Happy Halloween, everyone! Did you know that the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a week from today. And that it’s sold out? Enjoy your 6 days of downtime between the 2 month holiday of the Food & Hallowine Festival and the next 2 month holiday of Christmas and New Year’s.
Christmas will be here before you know it, and you might be asking yourself, “Hey, self, should I make my holiday season even more magical by going to Disney World?” I’m glad you asked. Disney World during the holidays is one of my favorite times of year to visit. It’s a time when there are several unique elements from decorations to food present that transform the parks into something special. That’s not to say that it’s the perfect time of year to go. Like any season, there are positives and negatives. While I believe that every Disney enthusiast should aim to visit at least once during the holidays, here are some of my personal pros and cons that should help you decide if it’s worth it.
PRO: The Decorations
Walking down a fully decorated Main Street, U.S.A., is almost worth the trip alone for me. I already enjoy spending time just wandering around the Magic Kingdom staple but when the decorations are up, the ambiance gets even better. The decorations don’t stop there. Obviously the rest of the areas in the parks have decorations, but the hotels do, as well. I enjoy hotel hopping just to see how each one is decorated. The level of detail will vary, but some of the hotels go all out: for example, there’s a huge gingerbread house at the BoardWalk!
CON: The Crowds
Like any popular time of year at Disney, you’re going to feel cramped at some points. If all you want out of a Disney trip is short wait times and you don’t care about Christmas, maybe plan a trip for some other time. I could be perfectly happy just walking around the parks and taking everything in, but I understand how some people might not enjoy this and need plenty of attractions. If this is you, whatever you do, do not go during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. It’s the busiest time of year by far. Check out our crowd calendar for more information, but generally it’s less crowded the earlier you go in the season (besides the week of Thanksgiving, of course).
PRO: The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
I know I already mentioned decorations, but this unique experience at Hollywood Studios (pictured above) is getting its own section because it transforms a portion of the park rather than enhances it. During the rest of the year, I don’t go into the Streets of America area. I think it’s boring and frankly a waste of space, but Christmastime changes that. Imagine you have a neighbor that lives in a regular house. You never see him ever, but for some reason, the dude just loves Christmas. And by love, I mean practically every inch of his house is covered in lights. That’s what the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is like. It takes something wholly unremarkable and turns it into something you just have to see.
CON: The Cold
I hate cold weather. And before you think I mean cold for Florida, I don’t. I mean real cold, like where I lived in Syracuse. Wearing full winter gear in Disney just feels weird to me, but it also makes it so that any attraction where you get wet is out of the picture. You can try to avoid this, however, by going earlier in November and not in mid-December like I did. The holiday happenings are still present, but the temperature may be a little more moderate. I’m not predicting that this winter will be cold (I’m not a farmer), but it’s something to consider. Visiting the water parks and swimming at your hotel pool might not be an option.
PRO: Jingle Cruise
Jingle Cruise is a holiday retheming of the Jungle Cruise. The idea is that the skippers are longing to be home for the holidays, so they decide to have their own holiday at the attraction. Jungle Cruise is already one of my favorite attractions. I could listen to those jokes that make some people groan all day. I also love holiday overlays of attractions, and I wish Disney would do it more in Florida like it does in Disneyland for attractions like Haunted Mansion Holiday. Basically, new and unique experiences are great, and the with the Jingle Cruise, you get that. The rest of the year, you have your classic attraction. Why not put a holiday spin on it for a short time?
Like I said earlier, this is my personal list of pros and cons for going during the Holidays. I still think the good far outweighs the bad in visiting during this time, but I’d like to hear from you all of you. What are some of your favorite holiday things at Disney World? What are some reasons why you maybe don’t like going around Christmas? Maybe you love the Candlelight Processional. Maybe you think Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party isn’t worth the extra ticket price. Also, if you have any questions about planning a trip to Disney during the holidays, feel free to ask me below, and I’ll do my best to help. Or you can just share some of your Disney holiday memories.
Dates to Know:
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – select dates November 7 to December 19.
Holiday decorations start to go up – November 1. Should be mostly in place by November 7.
Cinderella Castle Dream Lights – November 5 through early January.
Osborne Lights – November 7 to January 4.
Jingle Cruise – November 7 through New Year’s.
Thanksgiving – November 27
Candlelight Processional – November 28 to December 30
Disney Christmas Parade filming – December 5 – 7.