Let’s get started with our Know Before You Go Essential Facts:
- This special event is located in the Magic Kingdom
- Special event ticket purchase is required
- The event runs on 20 select evenings from Nov. 8th to Dec. 18th
- The party normally runs from 7 pm – Midnight
- Fastpass + reservations are not available during the event
- The fright factor is 0 out of 5
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a seasonal event at the Magic Kingdom that transforms the park into a winter wonderland full of special entertainment including one-of-a-kind nighttime shows and a Christmas parade. You can also taste seasonal speciality food offerings, and watch a unique fireworks spectacular. If you love Christmastime and you love Walt Disney World, then this party is your wish come true.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is all about the magic of entertainment. Let’s start with my favorite, the Castle Dream Lights on Cinderella’s Castle! This show takes place both on the stage in front of the castle and on the castle itself. Like last year the crew from Arandal are the stars of the show which is called a Frozen Holiday Wish. With the help of Anna, Kristoff, and Olaf, Elsa will wave her magic fingers and enchant the majestic castle with sparkling white lights. From a distance, this enchantment looks like icicles forming over the castle’s towers and parapets. I’m really excited this year because the show will incorporate the new Regal Turrets that now surround Cinderella’s Castle! If you haven’t seen these yet, there are a couple of new turrets on either side of the castle, making the kingdom seem even more expansive and encompassing. With the icicles on these turrets you will feel like you are in the middle of a frozen wonderland.
The magical animation projected on Cinderella’s Castle is truly amazing! Put this brilliant show of color and light to the tune of your favorite Disney music and you have an unforgettable show. When you see the castle come to life through unique artistry, you won’t be able to stand there without a big smile on your face. Historically, the show is about 8 minutes long. Last year the show took place at 6:15 pm and 8:00 pm. You can check Disney’s website for this year’s times once they are released. One quick tip about viewing the show. Decide beforehand if you would rather have a good view of the stage or a good view of the Castle. If you want to see the characters up close you will need to arrive early to grab a spot in front of the stage. Keep in mind that your view of the Castle will be a little less than ideal from this vantage point. If you want to see the Castle in all its glory, I recommend claiming a spot somewhere between the central hub and the end of Main Street U.S.A. Anywhere in that area will put you far enough back that you will be able to see everything going on up above.
If you do grab a spot near there to watch the 8:00 pm lighting of the castle, you can stay put for the parade which will follow. Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas Parade is one of the other real highlights of the party. This speciality parade historically runs twice a night, first at 8:15 pm and then again at 10:30 pm. Again, be sure and check this year’s times if you are attending the party. This festive collection of floats and characters is much less menacing than its Halloween counterpart during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Currently, Disney lists Jiminy Cricket, Pooh, Tigger, Scrooge McDuck, and Goofy as the characters you can expect to see. Of course, no Walt Disney World parade would be complete without Mickey and Minnie Mouse. They will be joined by other characters as well as some Gingerbread Men, Toy Soldiers, Elves, and more. All of these colorful characters will be donning their best red and green outfits as they seek to put a big smile on your face. Familiar Christmas music will be playing as they dance and float their way through the Magic Kingdom. To cap it all off, the big guy himself will be spreading Christmas cheer to all from his sleigh. That’s right, good ole’ Santa has come to Walt Disney World just to wish the nice little boys and girls a Very Merry Christmas!
With so many good tidings, fun music, and delightful floats, this is one parade you won’t want to miss! The early parade is always the most crowded, so I do recommend that later parade if you want to avoid some of the crowds. Whichever time you choose, this is one parade I feel you should try to watch from Main Street U.S.A. While this is the most crowded viewing point, it is also the most magical. You just can’t beat the backdrop of Cinderella’s Castle with its special Dream Light overlay. Add to that the wreaths, Christmas trees, and the decorated windows of shops along Main Street, and it truly feels like a winter wonderland as the parade floats by. Oh, and did I mention the snow? Yes, Main Street U.S.A is so magical that it can even produce snow in Orlando.
Before we move away from Cinderella’s Castle there is one more high energy show you need to know about. The Celebrate the Season Show takes place on the castle forecourt stage three times a night. The 20 minute musical tells the story of Mickey’s present to Minnie. Goofy, Donald, and a few of their friends put their spin on the Christmas classic, The Nutcracker. As I said, this is a high energy musical, which fills the stage with a host of dancers and Disney characters. If you like Christmas music, this is the show for you. Wow, I just realized we have covered the Castle Dream Lights, Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas Parade, and the Celebrate the Season Show without going any deeper into the park than Cinderella’s Castle! You can see how much there is to take in without even moving around.
Of course, you might get a little peckish with all this entertainment. For that, I have good news! Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party includes complimentary cookies and hot cocoa! Is there any better seasonal treat than cookies and hot cocoa? Mmm, I might have to do a little baking and bust out the marshmallows when I’m done here. Back to you though. When you are ready to stretch your legs a little bit, you can wander over to one of several spots. Last year the following restaurants participated in the cookies and cocoa:
- Sunshine Tree Terrace
- Tortuga Tavern
- Columbia Harvest House
- Pinocchio Village Haus
- Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant
- Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
- The Crystal Palace
Come by the website after Nov. 8th and I will have the list updated with this year’s participating locations. If you need something more substantial than cookies many of the park’s restaurants will be open with their normal offerings. Just don’t eat too much at dinner, you need lots of room for cookies throughout the night!
