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

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Category — 7. New Year’s Eve at Walt Disney World

Christmas Breaks in 2019 and Disney World Crowds

DISNEY WORLD CROWDS FROM LATER DECEMBER 2019 TO EARLY JANUARY 2020

Disney World sees its highest crowds and prices of the year in the later third of December and the beginning of January, in the weeks around Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

This is for a pretty basic reason: kids are out of school then. However, not every school district has the same break schedule.

In 2019, as always, there’s more kids out the week between Christmas and New Year’s than before or after.

However, because of the Wednesday Christmas, there’s not a lot of kids out the week before Christmas week–fewer than we’ve seen some recent years.

Crowds will be massive by December 21, 2019, and will be at their worst between 12/24/2019 and 1/1/2020.

More schools are taking two week breaks over the holidays in the 2019-2020 school year, so the week after New Years in 2020 has many kids still on break. Thus I expect Disney World to be heavily crowded through January 5, 2020. [Read more →]

April 9, 2019   No Comments

December 2018 at Walt Disney World

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!
[Read more →]

July 19, 2018   4 Comments

New Year’s Eve 2018 at Walt Disney World

2018 NEW YEAR’S EVE AT DISNEY WORLD

What’s known so far is that New Year’s Eve festivities and fireworks will happen at Disney World on December 31, 2018 at Disney World’s Epcot and Magic Kingdom theme parks, and also at the Magic Kingdom on December 30.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios currently has no special New Years eve events on its calendar, but in past years has done something at midnight as well.

The Animal Kingdom in the past has had no special New Years fireworks events–usually attributed to not troubling the animals. This makes it the best park to visit for those trying to avoid crowds. Everything will be wildly crowded, but the Animal Kingdom will be less so, and Magic Kingdom and EPcot will be overwhelmed.

Based on what’s already in the calendar and the past, the schedule will look like this:

  • Epcot will be open until 1a on New Year’s Eve; Disney’s Hollywood Studios likely until at least midnight, and the Magic Kingdom likely until 1a or later
  • The Magic Kingdom will have special New Year’s Eve fireworks at 6.30p and  11.50p
  • Epcot will have its Illuminations fireworks show at 6.30p and New Years Eve fireworks at 11.40p, plus DJs in various pavilions
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios likely will have fireworks at midnight

Magic Kingdom will have the same fireworks at the same times on 12/30/18. This date will likely be a little less crowded than 12/31.

Note that alcohol is not available at the Magic Kingdom (other than at a few restaurants), but is available at the other three parks

DISNEY WORLD PARK CLOSURES ON NEW YEAR’S EVE

Disney closes parks due to crowding often on New Year’s Eve. “Closes” means closed to additional guests–those in the parks do not have to leave.

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July 18, 2018   No Comments

Disney World Crowds: Christmas 2018 and New Year’s 2018/2019

DISNEY WORLD CROWDS FROM LATER DECEMBER 2018 TO EARLY JANUARY 2019

Disney World sees its highest crowds and prices of the year in the later third of December and the beginning of January, in the weeks around Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

This is for a pretty basic reason: kids are out of school then.

However, not every school district has the same break schedule.

In 2018, as always, there’s more kids out the week between Christmas and New Year’s than before or after.

Because of the Tuesday Christmas, there’s not a lot of kids out the week before Christmas. However, waits will build that week even so compared to earlier in December, as folks not worried about school breaks come then to try to beat the crowds later in the month.

Crowds will be massive by December 22, 2018, and will be at their worst between 12/23/2018 and 1/1/2019.

As in 2018, the week after New Years in 2019 has many kids on break, so I expect Disney World to be heavily crowded through January 6, 2019.

SCHOOL BREAKS AND DISNEY WORLD CROWDS

Most years, there two typical sorts of breaks:

  • Long breakers–districts that take at least 2 full weeks (and three weekends) off
  • Short breakers–districts that take off as close to only December 25 to January 1 as they can

As a result, the period Christmas-New Years is always mobbed at Disney World, as everyone is out of school then, but the periods before and after vary from year to year depending on what day of the week Christmas falls.

In 2018, the Tuesday Christmas put long-break districts in the position having to pick when to schedule their second week–before Christmas weekend, or after New Years. Enough put it after New Year’s that I expect to see heavy crowds that week.

My review of school breaks (explained more here), along with co-author Josh’s work on easyWDW.com. on waits, has not led to any material changes in my December 2018 or early January 2019 crowd forecasts. However in a minor change, I’d now expect the week beginning 12/1 to be a 3, not a 4, and the week beginning 12/8 to be a 4, and not a 3.

