This Is Why It’s a Waste of Money to Visit Disney World at Christmas


Disney Christmas Special Taping

It’s a lot of work to bring Christmas magic to Disney. | Mark Ashman/ Disney via Getty Images

Visiting Disney World at Christmas may be the most daring vacation endeavor on the planet. Every travel forum you come across valiantly warns against holiday Disney trips, but in particular, Christmas appears to be the absolute worst. It’s understandable why you may be toying with the idea of a Christmas or New Year’s Disney vacay. After all, the kiddos are out for holiday break, and the parents have a little extra time away from work. But not only will you have to contend with “peak” ticket pricing for entrance to the Magic Kingdom ($119 vs $99 for “value” days), nearly everything else about the trip will be more expensive as well.

Everyone knows that Disney World transforms into an even more magical destination during the holidays, but before you commit to spending Christmas with Mickey and his friends, check out why a Christmas holiday trip to Disney World may be a complete waste of money for you and your family.

1. You’re spending an arm an a leg on airfare

Traveling during the Christmas and New Year holiday season is the most expensive time of year for airfare. This 17-day stretch of time demands airfare pricing nearly 80% above the average cost. Furthermore, high-demand air travel to big tourists destinations like Disney garner even higher ticket prices than, say, traveling to Nebraska to visit your family.

NextThe costs don’t end with a plane ticket

2. Accommodations are at peak rates

Disney World Hotel in Florida

You’ll pay a premium for holiday season accommodations. | Gregg Newton/AFP/Getty Images

With any high-demand seasonal location, the accommodation rates will reach all-time highs. If you’re lucky enough to find lodging within Disney World’s resort territory or the surrounding area, you’ll be paying a premium rate to reserve your holiday digs. Off-season times will offer the best deals. Travel + Leisure found you could save as much as $100 a night on hotel accommodations by booking a trip in late January rather than the end of December.

NextExpect to spend the day celebrating with thousands of other people

3. If you thought Disney crowds were already bad…

'Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade' Special Taped At Magic Kingdom

Expect huge crowds if you visit Disney World during the holidays. | Matt Stroshane/Disney via Getty Images

Endless testimonies describing Christmas and New Years at Disney have one thing in common, and it’s the crowds. Long lines have always been a given, but wall-to-wall human beings are the Christmas specialty. If rides are the priority of your Disney vacation, a holiday trip will certainly limit your options.

NextThe worst-case scenario: You can’t get in at all.

4. The parks actually close due to overcrowding

Entrance of Walt Disney World in Orlando

How disappointing would it be to arrive and find the park closed? | Manakin/iStock/Getty Images

This isn’t top secret information, guys. Just like any other business establishment, Disney also has to follow crowd limitations and fire codes. And because of the high volume of tourists hoping to enjoy the festivities, the Magic Kingdom is practically guaranteed to close at one point or another throughout the Christmas and New Years weeks. One Disney pro advises tourists to assume they won’t even be able to access the Magic Kingdom at certain times during the holiday season.

Next: Don’t expect to just drop in for dinner 

5. If you forgot to make a dinner reservation, you may be relying on fast food for Christmas

disney restaurant

Minnie Mouse and Goofy greet diners at a Disney restaurant. | Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images

If you haven’t booked your Christmas dinner reservation spot nearly six months out, the odds of you and your family easily finding a restaurant that offers table service is slim. You see, other Disney-goers beat you to the punch on reservations months before you even knew you were going.

Next: Prepare to wait in long lines for shows

6. Seeing a show may not happen

Disney Parks Christmas TV Special Pre-Taping

Disney at Christmas | Mark Ashman/Disney Parks via Getty Images

The top shows that you and your family want to see, like Fantasmic, may be out of the question if you didn’t prepare ahead of time. And if you didn’t make reservations or purchase tickets prior, recommendations suggest standing in line for at least two hours to snag tickets to popular shows.

Next: This is already a risk during normal Disney trips, let alone Christmas. 

7. Winter meltdown

Wayne Brady at Disneyland

Wayne Brady and his family visit Disneyland | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

No matter how much fun could be had at Disney World, your child should be considered a full-on saint if he or she didn’t have a meltdown. Of course we all know that kiddos can have unpredictable meltdowns anywhere, but somehow the potential is heightened at Disney, especially when the holiday season brings even more crowds and higher wait times.

I’ve received numerous photos and texts from friends at Disney suffering through their child’s complete meltdown. Maybe it’s the lack of naps, overstimulation, too much sugar, constant walking or a combination of them all, nevertheless keeping up with the fast pace of Disney is tough on everyone, and you definitely don’t need it around the holidays.

Next: Forget relaxation 

8. Sleeping in on your vacation isn’t happening this time

Frozen ever after

You’ll need to wake up bright and early to hit attractions like the new Frozen ride. | Disney

The slim chances you and your family having the opportunity to enjoy Disney hinge massively on early wake-up times. This means rising with the sun to get inside the parks before the masses arrive. Ultimately, this translates into no sleeping-in on your Christmas vacation.

NextPrepare for a different kind of holiday celebration 

9. You’ll be commercializing the heck out of your holiday

Mickey and Minnie Mouse stuffed animals in the Disney Store

Mickey and Minnie Mouse stuffed toys for sale. | Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images

Perhaps one of the biggest bummers of all is how commercialized your holiday will become when visiting Disney during Christmas and New Years. Cozy, quality time with your family will inevitably morph into an unnecessary hustle and bustle, taking away from the yuletide cheer of the holiday season. Perhaps separating Disney and Christmas is the best gift of all.

Next: Do not believe this popular myth about Disney.

10. Disney World is not the pinnacle vacation

Kids skiing in mountains

Kids skiing |

It’s true, folks. Disney World is by no means the ultimate vacation to work towards. For the price of spending one week at Disney, you could spend a week exposing yourself and your children to an entirely different country, or even learn how to ski. These are the experiences that last a lifetime. Learning a potential new hobby that can be enjoyed for a lifetime is well-worth avoiding a week at Disney, especially at Christmas.

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