By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2019, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.





December 2018 at Walt Disney World



By Dave Shute

December   January   February   March  April   May    June

WHAT IS DECEMBER LIKE AT DISNEY WORLD?

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, and major New Years Eve celebrations.

Note also that picking the right park to visit each day is critical at this time of the year. See this, and use the comment form below to ask me about your specific dates!

DECEMBER 2018 CROWDS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

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 2018–is the most crowded time of the year at Disney World.

On a crowd scale of 1-11, the week beginning 11/24/18 has a crowd rating of 3/ low, the week beginning 12/1 4/low-plus, the week beginning 12/8 3/low, the week beginning 12/15 6/moderate (better earlier in the week, worse later), the week beginning 12/22 11/highest, and the week beginning 12/29 9/high.

Moreover, this time of year you will see much worse crowds if you don’t carefully pick which day to see which park. See this for guidance on picking Disney World park days, or use the comment form below to ask questions about your dates.

See this for more on 2018 crowds at Disney World.

DECEMBER 2018 PRICES AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

Prices begin the month 5-10% higher than the lowest of the year at the values, 10-15% higher at the moderates and and 5-15% higher than lowest of the year at the deluxes.

On December 9, prices increase to 20-25% higher than the lowest of the year at the values, 15-20% higher at the moderates, and 10-20% higher at the deluxes.

On December 14, prices increase to 30-40% higher than the lowest of the year at the values, 20-25% higher at the moderates, and 20-40% higher at the deluxes.

On December 21, prices increase to 60-70% higher than the lowest of the year at the values, 35-50% higher at the moderates, and 55-75% higher at the deluxes.

See this for more on 2018 resort hotel prices at Walt Disney World.

DEEMBER 2018 DEALS AND DISCOUNTS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

Deals for the general public are available for December 2018. Find them here.

DECEMBER 2018 WEATHER AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

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.

DISNEY WORLD SPECIAL EVENTS IN DECEMBER 2018

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 from November 8 through December 21st. Later in December, its signature events—a special Christmas parade, and special Christmas fireworks—are available to all guests. Christmas decor is in place by the night of the first party–in 2018, November 8.
  • At the Studios, in 2018 the Christmas projection and fireworks show Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! returns on November 8 and a projection show on Tower of Terror, Sunset Seasons Greetings, begins that same day.  These two shows, other business–including this year in Toy Story Land–and the Christmas Tree at Echo Lake make Hollywood Studios the second best Christmas park at Disney World, after Magic Kingdom.
  • At Epcot, the evening fireworks show Illuminations has special Christmas additions. In addition, beginning November 22 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 re-named Epcot International Festival of the Holidays which begins in 2018 earlier than it has in the past, on November 18.

New Years Eve fireworks will happen at Magic Kingdom on 12/30 and 12/31, at Epcot on 12/31, and likely at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on 12/31.

DECEMBER 2018 OPERATING HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

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. Opening hours may change to 8a.

The best way to keep up with operating hours is to check Disney’s official calendars, usually available about six months in advance. Major hours updates–often with later closes–can happen a month before.

These calendars can be found by clicking the following links:

WEEK BY WEEK COMMENTS FOR DECEMBER 2018 AT WALT DISNEY WORLD BY ARRIVAL DATE

The week rankings that follow below are from 2018 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 2018 weeks.

11/24/2018 Low-plus prices. Low crowds. Crowd ranking=3. Week ranking=1. Recommended week. Use the Basic December Itinerary

12/1/2018 Low-plus prices. Low+ crowds. Crowd ranking=4. Week ranking=3. Pop Warner weekRecommended week. Use the Basic December Itinerary

12/8/2018 Moderate prices. Low crowds. Crowd ranking=3. Week ranking=2. Recommended week. Use the Basic December Itinerary

12/15/2018 High prices. Moderate crowds. Crowd ranking=6. Week ranking=18. Use the Basic December Itinerary

12/22/2018 Highest prices. Highest crowds. Crowd ranking=11. Week ranking=47. Use the Higher Crowd Itinerary, but swap Wednesday and Thursday, and watch out for earlier opens and added morning Extra Magic Hours

12/29/2018 Higher prices. High crowds. Crowd ranking=9. Week ranking=43. Use the Higher Crowd Itinerary, but watch out for earlier opens and added morning Extra Magic Hours

 

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest!!

RELATED STUFF

4 comments

1 Eric { 10.10.18 at 12:06 pm }

Hi Dave. Per Disney’s website, MK will be opening at 9am during the week of 12/22 & 12/28. Given that it’s the heaviest crowds of the year, I’d normally expect it to open at 8am (in line with your book with timetables during heavy crowds). Do you think they will change it? Do you know what time they’ve opened, historically, during those weeks?
Thanks

2 Eric { 10.10.18 at 12:41 pm }

Oops. Sorry Dave, I sent the question before reading the entire page. I see your mention of the early opens, as well. So a better question: do you recall when they typically announce the changes, and is it fair to assume they’ll do it for every day of the week?

3 Dave { 10.11.18 at 11:08 am }

Eric, typically there’s a major calendar update around the 15th of the month before, but hours/EMH can be extended as late as the night before (for open/morning EMH) or day of (for close). These last minutes changes feel a little less common these days–as FP+ means Disney has more advance insight into who is going where when.

For last year’s hours as of the Thursday before, see this and this.

4 Eric { 10.11.18 at 12:03 pm }

Dave, as always, many thanks for your help (including my question for Feb 2019). Cheers!

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 2008-2018 . . . 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.