Insider’s Guide to Walt Disney World in December 2024

December at Disney World is magical, and also very busy! I’ve put together this complete guide of tips for visiting Disney World in December, to help you prepare for what I consider the most wonderful time of the year at Disney World.

Magical Guides December Calendar of Events
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December brings in some extra weather challenges as it can get cold in Central Florida during this time. Snow doesn’t usually make it’s way down to the most Magical place on earth. It can be difficult to know what to pack and what to expect with the busy holiday crowds.

Tips for Visiting Disney World in December (2024)

Turn on the Christmas music, get out the candy canes, and let’s dive into the ultimate guide to visiting Disney World in December!

Is December a Good Time for Disney World?

November and December are a great time to visit Disney World if you love Christmas decorations as much as I do. Your favorite characters might also be dressed in their Christmas outfits.

There is no shortage of Christmas cheer during December. If you have never been to Disney during the holidays you should definitely add a trip to your list.

You should know that crowds will be high and the weather may be chillier than expected. Packing and planning for your December Disney trip will help you enjoy the trip despite the weather and crowds.

Pros of a December Disney Trip

December is a great time to visit the Walt Disney World Resort, especially if you love Christmas time!

  • Christmas Decorations – There are 29 Christmas Trees that are 15 feet or over. There are 596 additional trees under 15 feet on Disney property. Disney has 15,000 ornaments and 260,000 lights for those trees. Seeing the Christmas decorations in all of the parks and the Walt Disney World Resorts is truly a magical Christmas experience. There is nothing like it.
  • Special Events – There are many special events and holiday parties you will only find during this time of year.

Cons of a December Disney Trip

The cons of a December Disney trip would be cold weather which isn’t expected in Florida, and lots and lots of people!

  • Weather – The weather is unpredictable and can be quite cold, and maybe even rainy. You will need to pack layers which can be a pain when you are in the parks all day.
  • Crowds – December is the busiest time of year in Disney World. The crowds will be at their highest, and the parks may even reach max capacity, especially during the week of Christmas or New Year’s Eve.
  • Cost – Since it is the busiest time of year, this is considered Peak Season at Disney World. Park tickets will be higher, and so will the Disney World Resort hotel rooms.

Is Disney Crowded in December?

December is the busiest time to visit the Walt Disney World Resort and the surrounding areas of Orlando in Florida. The last two weeks of December when schools are on break are the busiest in Disney World all year long.

The best time to go in December are the first two weeks of the month. When you pack for your next visit in December, be sure to bring plenty of patience. Remember you’re visiting the Most Magical Place On Earth.

The closer it gets to Christmas, and New Years the crowds will continue to increase. It’s important that you have any plans secured with reservations. If you’re interested in a last minute trip, we recommend going early to rope drop for the parks.

Should I purchase Genie + in December?

December, especially the two weeks of Christmas break are the busiest times at the park. The parks often reach full capacity and have been known to close during the day. The lines and crowds are very busy.

I would definitely recommend Genie+ and purchasing Individual Lightning Lanes during this time of the year. Genie+ would be very worth it in December. Early Entry or Rope Drop in addition to Genie+ will also help you maximize your time in December.

Disney World December, Crowd Calendar, Weather, Holidays, Special Events.
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Is Disney Open on Christmas Day?

Disney World is open 365 days a year including Christmas day. Christmas Day is in December, but you can enjoy the decorations all month long. There is nothing like Walt Disney World during the holidays.

Read Also: Are Disney World Theme Parks Open On Christmas Day?

Holidays in December at Walt Disney World

Christmas is a big holiday in December and all four Walt Disney World Parks have special things happening all month long. Don’t miss any of this Christmas magic!

Magic Kingdom

  • Check out Cinderella’s Castle for the show Frozen Holiday Surprise. All your favorite Frozen characters will perform during regular park hours and the special party events as well.
  • Be sure to check out all of the decorations around the park, especially on Main Street. You won’t want to miss the 65 foot Christmas tree on Main Street.
  • Jungle Cruise in Magic Kingdom transforms to the holiday version Jingle Cruise. Check out this festive adventure!


  • Meet Santa from November 24th to December 24th.
  • Living with the Land gets a festive glow for the holiday season.
  • Find Holiday Storytellers around the park from November 24th – December 30th.
  • Festival of the Holidays – Travel around the world trying favorite holiday cookies and savory bites at the festival booths.
  • Candlelight Processional – Listen to celebrity narrators and local choirs for this retelling of the Christmas Story.

Hollywood Studios

  • Sunset Seasons Greetings is a nighttime projection show on Tower of Terror. Stay for show and you will even see some snow!
  •  Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine happens this time of year. Reservations are required and will be booked fast!
  • See your favorite Toy Story characters in special holiday outfits in the park.

Animal Kingdom

  • The Tree of Life has a special holiday addition at night. Be sure to catch this special show.
  • Adventurer’s Outpost has Mickey and Minnie in their holiday outfits and will take pictures with your family.
  • Marvel at the magnificent holiday decorations around the park.
  • The Merry Menagerie is an amazing puppet show that roams throughout Discovery Island interacting with guests. These artic puppets are full of beautiful details and are so much fun to play with!

