Going at Christmas


Earning My Ears
Oct 13, 2021
Hello! Now before anyone says how crazy we are to go at Christmastime, this is our window to go. I can't change the dates, I don't have other options. I'm looking for your best advice, tricks and tips for enjoying the holiday season at Disneyworld. We are there for 10 days starting on Christmas Day, 3 adults, 2 grandparents, and a 9 and 11 year old. This is not our first trip so we have an idea what to expect. Advice on what to pack for that time of year. Uber vs bus for getting to/from the airport would all be appreciated.
We visited for 8 Christmas holidays (arriving from UK around 9th December, leaving 27th). As our trip went on it obviously got busier and busier, but the ambience, park and resort decorations, and holiday spirit, make the madness worthwhile. We only used DME once, and decided it wasn't for us, we trekked across the airport to the terminal and waited for a bus to our resort. I know that's history now, but I imagine the shuttles being of the same ilk. The following few years we just jumped in a cab outside the airport and at our resort in 30 minutes. I started driving in the US (we're from the UK) in 2013 so hire a car at the airport now.

Weather-wise, there is no rhyme or reason to that time of year. Some years we have coats and jumpers on, others we have shorts and t-shirts on. Most years, it was a mixture of both. It's hard to dress for the day, e.g. rope drop at 7am (at MK in the old days), it's freezing cold at 6am when you're leaving, but the forecast is for the high 70's by lunchtime. Layers and a rucksack for stripped off clothes worked for us. The best part was we rarely saw any rain, and it's dark earlier so all the evening shows are earlier and you can enjoy AK in the dark, which doesn't happen most of the year. I changed jobs so Christmas is off the cards for me, but I have my memories :D
DisneyWorld at Christmas is AMAZING and we have done it a few times. Yes you will see big crowds but you already know that, just remember to pack your patience.

As for the weather I agree with the previous post - we have see 40s and we have seen high 80s - pack options that will let you do layers and you will be fine. One plus is the humidity in general tends to be lower so far more comfortable in my opinion.
As long as you go prepared, make any dining reservations you may want, and understand the mobile ordering app you will be fine. You would be surprised at the number of people who show up at a restaurant and want seated without a reservation. Study the maps before you go so that you have a layout of the parks. Another thing I've witnessed quite often is groups of people who enter the park and try to figure out where to go next. Have a plan. I can't think of a more magical place to spend Christmas, enjoy.
We were there over the holidays this year, and it was incredible. Seconding the previous post, knowing it will be crowded and being prepared for that helps manage expectations. Mobile ordering was the best thing we did food-wise and saved us so much time. I recommend doing it hours ahead of time - like plan out in the morning where you want to have lunch and go ahead and put your order in. I also highly recommend using Genie+. We assumed we would only be able to do a few rides, but knowing Genie as well as we did allowed us to ride everything we wanted to and more. It's the most beautiful, magical place to spend the holidays, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat!
If you haven't done MVMCP before, I would recommend trying it once. It's just a little extra magical.
The week before you leave, look at the weather forecast and adjust your packing based on that. As others have mentioned, the weather can be all over the place.
It will be busy. Set your expectations that you won't get everything done that you might normally do. Plan for some time to go to the different resorts and check out the Christmas decorations. Look at doing other non-park things on this trip. Mini Golf, Fort Wilderness Campground activities, etc...
You might want to explore doing a split stay so that you are staying close to the parks that you will be going to. For example, book part of your stay in one of the EPCOT area resorts and then go to EPCOT and HS on those days. Then move to the MK area and do MK on those days. We will frequently do AK on our move day since we have to take a bus there regardless of where we stay. In addition to the parks being busy, the roads will also be busy during that time, so getting places will probably take longer too. This is the approach we usually take during non-busy times, but for sure during busy times.
In addition to it being busier, it will also be more expensive. So, you might need to budget a little more for food and stuff.
Given the number of people in your party, I would lean more towards taking Mears Connect to and from your hotel. That way you can all stay together and it will probably be more economical. If staying together for the that part of the trip isn't an issue, I would go for Uber/Lyft.

Have a great trip and happy planning!


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