Why Christmas?

sheila <3 WDW

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 18, 2011
We just went 12/20-12/27 (no parks the first and last days). I would go again in a minute. Crowds didn't feel larger than our other trips until the 26th. Now, I don't know if I would go between Christmas and New Years unless I had no other choice because the Crowds are even worse than when we were there.

I loved the Christmas decorations and music and snow. It was great.
 

klmall

aka Kathy
DIS Lifetime Sponsor
Joined
Oct 2, 1999
I forgot to add to my message above that we have gone several times in late November and four times in December as late as December 22. We found that the last full week before Thanksgiving worked fairly well and many decorations went up at that time. Our December visits have gotten more and more crowded but I still love the atmosphere and beauty of the decorations. I agree with earlier posters that Christmas time at WDW is easier if you have been to WDW before and have your favorites picked out ahead of time.
 
  • Disneylover99

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 17, 2012
    Wait times this week tell a different story.
    Wait times will be huge this week. There's no denying that. But with smart planning, it's easy to avoid the crowds and have a great time. We even found it easy to switch fp's around first thing in the morning between Christmas and New Years last year.
     

    pad406

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 23, 2010
    For others that may stumble across (or search for this) here's my post when you asked in the other thread that you mention:

    Good question. For us it comes down to a number of things, no surprise there :).

    Yes, it's crowded, but if you plan reasonably well and have realistic expectations, that's not a problem, at least for us. We're not all about the rides, we like them, but if we miss them one day it doesn't bother us, we'll get it the next day. We normally stay for about 3 weeks and on site, so have plenty of time to get around. The people add to the atmosphere, it's not like they are barging their way around (sure, some do but you get those people at any time), for the most part they are there enjoying themselves adding to the spirit. The decorations are lovely and even wandering through the resorts makes for a lovely few hours. The campgrounds are also fab, the way people decorate is incredible.

    As to the crowds, we tend to avoid the parks at the really busy times. We hit them early, skip off during the day and come back at night when it's quite. A lot of times we will alternate really late nights and early mornings. EMH mornings are fab if you're on site. EMH evenings are not so great, IMHO, as the time taken for the lines to clear can sometimes be as long as the EMH itself. However we LOVE the really late MK opening. Then 12AM+ (sometimes to 3AM) is just so fantastic. On Dec 23rd last we did BTMR 3 times in a row, once without even getting out of the cars, they just sent us on our way again as no one was waiting. 7DMT was a walk on, Space as less than 10m. It was fab.

    Of course you also have to be sensible. MK on Christmas Day or New Year's Eve, no thanks, we're not that brave.

    We have kids in school, so school holidays are the only realistic time that we can go. Both DS & I would literally melt in the heat & humidity of the Florida summer, so it would not be the least bit enjoyable for us. We went around Easter in 2012 and that was lovely weather, but we still prefer Christmas. It can be cold the odd day, but cold for Florida is grand for us, it just means a hoodie, or sometimes a jacket, it's not COLD as such. We've used the waterparks and the pool at Christmas, no problem. In fact, it's a great time for the waterparks, there's only usually the more hardy northern US people (no offence to those in the south :)) and the Europeans there, it's really quiet.

    Christmas time is not for everybody, attitude (to crowds) and expectations play a vital part. If you are a family that likes marching from one ride to the next, maximizing the no of rides, then I'd definitely be saying don't go. If you have a more relaxed touring style, try it at least once. If you can make the time, try and either come early or stay later, at least you'll probably get one 'quieter' week.


    I would completely agree with the other posters here who mentioned not trying to convince people to go at this time. But I'd rather be crowded in December weather than Jul/Aug weather
     

    GreatLakes

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 6, 2015
    I love Disney at Christmas time. The decorations and atmosphere along with the events such as The Candlelight Processional and WS Storyteller. That being said, however, I would not go anywhere near actual Christmas Day. I am not paying that much to be at parks that are that crowded. I go in late November or the first week of December. The number one criteria when I go to Disney is the crowds. They aren't as low at slower periods as they used to be but we aim for times when kids are in school. If a large number of kids are out of school we know we aren't going anywhere near Disney.
     
