Is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Worth The Cost?
Visiting Disney World during the holidays is definitely a magical experience in itself, but once you add in seasonal offerings like special holiday decorations, entertainment and even winter-themed food and beverage, being swept into the spirit of the season is unavoidable – even in the warm Florida sun!
One of the most popular holiday events, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, takes places on select November and December nights and offers guests a chance to experience a true winter wonderland, with an array of special shows, character appearances, fireworks display and complimentary holiday treats – all complemented by lower crowds (check out this post to plan for the least busiest parties), and, if you’re lucky, a chance of snow flurries on Main Street. As a “hard ticket” event, it does require separate admission (see this post for official dates, pricing and discount information) and takes place after regular operating hours, much like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, which occurs earlier in the fall.
Unlike that party, however, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party does feature some entertainment offerings that become available to “day guests” of the Magic Kingdom later in the season, such as Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade and the popular fireworks display, Holiday Wishes-Celebrate the Spirit of the Season, which take the place of the regular Celebrate a Dream Come True parade and Wishes – A Magical Gathering of Disney Dream fireworks, from December 21-31.
When’s the party?
- November 8, 11, 14, 15, 17, 21, and 22
- December 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, and 20
While the festivities officially kick off at 7 PM (also the “closing time” for day guests), a ticket to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party allows entry starting at 4 PM. Since the party runs through midnight, using early entry may allow for 8 full hours of fun – and surprising value, as the costliest party ticket for an adult costs $71 – broken down into 8 hours, that places each hour at less than $10. Contrast that with a regular Magic Kingdom one-day ticket at $95!
Of course, your mileage may vary, and depending on your vacation schedule/length, adding another day to your ticket could be a better value, and checking out a different park that night could be a good fit. Check out the least expensive ticket calculator to weigh your options.
What is so special about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party?
Erin Foster wrote a fantastic write-up about what to expect from the party here, but here’s the quick version – it’s Magic Kingdom all dressed up for Christmas, complete with special parades, snow, and – if that’s not your cup of tea, this might be – shorter attraction waits for the attractions that are open during the party.
What attractions are open?
- Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom (don’t miss out on the special card available only at parties; pick it up at the Magic Kingdom Firehouse and the location behind Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe)
- Swiss Family Treehouse
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- Jingle Cruise (new for 2013)
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- A Pirate’s Adventure – Treasures of the Seven Seas
- Splash Mountain
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Country Bear Jamboree
- Haunted Mansion
- “it’s a small world” (this attraction will be down for refurbishment 12/2/13 to 12/12/13)
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic
- Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
- Princess Fairytale Hall
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Mad Tea Party
- Dumbo The Flying Elephant
- The Barnstormer
- Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid
- Ariel’s Grotto
- Enchanted Tales with Belle
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Space Mountain
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
- Astro Orbiter
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Stitch’s Great Escape
- Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
What entertainment is available?
- Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade
- Celebrate the Magic
- Holiday Wishes – Celebrate the Spirit of the Season (fireworks)
- “A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas Show”
- “Celebrate the Season” Show
- Character Dance Parties (Woody’s Hootin’ Hollerin’ Holiday Open House in the Diamond Horseshoe and Club Tinsel at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe)
What restaurants are open?
- Main Street Bakery
- Plaza Ice Cream Parlor
- Pecos Bill Tell Tale Inn and Cafe (until 11 PM)
- Westward Ho
- Frontierland Turkey Leg Cart (until 11 PM)
- Frontierland Churro Wagon (until 11 PM)
- Sleepy Hollow
- Liberty Square Market (until 9 PM)
- Friar’s Nook (until 9 PM)
- Storybook Treats
- Gaston’s Tavern
- Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
- The Lunching Pad
Are there Touring Plans for the parties?
Yes! If you want to meet characters, we’ve posted two “character meet-and-greet” touring plans for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party here on the blog.
The following are Premium Touring Plans (require membership to TouringPlans.com):
- Magic Kingdom Christmas Party Touring Plan for Parents (Focus on Party Activities)
- Magic Kingdom Christmas Party Touring Plan for Adults
- Magic Kingdom Christmas Party Touring Plan for Parents (Focus on Attractions)
Do I need a Touring Plan for these parties?
Utilizing a Touring Plan may increase the value of your experience if you were looking to accomplish as many things as possible in one evening.
What other special things should I know about these parties?
Event specific merchandise (including apparel and a special trading pin) is available for purchase at the Emporium, Frontier Trading Post, Heritage House, Big Top Souvenirs and Mickey’s Star Traders.
