This is a continuation of our Back to Basics Series. Scroll to the bottom to see our other Basics posts.
Are you planning a vacation to Disney World? Wouldn’t it be cool to just pick up and go right now? In my mind, I’m there already with nothing to do to but have fun. Unfortunately, a reality check reminds me that we all have jobs, many need to consider school schedules, and finances and budgets need to be in order. Given all of these considerations, how can you possibly make an informed decision about the best time for your Disney World trip?
Well, today is your lucky day because this article focuses on TouringPlans.com’sDisney World Crowd Calendar, a powerful tool designed to help you make a decision about when to go so that you spend the least amount of time in line. Plus, see a handy summary of how specific holidays and Disney World special events affect how much time you’ll be in line.
[Even more luck! If you are planning a trip to Disneyland or Universal Orlando—TouringPlans provides Crowd Calendars for these destinations too.]
How will the crowds be during your Disney World visit? Use TouringPlans.com’s Crowd Calendar to pick the best week for your vacation.
Deciding When to Go: First Considerations
First and foremost, as with any trip, there are two basic factors that are crucial to deciding when to go to Disney World and that provide the context for using the TouringPlans Crowd Calendar. These are: (1) when you can afford to go and (2) when your schedule allows you to go.
In terms of when you can afford to go, maybe your goal is to save up first, or you are expecting a work bonus to put toward vacation, or your budget will be a bit more flexible once that car loan is paid off. As for schedule, you likely need to work around school vacations, a project at work, or family obligations.
Another potential factor is Disney World’s schedule. Is there a special event or time of year you would like to visit? Is it a must-do or just a bonus if it lines up with your other best times for vacation? Also keep in mind that peak crowds bring peak prices at Disney World resorts.
Considering these factors is bound to narrow down the time when you will take your vacation, and this is when TouringPlans’ Crowd Calendar can become an integral part of deciding when to go. Matching up all of these factors—budget, schedule, and what you’d like to experience at Disney World—with the Crowd Calendar is an excellent way to pick the best week for your vacation.
The holiday season is rapidly approaching! If you’ll be visiting Walt Disney World this holiday season, because there will be large crowds, the resort has made (and will be adding more as we get closer) quite a few changes that you should be aware of to make your holiday season better in Florida. So, if you’ll be like me and be one of the crazy people visiting the parks and resorts during these last few weeks of there year, here’s what you need to know.
Additional Food and Beverage offerings will be available for Guests at the Magic Kingdom from December 19 through January 2.
Diamond Horseshoe: Offering Quick Service lunch (11 a.m. – 3 p.m.) and Table Service dinner (starting at 4:30 p.m.) daily
Market Street Sandwich Cart: Offering Italian-themed sandwiches and salads
Storybook Circus Sandwich Cart: Offering Sandwiches and salads
Tomorrowland Terrace: Offering burgers
Prince Eric’s Village Market: Offering prepackaged sandwiches, caprese cups and salads
Aunt Polly’s: Offering prepackaged sandwiches and salads
Westward Ho: Offering corn dogs
Turkey Legs: Cool Ship, Frontierland Turkey Leg Wagon, Tomorrowland Turkey Leg Cart, Liberty Square Turkey Leg Cart, Heritage House Turkey Leg Cart
Peco’s Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe: Offering southwest burger
Celebrate Hanukkah the Best Week Ever way at Epcot (Photos/videos by Seth Kubersky)
Halloween and Thanksgiving are done and gone and Christmas and New Year are still on their way, but Hanukkah is here right now! In honor of the Festival of Lights, I’m wishing a hearty Chag Sameach to my fellow members of the tribe with this Best Week Ever exploration of 2015’s Epcot Hanukkah celebration.
