Christmas Time in Disney!! Tips?

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KanineKrunchies's picture
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Christmas Time in Disney!! Tips?

KanineKrunchies is back! yay I have reached a point in my first year of teaching where I'm winding down towards summer break and I'm looking at Disney again. One of my eighth grade teaching mates went to Disney for Christmas and is a Disney nut like me (she was a college intern) so it got me thinking about Disney trips again.

For those that remember, last time I posted I was trip reporting on a Disneymoon. It was not that great, though, as I was thwarted by a faulty SD card and starting my first year of teaching haha HOWEVER, My sister in law and I just finished looking at off property rentals for a Christmas trip from Dec 21until Dec 28 2014. We are just waiting for some responses and then will be booking for a BIG family trip. It will be me, the hubby, his two sisters, their spouses, one niece, my mother and father in law and potentially a set of grandparents! Thus the need for a rental off property: lots of bedrooms!

This will be the first time off property ( I think we are pretty set on Indian Creek area) for all and MY first time for Christmas! Any tips, must-sees/ must-dos for this special time at Disney? I am excited...especially since we will be back (and ON property) summer of 2015. clapping

Share some Christmas Disney stories with me ! Hopefully I will be around a lot more now, I have missed it!

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July 2010- First Disney trip with my now husband and his family. Campsites at Fort Wilderness
March 2012- 2 day Spring Break trip to Disney ---Royal Plaza (dowtown disney area)
July 2013- week long Disneymoon -- split stay Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs

December 2014 Christmas Trip- TBD
Summer 2015--Family Trip

alicemouse's picture
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We love Disney for Christmas, but the week between Christmas and New Years it will be CROWDED. Like "at capacity" crowded. When the park nears capacity, offsite guests are high on the list of people who are turned away early. I highly recommend that you are at the park for rope drop or as close to it as possible, especially for Magic Kingdom. I also recommend that you steer clear of MK on Christmas Eve/Day and New Years Eve/Day. Tour early, have a plan, pack your patience. If there is any way that you can go at the beginning or end of the break and tack on a few non-holiday break days, do it! How much time you do have off at Thanksgiving? If you can snag a few extra days with your school holidays, it's usually slightly less crowded then. All of the holiday stuff except Candlelight Processional should be going on.

As for holiday entertainment, we LOVE the Holidays around the World storytellers at EPCOT. It's tough to hit them all because their presentations don't happen sequentially, so you really have to plan if you want to see them all. For us, this was the most "organic" holiday celebration. The groups were usually small and the storytellers often make eye contact with the guests. I even got to be in the show in Norway! We read the schedule ahead of time and by being about 5 minutes early, were were in the front row nearly every time. If you have to choose just a few, our favorites were Norway, Germany, Italy, Morocco, France, and UK.

Many people rave about Candlelight Processional, so we tried it. It was good, but I didn't find it as moving as I expected to. If you want to do it, definitely do the dining package. People start waiting for standby seats 3-4 hours before the show starts and there is no guarantee that you'll get a seat even if you first in line if you're standby.

Osbourne Lights at DHS is amazing and beautiful and cannot be missed.

We did Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, but I can't give you a really accurate review. DH was having some intestinal distress that evening brought about by a sandwich that he had eaten for lunch. Our touring was not normal that night! Although we did get photos with Mary Poppins, Bert, and the penguins and all 7 dwarfs. We also saw the parade and fireworks which are beautiful, but it's tough to get a good view. It's a closed ticket event and it is considered "sold out" well under park capacity, but it's still really crowded. The good news is that a sold out night Christmas week won't be any more crowded than our sold out night the first week of December. Oh! Free cookies & coco. Basically all you can eat/drink.

If you have a chance (easier since you'll have a car), stop by Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Boardwalk, and Beach Club to see the Gingerbread displays. They are really amazing!

We also enjoyed the Jungle Cruise makeover into the Jingle Cruise, complete with holiday jokes. The reviews were a little bit mixed, but we thought it was well done and very funny. It was nice to see the holiday decorations extended into other areas of the park.

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

KanineKrunchies's picture
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Thanks for your awesome response!!

About the capacity thing, that was a concern of ours. We are buying annual passes and sister in law says that with those we should be fine, PLUS, they tend to be rope drop people . Do people with annual passes have preference getting in the parks? That is something she said and she already has them.

My husband and I love Jungle Cruise and World Showcase so those will definitely be things we put on our list!

Thanks for all the info! I'm in Disney mode tonight laugh

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July 2010- First Disney trip with my now husband and his family. Campsites at Fort Wilderness
March 2012- 2 day Spring Break trip to Disney ---Royal Plaza (dowtown disney area)
July 2013- week long Disneymoon -- split stay Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs

December 2014 Christmas Trip- TBD
Summer 2015--Family Trip

AnnielovesDisney's picture
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KanineKrunchies wrote:
Thanks for your awesome response!!

About the capacity thing, that was a concern of ours. We are buying annual passes and sister in law says that with those we should be fine, PLUS, they tend to be rope drop people . Do people with annual passes have preference getting in the parks? That is something she said and she already has them.

My husband and I love Jungle Cruise and World Showcase so those will definitely be things we put on our list!

Thanks for all the info! I'm in Disney mode tonight laugh

My husband and I have had Annual Passes for six years now and we go to WDW every November and December. We've gone once at Thanksgiving and once the week of Christmas. Alicemouse is correct, it will be extremely crowded the week you are there. Thanksgiving week is crowded too, but in our experience not nearly as crowded as Christmas week. But if you don't mind occasional wall to wall people, it won't be a problem. Christmas week was too much for us. We'll stick with the beginning of December.