Complimentary Holiday Treats (yes, something FREE at Walt Disney World) – are available at The Crystal Palace, Sunshine Tree Terrace, Tortuga Tavern, Columbia Harbor House, Pinocchio Village Haus, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe and the Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant. The traditional offerings are Hot Cocoa and Sugar Cookies, but Apple Slices and Apple Juice may also be requested.
Special Disney Character Appearances – are offered around the park, often with hard-to-find or rare characters decked out in their Holiday best – a perfect opportunity for family Christmas card photos?
So…is it worth it?
Cost-wise, it is an individual decision, but in general, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party offers a bounty of fun for party-goers of all ages, no matter the attendee’s focus.
Have you ever attended Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party? What tips did I miss?
ETA: Check out this guide to the party, uploaded 12/2013: https://wdpromedia.disney.go.com/media/wdpro-assets/parks-and-tickets/special-events/mickeys-very-merry-christmas/mvmcp2013_version3b.pdf?22112013111132
39 thoughts on “Is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Worth The Cost?”
We did this 5 years ago and loved it. One of the best parts, besides the free cookies, hot chocolate and fake snow falling, was that there were no lines toward the end of the night for Space Mountain.
Agree, Gus! That was my mom’s fave part too (short lines for attractions).
What are specific crowds like during these parties? Just in terms of being able to ride attractions with lesser to no lines, is it worth it for that alone?
Joe – if you asked my mom – who doesn’t particularly care to queue up to watch shows or parades – yes. We recently attended the first party of the season (11/8) and the only attraction that had a wait (40 min) was the Jingle Cruise, since it had debuted that day.
Thanks Kristina! Much appreciated.
You’re welcome! 🙂
We were there last week and observed lots of free-loaders (day guests). We were expecting low crowds and it was anything but. While the parades and the lights are beautiful, it was difficult to do nearly anything else because they block so many access points around the park. Would not recommend to others.
I am sorry to hear of your unfortunate experience, Pam! 🙁 I think Disney does everything it can to clear the park, but as in any ‘soft close’ experience, there may be some guests that fall through the cracks.
I personally am not sure what access points would have been closed, however – the only one that I know of is the passage through Cinderella Castle, due to the entertainment. We did not encounter any re-routing otherwise…
I agree with you, Pam H. We were at the first night of the party, Nov. 8th, and it was so uncomfortably crowded that we couldn’t do all we would’ve liked. The locations for cocoa and cookies were few and far between. There was no FastPass and we didn’t want to spend the majority of our time waiting in lines. Personally, I felt the cost was not worth the experience and I will never book again.
I suppose it’s all perspective – I was at that party and didn’t experience this at all. I am sorry it was not enjoyable for you and your family.
It should maybe be noted that the first couple of parties can be less merry than the remaining, as new cast members are still learning the ropes and any changes that have taken place are new to everyone. It’s not an excuse by any means, but it could account for the discrepancies in experiences.
I wasn’t thrilled with the party when I attended it last year. The park is kept too dark; brighter illumination is needed for this event.
We felt the same way – it was too dark and not well lit.
We were just there Nov. 8 and LOVED it. Makes the whole Disney experience even more magical.
Thanks for stopping by to comment, Tina!
I was there on Friday, and it was rainy, but crowds were very manageable. Only a 15 minute wait for a newly opened Peter Pan, and Space Mountain was about 10. Big Thunder was walk-on during the fireworks, which is always one of our favorite rides to be on during fireworks. The late parade got delayed due to weather, and I’d assume was eventually cancelled since the weather only got worse. My personal experience after doing this a few times is that it is worth it if you like short lines and want to do rides, or if you want to see specialty shows. It’s a bit expensive for free cocoa and cookies, if that’s your reason 🙂 In the end, I probably won’t do it again, but would happily do the Halloween party every year. Feels much more festive to me. (Also, I asked a CM and he told me that they generally limit party tickets to around 25,000, and park capacity is around 80,000. No idea how true those numbers are, but if accurate, you’re looking at a pretty light night once the day-trippers are all gone.)
I think you have to do it at least once. We were there 2 years ago and it was very crowded! We went to see the speial events (you can ride the rides all day!) so the parades etc were crazy busy. Other than too many people I would probably do it again just to have that Disney Christmas (not “holiday”!) feeling!!
Although I have never been to the party, I think it would definitely be worth it, especially if you don’t use a regular “day” ticket for that day. If you relax at the resort during the day, then head to the party at 4, I think it’s a bargain in terms of the entertainment and ability to ride everything would normally would for the cost of a 1-day park ticket.
