The theme park reservation system, which was first introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, has continued to be a requirement in the process of planning a Walt Disney World vacation since the summer 2020.
While the reservation system has received mixed reviews at best from fans, the Walt Disney Company has continued to praise the system for its ability to control crowds and provide the best possible experience for Guests in each theme park.
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With the system in place to help manage crowds, and some of the busiest days of the year coming up quickly, we were surprised to learn that Disney Park reservations are largely available on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as well as the week between Christmas and New Year’s.
The winter holidays and the weeks surrounding them have historically been among the busiest times to visit Walt Disney World, and while Guests who have spent time in the Parks already this holiday season have reported large crowds, availability remains for most Parks.
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As of this writing on December 19, 2022, three theme parks still have reservations available on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as the Magic Kingdom is the only Park that is completely sold out. These openings follow earlier reports that Disney released new reservations as previously booked dates opened up on the calendar earlier this month.
Of course, part of Disney’s ability to control crowds with the system implies that the company can manage the number of Guests in the Park based on available Cast Members working. As a result, increased reservations could simply be the result of staffing challenges finally letting up at the Resort.
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As for the rest of the holiday week, EPCOT is available every day leading up to New Year’s Eve, when this Park along with the Magic Kingdom are at capacity. The Magic Kingdom is booked up for most days, while Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios are mixed throughout the week.
If you are planning a last-minute holiday trip to Walt Disney World, you may want to keep checking Disney’s official website in case more availability does open up. You may also want to consider purchasing a Park Hopper theme park ticket so that you can switch to a different Disney World Park if the first one you visit becomes too crowded (after 2:00, that is.) And note that a trip to a Disney Water Park does not require a reservation.
Character dining, or visiting a Disney Resort or two to see the Christmas decorations are other great ways to avoid the holiday crowds and spend time at the Walt Disney World Resort during Christmas week. Brace for the crowds, and have a magical time!