Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a special hard ticket event held in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. For 2016, the party will be held early November 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27 and 29 and December 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18 and 22. This post covers our Christmas Party tips based upon our experiences attending the party for the last six years, including last year. Note that this post will be updated again once more details are released and tickets go on sale (we’re actually surprised that it’s March already and tickets aren’t yet being sold). The info below covers last year’s parties, which should be very similar to the 2016 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
Last year, Frozen-mania continued during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. The Frozen characters were in the parade at the Christmas Party, and there was also the ‘A Frozen Holiday Wish’ Cinderella Castle lighting show. The other addition was VoicePlay, an a capella group performing in Tomorrowland. There were also some minor changes to the Parade, and the characters at the dance parties in Frontierland and Tomorrowland changed, as did a couple of meet and greets, but nothing all that noteworthy. Jack Skellington returned as Sandy Claws. The bad news is that despite appearing at Disney California Adventure earlier, there was still no Olaf meeting guests at the Christmas Party. For more on our experience at the party last year, read our Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Recap & Report. Suffice to say, we had a blast!
Ticket prices vary based upon whether you purchase in advance or on the day of, are a child or adult, and whether you have an Annual Pass, Disney Vacation Club membership, or some other affiliation that entitles you to a discount. This year’s prices are not yet known, but we would not be surprised to see prices of $80+ for some nights based on other recent price increases. Once tickets are available, you can visit Disney’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party page to purchase them. If you’re looking for more info and tips about what happens during the holiday season, read our Ultimate Guide to Christmas at Walt Disney World.
That said, if you’re visiting Walt Disney World in November or December and have the budget for it, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a very fun event that is worth the splurge. But more on that later. First, let’s provide an overview of the events to those who haven’t been.
Here are the things that the Christmas Party includes, that are unique to the parties:
- Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade (view our parade photos)
- A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas Show
- Celebrate The Season Stage Show
- Character Dance Parties (usually in the Golden Horseshoe and Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe)
- Holiday Wishes Fireworks
- Disney character Meet and Greets with characters dressed in their holiday attire
- Complimentary cookies and hot cocoa
- Snow on Main Street
It’s worth noting that after December 18, for the remainder of the holiday season, the standard daytime parade in the Magic Kingdom becomes Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, and the Holiday Wishes fireworks are shown nightly. This entertainment is arguably 75% of the draw for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, but in exchange for not having to pay extra to see these things, you will face some of the worst crowds of the year after December 18th. If you want the best of both worlds, there are some other tricks you can use to avoid crowds during Christmas and New Year’s Eve weeks. So obviously there’s a trade-off!
Now that we’ve set forth what entertainment you can expect at the parties, let’s give you some more details, tips, and our review of whether Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (or MVMCP as many Disney fans know it) is worth the money…
MVMCP doesn’t offer as much entertainment or as many unique character meet & greets as Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, so utilizing some sort of advance plan to maximize your time isn’t really necessary. You should be able to tour at a much more leisurely pace, and still experience everything.
Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade – Given the excellent lighting, ambiance, oh, and SNOW on Main Street, USA, it’s one of the best places from which to view the parade (which steps off in Frontierland). We typically get a spot at the end of Main Street so the Castle is directly in front of us as we watch the parade. Most of the photos on this page were taken from that location, or near that location. You really must view this parade from Main Street. Nowhere else even begins to compare.
This is an absolutely awesome parade. Most people I know prefer the Boo to You parade over it, but I think I’m in the minority who prefers Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade. It has marching toy soldiers, dancing reindeer and gingerbread men, and ever the big man himself, Ole Saint Nick! The floats are cool, Chip & Dale are mischievous, and Mickey & Minnie are dressed in their holiday finery. I will admit that I have a soft spot for anything related to Christmas, but c’mon, how could you not love this parade?!
This year, Ralph and Vanellope from “Wreck-It Ralph” will once again be in the parade, as will the procession of visitors from Arendelle with Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf from “Frozen” will again be appearing in Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.
As far as touring goes, the second parade is usually less crowded, but we always like to watch both showings of the parade, as it’s really that good. If you watch the second showing and really enjoy it, you can’t go back in time and watch the first, so you may want to consider watching the first if you think you might want to see it twice.