As always this time of year, it is critical through December 21 to visit the right park on the right day, and this will be especially true the week beginning 12/15. Pick the right days to be in each park, and you will see moderate-minus crowds; pick the wrong days, and you will see high crowds.

ACTUAL 2018-2019 CHRISTMAS SEASON SCHOOL BREAKS

The chart above illuminates how 2018/2o19 holiday breaks work.

It’s based on data from a weighted sample including more than 270 of the largest relevant US public school districts with almost a third–more than 15 million–of total US school kids included.

The holidays are red, the weekends black, and weekdays blue.

You can see that breaks begin Friday the 14th. More kids go on break beginning the 19th, and by the 22nd everyone is on break.

Pretty much everybody stays out of school through January 1, 2019, and while many go back to school January 2 or 3rd, more than 50% of US schoolkids remain on break through January 6, 2019.

Over the period, I have crowds the weeks beginning 11/24, 12/1, and 12/8 in the low range. Crowds the week beginning 12/15 I have as moderate–if you are careful picking your days (or use my itinerary) you will see moderate-minus crowds, and if you pick bad days, you’ll see high crowds.

Disney World crowds will peak between Christmas and New Years. I have the week beginning 12/22 as having the highest crowds of the year, and the week beginning 12/29 as having high crowds–worse earlier in the week, a little better later in the week.

 

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June 19, 2018   No Comments

December 2017 at Walt Disney World

December   January   February   March   April   May

OVERVIEW: DECEMBER 2017 AT DISNEY WORLD

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.

[Read more →]

June 13, 2017   10 Comments

Christmas 2017 at Walt Disney World

OVERVIEW: CHRISTMAS 2017 AT DISNEY WORLD

The Christmas season at Walt Disney World includes both the best and the worst times to visit, with both prices and crowds at both lower and very high levels over the period.

Decorations, special Christmas shows, programs, and events, and Christmas trees are everywhere, making Disney World as special a place to celebrate the holidays as you can find.

THE CHRISTMAS SEASON AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

December crowds at Walt Disney World begin at lower levels. They will begin to build on 12/22, and by 12/24 will hit their highest levels of the year, where they will stay until about January 2, 2018. Crowds will still be high–though not at the holiday levels–through January 7.

AK-Christmas Mickey and Minnie at Disney's Animal Kingdom from yourfirstvisit.net

Walt Disney World resort hotel December prices at the beginning of the month are at one of the lower levels of the year.

Prices increase 12/10, again 12/15, and again 12/22, ending at the highest levels of the year.

December weather is cooler and variable. While the average daily high is 73, this masks tremendous variability.

CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

Christmas 2014 at Walt Disney World form yourfirstvisit.net
Each of the parks has wonderful Christmas decorations, and the Magic Kingdom and Epcot (and likely Hollywood Studios) have special Christmas events, which will begin in early November at Magic Kingdom, mid-November at the Studios, and right after Thanksgiving at Epcot.

  • 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 22nd. 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 2017, November 8.
  • At the Studios, in 2017 the Christmas projection show Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! returns on November 9, and a new show, Sunset Seasons Greetings, beings that same day
  • 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 re-named Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. Epcot’s special events are fully in place the Friday after Thanksgiving–November 24 in 2017.

NEW YEAR’S EVE 2017 AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

New Year’s Eve festivities have not yet been announced, but based on past practices will occur December 31, 2017 at Disney World’s Epcot, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios theme parks, and also at the Magic Kingdom on December 30. The Animal Kingdom in the past has had no special New Years events, but may well in 2017.

Based on the past, the schedule will look like this:

  • Epcot will be open until 1a on New Year’s Eve; Disney’s Hollywood Studios until at least midnight, and the Magic Kingdom until 1a or later
  • The Magic Kingdom likely will have Happily Ever After at 7.30p and special New Year’s Eve fireworks at 11.48p
  • Epcot likely will have its Illuminations fireworks show at 6p and 11.40p, plus DJs in various pavilions.
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios likely will have fireworks at midnight
  • There may be a New Years Eve show at the Animal Kingdom–the first ever
  • Note that alcohol is not available at the Magic Kingdom (other than at a few restaurants), but is available at the other three parks

The Magic Kingdom likely will have the same fireworks at the same times on 12/30/17. This date will likely be a little less crowded than 12/31.
The 2017 easy Guide

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June 12, 2017   10 Comments