Disney over the holidays — The Bump
Pre-School

Disney over the holidays

Anyone do it?  DH and I are thinking of going next December (leaving the day after Christmas), but I can't stop thinking about the crowds.  Our kids would be 4 and 18 months then.  DH is a teacher so unfortunately our times to visit Disney are limited to the busiest times of the year.  Would we be better going over Thanksgiving week (Dh would have to take a couple of personal days) or early June (we would wait until 2013 in that case)?  Or are we just crazy and should wait until our youngest is a bit older?  We would go a few times over our kids' childhood so this isn't a once in a lifetime trip for the kids.

Re: Disney over the holidays

  • Thanks for the info - I don't know what we'll do...my husband hates going to Florida in the summer (especially if we won't be doing the beach) and he coaches baseball in the spring (so spring break is out) so this is really the only time we could go and of course we want to take our kids there a few times during their childhood so we might just have to bite the bullet.  If he could take the few days off leading up to Thanksgiving that might work best since then we would have a few days with smaller crowds, but I am not sure if he would be allowed to take those days off.  We will see - thanks again!
  • I've gone the week of Thanksgiving before and love it that time of year.  It's not too hot or too crowded. 

     There is no way I would go in the summer.  It's just too hot and too crowded.  

    The ages to go with your kids are great.  My daughter had a great time there at 18 months and there is so much to do there with a 4 year old.  

    If he has to take some personal days you could also always consider a long weekend with a day like MLK, Jr. day or President's day weekend and extend the time then.  We love going in January and then to go up annually then.  IMO it's the least crowded and best weather to go.  

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  • We are planning a trip for early December 2012. I posted the other week asking for tips ang got some great advice. Definitely check out touringplans.com. It gives you a realistic view of how busy it is likely to be each day.  Also shows what the average wait time is on light and busy days.

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  • I basically agree with all advice from PPs, but strongly disagree with the crowd levels the week leading up to Thanksgiving.  We were there this year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving and returned home the day after Thanksgiving.  I would never, ever, ever do that again.  Although the weather was beautiful, it was insanely crowded.  We had to wait almost an hour for every single ride - even the ones that are fairly lame like the People Mover.  I've been to Disney many times in my life and have never seen it that bad.  If you check touringplans.com for their crowd levels (1-10 with ten being the most crowded time of year), every day leading up to thanksgiving is a 10. 

    Honestly, at the ages your kids are now, I would really consider trying to go over President's Day or MLK day and having your DH take off the Friday before and maybe the Tuesday after.  The weather will be good and it won't be crowded.  It's really hard to explain to little kids how the lines work and it's really hard keeping them entertained for long waits.

     If you do end up going over T-giving or Christmas next year, I would highly recommend hanging out in your hotel room and having a low key morning, give the kids naps and then go at dinner time/evening time.  The days we went to the parks from like 5-10 PM were much, much more pleasant.  And I'm definitely one who normally keeps my kids to a tight schedule but chaning things around made our vacation enjoyable instead of an expensive horror!

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  • i'd go spring break... well- i'm GOING spring break this year, lol.  We needed to go based on school schedules b/c my niece is coming (she's 18) as a helper... so we don't have a choice... we'll be there last week in march/april, and for my son's 5th birthday which is so exciting to me!

    i have heard (even by the reservation woman on the phone at disney) that the holidays are the worst time... pretty- but insane crowds.... spring break isn't as bad b/c different schools have different weeks off, etc.... but everyone has the same time off in Dec for the most part.

     

    I used to be Goldie_locks_5 but the new nest is so screwed up that I was forced to start over.
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  • 1.  I agree 4 is an awesome age to go.  It was nothing short of magical for DD at age 4.  No regrets about her age.  DS1 was almost 2 and he like it but not to the extent DD did.  He napped in the stroller.  We just let him crash.

    2.  We are also going for Spring Break and seriously just excited we get to go again.

    3.  Pictures of Disney at Christmas are just beautiful.  I have never been that time of year.  My BFF went in November but didn't mention anything about the crowds.

    4.  We went in August last time.  And it was HOT.  Very hot!!  Didn't help I was pregnant.   We went 8/8- 8/13 or something like that. I didn't think we had to wait too long for anything.   


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  • Thanks for all of the advice and info from everyone!  My husband coaches baseball so spring break is out for us.  We are limited to the busy holiday season or the summer unfortunately.  Hopefully we can plan well and have a lot of patience.  Crowds or not, I can NOT wait to see DS's face light up!
  • If your DH has some personal days, is going the week after Thanksgiving a possibility?  We've gone the Sunday, Monday, Tuesday after Thanksgiving and it's almost empty.  We've also gone Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of Thanksgiving and it was a madhouse.  I swore I wouldn't go over Thanksgiving ever again.  Madness.  I've heard Christmas is worse.  We're going again this Novemeber the week after Thanksgiving for at least 3-4 days. We're pulling DD1 out of first grade for it.  Definitely worth it.  

