Disney Planning & Photos: Is Christmas a Good Time to Go to Disney World?

Disney Christmas decorations are amazingly beautiful, and it’s a magical time to be in Orlando. But is Christmas really the best time of year for you to visit Walt Disney World?

From Christmas Day to New Years is the absolute busiest time of year at WDW. I’ve been multiple times during this week, and crowd levels can feel absolutely insane, most especially mid-afternoon. But if you can only take off time from work during this week, and thousands do, should you brave the holiday crowds?  If you just need to be in the Disney parks after Christmas, get ready to stand in long lines and be surrounded by huge crowds everywhere you go.

Main Street, U.S.A., on Christmas Eve, with thousands of your closest friends.

Last year after Christmas, three of four Disney parks reached capacity. If you can calmly imagine standing shoulder to shoulder with up to 92,000 people in the Magic Kingdom at one time, then you must really want to be vacationing at Disney World. I found our best option was to leave the parks around 1 p.m. and go back in around 6 or 7. It’s still busy- crazy busy- but people start to leave after the fireworks, and lines are more manageable, especially if they offer Extra Magic Hours and you stay in a Disney Resort. But make no mistake, it’s still packed-out and really only a last resort vacationing choice if you just can’t schedule a visit any other time of year. Thanksgiving weekend is also very busy, but there are other options.

Books like The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, which also runs touring plans.com, suggest two alternate times. This way you can still see the holiday decorations without waiting 2 hours to ride Space Mountain.

  •  Thanksgiving to the week before Christmas.
  •  The second full week of November through the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Now of course, anyone reading up on the best time to go to WDW that can, will try to schedule vacations during this time of year, and it will be more crowded then as well. But it can’t get any more crowded than right after Christmas.

The beauty of a Magic Kingdom Christmas.

I’ve stood on Main Street as the clock struck midnight on Christmas Eve, ushering in a fantastic Christmas Day. The Disney snow was falling, the holiday lights were twinkling, Christmas carols were playing, and thousands of people were waiting to descend upon the Disney parks. Do I recommend people go right at Christmas like we did? No. Would I go again at that time? Yes. It all depends on how bad you want to feel that Disney magic.

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