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  • Writer's pictureBrenda

December in Walt Disney World

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

Christmas time at Walt Disney World is truly a magical season, and everyone knows it. The holiday season at the parks is one of the busiest so a sound plan is needed to make the most of it.




We’ll start off by saying that Disney really does the Christmas season right, with festive decorations in all of the parks and holiday offerings at each park, Disney Springs, and even extending to resort hotels. Consequently, December is a great time to visit, especially if you can go early in the month when crowds will be more moderate and you can take full advantage of the events and generally nice weather.


If you are working around a school calendar, December is still a good time to go, you’ll just need to make sure you have a plan in place to maximize your park time with the heavy crowd levels that descend over the winter breaks.


If you are looking to go all out in holiday festivities, look no further than Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This is an incredibly popular hard ticketed event (i.e. you pay extra for it) that takes place in the Magic Kingdom on select evenings and often sells out very quickly. It has a special Christmas parade, fireworks, unique character meet and greets, hot chocolate and cookies, and of course many of the rides are open and can be ridden with little to no wait.


Over in Epcot the International Festival of the Holidays continues, with special Christmas offerings in the World Showcase pavilions specific to different countries, and the Candlelight Processional. The Candlelight Processional is a retelling of the Christmas story with a celebrity narrator (we saw Neil Patrick Harris!) and accompanied by a choir singing seasonal melodies. It’s really a great show and very popular so either get there early or purchase a dining package, which guarantees entry.


Pros:

  • Park hours tend to be longer with the increased crowd levels.

  • Typically the weather is nice in December, with lows in the 50s and highs in the low 70s. However it is winter so there can be days when it gets colder, so make sure to check your weather forecast and pack an extra jacket just in case.

  • Early December has moderate to low crowd levels.

  • Disney will be decked out with holiday decorations in each of the parks, resorts, and at Disney Springs.

  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is available for many dates throughout the month.

  • Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays runs throughout the month.

  • Some rides get a festive overlay, including Jungle Cruise (which becomes Jingle Cruise) at the Magic Kingdom, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, which will be Guardians of the Galaxy: Christmas Rewind.

  • If you are looking to meet the Disney characters done up in their finest Christmas attire, over in Hollywood studios the character meal at Hollywood and Vine becomes Minnie’s Holiday Dine.

  • There is also a Santa Claus motorcade at Hollywood Studios, which can be a fun glimpse of Santa for the little ones.

  • Animal Kingdom has even gotten in on the festivities with special night time projections onto the Tree of Life, special winter themed animal puppets that come out to interact with people accompanied by live musicians to create a festive atmosphere, and a Christmas Flotilla.

  • At Disney Springs you can check out some incredible themed trees, everything from the Muppets, the Haunted Mansion, Tangled, and more.

  • Santa meet and greets are available at the Magic Kingdom behind Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in Liberty Square, and in Disney Springs.

  • The resort hotels are included in the festivities, with themed trees and decorations featured at each. This includes some incredible gingerbread creations at some of the deluxe resorts, including a life size house at the Grand Floridian, and a carousel at the Beach Club Resort.

Cons:

  • Crowds ramp up around the holiday’s making Christmas time one of the busiest times to visit the parks.

  • Resort Prices and Ticketing are at the highest from the second week of the month on. Rarely will you see any discounted packages available during the holidays, making this the most expensive time of the year to visit.

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