A Holiday Wish List for Walt Disney World

Friday, December 23, 2011

It’s the busiest week of the year at Walt Disney World.  The children are off for winter and holiday breaks, parents are taking time off to enjoy the holiday season, and Orlando was voted the number 1 destination for holiday travel in 2011 by a couple of major travel publications .  This all means huge crowds for the theme park capital of the world.  There are a lot of factors that draw crowds to Walt Disney World during the holiday season.  Not only is it a family-friendly destination, but Disney World and Orlando boast some of the best holiday events and attractions anywhere.  I must admit after visiting Walt Disney World several times during the holidays I find myself missing or wanting some holiday items from past years or just in general. 

Let’s take a look at a few wish list items I’d like to see brought back or added into the mix during the holiday season at Walt Disney World.  Your list maybe different than mine, but if you’ve also visited the parks over the holidays several times in the past you’ll probably agree with me. 

Where are the Decorations

I just recently returned from Disney World and one of the things I remember was reading a status update from a Facebook friend that said “I’m at EPCOT.  Where are the decorations?”  I had not been in the theme parks yet, but that status update had me wondering what else Disney could have removed from the theme park holiday decoration lineup.  We’ve come to enjoy many holiday decoration staples in the theme parks over the years and I was hopeful those displays would remain. 

Over the years it has become apparent more and more common area decorations have disappeared.  For example, there are no more holiday decorations on the light posts around World Showcase, or in the different lands of the Magic Kingdom.  Common areas that used to display holiday decorations no longer pass along holiday cheer.  There were some areas I visited that even made me forget it was the holiday season.  Now, I’m not saying Disney doesn’t decorate for the holidays.  They most certainly do, and they do a good job at it every year.  It’s just become apparent they are shrinking the amount of decorations on display, especially in the common areas.  I did notice a good number of holiday decorations on or around areas that generate revenue like gift shops and restaurants.  Is it possible that Disney is trying to grab our attention at places that generate revenue?  Possibly, but I’m not about to make that assumption. 

Basically, my wish here is to bring back more holiday décor in and around the common areas of the theme parks.  As I said Disney does a good job with holiday decorations, but if you are a regular holiday visitor over the years you’ve certainly noticed a reduced number of decorations in the common areas. 

Bring Back the Lights of Winter

As you probably know each of the 4 Disney World theme parks have at least one iconic decoration or activity to celebrate the holiday season.  In some cases there maybe 2 or even 3 displays we look forward to each year.  Over at EPCOT The Lights of Winter were the huge arches of holiday lights that connected Future World to World Showcase.  Disney removed these lighted arches a few years ago saying the light display was out-dated technology and therefore could no longer be sustained.  This meant EPCOT would lose what I consider to be one of its iconic holiday displays.  A definite blow to the theme park’s holiday attractions.

My wish is to please, please bring back the Lights of Winter.  Not only bring them back, but replace the existing lights with more modern and efficient LED lights.  If the Osborne Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios can be replaced with LED lights so can the Lights of the Winter at EPCOT. 

Annual Passholders Deserve a Little More

It could be argued that theme park annual passholders are among Disney’s most loyal fans.  With that in mind we should be treated that way.  I’m not looking for a giant leap in theme park benefits, although I wouldn’t say no to much, much more.  I’d really love to see some sort of loyalty program, but beyond that there are some small ways Disney could show their annual passholders more love.  If the holiday season is the season for giving and even hope why not offer passholders a single admission to the Magic Kingdom’s premier holiday event, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.  Disney could even take it one step further by giving passholders a choice between a Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party ticket or a Very Merry Christmas Party ticket.

The cost of the hard-ticketed events over the past 7 years has gone up considerably.  It’s almost doubled in price.  Considering these parties only last 5 hours giving annual passholders the freedom to visit one of these events at no additional cost would be like Disney showing good faith and will to its most loyal customers who’ve already spent a great deal on an annual pass.  Also consider Disney moves the Very Merry Christmas Party activities into a regular park admission day beginning on December 20th through New year’s Day.  Those guests are getting the same party activities for a regular park admission price while other guests are paying for a hard-ticket before December 20th.  I’m not sure that is a fair proposition.    

This holiday wish maybe far-fetched considering Disney’s bottom line marketing, but I’d really love to see a hard-ticketed event included with my annual pass each year.  I’d even be okay with party black-out dates, but at least I could plan accordingly and make use of the included hard ticket.

Conclusion

Walt Disney World does a great job with celebrating the holiday season.  I’m very grateful for what they provide their guests as a holiday season lineup.  I always say if you can’t get into the holiday spirit at Walt Disney World it may be impossible for you to get into the holiday spirit at all.  However, there is a noticeable decrease in holiday cheer at Walt Disney World.  If you’ve visited Disney World during the holidays for the first time this year or the last couple of years you probably wouldn’t notice much of a difference in holiday décor.  But, if you are a veteran of visiting during the holidays you’ve probably noticed the removal of holiday decorations in certain common areas of the theme parks. 

What do you think?  Do you have a holiday wish for Walt Disney World?  Please leave your wishes and ideas in the comments section below or on the studioscentral.com Facebook page.  We’d love to hear your opinions and ideas about the holidays at Walt Disney World. 

From all of us at Studioscentral.com we’d like to wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season and a new year filled with peace and prosperity. 

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About this column

Aaron DelPrince looks at the various activities you and your family can experience at Walt Disney World


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