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  1. #1

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    Walt Disney World at Christmas or in Spring 2012

    I can use some advice regarding when to visit WDW. My family and I frequently visit Disneyland in California, but we have never visited WDW. I planned for an eight-day vacation at WDW for this year 2011 with one window being near the end of October 2011, but the vacation keeps getting delayed. Thus, my family and I are considering going to WDW inl Spring 2012.

    I want to avoid visiting when attractions are closed for maintenance. At Disneyland, attractions freqently close in the "off" seasons such as Fall and Winter, but Disneyland avoids closing attractions at Christmas and in Summer. Thus, those would be good times to visit Disneyland except that the crowds are huge (with about 80,000 people in the Disneyland Resort on popular Summer weekends). I don't like long lines, but I have even more dislike for closed attractions. I notice that one water park will be closed at WDW in early December 2011 and the other will be closed the rest of December. I would have chosen to go to WDW in December if everything was open. I don't want to go when a hurricane is likely to close attractions or parks.

    My wife does not do well in hot, humid weather, and I want to find a way to keep her cool during her visit. I notice some people carry water pump bottles capable of spraying people with a water mist. That may be useful in Florida. Maybe a simple squirt bottle will be enough. I am avoiding Summer because of the heat. I have never visited Florida and am unfamiliar with the weather. People in the western United States talk of Florida's hot and humid Summer weather and hurricanes. Perhaps landing at the Orlando airport during a hurricane is an E-ticket ride.

    What do you think is the best time for us to visit WDW?

  2. #2

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    Re: Walt Disney World at Christmas or in Spring 2012

    Well Christmas in WDW is a wonderful experience, especially if you have the time like say...8 days, however, the lines are HORRIBLE during christmas. WDW may have larger pathways and better at handling huge crowds, but christmas is the absolute peak of this...especially the actual week of christmas. Growing up we always went at christmas time and were used to the lines so it always seemed normal. Having one in the off season I have a much harder time dealing with the lines. As a DL regular you probably do the same thing.

    Attractions do close in Florida but it seems to not be as often. I would keep a close eye on the closure schedule and determine if any of the closures you could live with. If any on the list you cant live with I would switch to the alternate time. Christmas should have little or no closures. Spring 2012, my guess, will also have minimal closures as some of the new Fantasyland are supposed to open up roughly around this time. I dont think they will do many big closures until the new rides are up and running to offset that.

    Summer in Florida can be a bit of a culture shock with the humidity. There are regular rain storms almost daily and throw down a ton of water in a short period of time. These regular storms last about 15 minutes to a half hour on average. In all honsety these storms can be fun at WDW. I like to take shelter at the closest place to eat and watch the people try to brave running in the street and watching nature pound down around me. Directly after these storms the weather is usually better. Unless the sun immediately comes out and then the humidity level and heat get worse. Dont let that scare you though. Also dont let hurricanes scare you either, unlike earthquakes, you get plent of warning where they are going and usually know the strength of the storm before it gets there so making appropriate decisions come in advance. Winter in Florida I find to be absolutely beautiful. The days are just the right temperature and the nights are just chilly enough to warrent a sweatshirt and still be comfy in shorts. Rainfall is much less in the winter months (sometimes creates a drought and makes my water bill rise growl...but you would never know you were in one because the weather is usually nice).

    If I had those 2 choices of the time to go it would be difficult. To go back to WDW in christmas would be very magical with SOO many cool sights...foods...extra things to do...and checking out the big resorts and their hotel lobbys and events are a blast, but the Lines would drive me crazy and having 4 times as many children too old to be in strollers coming right for you like a game of chicken on the highway would really change my magical experience. OR go during the spring where the crowd levels are MUCH lower and the possibility of a ride closing would also irritate me...but not as much as the crowd.

    My choice would be wait till Spring of 2012....after all some of the new Fantasyland might be open! Weather wont be summer like yet. (once you hit the month of May you get more summerlike weather) Your wallet will also not empty as quickly as prices will be lower.

    Ok long winded, but hopefully something helped you...Whatever you choose please give us a trip report with pictures.....and in the WDW seciton. Would love to see your perspective !!!


    PS. Would also love to hear your opinion of the duplicate rides from DL that are here. Some I think are plussed, some just different, and others minused. I think all versions have their charms and deserve to be judged by themselves!
    Contestant in the The Future of Imagineering Season 2 contest here on Mice Chat in the Celebrate the Parks section/Disneyland.
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    "Sometimes, I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion!"


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  3. #3

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    Re: Walt Disney World at Christmas or in Spring 2012

    Just to reiterate and maybe expand on some of what DWD Imagineer said, if you haven't been to WDW during Christmas, GO! The lines are long and the place is packed, by the overall atmosphere trumps any crowd size, especially if you haven't been to Disney World at Christmastime. My family's choice of season to go to WDW was always Christmastime until a few years ago. We just needed a break from such large crowds but they really shouldn't be that much of a bother if it's your first time.

