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Ask The Disney Experts Discuss Visiting WDW in mid-December (before Christmas) in the Ask The Experts forums; My family is planning a trip to WDW late this year to celebrate Dad's retirement. My sister is in college, and she won't be done with finals until December 14th. ...
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    Smack81's Avatar
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    Visiting WDW in mid-December (before Christmas)

    My family is planning a trip to WDW late this year to celebrate Dad's retirement. My sister is in college, and she won't be done with finals until December 14th. Naturally, she can't miss finals, and she's concerned about missing class (IE, if we went in November), so we're looking at mid-December - maybe 12/15/11 - 12/22/11. I've poked around online, trying to gauge the crowd levels. I'm seeing conflicting reports. Some people say you're ok until the 22nd; others say it's bad starting the 18th and gets steadily worse the closer you get to Christmas. For what it's worth, we will stay on property, so we'll take advantage of extra magic hours. I'm wondering if anyone on the WDW Radio Forums has been during that time, and what their experience was.

    Thanks so much!

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    Re: Visiting WDW in mid-December (before Christmas)

    It could depend on how old the report is, and when Christmas falls during the week.

    Over the past several years, early- and mid-December have become more popular times to go, so they have been getting busier. The first week of December 2010 certainly seemed more crowded to us than the same week in 2007. But the week that includes Christmas is going to be busier.
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    Re: Visiting WDW in mid-December (before Christmas)

    I think you'll be fine. Front-load the trip with your busiest theme park days as crowds will build towards the end of your trip.

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    Re: Visiting WDW in mid-December (before Christmas)

    Thanks Doc and NC! I'm really hoping that my sister (this will be her first year of college) will feel comfortable enough taking a few days off school so we can go at a different time (maybe November), but if she doesn't get that feeling, it'll be mid-December. I think we will visit MK and Epcot on our first two days to scratch them off the proverbial list - most reports I saw implied that those were the two busiest parks right before Christmas.

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    Re: Visiting WDW in mid-December (before Christmas)

    My family has gone many times in this time frame. We always left town to head home on the 23rd. The crowds were manageable but did increase as it got closer to Christmas. It's a great time to visit!

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    Re: Visiting WDW in mid-December (before Christmas)

    Quote Originally Posted by doconeill View Post
    Over the past several years, early- and mid-December have become more popular times to go, so they have been getting busier. The first week of December 2010 certainly seemed more crowded to us than the same week in 2007. But the week that includes Christmas is going to be busier.
    That's what I've been finding, too. I tried going right after Thanksgiving one time, figuring everyone would be heading home, but that wasn't the case. Went the first week of December last year and it was crowded, too. Some sort of podcast meet was going on, a race (I think), and a few cheerleading groups were there. I even had some trouble getting hotel reservations. This year I pushed my trip back to the second week in December like when I used to go. I'll see what happens. But if it stays this crowded, I'm going to have to start foregoing the Christmas thing and heading down in the late winter/early spring months.

    Why won't parents just keep their kids in SCHOOL and take them to Florida on the breaks?
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    Re: Visiting WDW in mid-December (before Christmas)

    Quote Originally Posted by supernova View Post
    That's what I've been finding, too. I tried going right after Thanksgiving one time, figuring everyone would be heading home, but that wasn't the case. Went the first week of December last year and it was crowded, too. Some sort of podcast meet was going on, a race (I think), and a few cheerleading groups were there. I even had some trouble getting hotel reservations. This year I pushed my trip back to the second week in December like when I used to go. I'll see what happens. But if it stays this crowded, I'm going to have to start foregoing the Christmas thing and heading down in the late winter/early spring months.

    Why won't parents just keep their kids in SCHOOL and take them to Florida on the breaks?
    It was the WDW Radio 200th podcast meet...you know...the people who bring us this web site...

    It was traditionally the time of MouseMeets I believe, which involved a number of podcasts, etc. but those stopped a few years ago.

