The week in between Christmas and New Years is by far the most crowded time in Walt Disney World. If you are not a crowd person then this time is NOT for you! I would advise you to go in September and October or the end of January and February. But if you are willing to take on the crowds and make the most of it then pay attention!
Arrive Early and Stay Late! During this time of year the parks open to guests staying on property very early and stay open very late to accommodate the heavy crowds. Get to the parks at least an hour to 30 minutes earlier than park open.
Take a Break Mid-Day! This goes hand in hand with Arrive Early and Stay Late. For the most party during this week you could see the Magic Kingdom opening as early as 7:00 am and closing at 3:00 am. There is absolutely no way that you could be there that whole time whether you are a party of all adults or adults and children. Plan to skip the middle part of the day, go back to your hotel and eat lunch and take a nap. Then head back late in the afternoon after the crowds have drowned out and enjoy the evening festivities at the parks!
Eat your Meals Off-Schedule! Your normal day-to-day schedule is likely to change while you’re in Disney, whether it’s a time change for you and your family or just the way that you schedule your park time. Let’s say if you are going to the parks super early you’re going more than likely going to eat breakfast early which is going to make your lunch early. This is a good thing because your lunch time will not be at the normal “lunch” time. Like I had said above, eating at your hotel or getting a reservation for lunch at an hotel would be your best bet. Even bringing or buying lunch items to eat in the hotel room would be a good way to avoid crowds and take a break from Disney.
Utilize your FastPass+! First of all make sure to get your FastPasses as soon as they become available at the 60-Days Out mark. Schedule your FastPasses for the busiest times of the day, which will be the middle of the day. So before you leave for your break for mid-day go ride all the rides! Plan on during the morning hours and evening hours either waiting in line or experiencing the other things that the parks have to offer besides the rides.
Do the Unpopular Rides! These rides you may have done once before, but they aren’t your “HAVE TO” rides every time you go to the parks. These rides are also the classics and will more than likely have little to no line. Imagine that! For example some rides at the Magic Kingdom are: Carousel of Progress, Tiki Room Shows, Country Bear Jamboree and the Hall of Presidents. And don’t forget a ride around on the Walt Disney World Railroad or the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. In EPCOT attractions like Living with the Land, American Adventure and Figment are classics but usually don’t hold a very long line. Any of the stage shows at Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom are your best bet to ditch the crowds at those parks.
The Magic Kingdom and EPCOT have specialty firework shows just for New Years. The Magic Kingdom actually presents their firework show, Fantasy in the Sky, on December 30 as well as New Years Eve. On each of these nights Holiday Wishes will go off followed by the New Year’s show, so don’t leave early! EPCOT presents Illuminations twice on New Years Eve. The first running includes the Peace on Earth segment and the second running will feature the New Year’s Eve version.
Plan to go to wherever you choose to watch the fireworks at least two hours in advance if not more. Get there and pick your spot and stay there! Dress warm and make sure you’ve gone to the bathroom and ate something before you pick your spot.
I can not stress enough to pack your patience. And just remember that not everything is going to go according to plan but it is essential to have a plan to go by! Have alternative choices and enjoy the little things and you should have a great time! After all you will be in the Happiest Place on Earth!