Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re attending the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, stopping by Downtown Disney and Epcot, then checking out the Osborne Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Phew – that’s a lot! Let’s get going! 🙂
I was absolutely over the moon when I got the email from Touring Plans asking if I wouldn’t mind attending the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. The truth was I’d been on the fence about going the first night, but the tickets sold out before I pulled the trigger. So let this serve as a warning to all of you to not delay picking up those party tickets! But what if you can’t make it this year? Well, no worries! Just click to read all about it.
As you probably know, your party ticket will get you in to the park at 4pm. That’s a full three hours before the party starts! I decided to use my time on a couple of my favorite rides since FastPass+ was available. By 5:30pm I was ready to scout out locations for the party and find a bite to eat. It’s important to eat before the party so you make the most of your time and aren’t sidetracked looking for the limited food offered during the party.
In my case, I grabbed a quick macaroni and cheese at The Friar’s Nook before casually strolling over to see if I could find the Jack Skellington meet and greet line. I’d been a little too optimistic in my planning. Not only did I find the line – it was already 30 people deep! So with 75 minutes before Jack arrived, I claimed my spot in the queue. Let it be noted this is the longest line I’ve waited in… maybe ever? But it proved to be a good choice since the line just grew and grew all night. When it was my turn, Jack was lovely and so fun to meet! If I’m honest, I’d wait again if I had the chance.
Also back in Fantasyland you could meet Santa Goofy. In hindsight, I would have skipped this line if I’d known that he was also greeting at the Osborne Lights. Around this time the line to meet Daisy, Donald, and Scrooge McDuck was about 45 minutes. I decided to stop back by a little after 11pm when they line was only 20 minutes. This trick didn’t work for the Seven Dwarfs, though. When I stopped by at 11:30pm, their line had already been closed for the night. Speaking of the Seven Dwarfs, their mine train sported between a 30 – 40 minutes wait during the entire party.
Back on Main Street a thick blanket of foamy snow fell for most of the night while Christmas carols blasted on the speakers. I took some video, but it just didn’t capture what it was like to be there, so I decided to leave it out. The park was packed, and bustling crowds were all over, but the atmosphere was unique. Everyone was so happy to be there! I didn’t see a single screaming kid or fighting couple. When someone bumped into me, she actually stopped to apologize! It really felt like Christmas! 🙂
Speaking of those crowds, I had to arrive 40 minutes early to claim my spot for the parade. After ducking into New Fantasyland to watch the fireworks, I knew Frontierland was my only hope. It didn’t disappoint! Forgive the funny angle on my photos. I decided to sit during the parade to give the people behind me a better view.
New additions this year included the characters from Frozen. It was funny to see the same floats being repurposed. Maybe I’m the only one, but I don’t feel like Frozen has to be in everything. Frozen characters already took over the castle show, so I didn’t think they needed to be in the parade, too. Of course, I don’t have a little girl that wants to see her favorite princess. What do you guys think of the new Olaf costume?
Luckily, they still left Clarabelle in her rightful place! She’s such a hoot. I wish she was around in the parks more often. 🙁
Other classics were also still there. Sitting on the ground as the toy soldiers came stomping by was such an experience! I swear the ground moved. It was incredible! The updated reindeer were there to lead Santa down the parade route. Am I the only one that misses the goofy reindeer? I think they still have them at Disneyland.
After the parade I ran around and took some photos until it was almost time to call it a night. Since I hadn’t ridden a single ride during the entire party, I had to run over for a quick visit to The Haunted Mansion. It’s worth noting that just a few minutes before midnight the wait time read 15 minutes. However, I was able to walk right on. I would guess all the wait times at closing time were overestimated to discourage people from riding.
Just a little after midnight I decided it was time to call it a night. If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know that I take lots of photos of this clock. This is one of my favorites with the “snow” swirling around at such a late hour. I thought it was the perfect shot to end Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Are you planning on going this year? Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments below!
In stark contrast, the below photo was taken this weekend in the Downtown Disney area. Can you guess what you’re looking at? That, my friends, is the entrance to Typhoon Lagoon. As you can tell, the area is undergoing some pretty heavy construction. I wasn’t able to get a photo, but I noticed the park sign just tossed on the side of the road. They’re really working hard on this construction, so hopefully that sign will be back up in no time.
