Walt Disney World in December is certainly the most wonderful time of the year! Truly, no one does the holidays quite like Disney. Lights, decorations, festive music, ticketed holiday events, specialty entertainment, seasonal dining… there is something for everyone during the holidays at Disney World.
There are definitely a few things you’ll want to keep in mind, however, if you’re planning a vacation to Disney World in December. First of all… Christmas crowds are no laughing matter. As Disney goes above and beyond to make the holidays truly special, this typically results in some of the biggest crowds of the year. (It also doesn’t help that schools are on winter break!) But even with the crowds, visiting Walt Disney World in December can be truly magical… especially with a little bit of planning.
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**The reopening of Walt Disney World is an ongoing process that is constantly changing. Be sure to visit our guide to visiting Disney World during the phased reopening for updated information to guide your vacation planning!
- Major refurbishments are not typically common in December. Disney tends to schedule their refurbishments during less busy months (such as January or February), but that doesn’t mean closures can’t or won’t happen in December.
- Epcot festivals are quite popular with locals. Consider visiting Epcot on weekdays if you’re trying to avoid the crowds of the International Festival Of The Holidays.
- Christmas at Disney World is truly magical… but also very crowded. If you’re trying to avoid crowds in December, consider enjoying the parks during the first two weeks of the month.
- Magic Kingdom will see the return of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in 2022! Be sure to purchase tickets early if you want to attend.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… No one does Christmas quite like Disney. Holiday decorations start to spring up throughout the parks and resorts shortly after Halloween.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is returning to Magic Kingdom on select nights from November 8 through December 22! (Tickets are already on sale!) Here are just some of the things you can expect at this year’s party:
- Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade
- Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks
- Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration (castle stage show)
- A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas Show on the Rockettower Plaza Stage
- Club Tinsel (dance party!)
- Disney Junior Jingle Jam (dance party for the youngsters in Storybook Circus)
- Character greetings with characters dressed in their holiday best
- A festive holiday overlay on The Jungle Cruise (which is also available during non-party hours)
- Party exclusive transformations of Tomorrowland Speedway, Space Mountain, Mad Tea Party, and Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
- Complimentary cookies and hot cocoa
- A range of holiday treats and drinks (available for purchase)
- Special Disney PhotoPass opportunities
- A holiday-themed special 50th Anniversary commemorative keepsake
Magic Kingdom isn’t the only park to have special holiday events. Epcot offers the International Festival Of The Holidays, which will take place from November 25 through December 30, 2022. Featuring traditions from around the world, including some incredible cuisine and holiday treats, this festival is certainly to put you in the holiday spirit. It offers some unique holiday entertainment including a celebrity-hosted Candlelight Processional.
While there isn’t necessarily a formal party held at Animal Kingdom, guests will typically find seasonal decorations, holiday-themed Disney character flotillas on the Discovery River, and the Tree of Life holiday awakenings each evening.
Like Animal Kingdom, there is usually no formal festival or event at Hollywood Studios for the holidays, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t holiday fun! 2022 will offer holiday projections, Santa Claus on Hollywood Boulevard, Frozen characters, holiday character dining, and vintage-themed decorations throughout the park.
And then there’s New Year’s Eve… All four parks have special countdown events in place, and they all see a huge surge in crowds. It is worth noting, that Magic Kingdom and Epcot see the greatest crowds as Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom are a bit more low-key in terms of events for the day. Keep in mind that Epcot also sees more of an “adult” crowd due to its assortment of bars and specialty entertainment. (Let’s face it, many like to drink their way around the world in World Showcase!)
December Refurbishments & Closures
As things return to normal at the theme parks, nighttime spectaculars and fireworks are returning as well! Two new shows premiered on October 1, 2021, for the 50th Anniversary Celebration. “Disney Enchantment” kicked off the 50th-anniversary festivities at Magic Kingdom Park, and “Harmonious” also debuted at Epcot. Fantasmic! will also be returning to Hollywood Studios at some point in 2022!
*We’ve included all current refurbishments here on this list… even ones that may be open in time for December 2022. (Please note that this list could change at a moment’s notice.)
- Walt Disney World Railroad is closed indefinitely due to construction on the new Tron roller coaster.
- Enchanted Tales with Belle is also temporarily closed with no reopening date yet announced.
- Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is reopening August 25, 2022
- Tron Lightcycle Power Run is still under construction (We are hopeful for a 2023 opening date!)
- Splash Mountain will close at some point for retheming to become Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. No dates have been announced yet, however.
- Character meet-and-greets at both Pete’s Silly Side Show (Donald Duck, Goofy, Daisy, and Pluto) and The Thotful Spot (Pooh and Tigger) are returning soon!
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is now open!
- Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana is expected to open in 2022
- Canada Far & Wide in CircleVision 360 is closed through November 2022 (most likely for the Food & Wine Festival)
- Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away (stage show) has permanently ended
- Fantasmic! is returning in 2022
- Frozen Sing-Along Celebration will close on August 22, 2022, for refurbishment and is scheduled to reopen on September 9, 2022.
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid is temporarily closed with no reopening date yet.
- Jedi Training Academy: Trials of the Temple is also temporarily closed.
- Primeval Whirl is permanently closed
- Rivers of Light has permanently ended
- Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond! debuted on June 13, 2022
- Festival of the Lion King returned with a FULL version of the show on July 15, 2022
- Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park is closed for refurbishment. The opening date is TBA.
The weather can sometimes be a bit unpredictable in the month of December, but it is typically one of the most pleasant months to visit Disney World. The average high is 73 degrees and the low is typically around 53 degrees. It may be a little cooler, but it is typically one of the dryest months of the year in terms of rain. You will want to dress in layers as the days will feel warm but the evenings will undoubtedly be a bit chilly.
December Disney World Crowd Calendar
Crowd calendars are very popular, but they can also be a bit unpredictable. That being said, the pandemic has made predicting crowds even more difficult than normal.
While crowd calendars can be a big help in planning your trip, keep in mind, they are predictions at best. When designing our calendars, we take a look at events, school calendars, ticket prices, park hours, holidays, and typical monthly patterns. But unfortunately, our crowd calendars cannot predict other things such as weather, travel advisories, pandemics, or last-minute openings or closings of shows and attractions.
Typically, the beginning of December sees moderate crowds with the final two weeks of December being two of the busiest weeks of the year. But this year could definitely be a bit different. October 1 marks the beginning of Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration! This will undoubtedly make for a more crowded fall/winter season.
Another thing that might change the crowds a bit in December is whether or not more things will be reopened or introduced. New attractions are expected to open in 2022 as part of Disney’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, and dates have not yet been confirmed. Should Disney decide to open a major attraction in the fall, this could certainly impact December crowds!
**For a free printable PDF version of this crowd calendar, be sure to visit our resource page to become an email subscriber! You will also gain access to other printable resources to help you plan your next Disney vacation!
Ready To Start Planning Your Visit To Walt Disney World In December?
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