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Navigating the Holiday Hustle at Walt Disney World

Updated: Dec 27, 2023

Ah, the holidays at Walt Disney World! It's the most magical time of the year... and also, coincidentally, the most crowded. Fear not, for I come bearing a guide to not just survive but thrive amidst the yuletide chaos at the most magical place on Earth.

Classic Christmas decoration at Echo Lake in Walt Disney World
Christmas decorations in Disney's Hollywood Studios

We in the thick of it right now. Crowds see a big increase the week before Christmas but the week after is by far the busiest week ALL YEAR. But just because it's crowded doesn't mean you can't have a good time or get a lot done. With the proper mindset and preparations your trip can be as magical as ever! Here are my tips to get the most out of busy times at the parks.


Gran Destino tower in Disney's Coronado Resort
Christmas tree in Gran Destino in Walt Disney World

Rise and Shine - The Early Bird Catches the Magic

Set your alarm clocks to "pixie dust o'clock." Arriving early can be your secret weapon against the throngs of other magic seekers. And the way to get their first is to stay on property and utilize early entry.

Disney resort guests are given entry 30 minutes before the scheduled park opening and this is a great time to hit up a few of the most popular attractions in each park with the least waits all day.

And if you stay at a deluxe resort, you get access to extended evening hours. This is when certain parks are open for an additional 2 hours after closing to all other guests. All year round Monday is at Epcot and Wednesday at Magic Kingdom but this time of the year they'll add additional nights and parks.

12/21/24 Epcot 9:30pm-11:30pm

12/25/24 Epcot 9:30pm-11:30pm

12/28/23 Animal Kingdom 8pm-10pm

1/1/24 Epcot 9pm-1pm

1/3/24 Magic Kingdom 11pm-1am

Slip into your comfiest sneakers, snag that first monorail, and beat the rush to snag a prime spot for that Cinderella Castle selfie!

Christmas tree in World Showcase in Epcot
Christmas tree in Epcot

Stay Late for the Grand Finale

Just as the early bird catches the worm, the late lingerer catches the final burst of magic. As the day winds down, the crowds start thinning, and the attractions and park take on a different charm under the twinkling lights of the holiday decorations. Stick around for the breathtaking fireworks show or a quieter stroll through the park.

Location, Location, Location

Choosing your lodging strategically is like choosing your potion wisely. Staying at a resort near the park(s) you plan to visit could mean precious minutes saved on travel.

The many experienced advisors at Coasters & Castles Travel will help you choose a resort that makes the most sense for your family and vacation. You'll want to stay at a resort that is convenient to get back and forth to and has many means to get you there. If you know you plan to spend at least 2 days at Magic Kingdom, a Monorail resort would be perfect. Plan to hit up Epcot a few nights for dinner? A Skyliner or Epcot resort makes the most sense.

Plan Like a Mastermind - Strategy Is Key

Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom
Projections on Cinderella Castle

Picture this: You, armed with a meticulously planned itinerary, breezing past lines like a seasoned pro. Download the My Disney Experience app and become one with it like the Force. Book your trip with a travel advisor and they will even help you prioritize your must-see attractions.

Having a plan of what you want to do first and what your must do's are is essential. You can't get everything done on an average day so set expectations and priorities.

Utilize the app to keep up to date on wait times, showtimes, finding restrooms and use mobile order wherever possible. You can even mobile check out at some retail locations. And book at least one table service reservation each day to get away from the crowds.

Jungle "Jingle" Cruise in Magic Kingdom
Jingle Cruise in Magic Kingdom

Genie Plus & Lightning Lanes - Your Royal Pass

Embrace the power of Genie Plus and Lightning Lanes, your golden ticket to shorter wait times. Invest in this magical upgrade to make your visit smoother than Tinker Bell's flight path. I know it adds more to the cost of your trip but if saving time is important and you want to get as much done as possible, it's essential. Just remember, choose your Lightning Lanes wisely to maximize their enchantment.

Embrace the Chaos - It's All Part of the Magic

Sure, it's busy. Yes, there might be queues longer than Jafar's villain monologues. But guess what? You're in Disney World during the holidays! Revel in the festive spirit, soak up the atmosphere, and make memories amidst the hustle and bustle. After all, where else can you experience snowfall in Florida?

Navigating the holidays at Disney World might seem daunting, but armed with strategy, patience, and a sprinkle of fairy dust, you can conquer the chaos and create enchanting memories that will sparkle in your heart long after the holiday lights dim.

So, go forth, merry travelers, and may your days be merry and bright... at the most magical place on Earth! And the key to all of this....booking your trip thru an experienced travel advisor to help you save time during the planning process and assist with navigating all the how to's and what NOT to do's!


Melissa Lenox specializes in personalized vacations. You should be able to relax on

vacation and planning shouldn’t be stressful. Let me do the hard work so you can enjoy yourself! My specialties are Disney destinations, Universal theme parks, Sandals and Beaches all-inclusive resorts, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines. I am a Gold Travel Advisor with Coasters & Castles Travel, Blog Editor of Main Street to the World.

Follow me on my pages below or contact me at mlenox@travelcnc.com to plan your next adventure!


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