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10 Tips for your Disney Christmas Vacation

Christmas is such a magical time of year, and Disney makes it glisten with all of its’ splendor. Even though the crowds are high, Christmas is my favorite time of year to go to Disney. Disney goes BIG with decorations, tastes, and entertainment. Here are some of my best tips to make your Disney Christmas Trip amazing!

10 Tips for your Disney Christmas Vacation

Christmas at Disney World starts early. Decorations go up in the Magic Kingdom around November 1st.

Christmastime is very busy at Disney World. Typically early November and early December have lower crowd levels. December 24th to January 2nd are the busiest days of the season and even the busiest days of the year.

1. Go to Disney Very Merriest After Hours

This is a new event for 2021. It is a hard-ticketed event, which means you just pay for the party. An additional park ticket is not needed unless you want to enter the park before 7 pm.

This event will debut Nov. 8 before all the rest of the festive fun. It will be available on select nights through Dec. 21. The four hours of festivities will delight guests with “Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks,” Disney characters throughout the park, holiday music and décor treats included and so much more! As with other Disney After Hours events, a limited number of tickets will be sold for this event. It’s held after regular park operating hours, with lower wait times and access to more than 20 select attractions.  

Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., will reimagine its holiday celebration this year. From Nov. 6 to Dec. 30, when night falls at Magic Kingdom Park, projection effects will transform Cinderella Castle with a kaleidoscope of holiday-themed designs. (David Roark, photographer)

2. Spend Time Resort Hopping

All of the resorts are decked out to the fullest, even the value resorts. HUGE Christmas trees, lights, and displays galore. The Grand Floridian has a 2 story Gingerbread house. You walk in and the smell is amazing. Disney artists demonstrate some of the techniques for decorating the house. You can also have some roasted chestnuts for FREE! Closer to the holidays there are special character meet and greets as well!

Must See Resorts During the Holidays:

  • The Grand Floridian
  • Contemporary Resort
  • Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Boardwalk
  • Beach Club
  • Wilderness Lodge
  • Art of Animation

3. Explore Christmas Traditions of other countries in Epcot.

The EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays will return this year, from Nov. 26 – Dec. 30, with Holiday Kitchens around the park, performances by Voices of Liberty, the Guest favorite Cookie Stroll, and more!

4. Prepare for Crowds

If you are planning your trip/day at Disney during the Christmas Season, please expect to get less accomplished. Pick out the attractions that are a priority and make a loose plan.

Spend this time to check out some of the entertainment like the Dapper Dans, Citizens of Hollywoodland, or the Jamminators.

5. Plan Early

If you want to get the dinner reservations and Fast Passes that you want, make them at the beginning of the reservation window. Restaurants, resorts, and Fast Passes fill up rather fast.

You can check out all the Holiday Fun for 2021 HERE.

Also, be advised everything is at its’ highest price. No resort discounts, the meals are higher priced as well. Like, I have said before, it is worth the trip even with the higher prices. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve are high-capacity days. Plan on getting to the park VERY early and more than likely staying all day because sometimes they stop letting people in.

6. Remember Your Manners

Be polite to others and the Cast Members. It is crowded and some people are just rude. You will encounter line cutters, people who edge you out of your parade/fireworks spot, people who can’t follow CM’s directions, and longer waits. Anticipate this and it will make your day go better. Now if everyone would remember their manners, the park experience would be wonderful.

7. Let Disney Handle the Driving

If you are staying on property, let Disney handle the transportation. Between the free boats, monorails, and buses Disney has you covered.

One year while staying on property, I decided I wanted to ride in my own car. That was a mistake! It took so long to get out of the parking lot (a couple of hours) and then several of the exits to get back to the resort were blocked off for buses only. We had to drive off the property and then circle back onto the property to get to the resort. Buses and monorails might have lines and be crowded, but it is better than the alternative.

8. Take time to check out the “Christmas” Touch on your Favorites

Last year the Jungle Cruise did a special holiday version, the Main Street performers sing Christmas songs and are dolled up in their Christmas best, the daytime Christmas parades, plus, characters are dressed in their Christmas best as well.

9. Do your Christmas Shopping at Disney

Disney Springs has so many decorations and trees to gaze at while you are shopping. Disney Springs has the largest Disney Store in the world to find a gift for everyone on your list. There are also lots of other stores to find perfect gifts for everyone on your list! 

10. Make Sure to Visit Animal Kingdom

It will be a wild holiday time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park with the return of seasonal décor and festive Disney character flotillas sailing down Discovery River to the sounds of joyful songs of the season. The park’s centerpiece – The Tree of Life – becomes another Beacon of Magic most nights during the 50th anniversary celebration. During the holiday season there’s even more magic inspired by nature as the holiday edition of Tree of Life Awakenings also take place most nights. 

Goofy and pals sail down Discovery River as part of the holiday celebrations happening at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kent Phillips, photographer)

Consider planning and booking your next Walt Disney World vacation with a Concierge Vacation Planner like Favorite Grampy’s Travels. I’ll take away the stress of planning a Disney vacation and help you get the best price! Click Here to Get a no-obligation consultation now.

Post Originally Published September 18th, 2014. Updated with new information and tips for 2021.

Thank You for Spreading the Pixie Dust!

Jessica S

Saturday 7th of December 2019

Love this list and I wish I had these tips when we went a year ago Christmas. Thanks for all your hard work.

Dawn Panagos

Saturday 4th of October 2014

Going in November this year and it will be our 4th time at the's definitely worth the extra money! Don't forget to check out the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing worth it to see!