Plan on visiting The Most Magical Place on Earth during the most wonderful time of the year? Well, hang onto your Santa hats, because you’re going to want to read my 12 Best Disney World Tips for Christmastime before you do!
I would never discourage you from going to Disney World at Christmas time, ThemeParkHipster.
Truly, there is no where else I’d rather be!
That being said, if you’re not a seasoned veteran to the parks, it can be a bit overwhelming.
I have broken everything down to help demystify the process and I assure you that by the time this article is done, you’ll be good to go.
So, if you’re ready for some tips, tricks, hacks, and facts… lets gooo!
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1. Know that Timing is Everything
If you can choose when to visit Walt Disney World at Christmas time, may I suggest sometime between November and mid-December. This may seem a bit early to some, but this is when the parks will be most manageable.
That being said, if you manage your expectations and come to expect a bit of mayhem… you should be able to make the most of it. This is one of the best Disney at Christmastime tips that I can give you!
After all, a bad day in Walt Disney World is a good day anywhere else!
Hipster Power Tip: If you haven’t been to Walt Disney World in years, you may want to avoid visiting during the holiday season. While it is absolutely stunning to see, if your goal is to hit up all your favorite restaurants, attractions, and shows… you may find yourself reacting like a Scrooge. Try checking out my Crowd Calendar to find out when the parks will be at their lowest capacity.
2. Be Prepared
I cannot stress this enough; be prepared. A good plan will lead to a great day, if you’ve done all your homework.
Here are just a few helpful hints to make sure you are as prepared for Disney World at Christmastime as possible:
- Grab your Park Reservations ASAP.
- Have your Advanced Dining Reservations ASAP.
- Pack snacks and/or use Mobile Ordering to avoid waiting in long lines for Counter Service.
- Use My Disney Experience to lookup Wait Times before you start walking to your chosen attraction.
- Dress in your best holiday gear!
- Hit the parks early. Take a resort break mid-afternoon. Return to the parks post dinner time.
- Triple check Extra Magic Hours, all Firework schedules, and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party dates.
- Make a plan for what you want to do each day.
- Above all… remain flexible!
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3. Stay Warm
Believe it or not, it gets downright COLD in Orlando, FL!
More often than not, the days will be as pleasant as can be.
We’re talking “blue skies and sunshine, guaranteed!” But come evening, forget about it. Especially if you’re sticking around for an Afterhours Party. Brrrrrr!
If you’re traveling from up North, you may be tempted to scoff at 50 degrees feeling cold.
However, keep in mind that you will be spending a great majority of your time outside, especially when it comes time to stand still and watch a parade, show, or fireworks.
And if you’re willing to bring a backpack into the park with you, be sure to pack a small blanket, some mittens, and maybe even a scarf.
Hipster Power Tip: Be a hero and pack a few extra layers with you, just in case. Look, you may not need them… but I guarantee you that someone in your party will.
4. Skip Park Hopping
This one pains me to say, but if you want to maximize your time (and sanity) while visiting Walt Disney World at Christmastime, you’ll want to avoid most Park Hopping.
Normally, this is one of my favorite things to do! I love the flexibility it provides… the freedom… heck, I even love the little “time-out” a ride on the Skyliner forces me to give myself.
However, you will find yourself burning hours (and hours) just trying to get from point A to point B.
Not to mention, if you want to go back to your original park and it reaches capacity, you won’t be allowed back in.
5. Try Resort Hopping
This may come as a surprise to you, but some of Disney’s most detailed decorating is hiding right in plain sight!
While many rush off to the parks to fill up their magic meter, I’m telling you… the resorts are where it’s at.
A few special things to check out:
- The Gingerbread Display at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
- 60-foot Tall Christmas Tree at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Gingerbread Carousel Display at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club
Hipster Power Tip: Don’t be afraid to venture out beyond the Monorail Loop! Keep reading to find out why…
6. Eat This, Not That
While we’re on the subject… the resorts are your best bet for a quick pick-me-up of sugar, spice, and everything nice!
If you’re in need of a sweet treat, the resorts are full of exclusive festive offerings that are tasty, Insta-worthy, and will take half the wait to get your hands on.
Here are a few NEW items that I am REALLY looking forward to (2023 details pending):
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort: Banana Cabana (Available Dec. 1 through 31) – Rum Cake: Traditional Rum Cake
- Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter: Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory (Available Dec. 1 through Dec 31) – Gingerbread Spiced Caramel Blondie Bites: Gingerbread spice-dusted caramel blondie bites
- Disney’s Riviera Resort: Primo Piatto (Available Nov. 28 through Jan. 7) – Vanilla, Cherry, and Gingerbread Cheesecake: Vanilla cheesecake with chocolate cheesecake swirl, Morello cherries, whipped gingerbread panna cotta, and milk chocolate Mickey coin
- BoardWalk: BoardWalk Deli (Available Now – Dec 26) – Apple Cider Loaf
Hipster Power Tip: Many of these items are available through Mobile Ordering! If you’d new to Mobile Ordering, don’t let that scare you. The process is simple, fast, and effective. After all, who wants to wait in line to satisfy their sweet tooth!
7. Make a Game of It
I hate to keep stressing the long lines, but… the struggle is real. And while you can’t do anything to make them go any faster, there are a few fun ways to pass the time.
Instead of fixating on what you can’t change, try playing a few of the following games with your family and friends:
- Guess Who
- I Spy
- Heads Up
Or, if you’re a theme park geek like me, you can always try something a bit more informative.
I’ve been known to Google a few fun facts about each attraction before I visit Walt Disney World and save them in my iPhone notes!
