We don’t get to go to the special holiday events at the Magic Kingdom very often, but we always enjoy them! Eli and I went as a surprise mommy and kiddo trip last weekend. This was my second time attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and I loved it.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a special event (called a hard ticket event because it requires a separate ticket purchase) that happens at the Magic Kingdom several nights a week from early November through mid-December. Due to increased crowds, there are not usually any scheduled the week of Thanksgiving or the Christmas week. You can find event dates and prices and purchase tickets here (many nights sell out, so you may want to get your tickets in advance).
On event nights, the Magic Kingdom shuts down to non-party-goers at 7pm, although if you have an event ticket you can get admission into the park at 4pm (look for the entry stations that say “Event Entrance” which were on the right hand side the night I went). If you enter after 4pm through the Event Entrance gates, you will want to make sure to get a party wristband from a Cast Member right inside the gates. This wristband will be required to stay in the park after 7pm and you will be asked to show it at ride entrances and certain checkpoints. If you are already in the park before 4pm, you’ll want to look for a wristband distribution sign which are scattered throughout the park in the late afternoon and early evening.
We bought our tickets just a few days in advance, so we requested them to be sent to will-call for pickup. When I went to the will-call booth at the Magic Kingdom, they scanned my magic bands (we’re annual passholders) and said that the event tickets had already been added to our account so we didn’t need any special separate tickets. We just scanned our magic bands at the Event Entrance when we came back after Eli’s nap and got our wristbands with no problems.
So, you might ask why it’s worth the extra money to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party if we’re already annual passholders. I think the answer is different for everyone, but for Eli and me, the answer is the short ride lines! We love being able to just walk onto many rides during the event. Even the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train only had a 40 minute wait (and that was fairly early in the night, I’m betting it was even shorter later on). In just a couple of hours we got to eat dinner, ride the Astro Orbiter, the Mad Tea Party, “it’s a small world” (twice), Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Tomorrowland Speedway.
One of the biggest draws is Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade that has all our favorite characters dressed in their holiday best. Unfortunately, at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Eli saw the end of the Halloween parade with the villains and he also got spooked by the awesome clockwork dragon Maleficent in the Festival of Fantasy Parade so now he is refusing to watch any parades other than the Main Street Electrical Parade (which he loves). So although I reassured him repeatedly that there was nothing scary in the Christmas Parade, he completely freaked out and refused to go anywhere near the parade route! I’ve seen pictures though, and it is a really amazing parade (if you’re not a four year old with some bizarre parade anxiety issues).
Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season is is amazing fireworks show that you can only experience at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. While Hallowishes is still my very favorite fireworks show, this one is a close second. It has amazingly huge red and green fireworks, fireworks that look like happy faces and perimeter fireworks that explode in all directions around you at once. We usually like to watch the fireworks from the Dumbo area because it gives Eli a little distance from all the stimulation but we caught these just as we were coming off of “it’s a small world” and so we watched it from Fantasyland. It was amazing to see the smaller fireworks being set right off of the roofs nearby.
There are also free cookie and hot cocoa stations spread all around the Magic Kingdom, marked with giant illuminated candy canes.
You can go into as many as you want (the one in the Crystal Palace is my favorite), although we only went in once. I’ll admit, I’m not a big fan of the cookies (which I think are snickerdoodles). As talented as Disney is at making delicious treats, I think they could pony up either a bigger selection or better cookies. Or maybe rice crispy treats…mmmm…. The hot cocoa is pretty good (although marshmallow stations to add to your drink would be a nice addition) and it looked like you could opt for apple slices and apple juice instead.
Another feature that we didn’t get to enjoy because Eli has a disinclination to interact with characters is special character photo opportunities. We saw Goofy in a Santa suit and Winnie the Pooh and friends with holiday scarves and Donald, Daisy and Uncle Scrooge in holiday outfits and the Seven Dwarfs and many, many more. Most of the characters were staged in Casey Jr. Splash “N” Soak Station near Dumbo (although the water features were turned off!). They all had lines, but they seemed manageable. If your family is into getting autographs and pictures with characters, this is a great way to collect some special ones.
Finally, we just love wandering around and seeing the holiday decorations and the special “snow” (tiny bubbles) blowing around on Main Street, U.S.A.
Everyone seems to be in a good mood and we even saw one family give some pins away for free to another family with a daughter the same age as their daughter. That kind of Disney “magic” (random acts of kindness to strangers) is one of the things that keeps us going back to Walt Disney World.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Tips:
- Buy your tickets in advance so you don’t risk your date selling out.
- Take it easy earlier in the day and try to get a nap in so you don’t run out of steam during the party.
- Add a bit of holiday cheer with a holiday sweater or special holiday mouse ears.
- Make sure to get some PhotoPass pictures taken of the whole family to capture fun memories.
- Get your wristband when you go into the park or at a wristband distribution station inside the park.
- Grab a party brochure when you get inside (where the park maps usually are, inside the tunnel), it will list all the times for the parade, fireworks and other special happenings. It also shows where the cookies and cocoa distribution stations are located.
- If you don’t have dinner reservations (and many table service restaurants are closed during the party for some reason), I recommend eating dinner before you go to the party. Many of my favorite quick service restaurants close down early to set up to distribute the cookies and cocoa. We ended up eating corn dogs from a stand because Columbia Harbor House had already closed.
- Plan out which experiences are most important to you (rides, parades, dance parties, fireworks) so you don’t miss out on your favorite things. Although the crowds are lower than regular nights, you’ll still need to stake out a spot for the parade and fireworks if you want ideal seating (not so important to us, but I know it is for some families).
- Remember, you’re there to have fun. Laugh, smile and give a kind word to a Cast Member or fellow guest.