Choosing WDW travel dates (Part 2)

Crowds awaiting start of Holiday Wishes - Magic Kingdom Park. When should we go to WDW?
Crowds awaiting start of Holiday Wishes – Magic Kingdom Park

Picking up where we last left off on deciding when we should go to WDW. We’ve covered Labor Day weekend and fall break as options. Now we pick up with…

Veterans Day Weekend

Pros

  • Weather – Still in good window here…maybe better than October.
  • Christmas – Start of Christmas decor going up, entertainment starting.
  • Parties – Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party date or two available if we’re interested. For as many times as we’ve been to WDW, we’ve never attended a Christmas party. This time of year we’re always at WDW on Thanskgiving (no parties scheduled) or the week before Christmas where the Christmas parade and fireworks are already part of regular day entertainment.
  • Ride / show openings – By this time, we’re easily in the 90%+ chance range for Mickey’s Runaway Railway and Epcot Forever being open.

Cons

  • Time – Like Labor Day weekend we have limited time due to only one day of school being closed (Veteran’s Day) – it’ll take missing an additional 3 school days to get us to a 5 night trip.
  • Cost – We’re in the “Veteran’s Day” resort season classification ($177/night) – tickets still in the $114ish/day range though. Moderate discounting in play.

Wash

  • Crowds – A mixed bag on crowds – we’re missing Jersey week (if that’s even an impactful thing anymore…or ever was) with these dates, but we’re still in that fall period that I mentioned is seeing higher crowds that in the past. Long story short…we’re just not sure.
  • Festival – Last weekend of Food and Wine Fest – a “wash” due to more food but more crowds. A good “Eat to the Beat” music entry like 80’s one hit wonder Jeffery Osborne might help the shift the classification.
  • Star Wars land – we’re starting to get into the more legit timeframe for Galaxy’s Edge being open on these dates – say 50% chance. It’s in the “Wash” category because, as much as I want to see it, I’m sort of dreading the crowds it will bring in this opening season. I think I’d rather experience a general level of crazy on our potential 2020 trip rather than the simply insane level this trip. We’ll see.

Thanksgiving

Pros

  • Time – The big plus for going at Thanksgiving is that our school is closed that week – no personal days to use for Ashley and no missed school for Lorelai. For me, that week is usually fairly slow at work, so that’s also a positive.
  • Christmas – We’ll start getting into the full Christmas swing the Friday after Thanksgiving with all Christmas-related entertainment kicking into gear. Although, come to think of it…outside of Festival of the Holidays at Epcot, I think everything will already be running. I’m not sure if they’ll be an Epcot Forever Christmas tag this year. Either way, Festival of the Holidays is enough to keep this as a “pro”.
  • Ride / show openings – 100% chance Runaway Railway and Epcot Forever are open. Done.

Cons

  • Crowds – Strangely enough, I almost dropped “crowds” into the “wash” category. Let me explain – yes, the crowd level at Thanksgiving is pretty high. However, WDW is also expecting big crowds at this time. That usually results in rides operating at peak capacity and adequate staffing in the parks, partially offsetting the high crowd level. I’ll keep it as con, however, because, compared to other days (like Labor Day weekend), there’s no comparison.
  • Cost – Cost is also a biggie here with “Thanksgiving” resort season classification in play ($196/night) and tickets bumping to $129ish /person/day. Minimal discounts in play for this week.
  • Sickness – I understand that anyone can be sick at any given time. For us, however, our daughter has historically (like every year of her existence) been sick on Thanksgiving. It’s manageable, but still annoying.
  • Parties – We classified Very Merry Christmas Party as a “pro” for Veteran’s Day, so it almost has to be a “con” that there are no party dates scheduled for Thanksgiving week. Again, this is sticky, because, like the Halloween parties, this can be a positive because it means more available regular hours at Magic Kingdom.

Wash

  • No real “washes” here – worth noting that Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays isn’t enough of a crowd pull to make its existence a potential “wash” like Food and Wine.

Christmas (weekend before)

Pros

  • Time – See “Thanksgiving”.
  • Christmas – See “Thanksgiving”. For 2018, the last Very Merry party was Dec 21. As a result, I think we would be there for the start of the Christmas parade and fireworks shift to regular entertainment.

Cons

  • Crowds – See “Thanksgiving”….then a bump the crowd levels slightly.
  • Cost – See “Thanksgiving”
  • Star Wars Land – See “Thanksgiving”…then bump the chance of opening to 90%.

Wash

  • Weather – We’re starting to get kind of cold in late December…especially at nights. However, no real worries about heat.

Ummm…

When should we go to WDW? Well, I started these last two posts really leaning toward a Labor Day Weekend trip. So much so that I went ahead and booked a placeholder trip when a free dining promo surprisingly appeared a few weeks back for those dates (more on that later). After going through all of the options however, I’m not completely sold on the idea. Anyway…

In conclusion, we should we go to WDW

  • Decision – Labor Day Weekend
  • Reason – Sooner than the other options – pre-Star Wars craziness
  • Feeling? – Liking the idea of going at one of our historically favorite times. I also like the idea of taking the cheapest trip possible. I’m am a little worried Runaway Railway won’t be open by that time…and the heat may hurt us
  • Sure? – I could be talked of this one. Especially if some of the ride-opening windows change.
  • Takeaway – A lot of factors go into picking a time to go to WDW.

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