My visit to Epcot coincided with the third day of Hanukkah, and commenced with a spin of the cosmic dreidel that determines parking spots. I must have landed on Nun because I ended up just about as far as possible from the front…
Dance the day and night away at Club Disney and Holidays Happen Here, now open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Photos by Seth Kubersky)
Do you like to devote theme park touring time to getting your grove on? If so, you’ll want to head over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where new Club Disney and Holidays Happen Here dance parties premiered on December 1, just in time for the festive Christmas season. Indoors or outside, day or night, you now have two new opportunities to satisfy that disco itch.
Club Disney at Sunset Showcase
Sunset Showcase, the boxy building recently erected behind the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, plays host to Club Disney, a family friendly nightclub that’s open all day.
Ring in the holidays with this video of the 2015 Osborne Family Spectacle lighting ceremony. (Photos/video by Seth Kubersky)
Walt Disney World‘s holiday season celebrations are in full swing, and the final season of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is drawing huge crowds each night to the Streets of America at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Recently, I brought you video of the Spectacle, featuring three full performances from the Dancing Lights. After that posting, some readers wondered whether the small ceremony that kicks off each evening’s illumination is still occurring. Well, wonder no more, because I’ve brought you this complete video of the 2015 Osborne Family Spectacle lighting ceremony:
If there is one disappointing thing about holidays at Universal Orlando it’s the fact that the festivities start so late in the season, especially by comparison. Some of the holiday celebrations at Walt Disney World started as early as November 6th this year, that means that Universal Orlando is basically a month behind. Even comparing to SeaWorld Orlando (whose Christmas Celebration is my absolute favorite holiday celebration in any Orlando theme park) Universal Orlando is two weeks behind (December 5th). So since we still are a few weeks away from the kickoff of holidays at Universal Orlando, let’s take a look at how you can get into the holiday spirit while we’re waiting.
New York and Hollywood Backlots
Here’s the good news. One of the most important parts of getting into the holiday spirit when visiting theme parks, the decorations, are practically fully up right now. Over the next few weeks the finishing touches will be put on, but enough sparkling ornaments and garland decorate the two most festive spots in Universal Studios Florida to put you in the spirit. Every year I love seeing the Christmas trees on the R.H. Macy’s facade and the delicate snowflakes on the Paradise theater facade, both in the New York backlot area. This section of the park is where you will find the big Christmas tree (though during my visit this weekend it was not yet up). While you’re visiting the New York backlot, stop in at Finnegan’s, my favorite theme park restaurant, and very festive to boot!
Start celebrating the holidays at the Magic Kingdom with the 2015 Jingle Cruise (Photos/video by Seth Kubersky)
It seems like it was only last week that we were celebrating Halloween…oh wait, it was only last week. Well, never mind the 90 degree weather, the winter holidays have arrived at Walt Disney World! Only days after it was decked out with spirited All Hallows decor, the Magic Kingdom is already dressed for Christmas. And to start the season in safari style, the 2015 Jingle Cruise has docked in Adventureland, bringing holiday cheer to the world-famous Jungle Cruise attraction.
First, let’s take a stroll from the entrance’s poinsettia planter and up Main Street U.S.A., where a towering Christmas tree has made its annual appearance:
Cinderella Castle with Holiday Lights. Photo – Laurel Stewart
This holiday season (and by “holiday season,” we, and Disney, mean the last two months of the year as soon as the Halloween decorations come down), the ceremony that illuminates Cinderella Castle’s “Dream Lights” has been reworked as A Frozen Holiday Wish. In prior years Cinderella and Fairy Godmother lit the castle in a show called, “Cinderella’s Holiday Wish.” The beautifully lit castle is a spectacle that makes seeing a huge crane in all your photos from the early fall and mid-winter mostly worth it.
This year the honors are done by Frozen‘s Elsa, with assistance from her sister Anna, Kristoff, and Olaf the Snowman. Lest you think Elsa just goes around lighting random castles, she does ask permission (from the crowd) first. SPOILER: The crowd says, “Yes”. The gist of the new show is that everyone wishes for snow at Christmas starting November 5. If only there were someone around who could create snow on demand….