    The cheerleading competitions have been going on for several years as well, but there are so many of those it seems almost year round...not sure how many national cheerleading championships there can be...
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    Quote Originally Posted by NC_WDW_Daddy View Post
    I think you'll be fine. Front-load the trip with your busiest theme park days as crowds will build towards the end of your trip.
    That is exactly what we did during our two weeks at WDW this past December.

    We arrived on December 11, 2010. We did the the Candelight Processional at Epcot that night. Then, we hopped on a Disney cruise on Sunday and got back to WDW on Thursday (December 16, 2010). The crowds were VERY manageable all weekend and into Christmas week. I have learned over the years that WDW is doable with a little planning anytime of year.

    We made all our ADRs ahead of time and I mapped out a guideline of our trip. We don't always stick to my carefully planned itinerary and that is a must when traveling during peak season. Once in the parks, we got Fastpasses for our "Must Do" attractions or rode the ones without a FP first thing in the morning. We DID take advantage of EMH for onsite guests.

    Believe it or not, on a whim we decided to visit the Magic Kingdom on Christmas Eve. Yes, it was crowded but we had a blast! We didn't need to ride Space Mountain or The Haunted Mansion because we rode them earlier in the week. So, we went against what the crowds were doing and did things like take the raft over to Tom Sawyer Island or get a FP for Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin instead of Space Mountain. There was no one in the FP line for Buzz!

    We've been to WDW for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Spring Break, Mother's Day and during the summer. But, we've also been in the off-season too. I plan both trips the same . . . make ADRs and utilize Fastpasses.

    You are going to have a great trip filled with wonderful memories. WDW decorated for the holidays is truly magical!

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    Quote Originally Posted by supernova View Post
    That's what I've been finding, too. I tried going right after Thanksgiving one time, figuring everyone would be heading home, but that wasn't the case. Went the first week of December last year and it was crowded, too. Some sort of podcast meet was going on, a race (I think), and a few cheerleading groups were there. I even had some trouble getting hotel reservations. This year I pushed my trip back to the second week in December like when I used to go. I'll see what happens. But if it stays this crowded, I'm going to have to start foregoing the Christmas thing and heading down in the late winter/early spring months.

    Why won't parents just keep their kids in SCHOOL and take them to Florida on the breaks?
    We have been going to WDW for the week of Thanksgiving and the week after for the past six years. Except for last year, we went for Christmas. We noticed the week after Thanksgiving has been getting more and more crowded over the years. It used to be the " Best Kept Secret" when wanting to experience WDW during the holidays without paying a premium or having wall to wall people. The secret is out! So, it is no longer the slow week like years past. This year, we are switching things up and visiting the week BEFORE Thanksgiving and staying for the week of Thanksgiving. I've read great things about the week before crowdwise. However, you run the chance that not all the resort holiday decorations are up that first week. I'm fine with that because we'll be there the week of Thanksgiving too when ALL the decorations are up.

    I will never forget one year when we arrived on the Sunday before Thanksgiving at the Boardwalk and not a lick of holiday decorations were up. We attended an EEMH at the Magic Kingdom that night that ended around 1 AM. But, we didn't get back to our resort until after 2 AM. When we got back to the resort, it was magically transformed with garland and lights and a gingerbread fireplace scene in the lobby. We even caught the Disney Elves putting on the final touches. It was amazing and something we still talk about to this day.
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    Re: Visiting WDW in mid-December (before Christmas)

    My family has always gone to WDW the Saturday after thanksgiving... They normally do not have a problem... But mike your right it has started to get increasingly busier... And also... That haven't gone in a few years... That might make it a bit worse now... I have heard that this time of year is a bit more busy than it used to be...
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    Re: Visiting WDW in mid-December (before Christmas)

    The parks are simply amazing to see that time of year.

    The last time we went there during the season we started two days after Christmas. On the first day the MK was so packed it was difficult to get around. Especially in Frontierland where things tend to get backed up the worst (everybody trying to funnel in or out of the Mountains).

    The second day they had every park except EPCOT closed to at the gate by 11a.m. that morning. World Drive was backed up as far as the eye could see from the monorail.

    Would love to see the parks again at that time of year, but probably won't.

    We took our son out of school a week early to go the last week of May last year. Huge difference in crowds.

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