Earlier this month, Disney World announced a ton of this year’s holiday season events, including a new after hours event — Disney Very Merriest After Hours.
If you’re considering a trip to Disney World for Christmas this year, we have a few tips you should keep in mind so you don’t wind up doing Christmas totally WRONG. Any trip to Disney World is full of challenges, planning, and stress, and traveling during the holiday season can make things more complicated!
You’re Visiting at the Wrong Time of Year.
Christmas at Disney World lasts much longer than those final few dates in the month of December. In fact, the 2021 holiday season officially kicks off on November 12th, and will run through early January!
If you want to experience Christmas at Disney World but don’t want to necessarily travel on or around Christmas Day, you have plenty of other options! In fact, visiting in November is a great way to take in the sights and sounds of the holiday season at Disney World without those notorious holiday crowds (more on that in a sec!).
You’re Planning Too Much!
As a general principle, over-planning is a recipe for disaster in Disney World. This is true all year round, but it’s especially true during the holidays.
Christmastime is one of the busiest (if not the busiest) time of year at Disney World, with guests visiting from around the country and around the world to celebrate the holiday with their family and friends. Wait times are often as long as they’ll ever be, and walkways can get really crowded really fast!
Last holiday season looked different with limited park capacity, but with capacity on the rise, it’s likely that the 2021 holiday season will look closer to “normal” in terms of crowds than last year. Because of how crowded it can get, you may want to keep your to-do list to those top few rides and attractions.
It’s possible that you won’t be able to get done as much as you usually do other times of the year, so managing your expectations is key to a successful Christmas vacation in Disney World. Overplanning can make you feel like you “failed” at your Disney trip. So leave room for changes, since you may have to be flexible and move things around to avoid long lines and waits!
You Think Magic Kingdom is the Only Park with Holiday Events!
When folks think about Christmas at Disney World, the first image that comes to mind is probably the giant Christmas tree at the end of Main Street, U.S.A. in Magic Kingdom, or the Toy Soldiers marching towards Cinderella Castle.
Or, they may think about the Castle’s Holiday Dream Lights or the new holiday projections that debuted last year. While Magic Kingdom is definitely a must-see destination while visiting Disney World during the holidays, there is so much more to see and do in the other three parks!
EPCOT hosts its annual Festival of the Holidays, with food booths around World Showcase offering unique and tasty dishes and drinks from around the world! Voices of Liberty puts on a memorable performance of Christmas classics in the American Adventure Pavilion as well.
There are also holiday cavalcades featuring Santa Claus himself at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, along with holiday projections on the Tower of Terror.
Over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the festive flotillas are set to return in 2021, too!
No matter which theme park you’re visiting, there will be some sort of limited-time holiday offering to check out!
You’re Skipping the Hotels!
While we love a trip to our favorite Disney World resort hotels any day of the year, we make it a point to see them during the holidays! If you’re traveling to Disney World during Christmastime and you’re only visiting the theme parks, you’re missing out on some of the BEST decorations!
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa goes all out with its large gingerbread house display (it’s coming back this year!). You can also spot gingerbread displays at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
Disney’s Beach Club Resort decorates its lobby every holiday season with their gingerbread carousel, themed to a different Disney film each season. Many other resorts have gorgeous Christmas trees and seasonal decor, so if you have more time to spare, grab a lunch or dinner reservation at one of the hotels and hop on over!
You’re Missing Out on ALL of the Festive Treats.
Visiting Disney World for Christmas is unlike visiting the rest of the year. Just like Halloween, Christmas is the one time of year you’ll find a TON (and we mean that — a ton) of limited-time snacks, drinks, and even holiday meals!
These limited-time offerings are practically everywhere you look. Across the parks and resorts, you’ll find cupcakes, cookies, and cocktails galore themed to the holiday season. Looking for something to wash down all of those Christmas cupcakes? You can find specialty beverages like the Gingerbread Coke Float in Disney Springs.
But why search for cupcakes and drinks separately when you can enjoy both at the same time? Last year’s Cookie Butter Milkshake from the Beaches and Cream To-Go Window at Disney’s Beach Club fit the bill! These are just a FEW of the many, MANY snacks available around the holidays that you won’t find any other time of year!
You’re Avoiding Disney World Altogether.
Perhaps the biggest way people often do Christmas wrong in Disney World is by skipping it altogether. Many people will write off visiting Disney World during this time of year due to crowds alone, but there are many ways to navigate this busy time of year and still have a wonderful trip!
The great thing about the holiday seasons starting in early to mid-November is that you have the option to visit before the holiday crowds arrive, giving you the best of both worlds — beautiful holiday decorations and seasonal offerings without those mega-long lines!
Keep in mind, too, that the weather in November and December is FAR more comfortable than what you’ll experience in the summer months.
Christmas at Disney World can seem intimidating with plenty of horror stories from your friends and family from years past, but a little planning can go a long way and you may find that navigating the parks at this time of year isn’t so bad after all.
Simply put, a Christmas vacation to Disney World is not your typical vacation to Disney World. If you can avoid some of the pitfalls we mentioned above, you may find that Christmas is your new FAVORITE time of year to visit Disney World!
Are you planning on visiting Disney World this holiday season? Let us know in the comments!