Planning your December 2016 Disney World vacation

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! This guide is specifically for guests traveling to Disney World in December 2016.  December crowds are up and down all month but it’s trending up. There are pockets of higher travel times  but a few pockets of lower crowd times. Most notably, the weeks between Christmas and New Years. You’ll see the month start a little slow in terms of crowds and increase through New Year’s Eve which is one of the most traveled days to Disney World.

December weather in Disney World

According to Weather.com the average high in the month of December is 73 and the low is 52.  Be sure to check your favorite weather app prior to your departure to confirm actual temperatures before you pack. December is a very variable month from year to year. In our recent December trip, we had absolutely beautiful weather. Comfortable park touring weather during the day and we added light jackets after the sun went down!

Choosing your Travel Dates/Events to be Aware of

  • Various dates in Dec –  Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties begin (for full details, check out Tips for this special event!)
  • Dec 1 – 31 – Epcot’s Candlelight Processional which provides a little extra holiday magic with a celebrity narrator retelling the story of Christmas
  • Dec 24 – 31 – Peak holiday season – these are the largest crowds of the entire year and crowds will be busiest. Using FastPass and planning ahead are extremely important!

Many travel dates will also include an opportunity to Magic Kingdom’s special event: Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! This special event is an added expense, but a fun way to get into the Holiday spirit in both November and December. Disney ends this special event just before Christmas but the parade from this special event becomes a daily show near Christmas day.

When to book dining

At the time of publication, dining is available for booking. Many of the most popular options have been booked, but pecosbillcancellations do occur. Patience is the name of the game for popular locations like Cinderella’s Table, Be Our Guest, Chef Mickey’s, Ohana and more! If you’re looking for one of these headliners, continue to check on availability as it’s constantly changing!

Promotional Offers

No current promotions available for December but some should be coming extremely soon!

Cost

So how much will it cost a family of 4 to travel to Disney World in December 2016? Let’s do the math! These prices are BEFORE the peak Holiday season begins. If you’d like to experience Christmas at Disney, you’ll spend a bit more money.

The Smith family wants a fun an inexpensive vacation and are planning 7 days and 6 nights at a value resort. I suggested Pop Century since it’s most centrally located among the value resorts. They are taking mom, dad, Susie – 13 and Jenny – 9 on their first vacation! They have decided on 5 days of base tickets to really focus on one park each day and to save a little bit of money and will pay for meals out of pocket and bring some snacks with as well, so no dining plan. $2546.46

Disney's Pop Century brings adults back to their childhood!

Disney’s Pop Century brings adults back to their childhood!

The Jones family wants a moderately priced vacation and are also planning 7 days and 6 nights, but they want to stay at a moderate resort. Their two daughters love Disney princesses so they are considering an upgrade to a royal guest room. They are also going to do 5 days of base tickets but are considering the upgrade to park hoppers to see more with their time. If the Jones family chooses the least expensive package options, their moderate vacation would cost them $3022.34. If they added park hoppers to their tickets, their vacation would cost them $3316.30. And if they wanted to upgrade to a royal room their vacation would cost them $3548.04

The Howell family wants to go all out for their two children’s first Disney World vacation and stay in a deluxe resort for 7 days and 6 nights. They definitely want park hoppers to see everything and they are considering the dining plan. Their preferred resort is Wilderness Lodge to have access to Magic Kingdom. With 5 days of park hoppers, their vacation would cost them $5678.76 If they did elect to add the dining plan, their vacation would cost them $6962.46

The bottom line

A family of 4  have a reasonably priced vacation and enjoy some lower prices and moderate crowds!

Start planning your December 2016 vacation

A free gift for Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your 2016 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free cruise opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

2016 Very Merry Christmas Party dates + helpful hints and tips for your winter adventure!

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Celebrate the magic of the holiday season with your family at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, a special event held select nights in November and December at Magic Kingdom! Another fresh off the presses details released by Disney yesterday. Dates for the 2016 Very Merry Christmas Party:

  • November 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27 and 29
  • December 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18 and 22

This festive celebration is filled with spectacular fireworks, a very special holiday parade and live entertainment featuring your favorite Disney Characters. Purchase of an additional event admission ticket is required to attend this event. Official on sale date for tickets has yet to be announced.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party highlights from 2015:

  • The enchanted Castle Dream Lights on Cinderella Castle thanks to Anna & Elsa!Tips and Tricks for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
  • Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, complete with a special appearance by Santa Claus himself
  • An exclusive holiday fireworks extravaganza – Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season
  • Live entertainment featuring Disney Characters
  • Meet & greet opportunities throughout Magic Kingdom with some of your favorite Disney Characters
  • Opportunity to meet Santa Claus
  • Complimentary cookies and hot cocoa
  • A magical snow fall on Main Street, U.S.A.
  • Special access to many of the most popular Magic Kingdom attractions

Tips & Tricks for Special Events in Magic Kingdom:

