This post rates the least and most-crowded 2018 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party dates, which is definitely something to consider before purchasing your tickets to this Magic Kingdom event, as November and December have roller coaster crowds at Walt Disney World.
In addition to offering tips for choosing the best days of the week to attend, we highlight the dates that should be the least-crowded Christmas Parties. As we share in our Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Tips post, not every Christmas Party (MVMCP) is equally crowded. Some are so packed for the first parade that they feel like a busy day in Magic Kingdom. Other nights, there is a ton of room on Main Street for Fireworks, and every attraction is a virtual walk-on by 10 p.m.
The first thing we should note is that last year, MVMCP was abnormally busy across the entire calendar. Moreover, the 2018 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party tended to be more crowded than last year, with the attendance cap rumored to be increased by 10,000 guests per night. We mention this to prepare you for the reality that the 2018 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is likely to have heavy crowds–if you’ve done the party before but not for a couple years, you’re likely to experience a busier event than in the past, irrespective of which date you choose. “Least-crowded” here is a relative term.
Last year, almost every single party sold out, and while none of the 2018 parties are sold out at present, there’s a reasonable chance several in November and most in December will sell out; if not far in advance, on the day of. Sorry that we don’t have better news, but that’s what you should realistically expect.
We will monitor crowd trends for 2018 and update this post when we have a better idea of this year’s crowds, in case you want to take a ‘wait and see’ approach. Attendance patterns at Walt Disney World have been all over the place this year, and it’s entirely possible another slowdown occurs in late November. We aren’t banking on it, but it’s certainly within the realm of possibilities.
Since there are a lot of Christmas Party dates this year, most of you planning week-long vacations to Walt Disney World probably have 2-3 options. If you only have 1 choice, well…this post won’t do you much good. (On the plus side, that means you don’t have to deal with 6 p.m. Magic Kingdom closings on other nights of your trip.)
There are two rules of thumb that almost always apply when determining which party nights will be the least busy. First, the cheaper nights are the less busy ones. There are several price tiers, so ranking the nights is a bit easier. In general, the cheaper dates are in November and early-December, and the more expensive dates are in mid to late December.
The second rule is that school nights are the least busy nights, while Fridays and holiday breaks are the most busy times. A corollary to this rule is that Tuesday nights are historically the least crowded nights of the week. We’ve been attending the parties every year since 2007, and that rule has proven true in our experience and in what we’ve observed.
Going back to the first rule, the idea behind the price tiers is to encourage guests who have the option of considering multiple dates to choose the cheaper one. This demand-based pricing is the same idea behind the new date-based park ticket pricing and seasonal hotel rates at Walt Disney World.
It works, but only to an extent. Plenty of people will pay a few dollars more on an already expensive ticket for a date that works better with their schedule.
Let’s start with the limitations. First, most locals planning on attending non-school night parties aren’t going to change those plans to save $5 or so. Second, tourists who travel during school breaks are essentially stuck traveling during those breaks, so they aren’t going to do a mid-December party as opposed to the December 21, 2018 one.
With that said, Tuesdays are typically the least busy parties. Dates like November 13 & 27, 2018 both are appealing to us, as is December 11, 2018. (December 4, 2018 falls within Pop Warner, so it could go either way.)
One party that is likely to be “surprisingly” busy is November 25, 2018, and that’s because it’s the first party after a week off during Thanksgiving, so there will be a lot of pent-up demand. Moreover, it’s the first MVMCP of 2018 that falls during the Free Disney Dining Plan window, so hotel occupancy is likely to be strong then, with a lot of Disney fans in town.
If you are a local and can go whenever you want, I think the November 12 and 13 parties will be the least busy Christmas Parties of the year. These are after the initial rush of people (and bloggers!) wanting to be first to attend, but before most people really get into the festive spirit.
As far as December goes, basically Tuesdays are the best days, followed by Thursdays, followed by Sundays. Earlier in the month is better, with the exception of the December 8 and 15 parties; there’s a reasonable probability that these will be the Christmas Parties that are heavily attended by the Pop Warner guests.
The December 21, 2018 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will be the busiest of the year. Last year was the first time Walt Disney World did a Christmas Party this close to Christmas, and it must have been a “success” because they’re doing it again. In the past, they’ve avoided this because Christmas-week crowds make it impractical to close Magic Kingdom early.
There’s nothing unique about this year to make that not the case, so…good luck to anyone considering that party! I would recommend avoiding Magic Kingdom completely that day–and each of the last 3 party dates–transportation to get out of the park will be a nightmare.
Ultimately, you will have more considerations when planning your itinerary than just which Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is least crowded. Park hours will influence your decision. Weather might influence your decision. If you’re able to score an elusive ADR in a different park on a less-busy night, that might influence your decision.
We can’t stress enough that these predictions are exactly that. This is speculation, pure and simple. It’s informed by our experiences, not by any sort of insider information. We’re more than happy to offer a money-back guarantee (on our advice, not your tickets) should our predictions prove incorrect, though! 😉
We’ve updated our free Vacation Kingdom at Christmas eBook for the Christmas season! In order to receive your free copy, sign up for our (also free) newsletter if you haven’t already. You’ll receive a free download of that eBook, plus our Money-Saving Tips for Walt Disney World eBook as a thank you.
Which days are your favorites for doing Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party? Do you have any experiences that contradict or support our advice? When are you planning to go this year? Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share your thoughts on these questions, or anything else, in the comments!