  • tedhowe

    Dad to Grace and Joy
    Joined
    Mar 15, 2000
    We've been coming to WDW for 20+ years, normally traveling at very low crowd times of the year. This week is the first time we've been here for Christmas week.

    We're actually having a really good time. For us, FP+ has been a real benefit to touring this time of year. Each park, with the 60 day advance planning, we've been able to do our 3 preferred attractions with little to no wait. Yes, it has been crowded otherwise, and we've had a few waits that were longer than we have done in many years, but I'll say that the crowds have been very good natured and generally well behaved which makes it much easier to take.

    We were in Universal on Monday and the crowds in Harry Potter were UNBELIEVABLE in the afternoon. About 4:30PM, it was literally so packed that you couldn't raise your arms. Think about the mad rush down Main Street after the fireworks at park closing - except everyone going in different directions and even more crowded, if you can believe that. I think Universal just gave up on trying to control the crowds entering the Harry Potter side in IOA.

    It really pointed out that Disney does crowd control much, much better. It isn't just controlling crowds, but NOT creating choke points and "box canyon" dead ends in the design of the park itself. Disney does this stuff better than anyone.

    Yes it is VERY crowded here this week, but if you have the awareness of that, the right attitude, and realistic expectations about what you can accomplish then it can be an enjoyable time of year to be here. I'm finding that for me, the crowds have added an energy and excitement that just isn't there when the parks feel empty.

    I don't think we'll do it again any time soon, but there have been some different and great memories created because of the crowds this week.
     

    Badger Karin

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Dec 30, 2015
    So... I'm curious (prompted by the other thread). For those of you who prefer to go over Christmas, why? What is it about Disney at Christmas, that makes it worth those crowds? What is it that you would tell someone, to try and convince them to go at Christmas?
    I love the decorations for Christmas but only go before that week. I went once during Christmas week and will never again. The week prior you have discounted rates, cheaper airfare, less crowds, with the bonus decorations. We went the week after Christmas and mid week (overnight-amazingly) it was transformed back to original.
     
  • MakiraMarlena

    It's a big black fish to you
    Joined
    Mar 28, 2005
    You can get all the decorations and most of the offerings at times other than the actual holiday week, with fewer crowds. Everything is in place by the week after Thanksgiving. The reason there are such large crowds during the actual holiday week is because kids are not in school and parents generally have a day or two off work. (this is also why you will pay more for flights if you go the holiday week).

    I go within the first 2 weeks of December which is not a time you can walk on rides or anything, but it's nothing like Christmas week. Go then, and you need to understand that the parks will be slammed and you might not get on many rides without waiting in line. Use FP+ and you will have faster access to 3 attractions reserved.
     
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    mshanson3121

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 16, 2015
    I wonder, next year, Christmas Day is on Sunday, which means I'm assuming most schools will run up until December 23rd (Friday). Christmas Break will run Dec 24 - January 8. So, I'm curious, would the week of Jan 1-7th be horribly insane with crowd levels of 9-10 all week? As busy as the week of Dec 25-31? Or would the crowds drop off a bit after New Years?
     

    MakiraMarlena

    It's a big black fish to you
    Joined
    Mar 28, 2005
    crowds usually drop off a lot after New Years if people have to be back at school/work by then. Not sure what will happen this year as New Years Day is a Friday and there is a whole weekend following it, there may not be a huge drop off until January 4. If nobody has to be back at school until January 8, it's going to depend on who decides to wait to go until after New Years when flights/rooms are cheaper.

    maybe the block out dates for seasonal passes would help...this year they are only blocked on January 1 (Friday). In 2017, they are blocked on January 1-2 (Sunday and Monday), probably reflecting that Monday will be the Federal holiday.
     

    tedhowe

    Dad to Grace and Joy
    Joined
    Mar 15, 2000
    I wonder, next year, Christmas Day is on Sunday, which means I'm assuming most schools will run up until December 23rd (Friday). Christmas Break will run Dec 24 - January 8. So, I'm curious, would the week of Jan 1-7th be horribly insane with crowd levels of 9-10 all week? As busy as the week of Dec 25-31? Or would the crowds drop off a bit after New Years?
    Our school district hasn't published a calendar yet, but I would expect that it will more likely be skewed to have the week before Christmas off instead of the week after new years.

