I love the hard ticket parties at Disney World, and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is no exception. The party has a special parade, fireworks, shows, characters, and free hot chocolate and cookies. Unlike Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, though, during the two weeks around Christmas (it starts Dec 19 this year) through New Years, the parade, fireworks, and shows are available during normal park hours at the Magic Kingdom. So, they aren't exclusive to the party. But, if you aren't visiting the park during those (very crowded) two weeks, MVMCP is the only time to see these special events!
The party is officially from 7pm to midnight on select dates in November and December. I recommend having a light day before the party so that you can stay through midnight. You are paying extra for the party, so you don't want to leave early! Maybe go to Disney Springs, look around some of the resorts (decorations at the resorts usually start mid November), or use this as a pool day at your resort. Then, you can head over to Magic Kingdom nice and rested! Even though the party starts at 7, they will start letting you into the Magic Kingdom with your MVMCP ticket at 4pm. This is another reason to have a non-park day on the day of your party. You can get one less day on your park ticket, and still spend 8 hours in the Magic Kingdom with your party ticket! I recommend getting to the park no later than [5:30] or 6. If you wait until 7, like everyone else, it's a nightmare entering the park, getting your wristband, and walking down Main Street, while regular park guests are being ushered out of the park. Since only a few of the quick service places are open, I recommend eating before the party. Besides, you don't have to waste precious party time stopping to eat!
Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas Time Parade goes off twice during the party, at [8:15] and [10:30]. The second parade is usually less crowded, so you should have an easier time finding a spot to watch! If you watch on Main Street, they have it “snowing”. I'm one of the few that's a grinch about this, haha, but I hate the “snoap” that is used at Disney to make it feel like it's snowing, mostly because it's not good for my camera. But if you want to be in the Christmas-y spirit, there's no better place to watch than Main Street. That's also where it's lit up the most, which is good for your pictures! The parade starts in Frontierland, so it does take 20 minutes to get to the end of Main Street & Town Square, so keep that in mind. The parade has all your favorite Disney characters dressed for up for the holidays and then Christmas characters, such as elves, reindeer, toy soldiers, and of course ends with Santa! The parade is a good 20 minutes long, but it's so fun, it feels like it is over in a blink of an eye!
If you read my MNSSHP post, my favorite part of that parade is the Haunted Mansion grave diggers. The equivalent in the Christmas parade is the toy soldiers marching. They are so in time, I just love to watch them! Here's a small clip I posted a few years ago of the toy soldiers.
Holiday Wishes is at [9:30]. There are lots of fun winter and Christmas projections on the castle, so make sure you get in a spot where you can see the castle. There are even more 180 degree fireworks during this show than during Hallowishes! There's also one part during “O Christmas Tree” that fireworks shoot up around the castle so it looks like it's a Christmas tree!
There are also 2 special shows during the party. Celebrate the Season is a 20 minute castle show that's really cute. It has Disney characters, lots of dancers, and many Christmas and holiday characters such as reindeer, polar bears, and elves. There's fun Christmas songs (Pluto as Rudolph!) and even a Nutcracker section, with ballerinas, dancers and Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Chip & Dale dancing along in cute costumes! There are 3 showings during the party.
A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas, takes place in, surprise!, Tomorrowland. It's more of a modern, upbeat show than the classic Celebrate the Season. The show is hosted by Haley Comet, and has dancers, Buzz, Mike Wazowski in a Christmas outfit and Santa Stitch! Unfortunately, this is the one show I've never been able to catch, so I don't have any pictures.
My favorite part of the party is the characters! Characters that you can normally find at the park, such as Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Donald, and the Winnie the Pooh gang, are dressed up in cute Christmas costumes. Then there are the characters that you can only meet at the party, such as the seven dwarfs together, Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws, Scrooge McDuck and Jack Sparrow. The princes are meeting with their princesses, too! New this year is a Reindeer and Elf meet. You can also see characters that are hard to find together in one meet, such as all the Pooh characters or Mary Poppins with Bert AND Mr. Penguin!
If you want to meet popular characters like Sandy Claws Jack or the seven dwarfs, I recommend getting in line before the party starts. Jack starts meeting at 5, because his line can grow to 3 hours long! I got in line for him around [4:20] and was second in line. The dwarfs start meeting around [6:45], and I finished meeting them a little before 7 and their line already looked about an hour long. You do not want to waste the whole night in a line, so be sure to get there early! I do like that there are a few places this year where you stand in one line and meet several characters: Minnie/Daisy and Donald/Scrooge are one line, and Aurora and Snow White with their princes are one line. Rapunzel and Cinderella meet in their usual spot in Princess Fairytale Hall, so that's one line, and you get the addition of Flynn Rider & Prince Charming!
