Christmas Eve and Day At Disney World: How Crazy are the Wait Times?!


Updated for 2018!

Just how nuts can things get the week of Christmas? More specifically, how busy will it be on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? Let’s talk about wait times, because there will be BOO COODLES of people wandering the parks and resorts, and most of that time, they will be standing in line with you, elbow to elbow, cell phone to iPad.

I wrote down wait-times during the peak holiday week at certain points during the day just to give you some perspective. Granted, this was several years ago now, but let me assure you, 2019 times will not go down. If anything, you may have to wait a tad longer. Looking at slightly older numbers will give you an accurate look at how long you may be standing in line.

Read: Holiday Wishes Dessert Premium Package: A Cheapskate Princess Guide


Christmas Eve Morning 2017

Small World 25disney-world-wait-times

Astro Orbiter 50

Big Thunder Mtn 60

Buzz Lightyear 75

Dumbo 35

Tales with Belle 60

Haunted Mansion 40

Jungle Cruise 60

Peter Pan 90

Pirates of the Caribbean 45

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train 120

Splash Mountain 45

Winnie the Pooh 55

Space Mountain 110

Speedway 60

Under the Seas 30

Dinosaur 30

Expedition Everest 55

Kali River Rapids 25

Kilimanjaro Safari 50

Living with the Land 35

Mission: Space 50

Soarin’ 130

Spaceship Earth 35

Test Track 85

Seas with Nemo 35

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 125

Toy Story Mania 75

Great Movie Ride 35

Rock’n’ Roller Coaster 75

Star Tours 40

Read: Cheapskate Guide to Disney World Halloween & Christmas Parties


These people are all waiting in line just to get to the jewelry counter.

Christmas Eve Night 8 pm

Small World 30disney-world-waiting-in-line

Astro Orbiter  50

Big Thunder Mtn 30

Buzz Lightyear 25

Dumbo 20

Tales with Belle 20

Haunted Mansion 20

Jungle Cruise 35

Peter Pan 80

Pirates of the Caribbean  25

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train 70

Space Mtn 90

Splash Mountain 30

Winnie the Pooh 10

Speedway 30

Under the Seas 15

Dinosaur Closed at 7 pm

Living with the Land 10

Mission: Space 45

Soarin’ 90

Spaceship Earth 15

Test Track 80

Seas with Nemo 10

Great Movie Ride 5

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 90

Toy Story Mania 85

Rock’n’ Roller Coaster 60

Star Tours 10


Christmas Day Noon – closure phase A at 10 am

Small World 35waiting-for-rides-at-disney-world

Astro Orbiter  70

Big Thunder Mtn 80

Buzz Lightyear 75

Dumbo 55

Tales with Belle 40

Haunted Mansion 110

Jungle Cruise 50

Monsters Laugh Floor 40

Peter Pan 115

Pirates of the Caribbean 35

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train 150

Space Mountain 190

Splash Mountain 60

Winnie the Pooh

Speedway 60

Under the Seas 45

Dinosaur 40

Expedition Everest 45

Kali River Rapids 10

Kilimanjaro safari 20

Living with the Land 30

Mission: Space 65

Soarin’  120

Spaceship Earth 45

Test Track 80

Seas with Nemo 35

Great Movie Ride 25

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror  40

Toy Story Mania 85

Rock’n’ Roller Coaster 60

Star Tours 50

Read: Where to Find FREE Disney World Theme Parks Christmas Music

Christmas Day 5 pm – If you even got in

Typically Magic Kingdom reaches capacity between 10 and 11 on Christmas Day, where they basically will not allow any new visitors entry into the park. This link will help you understand par closures more accurately. Understanding Disney Park Closure Phases: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Small World  45

Astro Orbiter  30

Big Thunder Mtn 60

Buzz Lightyear 55

Dumbo 45

Tales with Belle  50

Haunted Mansion 60

Jungle Cruise  90

Peter Pan 90

Pirates of the Caribbean 40

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train 120

Space Mtn 125

Splash Mountain 90

Winnie the Pooh 45

Speedway 50

Under the Seas  50

Dinosaur 20

Expedition Everest 35

Kali River Rapids 50

Kilimanjaro safari 45

Living with the Land 20

Mission: Space 50

Soarin’ 130

Spaceship Earth 25

Test Track 95

Seas with Nemo 30

Great Movie Ride 35

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 150

Toy Story Mania 105

Rock’n’ Roller Coaster 135

Star Tours 30


And just for kicks, I also recorded wait times the day after Christmas, because if you were going on a Disney vacation December 24th and 25th, chances are you will stick around for several more days afterward.

