Last updated on 11/22/2023
December at Disney World closes out the year with holiday festivities, slightly cooler temps, and some of the busiest days of the year.
Here’s what you need to know:
As you probably expect, December is a busy month for Walt Disney World. While there is a lot to enjoy during this time, including the holidays, the crowds certainly aren’t for everyone.
That said, there are all kinds of reasons to love Disney World during December. Here are some of our favorites:
But while there is a lot to enjoy about December at Disney World, there are a few other things you should know:
The first half of December definitely sees fewer crowds than the second half. If you can, try to stick to traveling in the first 2 weeks of the month. But, if you do plan to travel over that second half of the month, just make sure you do your research and have a plan in place to maximize your time in the parks.
Basically, all of December will see heavy to very heavy crowds:
Traveling in 2024? Here’s how we think December 2024 will look:
Look for basically all of December to see heavy to very heavy crowds in 2024:
Although early December used to be known for light crowds, that is no longer the case as many people travel to Disney World to check out the decorations. If you are traveling during this time, expect it to be busy.
There’s a lot happening during this month, like: Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, other Christmas events, guests traveling for Christmas break, and more.
During busier times of the year, Disney does try to improve guest experiences by doing a few things to help keep the lines down. Although they never officially announce anything, these are the things that we’ve noticed that do help:
Although Disney can make adjustments to keep the lines manageable, they can’t control just how busy the parks look and feel. During busier times of the year like December, walkways and paths in the parks may be full, Quick Service locations remain busy for longer, and the crowds for nighttime shows will be heavier.
We don’t tell you that to scare you, but to prepare you. December is not the time of year to just wing it. Spending even just a few minutes on a plan for your Disney World trip will make all the difference.
Even though the end of December includes some of the busiest days of the year, discounts aren’t uncommon for the first few days of the month.
We keep track of all available discounts for December on our Guide to Disney World Promotions and Discounts page:
One of the hottest parties around, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a specially ticketed event (translation: it costs extra) at Magic Kingdom. During the party you’ll find special character meet and greet opportunities, dance parties, a special parade, fireworks, and special treat stations where you can get hot cocoa and cookies.
Typically starting at the end of November and running through the end of December, Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays introduces guests to holiday customs and traditions throughout the world.
Disney has introduced a brand-new holiday event, this time over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This one is more adult-themed, includes a lot of vintage holiday flair, and takes place after the park officially closes to regular ticketed guests.
Christmas has always been an extremely popular time to visit Walt Disney World, with decorations, giant gingerbread houses, and even special treats a highlight for many guests.
December at Disney World typically brings slightly cooler temps. But, while some days can be chilly, others may still be warmer than you’d expect. Since temps in December at Disney World can get cool in the mornings and evenings, consider dressing in layers so that you’re comfortable throughout the day.
During December, the temperatures will range from lows in the 50s to highs in the low 70s.
Rain is also less of a problem in December with the entire month averaging a little more than 2.5 inches.
But even though the rain chances aren’t as high, we still recommend that you come prepared with ponchos, multiple pairs of shoes (in case one pair gets wet), and umbrellas just in case. Nothing can ruin a trip faster than blisters from wet shoes.
Even though it may be too cold to swim in December where you live, at Disney World the pools are heated which means even if the air is a bit chilly, the pools are still a comfortable temperature.
In addition to the pools at the resorts, at least 1 of Disney’s 2 water parks will remain open.
Visiting Walt Disney World in December? You’ll definitely want to pack layers.
Some people may find shorts and t-shirts comfortable, but for others, you may want longer pants or even a jacket.
A lot of what will feel good to you will depend on what the weather is like where you’re coming from. For example, if you live in a colder climate the temps in Florida may feel just about perfect for shorts, even if they are only in the 60s.
And, definitely check the forecast in the final days before you leave because while December temperatures can be beautiful, it also isn’t unusual for it to get downright cold which means you’d want to pack something warmer.
While routine refurbishments aren’t typically scheduled in December, you’ll likely still run into a few attractions that are closed.
During the colder months, Disney also typically closes Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon (one at a time) for refurbishment.
These scheduled closings typically take place between the end of October and mid-March.
Make sure you check the calendar below to see what park will be open during your visit.
At this time, no major new attraction, restaurant, or show is scheduled to open in December.
Depending on the length of your trip, here’s how many days we recommend for each park:
When it comes time to decide which days are best for each park, here are some general things to keep in mind:
1. For each day of the month, we tell you on a scale of 1-10 how busy the entire Walt Disney World Resort is when compared to other days of the year.
2. Then, for each park you’ll see the park hours and any special events that are planned.
3. We also track refurbishments and closings (which you can toggle on and off).
4. We have a handy feature that allows you to automatically add your Advanced Dining Reservation date to your calendar.
5. And, one of the most useful features is the ability to be able to print the calendar so that you can have a paper copy for planning (or to just use as a backup).
Disney publishes its park hours about 75 days in advance, but those hours can (and very often do) change.
Note: This used to be about 180 days in advance, but since the reopening, they have transitioned to a roughly 75-day window.
As the dates get closer, it isn’t unusual for Disney to tweak either the opening or closing times. And during especially busy times of the year, they may change both.
That means to avoid having your plans sidetracked, you’ll definitely want to keep checking the park hours – including while on your trip.
When it comes to park hours – in general – the heavier the crowds, the longer the parks will be open during the day. Of course, that also means that the parks will be open fewer hours of the day during less busy times of the years.
That means in December you can expect to see the parks open more hours the week of Christmas and New Years.
Official park hours are usually released around 75 days in advance.
The "crowd level" compares each day to the rest of the year; it indicates how crowded the entire WDW Resort area is on a scale of 1-10.
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