Tell me how bad Christmas week really is.

Discussion in 'Theme Parks Attractions and Strategies' started by momto3jboys, May 16, 2018.

  1. momto3jboys

    momto3jboys Earning My Ears

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    We are traveling to Walt Disney World Dec 21-31 for the first time. We have made several trips over Thanksgiving week and one trip the week leading up to Easter. Will this trip be more crowded? I have a son with sensory issues and crowds can become overwhelming for him. Thanks for any input.
     
  2. rwdavis2

    rwdavis2 DIS Veteran

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    The worst week of the year for crowds. Do a search of this forum to get the details.
     
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  4. AngiTN

    AngiTN DIS Veteran

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    Yes, it's worse than Thanksgiving.
    There is no week worse than the week between Christmas and New Years.
    It's as bad as you think it is.
    Can you make it work with a really good plan and a whole lot of patience, yes.
    I don't think I'd attempt it with with someone who is overwhelmed in crowds. But I also have zero experience with someone who is overwhelmed with crowds.
     
  5. AprilDreamsOfDisney

    AprilDreamsOfDisney Newbie Poster but Forever DisneyDreamer!

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    I have heard, but never personally experienced, that it is an overwhelming type of maddening crowd. No room for free-walking, lots of worried hand-holding, crowds every which way, can't see over the people.

    Good luck!
     
  6. anomamatt

    anomamatt DIS Veteran

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    It's incredibly crowded -- by far the most crowded week of the year. But we love that week, 2018 will be our 3rd year of going over Christmas. My daughter has sensory issues (sensory processing disorder, anxiety, etc) as well. She's four and OK in the crowds if she is in a stroller, but would not be happy (at all) in the choke points of the park otherwise. Without a stroller, both of my kids would not enjoy Xmas/Disney. You know your son best, but if he cannot deal with crowds, Christmas is totally the wrong time to go.

    Waiting in the long standby lines are a bigger problem for my daughter, so when the parks are very crowded, we stick to our pre-booked FPs and make 1-2 rides via DAS (assuming we get one).
     
  7. b52hbuff

    b52hbuff Mouseketeer

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    It's terrible. Horrible. Cancel your vacation and stay home! ;)

    Seriously, due to work and school schedule, it was the only time of the year we could book our vacation. So we went about the same time you are planning for, but last year. We are Disneyland AP/regulars and we hadn't been to WDW for over a decade. We were terrified that it would be horrible.


    As a background, we're huge Disney fans and my family did a great job planning and sticking to a plan. Our basic touring plan was visit the EMH park one hour before opening, book FP+ for 10AM, 11AM and 1PM and schedule a sit down lunch around 12:30PM.


    We would rush E-ticket rides that we didn't have a FP+ for. We would pick up other D-A ticket rides as the morning progressed, in between our FP+ reservations. After lunch, we'd do shows/parades and less popular attractions.


    It worked out great. Our family was within the first 10 families of any ride we rushed. We felt like we got to ride everything we wanted multiple times.


    The only day the crowds seemed really oppressive were 12/25. We wanted to spend Christmas @ MK, just like 70k of our closest friends. I think they shut the MK around noon. Our rush/FP+ worked well until about 11AM. Then the park was so crowded, we couldn't even move around the park. It took us about 20min to walk from iasw/Pan over to Liberty Tree Tavern. The whole are was packed and no one could move.


    We thought we could "beat the crowds" and take a ride on the Liberty Bell. It was horrible. The boat was over loaded. People were sitting on the floor of the boat and we couldn't even walk around the boat.


    Anyway, of all of our ten days around Christmas, there was only ONE day where the crowds really stopped us from doing what we wanted to do...
     
  8. deedubb

    deedubb Always Grumpy, except when at Disney!

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    Don't believe what people say. It's really not that bad.

    Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 10.17.38 PM.jpg
     
  9. mesaboy2

    mesaboy2 Sad, strange little man to the gullible.

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    Well...that’s Paris.
     
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  10. Shanti

    Shanti Momketeer

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    We toured Animal Kingdom on December 26th last year, and it was very busy but not terrible. It was nothing like the dire predictions here had suggested. We never felt like sardines. It was a cold day and we didn't visit Pandora, though. Getting last-minute table service was pretty much impossible.

    It was nothing like the Disneyland Paris picture the pp posted, but if crowds overwhelm your son, it's the wrong time to go.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
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  11. deedubb

    deedubb Always Grumpy, except when at Disney!

