Christmas and the holiday season at Walt Disney World is an amazing sight to see! It is also the most crowded and busiest times of the year!
THE best advice that I can give is make sure to pack your patience! And just remember that everyone is going to have the same mindset as you; avoid the crowds, see all the shows and fireworks, eat at the best restaurants, meet all the characters and ride all the rides!
Let’s just get real, you are not going to be able to avoid the crowds all together! So if you are really not a “wind through the crowds” type of person I would strongly suggest you not go during the Holiday season. Although, there are a few things that you can do to make your vacation a little less of a headache.
Get to the parks super early! Meaning get to the park an hour to 30 min before park open. That means whether or not the park is offering Extra Magic Hours that morning!
Reserve FastPass+ and Dinner Reservations ASAP! Once you book your trip calculate what day is your 180 days out mark and 60 days out mark. Make sure to be up at 7:00 am eastern time to select your restaurants and FastPass+!
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! This separate ticketed event let’s those that have purchased tickets to this party into the Magic Kingdom at 4:00 pm on party nights. Only those that have purchased tickets are allowed into the park from 7:00 pm to 12:00 am on party nights. Which means only a select few will be in the Magic Kingdom to enjoy the special shows, character meet and greats and shorter lines for the rides. For more information on Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, click here!
If you are going to the parks during the holidays and your main interest is seeing all of the shows and fireworks that are unique to this time of year, I would suggest not worrying too much about the rides. Make your FastPass+ selections for the rides that you absolutely HAVE to do. Pick a spot early on the parade route to get a good view of the floats and characters. There is one castle stage show during the day that is pretty cute and is a great way to see all of the characters in their Christmas best. And let’s not forget the nighttime shows and fireworks that everyone knows and loves! The best way to get a good view for the parades and firework shows would be to pick a spot that gives you a great view for both.
To make sure that you get your top pick for restaurants make sure to get your reservations in order on the 180th day out from your arrival date! Have your list ready and be sure to make reservations for the character dinning FIRST as they are the first to get all booked up!
Again if your main reason for going to Disney is seeing as many characters as you can, don’t spend too much time worrying about getting on rides. Like I mentioned before make your FastPass+ selections for the rides that you HAVE to do and then don’t worry too much about riding anything else unless the wait is low. In order to see characters you will most likely have to wait through at least one or two character meeting sessions before you get your turn to meet your character.
If you are planning to be at the Magic Kingdom on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, plan to stay there all day. It’s more often than not that the Magic Kingdom will close due to capacity on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Disney goes all out for the fireworks on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and it most definitely a must see if you are going to be in Disney World on these days. What many people don’t know is that you don’t have to be inside the Magic Kingdom to see the fireworks. If the Magic Kingdom is closed due to capacity don’t worry just hang around at the Transportation Center (TCC), you can get a great view from there and they play the music that goes along with the fireworks. You can also view the fireworks from the surrounding resorts on the Seven Seas Lagoon; the Contemporary, Polynesian Village and the Grand Floridian. Please note that sometimes the hotel security may not let you go into certain places on the hotel’s property as some of it is designated for Disney Vacation Club Members only. Also, please know that you can view the fireworks on any night from these locations as well not just on busy nights.
If you are not wanting to go to the Magic Kingdom on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, the next best park to go to is EPCOT! EPCOT is so spread out and has many Christmas decorations and activities to enjoy. Although, the lines will be VERY long you will still be able to enjoy the seasonal offerings from all of the featured countries.
A very simple way to get away from all of the crowds but still enjoy Christmas in Disney World is to just stay at the resort that you are staying at. Chances are they are all decked out for the holidays and have Christmas activities planned for their resort guests. You can also resort hop. Just as the theme parks go all out for Christmas decorations, you can only imagine what the resorts do. The deluxe resorts have the most decorations, but since they are near the Magic Kingdom the traffic getting there could be a pain. My best advice for resort hoping would be to take a bus to EPCOT and ride the monorail to the TCC and then take the resort monorail around the loop and take your time to take in all of the decorations. Just remember everyone else is trying to get somewhere as fast as they can too. Just don’t be in a hurry and bring your patience!
