Don't Be Grumpy: A Disney Holiday Survival Guide

The Osborne (not Osbourne) Family Spectacle dances at Disney-MGM Studios.
The Osborne (not Osbourne) Family Spectacle dances at Disney-MGM Studios. (Above And P1 Ornament Illustration © 2006 Walt Disney Co.)
Sunday, December 10, 2006


Don't Be Grumpy: A Disney Holiday Survival Guide

During the Christmas season, you could lose your holiday mojo if you don't have a strategy to cope with the crowds, or, worse yet, arrive at a park to find it's already at capacity and you have to wait to gain admittance (it happens). Here are tips from our own experience and from Deb Wills, who runs AllEarsNet, Deb's Unofficial Walt Disney World Information Guide (

· Keep expectations low. The parks will be crowded, so bring things like trivia books and handheld games to pass the time spent in line.

· Arrive at each park when it opens and head straight to your must-ride pick of the day for a Fastpass ticket, which allows you to return during an assigned time and enter via a shorter queue.

· Go back to your resort for an afternoon nap or swim when the parks are most crowded.

· Skip parades and other shows (if your kids let you) to sneak onto rides, which are often less crowded during those times.

· Dining reservations are a must if you plan to eat something other than fast food without a long wait. Call 407-939-3463 for park or resort restaurants.

· To save money, pack snacks or grab other meals from quick-serve Disney eateries (they're fast at least). Better yet, if you have a car, head off campus to the myriad restaurants outside the park gates.

· A rental car is a worthy investment in December. When kids reach their expiration point in the parks, the last thing you want to do is wait in line for a bus back to your resort.

· For free holiday fun (the best kind), spend an afternoon visiting the resorts. Buy a cookie from the giant gingerbread house store at the Grand Floridian, gawk at the life-size carousel made from sugar and dark chocolate at the Beach Club resort, or visit the humongous Christmas tree in the Wilderness Lodge.

-- Christine Koubek

© 2006 The Washington Post Company