The next few days can be some of the BUSIEST of the year for Disney World!
As we countdown to Christmas and the New Year, thousands of guests flock to Disney World for the holiday break, and there are some special warnings that you need to know if you’re amongst that group. So we’re here to bring you important advice to know if you’re visiting at the end of the year!
Let’s start with the obvious one — crowds! Disney World typically gets incredibly crowded around Christmas break because so many people have a few days off work and school this time of year. Oddly enough, we’ve seen pretty mixed and unpredictable crowds so far, but it’s possible that things will pick up closer to Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.
And with heavy crowds come higher wait times, so be prepared to wait a little longer than usual for rides. You can consider rope dropping (arriving before the park opens) and staying as late as possible to get the best “bang for your buck.” If you’ll be staying at a Disney World hotel, keep in mind that you can get into the parks EARLIER than everyone else thanks to the Early Theme Park Entry Perk. And if you’re staying at a deluxe resort or deluxe villa, you can stay in the parks LATER than everyone else on select nights (and only in select parks) — click here for that full schedule.
If you’re interested in trying out Genie+ during your visit (which could also help you skip some of those extra long lines), we’ve got a great guides to help you out for those extra crowded days!
Next up, let’s talk about parking! If you’re driving to Walt Disney World in the next few days, you may have a harder time finding parking, especially at the resorts. Disney will be more heavily restricting who can park at the resort hotels due to the influx of guests expected to arrive in the coming days.
If you want to park at the resorts right now, you’ll need a resort confirmation or confirmed dining reservation. Quick-service dining, even with a confirmed mobile order, will not be enough to get you in!
For the next few weeks, expect to encounter this rule even at the resorts that aren’t close to the parks.
Disney announced back in 2021 that parking lot trams would be returning to all four parks throughout 2022, but with just a few days until the end of the year, that may not be the case. You can ride the parking tram at Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, but you’ll be taking the “heel-to-toe express” at the other two parks.
Don’t forget to take a photo of the row where you parked, lest you be stuck wandering around the parking lot late at night! Remember you can also use the car locator service on the My Disney Experience app to help mark your spot. (If you forget to mark your parking spot and are a bit lost at the end of the night, find a parking lot Cast Member and tell them what time you arrived. They can help direct you to a general area where your car may be or otherwise assist you.)
What’s one thing you can’t do without while on vacation? Food! And if you haven’t planned your dining in advance, you may have some trouble finding places to eat during the next few weeks. Many popular dining reservations will be booked up for table service spots, and the walk-up waitlist availability could be snatched up FAST.
But perhaps the biggest problem may come in the form of Mobile Order. When the parks and resorts get crowded, Mobile Order return windows can go quickly. That means that by the time you’re ready to eat lunch, you may not be able to pick up a Mobile Order at your chosen restaurant for another hour or two.
Because of this, we recommend placing those orders earlier in the day. Yes, it might sound silly to order your lunch in advance at 9AM, but believe us, it can help! You can place your order but select a later pickup time, helping to ensure (as much as you can) that your food is ready for you when your stomach starts grumbling.
Another dining struggle you may not be aware of is that some table service restaurants may change their menus on major holidays. For example, Steakhouse 71 will not be offering lunch on Christmas Day, and will instead serve breakfast from 7:30AM-11AM and dinner from 11:30AM-10PM.
We’ve seen these kinds of alterations at other places in the past, so it might be beneficial to check the restaurant page on the Disney World website for the restaurant you’re hoping to visit before you go.
Finally, let’s talk about Disney Springs! The shopping and dining complex typically gets pretty busy on the weekends, but it’ll likely be even more crowded with holiday shoppers in the coming days. Add to that the fact that many Annual Passholders are blocked out of the parks right now, and it could become a VERY popular place to visit.
So basically, expect every day at Disney Springs to be like a weekend evening for the next few weeks. Parking may also be a bit more of a challenge than usual due to the crowds, so take a close look at the parking garage signs that indicate how many spots are left on each floor.
Those are some of the important warnings we have if you’re traveling to Disney World before the new year. Other reminders include:
- Remember to pack WARM — yes, Florida can actually get cold
- Watch those ride wait times carefully
- Don’t forget about changes in entertainment schedules — like the arrival of the Christmas Parade during the day, Christmas fireworks at night, and special New Year’s Eve fireworks too
We’ll make sure to keep you updated if there are any other important details you need to know about!
Are you going to Disney World in the next week? Tell us in the comments!
The post Heed These WARNINGS Before Traveling to Disney World at the End of the Year first appeared on the disney food blog.