If you are in limbo of deciding whether or not you’re going to stay at an On-Property Hotel or an Off-Property Hotel for your Disney World Vacation, then check out this video!
You can also check out these posts!
And if you do make a decision and are ready to Get The Magic Started on your next Disney World vacation, Contact Me Today! Or should can simply fill out my FREE Quote sheet by clicking HERE!
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Beginning with reservations arriving on Sept. 29, 2015, most Guests booked on a Walt Disney Travel Company package at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel will receive their luggage tags in the same box as their MagicBands.
These new luggage tags feature seven unique designs each in a color that will correspond to the Guests’ MagicBand. If Guests have not customized their MagicBand color, they will receive a luggage tag in the iconic grey color to match their MagicBand.
Red MaigcBand: Minnie
Grey MagicBand: Minnie & Mickey
Yellow MagicBand: Mickey
Green MagicBand: Goofy
Blue MagicBand: Donald
Pink MagicBand: Daisy
Orange MagicBand: Pluto
The delivery method will vary depending on when your reservation was booked and whether you have customized your MagicBands.
Walt Disney World Resort hotel Guests will receive their items accordingly:
Guests who have booked and customized their MagicBands 10+ days prior to arrival will receive their luggage tags in their MagicBands box at home.
Guests who have booked and customized their MagicBands 6-9 days prior to arrival, and Guests who have not customized their MagicBands will recieve their luggage tags in their MagicBands box at the Resort hotel.
Guests who have booked a reservation 1-5 days prior to their arrival, and Guests who have opted out of MagicBands will receive luggage tags at the front desk of their Resort hotel.
Please note Guests staying at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, Downtown Disney Area Hotels, Four Seasons Resort Orlando and Walt Disney World Good Neighbor Hotels will continue to receive luggage tags with Guest documents.
– Staying On-Property –
Pro – Convenience – Whether you are staying at a Value, Moderate, or Deluxe Resort your hotel is going to be placed near one of the four theme parks or in the Downtown Disney area.
Pro – Transportation – Walt Disney World has a very extensive transportation system. If you happen to drive to WDW, once you park your car at your particular resort that you’re staying at you never have to touch it again! You can travel on Disney’s transportation system via bus, boat or monorail, whichever gets you to your destination with more ease! You can also use this transportation service if you have purchased a theme park ticket!
Pro – Extra Magic Hours – Disney resort guests are awarded with Extra Magic Hours! You will be able to enter the parks an hour early in the morning and stay two hours later in the evening!
Pro – Theming – Walt Disney World’s resorts appeal to a vast array of guests by using unique theming throughout each resort. They use the Disney immersive magic to transport us to whichever theme that particular resort has. Everything from being on a beach in the pacific at the Polynesian, to being around your favorite sports at All-Star Sports, or being at ski lodge up in the mountains at Wilderness Lodge; WDW resorts truly have something for everyone.
Pro – Escape from reality – Once you enter Disney World property you will be completely immersed into the Disney Magic, at least that’s how it is for us! It is almost like your everyday life is put on hold so you and your family can enjoy their vacation. That’s the reason we take vacations in the first place, right?
Pro – Disney’s Magical Express – If you happen to be flying to Orlando and staying at a Walt Disney World resort you automatically get the complimentary bus service to your resort otherwise know as the Magical Express. Not only that but your luggage will be delivered to your room. Once you arrive and get checked in the world is yours! All the specifics are available on the official Disney web site.
Pro – Disney Dining Plans – When you book your Walt Disney World vacation and purchase one of the Magic Your Way Vacation Packages, you can choose to include a Disney dining plan! Each dining plan is different and you may only be able to purchase certain ones when you stay at certain Walt Disney World Resorts! To find out more information on Disney Dining Plans, click here!
