Walt Disney World in December – Crowd levels, holiday & special events, ride closures, promotions, discounts, and tips.

October 7, 2009 at 5:43 pm 2 comments

There are some things going on at Walt Disney World in December that you need to know about:                                                                                                           

Crowd Warnings:

  1. Crowds will be moderate in the early part of the month, although we’re already seeing very little availability at the Disney-owned resorts for certain dates.   Crowd levels will noticeably increase every day beginning around Saturday, December 19th as schools break for the holidays.  Christmas through New Years will have the heaviest crowds of the whole year with the potential for parks to close due to maximum capacity. 
  2. Pop Warner National Football, Dance & Cheer Events at Walt Disney World – November 30 – December 12. These events take place at Disney’s Wide World of Sports and the events themselves won’t affect you but you may encounter groups of young athletes (and their families) in your resort and – during their spare time – in the theme parks.
  3. Fantasmic! (Disney’s Hollywood Studios) –This great show is no longer presented every night.  It will be offered December 2, 4, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 24, 25. 26, 27, 28,29, 30, 31.  This is a very popular show and we highly recommend it – arrive 60-90 minutes early, if you do not have a Fantasmic! Dinner package.  Disney may add a second, later performance on certain evenings during the winter break – if they do, the later showing of Fantasmic! will always be less crowded than the earlier one   Warning: When there are limited performances, you know Disney’s Hollywood Studios is going to be busier on days featuring a Fantasmic! show.  Afternoons will be especially busy as those with Park Hopper tickets come over to see the show.  A good touring plan will help you manage this.   Warning:  This show  is excellent but it does feature villains for a good 8-10 minutes.  The scene is fairly intense and can be frightening to small children.
  4. SpectroMagic Parade (Magic Kingdom) – This wonderful nighttime parade is not offered every night and the Magic Kingdom will be more crowded on days featuring a SpectroMagic Parade.   The SpectroMagic Parade will be presented on December 2, 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19,20, 21, 22,  23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 3o, 31.    If Disney offers a second evening parade, the later parade will be less crowded than the earlier.
  5. Avoid going to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot on Christmas Day and New Years Eve.   There is a good chance that the park could close because of capacity level crowds and the lines will be horrible.  Disney’s Hollywood StudiosDisney’s Animal Kingdom theme parks are much better choices for these days.
  6. Extra Magic Hours – (Special hours only available to Disney resort hotel guest) !  We recommend that everyone avoid the Extra Magic Hour park of the day.   Disney has 33,000 hotel rooms and no one goes to Disney alone – that means too many people are pointed in the same direction at the same time. You’ll have a much nicer time by going to a less busy park.  This is doubly important if you are not staying at a Disney resort – you don’t want to get to the theme park and find a bunch of Disney guests in line in front of you. 
  7. Magic Kingdom – Christmas Break.  The Magic Kingdom will open at 8:00AM for Disney Resort Guests only at 8:00AM from December 24th – January 2nd.  This may create some complications for visitors who are not staying at a Disney hotel.    Be sure to arrive by 8:30AM and get a FASTPASS as soon as you’re allowed in.  Not every attraction is open during Extra Magic Hours so you’ll have the same access to many attractions as anyone else.  Use a good touring plan to help you.
  8. A good touring plan will keep you ahead of the crowds and out of the long lines.   We provide three choices for custom touring plans – our Custom Touring Plans, the 2009 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World (book), or a subscription to Tour Guide Mike (online service) – at  no charge to you when you book your trip through Build A Better Mouse Trip.  For more information, see: http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com/freetouringplans.php

Special Events:

  1. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (Disney’s Magic Kingdom)- 7:00PM to Midnight – December 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 18.  This special event is a lot of fun for families, with rides, a parade, shows, and fun party type events.   These nights require a special event ticket ($49 – $63  per person, depending on age and date) – you cannot enter using your Magic Your Way or Park Hopper tickets.  Ticket prices vary with an advance purchase discount offered on select nights. There are a limited number of tickets sold for each party Warning:  The Magic Kingdom will close to the public at 7:00PM on party nights.  Magic Kingdom resort area restaurants (Chef Mickey’s, 1900 Park Fare, Whispering Canyon, etc.) will fill their reservations early as people look for something nearby to enjoy after the early park closing.  Contact us today to purchase your party tickets.  
  2. Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancng  Lights  (Disney’s Hollywood Studios) – November 10, 2009 – January 4, 2010.  This is an incredible holiday light display beginning around dusk.   Every 15 minutes, the display will glow and dim to correspond with the holiday music.  It is quite a sight!  No extra ticket needed – included with your park admission.
  3. Holidays Around the World. (Epcot) – November 27 – December 30thThe World Showcase pavilions will each feature a special holiday storyteller that tells about Christmas (or other holiday) festivities in that country.  No extra ticket needed – included with your park admission.  Check your Epcot times guide.
  4. Candlelight Processional (Epcot) – November 27 – December 30th.  Nightly:  5:00, 6:45, & 8:00PM.   A large choir, orchestra, and celebrity narrators retell the Christmas Story in the America Gardens Theatre.  This beautiful production is extremely popular and fills to capacity.  People sometimes line up hours early. TIP: Arrive at least 45 minutes early for the 5:00PM performance for your best chance to get in with a minimum wait.  TIP: Candlelight Processional Lunch/Dinner Packages eliminate long waits.  You have several restaurant choices and you’ll receive a voucher that guarantees seating at the Candlelight Processional.  These packages aren’t cheap but a nice meal and the wonderful Candlelight Processional are certainly a special occasion worth celebrating.  The Candlelight Processional Dinner Packages are included in the Disney Dining Plan but will take two table-service meal credits per person.  Call 407-WDW-DINE to check availability and to make reservations.  This year’s celebrity narrators:
  • November 30 & December 1-2 John O’Hurley
    December 3-5 Steven Curtis Chapman
    December 6-8 Anika Noni Rose
    December 9-11 Andy Garcia
    December 12-14 Vanessa Williams
    December 15-17 Abigail Breslin
    December 18-20 Whoopi Goldberg
    December 21-23 Brian Dennehy
    December 24-6 Edward James Olmos
    December 27-30 Angela Bassett / Courtney B. Vance
  1. Celebrate Tonight – Downtown Disney’s West End Plaza.  Mini Street Parties featuring a DJ and stilt walkers lead dances, the limbo, party games, and sign-alongs.  They only last about 20 minutes each but are a lot of fun.  Sunday – Thursday:  intermittently 5:00pm– 11:00pm.  Friday – Saturday:  intermittently 6:00pm– Midnight.  Check on the hour and half hour.