    I also agree 4 is a great age for Disney, but I hated the under 2 age. I'd avoid about 12-24 months if possible. We took the girls when dd2 was 15 months and it was a mess.  She wanted to walk everywhere like her sister so she would have a meltdown every time we put her in the stroller, but she was so tiny and so slow that she really couldn't walk.  She also was never one that slept well in the stroller by that age so she was a mess.  We only went for one day then and I was glad it wasn't more.  I think this really depends on your kid as much as anything .  DS would be better about it but he's also my runner so I wouldn't attempt it.  

    FWIW - My parents live about 2-3 hours from Disney.  We alternate families for Thanksgiving so on the years we go to my parents, we plan a short Disney trip of 2-3 days. The one day trip was for my birthday and we happened to be at my parents that time.  It was a month before DD1 turned 3 and the year Disney was doing the get in free on your birthday.  We just had to pay for DH and all of us could go. 

  • I wouldn't go the week of Cmas, but the week before is good.  We were there 2 yrs ago and it was insane and not very enjoyable.  I think Tday is better.  June is iffy b/c school is out down there and in other places close by. 
    DS1 age 7, DD age 5 and DS2 born 4/3/12
  • We went to Disney when DD was 20 months for 2.5 days and we were exhausted.  We went in October and it was crowded and busy, but not bad at all.  One of my FB friends is there now w/ her extended family and it looks and sounds like they are having a blast and haven't had any major crowd issues. 

    Regardless of when you go, its a hard trip IMO - lots of walking, lots of waiting in line, etc. nothing's easy or particularly relaxing, but it was fun and DD had a blast.  I can't imagine the people that go for a week at a time.  We did things easy too - mornings at the park, late lunch adn then back for nap and pool and then dinner.

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  • We went to Disney over CHristmas 2 years ago. It was colder then usual but it was not very crowded at all.  We were able to have very little wait for most rides - longest 20 minutes.  Were able to fast pass the long waits and ride the other rides.  We did have 1 long wait for soaring - about 1.5 hours at the end of the day.

    We took ds at 13 months and almost 3.  He loved the character dinner and got everything and really enjoyed everything. Also, at a week before his 3rd birthday he was free everywhere.  I would say go and have fun.  Make dinner reservations early!


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  • i'm part of a disney group and they posted today that all of the parks were closed do to capacity today - except for one.
    I used to be Goldie_locks_5 but the new nest is so screwed up that I was forced to start over.
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  • I live in Orlando and I would NOT recommend going over the holidays. It is a SUPER BUSY time and sometimes the parks close down and you can't get in. That happened to me when I was in hs and I know it happened again yesterday or the day before. You really don't want to spend a TON of money to go and then either not be able to get in the park or have to wait hours for the rides. We are waiting until February to take our LO's.
  • imageCiarrai:

    If your DH has some personal days, is going the week after Thanksgiving a possibility?  We've gone the Sunday, Monday, Tuesday after Thanksgiving and it's almost empty.  We've also gone Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of Thanksgiving and it was a madhouse.  I swore I wouldn't go over Thanksgiving ever again.  Madness.  I've heard Christmas is worse.  We're going again this Novemeber the week after Thanksgiving for at least 3-4 days. We're pulling DD1 out of first grade for it.  Definitely worth it.  

    I also agree 4 is a great age for Disney, 

     We also just went the week after T-giving and it was awesome!  I was with a 4 year old and 19 month old.  We had also gone in June (the Nov. trip was a little sidetrip - couple of days) - but getting there the Mon after - the crowds were great, and I would definitely do that again.  June was a lot hotter and a lot more crowded.  Would love to go in Nov again - unfort., DH couldn't join us then, so our next big trip will probably be June again (ugh). 

  • DH and I went back in Dec. 2004, and we went from Dec. 18 to Dec. 23. The crowds were not bad at all. I mean, the holiday special stuff (Osborne Lights, holiday parades) were a little busier, but overall it wasn't bad. Nothing like summer (I've been during June and it was unbearable). We went on our honeymoon in late Jan. 2008, and it was great then too. I MUCH prefer Disney in winter (which in FL is like a mild fall at home). Cool enough for jeans most days, but still warm enough for the pool.

    I have to say though, in '04, I remember the airport being pretty insane due to storms. Some flights were canceled into northern cities and they were offering buses instead of later flights. It was bad (I vividly remember a guy going ballistic about a canceled flight on Christmas Eve), though we luckily and got home with only a mild delay. 

    I would NOT go in summer. It is hot and crowded. Check the Disney hotel sites and you can see which are "high tourist" and "off" seasons based on prices, pretty much down to the day. Stick with any time in the lowest price range and you're good, the more expensive you get, the more crowded the parks will be.

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  • We are going in a month and my dh has been addicted to  the app that tells you how crowded disneyland is and how long the wait is for rides- it was so busy on Christmas day, they stopped letting people in- even kiddy rides had 60-90 minute waits- yuck.  It was still very crowded the week after Christmas.  Seems a tiny bit less crowded before Christmas Eve. 
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