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    Just avoid MK on the 25th. It took us over an hour on the bus to get there. We had 2 ADRs and a dessert party for HEA and that is the only way I would do MK on the 25th. I felt sorry for people waiting in line for QS food. Probably at least an hour to order every time I passed by Casey's. We still had a great time. I would totally go again. Oh wait...I am!
     
  12. Alesia

    Alesia DIS Veteran

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  13. gharter

    gharter DIS Veteran

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    It has been years since I've done it and it was extremely ugly then. I won't even consider it. Friends of ours did it last year. Horror stories.
     
  14. lolomarie

    lolomarie Mouseketeer

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    I loved NYE in Epcot. The rest, never again!!! Prepare yourself and then prepare some more. Sorry, I'm honest.
     
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  15. Delirium

    Delirium Hidden Mickey

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    Mother-in-Law moves in with you bad.
     
  16. Klayfish

    Klayfish DIS Veteran

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    The only right answer, IMO, is that only you can decide if it's "that bad". The fact is that it's the most crowded week of the year. We did it in 2015 and again last year. I find a lot of the things posted here about it to be melodrama and exaggerations, but there's no denying it's as busy as you'll ever see WDW. However, we love it. Have a little patience, have a pleasant attitude and you'll have a blast. The hub area of MK can get to be wall to wall people at certain times, but not all day. The rest of the parks, and even most of the rest of MK, is crowded but definitely not a log jam.
     
  17. Koz

    Koz DIS Veteran

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    Typhoon Lagoon.jpg The main parks were terrible, which was why we relaxed in the wave pool at Typhoon Lagoon for a bit.
     
  18. Koz

    Koz DIS Veteran

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    "Someone just shot me in both feet at the starting line of the marathon" bad.
     
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  19. Hardy

    Hardy Mouseketeer

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    yes, crowds will be much worse. We are here from mid-dec to early jan typically and no other crowd level compares to that week. The number of people is simply amazing. That being said, by far the worst is magic kingdom. You may want to plan for less time there if crowds are an issue for your son. Last year, it was so busy they had both sides open for traffic flow on multiple days when we were there. (Walking through parking lots behind main street on tomorrowland AND first aid sides). We also found epcot to be one solid mass of humanity NYE night. Like hope you are holding the right persons hand bc you cant see them kind of crowd last time.

    That being said, we still have an enjoyable time and still go. Use your fp and know you wont ride a whole lot else and take advantage of less popular parks on key days. For instance, avoid mk on xmas and nye for sure.

    We haPpdned to briefly be at hs on nye before epcot last time and noticed crowds were fairly low and it was quite pleasant. The park was open until midnight and we probably would have stayed there if we hadnt had dinner reservations at epcot.

    So, crowds are awful, but it sounds like you are seasoned visitors......and we will be back this christmas as always so, i say go and enjoy!
     
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  20. bebec22

    bebec22 Mouseketeer

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    I was there this past year from Dec 27-31. We did the parks on the 28 (MK), 29 (Epcot) and 30 (HS). I was honestly so nervous about traveling at that time but it ended up being one of my favorite trips to date. We stayed at BWI so we could walk to both Epcot and HS. Not having to deal with buses was a huge plus. We took a Minnie Van to MK and took the bus back, so only one bus ride the entire stay. We did early mornings at the parks, afternoons at the resort for naps and then back to the parks (Epcot & HS) around 5-6 for dinner and a few more rides.

    A good plan, the right expectations and a positive attitude are a must as well as morning EMH. MK opened at 7am the entire week. We arrived around 7:30 on our MK day and went straight to Fantasyland. I never saw Fantasyland so dead in my life. We did 4 rides and met 2 princesses in the first 45 minutes we were there. Also, I highly recommend doing a dessert party if you want to see a nighttime show. We did the Jingle Bell Jingle Bam dessert party and it was well worth it for the non-crowded viewing area alone.

    I'm a teacher so I'm used to traveling at peak times and it honestly wasn't much worse than I've seen during some of my February or April vacations although we left the park during the peak afternoon times. Just plan for lots of breaks, don't have high expectations that you'll get to do a ton of rides but enjoy and soak up the holiday atmosphere!
     
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  21. GADisneyDad14

    GADisneyDad14 TPAS Moderator Moderator

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    Some positives about that time that sometimes get overlooked in the “it’s so crowded” dialogue. Nice long park hours. Lots of staffing everywhere. Nearly every drink/snack cart, restaurant, etc open. The weather is often great and is more conducive to longer park time vs the heat of the summer.

    Not saying it’s all candy canes and lollipops, but it’s manageable with the right expectations.
     
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