Pro – Character Meals at Select Hotels – Each resort at Walt Disney World has its own unique eating establishment and most of them have some amazing and relaxing lounges. If you want to eat at a certain restaurant in a different resort or hang out in an epic lounge you’re just a short bus ride away to any of the other resorts you wold like to hang out in. You can also have a meal with a Character!
Pro – Online Check-in – If you participate in Online Check-In and begin your check-in process in advance of your arrival, you may experience reduced registration time upon arrival at your Disney Resort hotel. But don’t worry a Disney Cast Member will still be there to greet you and answer your questions!
Pro – Charge purchases to room – If you’re staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel, you can charge purchases to your room by touching your MagicBand or card against a sensor called a touch point and entering a PIN code to uniquely identify yourself. You self-select your PIN upon check-in at your Walt Disney World Resort hotel.
Pro – Disney staff provides excellent service – Disney’s customer service is well known for being among the best of any company in the world. They really do an excellent job of making sure your visit is as magical as it can possibly be. Why not have that superb service for your entire vacation by staying on property at a Disney resort? From the moment you arrive to the time you leave, you’ll truly get that oh so unique Disney experience from everyone you encounter.
Pro – Merchandise delivery from the parks to your Disney resort – Have you been in one of the parks at WDW and picked out a wonderful souvenir that is a must have, but you really don’t want to carry it around and take it on the attractions with you? Well, if you are staying at a WDW resort they provide complimentary package delivery from any of the parks.
Con – Transportation system can be slow at times – The buses operate approximately 20 minutes apart (at times they were much quicker…but at midnight with a really tired kid, 20 minutes is a LONG wait). Then it’s about 20 minutes once on the bus to get to most destinations. In the mornings we typically had seats, but in the evenings (at park closing or when a nighttime show was over) we were packed in like sardines. If you can linger to let the crowds thin, do so. If you can’t…you can expect to sit and wait for a while to get on.
Con – Luggage delivery by Magical Express may take several hours – If you used the Magical Express luggage tags for your checked bags, those bags will be picked up and delivered to your resort room but this process could take up to 4 hours or so. Be sure you have things with you that you’ll need while you wait for your luggage to arrive.
Con – Resort rates are higher – Like every hotel or resort, Disney World resorts’ rates fluctuate throughout the year based on the the season or holiday. Disney ups prices an additional $10-50 per night during certain weekends and holidays–particularly over the Marathon weekend, Martin Luther King Day weekend, Memorial Day weekend, 4th of July weekend, and Columbus Day weekend.
Con – Room availability is less, especially if you wait until the last minute – Some Disney resorts are very popular and if you wait until the last minute to book your room, you may not get your desired hotel room or resort.
Con – Getting to and from non-Disney attractions may be more difficult – If you flew into Orlando it may cost you a little bit more extra to experience the non-Disney attractions like LegoLand, Universal & Islands of Adventure, Seaworld etc. You will most likely have to rent a car or take a taxi, Disney World transportation does not provide services to non-Disney attractions.
Con – Disney makes it almost impossible to want to stay anywhere else – After you have stayed at a Walt Disney World resort and then you go and stay somewhere else for your family’s vacation, you will catch yourself saying. “This is sure not Disney!”
– Staying Off-Property –
Pro – Sometimes better/larger accommodations for the same or lower price as Disney resorts – Many of the off property hotels offer family suites to accommodate larger parties. At Disney, in order to book a family suite you will have to pay extra or choose between a Moderate or Deluxe hotel room.
Pro – More likely to find rooms in a desired price range at the last minute – More than half the families that take a vacation to Disney stay on property, so you are more than likely to find your hotel room at an off-property location at the last minute.
Pro – Better access to non-Disney attractions – If you flew into Orlando or drove, you will have better access to non-Disney attractions. Most of the time these hotels have a scheduled shuttle that goes to each attraction or you can just simply drive yourself there via your rental car or personal vehicle.
