Are you thinking of heading to Walt Disney World to celebrate the Christmas holiday? I HIGHLY recommend it – as it doesn’t get much more magical than Disney at Christmas! As with every time of year, there are pros and cons to traveling to WDW during this holiday season – but as long as you do a bit of planning and preparing, you will definitely be glad you made the decision to spend Christmas with the Mouse! Ok, so let’s get down to it – what Disney World is REALLY like at Christmas time:
The Good: Let’s start with how beautiful it is at Christmas time – the décor has to be seen to be believed – seriously, they go all out! GIANT Christmas trees at every Park, wreaths and lights and Mickey shaped baubles at every turn, and Christmas tunes fill the air. You can visit life size gingerbread displays at several of the Disney Resorts that are truly works of art, and while you may not be able to eat the displays – there’s plenty of other treats to be had! Mickey gingerbread cookies, peppermint fudge, hot chocolate, Christmas cookies, special holiday meals, Christmas colored sprinkles and frostings everywhere…seriously, it’s a foodie paradise. There are also some special celebrations you can take part in – like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom – which is an additional cost, but is a pretty awesome event – an evening at the Magic Kingdom with a special Christmas parade, free cookies and cocoa, and SNOW too! Another favorite is the Osbourne Spectacle of Dancing Lights over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – it’s a HUGE display of millions of twinkling Christmas lights that move and sparkle in time to classic Christmas songs. Epcot does a Candlelight Processional, where celebrity guests re-tell the Christmas Story with a beautiful choral accompaniment. The festivities really make the holiday come alive in new and exciting ways – and it’s really a magical experience for those of all ages!
The Bad: Ok, so all that magic has to come at a price right? Well, unfortunately – it’s a higher price – as Christmas is considered a “peak” season for WDW – which means the Resort prices are higher (but worth it in my opinion!). Of course “peak” season also means crowds – lots of them – seriously. It’s intense – and for someone who has never been to WDW or has only been during a ‘slow’ time, it can be really overwhelming! And no matter how much you plan and prepare, the crowds may get the best of you (happens to all of us, unfortunately!)
The Ugly: The crowds only get worse as the holiday approaches – we’re talking more than a 2 hour wait for Space Mountain, wall to wall people during parade time, long lines for food…its bad. My recommendation is that if you’re going to go the week of Christmas, use the days before the holiday to your advantage when the crowds might be (slightly) lighter – ride your “must do” rides during those days, and then during Christmas you can take a more leisurely approach – enjoy the decorations, do some shopping, and hopefully avoid waiting several hours for one attraction! Another consideration that can be hard to swallow is the travel aspect – flights are more expensive, airports are more crowded, and for us Northerners, snow can really mess up our travel plans with delayed flights, canceled and overbooked flights, etc
Ok – so we talked about the good, bad and the ugly when it comes to Disney at Christmas time – and after all that, I have to say – I have done it twice and would do it again in a heartbeat. No matter how late my plane is, or how many people elbow me while I’m in line for a Dole Whip, or how many times I have to stand on the bus back to my Resort – it’s all worth it, as being Disney for Christmas just makes the “Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” even MORE wonderful!
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