Seven Ways to Plan for a Great Holiday Trip to Walt Disney World

The holiday season can be a wonderful time of the year to visit Walt Disney World. The temperatures are down, the decorations are up, and there is a magic in the air. Disney also offers many special events during the holiday season from Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party to incredible gingerbread creations at the Disney Resort Hotels.

While there is a lot to see and do during the Christmas season, larger crowds mean that you need to be better prepared.

Here are seven ways to plan for a great Christmastime trip to Walt Disney World:

1 – Book Your Resort In Advance

You will see a theme through many of these tips. What is it? Planning. The Walt Disney World Resort has more than 30,000 hotel rooms, and the greater Orlando area has another 60,000 more. It is unlikely that every single room will be sold out, although I guess that’s possible. However, if you want your choice of location, price, and amenities, it is important to book your hotel room in advance during the holiday season. Yes, you can show up in Orlando and be pretty sure you can find a place to sleep, but who would want to chance it?

Deluxe Disney Resorts like the Contemporary have amazing Christmas displays like this one made of gingerbread.
Deluxe Disney Resorts like the Contemporary have amazing Christmas displays like this one made of gingerbread.

2 – Book Dining In Advance

The days are long gone when you could walk up to a sit-down restaurant at Walt Disney World and get a table without a reservation. That is even truer during the holiday season. If you plan to enjoy any sit-down dinners, be sure to make Advance Dining Reservations, well, in advance. The most popular restaurants such as Cinderella’s Royal table inside Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom and Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort will fully book up months in advance.

3 – Be Prepared For Crowds

If you’ve done any research at all for your Walt Disney World Christmastime vacation, you know that the crowds will be some of the largest for the entire year. However, unless you’ve experienced it yourself in the past, you may not realize just how big the crowds can be. If you visit on some of the busiest days like Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve, the crowds will be so large that you may have a hard time simply getting from one place to another. Not only will you wait in line for attractions but, you also will wait in line for everything from getting a drink to going to the bathroom. Make sure you are mentally prepared for this.

Get yourself mentally ready for huge crowds.
Get yourself mentally ready for huge crowds.

4 – Bring Your Decorations And Gifts

For many folks, decorating is a big part of their Christmas tradition. You don’t have to go without Christmas decorations just because you decided to take a vacation to Disney World. Consider bringing a small tree, pack some Garland in your luggage, or even ship it in advance to your resort. A little greenery and a few lights can make your hotel room much more festive. You might plan that your vacation is everyone’s Christmas gift. However, consider purchasing a few small items to wrap up and share with everyone on Christmas morning. This doesn’t have to be expensive, and it can add some extra fun to your vacation.  If you think this is too much hassle, consider ordering one of the Disney gifts provided through the hotel. It will magically show up just in time for Christmas morning.

5 –Plan Your Time

With all the planning you’ve done around your hotel room and your dining reservations, you might think that you’ve covered all the planning. However, you will want to have a general idea of how you will spend your time. Which parks will you visit on which days? Will you plan to visit the parks early, take a mid-day break, and then visit late into the night? Have you made your FastPass+ reservations? You don’t have to plan out every minute of your vacation, but at the same time, you don’t want to show up at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom and have everyone look at one another and debate what to do next. Make sure that you have a general idea of what you will do and when.

6 – Visit Disney Resorts

You already know that the Disney parks will be packed. If you have some extra time and want to take a break from the crushing crowds, consider touring some of the Disney resort hotels. Check out the gingerbread display at the Contemporary Resort or at the Grand Floridian Resort. Spend some time admiring the Christmas decorations, especially at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. The resort hotels at Disney World are truly attractions unto themselves.

The Resort decorations are amazing.
The Resort decorations, like these in the Grand Floridian, are amazing.

7 – Enjoy Disney Springs and Mini-Golf

Another way to get away from the crowds at the parks is to spend some time in Disney Springs or at one of the two Disney mini-golf courses. Disney Springs is a great place to shop, dine, and people watch. Disney’s two miniature golf courses, the Winter Summerland course and the Fantasia Gardens course, are both well themed and fun for the whole family.

What is your best tip for visiting Walt Disney World at Christmastime?