Pro – Some hotels offer scheduled shuttle service – Some of the hotels offer a scheduled shuttle service to either a certain park or the Transportation Center near the Magic Kingdom.
Pro – Some hotels offer free breakfast – Like most hotel chains these days, many of them offer a complementary breakfast as part of your hotel accommodation.
Pro – Many Off-Property hotels off discounts to non-Disney attractions and restaurants – In order to try and get more business, these hotels will offer discounts to the non-Disney attractions or restaurants that are in waling distance from their hotel.
Pro – Not in the “Disney Bubble” – Sometimes when you go on a Disney vacation you may not want to be immersed in the “Disney Bubble”. You may be staying at a central location so that you can enjoy all of the Central Florida attractions and not just Disney.
Con – Getting to and from Disney parks may be more difficult – Yes your hotel may have a scheduled shuttle to runs to and from the Disney parks, but what happens when you miss it or it only runs until a certain time at night or so early in the morning?
Con – No Extra Magic Hours – When you stay off-property you do not get to experience
Con – Not eligible for Disney Dining Plans – Disney Dining Plans are only offered to those that stay on-property at a Disney World Resort Hotel.
Con – Not eligible for Disney’s Magical Express – Disney’s Magical Express is only offered to those that stay on-property at a Disney World Resort Hotel.
Con – Not immersed in the “Disney Bubble” – The off-property hotels may be extravagant and have man awards, but they won’t have the Disney theming and immersive experience like you get when you stay at a Disney World Resort Hotel.
Con – Hotel staff may not live up to “Disney” quality – Disney’s customer service is well known for being among the best of any company in the world. They really do an excellent job of making sure your visit is as magical as it can possibly be. Some hotels may or may not live up to this expectation and it can sometimes ruin your trip.
If you have any additional questions please do not hesitate to Ask Me! If you are still having trouble figuring out if you should stay on property or off check out this post, “How to Choose a Walt Disney World Resort?”. If you are ready to Get The Magic Started on you and your family’s Disney Vacation, please feel free to fill out my FREE Quote Sheet! I hope to hear from ya real soon!
Experience the romance of the Florida Keys at this tranquil community of Conch Flats—a sprawling island hamlet with shimmering waterways, swaying palm trees and manicured golf-course fairways. Delight in sun-soaked pools, casual dining and such amenities as fully equipped kitchens or kitchenettes. A peaceful tropical paradise, Disney’s Old Key West Resort is also just a boat ride away from the excitement of the Downtown Disney area.
– Dining Options –
Olivia’s Cafe’ – Savor hearty home cooking with a taste of the Florida Keys at this hidden gem at Disney’s Old Key West Resort. A longtime resident of Conch Flats, Olivia welcomes diners with Island-inspired dishes. This nautical-themed eatery has the friendly, familiar feel of a neighborhood institution and is a perennial favorite of many a Guest. A must-visit spot for breakfast, Olivia’s Cafe serves up traditional favorites as well as several of Olivia’s own specialties: the Conch Republic omelet and the banana bread French toast. Who is Olivia? Olivia Farnsworth lived in a small cottage along Turtle Krawl, upwind of the strip. Almost daily, she would invite curious passersby who smelled her cooking to come on in and pull up a chair. People loved her vibrant flavors and earthy personality, and, before long, she found herself setting more tables. Eventually, Olivia opened the doors to her eponymous cafe, which has been a haven for locals and a must-visit for out-of-towners ever since.
Good’s Food to Go – It’s all good! Burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, salads, soups, desserts, snacks and beverages are all ready to grab and go. Or, enjoy a cheeseburger, pizza nachos or even chicken noodle soup at a shaded picnic table near the main pool.
Turtle Shack Poolside Snacks – Crawl onto dry land for pizza, sandwiches, hot dogs and salads. Sweet treats, smoothies, wine, draft and bottled beer, and soft drinks are also available at this seasonal venue. A shuffleboard court and game room offer further diversions.
