Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is Magic Kingdom’s holiday special event in November & December at Walt Disney World. This info guide offers tips, strategy, photos, likely 2022 dates, ticket prices, and our review based upon attending MVMCP annually for 10+ years. (Updated May 1, 2022.)
In terms of basics, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party features exclusive 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 is also a big draw of MVMCP.
Last year, Walt Disney World temporarily replaced Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party with Disney Very Merriest After Hours. This is somewhat of a successor to MVMCP, as it featured the same parade, fireworks, and more. However, it was also different in a number of ways. At this point, whether the 2022 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party occurs is also still up in the air. If you want to be notified when info about the 2022 party is released, subscribe to our free email newsletter for instant alerts.
Mickey’s Halloween and Christmas Parties are essentially companion events, with the former starting in mid-August and running until October 31, and the latter picking up for the holiday season…about one week later. The two parties are substantively very different from one another, but logistically and structurally very similar. It would be odd for Magic Kingdom to host Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party but then switch over to Very Merriest After Hours for the Christmas season.
About the only thing that could throw a monkey wrench in this prediction is attendance projections for November and December, which are historically much busier months than August and September. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party requires closing Magic Kingdom at 6 pm several nights per week. Even in a year of normal attendance levels, this creates a logistical nightmare. The event artificially manipulates attendance patterns to an extreme and almost unmanageable degree.
By contrast, the After Hours events occur–as the name suggests–after normal operating hours have ended. Regular day guests are still able to see fireworks every night, which prevents a roller coaster crowd dynamic with low crowds on party days and heavy crowds on non-party days. Consequently, it’s possible Walt Disney World leadership won’t want to close at 7 pm several nights per week because of the crowd disruptions it’ll cause.
Suffice to say, it was simply easier to do a holiday-themed After Hours event instead of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party last year. However, the latter is much more profitable for Walt Disney World–even though After Hours tickets cost more–because the attendance cap for MVMCP is significantly higher. That will certainly factor into Disney’s decision to do MVMCP in 2022, too.
Still, it’s hard to imagine bringing back MNSSHP but not Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. The opening of TRON Lightcycle Run is another wild card, and it looks increasingly likely to debut this year–potentially during the holiday season around when Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opened a few years ago. In other words, Walt Disney World opting to hold the 2022 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is no sure thing at this point, but “leans likely.” That’s our hope–and that they’ll let Disney Very Merriest After Hours glow away into Walt Disney World history.
If the 2022 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party does happen, it’s likely to begin on November 6, 2022 and continue several nights per week until December 20, 2022. It can occur on back to back evenings, but is usually every other day—and seldom on Saturdays. (Last year, dates would’ve been November 8, 9, 12, 13, 16, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 29, 30 and December 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 18, 20, 22.)
In the event that it does happen in 2022, here’s everything you need to know about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party…
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is the flagship event of the holiday season at Magic Kingdom, but hardly the only thing that happens at Christmas. We’ll start with a quick 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 100 pages, with 200+ photos, and tons of great tips & info! You can get this totally-free ebook via instant download by clicking here. (Note that this has not been updated for Christmas 2022, so much is out of date.)
While we have a guide to the Best & Worst Dates for Doing Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, we should note that over half of the dates for the Christmas Party have sold out in recent years, including nearly every night in December. Moreover, all December parties were crowded. Accordingly, you should determine whether you want to attend even with heavy crowds and, if so, buy your tickets in advance.
In addition to this, we’d also encourage you to read our recent Is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Too Crowdedpost before deciding. While that concerns Halloween and not Christmas, crowd levels between the two events are likely to be comparable. If anything, crowds will be worse during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, as there’s a lower likelihood of “slow” dates.
We attended Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party twice the last year it was held. First, on opening night of the event, and then again in December. Based upon those two parties, we’ve updated this post with new photos, info, and tips. In particular, we’ve added details about what’s new: Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks and the Totally Tinsel Tomorrowland Trio of ride overlays.
In terms of what’s new at the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, first is a replacement for the Holiday Wishes fireworks show, Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks. This show is hosted by Minnie Mouse, celebrating the magic of Christmas with medleys of beloved holiday songs.
It features “Wonderful Christmas Time” by Paul McCartney and also includes “Joy to the World,” “Deck the Halls,” “Up on the House Top,” “We Wish You A Merry Christmas,” and other favorites. Projection mapping also features heavily, with the end result being that Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks evokes heartfelt moments of home and family, and the spirit of the season before an incredible finale.
First, when you get behind the wheel on the Tomorrowland Speedway, you’ll find yourself cruising a festive freeway filled with thousands of lights and decorations. This is really well done, with some stellar scenes, custom-made decorations with a retro-inspired, mid-century style, and a great background music loop to which the lights dance. It’s a tad like the Osborne Lights. (Just a tad–we don’t want to oversell it!)