Once you have your cookies and cocoa it will be time for some more fun! If you happened to satisfy your sweet tooth at Cosmic Ray’s or the Tomorrowland Terrace then you will be close to another show called A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas! This zany galactic romp features Buzz Lightyear, Stitch, and one of my favorite characters, Mike Wazowski. Together they host a jolly musical that has some out of this world dancing. During the show you will follow Stitch on a special mission to track down Santa. The question is, will Stitch find himself on the Naughty or Nice list? Let’s hope Santa hasn’t been on Stitch’s Great Escape! Well, if you want to find out, the show is located at the Rocketower Plaza Stage, lasts about 15 minutes, and takes place 5 times a night.
Mentioning the naughty ride that is Stitch’s Great Escape reminds me that most rides are running during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Actually, this can be a great time to take in the rides because a lot of party goers will spend more time watching the shows and parade. Or, if they are like me, they might be on a complimentary cookies and hot cocoa crawl! I’m really going to need some hot cocoa when this is over. Anyway, it is important to know you can’t reserve Fastpass + reservations for rides during the party. You can make Fastpass + reservations for the Magic Kingdom up until 7 pm when the party starts. After that the Fastpass + queues will all shut down and it is standby line only. So, if you plan to be in the park earlier in the day, be sure to utilize Fastpass + for your favorite rides and then hit some of the others that night when the lines are shorter. One ride that you don’t want to miss during this event is the Jingle Cruise! That’s right I said Jingle, not Jungle. This is a special overlay of the Jungle Cruise which takes place this time of year. Everything from the queue, the boats, the skippers and yes even the jokes get a sprinkle of holiday cheer. I believe they call this sailing at Yule Tide! Seriously though, it is nut cracking good time.
The rest of the rides in the Magic Kingdom remain the same this time of year, so you may want to focus your time on the entertainment that you can only during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. In addition to the great shows, this is also a wonderful time to capture some special pictures with your favorite characters. Meet ’n’ Greet Stations will be set up throughout the park and feature favorites like:
– Santa Claus
– Mickey Mouse
– The Seven Dwarfs
– Captain Jack Sparrow
– Peter Pan
– Tigger and Friends
– Princesses like Cinderella and Rapunzel
– and finally… cream of the crop, tip of the top – it’s Mary Poppins and there we stop!
Most of the characters will be available when the party starts at 7:00. When you first arrive grab a party map. The map not only includes the locations of the characters but all the evenings special events. You can find the list of all the entertainment with times, as well as what restaurants and rides are open. As for characters, if you want to avoid the lines I recommend putting this at the top of your list. Some of the characters will be very popular and will have lines start forming as early as 5:00 or 6:00. You should be able to see a couple of your favorites before any of the shows begin.
Before I forget, let’s talk about the fireworks. The Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season fireworks spectacular comes once a night, usually at 9:30 pm. Jiminy Cricket hosts this spectacular holiday edition of Disney fireworks. The tiny little cricket reminds us that home is where the heart is and there is no place like home for the holidays. This special edition of fireworks is set to classic Christmas songs, mostly instrumental, and floods the night sky with white and red light. At one point Cinderella’s Castle is bathed in green light and white fireworks sparkle all around the edges turning the castle into a giant tree. There is even a star shaped burst that crowns the whole creation. It really is amazing. I think I could watch the incredible fireworks shows at Walt Disney World every night and never tire of these magical experiences.
With the fireworks show coming about halfway through the party’s 5 hour running time, there is a lot of time to continue exploring after it is over. You can catch the late parade, watch the other shows, grab a bite to eat, meet characters, or go for a ride. The other thing you might do is a little Christmas shopping! What better gift could someone hope to find under the tree than a gift from Walt Disney World! In addition to the everyday souvenirs you will find in the Magic Kingdom, the party offers an exclusive trading pin, magic band, and t-shirt. Here is a little tip for shopping on Main Street U.S.A.: while each storefront has its own entrance, most of the buildings along the street are connected inside. We like to shop on our way out of the park because it allows us to avoid much of the crowd congestion down Main Street, and keeps us from having to carry our purchases around during the party. Of course, you will want to stop at the end of the street for one more look at Cinderella’s Castle before heading out.
If you want to get into this great event, you need to purchase tickets. You can enter the Magic Kingdom as early as 4:00 pm with your Special Event ticket. At this time you will be given a special band to signify your admission to the party. Anyone not wearing these bands is kindly ushered out of the park at 7:00 pm. To purchase tickets call (407) 939-7679 or go to Disney’s website. It is a limited ticket event so it can and will sell out on many nights. The closer you get to Christmas, the harder tickets are to come by. If you can go in November on a weekday, your chances of securing tickets and having smaller crowds are best. The tickets themselves range from about $69 – $82, depending on adult or child, and what day you will be attending. December 18th is the last day of the party and the most expensive. There is one more thing to consider with tickets. The party will take place rain or shine and the tickets are non-refundable. So, you can wait until the day of to purchase tickets, but you run this risk of the event being sold out. Keep this in mind as you make plans.
Does Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party sound like something you don’t want to miss? If so, it’s not too late to plan a last minute 2015 trip, or too early to start planning your 2016 trip to Walt Disney World. To learn about the many benefits of using an Authorized Disney Travel Specialist such as myself just click here. I am here to help and my services come at no cost to you. However, this is great way for you to support the WDW Ride Guide. By just allowing me to help maximize the magic for you, you help me keep us going, which in turn helps others. Talk about a win, win, win! Why not shoot me an e-mail at email@example.com or call me at 210-853-2488? I’m eagerly waiting to lend a big Mickey hand!
Well, that was a cool look into the winter wonderland awaiting visitors to the Magic Kingdom during November and December. However, that isn’t all the holiday magic Walt Disney World has to offer. Come back next week as we head over to Epcot to see what the World Showcase has up its international sleeve! Thank you so much for joining me today! I sincerely hope you have a great week and make the effort to make each day a ride worth taking!
To subscribe to the podcast visit www.wdwrideguide.com/subscribe