Gurgling Suitcase – Libations and Spirits – Belly up to this cozy little Key West-style bar and try the Turtle Krawl, Sultry Seahorse or your drink of choice inside or by the pool. Wine and domestic and imported beer are also served. Hungry, too? The lunch and dinner menu from Olivia’s Cafe is available!
– Themed Pools –
Swim in one of 4 unique pools amid swaying palms, shimmering waterways and ornate Victorian architecture. Pool hours and lifeguard availability vary by pool and are subject to change.
Glide down a 125-foot-long waterslide through a giant sandcastle, and sunbathe on a sand beach. Decorative dolphins spout water at this feature pool that recalls the carefree romantic attitude of the Florida Keys. After your swim, relax in the whirlpool spa and feel your cares melt away in a dry sauna inside the pool deck’s lighthouse. Located near Hospitality House, the main pool even has a kiddie pool for little ones.
All-ages pools—each with a whirlpool spa—are located in the Old Turtle Pond, South Point and Miller’s Road sections. Offering a more relaxing respite, these pools are perfect for Guests looking to lounge the day away.
– Additional Recreation –
A fitness facility at Disney’s Old Key West Resort, featuring state-of-the-art strength training equipment. Stay fit while at Walt Disney World Resort with high-tech fitness machines to keep you going strong. Life Fitness treadmills, bicycles (regular and recumbent), ellipticals and stair climbers are available to Guests of Disney’s Old Key West Resort seeking cardiovascular exercise. Free weights and weight machines are also on site for those looking to pump iron while on vacation. A sauna is also available beneath the lighthouse by the main pool.
Find helpful information about hours of operation, facility requirements and more. Requirements: Old Key West Exercise Room is complimentary for Guests staying at Disney’s Old Key West Resort. Guests must be 14 years and older to use the health club. Guests 17 and younger must be accompanied by an adult or guardian. Hours of Operation: Old Key West Exercise Room is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You will be required to use your Key to the World card. Lockers: Lockers are available for your convenience. However, valuables should be secured in your hotel safe.
Conch Flats Community Hall – Play complimentary foosball, pool, video games, ping-pong and shuffleboard, and check out equipment for tennis, basketball and volleyball. Create one-of-a-kind crafts, and even sign out DVDs to enjoy in your Guest Room!
Campfire Activites – Gather ‘round as the sun goes down for old-fashioned family fun as you roast marshmallows by a crackling fire.
Movies Under the Stars – Watch favorite Disney films at complimentary outdoor screenings by the Sandcastle Pool deck.
Bike Rentals – Breeze by tranquil canals and rolling golf course fairways on a bike from Hank’s Rent ‘N Return.
Surrey Bike Rentals – Go for a jaunt in a covered bicycle built for 2—or 4!—available from Hank’s Rent ‘N Return.
Fishing – Enjoy a guided bass-fishing excursion—perfect for amateur anglers and seasoned sportsmen alike.
Tennis – Enjoy 2 lighted tennis courts near the main pool, plus a 3rd court on Old Turtle Pond Road. Complimentary racquets and tennis balls are available from Hank’s Rent ‘N Return with your Key to the World card.
Basketball Court – Shoot some hoops at the court near Hospitality House. Complimentary basketballs are available from Hank’s Rent ‘N Return with your Key to the World card.
Volleyball – Delight in beach volleyball on the court near Hospitality House. Volleyballs can be checked out from Hank’s Rent ‘N Return with your Key to the World card.
Jogging – Jog on a 1.37-mile-long path that winds along shimmering canals and golf course fairways.
Playgrounds – It’s 3 times the fun with 3 playgrounds for little ones. Children can climb and slide at play areas near the main feature pool, the pool area at Old Turtle Pond and the pool area at South Point.
Electric Eel Game Room – Play games classic and contemporary at this exciting arcade located near Hospitality House.