    We generally have seven days of school off for Christmas break, and I would expect it would end up being 12/22 - 1/1 with the kids going back to school on January 2nd.
     

    Disneylover99

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 17, 2012
    I wonder, next year, Christmas Day is on Sunday, which means I'm assuming most schools will run up until December 23rd (Friday). Christmas Break will run Dec 24 - January 8. So, I'm curious, would the week of Jan 1-7th be horribly insane with crowd levels of 9-10 all week? As busy as the week of Dec 25-31? Or would the crowds drop off a bit after New Years?
    I don't really think it matters when Christmas Day falls. It will always be more crowded Dec. 25-31 over Jan. 1-7.
     

    GreatLakes

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 6, 2015
    I wonder, next year, Christmas Day is on Sunday, which means I'm assuming most schools will run up until December 23rd (Friday). Christmas Break will run Dec 24 - January 8. So, I'm curious, would the week of Jan 1-7th be horribly insane with crowd levels of 9-10 all week? As busy as the week of Dec 25-31? Or would the crowds drop off a bit after New Years?
    I don't think it will be 9s and 10s all week after the first but I suspect the drop off will be less dramatic than other years since more people will have that week off. Marathon week will be the 4th through 8th so the normal lull between New Years and marathon week will not be there. I'm a little surprised actually that they aren't doing the marathon the following week since a big part of the marathon is to get people down there at a slow time. I think the 11th through 15th will need more help attendance wise then the 4th through 8th but they didn't ask me.

    As an aside anyone who doesn't care about seeing the parks at Christmas will probably see pretty low crowds the week of the 9th next year.
     

    MakiraMarlena

    It's a big black fish to you
    Joined
    Mar 28, 2005
    Most school systems base their schedules on the Federal calendar (some add additional holidays), and when a Federal holiday falls on a Sunday, the holiday observance (for scheduling purposes - meaning the day off work or school) is moved to Monday. January 2 will be the New Years holiday in 2017. (As Christmas Day is also on a Sunday, the holiday will be Monday, December 26. I'm thinking WDW will see a lot of guests who may spend Christmas day at home, and then go to stay from December 26 to January 2.)

    I do not think there will be huge crowds after the 1st or 2nd 2017. Christmas is the popular holiday, that's always when the most people want to go. You may get more marathoners thinking about making a whole week out of it instead of just coming for the weekend. Might be more crowded than usual but not Christmas crowds.
     
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    GoofyGirl1717

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2010
    Yes it is VERY crowded here this week, but if you have the awareness of that, the right attitude, and realistic expectations about what you can accomplish then it can be an enjoyable time of year to be here.
    Totally agree! It is all about your attitude. We loved our Christmas trips because of the memories. It's not just a rush to open presents and play with the newest gadget. It's truly a day spent together enjoying each other.

    If you are there just for the rides then I guess it would be a very different experience.
     

    tedhowe

    Dad to Grace and Joy
    Joined
    Mar 15, 2000
    Totally agree! It is all about your attitude. We loved our Christmas trips because of the memories. It's not just a rush to open presents and play with the newest gadget. It's truly a day spent together enjoying each other.

    If you are there just for the rides then I guess it would be a very different experience.
    Well... after posting my reply, I thought about it some more, and I think there are a couple of different scenarios.

    For us, as DVC members we have been coming for so long, and still return every two years or so... we don't feel the need in any of the parks to see everything and ride everything each visit. It is much easier to enjoy the crowds and go with the flow of what the wait times give us. We have been doing our three FP+ attractions and one or two other attractions with wait times of longer than 40 - 60 minutes each day. That's about our limit. We'll stand in shorter lines (15 - 20 minutes) for good attractions/shows with no problem, but that basically limits us to 4 or 5 headliner attractions per day.

    That works well for us, but if this is one of those "once-in-a-lifetime" events, I would probably NOT recommend Christmas week to someone.

    As was said very early in this thread, I would never try to convince anyone to come here this week if they were not sure about wanting to deal with crowds. No way would it be fun if you either didn't want to deal with crowded places or wanted to see and do as much as possible all in one trip. Both are recipes for disaster and disappointment.
     

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