December 26th 3 pm

Small World  45

Astro Orbiter  40

Barnstormer 45

Big Thunder Mtn 75

Buzz Lightyear 60

Dumbo 60

Tales with Belle 60

Haunted Mansion 45

Jungle Cruise 80

Magic Carpets 45

Peter Pan 105

Pirates of the Caribbean 50

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train 110

Splash Mountain 115

Splash Mountain 85

Winnie the Pooh 55

Speedway 90

Under the Seas 60

Dinosaur 40

Expedition Everest 35

Kali River Rapids 60

Kilimanjaro Safari 45

Tough to Be a Bug 110

Primevil Whirl 30

Living with the Land 20

Mission: Space 60

Soarin’ 110

Spaceship Earth 20

Test Track 55

Seas with Nemo 15

Great Movie Ride  35

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 80

Toy Story Mania 155

Rock’n’ Roller Coaster 90

Star Tours 45

Mad Tea Party 25

Mickey’s Philharmagic 30

Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor 20

Prince Charming Regal Carousel 15

Stitch’s Great Escape 10


So that’s a lot of waiting, although the wait times will vary in length throughout the day. Obviously things are more quiet at the beginning of the day and rapidly get busier from there.

Curious about closure phases for the parks? Use this link…

Read: Understanding Disney Park Closure Phases: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

So what do you think, visit the Mouse during holidays when the kids are out of school but spend a lot of time waiting or vacation during another time of year when the decorations may not be as spectacular?


To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda, Disney’s Cheapskate Princess


Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at




Disney Souvenirs Under $10? Lollipops!

Updated for 2018!

Disney World vacation souvenirs are expensive. As soon as you announce plans for your upcoming Orlando trip, friends will start casually saying, “Hey, bring me something back from Disney World.” Well, now the pressure is on, and you have to decide if you will spend the big bucks or look for small trinkets. $35 t-shirts and $59 sweatshirts will kill your budget; I don’t always fit those items in my budget for myself. You may need to purchase something way less expensive.

I spent a lot of time looking around the gift shops as a child in the 70s, and these sweet items remind me of childhood vacations munching on candy, one of the few items we could afford to buy in the parks on a 1st grade budget.

Say hello to the Disney Parks lollipops! [Read more…]

Times Have Changed: Welcome to the New Era of Walt Disney World

New Disney World

Updated for 2017!

A while back, author and freelance writer  wrote an article for Huff Post Travel called, “For the First Time in Forever… I Did Not Enjoy My Vacation to Disney World.” She described how, as a life long Disney vacation traveler, her most recent trip to the Mouse House was not as enjoyable as she hoped for. “It’s simply gotten too big, too commercial, too regimented.” She noted that through the years, changes have been made which many long time Disney fans haven’t enjoyed so much. I’m here to tell you that my most recent trip was neither efficient nor pleasurable.

She provided several reasons why she didn’t have fun-fun-fun at the Happiest Place on Earth. And even after time has passed since she wrote the article, people have problems with some of her same issues.

[Read more…]

The New LEGO Disney World Castle Costs How Much?!

I want the Disney Cinderella Castle

Updated for 2017!

For those who have been searching for years to find THE perfect Disney World vacation souvenir, one amazing item that hit the LEGO store in 2016 is an authentically detailed replica of Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World Resort, and the tiny details are amazing.