Flying Fish Game Room – Test your skills at this high-thrills arcade located near Turtle Shack Poolside Snacks.
If Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is the place that you would like to call “home base” during your Disney vacation, please feel free to CONTACT ME! If you are still unsure about where you like stay during your vacation you can check out these posts, “How to Choose a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel” or “Walt Disney World Resort Hotels”, here you will find out additional information about each resort. If you are ready to Get The Magic Started please feel free to fill out my FREE QUOTE SHEET!
Escape to an enchanting oasis of swaying palms, white sandy beaches and tropical surroundings that evokes the languid spirit of the South Pacific. Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows makes its home at one of the original—and legendary—Walt Disney World Resort hotels.
Nestled within Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort—an island paradise that was part of Walt Disney’s original vision for Walt Disney World Resort—our newest Resort will be minutes from Magic Kingdom Park via an easy water taxi or monorail ride, or a bus ride away from nearby Disney Theme Parks. Introducing Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows—a modern tropical paradise. Here, mid-century modern design meets traditional Polynesian style in a blissful union of Disney heritage and the South Pacific spirit of aloha.
The newest Disney Vacation Club Resort is scheduled to launch in Spring 2015, and will be the culmination of one of the largest Resort-wide refreshes in our history. From the moment you step foot into the newly redesigned lobby of the Great Ceremonial House at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, you will know you’ve arrived “home.” Cast Members will welcome you into an ‘ohana family as cherished cousins. Tiki torches will light your way across sandy beaches around a tranquil lagoon dotted with palms. Exotic island refreshments and music will inspire you to abandon the cares of the outside world you’ve left behind.
Whether it’s a relaxing family vacation in Disney’s first over-the-water Bungalows, or a fun-filled getaway in our beautifully designed Deluxe Studios, you will find your place in paradise—and a favorite vacation getaway that your family will treasure for years to come. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is currently rated as a AAA 4-Diamond resort.
The spacious accommodations at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows feature convenient amenities, innovative design and an ambience that’s pure magic. These modern additions to the Resort enhance its legendary history and carry a beloved legacy into the future. In the new Disney Vacation Club longhouses of Tokelau, Moorea and Pago Pago, designers created rooms that evoke the spirit of the Islands and the legacy of Walt Disney himself. The 20 overwater Bungalows of Bora Bora offer Members a truly magical experience—sweet dreams over the gently lapping waters of Seven Seas Lagoon.
– Deluxe Studios –
Relax in the stylish comfort of the largest Deluxe Studios at Walt Disney World Resort—larger than most Disney Vacation Club Studios. Natural finishes are complemented with bright pops of color and whimsical Disney art. Design elements evoke the islands and the beach with surfboard-inspired coffee tables, while the mid-century modern look of the furniture evokes Walt Disney’s own era. The carpeting features Polynesian-inspired patterns with a subtle hidden Mickey incorporated into the design. Deluxe Studios sleep up to 5 guests and some offer views of Seven Seas Lagoon.
– Bungalows –
Boasting a private back deck, plunge pool and room for up to 8 Guests, the 2-bedroom, 2-bath overwater Bungalow is a unique addition to the Disney Vacation Club Resort accommodations. Each idyllic Bungalow was carefully positioned for a view of Magic Kingdom fireworks from the back deck, which also feature speakers that can pipe in the music along with the show.
The living, kitchen and dining areas share an open floor plan, with oversized windows and sliding glass doors offering unobstructed views of the Lagoon and Cinderella Castle. A full kitchen includes the tools you may need to prepare meals in the privacy of your Bungalow. Stretch out on comfortable lounge furniture on a back deck that runs the length of the Bungalow, and cool off with a dip in your private plunge pool. A separate private seating area features hanging chairs. Each Bungalow also includes its own laundry area with stacked washer and dryer.
Polynesian Villas & Bungalows share the same amenities and dining options as regular guests stay at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Please see this post, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, to find out more information about the amenities and dining options that are offered!