Walt Disney World in December 2011 – Crowds, Special Events & Ride Closure Information

November 21, 2011 at 5:41 pm 1 comment

Hey there! Your December 2011 trip to the Walt Disney World Resort & Theme Parks is coming up quickly – are you excited? I want to pass on a little information about crowds, ride closures, and special events that might affect your trip

Crowd Warnings:

  • 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 Studios & Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme parks are much better choices for these days.
  • December 1 – 21, 2011. News is getting out about the fun to be had in Walt Disney World in early December but the crowds are only mid-level and quite manageable. Just be sure to watch your “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party” dates because the Magic Kingdom will close early those nights and won’t have the Disney’s Main Street Electric Parade, which replaced the SpectroMagic Parade.
  • December 22, 2011 – January 2, 2012 – Christmas Break! You will experience “Holiday Crowds” which are even heavier than “Peak” crowds. Disney closed to capacity crowds several times during 06 Christmas Seasons and they expect the same thing to happen again this year. A good touring plan with “Best Days” information is absolutely essential if you don’t want to spend your whole vacation standing in line.
  • Fantasmic! (Disney’s Hollywood Studios) –We’re so happy to report that Fantasmic! is being offered every night this month. This is a very popular show and we highly recommend it – arrive 70-90 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: 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.
  • Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade (Magic Kingdom) – This wonderful nighttime parade is not offered every night and the Magic Kingdom will be more crowded on days featuring a Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade. The Disney’s Main Street Electric Parade will be presented on December 1, 3, 5, 8, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 and January 1, 2, 3. If Disney offers a second evening parade, the later parade will be less crowded than the earlier.
  • 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.
  • Pop Warner National Football, Dance, & cheer Events at Walt Disney World – December 3 – 12, 2011. These events take place at ESPN Wide World of Sports and the events themselves will not affect you. You may encounter groups of young athletes and their families in your resort, especially at the All-Star Resorts, and at the theme parks. Don’t let the chatter on some of the forums scare you – this event has a minimal impact on crowds. Enthusiastic youths can raise the noise level at the resorts though; guests staying at a value resort may want to add a request for a room in a quiet location to your reservation. Expect the resort food court to be busy at breakfast, if there are athletic groups staying at your resort.

A good touring plan is a very important tool for dealing with Christmas Break crowds. You can have a great trip and avoid long lines by doing just a little advance planning that will make sure you see and do the things that are important to you in a way that keeps you ahead of the crowds.We provide three choices for custom touring plans – 1) a subscription to Tour Guide Mike, a highly respected online planning service and Disney planning community with 45,000 members, 2) the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, the most popular guide book available with information on every resort, restaurant, attraction and activity, or 3) A subscription to Touringplans.com – at no charge to you when you book your trip through Build A Better Mouse Trip. Call us toll free at 877-815-6515.

New Character Meal  at Disney World:

  • Beginning December 4, 2011 – Character lunches with Daisy and Donald Duck will be added to Tusker House Restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. This location has offered a character breakfast for some time now and we’re very excited about the addition of lunch. In our opinion, character lunches are better than character breakfasts because you get to ride the rides while the crowds are at their lowest (morning) and then sit down for a meal when the crowds are heavier and you’re ready for a break. This location does participate in the Disney Dining Plan.

