The trees and garland are up all over Epcot. The holiday music wafts through the air as you enter the gates. It’s a balmy 85 degrees. Feels like…winter?
Even with the heat, many families were standing in line in their holiday finery and heavy winter sweaters for the first DVC Merry Member Mixer of the year. Located at the World Showplace between Canada and the United Kingdom, this event is held during the holiday season for DVC members and their guests. It is a tradition for many families to enjoy holiday cheer at this free event.
I brought my personal self-described expert on all things holiday-related (my four-year-old daughter), and into the winter wonderland we went.
As you enter through the snow, make sure you are nice to Santa’s elves standing outside. One had the naughty list, and one had the nice list – I didn’t look to see which list I ended on, but my daughter was assured she made the nice list….so far.
When you get inside, each person is given a raffle ticket that has a treat voucher attached to it. From there, you can enjoy any of the activities at your own leisure.
Dance Party: Hosted by a festive-looking DJ with the help from some wacky elves, this dance party also has games for children, such as hula hoop challenges and a challenging game of Simon Says.
Character Meet and Greets: Mickey and Minnie and some of their pals are there all dressed up for the season. On the day we attended, there were three stations – one with Mickey and Minnie, one with Chip and Dale, and one with Lilo and Stitch. PhotoPass photographers are on hand to take pictures, and then you can download them for free from My Disney Experience.
Merchandise for Sale: In years past, there have been a wide variety of holiday offerings and DVC merchandise for sale. This year, there was a limited amount of holiday offerings, and aside from the pins for sale, I did not see any DVC-exclusive merchandise. The pins available for sale are two DVC member-exclusive pins, an Annual Passholder pin, and two limited release pins (available at this event before they went on sale to the general public).
Holiday Crafts: Located near the back (away from the stage) is the kids’ craft areas. There are several offerings to make your own ornament or items to color and decorate. If you’re running short on time, you can pick up a craft or two and take them with you.
Food and Drink: Unlimited offerings of apple cider, ice water, and hot chocolate are available, and your voucher gets you one “coated crisped rice treat”.
Here’s a few tips to make the most of your visit:
If you know that you want to meet Mickey and Minnie, that needs to be your first stop once you enter the World Showplace. Once you receive your vouchers for your free treat and entry into the drawing for the DVC gift basket, proceed right to the line for Mickey and Minnie. (You can fill out your prize drawing slips while you wait in line and drop them off on your way out. The drawing happens after the end of the event, so there’s no rush to get the slips into the hopper.) Lines for them will be longer than any other character, and they will shut the lines early.
Once you’ve finished with Mickey and Minnie, if you want to do other character meet and greets, proceed to whichever line is shortest, perhaps grabbing your free food and drink on the way.
At that point, stop by the merchandise area if you want to purchase limited edition pins or other holiday items, stop by the kids’ craft area, grab some drink (and your free treat if you haven’t already), and enjoy the fun on the dance floor. There are some neat prizes for the kids on the dance floor in games like hula hoop contests or Simon Says, so if you have kids and don’t feel the need for character meet and greets, those are a lot of fun.
On your way out, make sure to drop your raffle ticket into the hopper for a chance to win a DVC gift basket and then stop at the exit to get your free ornament. This year’s ornament is a train, and one is available per family. It is a great collectible, and you can’t beat the (lack of) price.
Merry Member Mixers are scheduled from 3 to 5 PM in the World Showplace (located between Canada and the United Kingdom). Dates for this year are:
Monday, November 24, 2014
Monday, December 1, 2014
Monday, December 15, 2014
Monday, December 22, 2014
A valid theme park ticket is required for admission to Epcot, and you need a DVC member card to bring in up to 6 guests, but no advance reservations are required.