    What I'd really recommend though is this:

    Try to avoid going during the actual week of Christmas unless it is an absolute necessity for you to be there during Christmas Eve/Day. You'd be extremely surprised at the difference in crowd levels between the week of December 10th to the 17th compared to the 17th to the 24th. This way, you can still experience the decorations, festivities, parades and atmosphere without dealing with overwhelming waiting times.

    If you do go the week of Christmas just prepare yourself. It's going to be tempting to think, "Well maybe this is the year that Christmas isn't that busy." Don't fall into that trap as it'll only set you up for disappointment. Trust me, I speak from experience. The years during which I accepted the fact that it will be packed were the years I had the most fun. You just really need to be patient and remind yourself that regardless of wait times, waiting in line for a ride at Disney World is way better than waiting for anything anywhere else. Take advantage of the time to talk to the people you're with. Take advantage of the time to look for things you might overlook during 10 minute wait times. There's an incredible amount of detail in Walt Disney World. You'll notice something new every time you look close enough.

    Also, I notice you're worried about one of the water parks being closed in December. Don't worry about that. It isn't hot enough in Florida during December to enjoy the water parks anyway. Temperatures will rarely peak over 70 degrees during this time and the temperature can dip to the high 40s low 50s during the evening. That's why WDW takes the liberty to close water parks during this time. It saves them money because no one will go anyway.

  4. #4

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    Re: Walt Disney World at Christmas or in Spring 2012

    True to that....and in all honesty waterparks are sorta overrated. Do something else. Like the Luau at the polynesian.....or do some of the other special things. Lunch with an imagineer, keys to the kingdom, the cirque show at DTD, even spend a day off property and do universal for a day or even some of the other unique things at orlando instead of the water parks. Almost all the hotels have great water features that you can do inbetween your day. My opinion is a water park is a water park...no amount of theme makes them much different....

    and i find disney is no exception. Switch your mind to do the unique stuff instead...

    But 8 days of disney during christmas...Ill pay your kid to live in my house and Ill pretend to be your kid ...kidding...well not really. WDW christmas is spectacular!
    Contestant in the The Future of Imagineering Season 2 contest here on Mice Chat in the Celebrate the Parks section/Disneyland.
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    http://disneyworlddaze.blogspot.com/2011/10/future-of-imagineering-season-2-project.html


    "Sometimes, I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion!"


    "Bon Voyage!"
    -S.I.R.


    "My friends are exciting, just like fireworks igniting, they're inc-reeeeeed-ible."


  5. #5

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    Re: Walt Disney World at Christmas or in Spring 2012

    Agreed, I don't find water parks special. I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to try the Summit Plummet at least once though. That ride looks fun as all hell.


    Also, I didn't see that the OP mentioned he had 8 days! Holy moly! Go in December! Long waits or not, you're going to have enough time to get in multiple rides of your favorite rides and then some. I was able to squeeze in everything I wanted to do in 5 days during Christmas, albeit just barely. 3 extra days would have made things a heck of a lot more relaxed and easy going!

  6. #6

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    Re: Walt Disney World at Christmas or in Spring 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Aladdin6592 View Post
    Agreed, I don't find water parks special. I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to try the Summit Plummet at least once though. That ride looks fun as all hell.


    Also, I didn't see that the OP mentioned he had 8 days! Holy moly! Go in December! Long waits or not, you're going to have enough time to get in multiple rides of your favorite rides and then some. I was able to squeeze in everything I wanted to do in 5 days during Christmas, albeit just barely. 3 extra days would have made things a heck of a lot more relaxed and easy going!
    Yea the 8 day thing I saw right away and was salivating....8 days at WDW no matter what season would be awesome!.. You can bypass some long lines and get to them later....

    Plus at christmas there are SOO many other things to do that 3-4 dayers cant get to...

    8 days you can plan your way around by the minute and have a great time no matter what the crowd level..

    my longest WDW stay was 5 days 6 nights...so 8....YIKES!

    on a side note I always said if I wont the lottery the first thing I would do with that money is get the big suite at the polynesian for at least a month and concentrate on the small things I have never done, take all the cool tours, and soak in the atmosphere each day. Going to WDW for 1-2 days makes yo go all commando to hit the big stuff instead of slow down and enjoy yourself. I might go back in october and do food and wine fest if i can afford it....and If i cant then I plan to go in the spring by myself for 2-3 days and change my thinking to do the side stuff or plan a micechat outing kinda thing...

