 26. Think of it this way. From saturday to the 24th is going to look like your video. long lines, some waits, FP required, but still walkable. you will still be able to get a table soemwhere. You will be able to move freely without bumping into people. Starting the 25th that won't be the case. It's a whole new level of 10.

    But look at me. I keep coming back. Adjusting my dates to miss as little school as possible but still experience christmas at Disney. Just be honest with yourself, know what you are getting into, and having a lot of fun. They generally extend the hours of the parks (sometimes until 3am) during that week as well. Not setting bed times, not trying to do everything during the day, relaxing the pace and enjoying vacation, and being at disney, and being there for christmas is whats inportant. There is very little that would make me not go back the week before. I just have my expectations set.

    The week after? That is pure hell and I wouldn't go back if it was free. it can take more than 45 minutes just to get up main street. you have no personal space. It's just miserable.

    I can dig up some pics from last year (17-25) if you want to see them. just PM me and I'll send you some links.
  21. ADisneyQueen

    ADisneyQueen DIS Veteran

    Mar 21, 2005
    We were there for Christmas week 3 yrs. ago and it wasn't as bad as everyone made it out to be. We got to do most of the things we wanted to do. What worked for us was using fastpass as much as we could, getting to a park within a half hour after rope drop and going to park that had emh the day before and taking an afternoon break. You should still go. Just have a plan.

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