Disney World in December 2020: Tips for the Holiday Season and What to Expect

Disney World in December is the peak of the holiday season where you can find festive holiday decor and Disney magic at its finest. But not just Magic Kingdom gets into the holiday spirit, you will see holiday magic inside each theme park at Disney World.

Everyone has personal preferences to consider when planning the date of their Walt Disney World trip- each season will have its pros and cons and guests' choices will vary based on those. Make sure to read our Walt Disney World crowd calendar to get an idea of what to expect when picking a date to visit Walt Disney World.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about visiting Disney World in December including current events, what weather to expect, crowd level predictions, and what to pack!

Disney World Events in DecemberDisney World in December- Epcot Candlelight Processional

Here are all the current events to know about impacting Disney World in December!

Holiday Events & Celebrations at Disney World

The holiday season runs until December 30th at the Walt Disney World Resort so you will see a holiday presence in each theme park for the entire month of December. The highlight of the holidays at Disney World include holiday decor like projections on Cinderella's Castle, holiday themed character cavalcades, festive treats, and more. Read our full guide to celebrating the holidays at Disney World to find out everything about how each park celebrates, meet and greets, special events, food, and more.

The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays

This special themed event take places until December 30th this holiday season. The festival is a celebration of international holiday traditions from around the world. This festival experience includes an International Yuletide Extravaganza: featuring 11 holiday traditions of the 11 World Showcase nations, seasonal food from around the world, and holiday music.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom-Returning in 2021

The tickets range in price from $109 to $139 depending on the date you select. We recommend buying them in advance as tickets do tend to sell out. Admission into the party includes special themed entertainment options like a Christmas parade, holiday fireworks, lower wait times for key attractions, seasonal food options, and more.

It's important to note that if you do not have a ticket to the party you will have to leave once the party starts! Make sure that you have a park hopper ticket so you are not left without somewhere else to go. If you plan on attending on one of the party nights then I recommend arriving as early as Disney World will let you in the park so you can get full access from your party ticket to the Magic Kingdom. Make sure to read our full guide to the Christmas party to find out all the details about this special event.

Epcot Candlelight Processional-Returning in 2021

The Epcot Candlelight Processional tells the biblical story of Christmas typically told by a celebrity narrator and accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and massed choir.

“Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” and Sunset Greetings at Hollywood Studios-Returning in 2021

“Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” is a nighttime spectacular holiday show featuring festive music, special effects, celebrity stars, and Disney entertainment centering around the theme of Santa going missing.

Sunset Greetings is a holiday themed laser projection show that takes place on the Hollywood Tower. After dark, the billboards transform into real life characters and tell a holiday story. The characters include: Mickey and Minnie, Toy Story characters, The Muppets, and Olaf.

Both of these shows run the entire month of December.

New Years Eve at Walt Disney World-Returning in 2021

New Year's Eve at Walt Disney World is one of the most popular nights of the year in the parks. You can expect to see great nighttime fireworks in the Magic Kingdom, nighttime spectaculars and dinners in Epcot, and a DJ dance party in Hollywood Studios. Read our full guide to New Years Eve at Walt Disney World to be prepared. 

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Disney World in December Crowd CalendarLittle girl with Santa- Disney World in December

Since Disney World is managing all theme park capacity with an advance reservation system, you don't have to worry about crowds this holiday season. All of our well speculated crowd predictions have flown out the window with the current situation the world is dealing with right now. However, the crowds do tend to behave in a predictable manner at so far at Disney World we've seen that the first hour of the morning proves to show higher risk for bottlenecks in certain park areas and that Hollywood Studios remains the most popular since it holds all the newest attractions.

  1. Arrive later- this normally goes against all our Disney park advice but we're living in unusual times! There's no need to arrive early and rope drop with such limited crowd levels. If you show up at hour after the parks open you can miss getting caught up in early morning bottlenecks as guests first arrive. This is definitely personal preference though, with shorter hours guests might not be as keen to arrive later or waste any park time. But if you want to avoid people the best you can, skipping the first hour is best.
  2. Stay until closing- since many guests seem to be arriving right when the gates open, they end up leaving 1-2 hours before the parks officially close since wait times are so low you can get everything done before the end of the day quite easily. This is when you will see the absolute lowest wait times for rides that may be pushing that 30+ minute plus range which seems to only be an issue in Hollywood Studios.
  3. Be prepared for Hollywood Studios- since Disney's Hollywood Studios has Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, Toy Story Land, and the newly opened Mickey's Runaway Railway attraction it is by far the theme park that feels the most crowded at the moment. The reason lies not in larger attendance than the other parks but smaller walkways and fewer hit attractions (plus lack of entertainment) to evenly disperse guests. Consider arriving later in the day and staying until close for this theme park.
  4. Avoid weekends- weekends tend to feel a bit busier as likely more locals are turning out for those days of the week as opposed to weekdays.

