Christmas and New Year Crowds at The Magic Kingdom!
The Halloween pumpkins haven’t yet begun to wilt and the theme parks are already gearing up for the most popular, magical and fun filled time of year in Orlando. Christmas of course is the huge money spinner and 2013 is without doubt the time to visit the Orlando parks.
Sub zero temperatures, icy cold winds and constantly grey skies from back home, contrast sharply with the warm Florida air and unbroken blue skies that characterize the charming Orlando winters.
If you want magic, Orlando always delivers, whatever time of year, but this is the season that delivers in sack-fulls! A walk down Main St USA on a Christmas evening will exceed any expectations that you’ve ever had of Disney. The spirit is so unique, thanks to the tiny soft foam flakes of snow, the adorable Disney festive tunes and street decorations that would shame any location on earth. Is that it? Is that all Disney throw at you?
Not at all. With characters in costume, a Christmas themed fireworks display that truly makes you wonder how they do it, and of course all of your favorite attractions on offer, it really is a perfect place to be.
Food lovers and gift hunters won’t be disappointed either, thanks to an amazing array of merchandize and snacks, unique to the Christmas Holiday Season. Perfect to enjoy yourselves or take back home for friends and family.
If though, you really want to know why places like the Magic Kingdom are so beautiful at this time of year, we have one simple word: You!
While that may seem a rather big cliché, there’s no truer way to describe why the holidays in particular are so magical. Despite the parks being at their peak in terms of attendance, the busy streets kind of ‘slow down’, families holding hands, faces lit up by the glow of the festive street decorations and nobody needs to rush to the next big thing.
The whole place is the ‘big thing’ at this time of year. If you’ve never been tempted, we truly encourage you to make a leap of faith and join in the Christmas Magic at Disney!
Why not check out our three Best Times to Go articles to see when your family would enjoy a trip to Orlando?
- Miss the Local School Breaks in Orlando
- What’s the Weather Like around the year
- Big Events in Orlando through the year
- Check out what is coming soon in the parks
Christmas Crowd Levels At Walt Disney World
With so much magic and so many special parades, beautifully themed holiday decorations, the most popular theme parks take in a lot of guests over the Holidays, none more so than Christmas.
While is it a sensational experience to walk down Main St USA, our advice to guests planning festive visit is to adjust your expectations considerably!
It’s unrealistic to show up and expect 20 min ride wait times, or a kerbside view of the parade at the Magic Kingdom, or to walk into any restaurant and expect a table!
Seriously, Walt Disney World is extremely busy at this time of year!
So much so in fact, that the roadways into WDW, as amazing as they are, often become congested with large tailbacks into the parking lots.
Don’t worry though, traffic is well managed at Disney and you will get there eventually, just plan an additional 60 mins of travel time to get into the parks from your accommodation to be absolutely safe.
Another thing to consider, is that during the busiest times of the Holidays, the park gates can often be closed to arriving guests and the Magic Kingdom is often the first (if not only) theme park to experience this very carefully considered procedure.
Read more about Disney’s Theme Park Closure Phases.
- To give you an idea, on December 25th and 26th 2014, the Magic Kingdom closed to guests with regular park tickets only around Mid Morning for 5 or 6 hours.
- On Dec 27th 2014, the Magic Kingdom parking lot was full and guests were being diverted to Epcot in order to park.
- On New Year’s Eve 2014, the Magic Kingdom was closed to guests with regular admission tickets from 9:30am!
Guests with Annual Passes, Dining Reservations or staying on Disney Property, were still able to enter the theme park.
TIP: EPCOT is still very popular, but its huge size means that gate closure is less likely than the 3 other WDW theme parks!
Should You Visit The Magic Kingdom On Christmas Day?
If you are visiting Orlando for the very first time, and will be coming again some time, then perhaps give the Christmas Day and Boxing Day visits to the Magic Kingdom a miss!
There’s so much more to do in Orlando, but, please bear in mind that just about everywhere will be very busy to some lesser degree. A day with the family, enjoying some quality time together by your luxurious villa pool, might be a more rewarding and memorable way to spend your holiday vacation!
Alternatively, if you simply can’t resist spending Christmas Day in the Most Magical (and crowded) Place On Earth, then take our ‘Visiting The Magic Kingdom At Christmas advice’;
- Check the Magic Kingdom’s opening time
- Get up really early
- Reach the parking lot at least one hour before the official opening time for ‘Rope Drop‘
- Expect long lines into the parking lots and turnstiles even at this time of day!
- Enjoy the fabulous welcoming ceremony
- Enjoy a few hours of ‘busy but tolerable’ theme park crowds
- Make your escape back to your hotel room or vacation home by 12
- Grab lunch at a non WDW restaurant that your family loves (book a table!)
- Or, head into the parks at around 6pm for a much quieter evening at the Magic Kingdom.
If you choose to stay all day at the Magic Kingdom, we advise that you make an Advance Dining Reservation 6 months in advance. It will help your chances of finding somewhere decent to eat inside the theme parks, but will also work in your favour if Disney do trigger the phased closing of the theme park gates (Disney’s Theme Park Closure Phases)
What to Wear At Christmas in Walt Disney World?
We all know that Orlando has fabulous weather all year round, right?
Well, that’s what the travel brochures tell us!
The reality is of course that Central Florida does have tremendous weather and that frosts and snow are rare, but chilly snaps are as part of the Orlando weather as 20ft snow is in Colorado!
Be prepared for nature’s variability when visiting Orlando between October and February!
Take at least one or two pairs of comfortable long trousers/pants and a couple of long sleeves shirts and a light jacket.
Read our ‘ Weather in Orlando By Month‘ Blog post.
Also check out our What to Wear at Disney World article!
Traffic Gridlock Heading Into The Magic Kingdom on Christmas Day 2014