A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas Show – A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas is cute, and Stitch is not super annoying in it (actually, he’s cute and endearing), but it is no Twas. Not even close. Without regard to the ‘Twas’ show that no one can see now anyway, A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas is pretty fun. I had some of the songs stuck in my head afterwards, and the performers were fun. Make sure you at least give it a chance. We now make a point of watching A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas at least once per year.
VoicePlay – Taking the same stage as A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas, VoicePlay is a 5-part a capella group that appears 3 times nightly singing Christmas music. They previously appeared on one of the 6,482 singing competition television shows on NBC, so you know they’re legit. Kidding aside, they are a pretty talented act and a nice addition to the Christmas Party.
Celebrate the Season Stage Show – Celebrate the Season is a really fun show, although the story is not the greatest. The main attraction here is seeing all of the characters, dressed up in interesting costumes, acting oddly, and dancing. I don’t really think the story is even of paramount importance to enjoying the show, as it’s really fun to just watch the characters play dress-up in the Christmas setting.
Character Dance Parties – There are typically two of these, the better of which (by far) is in the Golden Horseshoe building, and is called Holiday Hootenanny. The other party is Club Tinsel in Tomorrowland’s Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. If it’s a cold night, this is a great place to go inside and warm up for a bit, plus the lines for hot cocoa and cookies are usually fairly short here. The Golden Horseshoe looks great decked out for Christmas.
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom – Although Olaf isn’t appearing in meet & greet form for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, there is an exclusive “Olaf’s Snowgies” Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card that guests can pick up for free during the party. Not quite the same as meeting the character, but a neat keepsake.
Holiday Wishes! – One of the highlights of the night is the fireworks show, Holiday Wishes. Holiday Wishes is amazing in its ability to thematically incorporate fireworks so they fit not only the name of the show, but more importantly, with the accompanying song lyrics. For those who have seen Holiday Wishes, who among you, when you first heard and saw the “O Christmas Tree” portion of the show didn’t melt a little inside? While the fireworks play an important role, the lyrics truly deserve more than just a passing mention.
I’ve long thought that the standard Wishes! fireworks spectacular was a little on the soft side lyrically, but perhaps I have formed this opinion after hearing how well Holiday Wishes’ soundtrack was assembled. I am not exactly musically-inclined, but I would like to think I know something well-done when I hear it. From its opening, with “Spirit of the Season” to the conclusion, the soundtrack is perfect. Its transitions are wonderfully done, as it often goes from drastically different songs without seeming forced.
If you like Christmas music, you owe it to yourself to pick up the Walt Disney World Holiday Wishes CD, which has the soundtrack from the Christmas fireworks! It’s definitely one thing you must see if you’re going to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and a highlight of the evening for many guests!
Character Meet & Greets – If you want to meet all of the characters at the Party, this is one area where you might want to employ a bit of strategy. Jack Skellington in his “Sandy Claws” attire will be doing meet and greets at the party in Storybook Circus (New Fantasyland), and he is insanely popular. If you want to meet Sandy Claws, you should do it at the beginning or end of the night. My recommended would be to get in line early (no later than 6:15 pm) for Sandy Claws.
I used to recommend doing this for the Seven Dwarfs, so if you’d rather meet them, line up for them early. This year, the Seven Dwarfs will be appearing near the entrance into New Fantasyland. You’ll know you’ve found it when you encounter the huge line.
As long as you visit the Dwarfs early before a line accumulates, you should be fine. The stars of the party, the Country Bears, rarely attract crowds (more like, “who are you?” questions) as they wander the parks, and they are an incredible amount of fun if you stick around to ‘play’ with the bears. If you happen to find them, you can really have some fun with them as there isn’t a ton of guest demand for them (half of the guests who see these famed stars of Country Bear Christmas don’t know who they are! HERESY!).
Anna and Elsa from Frozen will meet during MVMCP, and you can expect that their line will taper off later in the evening. If you want to meet them without the usual chaos and long lines of a regular day at the Magic Kingdom, we recommend checking the wait time for them near the end of the party.
Mickey & Minnie are most accessible near the very end of the party, however, there can be small “rushes” on them as guests decide to visit them on their way out of the park. Keep this in mind when contemplating when you should visit them and Santa Claus.
