Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (A First-Timers Experience)
I know there are probably a thousand different reviews for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, but I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring as this was not only my first Very Merry Christmas Party, but it was also my first ever Disney World party experience. I haven’t been to any of the Disney parties (no dessert parties, no Halloween parties, nothing! I must literally live under a rock!) so getting to experience Mickey’s Christmas party as my first ever party experience was phenomenal.
As most avid Disney-goers know, any of the Mickey parties have a standard format: starts around 7pm, goes until about midnight, limited tickets available, and those that did not have a party ticket are required to leave the park. Since it is a ticketed event, only those that purchased a ticket can remain in the park, which reduces the crowds a good bit. This is a huge benefit, as it keeps ride wait times down to nothing.
So here’s a general break-down of my first-timers experience of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!
When you have a 4 year old who does not like to have his picture taken…you take what you can get!
If you aren’t an annual passholder, or don’t buy park hopper passes, purchasing a ticket for one of these events can actually save you money. You do not need a park ticket if you’ve purchased an event ticket, and you can enter the park as early as 4pm, even if the party does not start until 7pm. So, if you’re going to the park for 4 days, and one of those days is a Party day, you only actually need to purchase 3 days’ worth of tickets! On our trip, we planned our Party day on our arrival day (since those are only partial days anyway) and entered the park around 5:00pm. We received our wristbands upon entry and were able to wander around the park and get our spot of Elsa’s first Lighting of the Castle, which occurred at 6:15pm. Don’t forget to grab a pamphlet for the party! It has essential information like show times, vendors, character spots, and a handy-dandy map that we found crucial for navigating the party!
Elsa’s Lighting of the Castle Show
This was an awesome show, only lasts about 15 or so minutes, and was absolutely beautiful! Elsa lights the castle a few other times throughout the night, so if you can’t make the first show, you can catch it again later. The schedule will vary year to year, so consult the current year’s schedule before making strict plans (they usually release info at least a few months in advance).
There are two other shows that occur at the party, one of which happens in front of the castle with Mickey and Friends, and another in Tomorrowland that has Stitch, Mike Wazowski and Sully, as well as a handful of other dancers. We didn’t stay to see the show with Mickey as it didn’t particularly interest us, and we had read the show in Tomorrowland was pretty cheesy so we didn’t prioritize it either. We did catch a bit of the Tomorrowland show while we stood in line for Astro Orbiter, and I have to admit…yeah, it was pretty cheesy. Unless you’re super into shows, these two are skippable. There’s far too much else to do and far too little time to do it in, to waste time on shows, in my opinion.
Rides and Character Spots
Now, most seasoned party-goers will recommend you avoid rides while at a party, but I have to say the short lines were probably the highlight of my experience! If you’re big on characters, you’ll definitely want to skip rides and focus on that, as it can be the most time-consuming thing to do during the party. There are a handful of characters that are exclusive to the party (such as Jack Skellington in his Sandy Claws outfit and all 7 of the Dwarves from Snow White) and their lines can be VERY long. It is recommended to line up for those immediately upon entering the party, as some characters will be out as early as 5:30 or 6:00pm, so the earlier you can get in line the better.
While my brother-in-law and I rode Pirates of the Caribbean (which was literally walk-on, by the way. AWESOME!) and Haunted Mansion, my sister took her two kids to meet some princesses in the Fairytale Hall.
Again, when you have a 4 year old that hates having his picture taken, and a VERY determined princess, you get hilarious photo ops like this!
Once we rejoined the group, we decided to ride Jungle Cruise, which is renamed “Jingle Cruise” for the Christmas season, and enjoyed all their Christmas-themed corny jokes. As this is one of the few rides that gets a Christmas make-over, it’s definitely worth doing while you’re there.
Free Treats! (I’m sorry, did you say free food?!)
Yes, you read that right! Throughout the party, there are various places to get free treats. Upon entering the party (we entered a side-way near the entrance of the park), we were immediately handed complimentary Santa-shaped sugar cookies. They were individually wrapped, so I opted to hold onto mine for later consumption. After the castle lighting, we headed to Tortuga Tavern to get our free snow cones and snowman shaped pretzels.
After that, we made a pit stop through Liberty Square to get complimentary ginger molasses cookies (which the kiddos promptly dropped on the ground – sigh – you know how it is) and egg nog. I didn’t partake, as I’m not a huge fan of egg nog myself, and got it mostly for my brother-in-law and the kids.
At this point of the evening (around 7:30pm I think) the kids started to get a little cranky so we decided to separate. We headed towards Cosmic Rays (which has an absolutely adorable dance party with Rudolph and the gang) to get some grub for the kids while my sister and her husband road Space Mountain. I happily opted out of that experience, as Space Mountain gives me terrible vertigo (I’m turning into my mother, I swear!). They were gone no less than 10-15 minutes, as again, the wait times are EXTREMELY short for almost all rides. Cosmic Rays is another free treat spot, but we were pretty full so we skipped this location. Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies was another free treat spot, but we didn’t stop there either. This is the downside to eating a full meal at the parties, as you’re too full for the free stuff!
Afterwards, Christopher (my brother-in-law and father to the two munchkins) decided to take the kids back to the hotel because, let’s be honest, they were never going to make it to the parade. Your results may vary, but our little ones were already pooped by 8! My sister and I were then given free rein to do whatever we’d like, unburdened by children, and decided we were going to close the park!
Holiday Wishes (fireworks show)
Holiday Wishes (fireworks) is the next thing-to-do at the party, which occurred sometime around 10:00pm (I think? I’m not sure; time gets away from you while at Disney!) and we decided to watch from the People Mover. We also did Astro Obiter, which was a first for me believe it or not, and caught glimpses of the fireworks from each of those rides. We also caught a glimpse of the character meet and greet spot in Tomorrowland, where you can meet Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde from Zootopia (they met where you normally meet Buzz during normal park hours). I don’t care what people say, the People Mover is one of my favorite rides in Magic Kingdom. It’s so relaxing!
Apologies for the poor quality. Using an outdated cellphone to try to take pictures while moving doesn’t always yield great photos.
Main Street Parade
As it was nearing 10:30pm, we decided to head towards Main Street to stake out a parade spot. As you walk down Main Street, you’ll notice “snow” falling while Christmas music plays. The snow is actually soap, because – c’mon, it’s still Florida, but it creates such a wonderful ambiance.
“Children laughing, people passing, meeting smile after smile – in the air there’s a feeling of Christmaaaaaas”
We found a spot towards the front of the park, across the street from the Confectionary, so we’d be closer to the exit once the parade was over. This is an excellent strategy, by the way, if you know you’re going to be leaving right afterwards, as it cuts out a large portion of the throng of other people that will be flooding the exit at the same time as you.
Mickey’s Christmas Parade goes twice each party night, once at 8:30pm and the last at 11:00pm. I have to admit, the characters in between each float ended up being the highlight of the parade. One adorable elf on a wooden horse yelled in the squeakiest little voice “SANTA’S COMING! SANTA’S COMING! *insert dramatic pause* EVENTUALLY!!” Another guy, dressed up like a baker, came by and said “Guess what we’re doing! We’re bake-dancing!” We literally guffawed; it was so corny and cute! Without trying to spoil the experience for you, here are some highlights from the parade to give you a taste!
Overall, I feel like the Christmas Party was well worth the price tag. Free goodies, fireworks, shows, VERY short lines for rides, and the Christmas parade all make the party a once-in-a-lifetime experience! If you’re at Disney during Christmas, this is definitely something to add to your list!