For a typical December crowd predication, keep reading below to help you plan for the 2021 year.

The earlier in December you can visit, the better it will be when it comes to avoiding crowds. The closer it gets to Christmas the busier the parks will get. Visiting early in the month will help avoid those crowds. If you can't visit earlier, just have a solid strategy in place for navigating crowds. Make sure you booked your FastPass+ and dining reservations, arrive early to the parks each day, and consider staying late to enjoy the parks to their fullest.

Guests visiting the Magic Kingdom in December will have to be aware of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. If you don't have a party ticket, you will be asked to leave the park around 5pm on party days. It's important to plan ahead for those dates so you have a plan in place for once the party starts. In the past the first start of the day before the Christmas party is actually low in crowd levels as many party goers don't enter the parks until later in the day when their Christmas party ticket allows saving them the cost of a full day ticket. It can actually be a wise decision to start off the day early at the park hosting the Christmas party to beat some of those crowds.

Disney World Weather in DecemberA crowd of people near buildings lit up with lights and lasers

The weather at Disney World in December is fairly dry with warmer days and chilly nights making it a great time of the year to visit. The average high for Orlando in December is 73 degrees with the average low being 50 degrees. Since the weather isn't as hot, this is a great time of year to visit for those that don't enjoy heat.

Chances of rain in December are the lowest you typically see all year with only an average three days of rain in the month. For guests that love Disney World but are not a big fan of the rain, this makes December a great time to visit.

Tips for Visiting Disney World in December

When it comes to visiting Disney World in December, we have some tried and true hacks for having a magical time on your vacation.

What to Wear 

One of the most frequently asked guest questions is: what should I wear to Disney World? Always check the weather leading up to your trip. The good news about visiting Disney World in December is that the chance of rainfall is greatly reduced making it less necessary to wear a rain poncho daily to the parks. We still recommend bringing one so you can enjoy the water rides without getting drenched. I recommend dressing in layers and come prepared for some chilly mornings. Once the sun goes down, the evenings will feel chilly (especially when you factor in humidity) so bring some lightweight hoodies or jackets. You can always rent a locker to store jackets in during the day and go back to grab them once the day cools down.

What to Pack 

Even though the average high temperatures start dropping this time of the year, the temperatures can still be pretty warm especially if you're not used to hot climates and humidity. Because the weather can vary so much day by day, check the weather each day leading up to your trip. Come prepared based on what the forecast says. Dress in layers so you're prepared for sunny afternoons and chilly nights.

You can read our giant packing list here to make sure you show up prepared for literally anything you need while you're visiting Disney World.

What to Expect

There are a few things you should expect when choosing December as your month to visit Disney World:

  • Prepare for Possible Construction- at the recent D23 Expo, Disney Parks announced a huge project to completely reorganize and add to Epcot in preparation Disney World's 50th Anniversary in 2021.
  • Holiday Tips and Tricks- there is so much to see and do between the four theme parks for the holiday celebrations at Disney World. I recommend looking through our extensive Disney World Christmas guide to plan out what you want to see the most and make any applicable dining reservations for must do experiences.
  • Rise of Resistance- there is a virtual queue in use for the popular Rise of Resistance attraction in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge where guests will have three chances throughout the day to secure a Boarding Group to ride. This ride is more popular than ever so be prepared so you don't miss out.
  • New safety policies- temperature checks upon entry, face coverings required, social distancing in line queues, reduced dining capacity, and modified character experiences are all changes you can expect on your visit. You can read in full detail all about the new reopening safety procedures in our guide.
  • Know the Christmas Party Date(Cancelled for 2020)- being prepared for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is essential for guests looking to visit Magic Kingdom. You should plan on park hopper tickets so you can hop over to the other theme parks when the party starts if you don't have a ticket. If you plan on attending, we recommend not buying a park ticket that day as your party ticket will allow you into the party! Party days tend to reduce crowds in the mornings before the party starts so we also recommend taking advantage of those mornings to ride those popular rides.

But most of all, remember to enjoy your time at the most magical place on earth!

Plan Your Disney World Vacation!

Keep reading our blog to keep you updated on everything you need to know to prepare for a Disney Parks vacation! We have a team of writers working hard to keep you updated weekly on events in the parks and tips for navigating the magic. Subscribe to our free deals newsletter to receive helpful planning information, exclusive Disney deals, and access to the lowest priced Disney tickets anywhere. You can find more information on planning your vacation here:

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