Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Disney During the Holidays

Many of you have emailed asking for more details about my Christmas trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. I’ve already shared some fantastic shopping and sweet treats with you, but here’s a very unofficial-non-tourist-non-expert guide to Disney World during the holidays. When I booked this trip, I knew that it was the busiest time of the year for Disney World. Several parks reached capacity on two different days, yet the girls and I never waited in line for rides. In fact, we only waited in one line during our entire trip…30 minutes for the Magic Carpets of Aladdin on the Magic Kingdom’s busiest day at two o'clock in the afternoon. But before I go too much into the details of the parks, let me share a little bit of other information with you.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village was our home away from home for the week. This hotel is fantastic for individuals or families. I love the villas and appreciate having a kitchen and laundry facilities. The savanna view is incredible, too! This little guy was just outside of the balcony.  We were on the 4th floor and that seemed to be just the right spot to see the animals.  As a tip, if you visit this resort and you don't have a car, be sure to request a room close to the lobby.  Luckily, I had requested this in advance and was close to the lobby, but I heard others complaining about a 15 minute walk to the bus!

The hotel offers an array of interesting programs to guests that offer a unique experience beyond the theme parks. We celebrated the New Year in South African style and the girls participated in numerous children's programming activities. There's also a community room with crafts, billiards, games, and other activities.

The Twincesses designed their own t-shirts!

Transportation, timing, and tricks
With a little bit of planning, you can see and do everything in the Disney parks without standing in line, even during the busiest times of the year! We used Disney transportation on this trip, but honestly, I think that I will rent a car in the future. Often, the buses were very crowded, particularly after fireworks or evening shows.

Since the twincesses and I are used to waking up early, we just continued our normal routine and were at the gates for the rope drop every morning. This strategy isn't for everyone, but it certainly worked extremely well for us! In the Magic Kingdom, we finished every attraction in Fantasyland and Tomorrowland in less than an hour and a half, including Space Mountain! In every park, the same story was true.  We rode Soarin' in Epcot, Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom, and Toy Story Mania in Hollywood Studios with little to no wait.

105 minutes?  No way.  We only waited 5 minutes for this ride and rode it a second time with a fast pass!
 By late morning, we're finished with the main attractions and have time to enjoy shows, parades, and a leisurely lunch. It's a good idea to make reservations for a table service restaurant for lunch. I love to have a place to sit down and take a break after a busy morning. Some of my favorite restaurants in Epcot include Le Cellier, Teppan Edo, and Via Napoli.

The girls also love to meet characters and I enjoy the Christmas decorations.   Usually, we take a break in the afternoon and spend some time at the hotel before heading back to the parks for evening entertainment like the Candlelight Processional, which is probably one of the most moving Christmas shows I have ever seen. 

There's so much more that I can share with you about this incredible experiencee!  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. 
What are your best Disney strategies?


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  1. You made the best of the busiest time of year. kudos to great planning!

  2. I always find that we have to wait in line for Space Mountain every time so we always run there first!

    xx Emily @

  3. Thanks so much, Jacob!

    Barbara ~ Yes, I'm big on planning. On NYE, the wait for Soarin was 4 hours!! I cannot imagine waiting 4 hours for a ride. Whew.

    Thanks, Emily. We did pretty much speed walk to Space Mountain although many were running past us!

  4. What wonderful pics!!! Looks like a fun time was had by all...

  5. I so want to do this with the kids someday, also around the Christmas holidays. Looks like you had a great time!

  6. Oh what fun! And I am SHOCKED to know that Christmas is the busiest time of year for them. For some reason I just figured it would be one of the slowest.

  7. I absolutely love the Animal Kingdom Lodge--having the animals outside your balcony is such a treat! I have stayed their twice but not since they completed the villas. I've been favoring the Epcot resort area recently because it means NO BUSES for 2 parks! I was there from Dec. 21-26 and the rise in crowds beginning on Christmas Eve was unbelievable. I feel like it was more crowded than in recent past years: I've been at the end of Christmas week for New Year's Eve twice--both times celebrating the new year at Epcot--and neither time did the park reach capacity.



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