    WDW is a HUGE place with SOO much to do. The parks are great but most of the resorts have some cool stuff to do also. I wouldnt let a water park closure slow you down in the slightest....they are kinda the bottom of the list as far as cool stuff to do at WDW...
    Contestant in the The Future of Imagineering Season 2 contest here on Mice Chat in the Celebrate the Parks section/Disneyland.
    Latest Prjoect in the Contest:
    http://disneyworlddaze.blogspot.com/2011/10/future-of-imagineering-season-2-project.html


    "Sometimes, I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion!"


    "Bon Voyage!"
    -S.I.R.


    "My friends are exciting, just like fireworks igniting, they're inc-reeeeeed-ible."


  7. #7

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    Re: Walt Disney World at Christmas or in Spring 2012

    And there's a ton to do at Christmastime alone. You have the Osborne Light Show, the Candle Processional at EPCOT, every country at the World Showcase is decorated in a way that represents how that country celebrates the holiday, there are so many new parades and firework shows. With 8 days you'll be able to get everything you want in, bad crowds or not.

  8. #8

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    Re: Walt Disney World at Christmas or in Spring 2012

    The best time to visit WDW will be after the Fantasyland expansion is complete. Right now, you're going during the time when WDW is beaten up by the recession: ride elements are broken, staff is demoralized, and the monorail and resorts need some work. But the food is still really, really good.

    If you absolutely want to go to Florida, I suggest hitting up Universal this year: the Harry Potter stuff is awesome, the staff working the Harry Potter is super happy, and the park doesn't look that run down. But you can hit all the Universal stuff in three days, so I'd go for an extended weekend.

  9. #9

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    Re: Walt Disney World at Christmas or in Spring 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by thedude76 View Post
    The best time to visit WDW will be after the Fantasyland expansion is complete. Right now, you're going during the time when WDW is beaten up by the recession: ride elements are broken, staff is demoralized, and the monorail and resorts need some work. But the food is still really, really good.

    If you absolutely want to go to Florida, I suggest hitting up Universal this year: the Harry Potter stuff is awesome, the staff working the Harry Potter is super happy, and the park doesn't look that run down. But you can hit all the Universal stuff in three days, so I'd go for an extended weekend.
    lol not to single one individual out as several others have said this as well. but i don't think its at all helpful when someone asks what time is best to go to WDW to say dont go there at all. Come on guys this is supposed to be a forum for fans of WDW, how can we call ourselves fans if were telling people not to go to the place we say were fans of?!

  10. #10

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    Re: Walt Disney World at Christmas or in Spring 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by goofy donald View Post
    lol not to single one individual out as several others have said this as well. but i don't think its at all helpful when someone asks what time is best to go to WDW to say dont go there at all. Come on guys this is supposed to be a forum for fans of WDW, how can we call ourselves fans if were telling people not to go to the place we say were fans of?!
    Sure, I'm a fan of WDW, but I want to also maximize this person's enjoyment. If he goes now, he'll see the walls up for the Fantasyland expansion, he'll experience the early shut-down of the monorail, and he'll experience the broken elements mentioned in other threads. We are super close to the opening of the Fantasyland expansion, so waiting a couple more months is not the end of the world. Really, if he's okay waiting for the spring of next year, what's a couple more months, so he can enjoy the new rides opening with the Fantasyland expansion?

  11. #11

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    Re: Walt Disney World at Christmas or in Spring 2012

    All of you are giving me helpful comments. Some of your comments raise more questions.
    • I didn't know you could have "Lunch with an Imagineer." I live about an hour from the Imagineering base in Glendale, CA, and my wife suggests I consider Imagineering for my next job. Is there really an opportunity to have lunch with an Imagineer?
    • The new part of Fantasyland is opening soon?
      • When does it open?
      • All at once or a little at a time?
      • Are some attractions actually scheduled for closure when the new part opens?
      • What attractions will be opening in the new part?
    • The Cirque show at DTD:
      • Is it difficult to get tickets?
      • Is it expensive if we wait till near our vacation time to get tickets?
    Some of you are surprised that I chose an eight-day WDW visit. People returning from WDW have told me a good visit to WDW requires about a week. However, travel time cuts into vacation time. I planned to visit all four theme parks, play in Disney Quest, explore the water parks (though I doubted I would spend much time in a water park and my wife is not eager to visit one unless the weather is hot), see several shows that are included with theme park admission (fireworks, stage shows and shows on the water) and take a walk on the boardwalk at night. If I spent two days at Epcot, one day at Animal Kingdom, one day at Hollywood Studios, two days at Magic Kingdom, half a day at DTD including Disney Quest, and half a day relaxing with my wife, then we have one day of travel and preparing for travel. The cheaper airfares have us arriving at WDW at an inconvenient time and leaving at an inconvenient time.


