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Managing The Crowds During The Holidays At Disney World

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Tis the season to be jolly…but if you’re not prepared for the crowds at Walt Disney World during the holiday season you may become more naughty than nice. With realistic expectations, a plan and lots of patience it’ll be a wonderful Christmastime.

Do you have the fantasy that when you arrive at Walt Disney World it is going to be just like the commercials?  Have you ever noticed that the streets of the Magic Kingdom are only sparsely filled with people?  This may be a realistic scene when a hurricane is about to barrel down on Florida, but at Christmastime this isn’t the case.  I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day – all of the schools in the United States are out on break.  If you thought summer was crowed – well, think again.

Let’s not get upset about the crowds, let’s have a plan.  Tip #1: Let me stop right here and say that the #1 best plan is to follow our Touring Plans.  These plans, above anything else, will save you time standing in line.  If you don’t have a subscription to— get one!  After you read this – subscribe. Then follow the plans.  Everyone loves the Crowd Calendar.  It’s awesome, but you need a plan more than you need anything else.

Now, you have your subscription and you’re at Disney World — it is time to get up.  Deck the halls and fa la la la la.  Tip #2: Please be at the park of your choosing a minimum of 30 minutes BEFORE park opening.  This will be the single most important thing you do all day.  If you want to see the headliner attractions you’ve got to see them when the park opens or standing in line will take up the majority of your day.  Keep Granola bars in your backpack and eat while you wait for the park to open.

  You got up early, you used a Touring Plan and saw some headliner attractions and now you’re hungry.  Tip #3: Eat at off times.  90% of the people visiting Disney World are flying by the seat of their pants.  Not you! Your pants are secure and you’re going to eat when the others aren’t.

You have followed Tips 1-3 to the “T”.  Now it’s time to chill.  The parks are at full capacity, but that doesn’t concern you.  The afternoon is a great time for a nap.  Yes, a nap and you deserve one.  After you’ve rested, you can enjoy a dip in the pool or partake in my all time favorite Disney Christmas afternoon and evening activity — visiting the Disney resort hotels and taking in the Christmas decorations.  They are like no other.  Each deluxe resort deserves a visit.  The Grand Floridian takes the cake!  Their gingerbread house is breathtaking and amazing.  I would love to be there when they assemble the gingerbread house.  Cast members actually sell gingerbread out of the house.

Following these simple tips will increase your joy, your goodwill toward men and you may even hear angels sing.  What tips do you have?  I would love to hear.

I will be at Disney World next week.  You can follow me on Twitter @Caroline251.

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Caroline Baggerly

Caroline has a love of Disney that her family and friends don't quite get. Always ready for a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth or to do research for "The Unofficial Guide".

14 thoughts on “Managing The Crowds During The Holidays At Disney World

  • We so appreciate your blog post. Youll find hundreds of approaches we could put it to good use while having no effort with time and resources. Thank you very much with regard to helping make the post give light to many questions we have got before now.

  • I definitely feel everybody needs to see this post by Dennis VanDerGinst. It takes this idea even further.

  • What should we pack? We are going to be in DW from Dec 20 to 30th. We are from Canada – I have been checking the temperature and it has only be 11 degrees Celsius – will we be able to swim at the All Star Sports Resort or is it going to be too cool?

  • My family and I will be traveling to WDW in 3 weeks. Where would the special Holiday Touring Plans be located? Online? In the book? Also, I’m a subscriber online–do I have to subscribe again for Lines on my Droid?

  • Now, don’t you have to use one fast pass before you can use another? was it just a matter of getting another FP as soon as you were finished with the first one?

    The times we’ve gone before have not been as crowded, except for once. I will just need to do some more reading, I guess.

    Thanks for your help!

    • Hey Marie, at the bottom of the FASTPASS, it’ll print the time you can get your next one. No need to actually use it before getting another one, you just have to wait until the time comes around. The time will be the time you’re previous one becomes valid, or 2 hours, whichever is longer.

      • Actually, it’s the _shorter_ of 2 hours or the time your previous one becomes valid, right? So if you get a Toy Story Midway Mania FP that’s for 6 hours from now, you only have to wait 2 hours for another, rather than half the day!

  • Great points in here. I cannot stress enough how important those touring plans are. We were in WDW last 12/19-12/28, and we never waited in line for longer than 20 minutes. Yet we rode the headliners multiple times. In fact, on Xmas day, we rode Test Track 5 times and Soarin’ twice.

    We had similar experiences in the other parks during that trip too–multiple rides on major headliners yet little to no wait. We used the touring plans and grabbed extra fast passes along the way. Those plans work like magic.

    Disney is so wonderful during the holiday season that we’re doing it again and will spend Xmas itself in Disney. Can’t wait!

    • Tam, may I ask which Touring Plan you used? We’ve neved used the Touring Plans before and there are so many to choose from. Any big tips you have would be so appreciated. Feel free to email me at

      Thanks so much!

      • Hi Marie. We used the regular ones (adult or tween), and then I modified them by grabbing fast passes for the attractions we wanted to do multiple times.

        I was obsessed with FPs on that trip! I did quite a bit of running to grab FPs, but it was worth it for us. I’m sure you’ve seen the holiday touring plans–which would be good too.

  • Thank you for this! My family are Disney veterans, but never during the Holidays. We are a little apprehensive about the crowds, but are there for the ambiance and holiday decor just as much as the rides.

    Are there specific Touring Plans for the Holidays or do we just get one of the standard ones. I’m all about planning our days to get maximum enjoyment and the least amount of stress possible.

    Thanks again. We’re at just over 4 weeks and counting until we arrive!

    • Hey Marie, there are specific touring plans for the Holidays for Magic Kingdom and Epcot, as well as for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (at MK).


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