Special Events to Attend in December

There are many special events happening in Walt Disney World for the holiday celebration. Here are a few notable events going on in the month of December. 

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom

A trip to Walt Disney World in December wouldn’t be complete without attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This is a separate ticketed event inside Magic Kingdom during the month of December. The holiday fireworks and parade at this Christmas party are both can’t miss!

As with any special event that occurs at Walt Disney World Parks, guests really enjoy dressing in their favorite Christmas outfits. If you enjoy a good laugh, many guests like to wear ugly Christmas sweaters featuring Disney characters. We have even seen some families in matching Christmas pajamas!

Dressing up is fun way to stay in the magical holiday spirit and stay warm if it’s cold outside!

Be sure to book your tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party early, all of after hours and parties have been selling out. If you do get your tickets, be sure to check out Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Tips.

Disney Jollywood Nights at Hollywood Studios

A brand new party premiered at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2023. Similar to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party in Magic Kingdom, this is a special ticketed event.

You will need to purchase party tickets to enjoy Disney Jollywood Nights. You will not need to purchase park tickets unless you want to attend Holywood Studios or another park in the morning.

Enjoy Yuletide Entertainment, Nostalgic Characters, Glitz and Glam galore, and special dancing during the party. There will also be special photos, food, and lower wait times for the after hours party. Guests are encouraged to dress up in Dapper clothes.

There were mixed reviews of this event and the long lines during it. Disney has not announced if it will be returning for 2024, but we will update when we know the details!

EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays

Enjoy recipes from around the world at EPCOT’s world showcase from November 24th to December 30th. This is the shortest festival at EPCOT of the year. This festival includes food booths, and Christmas story tellers around the different countries in World Showcase.

Candlelight Procession at Epcot

We recommend that you check out the Candlelight Procession which takes place in EPCOT. Different celebrities narrate a Christmas Story with an Orchestra. Many people dress in holiday sweaters or Holiday Disney t-shirts.

Christmas Tree Stroll in Disney Springs

Get on over to Disney Springs and stroll along all the stores and paths to see some of the most decorated Christmas Trees. Pick up any last minute gifts or stop for a bite to eat in the many options you have there.

Visit the Starbucks or Ghirardelli Chocolate and get a hot chocolate as you can walk past all the decorations – highly recommend this at night, as the lights come to life.

Make sure to grab a free scavenger hut pack with stickers to fill up for each tree that you find. Return it to one of the stores to receive a free sticker or button.

What are Disney World Hours in December?

December is a very busy time and often has extended park hours to accommodate the large crowds. Check the My Disney Experience App for up to date park hours for your visit.

These are the hours that the parks were open in 2023. Check back for current times for December 2024 hours.

  • Magic Kingdom – 9 am to 11 pm (with some early closing times for the Christmas parties) December 30th and 31st Magic Kingdom will stay open until 1am.
  • Epcot – 9:00 am to 9:30 pm. December 31st EPCOT will remain open until 1am.
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios – 8:30 am to 9 pm (with some early closing times for the Christmas parties) December 31st Hollywood studios will be open until midnight.
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom – 8 am to 7 pm or 9am to 8pm. There are not extended hours on New Years Eve.
  • Water Parks: Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon – 10 am to 5 pm each day. One park will usually be closed throughout the month for its refurbishment period. 
  • Disney Springs – 10 am to 11 pm
What to Wear to Disney World in December
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The Weather at Walt Disney World in December

Winter in Central Florida can be unpredictable. In December, the weather can go from mid 70’s and sunny during the day and shoot down to the 40’s at nighttime. 

The average high temperatures are 74°F and low average temperatures of 56°F. It is possible for beautiful warm weather that isn’t too hot. There is also a possibility of cooler temperatures.

Is it Cold at Disney World in December?

The temperature drop is extremely sudden and can take some northerners by surprise! Make sure you check the weather forecast daily while you are on your trip as it can change drastically in temperature from one day to another.

And I know some of you are thinking “that’s not too cold” when you see the average temperatures. However, Florida cold is different than states that get snow on the ground. Florida has extremely humid weather which means there is a lot of moisture in the air. 

When the temperature drops, that moisture also becomes cold causing your body to feel much colder than it is. Sometimes it feels so much colder in Florida than what the weather channel is telling you. Use your best judgement and remember it’s always better to be over prepared.

This year we were at Walt Disney World for Christmas and it was 40°F and we were freezing. The iguanas were falling out of the trees it was so cold. We were so glad to have packed our long sleeves for the trip.

Does it Rain at Disney World in December?

December marks the end of hurricane season so there is no longer a threat of storms. Rain is not typical this time of year though it does happen occasionally. On average, only 6 days of the month are rainy.

