Comparing Crowd Calendar levels for December

Discussion in 'Theme Parks Attractions and Strategies' started by Tormania, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. Tormania

    Tormania Mouseketeer

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    We last visited WDW in Dec 2013 (6th-13th) and enjoyed great weather, beautiful decorations, and most importantly for us low crowds (levels 3/4 most days). Those first and second weeks of Dec are nice for that which is why we planned that trip for then with tons of great info gleamed from DIS. Fast forward to this upcoming Dec 2017 and we are ready once again to visit WDW. However our son with now be in school (2nd grade) so we are contemplating going the week before Christmas instead to avoid school conflicts. This past Dec's crowd calendar showed a pretty constant crowd level of 8 for all days during that same week and should be the same for 2017 as well based on historical trends.

    For those folks that have visited WDW during both of these time frames in the past, both early Dec and the week before Christmas, can you give your view on how drastically different the crowds are for those weeks? Can smart, thoughtful planning trump the crowds and still make our upcoming trip enjoyable with the more crowded parks, or is there enough of a significant difference to warrant re-thinking going in early Dec regardless?

    TIA!!
     
  2. dreiwhit

    dreiwhit DIS Veteran

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    We were there from Nov 27 - Dec 2 this year. The crowds at MK seemed to be about the same as when we were there last Feb-Mar. At DHS, they were just a little more. Epcot was much busier, but we suspect the Candlelight Processional had something to do with that.
     
  3. Southerndisney

    Southerndisney Mouseketeer

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    I have gone both weeks and you will feel the difference. I would take a second grader out of school and go earlier in December.
     
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  5. Figmentmommy

    Figmentmommy DIS Veteran

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    I agree that while every family is different - I would not hesitate to take a second grader out of school to visit during the lower crowd early weeks of December. I just took my 6th & 8th graders out in 2015. Now that we're into high school I wouldn't necessarily do it. As far as the crowds in December, the earlier weeks will prove to be less crowded than the week before Christmas. We were there 12/14-12/21 in 2014 and found it to be not too crowded until the 20th-21st which was the last weekend before Christmas. There was a significant difference at that point compared to earlier in the week. In 2015 we visited 12/8-12/14 and the crowds were much lower than even the earlier part of our 2014 trip. Sadly they weren't December 2006 low - but definitely lower! Either way, I think as long as you're not planning for the actual Christmas to New Year's week you'll be able to manage with some strategic planning.
     
  6. Little_Miss

    Little_Miss Earning My Ears

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    We have been 5 times over the past 6 years at various times during December. The first and second week are the same with very manageable crowds and low wait times. The third week was bad last year and even worse this year.
     
  7. maryandtyson

    maryandtyson DIS Veteran

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    We were there this December 21-27. Very manageable crowds for us. Maybe we planned really well, or just got lucky, but we never saw the huge crowds we expected. Example, on 12/22 we got up early and got to MK at 7:15 for a 7:00'opening (EMH). We did 10 attractions before our 10:20 Crystal Palace reservation (7dmt, Peter, small world, tea cups, jungle, potc, big thunder, muppets, mansion, trolley show, tta) ate breakfast and did Philharmagic, big thunder again, and then left for a nap. Spent Xmas day at AK. Just a normal, busy kind of day.
     
  8. madchatter

    madchatter ...mustard? Now let's not be silly...

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    We visited 12/17-12/23 this year (2016). I was pleasantly surprised by crowd levels but I was expecting super busy and had no holiday frame of reference. We plan well and have been enough so that we done have to do every single thing every time.

    We did feel crowds building as Christmas approached but I never felt like we had chosen a bad time to visit.

    The days didn't seem any busier than a typical summer day. But it was much more enjoyable with the cooler weather. That may have made a huge difference in how we felt.
     
  9. Accident

    Accident DIS Veteran

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    I think a lot of manageable or how crowded really depends on what your used to when you visit. Also what attitude you show up with as if your expecting the worst possible crowd, anything lower is a bonus and your happy.

    historically the first week after thanksgiving is usually pretty nice crowd wise, crowded but nice. it'll just keep growing from there until after new years so each week will have smoe more than the previous week.

    I was under the weather so I didnt' get into the park to see if the changes of offering a discount the first week of december changed the crowds but sounds like @Little_Miss might have and found it similar to previous years.
     
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  10. CaitMinnie

    CaitMinnie Earning My Ears

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    I'm planning to visit Disney World December 2-9, 2017. We want the Christmas vibe but not the Christmas crowds. Has anyone ever been during this early December time?
     
  11. _auroraborealis_

    _auroraborealis_ I like marshmallows. And adult beverages.

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    See prior post:

    If you are trying to choose based on arbitrary predictions of crowd, you're liable to end up disappointed somehow. Pick based on what works for your family, make a plan, be flexible. Never expect walk-ons at headliners save (sometimes) during hard tickets or fireworks; don't expect top ADRs to be significantly easier to score. Ride throughput and number of seats in restaurants are static numbers; capacity doesn't increase when crowds do, and is a fraction of even low crowds.
     
