On November 8th the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party marked the start of the holiday season at Walt Disney World. Disney goes all out for the holidays and giant Christmas trees; thousands of garlands, holiday wreaths and lights create an enchanting atmosphere. Snow is falling on Main Street U.S.A., the Beast’s Castle in New Fantasyland is decorated for the holidays and the Magic Kingdom puts on some of the best live entertainment ever.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party much like, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party allows guests into the park as early as 4 p.m. even though the official starting time of the party is 7 p.m. So arrive early, arm yourselves with the special events map and if you are a fan of the Sorcerers of the Kingdom game get the special Christmas card as soon as you arrive at the park.Make sure you ride the Jungle cruise as the ride, this year for the first time ever, got a holiday makeover. The “Jingle Cruise” comes complete with a seasonal story line centered on the Skippers receiving some festive decorations from home, as they are homesick around the holidays.
Here are my top five things to do during the party:
1. Watch Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, which takes place at 8:15 and 10:30 p.m. The dancing deer, snowflakes and toy soldiers are only outdone by the appearance of Santa himself. If like me you are an avid photographer, watch it twice. There are so many details that watching the parade once simply isn’t enough!
2. Holiday Wishes, at 9:30 p.m. will blow your mind. Jiminy Cricket narrates this state of the art pyrotechnic show and when it is all over, the castle is magically transformed into an ice palace aglow with more than 200,000 lights. While you can enjoy the fireworks from many different areas in the park I love to be on Main Street U.S.A. or if you can time it right, watch the first Celebrate the Season show in front of the castle at 7:45 PM, turn around and enjoy the first parade only to stay put and watch Holiday Wishes. It takes a bit of patience but I learned that the waiting time in between the different events is perfect for feeding the troops. Have one member of your family go get the food while you hold on to that perfect viewing area. Once the show starts, the new interactive Glow with the Show Mickey Ear Hats will twinkle to the beat of the fireworks.
Cinderella’s Castle covered in over 200,000 lights.
3. Enjoy the “Celebrate The Season” show with Mickey and Minnie held in front of Cinderella’s Castle. Show times are: 7:45, 10:05 & 11:20 p.m.
4. Kids ages 6 and up will love “A Totally Tomorrowland Area Christmas” show held at 7:45, 8:45, 9:55, 10:50 & 11:45 p.m. in the Tomorrowland theater. Buzz Lightyear, Mike Wazowski and Stitch put their own spin on yuletide fun.
5. Take in the smells and sounds of the season! Enjoy the decorations and the fabulous street entertainment offered throughout the park. Munch on delicious cookies and sip some hot cocoa. If you decide to stay till the clock strikes midnight go to the top of the Main Street train station and watch the snow falling on Main Street U.S.A. as guest scurry home. The train station is also a great viewing point for the fireworks.
But wait, there is much more! As of 7 p.m. you can meet Mickey and Minnie in their Christmas finest at the Town Square Theater. I really love this meet and greet, as it is a great opportunity to get your family Christmas card picture done. Just across the square you can meet Santa and Mrs. Claus. I suggest you pick one and get in line at 7 p.m. sharp if not earlier. Another option is to visit with either of them around 10:30 p.m. when the second parade gets under way. At Princess Fairytale Hall you can meet your favorite princess and her prince. Snow White’s Seven Dwarfs hold court in Fantasyland and complimentary hot cocoa and cookies are distributed at several locations throughout the park.
This event is not a good choice for first time visitors to the Magic Kingdom as there is so much to do that one simply cannot pack it all into one evening. For return visitors the Christmas party is a magical experience, so go for it.
While you can buy tickets at the gate it is best to purchase your tickets online prior to your visit as the parties do sell out. Tickets range from $62 + tax ($57 + tax for children ages 3-9) to $71 + tax ($66+ tax for children ages 3-9). Children under 3 are admitted free of charge.
Liliane Opsomer is the coauthor of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids and a freelance writer.
She is passionate about travel, Disney, fairies, hobbits and all things magical. Some of her favorite destinations are Orlando, Anaheim, Middle Earth, Belgium, Sydney, Dresden, Patagonia and Hawaii. Liliane lives in Birmingham, Alabama and visits the parks several times a year.