Basic December FastPass+ Itinerary

By Dave Shute

This Walt Disney World itinerary is designed for the three weeks following Thanksgiving.

Disney World FastPass+ Basic December Itinerary from

If you aren’t going one of those weeks, see Other Itineraries for alternatives the rest of the year, which are published about six months ahead.

You can enlarge the basic itinerary by clicking it. For a PDF, click here.

As with the other itineraries on this site, there is also a detailed page for each day of your vacation, with specific instructions for that day. Find them here:

Moreover, a detailed To-Do List covers all the steps you need to undertake–including reserving dining and booking FastPass+.


The basic itinerary was designed to meet several goals: to ensure that you

  1. See the best that Walt Disney World has to offer
  2. See the parks in the order that works best for kids (essentially Epcot first, as it is potentially the most disappointing, and the Magic Kingdom last, as it is likely to be the best loved)
  3. Avoid unnecessary waiting, by using FastPass+ and other tactics…
  4. Have as much time off, and as few early mornings, as practical
  5. Avoid unnecessary spending–for example, the basic itinerary does not require you to buy the “Park Hopper” option, saving you more than $200

If you can’t do the Basic Itinerary, see Other Itineraries for alternatives for both the December week and the rest of the year.

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1 Carrie { 06.05.14 at 12:12 pm }

hi Dave,
We will be going to Disneyworld with 12 people (ages 1 to 70), from December 6 – 13, and using your December itinerary as a basis for our own itinerary. However we have to modify it a bit. We will get to the park before it opens each day, which is not what you recommend, but works best for our young kids and their grandparents. We will not stay late, except maybe one night to see Illuminations. Our main goal is to avoid crowds and long waits. We will not do MVMCP on this visit but will return when kids are older. I’m trying to get our schedule worked out so I can make a few dinner reservations next week.

So, my questions are:
1) I have looked at your basic itinerary and the EMH for the parks. Do you see anything wrong with this itinerary?
12/6 Sat fly in and meet for dinner, no park
12/7 Sunday MK (leave by 7)
12/8 Monday HS Is it possible to see Fantasmic and then Osbourne afterwards, both on the same night?
12/9 Tuesday MK (leave by 7)
12/10 Wednesday Epcot (if we see Illuminations and leave right afterwards, will it be a nightmare with the crowds all leaving at once?)
12/11 Thursday AK
12/12 Friday MK (leave by 7)
12/13 Saturday some people fly out early, some will visit a park. You recommend MK, but won’t it be very crowded on this day?

2) You suggest visiting some of the lodge Christmas decorations in the evening, which I would like to try. Can we just drive up to the hotel and park? On our last visit in April 2013, we noticed at AoA where we stayed that they have a guard and gate and you have to say you are staying at the hotel to park there. Do they let people park and visit the hotels that are not guests just to visit and see the hotel?

We love your site!
Thanks very much!

2 Dave { 06.06.14 at 7:46 am }

Hi Carrie and thanks! First, your dates overall look fine! Second, yes you can see Osbornes after Fantasmic. And yes, MK will be busy on Saturday–all my itineraries have a compromise somewhere. Yes, Epcot departures are always a zoo right after Illuminations. There’s too ways around that: if you have two days at Epcot, use your tier 1 FP+ one day for Illuminations. The viewing area for the FP+ puts you as close to the buses as anyone. Second is to see them on EMH night–but the park is overall more crowded that day…

Whether or not you can park varies depending on how crowded the resort is…

3 Chris { 06.27.14 at 12:10 pm }

This may seem like a dumb question, but how does one adjust the provided itinerary if you are not arriving on Saturday?

We hope to arrive Monday, December 1st and depart Tuesday, December 9th.

Would I simply start our itinerary on the Monday and proceed from there (with arrival and departures adjusted accordingly). Or would I count the first Saturday as my Monday and proceed from there?