  12. #12

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    Re: Walt Disney World at Christmas or in Spring 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by ronf View Post
    All of you are giving me helpful comments. Some of your comments raise more questions.
    • I didn't know you could have "Lunch with an Imagineer." I live about an hour from the Imagineering base in Glendale, CA, and my wife suggests I consider Imagineering for my next job. Is there really an opportunity to have lunch with an Imagineer?
    • The new part of Fantasyland is opening soon?
      • When does it open?
      • All at once or a little at a time?
      • Are some attractions actually scheduled for closure when the new part opens?
      • What attractions will be opening in the new part?
    • The Cirque show at DTD:
      • Is it difficult to get tickets?
      • Is it expensive if we wait till near our vacation time to get tickets?
    Some of you are surprised that I chose an eight-day WDW visit. People returning from WDW have told me a good visit to WDW requires about a week. However, travel time cuts into vacation time. I planned to visit all four theme parks, play in Disney Quest, explore the water parks (though I doubted I would spend much time in a water park and my wife is not eager to visit one unless the weather is hot), see several shows that are included with theme park admission (fireworks, stage shows and shows on the water) and take a walk on the boardwalk at night. If I spent two days at Epcot, one day at Animal Kingdom, one day at Hollywood Studios, two days at Magic Kingdom, half a day at DTD including Disney Quest, and half a day relaxing with my wife, then we have one day of travel and preparing for travel. The cheaper airfares have us arriving at WDW at an inconvenient time and leaving at an inconvenient time.
    1) yes you can! Its located at the brown derby at DHS and costs about $60 a head. Its very popular though and only holds about 8 people a session so get reservations early to ensure your spot. If you are interested in imagineering definitely look into it.

    2) here's the current (rough) schedule for opening:
    Early 2012 - Half of Storybook Circus with double Dumbo, Great Goofini coaster, Fantasyland Train Station, Casey Jr.
    Late 2012 - Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid ride, Be Our Guest restaurant, Beauty and the Beast village, Belle meet-and-greet, Castle wall
    Early 2013 - Remaining half of Storybook Circus with Pete’s Silly Sideshow
    Late 2013 - Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster

    The only ride I know to be closing over that time is dumbo while it is being moved to its new location and of course the now newly named Great Goofini. When you are there, if your lucky those parts will be open (its kind of 50/50 depending on your departure date). however the rest of fantasyland to the best of my knowledge will be open. One thing you might want to watch as well is that Test track will be closing for a major refurb around the time of your arrival to Disney so look into that.

    3) tickets are about 120 dollars per adult (all depends on the section you choose) and it doesn't really change much closer to showtime, just make sure you book somewhat in advance so you have good seats as it is still fairly popular and locals do also attend.

    ---------- Post added 09-17-2011 at 06:30 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by thedude76 View Post
    Sure, I'm a fan of WDW, but I want to also maximize this person's enjoyment. If he goes now, he'll see the walls up for the Fantasyland expansion, he'll experience the early shut-down of the monorail, and he'll experience the broken elements mentioned in other threads. We are super close to the opening of the Fantasyland expansion, so waiting a couple more months is not the end of the world. Really, if he's okay waiting for the spring of next year, what's a couple more months, so he can enjoy the new rides opening with the Fantasyland expansion?
    The OP has established a time he can go on vacation and putting it off a year just because of a little dust in fantasyland isn't really worth it. even spring 2013 if there are setbacks the entire project may still not be complete. I think some of the issues you suggested currently at MK are slightly exaggerated on the same note and not to mention, there are another 3 great top notch parks at WDW, all higher rated and visited more, then Universal that you can spend a little more time in as opposed to avoiding WDW all together.

  13. #13

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    Re: Walt Disney World at Christmas or in Spring 2012

    DO NOT go to Universal at Christmastime. They will have as large of crowds as WDW will, but Universal staff and rides are not equipped to deal with the crowds. It turns into absolute chaos.

    That being said, we go every year the week between Christmas and New Years. Be prepared to wait in long lines, but also use FastPass to your advantage. While we have seen lines up to 6 hours long, we have never waited for more than 2 hours for any ride during that week. Also, you may want to consider making dining reservations, as lines for quick service meals can reach an hour long and seating can be hard to come by.

    Overall, I think Christmas is a wonderful time to go because of all the special events. With 8 days, you'll be able to see everything you want to and have extra time also!

  14. #14

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    Re: Walt Disney World at Christmas or in Spring 2012

    Honestly, I would wait until Fantasyland is done 2013... but that's just my opinion.
    If anything, wait until everything except the mine coaster is finished.

  15. #15

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    Re: Walt Disney World at Christmas or in Spring 2012

    If you're going this year, don't bother wait for the Fantasyland Expansion. That'll give you a two year buffer to be able to go to WDW again after it's all said and done. Go this year if your finances allow it, and then go back when it's completely done. One, it'll provide a nice comparison to how WDW was before the expansion was finished and two, it will give you something fresh and new to look forward to. That's how I looked at it when I went earlier this year.

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