Disney World Cheapskate Souvenir Picks: Fridge Magnets for Under $20

Let’s be real here; the price is just as amazing as the details. How much will the LEGO Cinderella Castle set you back?! You cheapskates might want to have a seat…

where to buy the Lego Disney World CastleBefore we talk money, let’s talk details.  This LEGO set is appropriate for ages 12 and over, although the box says ages 16+. The Disney Castle measures over 29” high, 17” wide and 12” deep and contains 4,080 LEGO pieces. Highlights include:

  • mosaic-tiled floor
  • suits of armor
  • wall-mounted shields
  • grandfather clock
  • magic carpet
  • ornate chandelier and golden lamp
  • ornate balconies
  • flag-adorned towers
  • soaring golden-spired main tower complete with fireworks function
  • chest with book of spells
  • mop and bucket
  • a spinning wheel
  • a chest containing brush, scissors and lock of black hair
  • a golden mirror, plus red apple and glass vase

Disney Cinderella Castle cost of the Lego Disney World castle

Cheapskate Guide to Disney World Halloween & Christmas Parties

Five mini-figures are included:

  • Mickey Mouse with a tuxedo
  • Minnie Mouse with red dress
  • Donald Duck with classic outfit
  • Daisy Duck with pink skirt, lavender colored shoes and a bow
  • Tinker Bell with wig, skirt, wings and a magic wand

Mickey Minnie Mouse Lego Disney Castle

Disney Castle for Lego fans

Both the main four-story building and the five-story, golden-spired main tower contain rooms with assorted Disney-inspired features and elements.

purchase the Lego Disney Castle

LEGO Disney Castle

build the Lego Disney World Castle

Disney fans, to aid with this purchase, it may be time to sell your Dooney & Bourke purse on eBay or sell your beloved Arribas Brothers princess crown to your neighbor.

The price is $349.99 before tax.

Or maybe it’s time to write Santa a letter and tell him you just have one simple item on your list. Better yet, just forward him this article.

20 Cheapskate Tips for Souvenirs and Activities at Disney World: How to Save Money!!

Shipping will not be an issue for you at this price.

LEGO Free Shipping

Another bonus about LEGO is their rewards program. You could earn $15 in VIP rewards by purchasing this set.


And there are several ways to become a LEGO VIP.

Instructions to become a LEGO VIP

You can use this link for more information.

So will you buy another handbag this year or clean off space in the dining room to display your mini home away from home?

Decisions, Deci$ion$…

Thanks for stopping by, and maybe we’ll see you opening up that big box, a big smile on your face?

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess


Disney’s Cheapskate Princess


Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at

Walt Disney World Locker Rentals: A Cheapskate Guide

Updated for 2018!

Many Disney park go-ers are not carrying in large bags or strollers will pockets galore. Sometimes, no bags to carry can trump paying a fee to rent a locker.  For your convenience, all the Disney theme parks and water parks offer paid locker rentals.  [Read more…]

20 Cheapskate Tips for Souvenirs and Activities at Disney World: How to Save Money!!

cheapskate tips for souvenirs and activities at Disney World

Updated for 2018!

Disney vacation souvenirs are expensive, but do you always have to pay retail?

We have some tips on saving money for your next Disney vacation, plus ideas on how to save money on souvenirs and activities. So put your Visa card away, hide your checkbook, and let’s see how the cheapskates do Disney!

Read: Almost 130 FREE Walt Disney World Resort Activities!

[Read more…]

Disney World Park Tips for Kids: Cheapskate Princess Guide

Disney World theme park tips for kids

Updated for 2018!

Let’s be honest. Taking children on vacation to theme parks, surrounded by thousands of people and potentially walking miles a day, can be overwhelming. For the Disney parks in particular, add in scheduling Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) and FastPass+ times, and you have a lot of information to absorb and keep up with.

We’ve amassed our best tips for taking children to Disney theme parks in one easy to follow guide. And away we go!

Read: Taking Baby to Disney World

1. Daily Schedule

Grab a daily schedule when you first arrive at the parks in the morning; this way you know what’s going on with scheduled events, entertainment, and character locations. You can also get a schedule from the front desk at all the WDW resorts. Children that can read might enjoy having their own schedule, which means multiple people in your party will be planning things down to the minute! 

Those of you with iPhones can use the My Disney Experience App. to see times and locations for character meet and greets, attraction wait times, and a limited schedule for some events like Casey’s Corner Pianist, Celebrate the Magic show, Flag Retreat, etc. Kids are totally tech savvy these days and will enjoy looking this up on a phone. 

