December Disney World Crowds

When it comes to December at WDW, this month seems to have everything you could ask for: stunning Dream Lights on Cinderella Castle, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party happening on select nights, the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, festive decorations seemingly everywhere, holiday music being played in all 4 parks, and some of the best food and drinks you can find year-round.

While all of that is happening throughout the month, the crowd levels start out pretty low and build up to (arguably) the busiest time of the year at WDW—Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

If you haven’t been to Walt Disney World before, or even if you haven’t been in a while, I strongly recommend planning your first (or return) visit during the month of December. Pure Disney magic at its finest, the amount of holiday-themed experiences are too high to count, nonetheless accomplish in one trip—there truly is more than enough for each member of your party to enjoy at WDW this time of year.

If you’re craving a Maple Bûche de Noël from the Festival of the Holidays, longing to see the Dream Lights on Cinderella Castle in-person, or ready to be in awe of the Voices of Liberty performing beautiful holiday music (as Dickens Carolers), ask our friends at Destinations to Travel how to get started planning a December visit! Be sure to let them know Danny sent you.

December Disney World Crowds

Cool temperatures and an extensive list of seasonal experiences make December a simply perfect time of year to visit WDW—especially for the first half of the month when the crowds are light (or average at most)!

During the second half of the month, very heavy crowds develop, naturally making it more difficult to experience all of the holiday offerings on your must-do list. If you’re dreaming of spending Christmas and/or New Year’s Eve at WDW (on the holidays themselves, not just earlier in the season), as long as you’re prepared to visit during the busiest time of the year at WDW, I say go for it!

Photo by Marisa Alvarado | Instagram: @behindtheearswdw

Dad’s Guide to WDW Crowd Calendar Disclaimer

This calendar is based on historical facts as we know them today, and personal experiences. Walt Disney World is an ever-changing destination and you might find the crowds, weather, or seasonal experiences to be different from what we’ve predicted.

How to Avoid December Disney World Crowds

As with any EPCOT festival, to avoid crowds as much as possible, I suggest visiting a different park on the weekends (especially on Saturdays).

To experience the Magic Kingdom with minimal crowds, try to plan to visit this park on the day of a Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party event. Before the party starts, the park tends to be less crowded. You can stay from rope drop until 4pm (when Cast Members start asking guests who aren’t attending the party to leave, ahead of its official start at 7pm).

If you’re considering a trip to WDW during the holiday season, the simplest, most passionate tip I have is… Visit in early December! Early in the month, all seasonal experiences are in full swing, the temperatures are cool, and the crowds are low! One of these days, I just might decide to declare early December as my official favorite time of year to visit WDW.

December Events

  • EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays – At each World Showcase pavilion, this festival gives you the opportunity to sample flavors of traditional holiday food and drinks from that corresponding country. Plus, we get to learn more—in a variety of ways, including storytelling performers at each pavilion—about each country’s holiday celebrations.
  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – These parties just might be the most wonderful nights of the year. Including Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Spectacular, cookie/hot chocolate pick-up locations around the park, fan-favorite festive snacks, snowfall on Main Street U.S.A., Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration, attraction overlays, rare character meet-and-greets, and so much more make this event encapsulate everything that is Christmas at WDW.
  • Christmas at WDW – This really is the most magical time of the year at WDW. There are decorations everywhere, special limited-time snacks and drinks available throughout all parks and resorts, festive entertainment offerings, and to top things off, holiday music playing practically anywhere you go!

The Best Time to Visit Disney World?

Wondering when is the best time to visit WDW? Of course, that really depends on you—your preferences, your schedule, and what’s on your must-do list. But, before booking your next vacation, here’s a breakdown of the factors you should consider.