Holiday season at Disney World is one of the most magical seasons of the year and offers something for Disney fans of all ages! If you’re planning a Disney vacation for the holidays, you’ll need to make reservations for dining, hotel and resort stays, and pick up your theme park and event tickets as early as possible. Many Disney World hotels, resorts and luxury destinations around Orlando are booked solid for Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas and New Year’s as early as September!
Whether you’re heading to Disney World for Thanksgiving weekend or the Christmas season, avoid these five mistakes when planning a Disney vacation for the holidays:
1. Counting on shuttle transportation for the entire trip. Many Disney hotels and area Orlando hotels offer complimentary shuttle service to and from the theme parks, but you’ll need to find alternative transportation to get to the shopping malls and holiday events in downtown Orlando. Plan to rent a car before you arrive so that you can head to the Mall at Millenia to see some more holiday lights, or to drive around Celebration for some fun, holiday events and festivities.
2. Forgetting to make Advanced Dining Reservations for holiday meals. Many restaurants on Disney property will be serving a special Thanksgiving buffet meal, Christmas dinner and other holiday meals. Be sure to call the Disney dining hotline at (407) WDW-DINE to make your advanced dining reservations.
3. Flying in a few days before a major holiday. Orlando International Airport is among the busiest airports in the country over holiday season, so make sure you’re planning to arrive at least three days before Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve to avoid extra stress. You won’t have to worry about snow coming in, but you will probably deal with long lines, crowds and long wait times for bags and taxis if you arrive very close to a special day.
4. Counting on theme parks and hotels for food. Make a food and beverage budget so that you’re not always paying a premium for snacks and simple meals you can eat outside of Walt Disney World. You’ll find several grocery stores, including Publix, Chamberlain’s Market and even Walmart and SuperTarget near the Disney World Resort, and can stock up on some of your favorite holiday baked goods, snacks and breakfast items to save some money.
5. Not leaving room in your suitcase for gifts and souvenirs. Many of the Disney stores at the theme parks, and the world’s largest Disney store in Downtown Disney feature exclusive, holiday-themed merchandise through holiday season! Make sure you have some room in your suitcase to bring your haul back home!