by Tiki Diva
Are you planning a holiday trip to Walt Disney World? The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the most delightful time to visit the Magic Kingdom. The streets are decked with holly and tinsel, carols are playing, and the weather is just right. On top of all that, the Magic Kingdom stays open late for select guests several times a week for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
Our family has had the most memorable experiences attending this special event over the years. From our first visit, this party quickly became something we looked forward to on each vacation. If you are like us and like adding a bit of additional pixie dust to each trip to WDW, read on for our top ten reasons why you should make Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party a priority for your next vacation.
1. Holiday Cheer
You’ll likely first notice the cast members and their wardrobe as you enter the Magic Kingdom on your party night. They are all decked out in holiday prints and patterns, which instantly reminded me of idyllic Little Golden Book Christmases. If you like the look of the Cherry Tree Lane collections, which I adore, you’ll love the Cast Members’ costuming. After all, it is Main Street Chic.
2. Special Treats
Many people often ask if they should make dining reservations during the party hours. I say, no way! Eat before you go (our favorites are a quick bite at Captain Cook’s or a Tea Party at the Grand Floridian) and then enjoy all the scrumptious treats that are included with your party ticket. In previous years, treat stops used to all offer the same cookie selections. Most recently, partygoers have been able to sample a true smorgasbord of delights: snickerdoodles, iced cookies, sugar cookies, slushees, pretzels, and more. Each stand offers a different dessert or treat, so map out the ones you’d most like to taste or, even better, plan to visit them all! Don’t be dismayed by long lines. They move pretty quickly once the party begins at 7 and you’ll have a tummy-full in no time. Read Pink Diva review of the treats offered at the 2017 MVMCP here.
Some people couldn’t care less about dates, including party-specific merchandise. Others, like myself, were born to shop! As you enter the party, you’ll pass carts with some of the special goods, such as glow-gear, basic tees, and pins. However, be sure to visit the Main Street Emporium for a full selection of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party merchandise. You can only purchase these items with a valid party wristband, so be sure to snatch them up on the day of the party. Trust me— from experience, cast members will shoo you from the area if you even try to browse prior to a party that you will not be attending. If buying a party souvenir is important, stop in during your ticketed event.
As you first walk into Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, you will notice various photo booth opportunities, besides the obvious one in front of the Magic Kingdom Christmas Tree. Stop for these, especially if you have Memory Maker! Trust me— you’ll be entering the park before it closes to day guests, so it will be the busiest time of your day there. Don’t rush through these queues to get to the rides quite yet. Pose beside the ornaments or with the big picture frame. Smile or be cheesy. These are the most valuable memories.
Once the clock strikes 7, the fun really begins. Head over to Club Tinsel at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe to get your groove on with some of Disney’s most fun characters. Do the Cha-Cha Slide and dance the Cupid Shuffle with a prancing reindeer. This hot spot is thumping with loud music, pumped-up kids, and the flyest DJ in the Magic Kingdom. Join in the fun and burn off some sugarplums!
6. Rare Meet and Greets
Party-goers often say that the best feature of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is the appearance of rare characters. In recent years, more popular meet and greets have featured Sandy Claws, the Seven Dwarfs, Moana, Genie and Aladdin, and Scrooge McDuck and Co. Lines for these photo ops may begin early, so plan ahead. While the characters are not advertised to start meeting until 7 pm sharp, folks often line up for the more popular ones at least an hour beforehand. Is it worth it? Sure, if you want that one fabulous photograph that you can’t get at any other time. After being more character-driven the first year I attended MVMCP, I have relaxed on this a bit and enjoyed myself more, admittedly. Thankfully, my daughter is okay with a walk-by and wave. Your priorities may vary.
Scattered throughout the park, you’ll find some fantastically entertaining Holiday-themed stage shows. Try to pop in to at least one of these. Others, like Frontierland’s Reindeer Wranglers, may find you as you wait for a parade or character greet. My daughter’s favorite is Totally Tomorrowland Christmas. With Stitch and friends playing along, this show is out of this world!
8. Christmas Parade
Frankly, Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade is an annual must-see for my family. Besides the fact that this is currently the only nighttime parade in the Magic Kingdom, the choreography is exceptional, floats are amazing, and special little touches are divine. Breathe deeply as the floats pass by and you might get a whiff of cookies or Christmas itself. We adore the marching reindeer and tin soldiers. The gingerbread men are simply adorable. And, the parade concludes with a visit from everyone’s favorite jolly old elf— Santa Claus! Personally, I prefer to watch this parade near its kickoff in Frontierland simply because we don’t have to arrive quite so early to get a good space. However, like the Festival of Fantasy parade, this one does wind its way around the castle and up Main Street, USA. Another tip- if you watch the parade on Main Street, you’ll experience a rare Florida find— SNOW!
9. Low Wait Times
If you attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party for no other reason, go for your favorite rides. While I won’t go so far as to say that you can walk on EVERY ride in the park, most are open with much shorter waits than during normal operating hours. I used to like to take advantage of very late nights and Extra Magic Hours for this perk, but I honestly find no shorter waits (other than at park open) than at MVMCP. If you are one to want to ride something over and over again, purchase the extra party ticket and go— even if it is your only day scheduled at the Magic Kingdom.
As a bonus, be sure to visit the Jingle Cruise with its Christmas makeover. The skippers will have you ho-ho-ho-ing until your belts burst!
10. Warm and Fuzzies
As a child, I always thought it would be magical to spend Christmas at Disney. I have been fortunate enough to attend this party multiple years now and it is always a joy. While it is true that all the parks are decorated all day long and the special Christmas offerings are included in the admission the closer you get to Christmas, there’s just something extraordinary about attending this event. The cookies, the Jingle Cruise, the parade, and the shows all work together to get you in the holiday spirit, even in steamy Florida. Well done, imagineers. This one’s a keeper!
Tips Before You Go:
- Tickets are already on sale for the 2018 party dates.
- Parties start in early November and run until a few days before Christmas.
- Prices start at $105. Trust me, though— it is worth it! Discounts are offered for Annual Passholder and Disney Vacation Club members.
- Though the party officially starts at 7 pm, ticketed guests have been allowed to enter the park at 4 pm or, sometimes, even a few minutes before.
- Partygoers will be given a wristband to wear throughout the night. No wristband? No Party. If you are visiting the Magic Kingdom for the full day (only an option if you have a regular day ticket or annual pass as well), be sure to pick up your wristband between 4 and 7 pm.
- On party nights, the Magic Kingdom will close to most guests at 7 pm. You will be expected to leave at this time if you are not attending the party.
- From 4-7 PM, the park will be most crowded. Don’t worry— lines will die down as the party gets into full swing.
- Many visitors like to wear matching party shirts. Last year, I also saw a family sporting footie pajamas! Above all, though, dress for comfort. It may be Christmastime, but you’re still in Florida. Layers may be the best option.