Christmas at Disney is one of the most magical times of year. I recently spent a weekend at the happiest place on earth during the full blown Christmas season. If you’re planning on visiting Walt Disney World anytime soon or planning a visit for next year, read on for some helpful tips on navigating your way through the hustle and bustle of the parks.
The day that I visited Magic Kingdom there was an estimated 80,000 people at the park. This trip included a lot of happiness, magic and crowds. The trick to planning your trip during this time of year is to PLAN AHEAD. If you want to ride some of your favorite rides- like Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, try to arrange fast passes about a month in advance. It is unlikely to score any fast passes on the day of your visit during this time due to the increased amount of visitors. Once you have purchased your tickets, made your hotel reservations (see our post on Epcot here for hotel recommendations), and obtained your fast passes, it’s time for park day! If you’re looking to save a little, like many of us are this time of year, I suggest eating breakfast at a fast food place, nearby restaurant, or even your hotel’s continental breakfast. This will save you money and time. Yes, Disney food is delicious and awesome, but who really wants to stand in a 30-minute line for an overpriced meal when you’ve got the whole park to explore!? Our go-to is always a Chick-fil-A just before I-4, which is quick and convenient. If you’re not a fast food person, Disney allows you to bring your own snacks and food into the parks. Make sure to check out their rules and regulations before packing your bag.
If you’ve decided to visit Magic Kingdom during your trip, you will not be disappointed by the sheer amount of Christmas decorations and cheer. After catching the ferry or monorail, you’ll arrive at Main Street USA. Main Street looks beautiful at this time of year- check out those fun holiday decorations! Magic Kingdom is the most popular park, so it will see the highest crowds. Once you’ve meandered through Main Street and if you’ve got some time before your first fast pass, I recommend starting the day in Adventureland. A lot of people will veer to the right and start in Tomorrowland. Starting out in a less crowded section will save you some time waiting in lines. Speaking of lines, expect to wait at least an hour sometimes two without a fast pass in the stand-by lines for the popular rides like the Seven Dwarves Mine Train and The Jingle Cruise.
If you’ve got some time or just want a break from standing, hop on the People Mover or the Walt Disney World Railroad. You’ll be able to sit back and relax as you cruise throughout the park.
Another tip that I was very appreciative to learn of is that you can get free water cups at any Disney quick service restaurant. Walking all around the park in the Florida heat can be exhausting. If you need a quick water break, walk into any quick service restaurant and politely ask for cups of water, a cast member will happily oblige. Make sure to catch the Festival of Fantasy Parade that happens at 2:00pm in December. You’ll be able to see all your favorite characters aboard their colorful parade floats. I love this parade because it’s a great place to see all your favorite princesses and characters in one place.
As you end your day make sure to stick around and watch the castle light up with it’s festive Christmas lights. They also have a fireworks show that begins at 9:00pm.
Other exciting extra features that are available at this time of year include Extended Park Hours or Magic Hours. Magic Kingdom is open until 11:00pm during the month of December. Make sure to consult Disney’s calendar since Magic Hours vary for certain days of the week. If you would like a little extra fun, check out Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This exclusive event is an additional ticketed event where you’ll get to see Mickey and Friends in their holiday best. Visit the official site here.
Happy Holidays and enjoy your trip at the Happiest Place on Earth!