2. Go Early

If you have spent any time on vacation with children, you know that they are usually wide awake and raring to go way before the adults. Most smaller children are in prime form in the mornings, crashing later on in the day. So it makes sense when traveling with kids to head over to the parks bright and early.

Theme parks are the least crowded first thing in the mornings (unless there is morning Extra Magic Hours), so you will have shorter wait times than from noon until later on in the afternoon. In the summer, it’s not yet hot and humid during the early mornings, and you can always come back to your room and grab a nap. Vacations are hard work; I am a big proponent of naps.

Read: Items You Can NOT Bring to Disney Theme Parks

Disney World Theme Park Tips for Kids

3. Take a Picture of your Parking Row

Time to start your day off right. Cast Members say you wouldn’t believe how many people forget where they parked each day. Take a picture of the sign on your parking row and text it to yourself, or just text the information so you don’t forget how to find your spot.

If any child traveling with you has their own phone, have them take the picture (participation!) and send it to you. Let them be in charge of finding the car, with a little gentle supervision from you.

4. Take a Nap

As I said in #2 when discussing beating the big crowds by waking up early for park openings, I am all about the nap, both for me and for children. On a typical Disney day, but even more so when it’s summery-hot, kids start to lose it around lunch time. Even if you have active children who can handle a fair amount of walking, the Florida heat alone can suck the life out of you.

If your children normally take a nap, we recommend heading back to the hotel for a quick rejuvenating snooze. There are kids napping in strollers everywhere throughout the parks, so if they fall asleep before you make it back to the room, that’s even better for those left to ride roller coasters while the kids nap it out in the shade.

Read: Read: FREE Drink Refills at Disney World Theme Parks

take a nap on a Disney vacation

5. Or Take a Break

Not every child will need a nap, but they certainly might need a break. There is so much to see and do in the parks and resorts (ever seen a child in a gift shop on the way to a park?!) that overstimulation is a very real possibility. If you have two adults, let one take the nap and the other adult can take the non-nappers for a swim.

Single parent of nappers AND non-nappers? This is where you turn the room TV on a low volume, turn off the lights, draw the curtains, and catch some Zs for yourself while those still awake watch some cartoons. Hanging out with the less-stimulated child is certainly ideal over the cranky and completely over-stimulated one.

Naps and breaks can make your vacation run much more smoothly.

6. You Can Rent Strollers

While parents can bring strollers from home, Disney also has molded plastic strollers for rent. These rental stroller are not suitable for infants or older babies, but they are certainly fine for toddlers to preschoolers. You cannot remove strollers from the theme parks, so if you park hop, just present your rental receipt at the next park to obtain a replacement. A $100 credit card deposit is required for strollers rented at the Disney Springs area.

  • Single strollers are recommended for children 50 lbs. or less. The daily rate is $15 and multi-day length of stay rate is $13.
  • Double strollers are recommended for children 100 lbs. or less. The daily rate is $31 and multi-day length of stay rate is $27.

To qualify for a Length of Stay stroller discount, simply pre-pay the number of days that you will need a stroller. Purchase a Length of Stay rental ticket, and show your receipt at the rental location to receive your stroller for the day.

In addition to stroller rental locations across Walt Disney World Resort, several private companies in the local area also offer stroller rentals.

  • Orlando Stroller Rentals: (800) 281-0884
  • Kingdom Strollers: (407) 271-5301
  • Magic Strollers: (866) 866-6177

Read: Over 30 FREE Activities In Disney Springs

where to rent strollers at Disney World

7. Realize Strollers are Moved

Where did your stroller go? You know for a fact you parked it right here. Well, as they straighten up park areas, Cast Members will often move strollers around so everything looks more organized. There is no need to panic if you don’t find your stroller where you originally parked it. Look around for the huge group of strollers, and if you use tip #8, you’ll have no trouble spotting it.

8. Cheapskate Decorate Your Stroller 

You need your stroller to stand out from the crowd. Stroller decoration certainly doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or take much time. Lots of families attach balloons, ribbons, or decorate bright-colored name tags so they can recognize their stroller more quickly. When you walk out of an attraction, you will then spot your distinctive looking stroller more quickly.

