Christmas crowds


I am considering a surprise trip as a Christmas gift to DH & our two girls. DH said we are not going back until the Fantasyland expansion is done, but we all know who makes the decisions:laugh: Anyway who can scoff at such a gift that they do not have to pay for???

Anyway, we always travel off season to keep crowds low, but I am wondering about the crowds the week leading into Christmas. I am considering December 17-24th because the kids would only miss two days of school and they hardly do anything the couple days before Christmas break. My alternative would be to wait until after New Years and go January 1-8th.

Any insight into this would be helpful.


have you checked touring to see what crowd levels are like?

dec 17-24 looks like it is low of 6, average is 10 though.

jan 1-8 looks like it is low of 3, a 10 on 1st, 9 on 2nd, then drops to 3 - 5 the rest of the week.

so, crowd wise - i’d go january. but…if decorations/christmas party/epcot holidays are a priority then you’d probably need to go in December. when do they stop all of that?

i couldn’t deal with crowds at a 10. we are going in November this trip - so we get low crowds and Christmas party/decorations.

good luck!


We were there December 20th to the 26th a few years ago and the crowds were fairly low the first couple of days but built every day. By the 24th and 25th the parks were crowded but we still managed to have a great time. We knew going in what it would be like and planned for it. Basically we made the trip about seeing WDW at Christmas and soaking up the wonderful atmosphere and not so much about the attractions but we still managed to ride everything we wanted to ride.


So many variable to consider.

We typically go one of the first 2 weeks in December due to crowd volume. Never any problems and we get to catch all the decorations. We have been twice December 26th - January 2nd. The day after Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day were an absolute zoo with a capital Z. Never again during that time. I think back to all the money we spent to go and were only able to get on a few rides - for us it was depressing. The parks closed to new visitors during the day for several hours due to the capacity issues.

This coming January, two in our group are participating in the 1/2 marathon and full marathon. All indications show that the first day or so will be crowded (1/6, 1/7 and 1/8), but then everyone leaves. We are there for another full week, so we should be okay. I hope the indications are correct.

I think it is best to experience the various times at your own discretion. What you may consider crowded, may not bother anyone else.

Good luck with your decision.


We did this exact same thing Christmas 2009. We took a trip with the idea that the kids needed to experience Christmas Disney style. The crowds were fairly low the first 2 days and it was getting pretty crowded by the time we headed home on the 22nd. But like DT we were able to do pretty much everything we wanted to do and it really got us in the Christmas spirit.


Ok we went this past Christmas Dec. 26-Jan 2nd and it was PACKED!!! maxed out just about everywhere we went even Universal. They say that after the 2nd the crowd just disappear. as far as the time before Christmas I can not help you with that. New Years Eve at the world is unreal though good to do once but we will pass for a very long time before doing that again.


I just looked at my Christmas trip report and we did 10 attractions Christmas morning. The park wasn’t crowded first thing in the morning but by 11 am it was crazy busy but by then we were ready to leave because we had done what we wanted to do. We booked Hoop Dee Doo for dinner so we wouldn’t have to worry about leaving a crowded park and trying to get back in later.

I’m so glad we did that Christmas trip, it was wonderful no matter how crazy the crowds were.


Hey, we have never been there at Christmas time but have been there late January which was lovely. Christmas I gather can be completely crazy as far as crowd levels go but then so is July 4th and we have done this too. I know you need to decide on which park to go to and get there early and expect to stay at that park all day. It is highly unlikely that you will get much if any ‘park hopping’ done on this day. The parks fill to capacity fairly rapidly. But if you expect it to be busy and go there with an open mind, a bag filled with patience and the expectation that you my not ride all the things you want to then you will still have a blast!!
Mind you, I think if you go 17th-24th…it may still be busy but managable. Earlier I was talking Christmas eve/Christmas day :slight_smile:

ps…I think you are lovely suprising the girls!


Thanks for all the help.

I really want to soak in all the Christmas splendor heading into the Holiday, but it may be a more peaceful to just wait until the first of January. January would work better for my work too. The girls would have to miss 4 days of school that week. When do Christmas decorations come down?

I think my husband will be as excited, if not more excited, as the girls if I can pull this off.


The week after Jan 1st is a better time to go versus the week leading up to Christmas as well as the week between Christmas & New Years. That is one of the very few weeks we NEVER go to Disney! If you can pull it off, it will be a perfect time to be in FL. Keep in mind, we are not immune to cold weather so keep an eye on the weather channel to see if you’ll need sweaters or winter parkas. There have been particular times in years past where I actually sunned on the beach that time of year! But thats rare…


A couple of years ago we went in February. We were told repeatedly that February was the most wonderful time weather wise to go. Well we ended up the one week that there were record lows around 26 degrees with highs around 50. It was cold! Luckily I had our down coats in our suitcases because we had a blizzard just before we left home. I sure can pick a bad week:crying:


January is a nice time to go - IF you avoid the first three days. All the decorations are still up - but I don’t know - if you’re like me, decorations after Christmas just seem like “the party’s over”. We did love the Osborne Lights and I’m glad we saw that. We arrived the evening of Christmas Day and the parks were packed until the 3rd of January. The weather was freezing - but that doesn’t say it won’t be nice when you’re there. We did it once as an experiment; don’t think we’ll do it again. I’ve heard many say that the week after Thanksgiving is one of the best and quietest weeks at WDW - and all the decorations are up.


since 2003 we have been four times during december, and the crowds will go from very pleasant to packed the friday of the weekend before Christmas. everyone shows up that friday and saturday… it’s just understood we are yanking our daughter out of school the week before that friday. as she gets older and exams start to play a part in her schooling, we will alter disney to accomodate, but i couldn’t imagine not having a christmas fix at disney every couple years or so… watching the fireworks with a crisp north wind blowing, and the chrismas theme going, just makes it---- better.


We went December 13 - 23. Wow! No crowds. My son and I went on Pirates 4 times and twice we had the boat to ourselves. I counted 19 people in front of the castle. Then we rode HM 3 times. Then the EM hours started… no one. Of course it was 19 degrees. We went into Carosel of Progress, and Hall of Presidents and Country Bear Jamboree to warm up. We had a blast. Buses were empty. December 20 - 23 crowds started to build but it was bearable. When we got to South Carolina (Dec 24-27)we heard that the parks were jammed and people were bringing in luggage cause the parks were closing and not letting anymore in but they wanted there change of warmer clothes for the fireworks. Enjoy! I wish we could go again.


Well, I think I have decided to do October 8th-15th. I figured everyone would have a more enjoyable time in warmer weather vs the cold of Dec/Jan. I am just waiting to see if we can get a deal on the hotel. The airfare is really high this year, too. Hoping SW does some sort of promo. I did end us telling DH about my plans. I figured I would have difficulty keeping it a secret from him. Now he is just pretending that he has no idea so he can be “surprised” later.