We have never gotten ANY kind of preferential treatment because we have AP. If your SIL gets in the parks quicker, or gets any other perk with her AP at Christmas time in WDW I would love to know what it is and how she did it!!! If the park is at capacity, we are turned away as AP holders the same as non AP holders.

I will say that IMO Christmastime in Disney world is the most amazing time of year. The Osbourne lights are an absolute must for us each year. They are stunning and I'm in awe of them every year. One other not to miss on our list is the lighting of the castle show, Cinderella's Holiday Wish Stage Show. The fairy godmother lights up the castle. It's only about 8 minutes long but definitely worth watching. Check the day you are there for times. it is sometime between 6-6:30pm, but the times can vary day to day.

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From Touringplans.com

Closures
Disney uses different closure "phases" to gradually restrict the types of guests allowed into a theme park. Closures start at Phase 1 and progress up to Phase 4, where no additional guests of any sort are allowed into the park. Phased closures do not necessarily last all day: for example, if Magic Kingdom is under a Phase 4 closure at 10:00 a.m. on Christmas, sufficient guests might leave by 7:00 p.m. that all restrictions on park entry are lifted.
Note that what is below is what we believe to be true; however, Disney does not publish its park closure procedures and may change its practices at any time.

Phase 1 Closure
Casual visitors are turned away at the automobile toll plazas. This means that people without tickets, those with one-day, single-park tickets, and those intending to use cast member passes will not be allowed to park.
Other guests may enter:
Those with multi-day or multi-park tickets
Those staying at a Disney Resort
Annual Passholders
Those re-entering the park that day.
Those "hopping" from another park.
Those with in-park reservations or appointments.
Those arriving via Disney transportation

Phase 2 Closure
The following guests are allowed through the turnstiles and into the parking lots:
Those staying at a Disney Resort
Annual Passholders
Those re-entering the park that day.
Those "hopping" from another park.
Those with in-park reservations or appointments.
Those arriving via Disney transportation

Phase 3 Closure
The following guests are allowed through the turnstiles and into the parking lots:
Those staying at a Disney Resort
Annual Passholders
Those with in-park reservations or appointments.

Phase 4 Closure
The park and parking lot are closed to all arriving guests.

KanineKrunchies's picture
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Thanks mrhub! We will definitely still be trying to get there for rope drop though! I have never been at Christmas, so I am both excited and nervous about the crowds. My husband is pretty good about maintaining his composure in a crowd and that rubs off on me. We basically just try to keep the "magic" about us and CHOOSE to be in a good mood as much as possible when we are there. After all, you are spending so much money, you really should enjoy it!

Annie- I think we are planning on doing a Fantasmic dinner package and then watching the Osbourne lights one night. So that's on the list. I ALSO am sure the castle lighting will be on the list as well--with a 2 and a half year old niece who loves "'Relli castles" we could not miss that!

Thanks for the advice. Any more "must dos??" Or any DO NOT dos?

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July 2010- First Disney trip with my now husband and his family. Campsites at Fort Wilderness
March 2012- 2 day Spring Break trip to Disney ---Royal Plaza (dowtown disney area)
July 2013- week long Disneymoon -- split stay Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs

December 2014 Christmas Trip- TBD
Summer 2015--Family Trip

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Posts: 3555

Buy tickets to Mickey Very Merry Christmas Party.

Do a tour of various resorts for their Christmas decorations, especially the gingerbread carousel at Beach Club, gingerbread house at Grand Floridian, and the spectacular tree at Jamboree House, Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Go to the Wilderness Campgrounds in the evening and tour the holiday decorations done by the guests staying there.

A few of the photos of these can be found in my last trip report:

http://www.wdwforgrownups.com/forum/2013-holiday-trip

Zz.

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Allie's picture
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I don't have any Christmas time advice (we're going for our first "Christmas" trip the first week of Dec 2015) but just wanted to say congrats on the upcoming trip and welcome back!

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I wonder if Osbourne Lights will be back next year. I hope so.

Candlelight Processional is pretty cool.

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Allie's picture
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The Colonel wrote:
I wonder if Osbourne Lights will be back next year. I hope so.

Candlelight Processional is pretty cool.

I'm crossing my fingers it at least makes it through next year. We've never seen it so I'm hoping we get at least one chance! crossfingers crossfingers crossfingers

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Allie wrote:
The Colonel wrote:
I wonder if Osbourne Lights will be back next year. I hope so.

Candlelight Processional is pretty cool.

I'm crossing my fingers it at least makes it through next year. We've never seen it so I'm hoping we get at least one chance! crossfingers crossfingers crossfingers

They could relocate it. The first time I saw it, it was behind MGM Studios- then they moved it and it got much bigger.

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KanineKrunchies's picture
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Yay! Thanks for the recommendations. We plan on the Candlelight Processional and Osbourne Lights. Already in the itinerary my sis in law has drawn up! Hubby and I will probably browse some on our own as well. Now we are thinking about food, so I am on over to those threads!!

awesome

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July 2010- First Disney trip with my now husband and his family. Campsites at Fort Wilderness
March 2012- 2 day Spring Break trip to Disney ---Royal Plaza (dowtown disney area)
July 2013- week long Disneymoon -- split stay Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs

December 2014 Christmas Trip- TBD
Summer 2015--Family Trip