Christmas in Disney has to be on some kind of ultimate Christmas list, right? For me, it was on my bucket list and now I can officially cross it off and tell you all about it! During our time at the parks this holiday season, we attended Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and were able to cross that off the list, too! If you want to know more about this special event and our personal experience, keep reading.
I want to start out by saying my feelings are mixed on this event. If you aren’t familiar, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a separate ticketed event that takes place on select nights throughout the months of November and December each year at Disney’s Magic Kingdom park. Guest can arrive in the park as early as 4pm on the day of the event and the actual party itself starts at 7pm.
This event offers extra entertainment including Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, the Holiday Wishes fireworks show, the Celebrate the Season Stage Show, A Frozen Holiday Wish stage show, A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas Show, cookies and hot beverages, special character meet & greets, rides, and attractions. Sounds like a ton of extra fun, right?
We decided a while back to make MK our long day in the parks because typically on party days the crowd levels are down because regular guests have to leave by 6pm before the events begin. We spent the latter part of our day getting most of our favorite rides and attractions in so we could focus more on the special events taking place that evening for the Christmas party. We had a great day being able to enjoy the decorations, shop around, and do a few things we had never done before.
I admit I had either never been on the train at MK, or just don’t ever remember riding it, but we had some time in the afternoon to sit and rest for a few and decided to give it a spin because we could. Upon boarding the train, we could see the sea of people waiting to get into the gate around 4pm for the Christmas party. We both just went “oh..my…gosh….” when we saw it. We knew the party would be very popular, but we were a little worried about the crowd. Needless to say, we went about the train ride and when we came back, the floodgates had opened.
As the sea of people rushed in, we were able to find out where we needed to go and get our wristbands for the party. Because we were already in the park, we needed to get our Magicbands scanned (our tickets were attached to them digitally), so we could get our wristbands to participate in everything the actual party had to offer. As they admitted guests for the event at 4pm, Disney opened up a section to the right of Main Street near the theatre to take some pics and get the first cookies. We wanted to get some pics done early, so we went around to the Tomorrowland location to get our wristbands and then back around to go through the walk-through section that was already open. I thought the photo ops were great and I was glad to get some good pics in so we wouldn’t have to wait in line to do those later.
Keep in mind, this time period from when party guests arrive and the event hasn’t actually started means there’s an influx of people for a few hours until non-party guests start making their way out. I would argue that not all non-party guests actually leave until much later. The first Once Upon a Christmastime Parade is at 8pm and I believe many people wait around to see that before they actually leave. Most things after this, you would really need a wristband for (getting cookies, taking special pictures, or riding rides).
I am not sure how well Disney does at making sure non-ticketed guests leave when they are supposed to. We spoke with a family the next day that never even knew they needed to get wristbands and yet enjoyed everything the party offered without them. This is definitely something that needs to improve. Doug and I noticed this sort of thing when we attended the Halloween party a few years back. There were a ton of things we could have enjoyed without ever buying a ticket because nobody seemed to check anything. This was a bummer knowing how much money is spent on these special tickets.
Now, there is A LOT to do during this party and I would suggest picking out what you want to do most and starting there. I don’t know if you can really do it all in one night. For us, we wanted to make sure we were able to get all of the free cookies and beverages to try, take a few fun pictures, and see a few of the castle shows, fireworks, and the parade. We decided early, we would get in on the second parade because almost everyone I had talked to, or articles I had read, said the first parade is almost always the busiest. I believe this is so, because a good bit of non-ticketed guests can stay for this one and then leave after.
We were able to do most of the things we wanted to but I will say, it was very crowded. Here is where my soap box kind of begins. I think events like this are definitely worth the money you spend to have access to a slew of things you wouldn’t get normally. I DON’T think they are worth it when Disney oversells these events. I believe we were a part of one that oversold. For the price of what a one-day ticket costs, you are getting the promise of a limited amount of time in the park but with less crowds and lots of extras. I am not sure how well Disney held up to this promise. I understand that with this, Disney has to sell a good amount of tickets. I am not sure how many they alot for these events, but if guests are having to spend most of the time of that event in a line, I don’t think it’s worth the money. Almost everything we wanted to do had a long line and there were things we decided not to do because of those lines. We were way more comfortable during the latter part of the day, before the actual event.
Almost every attraction during the event had a long wait (and this is without a FastPass line). The lines for cookies were a bit crazy, even though those did move quickly. We were excited to try the hot cider but it ended up being cold apple juice. I did love the hot pretzels and the fact that cookies were individually wrapped. Picture lines became long, too. My only other setback was having to decide between getting a good spot for fireworks or getting a good spot for the parade. We decided we would rather have a good spot on main street for the parade in order to enjoy the snoap and all its glory.
There was a chunk of time to see the stage show, fireworks, and parade all in a row where we felt we needed to be in same place since there would be a lot of moving around and not enough time in between to get a good spot. We have found it’s good practice to get a good spot for a show or parade at least 30-45 minutes before it begins. This was not an option here. Having this said, we were a bit run down from the long day and posted up on Main Street for the duration of our stay through the second parade. I reiterate it was a long day and we were about done with people at this point, so it was nice to sit and relax as we connected with a few families around us that had the same idea we did. There was a good bit of people being rude and stepping on our things but once the parade started, everyone seemed to be good.
I know there has been a lot of negativity in this article, but there were some things I loved. Watching the Frozen Holiday Wish stage show was special because you get to see Elsa light up the castle with her magic, making it look like it’s covered in icicles. It’s the most beautiful way to see the castle, in my opinion, now that I’ve seen it in person. I also absolutely loved the parade; it was super magical! Seeing all the characters in Christmas attire was so special. Once the snoap started falling and the floats started to come in, we had a blast. One of my favorite things was seeing the skiers (on rollerblades). I don’t know how they all keep it together in that small of a space with those long skis, but I love it. It was also cool to experience some of the smells that certain floats give off during the parade. Kristoff’s float gives off a pine smell while Goofy’s gave us a candy smell etc… It was a great added bonus! Being that close to all the characters was really fun. Once the parade was finished, were able to get out of the park pretty quickly and get back to our resort. It was definitely the saving grace of the day (lol).
All in all, I think the Christmas Party is a great event, but I would be hard-pressed to purchase these tickets again if I thought it was a night that was oversold. I would guess the parties in the middle of the week would be less crowded. Not sure. The one we attended was on a Sunday. We didn’t want to wait in long lines for special character photos. It’s not a huge thing of mine to begin with, because it kills a huge chunk of time you could be doing other things like the Jingle Cruise. Again, if there wasn’t such a huge crowd, we may have done some of these. We WERE able to do the Jingle Cruise a few times earlier in the day and it’s definitely a good change up from the norm. The Christmas puns steal the show for sure.
If you have attended this event, I would LOVE to hear more about your own experience and if you think it is worth the money!
Special thanks to @magicalshannonmarie and @thezipadeedoocrew for their amazing photos!