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Why I am Rethinking Visiting Disney in December

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Lake Buena Vista, Florida





We’re later than usual arriving at Disney World and they have already given away our favorite site.  They won’t guarantee a site just a level of site – Full, Preferred or Premium.  But we’ve found that if we arrive early enough, we’ve been able to have a site we particularly like.

The one we do have is in the same loop and we have some very fine next door neighbors.

Disney World campers decorate to the hilt.  I talked with one family who comes to the same site every year the first two weeks after Thanksgiving and they put out an amazing array of decorations.  Others actually come for a month.  You’d have to have a mighty hefty wallet to do that.






Apparently there is a decorations contest that is judged just before Christmas.  We didn’t get all around all the loops to see all the lights and decorations this time.  That will be higher on our agenda should we come again during the holidays.  There are some new developments by Disney that might prevent us from doing that but I’ll talk about that later in this post.

After setting up we head over to the Trading Post areas and on the way we pass one of several “sleigh rides” complete with sleigh bells on the horses.  The sleighs have wheels of course but they are decorated with greenery.  The season is totally festive at Disney World as you would expect.


Notice the sleigh runners.


Wish I could get someone to do a wonderful french braid for me like this one.



Golf carts are everywhere as transportation.  It really is not possible to drive within Disney World other than to your site and out.  The bus system will easily and quickly take you any where you need to go or you can walk which is what we do.  But lots of people rent golf carts or bring their own.   Many of them are decorated as well.  This one makes me wonder if there will be a contest for golf cart decoration.


We approach the dock to take the boat over to the Magic Kingdom and then the monorail around to see some of the hotels all decorated for the holiday.



We catch a lovely sunset on the water.


The moon is high in the sky as the sun sets.  It’s just beautiful.



The Magic Kingdom is gorgeous as we approach the dock.



We take the monorail over to The Grand Floridian Hotel.  The stop is on the hotel’s second floor and as we come into the hotel we find our host and hostess as well as a Christmas tree

We look over the balcony of the second floor which runs all around and see the giant Christmas Tree on the main floor.  It appears to be 4 stories tall from here and even taller when you are standing at the base.











We take the beautiful garland staircase down to the main floor where the nearly life size ginger bread house is on display.  In the back of the house you can purchase gingerbread.  The recipe for this house is posted prominently. 





A picture can’t really show the size of the bird cage behind the Christmas tree until I see a couple of people sit on its steps.  To say it is huge is an understatement. 



Back at Winnona, David hooks up the cable that comes with every site and finds the Disney Cartoon channel.  He’s getting ready for a full day tomorrow at the Magic Kingdom.





This morning when we get off the boat and see the crowds lined up to get through security and inside we are shocked.  And shocked again when we enter on Main Street.



I mentioned earlier that this might be our last trip in December.  We’ve come here several times for a few days during the week after Thanksgiving or the first week of December.  They were always reasonably crowded times but apparently the Disney folks concluded that they weren’t well enough attended and have created a new way to bring in even more money and up the crowds.  It’s called Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

On  various nights during each week from November the 7th through December 22, the Magic Kingdom park is closed from 7pm to midnight unless you have the special ‘costs extra pass’ for this party.  This week it is closed Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.



The closing at 7pm doesn’t matter much to us since we are seldom there that late anyway preferring to get out in the morning and come back around dinner time after a full day. 

But what is making me rethink this time of year is the extraordinary crowds here this week..  It’s totally different from our visit last year.  Too many people. 

I do love seeing all the holiday decorations, but I may just have to keep those as memories.

We turn around and head back up to the Train Station to avoid the crowd.  From the train station balcony we can see the dancers are performing on the trolley going up and down Main Street.  They really are great singers and dancers doing early 19th century tunes….”clang clang clang went the trolley” and others.




When we get off in Frontierland there are reward posters for desperados like this one. Looks pretty dangerous doesn’t he?   Should I turn him in?  $15,000 is a lot of money. 