Special Events for December: Christmas at Disney World

  • November 11, 2011 – January 3, 2012  – Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. Millions of lights decorate the Streets of America backlot area. No extra charge – included with the cost of admission.
  • Candlelight Processional (Epcot) – November 25 – December 30th, 2011. 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. TIP: Arrive at least 45 minutes early for the 5:00PM performance for your best chance to get in with a minimum wait. This year’s celebrity narrators (subject to change without notice):   Nov. 25 – Nov. 27th: Mira Sorvino  /  Nov. 28 – Dec. . 1: Michael W. Smith  / Dec. 2 – Dec. 3: Whoppi Goldberg / Dec. 4 – Dec. 6: Edward James Olmos  / Dec. 7 – Dec. 9: Isabella Rosselina  / Dec. 10 – Dec. 12: Neil Patrick Harris   / Dec. 13 – Dec. 15: Lorraine Bracco  / Dec. 16 – Dec. 18: To Be Announced  / Dec. 19 – Dec. 21: Trace Adkins  /Dec. 22 – Dec. 24: Susan Lucci / Dec. 25 – Dec. 27: Blair Underwood  / Dec. 28 – Dec. 30: Marlee Matlin with interpreter Jack Jason
  • Holiday’s Around The World (Epcot) – November 25 – December 20, 2011. The 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. Storyteller Locations: American Adventure: Story of Hanukkah, Santa Claus, Story of Kwanzaa /Canada: Papa Noel China: The Monkey King /France: Pere Noel / Germany: Helga /Italy: La Befana / Japan: Daruma Vendor / Mexico: The Three Kings  /Morocco: Taarji / Norway: Julenissen /United Kingdom: Father Christmas
  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Magic Kingdom – 7 PM to Midnight – November 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27, 28, and 30; December 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16,  and 18. This event requires a special ticket – your Magic Your Way ticket won’t get you in. Tickets are $55 – $67 depending on the date and age of the participant. It is a fun event but it costs a chunk of change so use your own judgment as to whether this is a “must do” event for your trip. Just call and we’ll be happy to answer your questions or to book those tickets for you. If you are not doing this event, you will want to be aware that the Magic Kingdom closes early – at 7PM – on the nights of the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and they generally won’t have the Disney’s Main Street Parade those nights.
  • Animal Kingdom – Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade ~ November 8, 2011 – January 3, 2012. A special holiday parade where Mickey Mouse and his friends celebrate teh season safari style.
  • Christmas Church Service at Walt Disney World – December 25, 2011. Religious services are being offered at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in the Fantasia Ballroom. Catholic mass is December 25th at 8:00AM and 10:15AM. Protest service offered at 9:00AM. Guests are asked to use the WDW transportation to the Contemporary Resort – parking will not be available at the resort. Start at the Magic Kingdom and take the monorail to the Contemporary Resort or use the walking trail. Guests parked at the Walt Disney World Ticket and Transportation Center (also Magic Kingdom parking) can take the monorail to the Contemporary Resort.

Temporary Attraction Closures and refurbishments:

  • Ariel’s Grotto & Pooh’s Playful Spot (Magic Kingdom) have closed to make room for the big Fantasyland expansion project.
  • Mickey’s Toontown Square (Magic Kingdom) closed on February 11, 2011. A new area is being contructed in this space. The Walt Disney World Railroad will continue to run but the Toontown Station will be closed during construction. The Disney Princesses, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse Meet-an-Greets are now in the new Town Square Theater; FASTPASS tickets available. Tinker Bell and Friends are meeting guests at Tinker Bell’s Magical Nook at the Adventureland Verandah in the Magic Kingdom.
  • Honey, I Shrunk The Audience 3D (Epcot) has been replaced by Captain EO, featuring Michael Jackson
  • Yakitori House (Restaurant – Epcot) will be closed August 8, 2011 – December 1, 2011.
  • Disney’s Blizzard Beach (water park) – is closed October 20 – December 3, 2011 for its annual refurbishment.
  • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon (water park) – will be closed December 4, 2011 – March 17, 2012 for its annual refurbishment.
  • Disney’s Polynesian Resort – Beach Sand Renourishment from Dec. 24, 2011 – Jan. 10, 2012.
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Spa will be closed from September 19, 2011 to Mid-2013. The fitness center will remain open. Spa services are available at The Spa at Disney’s Saratoga Stprings Resort.
  • Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course will be closed November 28 – December 7, 2011.
  • Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course will be closed December 8 – 16, 2011.
  • Disney’s Osprey Ridge & Lake Buena Vista Golf Courses will be closed Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2011.

Disney’s Magical Express (Airport Shuttle Service) -New luggage procedure for late night arrivals. 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.

Disney Theme Park Touring Plans:

At Build A Better Mouse Trip, we are convinced that everyone can benefit with good touring plans – this is even more important during holiday travel seasons. 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.

We offer three great options for touring plans at no extra cost to you when you book your Disney vacation through Build A Better Mouse Trip – For more information, see: http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com/freetouringplans.php

Do you need this information for some other month?  You can see all of our newsletters at http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com/monthly-newsletters.php

Build A Better Mouse Trip
www.buildabettermousetrip.com
Toll free: 877-815-6515

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Entry filed under: 12 - December, Disney's Hollywood Studios Theme Park, Disney's Animal Kingdom Park, Live Entertainment, Magic Kingdom, Outside the theme parks, Rides and Attractions, Special Events, vacation planning, WDW Crowd Levels, WDW Ride Closures. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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