Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a special hard ticket event held in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. For 2018, the party will be held mid-November through the week before Christmas Day. This post covers our Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party tips and strategy based upon what we’ve learned firsthand from attending the party every year for nearly the last decade. (Last updated March 20, 2018.)
In terms of basics, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP) offers special fireworks, a parade complete with snowfall on Main Street, an excellent stage show, and other holiday-themed entertainment (plus unlimited cookies and hot chocolate!). For some people, shorter lines at attractions are also a big draw of MVMCP. For 2018, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will occur on November 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29, 30 and December 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21.
Although not all specific details for the 2018 Mickey’s Very Merry Parties have been released, roughly 90% of this information will be accurate for this year’s parties. The biggest change is the possibility of a new fireworks show for the event in 2018–but that’s just a rumor at this point. For now, we’ll cover everything you can expect to experience at this year’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party…
One thing you can expect is more expensive tickets! Prices this year start at $95, with most dates over $100 per person. We’ll cover whether we think the Christmas party is worth the money later in the post, but suffice to say, we have some initial sticker shock. It wasn’t too long ago that tickets were under $50 per night.
Before we dig into more info about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, here’s a plug for some of our other resources for the holiday season at Walt Disney World. First, our Ultimate Guide to Christmas at Walt Disney World, which offers comprehensive advice on the holiday season at all four theme parks, the resort hotels, and Disney Springs.
For those readers wanting that same info in the form of a beautiful eBook, our free Walt Disney World Christmas eBook covers everything. It is 75+ pages, with 100+ photos, and tons of great tips & info! You can get this totally-free ebook via instant download by clicking here.
Unfortunately, no substantive additions have been made to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party this year. There are some new costumes in Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade and some new food items, but that’s about it. Despite Disney replacing Wishes with ‘Happily Ever After’ which features new projection mapping, there was no replacement (or added effects) to Holiday Wishes. Here’s hoping that happens for 2018.
Last year, the big addition was a new Cinderella Castle forecourt stage show called “Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration,” which replaced “Celebrate the Season.” This show remains excellent, and we’d highly recommend making a point of watching it–perhaps even twice–if you attend MVMCP!
We attended last year’s Christmas Party in mid-November–you can read more of our anecdotal experiences from the event in our Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Photos & Report, including our review of Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration. Suffice to say, we had a blast…now let’s cover what to expect from the parties this year.
Overview & Tips
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
- Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration
- Character Dance Parties (usually in 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
- Fireworks Holiday Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace (extra charge)
It’s worth noting that after December 22, 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 22. 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.
Fireworks Holiday Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace – We’ll start with the one thing we think you should not do during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and that’s the dessert party. The cost is $79 per adult or $47 for children ages 3-9.
The dessert party includes a fireworks viewing area and dessert and non-alcoholic drink buffet. It does not include admission to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, which is to be purchased separately. (This means you’re paying twice–once for the party, once for the dessert party.) The dessert party also does not include parade viewing.
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.
Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration Stage Show – This was new last year, replacing the Celebrate the Season show, which was fun, but past its prime. The premise of the new show is that it’s days before Christmas, and Mickey throws a Christmas party at his house, inviting all of his friends, who sing Christmas Carols before the show is “is Christmas-wrapped up in one sensational, snowy, show-stopping finale.”
If you read our report on the party, you know that we really enjoyed this show…for the most part. We don’t want to spoil it for you, but there’s one “odd” song that should really be cut; removing it would improve the show significantly. Here’s hoping that happens for 2018, as we were not the only ones who criticized this bizarre song choice. However, that aside, this is an upgrade from “Celebrate the Season,” and we think most people are going to love it!
Character Dance Parties – There are typically two of these, one in Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe and one in the Diamond Horseshoe. Last year, there was no dance party in the Diamond Horseshoe. 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 – There is usually an exclusive Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card that guests can pick up for free during the party. Last year, it was an “Olaf’s Snowgies” card.
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!).
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, and different cookies are served at each of them (a new change as of last year). 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 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), including Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party even in light of the significant price increases. 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 keep us going back every year.
With that said, the party is undeniably expensive. We used to recommend that those who could afford to do so splurge on the party once because it was that good. With prices starting at $86/adult, we can no longer make that type of unequivocal recommendation. Yes, it’s a lot of fun. Is it $90+ per person fun? That really depends. Tickets are now almost as expensive as 1-day tickets, and that’s on top of the multi-day tickets you’ve (probably) already purchased. That’s a lot of money, especially for families with kids.
Even if you aren’t on a tight budget, you might not want to spend that much money for the party. We can totally relate to that, and at this price point it’s hard to say the Christmas Party offers “good” value for money. (Unless you compare it to equally overpriced entertainment like NFL games or the opera to justify it to yourself.) What it really comes down to is whether you really want to do it. That is the key. There’s no logical way to break this down in terms of value–it comes down to desire.
For us, the “desire” is still there. We really love Christmas (have we told you that yet?!). We love the ambiance of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, love the parade, love the fireworks. For us, there’s a certain energy to the party that puts smiles on our faces–from the snow on Main Street to families dressed in matching ugly Christmas sweaters, we can’t resist it.
For us, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is an almost “magical” experience. Maybe that makes us suckers, but that’s my honest take on why we keep going back. I can’t justify it in terms of any sort of cost-benefit analysis. You might feel similarly about the Christmas Party, or you might not. It’s truly a personal thing.
If you are thinking about going, and wanting a little help justifying the big expense, here’s one way…
Purchase your Walt Disney World tickets for one fewer day than you otherwise would, and do 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 recommend reading our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post, in which we discuss which add-ons you should and should not get, how many days you might want, etc.. Between the day less on your tickets and the amount you’ll save by purchasing through an authorized ticket vendor, the cost of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a bit more palatable.
While some contend that you’re better off saving the money and seeing the fireworks and parade for free after December 22, this is really just part of what the parties offer. The ambiance and other little details are what make these parties great. If you’re on a limited budget and your trip includes dates before and after the Christmas Party ends, you should consider skipping the party, but it’s definitely not the same experience.
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 as a normal night in the Magic Kingdom. Crowds are still lighter at the parties than the insane Christmas-week crowds, but by no means “light.” 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.
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 Candlelight Processional to Epcot International Festival of the Holidays and beyond, 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.
With all of that said, if Christmas entertainment and ambiance does appeal to you, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a solid event at Walt Disney World. If you’ve never been to the party, love Christmas, and aren’t fond of Christmas-week crowds, it is definitely for you, and an event we’d still recommend if your budget allows and you can get past the sticker-shock.
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.
What do you think of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party? Which aspect of the Christmas Party is your favorite? Are you going in 2018? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!