We are Going to Disney World on Dec. 16th, what should we expect? Will it be crowded, will the weather be cold?
Don’t expect to see this
Photo by Jeff_B.
Dad’s A Piece of Fruitcake Answer
Kelli, you have the honor of being Dad’s very first question about December in 2012 – and it’s an honor indeed because December is Dad’s number one, all time, most favorite time of the year at Walt Disney World – Christmas time! Yes, it’s going to be crowded, and it’s sure going to be chilly compared to the summer months, but since you’re planning so far in advance it’ll be nothing you can’t handle!
By mid December, Christmas is in full swing at Walt Disney World! It’s magical! It’s wonderful! It’s downright jolly! The Christmas tree is up on Main Street USA, Cinderella Castle is aglow with 200,000 Dream Lights, Epcot is celebrating Holidays Around the World, and you can see one of the largest holiday light displays at the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights! As you can imagine, thousands of people crowd the parks to share all this holiday magic with their families.
The crowds won’t be too bad on December 16, but will increase noticeably over the course of the week. Yes, Christmas time is crowded at Walt Disney world, but the upside is that there are so many extra shows, activities, and special events happening at this time that avoiding the crowds is a piece of fruitcake, if you have a PLAN.
Dad’s tips for avoiding crowds can help you at any time of year, but following them will be especially helpful at peak times like in December. I’d suggest you mosey on over to Touringplans.com – for a few dollars you can get a year long subscription which will allow you to check in and verify projected crowd levels for each day of your trip, down to each park, and even specific times for specific attractions. If you enter your trip dates, they’ll even email you if their predictions change.
In addition, you’ll be able to take advantage of their suggested touring plans which will assist you in navigating the parks, allowing you to do more in less time, saving up to 4 hours a day in line! They even have a handy Lines app for your smart phone, so you can track the crowds while you’re in the parks!
Most of the holiday festivities at Walt Disney World are free and don’t require advanced reservations, but a couple of Dad’s favorites require some advanced planning. For instance, the Candle Light Processional at Epcot is one of our family’s favorite traditions. If you want to make sure you see it, I’d recommend getting an advanced reservation for a Candlelight Processional dining package. It’s possible to see the show without one, but non-reserved seating is extremely limited!
Similarly, we love Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This is a special ticket event in the Magic Kingdom where only a few thousand guests are admitted – there are special shows, snow on Main Street, Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, Holiday Wishes, free cocoa and cookies, plus most of the rides are open with little or no wait! The 2012 schedule hasn’t been announced yet, but if the past is any indication, there should be a party on your arrival day, which is Dad’s favorite way to begin a trip!
As for the weather – in December Orlando is all over the place. Sometimes you can get a heat wave, other times the thermometer hovers around zero, but the average temperature in December has lows in the 50 degree Fahrenheit range, with highs in the 70s (I’ve seen people swimming in the hotel pools in December even when the temperatures were around freezing). You should keep an eye on the weather in the week before you go, but I’d say layers are a good bet to keep comfy all day long. At any rate, it should be warmer than Pennsylvania that time of year!
Dad’s Bottom Line
Kelli, with some advance preparations to help deal with the crowds, you’ll be able to manage just fine. In fact, there will be so many special holiday touches to keep you distracted that I’m willing to bet that neither the crowds nor the weather will bother you too much.