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Robert Niles
Editor

Vote of the week: Celebrating Christmas at a theme park

Published: December 21, 2012 at 11:35 AM

As Christmas crowds descend upon the Orlando and Southern California theme parks, let's take a few moments to share our favorite theme park holiday memories.


We've been sharing photos of theme park Christmas trees on our Theme Park Insider Pinterest page.

I wrote about my Christmas morning at Walt Disney World in Stories from a Theme Park Insider. Along with my fellow cast members, I couldn't believe that people would choose to pay to come to a theme park on Christmas morning. At least I was getting paid - and extra - to be there. But I discovered that spending the morning with your loved ones in a truly special place could become one of the most enjoyable gifts of a lifetime.

I suspect that some of you have discovered the same. :^)

So let's make this topic our Vote of the Week and the prompt for a discussion, to follow.


In the comments, please share with us your favorite story about spending the holidays at a theme park. And please enjoy a very Merry Christmas and happy holiday season. Best wishes from Theme Park Insider!

Replies (16)

Eric Fisher

Published: December 21, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Not Christmas day - but Christmas Eve and Super Bowl Sunday are two of my favorite theme park days. The parks are usually close to empty and the lines non-existent. I managed 30 rides in 8 hours one Christmas Eve - at Six Flags Magic Mountain.
Mike Gallagher

Published: December 21, 2012 at 12:30 PM

No really specific memories, but in 1977...before many on here
were even BORN!...My Mom, sister, and I were in Florida, and I'm pretty sure we spent Christmas in the Magic Kingdom (well, what else WAS there??) It was the month after my Dad died.

I MIGHT have spent another on a high school class trip, but I don't remember if we were there for X-Mas or New Years Eve.

Dominick D

Published: December 21, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Nope. Never have and I never will.
71.137.247.159

Published: December 21, 2012 at 1:11 PM

I have spent Christmas day there, it's really calm usually until after lunch time, then when families have finished opening gifts they start to pour into the park.
190.191.225.229

Published: December 21, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Twice, once as a kid and once as a cast member during my international college program (I'm from Argentina) and as much as I love Disney all year round, Christmas is my favorite season there. I still wear my Minnie Santa's hat every Christmas Day :)
Jeremy Samples

Published: December 21, 2012 at 1:36 PM

I have never spent Christmas Day, itself, at a theme park. Have great memories of holiday festivities at theme parks celebrated around Christmas.

Here's a picture, which I haven't been able to figure out how to send, of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Christmas Tree from December 2011. http://twitpic.com/bm8jc6

James Koehl
Writer

Published: December 21, 2012 at 1:38 PM

I tried once, but the security guards at Cedar Point stopped me and threatened to call the police if I didn't leave. Geez, just because the park didn't open for another five months!
Rob Pastor

Published: December 21, 2012 at 2:57 PM

James: Sounds like the Griswald's "Vacation".
184.100.9.68

Published: December 21, 2012 at 3:27 PM

Have not spent Christmas morning in a park, but did spend New Year's Day morning at Disneyland one year. BEST time to go. Due to all the late night partying of some the night before and/or that many were in Pasadena for the Rose Parade, the park was almost empty. Could walk right onto most every ride! Took the Walt tour and just a small group. Was great! Did start getting busier around 1 p.m.
Amy Smith

Published: December 21, 2012 at 4:21 PM

"I'm sorry Sir/ma'am, but Wizarding World of Harry Potter is currently at capacity. Please get a return ticket or join the standby line which currently has a wait of 3 hours. Please note that you will still need to queue for the attractions once you are allowed entry - Forbidden Journey has a current wait time of 3 hours, 15 minutes. Have a great day and remember that causing me bodily harm will result in your being removed from the park without a refund. If you think this whole situation is insane - so do I! Happy holidays, guest services is located in Port of Entry at the front, and have a wonderful day ladies and gentlemen!" - my actual spiel on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day the year Potter opened.
212.183.128.156

Published: December 22, 2012 at 7:58 AM

(UK)
We spent all of the Christmas holidays at Disneyland Paris a few years ago, all the family went.. All 9 of us stayed in the Disneyland hotel, it was our first Disney trip.. And it was amazing !!! We've since been to Florida, several times including just before Christmas and to the California one, but nothing can compare to the time we had then.. It is a memory to last a life time :0)

Space mountain on Christmas Day was just out of this world.. And because we enjoyed the parks so much we even skipped the £90 a head Christmas dinner and plumped tor mc Donald's ! It's all sounds mental and possibly not for everyone... But if I could relive any holiday it would be that one :0)

The place was magical... Simply magical :0)

Fred Roy

Published: December 22, 2012 at 8:56 AM

I did spend one Christmas at the Magic Kingdom. It was in the late 70's, can't remember the exact year. What I do remember is that the temperature in the morning was 28 degrees. It was the only time I have ever worn a winter coat to the park. It wasn't crowded at all until later in the day which was great.
Ray Schroeder

Published: December 22, 2012 at 10:07 AM

I spent Christmas in the Kingdom 2 yrs ago. Crazy crowded but worth it. Another thing done from my bucket list :)
Mark Kausch

Published: December 22, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Not Christmas, but several times I welcomed the New Year in Disneyland followed by the Rose Parade in Pasadena. The temp might have been cold, but the park was so crowded we kept each other warm.
Ben Reeves

Published: December 25, 2012 at 7:30 PM

Just spent today in Hollywood studios, its been an amazing day. Left before closing but still saw everything we wanted, mulch played their Christmas stuff which was as entertaining as ever and the Osborne lights, well I don't think words can really describe them!!! Truly the best Christmas ever, and despite being such a huge dDisney fan and always wanting to spend Christmas in Florida, I never thought it would be this good!
152.131.10.194

Published: December 26, 2012 at 10:44 AM

I went to Legoland on Christmas with my wife and 7-year-old son. As soon as we arrived, he said that it would be more fun with friends. As we were eating lunch, my wife was sending text messages to friends wishing them Merry Christmas and received a reply that one of her friends was coming to Legoland unaware that we were already there! My son was very excited--his Christmas Wish came true!

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