Disney released the December operating schedule at the usual link: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_december.pdf. Click “refresh” on your browser to load the newest version.
December opens with below average to average overall crowds for the most part. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties at Magic Kingdom, and the 7pm closes that accompany them, are the main drivers of crowds. Party days are reliably less crowded at Magic Kingdom with most casual vacationers flocking to the days with longer hours and nighttime entertainment. In turn, the other Parks are less crowded when Magic Kingdom is attracting the majority of visitors.
Hollywood Studios looks to close at 6pm on the first two Wednesdays of the month. That means relatively low crowds, particularly with Magic Kingdom offering evening Extra Magic Hours. Of course, the early close also means no Osborne Lights or Fantasmic.
The new Extra Magic Hours schedule that began in October continues throughout December. At least at the moment, it’s surprising to see no additional Extra Magic Hours over the dates that comprise the heavily crowded Holiday season. Historically, Disney has offered morning Extra Magic Hour every day from December 20th or so through the end of the year, in addition to Extra Magic Hours at a third park daily. This year, there are currently the same number of Extra Magic Hours over the first week as Christmas week, which is either bound to change or going to present some problems as capacity crowds try to cram into fewer hours of operation.
Speaking of Christmas, Disney will begin offering Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade and Holiday Wishes during regular hours beginning Saturday the 19th. That also moves the Electrical Parade to 10:15pm with the expectation that Disney will add a second Electrical Parade at 12:15am. Expect a second Christmas Parade added daily at 12pm as well.
To get an idea about what the final operating schedule will look like, take a peek at last year’s final schedule here: https://i2.wp.com/easywdw.com/reports13/dec14.pdf. Note all the 8am opens at Magic Kingdom, which make those early morning breakfast reservations a lot less desirable. You can of course still book something, but be prepared to either cancel it or enjoy breakfast while wait times rise all around you.
The preliminary crowd calendar should follow either tonight or tomorrow. I don’t have estimated attendance numbers yet, but should shortly.