Aside from this, we don’t really have many character meet & greet tips for the Christmas Party. Unlike the Halloween Party, MVMCP is not all about meet & greets (at least not for us), and although there are more meet & greets than normal during the party, outside of the uber-popular meet & greets, they aren’t as big of a draw during this party.
Complimentary Cookies & Hot Cocoa – There are stations to get these all over the park. Although reasonable mind can differ on this, I think these free refreshments are delicious. Just thinking about them as I write this makes me hungry, and transports me back to memories of many a cold night sipping on hot cocoa to keep warm (it doesn’t work, but hey, why not try?!). Lines for refreshments can get bad near the front of the park (Crystal Palace especially) near the parade-time, but most of the time, you won’t encounter too bad of crowds.
Snow on Main Street – From what I understand, this isn’t “real” snow. Although there are persistent rumors that Disney imports real snow from the Swiss Alps, this is actually imitation snow, but it sure does look real. Children and adults alike watch in amazement as snow falls on dry pavement in Florida. This is really a special sight, and between this, the wonderful music, and the decorations, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party really does have that Christmas feeling!
Like I said above, we’re huge Christmas fans. We’ve been to the party around a dozen times since 2007 (yes, that means several times per year some years–we like it that much), and plan on going back for the 2016 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Anyway, it should be clear that we absolutely love the Christmas Party. The Magic Kingdom gets decked out for the party, with cool decorations, snow, an excellent lighting package, and even different background music. It’s these little details that make the party worth the money for us–even if it is around $60 each for us.
As far as value goes, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party actually can be fairly economical with some proper planning. We recommend purchasing your Walt Disney World tickets for one fewer day than you otherwise would, and doing our FREE self-guided resort hotel tour the morning of MVMCP (so you don’t use a normal park ticket day). Then, head to the Magic Kingdom at 4pm, which is the time you can enter the park for the Christmas Party. You’ll want to visit the resort hotels to see their decorations, anyway, so in effect you save yourself from having to purchase one day on your tickets by doing this (in other words, if you normally would buy a 5-day ticket for your trip, buy a 4-day ticket and follow this plan instead).
Granted, that additional day to your ticket that you otherwise would have purchased would have only added on $10-30 in cost to your total package, but every little bit helps. To save even more money on multi-day Walt Disney World tickets, we highly recommend Undercover Tourist, an authorized ticket broker selling CHEAPER tickets than you can buy directly from Disney. Between the day less on your tickets and the amount you’ll save by purchasing through Undercover Tourist, your Christmas Party tickets are basically free! You really can’t afford not to go to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party now…right?! 😉
While some contend that you’re better off saving the money and seeing the fireworks and parade for free the week of Christmas, this is really just part of what the parties offer (not 75% of it as some many contend). The ambiance and other little details are what make these parties great. To be sure, if you’re on a limited budget and your trip includes dates before and after the Party ends, you should consider skipping the party.
It’s also worth noting that these hard ticket parties used to be “known” for low crowds and, as a result, short waits. This is still true on certain nights, but it’s no longer the rule. Many party nights are just as crowded (sometimes more crowded!) as a normal night in the Magic Kingdom. So if you haven’t been to a Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in a few years, this is something that might have “changed” since your last Party.
However, if you’ve never been to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, love Christmas, and aren’t fond of Christmas-week crowds, it is definitely for you, and an event we’d recommend if your budget allows!
In addition to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, there are a lot of great free offerings at Walt Disney World during the Christmas season, from the Osborne Lights to Candlelight Processional to Holidays Around the World at Epcot, but we still feel the Christmas Party is worth the money to do once if your budget allows. If the special offerings listed here don’t appeal to you, I would strongly advise you not to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
Many guests who weren’t interested in the Christmas Party attended anyway in past years due to lighter crowds and shorter wait times at popular attractions, but lighter crowds are largely a thing of the past, and some party nights are as busy as regular days. It’s definitely not worth the money if all you’ll do is attractions. With that said, if Christmas entertainment and ambiance does appeal to you, MVMCP is a can’t-miss event at Walt Disney World!
For comprehensive tips for planning your Christmas-time trip to Walt Disney World, check out our Ultimate Guide to Christmas at Walt Disney World. For Walt Disney World trip planning tips and comprehensive advice, make sure to read our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide and related articles.
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What do you think of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party? Which aspect of the Christmas Party is your favorite? Are you going in 2016? Please share your thoughts in the comments!