This will ramp up you and you crews’ appreciation for each little Disney detail as you make your way through the queue. It’s one of the best Disney at Christmastime tips that I can give you!
Here are a few of my favorite examples for the Haunted Mansion:
- Architecture – The original Disneyland attraction is based on the Southern manor style (because it is set in New Orleans Square), while Disney World and Tokyo feature a Colonial brick estate. The Disneyland Paris version takes its cue from a more classic Victorian style.
- Concept – When the Haunted Mansion was originally being developed, it was planned as a walk-through attraction, rather than a true “ride.” In addition, it was to feature a “Museum of the Weird” which sounds similar to a more gothic Ripley’s Believe it Or Not.
- Voices – Recognize any familiar voices in this attraction? The Ghost Host is voiced by Paul Frees — the voice of the Pillsbury Doughboy! And Madame Leota is voiced by Eleanor Audley – the voice of Sleeping Beauty’s Maleficent.
…you get the idea!
8. Hit the Restrooms
It must seem pretty silly to see “take a bathroom break” on a list for the best Disney at Christmastime tips guide, but with all the excitement that will be surrounding you, it is very likely that you’ll need a reminder.
The last thing you want is having to walk out of line because you… well, forgot to go!
Better yet, take a look at My Disney Experience to see the by nearest location and when you’ve got the chance, take it!
7 BEST Bathrooms at Walt Disney World
This is going to sound like a lot, I know. But not all Walt Disney World restrooms are created equal.
Whether you’re looking for privacy, space, cleanliness, or themeing… these are the 7 best bathrooms at Disney that you’ll find around the parks:
- The American Adventure – Epcot
- Kilimanjaro Safaris – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends – Epcot
- Former Splash Mountain Area – Magic Kingdom Park
- Imagination Pavilion – Epcot
- Sunset Boulevard – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Rapunzel Bathrooms –Magic Kingdom Park
Ready to plan your theme park trip? Watch the best vacation planning tips on YouTube. Get started here!
9. Make Your Own Magic
Let’s face it, this trip will be what you make it. So, why not make it extraordinary. Go all out, unleash that inner fan, and have a ball.
Whether it be through making homemade matching t-shirts, decorating your little one’s stroller, or bringing along your own mini-Christmas tree for your hotel room, there are a million ways to make your own magic outside the parks, rides, and resorts.
Just use your imagination and think… What Would Walt Do!?
10. Don’t Forgot Disney Springs
Disney Springs is so much more than shopping and restaurants, y’all.
One of my favorite things to do during the holiday season is check out the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll. It’s one of the best Disney at Christmastime tips that I can give you!
This festive scavenger hunt is completely free and features 15 themed trees, including:
- Star Wars
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Raya and the Last Dragon
- Disney +
- Toy Story
- Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse
- Annual Passholder
- Haunted Mansion
- Nightmare Before Christmas
- Lion King
Hipster Power Tip: While looking a the trees is nice, it is even better with a hot chocolate in one hand and a special treat in the other. Hit up one of Disney Springs MANY eateries and make a night of this family-friends activity.
11. Have You Camera Ready!
You know, it’s not just you who is excited for the holidays. Some of your favorite characters like to get all decked out for the season, changing into their winter attire and donning festive scarfs, hats, and coats.
Not to mention, Disney has been known to let a few limited time only special event characters out to play during this time, as well.
So, be sure to keep your camera close by if you wish to capture this rare and exciting photo opportunity!
12. Don’t Skip Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays
Whether it’s the festival food, the Holiday Storytellers, or the Candlelight Processional… Epcot is the place to be at Christmastime!
Here, you’ll find it to be a bit less crowded than Magic Kingdom, and in my opinion… twice as festive!
I know, that sounds crazy, but Epcot really does go all out for the holidays. And you want to know the best part? You don’t even need an extra ticket to enjoy the festivities.
That’s right, I’m looking at you Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party…
Hipster Power Tip: Don’t be afraid to check out some of the Candlelight Processional Dining Packages. They’re surprisingly a pretty good deal and guarantee you a spot to see the show. And believe me, you’re not going to want to miss it!
My Final Thoughts on Best Tips for Disney at Christmastime
As you can see, there is much to keep in kind when planning a trip to Disney World at Christmastime. But if I can stress one thing about all else… HAVE FUN!
Sure, it is going to be crazy but that is part of the fun! Embrace it and get psyched with 120,000 of your fellow fans!
Until Next Time, Happy Hopping Hipsters… and Happy Holidays!
If you enjoyed this article, check out the following:
- Guide to Christmas at Disney World (37 Things to Do at Disney for the Holidays)
- 7 Best Disney Christmas Sweaters You’ll Love for the Holidays
- Your Perfect Disney Resort Christmas Decorations Tour (and it’s FREE)
- 5 Best Disney Resorts at Christmas (Enjoy Them for FREE!)
About the Author
Ted Wioncek III is a professional Show Director, who specializes in developing highly themed experiences with immersive live entertainment. His work has garnered him a reputation as a “master in storytelling.”
In addition, he is also a Walt Disney World Annual Passholdin’-D23 lovin’-DVC card carryin’-theme park enthusiast, specializing in theatrical review, food critique, and double-blind Dole Whip taste testing. Ted lives in sunny Florida with his beautiful wife, daughter, and their adorable rescue beagle, affectionately named, Professor Indiana Bones. You can contact him at TheDisneyPassport@gmail.com.
(Original Article Date: November 22, 2022/Updated by Editor on October 28, 2023)