December 2015 Planning Guide

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Here’s what to expect in December 2015 at Walt Disney World

The Weather

December is the first full month of the dry season at Walt Disney World.  It only rains, on average, on six days during the month of December in Orlando.  The average high temperature dips down to 72.8 degrees and average low temperature reaches a “chilly” 52.4 degrees.  The record low temperature in Orlando was reached in December when the thermometer got all the way down to 18 back in 1894.  The best way to dress for the parks is to dress in layers.  Most days, you will need a sweatshirt or light jacket in the parks during the morning but get down to a short sleeve shirt by mid-afternoon.  Then, you need the sweatshirt or light jacket when the sun goes down.   If you leave the winter hat and gloves at home, Disney shops will sell hats and gloves to keep warm.

Average Day-by-Day December Temperatures in Orlando

The Crowds

Early December has some of the lightest crowds during the year at Walt Disney World.  Almost everyone has just finished up Thanksgiving break and it’s only a few weeks away to Christmas/New Year’s Break at the end of December.  As a result, the parks are not very crowded and shorter wait times can be expected even for the more popular attractions.

As the month goes and Christmas/New Year’s Break gets closer, the crowds start to build as more and more schools let out for the break.  The crowds reach their peak between Christmas and New Year’s Day.  Some parks, especially Magic Kingdom, will close to guests during the day because they reach capacity.  If you are in Disney World on these days, it is best to get to the parks early.

Crowds (out of 10)

December 1-10: 3.4

December 11-18: 4.6

December 19-31: 9.6

Special Events 

Christmas is in full swing at Walt Disney World during December.  Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party takes place on select nights (1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 18).  After the 18th, the Christmas parades that take place during the parties become the night-time parades through Christmas time.  EPCOT’s World Showcase gets on the Christmas action.  Each nation in the World Showcase has a Santa which tells the story of Christmas in their nation.  Times for these Christmas stories vary (check the times guide in the park).  The Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights take place every night in Hollywood Studios.  Each of the resorts gets the Christmas spirit as well with resort-themed Christmas decorations.

The taping of the Walt Disney Christmas Day Parade typically takes place on the first weekend of December which would be December 5th and 6th.

Outside of the Christmas, the Pop Warner Super Bowl takes place from December 5th through December 12th.  Most of the teams are housed in the value resorts, specifically, All-Star Sports.

General Park Hours:

Magic Kingdom: December 1st-18th – Typically opens at 9 am and closes at 10 pm.  Will close at 7 pm on Christmas Party nights as the park is only available to Christmas Party ticket holders from 7 pm until Midnight.  December 19th-31st: Opens at 9 am and closes at 11 pm or midnight.

EPCOT: December 1st-18th – Typically opens at 9 am and closes 9:30 pm.  December 19th-31st – Typically opens at 9 am and closes at 10:30 pm or 12:30 am.  Closes at 1 am on New Year’s Eve

Hollywood Studios: December 1st-18th – Typically opens at 9 am and closes at 8 pm.  December 19th-31st – Typically opens at 9 am and closes at 8 pm.  Closes at midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Animal Kingdom: December 1st-18th – Typically opens at 9 am and closes at 5 or 6 pm.  December 19th-31st – Typically opens at 9 am and closes at 7 pm.

Extra Magic Hours either in morning or evening take place at select parks every day during the month of December.  Parks with morning magic hours will open an hour earlier and parks with evening magic hours will close two hours later.

December Refurbishment Schedule

Magic Kingdom:

  • Monorail System will be undergoing ongoing maintenance through December 2015 and may be running on limited hours

EPCOT:

None

Hollywood Studios:

None

Animal Kingdom:

None

Polynesian Resort

  • General Construction through Early 2016
  • East Pool Renovation through Late Spring 2016

Walt Disney World Swan Resort

  • Guest Room Renovation August 20, 2014 – TBD

Disney Springs

  • Roadwork on Buena Vista Drive through March 2016
  • Parking Lots – Entrance 2 – Lots A-G December 1, 2014 through August 1, 2016

Top Date: 180-day mark for advanced dining reservations

Middle Date:  60-day mark for Fastpass+ reservations for on-site guests

Bottom Date: 30-day mark for Fastpass+ reservations for off-site guests

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