I am crazy excited about this next series of posts because I am in the midst of planning my first trip to WDW during Christmastime! I’ve seen magical pictures of Main Street USA and the Resort Loop Hotels decorated beautifully for the holiday and it’s been towards the top, if not THE top, of my Disney bucket list.
I’ve always preferred going to the parks during more ‘low-key’ months like September and October although I’ve gone during times of sincere stress like the summer months and spring break (EEK!). The Christmas crowds are notorious but I feel confident that if I have a solid Touring Plan (*wink wink*), I’ll be able to : 1) Enjoy my trip and 2) be productive in the parks!
Here’s how I plan my visit to the World in the earliest phases!
- I don’t have an Annual Pass, rather a 10-day No Expiration Park Hopper that I purchased a few years ago. I have only TWO days remaining (big bummer) so I know the trip will be brief BUT I intend on purchasing tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party as my third park visit!
- I checked Touring Plans’s Crowd Calendar* and picked the first weekend of December for the lower expected crowds compared to the rest of December (*you need an annual subscription to view the Crowd Calendar – which is not the only useful paid feature on their website)
- I also checked for any major holidays or school breaks, as this ALWAYS screws up the expected crowd volume for any given week (i.e. the Jewish holidays in the fall and the North East schools are closed for multiple days)
- The dates have been selected! December 1st arrival and a December 5th departure. Short and sweet but jam packed with fun
- Next! Book ROOM ONLY. Even if you have to also purchase your theme park tickets, ALWAYS book ROOM ONLY. The reason is very simple : You’ll get better discounts through Disney with a RO package, even if you book before there are discounts for your travel dates. For December, there aren’t any RO discounts available yet, but when they are, just call the Disney Reservations number and ask them to apply the discount to your reservation. There are no fees to change your reservation with RO, even if you are changing the dates or the resort location. This is not the case with Magic Your Way (MYW) packages. They will charge ‘Change Fees’ even if it’s to apply a discount to your reservation. Lastly, you can find cheaper tickets through 3rd parties and it’s easy to link those tickets to your My Disney Experience (MDE) account.
There are variables to consider here. Not everyone has the luxury to go whenever they please whether it’s work commitments or young children in school. Additionally, you’ll have to determine long before you even get booking your reservation, what your budget will be and how much you intend on saving for the trip.
For me, since my visit will be brief, I do not plan on going “all out” as I have on previous trips but I also want to make the trip memorable in other ways by trying new experiences. So from December 1st through December 5th, I’ll be staying at the Art of Animation Resort in the Little Mermaid Rooms! This is the most expensive of the values and the most recent addition to the line up of value resorts in WDW but I’ve heard many wonderful things about the design of the resort as well as the very comfortable rooms. I’m so looking forward to checking out the Cars Land area and all the remaining themed resort areas!
So here we are! The earliest of phases but there’s plenty more to get excited about! Next post will be about choosing your itinerary based on crowd levels, park hours, and events as well as ADRS!!
If you have any tips as you’re following along, make sure to leave them in the comments or you can send me an email if you’d like to contribute some of your own Trip Planning Tips or even your own Trip Reports to be featured on a future post!