Halloween at Walt Disney World is coming to a close, and that means it’s time for another kind of holiday magic to take over the Orlando parks — the Christmas and winter holiday season! A highlight during the months of November and December is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, a special hard ticketed event offered on select evenings in the Magic Kingdom. Since Joe and Leslie have yet to make it to Disney World for a Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party themselves, they brought in a special guest on this week’s podcast. Tania Lamb is the writer behind LolaLambchops.com and a three time Disney Parks Moms Panelist who knows her holidays at Disney World. She shares her very best tips for making the most of this special ticketed event, from how to find the most sought after characters, what shows to see, and top picks for the free cocoa and holiday snacks.
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Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Basics
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a special hard ticket event that happens during the holiday season at Walt Disney World (similar to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party during the Halloween season). The Magic Kingdom shuts down for party-goers only from 7:00pm-midnight on select evenings in November and December.
Party guests watch special shows and fireworks, meet and greet unique characters (often in holiday attire), watch snow fall on Main Street USA, and consume all the free cocoa and Christmas cookies their tummies can handle. The headliner shows include the Holiday Wishes fireworks, the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, and Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration stage show.
Tips for First Time-Visitors to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
If you’ve never been to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, here are the essential tips you need to know to make the most of the experience. The key – as with all things Disney – is to do your research in advance. Go in with a plan or schedule to avoid disappointment and decision overload!
1. Get to Magic Kingdom Early
Although the start time for every Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is officially 7:00pm, guests with tickets should plan to arrive much sooner. The gates open at 4:00pm for party ticket holders, and Disney cast members begin to herd non-party goers out of the park by 6:00pm. These early hours are a great time to ride some rides or even queue for popular character meet-and-greets.
2. Plan for a Late Night
In order to take full advantage of a Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, plan for a late night. Many party guests don’t purchase a regular park ticket for the day and instead get plenty of rest and go into the party with fresh legs until the event ends. The timing is especially important for families of younger children to consider. If your kids can’t make it until midnight, consider whether the cost is worth it for just a few hours, especially if you have a larger family. At $105+ per person per ticket, the cost is certainly a consideration that most mere mortals will need to consider carefully.
3. Have a Line Strategy for Special Character Meet & Greets
The Christmas party features a number of special character meet and greets that are simply not available at Walt Disney World any other time. Of course, that brings long lines! Especially popular are Sandy Claws (Jack Skellington in his Santa outfit), Moana, several Disney princesses with their princes, and the Seven Dwarfs. Many other characters have special holiday outfits they will only wear at the party.
Characters are listed in the program you can get as you enter the park, but often there are surprise unlisted character appearances. Always ask the cast members accompanying the characters for the scoop! And to save precious party time, get in the character lines before the actual party starts.
4. Consider Less Popular Show & Parade Viewing Areas
A major reason Disney fans come to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is to see the special shows and parades. The Once Upon a Christmas Time Parade and the Holiday Wishes fireworks show are the two most popular, although smaller stage shows fill the night’s schedule too.
The best place to watch the two major spectacles is on Main Street USA. But getting prime spots on Main Street often require camping out for about an hour or more. If you aren’t a parade fanatic, a less popular location like Frontierland might afford a sensible compromise where you’ll still have the chance to view the parade and fireworks but without the extended wait. Spots are also easier to get for the second parade showing so night owls are rewarded.
5. Eat & Drink ‘Til Ya Drop
One of the perks of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is the included holiday drinks and snacks. Disney publicizes the treats as hot cocoa and cookies, but the free treats extend far beyond that these days. There’s apple cider, egg nog, a wide variety of cookies, chocolates, soft pretzels, and even allergy-friendly snacks. Look for the lighted candy canes scattered all over the park to signal where the free treat stands are located. Different locations serve different treats, so be sure to stop by several to get to taste the entirety of the offerings.
6. Pick the Right Party Date
If your travel plans are flexible, book your tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on less popular dates to dodge crowds and be rewarded with shorter lines. How do you find those calendar sweet spots? Crowds are much more significant on weekend party dates as well as the dates closer to Christmas. So if you can go on a random Tuesday in November (every week but Thanksgiving week) or in early December, you’ll likely have a more pleasant crowd experience.
Leslie and Joe bring in special guest Tania Lamb to share her expert tips for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, this special ticket event is highly popular every holiday season at Walt Disney World. Find out how to pick the best party dates, manage long character meet-and-greet lines, and get the best viewing locations for the holiday parade and fireworks. Plus, tempt your taste buds as we talk about all the included holiday treats!
If you like what you hear, please share the podcast with others you think might enjoy it. Also, we’d appreciate if you subscribed on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, TuneIn, PlayerFM, or Google Play (please leave a positive review if you’re enjoying the show), liked our Facebook page, or followed us on Twitter!
You can also e-mail us at disneydeciphered AT gmail DOT com. Connect with Leslie @TripswithTykes on social media and Joe @asthejoeflies.
1:51 – Logistics
6:51 – Character meet and greet details
10:11 – Parades and shows
13:41 – Snacks
16:23 – Crowds
17:12 – Rides
19:26 – Cost & is it worth it?
21:32 – Disney dos and don’ts