Looking for a fun holiday getaway for your Dallas family? We recently packed up our three children and headed to DisneyWorld in Orlando, Florida for an early Christmas present for the whole family. Sound crazy? Find out why YOU should think about doing the same.
1. No Crowds
When I say no crowds, I mean NO CROWDS. Historically the time between Thanksgiving and the second week of December are the lowest in attendance, and we experienced this first hand. Our family got to the park when the gates opened at 8:00 a.m., and by 9:30 had literally ridden 10 different rides! The longest ANY of us ever waited in line was 10 minutes, a sure sign of a Christmas miracle to me.
Imagine walking down Main Street U.S.A. while snow “bubbles” rain down on you (but it’s still 65 degrees outside). Cinderella’s Castle is decorated in ice crystals, the rides are uncrowded, and free cookies and hot cocoa are being handed out at Pinocchio’s Village Haus (among other places). Just when you think it can’t get any better, a special Christmas parade starts and Minnie and friends arrive wearing special holiday attire and begin singing in the Very Mickey Christmas Parade.
3. Cheaper Lodgings
Remember how I said it was the least busy time of the year? Well that also means that the on-site rooms at DisneyWorld are the least expensive for the whole year. In addition to the low rates, Disney historically runs the same sales every time of the year. We booked our vacation in March, and in October called and got a 35% discount on each night of our room!
Are you wanting a vacation but would like to have some alone time with that special person who still makes your heart smolder? Look no further than Disney’s kid activity centers. Based in several of the hotels and open until midnight nightly, it’s a great opportunity for you and your honey to escape to Epcot for a viewing of Illuminations or the Candlelight Processional [see below.]
5. Trees, Trees, and More Trees
If you and your family enjoy Christmas trees and decorations, Disney World at Christmas is a little slice of heaven. From towering trees and garland wreaths strung in every direction you look, to the amazing Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights, the holidays at Disney are truly a treat for the eyes and will make even the Scrooge-iest adult get into the holiday spirit.
A lot of people think of Epcot as the boring park, but the World Showcase is home to two wonderful holiday celebrations. The first, the Candlelight Processional, retells the Christmas story with different celebrity narrators, a 50-piece orchestra and a choir. It is a truly beautiful experience for both adults and children, and runs almost nightly from the beginning of December until Christmas. And while you’re there, you can stay until closing to view the Illuminations nightly fireworks finale. This is 14 minutes of firework and pyrotechnics you’ll never forget. One more amazing things about Epcot – during Christmas each of the different countries has various interactive skits and shows about how Christmas and the holidays are celebrated in each respective country. Norway’s mischievous porridge-eating gnome was our favorite!
7. The Characters
Does your daughter love the Disney princesses? She can eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner with them. Or run into Cinderella’s wicked step-sisters on the carousel, or Jasmine and Aladdin at Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride. Have a boy who’s not a fan of princesses? He can meet Buzz Lightyear after riding Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin [and defeating Zurg], or see Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates while visiting Hollywood Studios. And never underestimate the kind of love that Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and Tigger can inspire in children of all ages [and maybe some adults!]
Our family’s favorite meal? Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner. We were treated to table-side visits from Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine and Drusilla and Anastasia (the wicked step-mother and step-sisters). After an amazing meal Cinderella and Prince Charming took a spin around the middle of the room before Prince Charming asked MY two princesses to dance!
8. Food allergies? No problem.
As a mother of a child with a very severe egg allergy, I know firsthand that the thought of travelling and dealing with special dietary needs is both overwhelming and cause to not leave the house in the first place. Let me reassure you that the folks at Disney are first-rate when it comes to helping meet your family’s needs. When making our dining reservations I was specifically asked if there were any food allergies, and after being seated at the restaurants we were quickly greeted by the chef. He then either walked me through the buffet so I would know what was safe, or would go over the menu. They even offered to make things off-menu if nothing “sounded good” to my daughter. And for her special egg-less dessert at just ONE of our dinners, she was presented with this:
DisneyWorld’s Magic Kingdom recently underwent a large expansion, with the addition of a Storybook Circus area, the Beast’s castle and Prince Eric’s castle. There’s even a special grotto to meet Ariel and Gaston’s tavern, where numerous Disney villains are apt to be found. This was by far the busiest part of the park, but by using the Fastpass system (a ticket for later in the day) we still avoided any kind of long lines.
10. All Age Enjoyment
We went to Disney with a 7 year old, 4 1/2 year old, and 19 month. We had NO idea what to expect, as this was our first trip to DisneyWorld with kids, and we were pleasantly surprised. Our 7 year old had plenty of questions about the authenticity of the characters and princesses, but from her first hug with Ariel she seemed to forget about all those questions. Our 4 1/2 year old was a perfect age, although she took some time warming up to the rides that involved water. And our 19 month old? Amazingly enough, she couldn’t get enough of the carousel, Peter Pan’s ride, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Buzz Lightyear (where she discovered she could control which direction our spacecraft moved!) And to fulfill HIS theme park needs, Husband and 7 year old also went on Hollywood’s Tower of Terror and Space Mountain, making everyone everywhere happy.
Having just made a holiday trip to DisneyWorld, I can’t stress enough how much fun our entire family had – from the fun rides to the joyful atmosphere to the delicious food. The whole family agreed that our trip to Disney was the best EARLY Christmas present. Ever.
Need more information about planning? The All Ears website provided us with indispensable in
formation including ride closures, pictures of all the resorts inside and out, full menus of all restaurants,and other planning tips and tricks. For special deals we perused Mouse Savers, which often provides coupon codes and give you general information about when Disney releases their discounts for their rooms.