4 Dave { 06.27.14 at 12:33 pm }

Chris that’s a great question. The itineraries are tuned to exact operating patterns and offerings that vary by day of the week. So “First Saturday” in fact means “Saturday,” not “Day 1.”

Here’s how to revise:
Arrival Monday: Do First Saturday
Tuesday: Do as written
Weds: Do Monday
Thursday-Saturday: Do as written
Sunday: Do first Sunday
Second Monday: Do Wednesday
Second Tuesday: Do second Sunday

5 Ed { 08.21.14 at 9:51 pm }

We are going to Disney staying at Shades of Green. We will arrive November 29th or 30th, but the rest of our party will fly in on Dec 1st. You do not have any days on your itinerary that shows getting to the parks early. We were there in may a few years ago and it was so crowded if we arrived after 10am. Are the crowd levels so low the first two weeks in December that it is not necessary to arrive early? Additionally do you suggest the MVMCP for children that are 8 and 3 years old?

6 Dave { 08.22.14 at 11:43 am }

Ed, no it’s not that–it’s that with the use of FastPass+ over this full itinerary you can do almost everything great without the kind of early mornings that the old Fastpass system required…

7 Heather { 08.26.14 at 9:05 am }

We have no kids, flexible dates on when we can arrive but check out will be Wed. Dec. 3rd. We would like to ride all the rides and go to all the parks, can we just adjust the basic Itinerary, what should we leave out? We will be driving, brining a microwave, can we take food/snacks to the park, we’re both training for fitness shows so we can eat poorly and eat every 3 hrs! Thanks!

8 Dave { 08.27.14 at 7:52 am }

Hi Heather! This itinerary isn’t that flexible–in it days are days, so “Monday” means “Monday,” not day 3. You will be best off starting with the plans at the end of Chapter 6 of our book The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit and then adding to them the various Christmas program items.

9 Elaine { 09.03.14 at 6:24 am }

Our family (3 adults, one 9 yr old daughter) have never been to DW and here is our itinerary for 12/9-13/14. We are staying at Bay Towers at the Contemporary Resort. What do you think?
Tues, Dec 9 – arrival 12:30 – Magic Kingdom, dinner, Xmas Parade
Wed. Dec 10 – Magic Kingdom
Thurs. Dec 11 – Hollywood Studios, then Downtown Disney in evening
Fri. Dec 12 – Epcot
Sat. leaving 5:00 p.m. – leisurely morning, Disney Boardwalk before leaving

We do not want to be jammed packed and exhausted as we are sure to return….:)

10 Dave { 09.03.14 at 8:37 am }

Elaine, a couple of thoughts. First–on the 9th, you can’t see the christmas parade unless you have bought MVMCP tickets. the park closes at 7 for everyone without party tix. See this:

Second, Friday will be busy at Epcot, so I’d swap Thursday and Friday.

And third, staying for the evening show Fantasmic at HS is a much better choice than Downtown Disney

11 Elaine { 09.03.14 at 9:47 am }

Thank you Dave for your help :) Elaine

12 Hayley { 09.25.14 at 3:07 am }

Hi Dave
Firstly your site is GREAT
We are going to disney sun 13 December 2015 for a week
with our daughter who will be nearly 3 by then, my husband
and I have been before and we certainly hope to visit again
when my daughters older..
Is there anything you really recommend doing with our toddler or
anything you would avoid? Would you suggest going to a park
in the morning- leaving in the afternoon to head back to resort
and then going to a different park in the evening or
would it be better just doing one park a day but maybe arriving
at around lunch time?
We are contemplating staying at AofA as I think she
will appreciate the whole disney theme more than
the more upmarket hotels, but I’m not sure if I’m going to
regret this when me and my husband visited alone
we stayed at the Swan and Dolphin and was
Spoilt by being so close to Epcot and the Board Walk.
The other thing that makes me a little worried about
AofA is there isn’t a waiter service restaurant and
we are going to be buying the disney dining plan.
Any tips advice would be greatly received!
Thank you!!!

