December Park Hours Could Cause Guest Frustration

Disney frustration
Credit: Disney, Canva

The holiday season is already a stressful time of year to travel. Weather delays, crowds, and stress can make holiday travel less magical. Unfortunately, those traveling to Walt Disney World this holiday season might have another stress to deal with when they arrive.

Disney Holidays

Credit: Disney

Disney Parks During the Holidays

The holidays at Walt Disney World are extra magical. Guests who travel during this time of year experience a bit of additional pixie dust throughout their days in the parks.

Guests can attend special holiday celebrations such as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom and Jollywood Nights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. During these special events, guests can enjoy memorable holiday experiences such as fireworks, parades, and special meet and greets.

All four Disney Parks are decorated for the season. Beautiful trees are displayed throughout the parks, and additional holiday cheer is found around every corner.

At EPCOT, guests learn about holiday traditions worldwide as outstanding storytellers tell extraordinary stories throughout the World Showcase. Also, EPCOT is the beloved and extremely popular Candlelight Processional.

Each evening at the American Gardens Theatre, guests are treated to the traditional Christmas story by celebrity narrators, a live orchestra, and a highly talented host of singers.

disney's grand floridian resort and spa, monorail crossing in front of the resort hotel

Credit: Disney

Disney Resorts During the Holidays

The Disney Parks aren’t the only area of Walt Disney World that gets into the holiday spirit. The Disney Resorts also bring holiday cheer this time of year.

At Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, guests can enjoy the beautiful gingerbread house display. Other impressive holiday displays are at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Beach & Yacht Club Resorts.

Even though all the Disney Resorts have special trees on display, it is well worth a trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge during the holiday season to see their massive Christmas trees.

The Disney Resorts bring holiday cheer to guests who visit this time of year.

Although Walt Disney World has a lot of magic during the holiday season, there can also be some additional stress.

Best days to visit magic kingdom

Credit: Disney

Holiday Stress

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World can be overwhelming at any time of year, but the holiday season can add to that stress. There are a lot of decisions to make, and one of those big decisions this holiday season revolves around park reservations.

Guests are still required to make Park Pass Reservations when visiting Walt Disney World through the first part of 2024. This means that guests need to have a valid theme park ticket and make a Disney Park reservation for one of the four Disney Parks.

This process might be even more difficult this December as the Park hours continue to be adjusted and inconsistent for December.

For Magic Kingdom, park hours range from an 8 or 9 a.m. opening to closing anywhere from 6 pm to 12 a.m. This is a vast range and can significantly impact guests’ experience at the Magic Kingdom during their visit.

  • 8AM to 6PM: December 3rd, 7th, 8th, 10th, 15th, 17th, 19th, 21st, and 22nd
  • 9AM to 11PM: December 4th and 23rd
  • 9AM to 6PM: December 5th, 12th, and 14th
  • 8AM to 11PM: December 6th, 9th, 16th, and 18th
  • 9AM to 10PM: December 11th, 13th, and 20th
  • 9AM to 9PM: December 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, and 29th
  • 9AM to 12AM: December 30th and 31st

Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests will also see a wide variety of hours due to Jollywood Nights.

  • 8:30AM to 9PM: December 3rd, 5th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 17th, and 19th
  • 8:30AM to 8PM: December 4th, 6th, 16th, and 18th
  • 8:30AM to 7PM: December 10th
  • 9AM to 9PM: December 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, and 24th 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th
  • 9AM to 8PM: December 20th
  • 9AM to 12AM: December 31st

EPCOT and Disney’s Animal Kingdom see more consistent hours for guests traveling in December.

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the hours variety is only slight:

  • 8AM to 7PM: December 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 16th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, and 23rd
  • 8AM to 8PM: December 8th, 9th, 17th, 18th, and 19th
  • 9AM to 7PM: December 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th, and 31st

Over at EPCOT, we see the most manageable schedule with an opening at 9:00 a.m. and closing at 9:30, all except for December 31, when the park is open until 1:00 am.

With such a variety of hours, it is a good reminder that it is essential to keep checking the My Disney Experience app before and during your vacation. This will ensure you know the most up-to-date hours for the park you visit.


About Jennifer Retzlaff

My name is Jennifer Retzlaff and I became a lifelong Disney fan during my first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of my life. I live in Iowa with my husband and two kids who are growing up too quickly for my liking. I started introducing my love for Disney early to my family with a Disney honeymoon and then trips when our youngest of 18 months. Since then, our family has been to Walt Disney World over five times and we continue to plan and dream for the next trip. I love the magic that Disney brings to people through the theme parks, cruises, adventures and movies they create. As a teacher, I try to bring that magic into my classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” I recently reached a dream of mine as I joined Magic Vacation Planner as a personal travel advisor. With this team, I can now help others plan magical vacations. As a passionate writer, I also have my own blog at magicalvacationsbyjen which is also where you can follow me on instagram for trip reviews along with tips and tricks for your next magical vacation.

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