Temporary Attraction Closures and refurbishments:

  • Liberty Tree Tavern (Restaurant – Magic Kingdom) the restaurant will be open but – beginning January 5th – Liberty Tree Tavern will no longer offer character dining.
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin (Magic Kingdom)  will be closes December 6-19, 2009.
  •  Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon (water park) – will be closed November and December for its annual refurbishment.
  • Disney’s Magical Express (Airport Shuttle Service) – New luggage procedure for late night arrivals.  As of March 30th, luggage service will no longer be available for arrivals to Orlando International Airport after 10:00PM.   Collect your luggage at baggage claim and take with you to the Disney’s Magical Express check-in desk. 

 Can You Save Money with the “Free Nights” Promotion?

Disney recently released a “free nights” promotion that includes select dates in December.   There is very limited availability for December but the savings can be significant.   Guests staying at a Disney Value resort for 5 nights can receive two additional nights free.   Guests booking a qualifying Magic Your Way package at a Disney moderate or deluxe resort for four nights can receive up to three nights stay.   Your ticket length is also increased but you still have to pay for the dining plan for those nights, if you are using a Disney Dining Plan    Did you book your reservation under the “Free Dining Promotion”?  For value & moderate resort guests, that is usually the better value.  Deluxe resort guests may save more with this promotion.    Use the online form at http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com/Ordering.php to contact us to book your reservation.

 Free Theme Park Touring Plans

 If you find this report helpful, please consider using us to book your vacation reservations or for custom theme park touring plans.  We are authorized Walt Disney World Vacation Planners and book directly with Disney so you never pay more than if you booked the reservation yourself.  Then we provide lots of help and advice designed to take the stress out of vacation planning.

  • Help with building a Best Days Itinerary – a daily schedule that puts you in the best park for each day of your trip
  • Help with dining reservations (subject to availability)
  • Custom touring plans that keep you ahead of the crowds and out of the long lines.  Or, if you prefer to do your own plans, we will provide either a subscription to Tour Guide Mike or the newest edition of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World to you instead of our touring plans.  The choice is yours.

 At Build A Better Mouse Trip, we are convinced that everyone can benefit with good touring plans.   During busy times, a good plan will absolutely keep you ahead of the crowds and out of the lines – our clients typically wait less than 20 minutes for rides, even thrill rides and headliners.   During less crowded times, a good plan factors in shorter park hours and fewer performance times.    But the most important benefit of a good plan is that everyone gets to ride and see the things that they are looking forward to because everyone’s priorities are included in a plan that tours the parks efficiently and effectively.  For more information see: http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com/freetouringplans.htm

You can purchase custom planning service from us but most of our clients get them for free.  We accept Disney and other hotel commissions as payment for our planning services. If you’ve already booked your own reservation, it may be possible to have our name added as the agent of record.  Your rate, confirmation, and benefits all stay exactly the same.  In this situation, Disney just pays us the commission they would’ve kept for themselves.  Then – free to you – we provide you with custom touring plans that let you enjoy more attractions with less lines.

If you have questions or are interested in our services:

                * just call us toll free at 877-815-6515
                * or use the online form

Thank you,


Build A Better Mouse Trip

Toll Free Phone: 877-815-6515
International callers: 719-495-5698

Build A Better Mouse Trip is a full service travel agency specializing in Florida vacations & Cruises.  Build A Better Mouse Trip is not affiliated with or in any way officially connected with, The Walt Disney Company, Disney Enterprises, Inc., or any of their affiliates.

Entry filed under: 12 - December, Rides and Attractions, Special Events, Uncategorized, vacation planning, WDW Crowd Levels, WDW Ride Closures. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Free or Inexpensive Fun at the Walt Disney World Resort but Outside of the Theme Parks Everything you need to know to meet Tinker Bell at Pixie Hollow in Mickey’s Toontown Fair

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Henry Work  |  November 17, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    Hey Stephen,

    Just wanted to thank you for the mention above, and let you know that TouringPlans.com is another online research resource for planning your Walt Disney World vacations.

    Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts.



  • 2. Cruise Ephesus  |  January 4, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    beautiful information…Thank you…


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