You are so excited, you have decided to take kids to Walt Disney World for Christmas. Maybe you are even planning on surprising them with packed suitcases under the tree. Then, you start researching or worse, ask for tips in your local Facebook Moms group and you get incredibly dejected when they all tell you not to go.
Yes, Christmas is a very busy time at Walt Disney World but it is also an incredibly magical time.
I personally love visiting Walt Disney World Christmas week, sitting on Main Street waiting for the Once Upon a Christmas Parade with a gingerbread cookie.
The first thing you need to know is not to try to do everything. Christmas may not be the best time to go for a once in a lifetime trip, but every Disney fan should do it at least once in a lifetime. So how do you make sure you are making wonderful family memories and crying tears of joy instead of frustration?
In order to enjoy the busiest time of the year all you need to do is to have a good plan.
Like most suppliers in the travel industry, Disney yields their room rates which means they increase the rate as rooms fill. The earlier you book, the better rate you are going to get. Disney has NEVER released a discount for Christmas week so there is no reason to try and wait for a deal. If they do and you are working with a travel advisor who offers discount checking, like me, that promo will automatically be applied. Disney offers an extremely liberal cancellation policy allowing you to lock in pricing with a $200 deposit that is fully refundable up to 30 days prior to check-in.
Make Dining Reservations Early
The added benefit of booking early means you can also book your dining early. Traditionally, the Disney Advanced Dining Reservations can be made 180 days prior to check-in. With historically busy weeks like Christmas, you want to book your dining reservations the moment that they open. You may even find that some of the most popular restaurants like Ohana, Cinderella’s Royal Table, and Chef Mickey’s may already be completely full when you book on opening day so make sure you have some alternatives selected.
Utilize Enhanced Offerings
Disney offers some special hard-ticket events that give you exclusive access to the parks before opening or prime viewing locations. These are an additional cost and while they may not be worth it during slower times, they are a great value at busy times like Christmas. Enjoy the Magic Kingdom fireworks in a roped-off viewing location by purchasing tickets to the Plaza Garden Viewing Dessert Party. Guarantee seats to see your favorite celebrity narrate the Candlelight Processional with the Candlelight Processional Dining Package. A great way to ride your favorite attractions with very little wait is to purchase tickets for Early Morning Magic or After Hours event that gives you exclusive access to the park before or after its typical operating hours.
Get to the Parks Early
One of the stories you may have heard me tell over and over actually took place when my family went to Walt Disney World for Christmas. I had created an itinerary to make the most of our park time, my brother (who was in college and hadn’t seen a single digit on his morning alarm in years) took one look at it and asked: “Why does 7 am exist?”
We arrived 30 minutes prior to Magic Kingdom opening, rode all of our favorite attractions, watched the parade at noon, used our FastPasses for the day, and went to Be Our Guest for lunch reservation. As we were leaving the park around 2 pm we had done everything we wanted to and more. As we walked out we walked by Pirates of the Caribbean which we enjoyed without any wait that morning and it had an 80-minute wait. It was at that moment that I never had to argue to get my brother out the door in the morning, he knew why 7 am existed.
Plan a Down Day
Another great way to get a break from the crowds is not to spend every day of your vacation in the parks. Plan a day or two where you do not enter a theme park. Spend some time shopping for the people left on your gift list at Disney Springs, walk around the EPCOT resorts to see the decor, splash around the pool, plan a spa treatment or plan a Monorail Crawl, where you try some of the great restaurants at the monorail resorts while enjoying their incredible decorations.
It is incredibly important to have a good plan but just as important to be flexible. You will inevitably have to wait longer than expected, you may be crowded together on a packed bus, but you need to leave your trip open for unplanned moments as those are often the moments you remember the most. If a line is longer than expected, break out a game like HeadsUp or talk as a family. Spend time enjoying the added holiday entertainment like the Dapper Dans or Holiday Storytellers that don’t have a wait.
If you want a truly magical Christmas vacation contact me today so I can help you find ways to make memories for your family.
If you are ready to have the family vacation you’ve been dreaming of, without spending time researching, planning and making it happen, schedule a call today. I’m here to help busy working Moms plan, organize and book the perfect family vacation. With me, all you have to worry about is enjoying your well-earned time away with your family. If you are ready to stop trying to do everything on your own and see how I can help you schedule a complimentary trip planning session now.
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