Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is one of the more popular hard-ticket events of the year. With ticket prices hovering around the hundred dollar per person level (or more), it’s important to really think things through to make sure you get the most for your money. Here’s some tips for the best Do’s and Don’ts for this event.
DO buy your tickets early. More popular event nights sell out quickly. If there’s a certain day of the week or a certain date that you have to have tickets for, buy them early. (You can see historical sell-out information plus predictions for the lowest crowd amounts here.)
DO arrive early, if you can. Your ticket gets you admission as early as 4 PM. Arriving early gives you time to get your wristband and times guide (and grabbing a times guide is a must DO as well), do some planning, get something to eat, and possibly even get ready to line up for the more popular characters before the party starts.
DON’T spend party time on a meal. Okay, I know that you gotta eat. But during the party is a real waste of time to grab a meal. Because many restaurants close early or are not open at all during the party, your choices will be very limited. As a result, lines will be long. When I went to the party this year, the line for Casey’s was out the door and wrapped around into the seating area at 9 PM. That’s a lot of time to wait in line for a hot dog and a specialty brownie that tastes like…a brownie with frosting.
DO consider Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party. I’m not a fan of dessert parties–I don’t get my money’s worth with the handful of bite-size desserts I snack on. I was pleasantly surprised about this appetizer/dessert party (with all you can drink beer and wine). Take a look at the review, see if it meets your needs and budget, and give it some consideration.
DO stay late, if you can. I was surprised at the mass exodus after the fireworks, with a couple hours of the party still left. (The Scrooge in me wonders how many people camp out on Main Street for the parade before the Magic Kingdom closes to day guests just to see the parade and fireworks and then head out without buying a ticket. Does anyone know how aggressively or not Disney checks wristbands for the parade folks?) Remember, you’re paying a pretty price per hour to be in the park. Make the most of it.
DO see all the shows, the fireworks, and the parade. I may be half Grinch this time of year, but I enjoyed both the castle stage show and the show in Tomorrowland. They don’t take a lot of time, you don’t have to line up well in advance to have a good view, and they do set the stage for the whole event. Likewise, the fireworks are wonderful to see, and the parade is one of Disney’s best. (Okay, technically since Disney keeps nixing parades right and left, it’s in a field that isn’t very crowded, but it is a lot of fun regardless. Besides, SANTA!)
DON’T feel that you have to cram into the hub or Main Street for the fireworks. Unlike Happily Ever After, where the projections on the castle are an integral part of the show experience, the fireworks for Holiday Wishes are your more “traditional” Disney fireworks show and can be viewed from many places with smaller crowds. If you’re short like me, it’s better to find a place in Fantasyland or Frontierland to catch the fireworks than to hang out in the hub and have a kid put on shoulders in front of you 5 minutes before the start of the show. That said, if you want to see the fireworks from the hub or Main Street, it’s still a very viable option.
DO “trick or treat” at the treat stations–and bring a backpack. So many people love trick or treat stations at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, but you can also “trick or treat” during the Very Merry by visiting the cookie stops throughout the park. The cookies are individually packaged, so you can rack up an impressive amount of cookies during the event. (And do at least think about the idea of having cookies for breakfast the next morning…)
DON’T skip the warm snowman pretzel treat station in Adventureland across from Pirates. Seriously, those were so good.
DO pick up your free Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card at the Fire Station early in the evening, if you’re a fan of the game. They’re more prompt than Fairy Godmother’s magic at midnight about shutting down at 12 PM.
DON’T stress too much about getting “exclusive” merchandise. If you have to have something that says that you’ve been to the party, sure, go ahead and get a pin or t-shirt, but if it is just about having something Disney-holiday-esque, there’s plenty of merchandise available outside of party times with no lines to buy it. Plus, if you’re on the fence and are a local, you’ll likely see boxes of Very Merry merchandise pop up at an Outlet near you next year.
DO bring your holiday spirit. You’ll see lots of “ugly sweaters” and more red, green, silver, gold, and tinsel than you can shake a stick at. Enjoy! Let your inner elf loose! But….
DON’T forget to check the weather. That heavy holiday sweater may be perfect for sitting by the fire when the snow is falling outside up north, but it isn’t necessarily going to work for walking down Main Street in 80-degree weather. That said, it can and does get cold in Florida, so it may be a good choice. Check the weather, and adapt as necessary.
DO consider the second parade instead of the first. It will be less crowded, although you still will want to look for a spot at least 20-30 minutes before the parade starts.
DON’T expect that you’ll be able to do everything. The party simply isn’t long enough to try all the food, meet all the characters, ride all the rides, see the parade and all the shows, plus view the fireworks. Figure out what’s a high priority and target that first. But….
DO try and do as much as you can. It’s a fun event. Make the most of it.
DON’T come to the party just for short lines for attractions. In the past, hard-ticket events were a great time to get in a bunch of rides with minimal waits. Although Disney doesn’t officially release numbers for how many tickets they sell for the parties (just “sold out” or not), my experience is that the parties are getting more and more crowded year to year. As a result, wait times for attractions are also creeping up, and (depending on attraction), for the first bit of the party, you’ll still have backlog of lines from the day crowd. If shorter lines for attractions at night is your big thing, use evening Extra Magic Hours if you are able. Staying off-site? It’s still cheaper to book a room for your family of four at the All-Star Resorts for a single night with evening Extra Magic Hours, even if you don’t stay in the room, than it is to buy four tickets for party night.
DO try and start a holiday sing-a-long with those around you as you wait for a bus, monorail, or ferry boat at the end of the event. Just me? Okay, maybe…
Got any other suggestions for do’s and don’ts? Let us know in the comments.