Personalization is especially important if you rented one of the identical looking Disney strollers. Pick identifiers your children will recognize, so they don’t climb into the wrong one. (Ask me how I know this happens…) You don’t have to spend lots of money for a Mickey helium balloon to make your stroller look special, but if you do, remember to take it home at the end of the day. I’ve heard stories from parents who say their balloon stayed inflated sometimes for over a month. 

Read: Disney World $.51 Souvenir Pennies

decorate your stroller at Disney World

9. What’s in Your Stroller?

I always tell people Disney World is a really safe place, both for your family and your belongings. I once forgot a backpack on a resort bench as we boarded a bus to Magic Kingdom. 20 minutes later after riding back to the bench, me in panic and with a furious husband, that bag was still sitting right there with all the contents, untouched and in place. Chances are anything you leave in your stroller will be right there upon your return, but…

Just in case, make sure anything you leave unattended will not ruin your trip if you come back to find it missing. If your child can only sleep with that one specific Mickey doll, perhaps that Mickey doesn’t need to be in the stroller. Or maybe you need to bring two Mickeys, one for the stroller and one for the room. Chances are everything will be fine, but sometimes it’s not worth taking a risk bringing along financial or emotionally valuable items with you into the parks.

10. Stroller Fold Up 

Keeping in mind that you can’t take the rental strollers out of the parks, when you bring your own stroller on the Disney busses and trams, you will need to fold it up before you climb on board. This catches a lot of families by surprise, and stroller break down and bag organizing can take some time to get yourself together.

Strollers can be rolled onto monorails and some boats, depending on space, but it’s always a good idea to be prepared for fold up. Children should be ready to be in and out quickly. People behind you in line will thank you.

11. Bag Check Lines

Since we’re talking about potentially holding people up in lines, bag check into the parks is another area you should be prepared. You need to have every pocket of your bag open for Cast Members to check. Just for your information, they are looking for glass containers and weapons, not food.

Children traveling with you should have their bags open as well, even if it’s a small backpack or fanny pack. Trust me, people behind you in line will thank you.

Read: Haircuts at Walt Disney World For $20

find your stroller at Walt Disney World

12. Emergency Plan

If you become separated, do your children know where to meet? Do small children know what to do if they suddenly can’t find you? Should they stand still or walk around looking for you? It’s an excellent idea to determine a meet up place if you get separated or have a plan on what to do.

For children that are really small and unable to communicate how to reach their parents, many people tape phone numbers in their child’s shirt collars, take pictures of what they are wearing that day, and lots of other child finding measures. We have an entire article with tips to help you keep up with your children in the parks: How NOT to Lose Your Kids at Walt Disney World and Disneyland

13. Baby Care Centers 

Baby Care Centers can be truly helpful during your vacation. Open during regular park hours, each full-service Baby Care facility is FREE to use and includes the following:

  • Private nursing room with rocking chairs
  • Changing room with tables and a unisex bathroom
  • Feeding area with high chairs
  • Kitchen with microwave, oven and sink
  • Main room with television, table, chairs and sofa

There is an on-site shop offering formula, baby food, juice, diapers, wipes, sunscreen, over-the-counter medications and clothing for purchase. These items will not be free.

Read – Disney World 4 Le$$: Miniature Golf

Disney World baby care center information

14. First Aid

What do you do what a child gets sick in the parks?  Or if the adult watching a child feels sick? Visit one of the First Aid centers. Nurses are available during regular park operating hours, providing over-the-counter medications, bandages and other quick remedies.

Use this link to see their locations in each park.

15. Souvenir Pick-Up for Toys/Merchandise

Have the kids have picked out souvenirs too large for you to carry? Or maybe you don’t want to leave expensive items in your stroller? Decide you have to purchase something breakable? Good thing you have an option. Theme park merchandise can be delivered to a designated location near the front park entrances for convenient pick-up as you exit the parks. To utilize this service at the time you make your purchase, let the Cast Member who rings up your items know you want everything delivered to the park entrance.

You can also have items delivered to your resort room, but obviously don’t use this service if you are leaving early the next day. How awful would it be to miss your souvenir delivery!

