Everyone who had a trip booked this spring (or possibly this summer) is currently scrambling to reschedule their vacation for a later date. If you haven’t settled on a new date, I think you should seriously consider going during Christmas week.
After years of going to Disney during the summertime, my family decided to go for Christmas back in 2009. It was supposed to be a one-time trip, but we loved it so much that it became an annual tradition. We went back every year from 2009 through 2018—arriving on Christmas Eve and staying until New Year’s Day.
It was the one thing I’d look forward to the most each and every year. Especially after I graduated college and started a full-time job, it became the one time for my family to really hang out and bond for a while. I can list about a hundred reasons why the trip was great for us, but here’s why I think you should seriously consider visiting during Christmas week this year:
It’ll be crowded whenever you go
Christmas week is notorious for being the most crowded time of the year at Disney. Photos of Main Street on Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve can certainly cause some anxiety. While it is the most crowded time of the year, and this year shouldn’t be any different, I do believe that you’ll see heavy crowds from the moment Disney reopens through the next 12 to 18 months. With that said, I think now is as good a time as ever to experience Christmas week.
Best time of the year
There’s just something about Christmas. No doubt, everyone is going to be pretty jubilant (within reason) once this all slows down and we can return back to our normal lives, but Christmas will always be the happiest time of the year—especially this year. People should be more thankful to be on earth and out of their house. After having gone through the toughest year of my life in 2019, I know how much I was looking forward to a new year in 2020 (oh, the irony…). There will be no better place to celebrate the holidays and ring in the new year—and to celebrate the end of 2020—than the happiest place on earth.
You’ll have had enough home cooking for a while
Yeah, there’s something special about preparing the Feast of Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, making breakfast as everyone opens their gifts on Christmas Day, and coming together for a big Christmas Day feast at dinnertime…but by Christmas, you’ll have cooked a lot of meals at home. A lot.
My mom used to always joke that the best part of going away for Christmas is not having to cook or do dishes. After cooking every meal for the past few weeks, I couldn’t agree more. We definitely built up a list of favorites throughout the years. Narcoossee’s became our go-to for Christmas dinner, and, over the last few years, Yachtsman Steakhouse became our spot for dinner on New Year’s Eve. Then, each member of the family would pick a different restaurant. We did establish one rule: we won’t return to a restaurant for a meal more than two years in a row. This helps us keep it fresh.
Best decorations and entertainment
We’ve been to Disney for three holidays: Christmas, Easter, and Halloween. Easter is a nice time to visit, but it’s nowhere near Halloween or Christmas. Magic Kingdom has some decorations and a meet-and-greet with the Easter Bunny, and Grand Floridian has an Easter egg display. The resorts also have kid friendly activities the day of Easter, but outside of that, there’s not a ton of holiday-specific decorations or entertainment. The true allure of visiting during Easter time is the weather, the Flower and Garden Festival, and the fact that most schools are on break.
I haven’t been to Disney during July 4th, but I have been there during the middle of the summer. While the fireworks display on July 4th (I’ve seen on YouTube) looks amazing, the fireworks at Disney are pretty jaw-dropping year-round and without the skin-melting heat and humidity. Plus, the Fantasy in the Sky show and Epcot’s display on New Year’s Eve literally makes the ground shake. I’d argue it’s the best display of the year.
Halloween is pretty cool, but a lot of the decorations are limited to Magic Kingdom; and most of the entertainment is limited to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, a separately ticketed event. Halloween does fall on a weekend this year, and if you’re able to arrive on October 30th and stay through the first week of November, you’ll be able to experience two holidays at Disney: seeing it decorated for Halloween and for Christmas. Disney literally transforms overnight, with a lot of its decorations going up on November 1st.
Maybe I’m biased, but nothing beats Christmas. There’s so much to see and do during Christmastime at Disney World. All of the parks are decorated and feature special entertainment and attractions. Magic Kingdom hosts Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party through the first three weeks in December, then most of the attractions and entertainment are held during normal park hours throughout the week of Christmas. Hollywood Studios has really come into its own with holiday decorations and entertainment, with an awe-inspiring projection show on the Tower of Terror and Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM each night during the holiday season. EPCOT also produces a bevy of holiday cheer, with the International Festival of the Holidays and Candlelight Processional; and Animal Kingdom has been slowly rolling out more and more holiday decorations each year. Even the resorts are an attraction in and of themselves. All resorts feature a themed tree and decorations. The deluxe resorts offer the most impressive decor, with towering trees and themed gingerbread displays.
You still have time to plan
The most stressful part about going to Disney is the planning. Those staying on-site at a Disney resort can start booking Advanced Dining Reservations up to 180 days (plus ten days thereafter) before check-in, and can book FastPass+ reservations up to 60 days out. Those staying off-site can book up to 180 days from the day they plan on dining, and FP+ 30 days from the day they plan on being at the park(s). While it’d be great to reschedule your April trip for June or July (the sooner the better), many of those dates are already within the 180-day mark. Going during Christmas will give you more time to plan and a better chance of securing the ADRs and FP+ selections you want or previously held.
It buys you more time
I’d like to believe we’ll return back to something resembling our normal lives by mid summer, but really, who knows? There’s a good chance Disney will be back open by mid-to-late summer or early September, but this virus has no firm end date. Booking the literal last week of the year gives you the best chance of your 2020 trip actually happening.
You earned it
Christmas week is one of the most expensive times to visit Walt Disney World, but by the end of all this, you’ll have earned it. We’ll all need a vacation. May as well go big.
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Pete Pirone is a 32-year-old writer who loves Walt Disney World. He grew up going to Disney. His family has celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and even attended a wedding at Disney World.
Pete and the rest of the Pirone clan have celebrated every Christmas from 2009-2018 at Disney. Having spent years traveling during the most crowded time of the year, Pete uses his knowledge to develop tips and tricks for tacking the crowds and creating an efficient trip itinerary—no matter when you go!
When he's not writing, Pete is cooking and trying out new restaurants. He's a huge foodie and can often be found dining and eating his way around Walt Disney World.
Pete also hates writing in the third person...