Next, the crew at Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor is putting some “Ha Ha Ha” in their “Ho Ho Ho,” with a new show for everyone visiting the Monster World. This is a show that is incredibly easy to see at your leisure; we’d recommend doing it early in the night when everything else is busy.
Rounding out the Totally Tinsel Tomorrowland Trio, Space Mountain will be filled with dazzling holiday lighting and high-energy Christmas music. This is far and away the most popular of the ride overlays, and we’ve seen it drawing long waits early in the party. Our recommendation here is to do this right after the parades or fireworks, but only if you can get ahead of the crowds, because everyone else has this same idea. If not, do it after 11 pm.
Finally, Mad Tea Party in Fantasyland becomes a wild holiday party, as you spin your teacups to one of four new combos of lights and music. We’d recommend doing Mad Tea Party right after Tomorrowland Speedway: Race Through the Holidays any time after 8 pm.
Before these overlays, the last big addition was a new Cinderella Castle forecourt stage show called “Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration,” which replaced “Celebrate the Season.”
Overview & Tips
Here are the main Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party offerings:
Meet and Greets with (some) characters dressed in holiday attire
Complimentary cookies and hot cocoa
Snow on Main Street
Fireworks Holiday Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace (extra charge)
Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party (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. This parade is a big part of the draw for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, but it’s just one of the pieces of entertainment at MVMCP, with others being totally exclusive to the event.
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.
Now let’s elaborate on each of the unique offerings, getting the upcharges-within-the-upcharge out of the way first…
Fireworks Holiday Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace – We’ll start with one thing we think you should not do during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and that’s the dessert party. The cost is $84 per adult or $50 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.
Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party – Speaking of things we don’t recommend, another is the new Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party, which is the exact same idea as the fireworks dessert party, but with a spread at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant, followed by reserved parade viewing for the 11 p.m. parade.
This costs $99 per person on top of the cost of your party ticket, and includes savory appetizers and desserts, plus complementary beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages. It also extends beyond the normal end-time of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, running until 12:30 a.m.
Party-Exclusive Special Food & “Free” Refreshments – Magic Kingdom has a large lineup of Christmas snacks and desserts, which are available for purchase during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Additionally, some items are availably only during the event.
Next, the big one: the “free” cookies, hot cocoa, and other holiday refreshments. There are stations to get these all over the park, and different cookies are served at each of them. Although reasonable minds 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 and during the first half-hour of the event.
The best place to go for the free refreshments is Cosmic Ray’s, which serves hot chocolate, Fanta, and a variety of holiday cookies. Other locations typically only serve one cookie each. My favorite of the cookies is the Peppermint Crunch–anyone who doesn’t like that cookie is just plain wrong.
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.
Note: this location is now the reserved viewing area for the Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party during the 11 p.m. parade. Occasionally, it is also reserved for other purposes during the earlier parade, as well.
Really, any location on Main Street will do in terms of getting this holiday card-perfect view of the parade. A great alternative is, ironically enough, almost directly in front of Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. (See above.)
This spot will give you a view of the floats as they round the corner coming down Main Street with the Christmas tree in the background, it has good lighting, and you’ll still be in the vicinity of snowfall. It’s also the last part of Main Street that fills up with people, making it easier to get a good view here.
Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade is absolutely awesome. Most people I know prefer the Boo to You parade over it, but I think I’m in the minority who prefers the Christmas 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?!
Ralph and Vanellope from “Wreck-It Ralph” are in the parade, as is a 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 a bizarre little stage show in Tomorrowland focusing on Stitch’s efforts to track and capture Santa Claus, with appearances by Buzz Lightyear, Mike Wazowski, and human singers and dancers.
Depending upon your perspective, A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas is cheesy and lame or kitschy and oddly endearing. We are unapologetic fans of A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas and love it in unironically. Seriously. It’s not actually the greatest thing ever (there’s nary a dinosaur in sight, after all), but it is pretty awesome.
There are probably only a handful of people in the world over the age of 8 who will admit to enjoying A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas, and we are both among that handful. When it initially debuted several years ago, replacing Mickey’s Twas the Night Before Christmas, we were both annoyed. Since then, it has slowly won us over, and has attained must-do status at the Christmas Party for us.
We think A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas is fun, crazy, and downright silly, but overall, enjoyable. We also recognize that it’s an acquired taste, and not everyone will enjoy it. We’d encourage you to give it a chance before writing it off–you may love it like we do.
The Edge Effect – Taking the same stage as A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas, the Edge Effect is an a capella group that appears 4 times nightly singing Christmas music.