Disney for Le$$: Chocolate Extinction at T-REX in Disney Springs

have items delivered to yoyr resort room on a Disney World vacation

16. It Gets Loud

Small children can be really noise sensitive, as can be children with special needs. Fireworks and music in Fantasmic!IllumiNations, and Happily Ever After can be really loud. If your children are noise sensitive, pack some earplugs; if you forget, they are available at First Aid. If possible, try not to sit too close to the front.

17. It Also Gets Dark

If your younger children have never been on “dark rides” before, you may be shocked by their reactions. I’ve seen kids wailing in Small World, and this is a happy dark ride! Start explaining to them that some rides and shows may be in the dark. A great way to do this is by showing ride videos found on YouTube.

Once you arrive in the parks, don’t push your children into something they can’t handle. If the tears start in the first dark space, then don’t continue going into dark ride after ride. You can always come back when they are older.

Read: How to Pack the BEST Disney World Theme Park Bag Ever!

Disney World tips for kids

18. Lines/Queues are Long

Stand-by lines can frequently get really long, like hours long during holidays, and this can be stressful for both adults and children. Many parents recommend that kids play on iPhone apps. or try looking for Hidden Mickeys while they wait. Hidden Mickeys are just Mickey-head shapes/three circles that appear where you wouldn’t expect them.

This is also a great time to have a conversation with your child, especially teens, because now you have a captive audience!

19. Ride Before Parades & Shows

People can start lining up for shows and parades nearly one hour or more before they actually start. This means while large groups are gathering in one spot, you can take advantage of what can be shorter wait times for roller coasters. The lines will fill back up right after the entertainment ends. I’m not saying choose rides OVER parades and shows, because Disney absolutely has some of the best of both. But if your group isn’t that into seeing live entertainment, then use that time wisely for more popular rides with potentially shorter waits.

Read: Less Stress on Vacation

avoiding long likes at Disney parks and resorts

20. Tips For Big Theaters

Shows like PhilHarmagicLittle Mermaid, and the Muppets 3D movie are all housed in large theaters. Your impulse will be to hurry inside, but the better plan is to hang back. The first guests through the doors are instructed to walk all the way to the end of the rows. If you want to sit in the middle, our favorite viewing spot, let other people go in before you.

However, if you do rush into the theater and find yourself sitting at the beginning (which is now the end) of the row, cheer up, because you are in prime position to get out of the theater faster to move to your next attraction.

21. FastPass+ 

If you haven’t been to Disney World in a long time but are now taking kids with you, know that things have drastically changed in the last few years, especially changes from the paper FASTPASSes. Now, you can schedule FastPass+ rides in advance, but you cannot make them for the same ride. You should have seen my sons’ faces when I said we were unable to schedule three passes for Space Mountain. Both over the age of 15 now, this is a disappointment they still suffer through every single trip.

You can ride the same rides over and over, but you will find yourself at the mercy of the Stand-By lines, and those can be lengthy. Make sure the kids understand this before you arrive, or stress and tears can ensue. This is a HUGE change for people who haven’t been to Disney in a long time.

Read: Surviving Disney World at Christmas

Disney World Fastpass + tips

22. FastPass+ is Inflexible

FastPass+ ending times are now strictly enforced. Long ago, if your FASTPASS paper ticket said 2:30 and you showed up after 3:00 with your paper pass, Cast Members waved you through. But now with the use of MagicBands and a crack down on times, you will not be allowed on a ride if you show up outside of your return time window, no matter how much you smile or how much the kids beg. So plan accordingly, which can include writing your time frames down or storing screenshots of them in your phone for easy access.

23. Additional PastPass+

When the initial switch was made from FASTPASS paper passes to FastPass+ and MagicBands, you were only allowed three passes per park per day.  You can now get more PastPass+ passes once you have used your original three, but warn the kids, what is left at the end of the day will probably not be their first choice ride. There’s not much left by the end of the day in terms of really popular rides.