We’re on our way to Splash Mountain for David to ride the roller coaster. I end up not feeling well after I ride them.  I didn’t get him a fast pass for this which is why we came here straight away and the wait is only 10 minutes.  He tells me later that he actually went straight in.     I really would like to get dumped into the briar patch with Brer Bear and Brer Fox like David did but I don’t want to feel disoriented for an hour or so afterwards.




While I’m waiting for him I see this lazy Ibis and many of his friends grabbing trash from the streets and leaving their calling cards.  I don’t see people feeding them but they drop or spill enough food that the birds continue to come.  Don’t remember so many of them previously either.   Wonder why Disney doesn’t have doves by the score?  Or crows?



We then hurry over to the Haunted Mansion and wait in line.  Not too long and by the time it’s over it is time for lunch if we want to avoid the crowds there.  When he eats out, David wants all the things he’s not allowed to have on his heart healthy diet.  Today he has a hankerin’ for fried chicken but I can’t find anything other than chicken nuggets so he has the fried chicken nuggets /fish and potatos platter at Harbour House in Liberty Square.  I stick with the wonderful lobster roll that I had last time I was at this restaurant.


Then it’s off on a Jungle Cruise – fast pass – which is really the only way to be able to ride most of the popular rides with this many people in the park.  Thank goodness I got them.






We see giraffes, hippos, elephants and more, all of which are animatronics.  But the waterfall we ride behind is real.



Elephants for Gaelyn – even if they aren’t real.  I wonder if she’s ever seen the real ones spraying themselves or just using their trunks as hoses?  How authentic is Disney?




Some of the “kiddie” rides have reasonable lines like Aladdin’s Magic Carpet ride which takes us up high for some views.





We’ve also been stopping along the way to play the Magic Sorcerer game and foil the villains trying to steal the crystal of the kingdom and take over the Magic Kingdom.  So far we are successful and the Magic Kingdom is safe.


There are two of the “kiddie rides” you won’t want to stand in line for since the lines are impossibly long.  One is Peter Pan’s Flight.  Fast pass to the rescue so we can soar through the sky to Neverland in these boats with sails



We can also easily stand in line to ride the Merry Go Round.  The horses are beautiful and so is the carousel.  The only better one I’ve ever ridden was the New York State Carousel  in Cooperstown where you can ride any of the New York State animals including a beaver, a loon or a moose.  We did that this summer and you can find that post here if you want to see that carousel.



I’ve brought my magic bubble maker along to add to the fun.  And it does!



Our trusty steeds after we depart.   They seem to have even more spring to their step.



We hop on the train in Fantasyland and head back to Main Street in time for a parade.



This seems like the princess float with Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella and others.



I haven’t seen Frozen yet but everyone else in the Kingdom apparently has.





Disney parades are so colorful and fun.  Looks like this character is a balloon off the ground doesn’t it?  But he’s not, he’s just jumping – inside what looks like a heavy suit – good grief.



Lots of characters including Jimminy Cricket and Alice and the Mad Hatter and Chip and Dale and Snow White and the White Rabbit and all the Dwarfs are marching along and waving to everyone.





Pinochio gets his own float.


There are many more floats but no space for pictures of them all.

Of course the grand finale is Mickey and Minnie.





After the parade we head back up Main Street, where we stop to listen to the Dapper Dans acapella group and the Main Street Philharmonic brass ensemble, and into Cinderella’s castle.  Love this picture of Mickey and Walt in front of the castle as we reach the forecourt






The main walk through the castle is lined on both sides with stunning mosaics of the Cinderella story.





We use our last two fast passes to take a ride in a honey pot with Winnie the Pooh and ride the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train. 

I should get a medal for riding this roller coaster that throws us left and right.  Luckily for me only one big drop.  Once is enough but I’m glad I saw the dwarfs with their shiny diamonds inside their mine.  Too dark and too fast for pictures.

Outside the mine, Snow White’s cottage is looking very large to me.  But I guess with 8 people inside, it’s no wonder.


Sun is setting as we head back to Main Street through the castle again.  Love those mosaics.


There are all kinds of things along the outside of the castle, beautiful fountains and Jack attempting a beanstalk climb up the side of a castle arm wall.



