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Top Tips for Spending Christmas Day at Walt Disney World

Christmas Day is one of the busiest days out of the entire year at Walt Disney World.  There are many guests who shy away from the increased traffic and crowds, but obviously there are many guests who still come out and make the most of enjoying this magical day at Walt Disney World.  Here are our top tips for spending Christmas Day at Walt Disney World:

12. Make dining reservations and FastPass+ selections in advance.

If you have time to do a little bit of planning before your trip, then we definitely recommend that you make these reservations and bookings in advance.  Christmas Day is extremely popular at Walt Disney World, so you will be appreciative of knowing that you have your dining plans in place and have a few attractions that you won’t have to wait in a long line for.

11. Pay attention to park hours.

The park hours often vary on a holiday.  Be sure to check for park opening and closing time, since the hours will likely be extended on Christmas Day.

10. Head to Disney’s Animal Kingdom for the least crowds (relatively speaking).

All of the parks will be crowded, but if you want to be in the parks and want the least amount of crowds, then you will want to head over to Animal Kingdom.  It is typically the slowest park on Christmas Day and has lots of room for people to spread out around the park.  Keep in mind that it will still be extremely busy!

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9. Practice safety tips.

Due to the surplus of guests in the parks, it is a good idea to make sure you practice good safety tips and planning with your family.  Take a picture of your kiddos each morning so that you have a reference if you should get separated in the parks, especially if you have younger kids.  Pick a meeting point in the parks for your party if you were to get separated.

8. Call Disney Springs restaurants directly for day of reservations.

If you didn’t have luck finding dining reservations for Christmas Day, you can try calling many of the Disney Springs restaurants directly.  There are many restaurants in Disney Springs that hold back some of the inventory from the online booking system, so you may be able to get a reservation by calling.

7. Arrive to the parks early.

You should definitely plan to arrive to the park ahead of opening, especially if you will be visiting Magic Kingdom Park.  Magic Kingdom typically always closes mid-morning due to reaching capacity.  To help minimize the amount of time spent in line and ensure that you get in, we recommend arriving at least 45 minutes to an hour before opening.

6. Plan to stay all day if you want to see the evening shows.

If you are already inside one of the parks and want to stay for the evening shows, we recommend staying at the park all day if possible.  This may mean taking extra breaks and planning time to sit and people watch, but the time that it takes to navigate the bus lines, traffic around Walt Disney World, etc., it is usually not worth the risk and hassle to leave and then come back.

Photo Credit: Disney

5. Book a character breakfast before park opening.

One way to help ensure that you can get into the park before opening is to have a dining reservation before park opening.  These are usually the character breakfast offerings that are offered at each park.  This will also give you a delicious breakfast to start your day, too!

4. Stay at a Walt Disney World resort.

It is definitely on the more expensive side over Christmas, but we recommend staying on property instead of staying at an offsite resort.  You will have Extra Magic Hours options and you will be better guaranteed to get into one of the parks once capacity closings start.  The Disney transportation will also more easily navigate the increased capacity around property, too.

3. Consider dessert parties and special events.

One of the dessert parties or other special ticket event offerings will help out a lot when it comes to navigating the crowds.  There are typically only a limited number of tickets sold to these events, so only a select amount of people will be allowed in, helping to feel a little less crowded than the streets.  You also receive reserved viewing areas for the party event, so you won’t have to worry about finding a good place to watch.

2. Celebrate at the resorts, too.

If you don’t think you are up for the hustle and bustle of the crowds in the parks, you can also celebrate at the resorts.  There will be a lot of great entertainment and holiday offerings at each of the resorts.  There are a lot of great dining options, too.  You can definitely create your own celebration outside of the parks with fewer crowds.

1. Set expectations and be patient!

Walt Disney World will be extremely busy on Christmas Day.  Guests should set their expectations that they won’t get to experience as many attractions as usual and will have to be prepared to wait longer and take in all of the scenery and fun.  Just be patient and enjoy the moment.  Even in the crowds, guests can still have an amazing time!

About Christy Caby

I am a long time Disney addict! This love began as a child and stayed with me in my teen years. I completed the Disney College Program, was engaged and honeymooned at Disney, visited WDW while pregnant with each of our two boys, and have brought our boys since they were babies (they are now 5 and 2). We have over 10 Disney World vacations under our belt. Our recent adventure was a big move from St. Louis, MO to Florida! We knew that we needed more Disney magic that just a couple times of year, and we worked hard to make it happen! Now we hit the parks almost every weekend! We are working to dine at every location, experience every attraction and look for every hidden Mickey! We want to be able to say that we have one it all! We are branching into the Cruise Line and are planning a trip to Disneyland in California next year. To say that we are Disney addicts may be an understatement. When I am not at WDW with my family, I am reading Disney blogs and news, crafting (usually Disney décor for our home), planning Disney vacations for others or working on my dissertation for my doctoral program. I am a Project Manager by profession, so I have mastered fitting everything into a tight schedule! We feel we lead an exciting life where we get to spend a lot of time together doing what we love! I love being able to this love and Disney magic with everyone else so that others can make the most of whatever time they get to have at the most magical place on earth!