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  12. finleyd

    finleyd DisneyFin

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    We'll be there the same week
     
  13. Tormania

    Tormania Mouseketeer

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    It's not really arbitrary predictions of crowds....it is a know fact that the week of Dec 2nd - 9th 2017 will have much lower crowds than the week of Dec 16th - 23rd 2017. You are right that capacity of restaurants and rides never changes and even during "low" crowd days it's still WDW and there are still thousands and thousands of people there. But we have been to WDW during that early Dec week and THAT is the type of crowds we can happily cope with.
     
  14. Tigger2

    Tigger2 Mouseketeer

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    Based on previous year's schedules does anyone have a guess as to when they will be filming for the parade in 2017? We are looking at 11/30-12/3 but would do the following weekend to avoid it.

    TIA
     
  15. disravenlaur

    disravenlaur DIS Veteran

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    We are going down for the first time this December 8-17. I'm so excited for the decorations. We have gone early October the past few times.
     
  16. Lothlórien

    Lothlórien Many, many trips since 2001

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    Ours was homeschooled after 5th grade. We have done early December every year since 2004, including pulling her out of school in both 2nd and 4th grade. One year we did a land/sea package and we were in the parks from the 19th - 22nd. NEVER AGAIN!!! Those days leading up to Christmas week get more and more aggressive crowd-wise. By the time the 20th rolls around...oh heck no. LOL

    In our experience, anything up to the 18th is tolerable, but if it has to be after that, I would consider pulling your little one from school if December is the only month you are willing to consider.
     
  17. Lothlórien

    Lothlórien Many, many trips since 2001

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    In the past it was the first week of December. For the last few years they started the filming in early November. If they follow suit again this year, you will miss the parade filming with those dates. (fingers crossed, since there is no guarantee)
     
  18. Lothlórien

    Lothlórien Many, many trips since 2001

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    Lots of people go at that time. Including Pop Warner. LOL
     
  19. Lothlórien

    Lothlórien Many, many trips since 2001

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    I am guessing you mean 2016, not this year? :) It does kind of all run together, doesn't it?

    We were there from November 26th - December 2nd and felt the crowds were very, very light other than our arrival day. (Saturday after Thanksgiving)
    Everything was either a walk-on or very short waits other than Test Track, Dwarfs Coaster and the Frozen ride in Norway. Perhaps it was the parks you went to vs the ones we went to? :confused3
     
  20. cassie58

    cassie58 DIS Veteran

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    Once Thanksgiving is over, crowds are very manageable, and you will definitely get into the Christmas spirit! In MK, Main St. is all decked out and castle with icicle lights is amazing! Try to see the castle lighting ceremony one evening while you are there. Hop on the monorail to check out the resorts, especially especially the Grand Floridian w/giant gingerbread house which you can also buy a shingle to taste! Beach Club near Epcot has a chocolate carousel, and in Epcot there are holiday storytellers in each country to visit. They also have the Candlelight Processional, with celebrities narrating the Christmas Story with a choir - they have a dining package you can reserve for reserved seating.

    AKL and WL are also beautiful if you want to check them out, or have meals at any of them. At HS there is Minnie's Holiday Dine at Hollywood and Vine with Mickey and the gang in holiday dress and a pic w/Santa Goofy. There is a whole thread on here where you can see all the holiday activities from this past yr (till they post for this yr) so you can get an idea to begin planning. You will want to make your 180 day ADRs so you can get any meals you want, and then an out FP so you can do the most with your days. It is our favorite time of yr to visit!
     
  21. dreiwhit

    dreiwhit DIS Veteran

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    It sure does! I'm being careful of writing 2016 on checks and documents! :teeth:

    I think a lot of it is what baseline you use for comparison, what day you go to the park, the time you go and what your perception is. We went from Feb 29 - Mar 5 in 2016 so that is my baseline Plus, two other friends have gone on the week after Thanksgiving in years past, and they found all the parks to be deserted.

    For example, we went to Epcot on Monday, November 28. Compared to the last time we went to Epcot, which was Monday, Feb 29, Epcot was much more crowded. On Feb 29, we had lunch in Sunshine Seasons at 11am. The place was deserted, which only us and two other families there. Most of the rides were a walk on. However, when we went to Sunshine Seasons at 11am on November 28, it was packed. Probably 95% of the tables were filled. The FP line for Living with the Land extended through the middle of Sunshine Seasons over to where Soarin is located! Around that time, there was even a 20 minute standby for Figment and a 45 minute standby for Spaceship Earth! At RD that day, there was already a 45 minute wait for Joy & Sadness.

    FWIW, the next time we go back, we're going to go back to the last week of February - early march time frame.

    However, we were still able to do everything we wanted to do with a good plan and FPs.
     

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