Back on Main Street, there is an early evening parade.  This time it’s a dance party with the Toy Story and Zoolandia crew among others.



Main Street looks wonderful all lit up against the darkening skies and I’m glad we don’t have to be here until 9 PM to see it.






The last rays of sun are on the horizon as we pull out of the dock and head back to Fort Wilderness across the water.


Behind us the Magic Kingdom shines.


The campground is also ablaze in lights and decorations as we walk back to Winnona.  All of these in the campground are put up by the campers.


Great day in the Magic Kingdom. But so many people that we’ll be rethinking coming again in December. Sure do hate to miss the decorations though.


  1. That is an awful lot of color, and motion, and glitter, and characters, and rides, and I'd be ready for the funny farm if I ever spent time there! Give me the peace and quiet of the mountains, but as the old song goes, "different strokes for different folks!"

    Glad you enjoy it, and it's a shame if it gets so crowded it prevents you from doing what you love.

  2. I would love to go to Disney sometime. Have never done the Florida version, and the Anaheim version has not seen me since high school. We don't like crowds either.

  3. It is getting more and more difficult to find a less crowded time...that's a shame. But Disney World sure is beautiful at Christmas!!! Let you know how we make out in January.

  4. I do worry that our grandsons won't be able to enjoy Disney due to the crowds and outrageous prices. Ezra loves Frozen and I saw it for the first time visiting them last month - it is a wonderful movie you would love I know. The hotel decorations are wonderful, thank you for sharing them!! I think I could just listen to the music and watch the parades and ride the trains and love it. I've only been to Anaheim - dozens of times - but sure hope to see Florida someday. Just maybe not in December :-(

  5. Looks like you did an amazing amount in one day, great pictures. Lucky on those Fast Passes also.

  6. Well it sounds like you have to pay and pay again for the fast passes just so you can see stuff. Wish I was there with you.

  7. Indeed, you probably should have taken the $15K reward money as I get more useless with each passing year! I could braid your hair to a French braid if you let it grow out again & will sit still long enough, and show me how. ;) Always good color, music & cheer at Disney, but no guarantees on weather or crowds. I wonder if they have any limit to the number of people who can be in the park at any one time. We have managed with rain at Disney a few times, but it mostly serves to reenforce the gift of great weather.

  8. That gingerbread house is a show stopper!

    Not having any kids, I have yet to see Frozen. I aim to keep it that way!

  9. Looks like you are having fun. Since we were there five years ago, it has gotten even more crowded and expensive. But if your a fan, it is hard to resist:)

  10. I believe Disney World is the merriest place on earth this Christmas ! Are there more or less crowd this time compared to summer?

  11. I have memories of massive Christmas decorations at Disney World campground from many years ago. And it was too busy then, so don't think I'd return around holidays. Yet I love seeing it through your eyes. Real elephants do spray and splash like that. Disney is authentic. Love the bubble maker! Hate the crowds.

  12. You have to see Frozen, it's one of the best Disney flicks in a long time. Our Jersey granddaughters watched their DVD of it so much, they wore it out and we had to buy them a new one.

    We're taking them to WDW 3-14 Feb and staying at Fort W. Just a thought, if you turned in that "crook" for the $15K reward, you could almost stay at FW for five whole months. Just sayin'... :cD

  13. Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party has actually been around for quite a long time. We went once many years ago when it was less than half the price it is now. Too pricey now, as so many things there have become. We cut our reunion down to 8 days now. Yes, I'm finally catching up on reading blogs, and was surprised to see you at Disney already :-).

  14. Busy day at Disney!!! What fun :) Crowds are no fun, but seems you found a way to still enjoy!!

  15. Hmmm . . . as I have been reading these, I have been thinking about maybe going next year in December. Now I get to this blog entry and am not sure. I have always heard that it's crowded at Christmas and am surprised that it hasn't been when y'all have been there before. Every day between Christmas and New Years next year is a University holiday, so it's a perfect time for a vacation. I had been thinking about Jackson Hole, but I think the weather and the limitations on how much of Yellowstone you cannot see may nix that. Maybe Disney even with the crowds? It just looks like y'all have so much fun!


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