24. Special Holiday Parties = Closing early

During certain times of year, there are “hard ticket” events that cause the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios to close early. Without a ticket for popular parties like MNSSHP (Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party) and MVMCP (Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party) you will be leaving the parks around 7 pm. This was a real shock for my crew when we were instructed to make our way to the exits way before 10 p.m fireworks. Be sure to have your Travel Agent check the dates for you or check themselves using this link to Disney’s Special Event Ticket page. 

Read: Buying Disney World Souvenirs on Ebay

Tips for Disney World Christmas party

25. Extra Tickets

If you want to purchase a ticket for these special events so you can stay after 7 p.m., know that prices will vary. You can expect a starting price of around $55- $65 for children’s tickets and $65-$75.00 for adult tickets before tax. You get sweet treats, special photo opportunities with characters, music and light shows, and time in the parks when the general public has gone home. How Much Are Tickets to Mickey’s Halloween and Christmas Parties? Grab Your Disney Visa!

For 11 select nights from June 2018 to September 2018, Magic Kingdom park will stay open for three extra hours after the park closes to other guests on certain dates. This is called Disney After Hours. You can enjoy favorite attractions and character greetings with very little wait time, but it’s going to cost you $119 before tax for both adults and children (which is down from $149 each back in 2016). Use this link for more information. 

Of it’s being offered, the Early Morning Magic program will involve one hour and 15 minutes of park time before opening with three rides and a breakfast buffet. The rides are The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight. This cost $69 for adults and $59 for children in 2018.

Disney is providing lots of way for you to visit the parks without huge crowds, but it will cost you extra, and a fair amount extra at that.

26. Sleep In

You may have days when you just can not wake up super early without a child (or adult! I’m thinking of you, dear husband) committing mutiny. It’s not the end of the world to sleep in. So you miss a few rides…you can make up for it later with a good attitude and a rested body.

27. Stay Late

Extra Magic Hours (EMH) are times the parks open early or stay open for those guests staying at Disney resorts. This extra time a perk of staying on property. The parks will thin out as non-resort guests leave, but they also get replaced with on-property guests coming over from other parks. If you have small children, Magic Kingdom Extra Magic Hours are your best option, because when the really popular roller coasters have long lines, there are still lots of other attractions for kids without crazy waits.

If you managed to catch a nap, then enjoy Extra Magic Hours late at night, when the summer temperatures and humidity are lower.

Read: 10 Ways to Save Money on Disney World Food

Disney Moms tips and tricks

28. Show the Bands

If you are attending Extra Magic Hours, you will need a MagicBand/park ticket for every person you are traveling with to show a Cast Member for admittance. You will not be allowed on rides or in shows without a ticket or band, and that rule goes for every person in your party. So make sure you keep them with you.

29. Night Time Shows

This may be tough with small children, but if they can stay up later, (naps help tremendously here) some of the best shows start after 9 p.m. I’m referring to the Happily Ever After and Celebrate the Magic at Magic Kingdom, IllumiNations at Epcot, and Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios. These are all excellent shows that start after most younger children’s normal bed times. If Disney offers a second show time, the second showing is generally regarded as being less crowded than the first.

 30. Prep. for Holidays

Holiday crowds at Disney World are indeed crazy. If you go vacation during a holiday when kids across the country are out of school, then you better be mentally prepared for long lines, people everywhere, and more waiting in lines. Should you take your kids out of school? More and more parents are these days, so they can hopefully enjoy lighter crowds, but Christmas is definitely the busiest time of the entire year. Prepare your own children for possible long waits and crowded situations.

Other holidays are packed out as well; if the kids are out of school, crowd levels will be pretty intense. 

Here are two articles that can help you prepare for the holiday madness.

Are You Crazy Enough to Go to World Disney World at Christmas?

What Are the Best Times to Visit Walt Disney World?

Disney World Christmas snacks

31. Need More Tickets?

When the kids are having a blast at the parks, if you decide (to make them happy, of course!) you would like to add another day or days to your current tickets, go to Guest Services. You need to make this decision before you are on the final day of your tickets. Extra days are not as expensive as your initial four or five days. Unless it’s the last day, you have the option to add more days, park hoppers, and water parks options.


Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you headed toward the Magic Kingdom, pushing a small child in a stroller…

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda, Disney’s Cheapskate Princess


Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

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Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at



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