When we traveled to Walt Disney World a couple of years ago during the holiday season we had such a fantastic time that we decided to plan to visit again this year! One of the highlights for us during this time is attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP). This is a an after hours special event (just like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party), and while a party like this may sound like it’s just for kids, we actually think it’s an even better event for adults with later hours (and the perfect way to kick off the holiday season!). So read on for our reasons MVMCP is a must do (and a few planning tips!).
1. The Variety of Holiday Treats
One of the biggest reasons people love special ticketed events is there is usually some kind of “free” food involved. MVMCP offers festive holiday treats and drinks. It seems with each year Disney keeps improving the offerings and this year we were super impressed with the wide selection:
Cookies (Snickerdoodle, Ginger Molasses, Chocolate Chip, Peppermint Crunch, and a Large Mickey Sugar Cookie when you first arrive on on Market Street): It didn’t matter which cookie we tried they were all delicious and seemed fresh and soft.
Sno-Cone: these were blue shaved ice, fun to have a few bites but it was far too cold this night to really enjoy.
Snowman Soft Pretzel: we could smell these baking while in line and they were soft and fresh and really good. We loved having an option that wasn’t sweet. Would love if Disney continues down this path.
Dove Chocolates: cast members gave us a hearty handful of these which we stock piled to take home.
Hot Chocolate: we loved being able to keep getting mini cups of this throughout the night.
Egg Nog: this was really good, we were shocked we enjoyed it so much.
Strawberry Soda: we expected this pink drink to be sickly sweet, but surprisingly it was pretty good.
Apple Cider: this was served cold so it was like a shot of apple juice and just meh.
Allergy friendly options: it is good to note we saw some stops have alternative options like apple slices and mini bags of Enjoy Life cookies.
There were seven official treat stations throughout the park and with such a variety we wanted to make sure to hit them all. At first glance a lot of lines seemed really long, especially early in the evening. But the good news is they move very quickly. Also, the lines get progressively shorter throughout the night. They were nonexistent by about 10:30 the night we were there, which was nice to pop up to the counter for a quick hot chocolate. As we worked our way around the park, we hit all the stations and received an abundance of snacks.
TIP #1: Save your Treats
In past years loose cookies were handed out on a napkin so you felt like you had to eat them then, but there were so many in one night! This year we brought some baggies and plastic tupperware to collect our cookies for later consumption, but were pleased to find they are now individually wrapped. We still were glad to have the containers to safely package them up and transport home for later. They stayed fresh even a couple weeks later!
2. Rides with Short (or no) Wait Times
Because there are a limited number of tickets sold for the party, the attraction lines are shorter than they would normally be during the day. We saw really popular rides such as the Seven Dwarves Mine Train with a 30-40 minute wait but many other rides had lines that were 15 minutes or less. Throughout the night we were able to walk right on to a few things such as the People Mover, Dumbo, and The Little Mermaid. Make sure during this season to check out the one ride with holiday theming: The Jingle Cruise. With decor in the attraction and campy Christmas jokes, it is a fun one to do.
TIP #2: Ride Some Attractions Early
While the party doesn’t start until 7pm your party ticket gains you access to the park starting at 4pm (2pm if you are a DVC member!). Utilize this time to go on rides that aren’t open during the party such as the Walt Disney Railroad.
3. Festive Entertainment
There are quite a few smaller shows going on throughout the night. There are some stage shows in Tomorrowland with characters and an Acapella group. We also saw some singers in Frontier land. There are also a few dance parties with characters geared towards kids. While we didn’t necessarily participate in these shows we did enjoy walking by and seeing the fun and hearing the music. There is also a Castle stage show called “Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration” a few times throughout the night. We saw this last time and weren’t that impressed so we recommend skipping this one and doing other things.
TIP #3: See the Frozen Castle Lighting
On nights of the party, they “light the castle” twice, once shortly before park closing and then again later in the evening. For us, the second castle lighting was around 8:30. There is a short show with the gang from Frozen and then of course the castle looks amazing with some projections and shimmering icy lights. It is short, but beautiful. Do it!
4. Exclusive Photopass & Magic Shots
We always love capturing fun photos at the park, especially during the holiday season when the park looks so beautiful. During MVMCP there are some photopass opportunities that you would only see at the event such as with props, photo frames, and decor on Main Street. There are also particular locations that offer “magic shots” that add surprise elements into your picture. While it seems the magic shots weren’t quite as robust as the Halloween party offerings, we still did capture some fun and festive memories. Here are some of the options available:
Front of the Train Station: a reindeer and gingerbread character border
Large Main Street Tree: a special MVMCP frame
Anywhere on Main Street: a mistletoe Kiss, holding a large candy cane, or holding a plate of cookies
Fantasyland: a special Christmas Tinker Bell
Haunted Mansion: zero the dog from a Nightmare Before Christmas
TIP #4: Take More Pics than Less
Night photography is tough, and we have found over the years some photo pass cast members are great, others not so much. There is no harm in taking some photos multiple times. Try different locations on Main Street and ask for all the magic shots so you have options when you get home.
5. Specialty Character Meets
The Christmas party has a ton of opportunities (15 markers on the map!) to meet and greet with characters in special holiday attire as well as many rare ones you don’t usually see. We were looking forward to doing a few photos but unfortunately this year the lines seemed out of control. Our plan was to try to get some towards the end of the night with shorter lines but we found that many lines were cut off before midnight which was disappointing. If interested in characters here are some we heard were available:
Mickey and other friends in holiday attire
Mary Poppins and Bert
Winnie the Pooh and friends
The Seven Dwarves
Tweedle Dee and Dum
it seemed there were a lot more too, that’s why we were really surprised lines were so long. Everyone must have been in character lines.