It’s a good idea to pack your rain gear like a poncho or a raincoat. If it does rain, you won’t want to be stuck waiting for it to pass and sometimes it’s best to just walk through it if it isn’t dangerous. 

You could also consider bringing your umbrellas. Since it doesn’t rain as often I would just pack rain ponchos for this time of year.

Can you Swim at Disney World in December?

It really depends on the temperatures for your trip. We definitely have been swimming during the warmer 70°F-80°F days. The 40°F days are a little too chilly to swim for me, though you will find some guests swimming.

The pools on Disney property are heated to 82°F year round so the water will always be warm for swimming. The good news is you can always swim at the Disney resorts if you want to.

I prefer hitting the water parks where Disney keeps the water heated year round. Usually during the cooler months like December you won’t face long lines for the water rides so you can have the water parks to yourself.

Wearing comfortable clothes that protect you from the elements will help you on your Disney vacation.
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Wearing comfortable clothes that protect you from the elements will help you on your Disney vacation.

What to Wear to Walt Disney World in December?

I recommend packing layers for your day at Disney Parks. For example, you could wear a short sleeve shirt and have a light jacket in your park bag for when the temperature drops. 

You could also tie a jacket or flannel around your wait during the day for easy access if you get cold. Sometimes, rides can also be very cold while you are waiting in the queue so having a jacket with you could come in handy there as well. 

Imagine being stuck in a long line waiting for your favorite ride for over an hour and being freezing cold. No thank you!

How do people dress in Orlando in December?

To put it simply, in layers from my personal experiences while being down here during the month of December. Florida weather can be tricky to predict, so that’s why layers are important for your comfort. Just because that snow doesn’t make it down this far of the sunshine state, doesn’t mean that cool winds won’t put a damper on your Disney trip.

Your clothing options should be versatile and easy to put on or take off during the day. This gives you the ability to get warm if needed or cool down if needed.

During the holiday season, Disney sells holiday merchandise with many long sleeve and sweatshirt options. If there is a time you are much colder than you thought you would be, pop into a store such as the Emporium in Magic Kingdom and take a look at their holiday line! 

Outfit Recommendations for December

  • Long pants, sweatpants or athletic leggings to go with your layers.
  • Long sleeves that you can roll up, or a flannel or light jacket.
  • Closed toe shoes. Your feet will thank you at the end of the trip!
  • Boots are very popular and a great way to keep your feet warm. Make sure they are broken in and that you pack boot socks!
  • Hats are always helpful to block the sun if it’s hot or keep your head warm if it’s cold. Beanies are great to pack in your bag if you are at the parks at night.
  • Comfy sweat suits for the resort. You can even wear these over a bathing suit when you are headed to the heated pool or hot tub.

What do you wear to Disney for Christmas time?

If you are heading to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party you will want to pack your festive PJs. Another option if you don’t want to wear PJs is fun family holiday shirts.

There are many cute Christmas Disneybound ideas you can plan to wear for your next Disney World trip. Just make sure you pack your comfortable shoes no matter what you choose to wear.

Do I need a jacket in Florida in December?

Check the weather before you leave for your trip to help you decide. This past December we needed our thick winter jackets at Christmas time in the 40 degree weather.

You may not need a jacket most of the time at 70 degrees. Early Mornings will likely be cold and I would at least suggest a sweatshirt. If your Disney World Vacation weather looks like it’s unusually cold like last year, you may need a jacket.

Check out the December tips from AllEars.Net

What to Pack for Disney World in December

This is a difficult question to answer given what we have already discussed in the weather and what to wear section. Watching the weather and packing layered options will help you to make your packing list for December.

Here is an overall ultimate Disney packing list for December:

  • Short sleeve T-shirt(s)
  • Tank Top
  • Light pants (think yoga or other lightweight leggings)
  • Jeans or Heavier Pants if it will be cold
  • Shorts
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Bathing suit and sandals
  • Reusable water bottles
  • Multiple pairs of tennis shoes or boots if it will be colder
  • Socks
  • Extra bags (think plastic grocery bags for dirty clothes)
  • Mickey ears
  • Cell phone charger block & cord
  • Magic Bands
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Park Bag
  • Sunscreen (At least SPF 30 or your personal preference)
  • Festive clothing or Pjs
  • Comfy warm clothes or sweat suits for the resort
  • Disneybound Outfits or matching family t-shirts

Have a Magical Holiday Season

Walt Disney World Parks are the most magical place on Earth, especially during the holiday season. Get ready for Christmas trees, lights, celebrations, and singing. But, also for cold weather! 

It’s such a treat for Floridians when the weather cools down in December and January, but it’s arguably the best time to visit the parks weather wise. I would stay far away from Disney during the summer months because of the brutal heat and summer thunderstorms. 

Disney during the winter makes me think of hot cocoa, “ugly” Christmas sweaters, and holiday lights. We can’t wait to see you on Main Street USA this December, so tag us or share them in our Disney World Secrets Facebook Group.

Stay warm out there and enjoy your magical holiday season!

Read Also: Insider’s Guide to Walt Disney World in January

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