By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

December 2016 at Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute

October   November   December    January   February   March   April   May


December 2016 at Disney World from yourfirstvisit.netThis page reviews December 2016 Walt Disney World crowds, prices, deals and discounts, weather, and operating hours; adds a few other notes; and ends with week by week summaries.

Early December, with lower crowds, lower prices, and wonderful Christmas decorations and events, has the best weeks of the year to visit.

Later December with Christmas and New Year’s weeks has the highest crowds and prices of the year.

Park closings to additional guests are possible in this later December period, as are 8a openings and more morning Extra Magic Hours than other weeks.

December also has a special party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, a special evening event–with its own ticket–that has become a family tradition for many.


Early December is one of the less crowded periods at Walt Disney World. However, because of the Christmas Party you can face higher much waits if you go to the parks on the wrong days.  See this for how to avoid these crowds.

Later December–beginning the 17th in 2016–is the most crowded time of the year at Disney World

On a crowd scale of 1-11, the week beginning 11/26 has a crowd rating of 3/ low, the week beginning 12/3 4/low-plus, the week beginning 12/10 3/low, the week beginning 12/17 10/higher, and the week beginning 12/24 11/highest.

See this for more on 2016 crowds at Disney World.


Prices begin the month at the values and moderates 10% higher than the lowest of the year. At the deluxes, prices begin the month 6% higher than the lowest of the year.

On 12/11, prices increase at the values to 45% higher than the lowest of the year, at the moderates to 25% higher, and at the deluxes to 30% higher.

On 12/12, prices increase at the values to 65% higher than the lowest of the year, at the moderates to 50% higher, and at the deluxes to 55% higher, and stay at this level through the end of the month

See this for more on 2016 resort hotel prices at Walt Disney World.


Deals are available for December 2016. Details are here.


Average temperatures trend down over December, and weather becomes quite variable.  Days can be perfect, or quite cool.

Disney World Temperatures and Percentile Distribution Click the image, or go to Weather and When to Go to Disney World, for more on temperatures.


December brings delightful Christmas festivities to Disney World:

  • At the Magic KingdomMickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party—a special event that requires its own ticket—runs on many nights through December 22. After that date, its signature events—a special Christmas parade, and special Christmas fireworks—are available to all guests.
  • At Epcot, the evening fireworks show Illuminations has special Christmas additions. In addition, most nights Christmas carols are sung by massed choirs in the Candlelight Processional. Many of the countries in Epcot’s World Showcase have special Christmas events as part of Epcot’s Holidays Around the World program. Epcot’s special events usually begin the Friday after Thanksgiving

The New Years Eve schedule is not fully out. The Magic Kingdom and Epcot will have special fireworks and celebrations on 12/31/2016, and the same celebrations will also happen at Magic Kingdom on 12/30.

Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios New Year’s Eve offerings are not yet clear.  For speculation on these, and more detail on what is known now, see this.


Park operating hours vary by the day, and sometimes change without notice. It is rare for hours to be shorter than Disney has publicized, but Disney may lengthen them in response to unanticipated crowds.

The best way to keep up with operating hours is to check Disney’s official calendars, usually available six months in advance.

These calendars can be found by clicking the following links:


The week rankings that follow below are from 2016 weeks to visit, ranked in order, and are designed for first-time visitors who do not know whether or not they will return.

2016 Disney World Week Rankings from

Click the image for a calendar view of 2016 weeks (when open, keep clicking to enlarge.)

11/26/2016. Low prices at values, moderate-minus prices at moderates, low prices at deluxes. Low crowds. Crowd ranking=3. Week ranking=1. Recommended Week. Use the Basic 2016 FastPass+ December Itinerary

12/3/2016. Pop Warner Week. Low prices at values, moderate-minus prices at moderates, low prices at deluxes. Low-plus crowds. Crowd ranking=4. Week ranking=2. Recommended Week. Use the Basic 2016 FastPass+ December Itinerary

12/10/2016. Moderate-plus prices at values, high prices at moderates and deluxes. Low crowds. Crowd ranking=3. Week ranking=3. Recommended Week. Use the Basic 2016 FastPass+ December Itinerary

12/17/2016. Higher prices at values, moderates, deluxes. Higher crowds. Crowd ranking=10. Week ranking=42. Use the 2016 FastPass+ Higher Crowd Itinerary, but watch for added morning EMH and 8a opens

12/24/2016. Highest prices at values, moderates, deluxes.  Highest crowds. Crowd ranking=11. Week ranking=47. Use the 2016 FastPass+ Higher Crowd Itinerary, but watch for added morning EMH and 8a opens
The 2017 easy Guide

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1 jennifer { 08.08.16 at 11:25 am }

I would like to go in early December there will be 2 of us going I would like to stay 3 nights 4 days.

2 Dave { 08.09.16 at 9:46 am }

Hi Jennifer! Did you have a question?

3 Kelly B - Destinations In Florida { 08.09.16 at 8:27 pm }

Jennifer, I would love to help create a Disney vacation quote for you and your family. If you can email me at or call me at 980-429-4499 we can work together to create the most magical for you.

4 Grace { 09.02.16 at 6:10 am }

I wii like to be in Disney world in December with my family of 5 me my husband and my three children ages 15, 11,8

5 Jade { 09.25.16 at 4:05 am }

Hello, my family (me, hubby, 2 tween boys) are coming next year 23 Dec -2 Jan. Yeah, I know. Hideous timing, but unfortunately as a teacher my summer break is the only holiday long enough to allow for Jetlag recovery. I’m making an assumption that crowds don’t normally change much from year to year, and I’m wondering if you could recommend any specific parks (or ones to avoid!) for these dates?

6 Dave { 09.25.16 at 8:58 am }

Jade, it does vary from year to year. For example, AK is historically the best park on NYE, but with the expected opening of Avatar there next year it might not be. So I will wait befroe I make recommendations for then.

7 CYNTricSOUL! { 10.05.16 at 10:56 pm }

I’m trying to book a trip for 31 people to Disney World for Thanksgiving or Christmas. If anyone could be an assistance to this matter, please let me know.

8 Dave { 10.06.16 at 2:30 pm }
9 Kelly B - Destinations In Florida { 10.06.16 at 2:37 pm }

Hi Cyntric – I’m Kelly B – the dedicated Destinations In Florida travel agent for I would love to help you and your family plan your Disney holiday vacation. Please contact me at 980-429-4499 or as soon as possible. Looking forward to helping you plan your magical vacation.

10 Jennifer { 10.16.16 at 7:40 pm }

My boyfriend and I are coming down not until next November 28-December 5 of 2017. Would it be better crowd wise to wait the following week to go down with the pop Warner football, xmas taping and cheerleading going on? We would like to know which is the better week with less crowds?

11 Dave { 10.17.16 at 8:35 am }

Jennifer, see this.

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