13 Dave { 09.25.14 at 6:40 am }

Hayley, I focus on kids much older than that, so don’t have anything in particular to help with a three year old.

I think you will be fine at AofA as your table service credits will be better spent at character buffets anyway…and there’s little for a 3 year old at Epcot…

What you want to do is aim for short 3-4 hour periods in the parks that match her daily habits. So don’t get her up at 7a to arrive at a park by 8.15 if she normally gets up at 8. FastPass+ makes this easy to schedule…

14 Hayley { 09.25.14 at 9:58 am }

Thanks for your help,
I know hoop dee doo is obviously aimed at adults/older kids
but my daughter does like music and is fine with a party kind
of loud atmosphere, would you really discourage taking
someone this young to this? Thanks

15 Dave { 09.26.14 at 6:53 am }

Hayley, I wouldn’t “really discourage” it. She may have more fun at Mickey’s Backyard Barbecue, where she won’t have to sit at a table for two hours.

16 Jill { 10.06.14 at 1:35 pm }

Your advice has been priceless so far – thanks for the great site. How do you modify this schedule? We’re arriving Thur. 12/4 and leaving Sat. 12/13 with 2 full days at Universal (still TBD).

17 Dave { 10.07.14 at 6:43 am }

Jill it doesn’t really modify that well–days in it are days and tied to Disney’s operating calendars and the differences they create between e.g. Tuesday and Wednesday.

The simplest fix is to do Universal at the front end of your trip, and then pick up this 7 night variant beginning the evening of fifth:

18 Mark { 10.07.14 at 3:52 pm }

We are at Hollywood Studios today 10/07/14). Disney world is running an experiment where they are only allowing FastPass+ holders to ride Toy Story Mania – no standby line. Fortunarely, we had a FastPass for it for late afternoon. We had planned to ride it standby first thing in the morning, then ride it later at the FastPass time. The experiment killed that plan. I don’t know how long this experiment will continue, but it might need to be factored in when picking the Tier 1 FastPass. On the bright side, there was a very short wait when our FastPass time came around.

19 Dave { 10.08.14 at 4:31 pm }

Thanks Mark, thanks for the report! This experiment is expected to end soon–tomorrow:

20 ANGELA { 11.30.14 at 10:20 pm }

Dave, hello! I forgot to check if you wrote me back. Between the 3rd and the 4th of january, which day is better to spend the day in Magic Kingdom? I was wondering if you know if there are shuttles available from the rental car agencies to the disney line cruise terminal? I’m using National rental car… Thank you!!! Last year you helped me choose my dates, we arrived in Walt Disney World mid december and it was just awesome… hope you can help me now too!!!

21 Dave { 12.01.14 at 9:49 am }

Angela, the 4th, by far. And I don’t track the cruise line, but strongly doubt it. You can get a shuttle from a WDW hotel–see this:

22 Joseph Puiszis { 12.04.14 at 10:11 pm }

Hello Dave,
We will be arriving in Orlando December 28th and leaving January 1st. My wife had this idea of just going into Disney World for one day so our 9yo daughter can see some princesses and do some princess stuff. At first I was just wondering where to enter; now I am wondering if this is even feasible. Well, is it? If so, can you gives some clues as to how? Thank you.

23 Dave { 12.05.14 at 7:46 am }

Joseph, unless you will never have another chance, I’d skip it. Early Jan 1 may be tolerable, but no day before it, and FastPass+ for the key princess items are gone…

24 Christina { 02.17.15 at 1:26 pm }

Hey Dave-

I’m wondering if you have any updates on Downtown Disney. We are staying at PO French Quarter in September 2015. Any idea if Downtown Disney will be completed? We’d love to take the ferry down one night from the hotel.

25 Dave { 02.18.15 at 10:11 am }

Christina even during the construction there’s a ton of stuff open at DTD.

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