When it comes to planning a Walt Disney World vacation, there are often different schools of thought about the ideal time to book. Do you prioritize weather, or crowd levels, for example? Do you vacation while school is in session? Should you take advantage of the offseason discounts or the peak season attractions? There is a lot to consider, but the most significant choice to make is whether or not to visit Walt Disney World during the Holiday Season or the rest of the year. If you are interested in doubling down on Disney magic, you should make your plans to visit during the holidays, when festive decor and seasonal experiences enhance the spirit of the parks. Here is a glance at Walt Disney World holiday vacations look like compared with other times of the year.
The Holiday Season takes place outside of hurricane season and typically enjoys cooler weather. If you wish to avoid the Florida heat or the thundershowers that often hit during the summer and fall, the Winter season is the best. Attendance reaches some of the highest highs, but also some relative lows during November and December. If you visit during the week, you can avoid crowds very easily in the earlier weeks of the month. Attendance only tends to spike during the week of a holiday. The rest of winter after January hits is also relatively low in attendance. If you visit in that first week of the year, some holiday decor and attractions may still be available.
All four parks join in with Holiday decor during the season. Disney’s Animal Kingdom has traditionally done less for the Christmas season than the other parks, but this year will feature decorations in every section and unique entertainment on Discovery Island, with an emphasis on creatures of the icy northern regions.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom, like the other parks, will feature a nighttime spectacular that features state of the art projections. The show will take place on the Tree of Life. Disney’s Hollywood Studios has two shows. Jingle Bell Jingle Bam is the Prep and Landing inspired projection show on the Chinese Theater. Seasons Greetings transforms Sunset Boulevard and The Hollywood Tower Hotel to display a series of animated sequences brought by the Muppets and other famous Disney friends.
At the Magic Kingdom, a whole night of exclusive fun and entertainment will take place on select nights throughout the season. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a ticketed after-hours event that includes complimentary snacks and beverages, themed food items, a parade, Castle Shows, special fireworks and more. Explore the rivers of the world after a festive transformation of an old classic dubbed “The Jingle Cruise” and enjoy the Christmas music and rare character meet-and-greets like Santa Goofy, Jack Skellington and Mr. Claus himself. At Epcot, you can savor the flavors of the Holidays at the International Festival of the Holidays.
Not all of the holiday fun requires an admission ticket to enjoy. Disney Springs has an ever-growing self-guided Christmas Tree Trail full of themed trees that are fun to discover. You’ll also enjoy festive window displays, Dickens carolers and a chance to meet Santa Claus in his only location outside of the Disney parks. The resorts get in on the festivities, too. The deluxe resorts especially are fun to explore and visit on a day set aside expressly for hotel hopping. Each deluxe Disney hotel has unique trimmings in its lobby and a special holiday display to enjoy.