By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2018, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

December 2017 at Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute


This page reviews December 2017 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 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 12/22 in 2017–is the most crowded time of the year at Disney World.

On a crowd scale of 1-11, the week beginning 11/25 has a crowd rating of 3/ low, the week beginning 12/2 4/low-plus, the week beginning 12/9 3/low, the week beginning 12/16 7/moderate+ (better earlier in the week, worse later), and the week beginning 12/24 11/highest. (Note that the 12/16 crowd level is a re-forecast.)

See this for more on 2017 crowds at Disney World.


Prices begin the month at the values 5-10% higher than the lowest of the year. On 12/10 they increase to 20-25% higher. On 12/15, they increase to 40-45% higher, and on 12/22 they hit 60-75% higher, the highest prices of the year, and stay at this level until the end of the month.

Prices at the moderates begin the month 10-15% higher than than the lowest of the year. On 12/10 they increase to 15-20% higher. On 12/15, they increase to 20-25% higher, and on 12/22 they hit 50-55% higher, the highest prices of the year, and stay at this level until the end of the month.

Prices at the deluxes begin the month at 5-15% higher than the lowest of the year. On 12/10 they increase to 20% higher. On 12/15, they increase to 25-35% higher, and on 12/22 they hit 40-60% higher, the highest prices of the year, and stay at this level until the end of the month.

See this for more on 2017 resort hotel prices at Walt Disney World.


Deals are available for  December 2017. 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 typical December weather.


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.
  • At Hollywood Studios, a special Christmas show Jingle Bell Jingle BAM replaced the Star Wars evening show in 2016.  I’d guess it will be back in 2017.

The New Years Eve schedule: Magic Kingdom and Epcot will have special fireworks and celebrations on 12/31/2017, and the same celebrations will also happen at Magic Kingdom on 12/30. Hollywood Studios–and Animal Kingdom–may also have celebrations.


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. Look especially for a major update to hours a couple of weeks before the month starts.

These calendars can be found by clicking the following links:


The week rankings that follow below are from 2017 weeks to visit, ranked in order, and are designed for first-time visitors who do not know whether or not they will return.

Click the image for a calendar view of 2017 weeks.

11/25/2017 Low prices. Low crowds. Crowd ranking=3. Week ranking=1. Recommended week. Use the Basic Itinerary.

12/2/2017 Pop Warner week. Low prices. Low+ crowds. Crowd ranking=4. Week ranking=3. Recommended week. Use the Basic Itinerary.

12/9/2017 Moderate prices. Low crowds. Crowd ranking=3. Week ranking=2. Recommended week. Use the Basic Itinerary.

12/16/2017 Higher prices. Moderate+ crowds–better earlier in the week, worse later. Crowd ranking=7. Week ranking=21a. Use the Basic Itinerary.

12/23/2017 Highest prices. Highest crowds. Crowd ranking=11. Week ranking=45. Use the Higher Crowd Itinerary but check–especially in late November–for earlier opens and additional morning Extra Magic Hours

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

Follow on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest!!



1 Sherry { 06.28.17 at 1:10 pm }

We are debating between the days of August 20-24, or December 16-21. I like the idea of lower crowds in August, but we have never been during the Christmas season. However, the crowds this time of year seem very high. What are your thoughts on this? The weather in August seems sweltering as well??

2 Dave { 06.29.17 at 7:04 am }

Sherry, if you’ve been before–especially in the era of FastPass+–then you’ll be fine in December, as a good plan beats the crowds. I would vote for the December options on every dimension except for hotel prices, which will be much higher.

3 Sherry { 06.29.17 at 7:21 am }

Thank you very much! We have been before and are super excited for December! We landed a free dining promotion for December! Yay!! We can’t wait!!

4 Dave { 06.30.17 at 8:39 am }

Yay free dining, Sherry!!

5 Deb { 08.26.17 at 11:02 pm }

Hi, Dave! I really appreciate all you have put into this website. It’s been a lifesaver for this first-time Disney planner. My dilemma – We are planning to attend Magic Kingdom twice sometime between Nov. 29-Dec. 2, 2017. We are going to the Very Merry Mickey Christmas Party on 12/1. For our second “day” at MK, would it be better to visit on a normal park hours day, such as 11/29 or 12/2 (Saturday = higher ticket prices and more people?), or would there be a lot less people (and shorter lines) on 11/30 when the park closes at 4:30? Thanks for your help!

6 Deb { 08.26.17 at 11:13 pm }

A December dining question – I have a reservation to eat at Cinderella’s Table on 12/1 at 5:30 PM. We have tickets for the Very Merry Mickey Christmas party that evening. The park closes at 6:00, but you have previously written that we can get in as early as 4:00 or so. Do you think our Christmas party tickets will allow us to get to our reservation or will we need to buy regular park tickets for that day? Our reservation had a disclaimer on it that, if applicable, events at the Christmas party may make it more difficult to get to the restaurant and to allow plenty of time, but maybe that is a standard disclaimer on every reservation?

7 Dave { 08.27.17 at 11:49 am }

Deb lines and crowds will be much better on a short-hour day!

8 Dave { 08.27.17 at 11:50 am }

Deb, Disney can change its practices any time it wants, but you should be just fine!

9 Kinji { 09.10.17 at 12:04 am }

We’re flying for Orlando on 13 dec 2017 evening and planning to spend a week in Orlando with our 8.5 and 4.5 year old girls . As a first timer in Disney can you please recommend how to plan the week to ensure kids have a great time enjoying the pre Christmas fun at all the parks , enjoy some outdoors at the same time don’t get too exhausted with a packed week . Thank you !

10 Dave { 09.10.17 at 7:16 am }

Kinji, use this as a starting point, but it is tied to exact days so will need heavy revision. Give me some more specifics about when 12/13 you arrive, and what day you leave–and how long you can be in the parks that day–and I’ll be able to add more specific advice!

Leave a Comment | Ask a Question | Note a Problem

My response to questions and comments will be on the same page as the original comment, likely within 24-36 hours . . . I reserve the right to edit and delete comments as I choose . . . All rights reserved. Copyright 2008-2017 . . . Unless otherwise noted, all photos are by me--even the ones in focus--except for half a dozen from my niecelets . . . This site is entirely unofficial and not authorized by any organizations written about in it . . . All references to Disney and other copyrighted characters, trademarks, marks, etc., are made solely for editorial purposes. The author makes no commercial claim to their use . . . Nobody's perfect, so follow any advice here at your own risk.