Here's a rundown on the special characters you can meet at the party. I've included if there are special outfits just for the party and put an asterisk (*) next to the characters that can only be found during the party.
Aladdin (Prince Ali) & Abu (scarf)*
Aurora & Prince Philip*
Captain Jack Sparrow*
Cinderella & Prince Charming*
Donald (lumberjack) & Scrooge McDuck*
Jack Skellington (Sandy Claws)*
Jasmine & Genie (scarf)*
Mary Poppins & Bert* & Mr. Penguin*
Minnie (peppermint) & Daisy (Christmas)
Peter Pan (scarf) & Wendy (scarf)*
Rapunzel & Flynn Rider*
Reindeer* & Elf*
Seven Dwarfs (Christmas)*
Snow White & Prince*
Tinker Bell (winter wear)
Winnie the Pooh & Eeyore* & Piglet* & Tigger (all in scarfs)
There are several characters meeting at the party who are also found during normal park hours, so I would recommend concentrating on the special party characters/costumes instead and leaving these characters to a normal park day: Ariel, Merida, Tiana & Naveen, Belle (Enchanted Tales with Belle), Anna, and Elsa
There's a dance party in Cosmic Rays with Phineas & Ferb in Christmas outfits. There's also a dance party in the Diamond Horseshoe, though that doesn't start until Thanksgiving. Before then, the Country Bears are roaming outside Diamond Horseshoe wearing scarfs. Once the dance party starts, they will move in there, along with Clara Cluck, Clarabelle, and Horace. If you are lucky, you can meet the characters, but it's hard meeting characters at dance parties since they are there to, well, dance. I met Liver Lips roaming, thankfully there was a cast member with him to take a picture for me! If I stayed in this area, or came back later, I could have caught another Country Bear or two!
A Frozen Holiday Wish (the castle lighting show) and Celebrate the Magic with Christmas additions also take place during the party, though you can watch them during non party nights. If you are watching Holiday Wishes from in front of the castle, you can catch Celebrate the Magic, with the additions such as turning the castle into gingerbread and candy canes, since it's 15 minutes before the fireworks. When the castle lighting was changed to the Frozen version last year, they do the show twice during the night, so the gorgeous castle lighting goes off before the second show, which I'm not a fan of. So be careful if you are getting pictures with the castle around this time! The first show is before the party at [6:15], and the second is during the party, at 8pm. A great addition this year is the new turrets are also lit up like the castle! It really makes an impact when you first see them after walking down Main Street.
There are also several Photopass spots and magic shots that you can only find at the party. There's a MVMCP frame that I found over by The Little Mermaid section of New Fantasyland, but sometimes you can find this with one of the photographers on Main Street. There's also a large MVMCP Ornament that you can find by the Treehouse in Adventureland. After the first party, the Reindeer & Elf meet here, but while they were taking a break, the Photopass photographer asked if anyone in line wanted to take a picture with the ornament, so of course I said yes. I heard that it's also by Space Mountain, but I didn't get a chance to check. There is also a Mistletoe Magic Shot this year, though it can also be found during regular park hours on Main Street.
The final special party thing are treats throughout the park! Marked on the party map or by large lit up candy canes in the park, you'll find cookies (or fruit if you want) and hot chocolate. Though it was in the 80s when I went to the party, so I couldn't even think about hot chocolate! Because I'm always running around during a hard ticket party, this cookie was the only thing I ate since lunch. So either they are really good, or I was that hungry, haha! I've had the hot chocolate in past years (this was an unusually hot November in Florida!), and it's always been good too.
There are special pins, shirts, and a magic band that you can only buy during the party, so make sure you pick these up before leaving. The Emporium on Main Street puts some of the merchandise, such as the shirts and the main pin, out before the party starts, but you need your wristband to buy them. There are several other places to buy merchandise in the park, but the store in Frontierland is the only place to find all the pins. There is also a special Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card for the party, which has Olaf on it this year. You can pick this up at the Firehouse on Main Street.
During the party, rides are usually a walk on. I usually skip rides during a hard ticket party, since I want to spend as much time as I can doing the things you can only find during the Christmas party, since you can go on rides anytime. But, if you want to go on rides, you won't find shorter lines than you will during the party. The Jungle Cruise changes to the Jingle Cruise during the holiday season, with holiday themed jokes and Christmas decorations throughout the ride. However, you can ride this during normal park hours, so you don't need to waste party time doing this ride.
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is lots of fun and sure to get you in the holiday mood!
Heather is an annual passholder that loves coming up with excuses to take a trip to the World. Follow her adventures at Disney on twitter , instagram, and facebook. Visit her website, I Love Characters, to see pictures of the over 240 characters she's met at Disney World and Disneyland.