Previously, this same role was occupied by VoicePlay. Both groups are excellent, and we’d strongly recommend watching one of Edge Effect’s performances almost immediately before A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas.
Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration Stage Show – This new-ish show replaced the Celebrate the Season show a couple of years ago, which was fun, but past its prime. The premise of the Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration 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 from when Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration debuted, you know that we really enjoy 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. That has yet to happen (probably because it appeals to kids even if ‘ole curmudgeons like us dislike it), but setting that aside, this is an upgrade from “Celebrate the Season,” and we think most people will love it!
This show is incredibly popular, and the viewing area can be frustrating if you’re shorter. We’d recommend watching one of the earlier shows from a distance and then returning for the 11:55 p.m. showing of Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration. Not only will you have the lowest crowds for that show, but you’ll also effectively “extend” the party beyond its midnight end time!
Character Dance Parties – There are typically two of these, one in Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe and one in Storybook Circus. The latter is the “Junior Jingle Jam,” which features some sort of childlike vampire character (I’m clearly out of touch with what the kids enjoy these days).
The other party is Club Tinsel in Tomorrowland’s Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. This one features elves and knock-off Coca Cola Polar Bears–it’s pretty solid. 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.
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.
Fireworks! – One of the highlights of the night is the fireworks show, which in the past has been Holiday Wishes. Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks are a recent addition, and showcase pyro plus projections. As with its predecessor, Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks thematically incorporates fireworks so they fit the accompanying song lyrics.
In terms of viewing the Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks, you’ll want to pick a location with an unobstructed 180-degree view of Cinderella Castle. This means anywhere in the middle of Main Street is out, as the buildings to each side of you will obstruct your view.
For Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks, we’d highly recommend the green areas in our Best Magic Kingdom Fireworks Viewing Locations. Additionally, the yellow areas that are closer to Cinderella Castle also work, but are slightly less desirable.
Character Meet & Greets – If you want to a lot of the characters at the Party, this is one area where you might want to employ a bit of strategy. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party features a mix of party-exclusive characters, party-exclusive costumes on regular characters, and regular characters.
Wait times for these meet & greets vary significantly, and depend upon the level of exclusivity. For a ‘regular’ character you might wait 10 minutes, whereas the wait could be 150 minutes for characters who don’t appear outside of MVMCP. Generally speaking, these waits have spiked in recent years as ‘character hunting’ has grown in popularity. Lines also tend to move slowly–even if there are “only” a couple dozen people in front of you, the wait could exceed an hour.
Of these meets, Jack Skellington in his “Sandy Claws” attire and Sally are the most popular. Their meet and greet is located in Town Square Theater, and if you want to do it, you should do it, you should get in line early–well before the party even starts.
Jack and Sally typically start meeting shortly after the unofficial start of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (typically between 4:30 and 5:00 p.m.), and only guests who already have their wristbands may line up to meet them. During the middle of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, you can expect to wait 2+ hours for Sandy Claws and Sally.
The other big meet & greet of the event is the Seven Dwarfs. With Sandy Claws and the Seven Dwarfs, it’s really an either/or thing. If you want to meet both, you’re going to spend about half of your Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party waiting in those two character lines. The Seven Dwarfs will be appearing in Storybook Circus at Pete’s Silly Side Show.
Other characters who are not exclusive to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party but that can be found wearing their holiday finery meet outside in Storybook Circus. We typically do one or two of these meet & greets per party (lining up around 6:30 p.m. before the party officially starts or waiting until after 11 p.m.), skipping Sandy Claws and the Seven Dwarfs due to their absurd lines.
There are several other character meet & greets and character dance parties that are not nearly as possible, so it’s not all long waits if you want to meet characters. The stars of the party, the Country Bears, rarely attract crowds (more like, “who are you?” questions) as they wander Frontierland, 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. Most people who see these famed stars of Country Bear Christmas don’t know who they are, which is really unfortunate, as Country Bear Jamboree is one of the best attractions in Magic Kingdom and basically a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Additionally, you’ll also find the Reindeer Wranglers in Frontierland. This is a country music string group performing variations of classic Christmas songs. They usually only draw a small crowd (or entertain guests along the parade route), but they’re worth seeking out. Sometimes, the Country Bears will join their act for a bit of fun, too!
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.
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 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party well over a dozen times since 2007 (yes, that means several times some years–we like it that much), 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 $95/adult and crowds increasing annually, we can no longer make that unequivocal recommendation.
Yes, it’s a lot of fun. Is it ~$100 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.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is an almost “magical” experience–at least we think so. 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. 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 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 while, 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.
What do you think of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party? Which aspect of the Christmas Party is your favorite? Are you going to the 2022 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party? 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!