Christmas decorations have started to pop up all around Downtown Disney. There’s no shortage of photo opportunities, and I noticed lots of these decorative arches set up. I assumed they were for Memory Maker, but we stopped by twice this weekend and never saw photographers. It’s a nice freebie for families. Also, more parking has freed up on the West Side. It’s still tough to find a place to park at 2pm, but the situation is improving.
Also set up on the West Side is an enormous Baymax from Big Hero 6. To give you an idea, you can see the House of Blues water tower in the background. It was fitting to visit him since we were at Downtown Disney to see the movie. Unfortunately, we didn’t love Big Hero 6. (Please note: view expressed here are strictly my own and to not reflect on Touring Plans) 😉 Did anyone else see the movie this weekend? What did you think?
Continuing around Downtown Disney, it’s really starting to come together. There are still construction walls everywhere, but you can see where it’s going now, and it’s going to be epic! On the below left is a waterfront stage that just opened this week. On the below right is the Boathouse construction, along with a cheeky poster for the restaurant. I think we’re more excited for the floating cars than anything else!
Below left is a new walkway that opened behind Raglan Road. It looks like a ghost town right now, but you can imagine once all the shops open how nice it will look. It’s already getting easier to walk around with all the new paths. I can see the light, and Disney Springs is going to be awesome! Below right are a pair of crocs I just spotted this weekend in World of Disney. I could barely get a photo because they were getting snatched up so quickly. They didn’t have a price tag, but that wasn’t slowing sales down in the slightest. Unfortunately, they are only in kids’ sizes.
We also stopped by Epcot to say goodbye to the Food & Wine Festival for another year. On the way we found flavored popcorn in Future World! Choices included: cheddar cheese, buffalo bleu cheese, and sour cream with chives. It was almost like Tokyo Disneyland, except that the popcorn buckets weren’t built to hang around your neck like a feed bucket. We also spotted a 15 minute wait for Journey Into Imagination and had to test if that was real. Actual wait time: 5 minutes.
On the way out I spotted some new Figment merchandise. On the left is a pretty awesome hoodie. It’s crazy overpriced at $59.95, but I still really thought about it. On the right is a new Figment hat with wings on the back. At $19.95 I regret not getting this and think one of these is in my future. Although not pictured, but the bottom side of the hat’s brim is a rainbow!
Our last stop for this week is the Osborne Lights display at Hollywood Studios. The night we visited was perfect and not even a little bit crowded. Often severe crowd control is in place, and you’re elbow to elbow with your neighbors. However, on Sunday Cast Members weren’t even enforcing an entrance and exit. We were able to just stroll around take it all in. It was perfect!
New this year, the lights are dancing to music from The Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s a great addition, and the crowd cheered for the song! I hope this starts a trend of this movie being included in the parks. Maybe one day we can even get the Haunted Mansion overlay!
A last update is the location of the Frozen Holiday Premium Package seating. It’s back on the old tram loop, and, honestly, I don’t think it provides that great of a view. There’s nothing stopping people from standing along the rail. On a crowded night I can imagine it would be more blocked that not. At $89 for adults and $59 for kids, I don’t know that the other components of the package make it worth the cost. But as you can see, lots of people sitting in this VIP area disagree with me.
Phineas and Ferb are also greeting guests all dressed up for the holidays. This is exactly what they were wearing at the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. So that’s another one you can mark off your busy party schedule and meet at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
And one, last, tiny bit of shopping! A reader had asked if I’d seen any red holiday fleeces, and ironically I’d taken a photo of this one. It features Mickey and Minnie on the front with Daisy and Donald on the back. At $64.95 it’s one of the most expensive fleece jackets I’ve seen, but it’s very detailed with quality embroidery. What do you think of it?
That’s everything for this week. Now let’s see what you can expect if you’re visiting next week.
Crowd Calendar: This is the last slow week before we start slipping into Thanksgiving crowds. Enjoy it but be sure to plan for party nights and seasonal events that might draw crowds.
Weather: It looks mostly nice this week with highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s, but there are some possible storms that might take lows down to the 30s. Be sure to check the latest weather if you’ll be visiting.
Remember: You can’t trust Florida weather. This time of year you really can’t trust the forecast more than 2-3 days out. Come prepared for cold and wet weather. Better safe than sorry!
Here’s my top tip for this week: Did you like Big Hero 6 more than I did? Well, you can meet Baymax and Hiro at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I’ll be checking it out for you next week!
Do you have any news I missed or any requests for coverage next week? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, and thanks so much for reading! I’m wishing all of you the Best Week Ever, until next time!