Christmas is our family’s favorite holiday. It wouldn’t be complete without a Disney Christmas party–“Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party” at Walt Disney World. We go every year and have picked up some tips along the way. Here’s what you need to know about how to make the most of your visit to this magical event!
A Very Disney Christmas
We purchased our tickets for “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party” a few months ago, as the event sometimes gets sold out. Even if you are at the Magic Kingdom on the day of the event, you must have a separate ticket for entry for the Disney Christmas event. The Magic Kingdom closes for regular guests at 7pm and the party continues until midnight. It costs $74+/adult.
There are lots of special activities that occur only during the party. Plus, the regular Magic Kingdom rides have much shorter than usual wait times. Here’s what you need to know to maximize your fun while getting into the holiday spirit!
Ticketholders are able to enter the park at 4pm (three hours before the official start of the Disney Christmas festivities). Thus, you can either visit another park during the day, or relax at your hotel pool and save the cost of an extra park entrance fee, and still have 8 hours to enjoy the Magic Kingdom rides and the Christmas events.
Make a plan.
You can get an overview of the party ahead of time online. Once you enter the park, pick up the special brochure for Mickey’s Christmas party and take a few moments to plan your visit. You may want to ride some of the most popular rides, particularly ones that are very difficult to get a FastPass for, like the Disney Mine Train ride. (Wait time average 30 minutes during the party versus 150+ during the day.)
Strategize about the parade.
The Christmas parade has everything from Disney characters in their Christmas clothes, to toy soldiers to Santa and his reindeer. When do you want to view the Christmas parade? This question is often based on the age of your little ones. In our case, I knew my baby boy (age 5) would fall asleep on the earlier side, so we chose to see the 8:15pm “Once Upon a Christmastime Parade” (versus the 10:30pm), even though it was more crowded.
Your chances of an up close “hi five” from one of the Disney characters during the parade is much higher if you view the procession from Frontierland, where it originates, versus in front of Cinderella’s Castle or along Main Street, as these areas are usually packed.
If you have a stroller, I’d also recommend placing it behind the tape or rope at least 30 minutes before the start of the parade and then leave it to enjoy a ride and return to view the parade with great seats. We tried that strategy last year and enjoyed the “Country Bear Jamboree” show right before viewing the parade in Frontierland. Both children loved being greeted by Disney characters and Santa’s reindeer!
Dance with the stars.
If your children would like the opportunity to dance with a Disney character, there are currently two dance options. Both are in Tomorrowland – one with Buzz Lightyear and one with Phineas and Ferb. In the past, you could also enjoy swinging to Christmas music with the Country Bears from Country Bear Jamboree at the Diamond Horseshoe Revue in Frontierland. According to the Disney manager I spoke with, that option may be offered again once renovations at the Revue are complete.
Get a hug.
Disney characters, dressed in their Christmas finery, are available for hugs and autographs throughout the park, including Santa Goofy at the Barnstormer ride and Minnie and friends near Storybook Circus. To meet Santa in person, visit Candy Cane Lane next to Guest Relations near the entrance to the Magic Kingdom, but be prepared for long waits! If your little one is happy just seeing Santa from a distance, he is always at the end of the Christmas parade, waving to everyone with a big ho ho ho!
Take a break.
By this time, you may need a short rest, so try one of the 8 locations throughout the Magic Kingdom that offers complimentary sugar cookies, hot cocoa and apple juice – lots of sugar but a good way to get a quick burst of energy to enjoy the rest of the party.
Don’t miss the fireworks.
For a good view of the “Holiday Wishes – Celebrate the Spirit of the Season” fireworks, try standing along the bridge between Main Street and Tomorrowland. While the fireworks won’t appear to be directly behind Cinderella’s Castle, several of them do show up in back of the castle, making for great photo opportunities, and the bridge is much less crowded than anywhere along Main Street! An added bonus is that Tinkerbell flies directly above your heads from Cinderella’s Castle and ends her flights after the bridge – a great angle and much closer viewing than if you are on Main Street.
Watch the ballet.
I have always loved “The Nutcracker” so my favorite show from the party was the “Celebrate the Season” Show in front of Cinderella’s Castle. It’s offered three times during the party. It includes Santa Goofy, Mickey and Friends, and Christmas songs with Frosty and Santa’s reindeer. In addition, the dance scenes from the Nutcracker are quite good, complete with a ballerina and Chip & Dale in the role of the Chinese dancers. The final show at 11:20pm was the least crowded so we got closer to stage in front of the Castle (great views)!
Join the crowd.
My daughter particularly loved the “Frozen Holiday Wish” show in front of Cinderella’s Castle. She avidly watched Queen Elsa turn the castle into a sparkling icy creation, complete with fireworks! You can enjoy the Frozen show just before the official start of the party at 6:15pm or at 8pm, just before the first Christmas parade. Either time is pretty crowded, as you’ll either be watching with the park attendees leaving the Magic Kingdom before the party, or with the Christmas party guests just before the first parade. Still, it’s a show well worth seeing for the magical way the castle is lit up!
If you live closer to the West Coast, but still want to enjoy some Disney Christmas magic, Disneyland is also decked out for the holidays and well worth the visit!