6. A White Christmas (in Florida!)
The park this time of year is so beautiful. Between the wreaths lining Mainstreet, to the various statues in the hub, and the large Christmas tree, there are so many decorations from the moment you walk into the park all the way up to the castle. There are also decorations scattered throughout the park including the Jungle Cruise area and Storybook Circus. Obviously as it gets dark, the atmosphere gets even better when the Christmas lights come on.
One of the coolest parts of the party is that it “snows” on Main Street. They are little flakes that are rumored to be made out of soap. Soap or not, it certainly looks amazing. It comes in bursts throughout the night and seemed constant during the parade. Nothing quite puts you in the holiday spirit better than enjoying a warm drink on Main Street while snow is falling and Christmas music plays, it is pure magic!
7. Festive Fireworks
We used to love the original “Wishes” fireworks display and this show “Holiday Wishes” is based on similar visuals but instead set to Christmas songs. It flows very well together and the fireworks are themed visually with colors and shapes to match the songs. We actually found the show even better this time than our memories of the past. The show is only once a night so make sure to plan it into your schedule.
TIP #5: Viewing Location
One big difference between this show and other fireworks shows at the Magic Kingdom is that this one relies less on castle projections. There are a few but you won’t miss out on much if you can’t actually see the front of the castle. We found the perfect viewing spot near Casey’s Corner. There seemed to be plenty of space as people all just kind of gathered in the street for the show, so we don’t think it is necessary to stake out seats and wait around.
8. A Magical Parade
The “Once Upon a Christmastime Parade” is held twice a night and includes all the classic Disney characters along with most of the Princesses and Princes, Ralph and Vanellope, and the gang from Toy Story. We absolutely love this show and find that it is merry and heart warming. Seeing characters, dancers, and even Santa while snow falls around you really gets you in the holiday spirit. And the Toy Soldiers marching are probably our most favorite part.
TIP #6: Find a Good Spot
In the past, guests were advised to watch the second parade of the night because it meant less crowds. This didn’t seem to be the case the night we went. We claimed our seats about 40 minutes before the parade started and we felt lucky to get curbside/front row seats. Because Mainstreet is decorated so nicely, the parade seems best suited to be viewed from Mainstreet. It is a good time to grab a Starbucks or some food while you wait.
A Few More Details (and Tips!)
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is on select nights beginning in early November and run through a few days before Christmas. A regular park ticket does not gain you access to the party, rather you need to purchase a special party ticket to attend. Ticket prices range from $99 to $120 depending on which night you attend and how close to Christmas you want to go. There are discounts for Disney Vacation Club members on select nights which we took advantage of.
TIP #7: When to Go
It seems the earlier in the season you go the better. November would be better than December (excluding around Thanksgiving). Also a weeknight would be less crowded than a weekend.
TIP #8: What to Wear
This time of year, the weather can be very unpredictable so be prepared and pack accordingly. During our five days in Walt Disney World, the high temperature fluctuated from the low 50’s to the mid 80’s. Having said that, the forecast was vastly different from what it actually became so we weren’t quite prepared. Because of this, we were somewhat forced to purchased some party apparel to stay warm.
Time in the Parks
On a party night, the Magic Kingdom closes at 6PM to regular park guests and the party officially begins at 7:00. One of the lesser known secrets of the party is that a MVMCP ticket allows entry to the park at 4:00. Additionally, as DVC Members and new this year, we were able to enter the park at 2:00. This gave us a full 10 hours in the park for the cost of the party ticket.
TIP #9: Use Bonus Time Efficiently
We like to use the time prior to 7:00 to do some rides and make sure to eat so that we aren’t using party time in restaurant lines. Some people also like to line up prior to 7 for popular character greets.
Have a Plan
The party has so many offerings exclusive to that night that it is nearly impossible to do everything. To make the most of the evening, we recommend you have a plan of attack before going to the party. Review everything available that evening and prioritize what is most important and game plan around those items. You can check out the map above to decide what party specific things you want to accomplish. Our night consisted of the following:
2:00-4:00: We used this time to experience a few attractions. Guests are allowed to schedule FastPasses during this time, which is what we did. We also used this time to get a few daytime Photopass shots on Mainstreet.
4:00-6:00: Even though the party hasn’t officially begun by this time, the first treat station opens up just to the right of the Mainstreet Bakery and next to Tony’s, behind the buildings. Here we got a few pictures with various props and backdrops along with our first treat of the evening. Afterwards, we went around and hit some more rides and such.
6:00-7:00: We made sure to catch the Castle lighting show. Then we grabbed a quick serve dinner before the official 7pm start.
7:00-9:45: We worked our way around the park to hit treat stations, photo spots, and rides.
9:45-11:30: We hung out on Mainstreet right outside Casey’s to watch the fireworks. Right after the fireworks ended, we walked about halfway towards the entrance and found a seat for the parade. We always recommend watching this parade on Mainstreet and these seats were worth the wait.
11:30 and on: there wasn’t much time left. We tried to find some characters but only were able to see Goofy. We actually got on one last ride right at Midnight too.
TIP #10: Enjoy the Late Hours
Even though the party is officially over at Midnight things are still happening for awhile after. Some people get into a ride line right at Midnight. There are also still photographers out and shops open. So we like waiting until this time to shop and such as it is almost like bonus time. We like hanging out to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy as much time as possible. (And then majorly sleep in the next day!)