For my thoughts on the re-opening of Walt Disney World, see this.

By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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Basic 2019 December Disney World Itinerary

By Dave Shute

This Walt Disney World itinerary is designed for the three weeks following Thanksgiving 2019.

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.

A detailed  To-Do List covers all the planning steps you need to undertake now. And you can find links to daily touring plans next.



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

  1. See the best that Walt Disney World has to offer, including all of its special Christmas season offerings
  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. Given all the evening shows and late nights, have as few early mornings as practical

The 2019 version differs from previous ones in a couple of ways:

  • It shifts the Christmas Party night from Tuesday to Thursday, to create an earlier bedtime on Tuesday
  • The two Hollywood Studios days are re-shaped to account for Galaxy’s Edge, with an early morning plugged in both days–one optional
  • It adds some time to Magic Kingdom, as I suspect that the projection-based new fireworks at the party will trap people in the hub for more of the early evening than past iterations–meaning folks will miss a ride or two that they could have seen during the Christmas Party in past years.

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


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1 Amy { 07.04.19 at 3:24 pm }

So based on the “Very Early Morning” you have for HS on Wednesday, are you expecting the EEMH to continue into December? What day of the week in general do you expect to be “lower” in terms of crowds at HS?

2 Dave { 07.05.19 at 10:34 am }

Amy, it varies by week. The three weeks the basic itinerary covers all have early closes at MK on Sun, Tues, Thurs and Fri. Late close days (e.g. Sat, Mon and Weds) are all wildly crowded, relieving the burden on the other three parks. Of these three days, Weds has the least overall attendance, thus my targeting Weds for HS.

I don’t know what will happen with EMH then, but if not available, folks will have to line up early for HS anyway, ence the early morning…

3 Barry { 09.20.19 at 8:03 pm }

Thanks for the great site Dave. I live in New Zealand and have been planning a visit to WDW for the last couple of years and booked for the first week of December (arriving 29 Nov with day 1 being 30Nov) based on your basic itinerary. Based on the full opening of GE on Wed 5 Dec, is the Wednesday still the best option for the 2nd day at HS?
I only have 8 days, so looking to squeeze the 9th day (AK) into possibly day 7 (Epcot).
What are your thoughts?
Could I use a 9 day basic pass over 8 days and use two of the ticket days on day 7 to achieve this? A 9 day basic ticket would work out cheaper than an 8 day hopper pass (if only one day was planned at two parks).
Thanks for your help and advice.

4 Dave { 09.21.19 at 10:11 am }

Hi Barry, and thanks!!

The best days for HS will be weekdays that MK is also open late (most weekdays during this season it closes early for the Christmas party), so Wednesday is still the best 2nd HS day. You cannot combine days the way you suggest–the only way you can go to more than one park in a day is with the hopper. Tell me more about the ages of your group and I can advise on the best way to fit things without a hopper…

5 Barry { 09.22.19 at 4:15 am }

Thanks Dave. I am travelling with my wife and two boys who are 11 and 13 (and love Star Wars). I’ve been studying the “5 rules” again, and another option could be to do AK on day 6 before the VMC and leave day 7 dedicated for EC. It depends on whether there is more to do at AK or EC I guess (given we can spend the whole day at EC on day 1).
Appreciate your suggestions.

6 Dave { 09.23.19 at 9:59 am }

Barry, the trick to all this is getting a FastPass+ for Flight of Passage at AK. With its popularity, aiming for such as late in your trip as possible is the best way to go about that. If you have such a FP+, you can do AK in one hard day. If you can’t you can sti;; do AK in a day, but have to arrive early enough that you are among the first one or two hundred folks at the turnstiles when the park opens…

EPcot is harder to do in a long day, unless you are willing to skim and skip in World Showcase–which, if you folks are world travelers, you may well be willing to do!

7 Mimi { 11.21.19 at 5:59 am }

Hi Dave! We are visiting Hollywood Studios on Friday December 6, 2019 and again late afternoon on Saturday December 7. We have Slinky FP at 10:30am on Friday and 4pm on Saturday. We also have Oga’s at 11:40am and 3pm on Friday (one of which I intend to cancel). We are one week out from leaving, and usually I have a good touring plan using your and Josh’s advice. This year, however, with Star Wars added to the mix, I feel like I am scrambling for a viable touring plan and I could really use your advice! How do you suggest touring HS now? Which land would you do at rope drop- Toy Story or Star Wars (and why)? And how early would you suggest getting to the gates on each of these days? Thank you so much!

8 Dave { 11.21.19 at 7:36 am }

Mimi, you dates are so close to the opening of Rise of the Resistance that it’s a little hard to predict.

Here’s what we say in our 2020 guide, currently in our publisher’s hands for final edits:

“Touring strategies will change once Rise of the Resistance opens. Rise
is expected to be a much grander ride than Smugglers Run, which means
most people will likely head to it first. This may create a situation similar
to Pandora at Animal Kingdom, where nearly everyone rides Flight of
Passage first, and then visits Na’vi River Journey immediately after. This
makes it possible for those who arrive early enough to ride both attractions
with relatively short waits first thing in the morning.”

In other words, if you want to do both Galaxy’s Edge rides, arrive really early, expecting to return to GE later in the day to get more from its ambiance.

9 Mimi { 11.21.19 at 10:22 am }

Great Dave, thank you for the guidance!

10 Dave { 11.22.19 at 12:52 pm }

Glad to help, Mimi!!

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