  • Depending on your length of stay and number of days with park tickets, you have two options for the morning and early afternoon of your special event.
    1. For longer trips or those with park hopper tickets: Take the morning off! Sleep in (you’ll rarely hear me say this on a Disney vacation, so take advantage). It’s a great opportunity for a late morning character breakfast at Chef Mickey in Contemporary or the delicious flavors of Boma in Animal Kingdom Lodge. Enjoy your resort’s pool and explore to see some of the hidden things it has to offer. Use Disney’s transportation to navigate to another resort to explore (I choose the deluxe resorts!) or head to Downtown Disney for the morning.
    2. For shorter trips with only base day tickets, you may want to take the opportunity to “park hop”. Since you do not need your daily ticket and your special event ticket, enjoy a morning in another park
  • Regardless of your morning plan, eat a large late lunch before you arrive at Magic Kingdom! While quick service DSC_0178restaurants are available, you don’t want to use your precious time eating a meal you could have any other time during regular park hours.
  • Skip the long character lines and enjoy some of the special live shows and open attractions. You’ll rarely ever see lines that short! If there is a must do character, don’t worry about waiting! Do what is important to your kids (if characters are more important than rides, go for it)
  • Don’t forget the cookies and hot cocoa!! Take a break in Crystal Palace. Lots of space, it gives you a chance to see the location and it’s nice a warm location for those chilly December nights!
  • Say hi to Santa early in the night before the line gets unmanageable.
  • Arrive as close to 4 pm as possible. While the park may still be a bit crowded with ticketed day guests, you’ll want to use as much of your ticketed time as possible.
  • Rest up earlier in the day (make sure kids have napped appropriately). Bring a stroller for your younger ones to take a little snooze waiting for a parade or a place if they are just too tired.
  • Consider Memory Maker. It’s a great little add on to any Disney vacation, but why not grab a few holiday photos for your Christmas card or capture some lasting Halloween memories through the eyes of Disney! Even if you don’t add it on, you can still take advantage of Disney’s PhotoPass photographers throughout the park.
  • If you know you want to attend one of the parties, buy your tickets before your arrive. Advanced purchase is a bit cheaper (usually about $5) and some popular dates sell out.
  • If you are not attending the party and you have base tickets, avoid these party dates! You won’t get a fireworks show at the end of the night (unless you watch it off the Magic Kingdom grounds). If you have park hopper tickets, it’s a pretty good park to start your day with as many people do avoid Magic Kingdom on party nights!
A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your 2016 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free cruise opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

Friday Five: 5 reasons to get excited for Disney holidays!

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So it’s Saturday, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late for the Friday Five. Today I’m talking about why I LOVE the holiday season in Disney World. Disney starts the “holidays” early – the 2nd week of November. All of the full holiday decor will be out after Thanksgiving, but if you want to get a taste of things without the crowds and the price of Christmas and New Years, there is plenty of good time and availability to travel. Here are some of my favorite things about the holidays in Disney:

  1. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This event occurs several times per week in Magic Kingdom. It requires a special ticket to enter, but it’s truly magical. What’s not to love? Snow on Main Street, Christmas Carols throughout the parks, special character meet and greets, an amazing set of holiday fireworks (set to Christmas Music), and an amazing holiday parade. Plus free cookies and hot chocolate (grab it from Crystal Palace so you can sit down and enjoy it!)
  2. Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree! Everywhere you look there are Christmas trees. Between all 4 theme parks and the resorts, you’ll find uniquely themed trees that are larger than life! These also become an additional photo opportunity (even in the resort). We got some great family photos in Animal Kingdom Lodge and Wilderness Lodge after some appropriately timed dining reservations! Take time to marvel at the detail.
  3. Life-sized Gingerbread House. In true Grand Floridian fashion, you can find a life sized gingerbread house FullSizeRender 5with little details unique to each year. It is truly amazing to see. Similarly, you also have amazing edible displays at Beach & Yacht Club, Contemporary, and Boardwalk. Take time away from the parks for a little bit of an amazing experience
  4. Candlelight Processional. This event in Epcot is free with park admission but doesn’t start until after Thanksgiving. A celebrity narrator tells the story of Christmas with a huge orchestra and choir. It’s truly a way to get into the Christmas spirit. Seeing Neil Patrick Harris as a narrator is on my bucket list (maybe someday). While the event is free, you may see yourself waiting a long time to get a coveted seat. To guarantee a seat, book a Candlelight Processional dinner package at one of Epcot’s restaurants. It will give you an opportunity to sit and enjoy the whole show. Out of the budget or can’t snag a reservation? You can stand behind the stage and still catch some of the show (we stayed for about 15 minutes before my toddler had an “I’m tired” meltdown). Life still happens in DisneyIMG_4280
  5. Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. I saved the best for last! This is my favorite Disney World
    holiday tradition. I can guarantee you that a few tears where shed the first time I experienced the floor to ceiling lights, snow, and carols all around. It’s nothing short of magnificent. Photos, videos, and words just can’t do it justice. You’ll be able to see this amazing experience beginning the 2nd week of November and through the holidays. It does get crowded the first few days and Christmas through New Years so there may be specific walking paths. Both times I visited in 2014, it was open walking. I sat on a curb for awhile and just reveled in the beauty!
A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your 2015 or 2016 holiday Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!