Great points all around, Ashley!
Is Peter Pan’s Flight open during the party? I don’t see it on the list. Thanks
This year pretty much all attractions are operating during the Christmas Party events.
Peter Pan’s Flight was under refurbishment during some of the parties, so Disney excluded it from the map on those nights. It re-opened on November 14.
Similarly, “it’s a small world” will be closed during some parties in December since it’s under refurbishment from 12/2/13 to 12/12/13.
Thanks for jumping in with this response, David! 🙂
Peter Pan was closed all last week.
Thanks for all the comments everyone! We definitely were not there for the cookies and cocoa since my husband is allergic to dairy and wheat. We were using a touring plan for the party and just found it difficult to get around as we kept running into the parade and got stuck. Yes, Christina – majority of issues were around the castle. My husband in particular felt cheated since we did not see a lot of people with the white party bands. The best part by far was the lights and the snow on main street USA. NOTE: We were there on the 11th. We went to Magic Kingdom during the day, went back to hotel mid day to chill for a few hours and then returned around 6:30pm.
I’m not sure if this would work for your husband, but you can ask for a packet of the Enjoy Life cookies at the places that offer cookies and cocoa during the party. I’m not sure they have wheat-free options, but definitely there are gluten, dairy, and nut free options. The folks at allergyfreemouse.com have much more details on it.
I was there on the 14th, and since we already had reservations at the California Grill at 9:00 to see the fireworks, we did not get tickets for the party. I planned to catch the last train from Frontierland back to Main Street after finishing Splash Mountain right at 7, but found out that they shut the railroad down a few minutes before 7. The crush getting out of the park was insane – it didn’t seem that there were that many people in the park all day.
Though making it worse was that the resort monorail loop was down (rumors were that it was due to Mrs Obama visiting one of the monorail resorts). We grabbed the TTC ferry and grabbed a drink at the Poly, only to find out that there was no monorail back to the Contemporary. After another ferry ride back to MK and a walk to the Contemporary, we were sweaty messes at the Calif Grill.
Rubbing a little salt in the wound, we found out that there were buses running the resort loop, but no CMs at the Poly front desk or monorail station mentioned this.
Overall, I expected better coordination and communication when the normal transportation is interrupted.
While the subject of “is it worth it” comes up a lot concerning these parties, an aspect that almost never gets mentioned is what happens when the weather is bad. We went to the christmas party in 2011 and it was raining! Almost everything worth seeing got cancelled. All the stage shows and most of the character meet and greets were cancelled, the snow wasn’t falling much as it got washed away and the parade was shortened. We didn’t see the cinderella coach, a lot of the characters weren’t walking along with the parade and some were actually pulled out of it when the rain got heavier. Also the wind was such that even though they decided not to cancel the fireworks (thankfully) you couldn’t see much of them because they were behind the smoke. There is no refund on these tickets or changing them to another date so keep that in mind when deciding if it’s worth it. We paid a lot of money for cookies and cocoa… the lines weren’t very short as attractions was the only thing left to do. If you have the money to risk it I would do this at least once. Otherwise spend it elsewhere!
We attended on the 11th. This was our second time, the last being in 2008. I doubt we will attend again in the future.
I am glad that I attended the party and tried it once in 2012. It wasn’t worth the price of admission for me, but I wouldn’t have known that without trying once.
Whenever possible, I think people should try for themselves and draw their own conclusions.
Attended last year and my whole family loved it all. I don’t know that I would pay to go every year but since we only get to DW once every 3-5 years it is a must do.
We family has gone twice and also to the Halloween party. The crowds can be bad, but still not as bad as they are Christmas and New years weeks. If you plan it out a little in advance, it makes a world of difference. The park map is available for the party on numerous sites and it can save a lot of guesswork. If you are a character autograph/picture collector or pin collector it is worth the try.
Great tips, thanks for sharing!!
We went on 11/14 and had the best time! The kids, ages 10 and 5, decided they were most excited about doing the rides at night so that was our focus. The crowds were crazy on main street for the 6:15 castle show but we got there early and got a good location. Then we went straight to thunder mountain and all the rides. We were able to walk on all night. My favorite memory was singing along to the Christmas carols (played on the speakers) with my family while walking in the park. It was so much fun to be there with low crowds. We easily found cookies and cocoa in adventure land and tomorrow land and even danced a little with woody at his party. We got great seats for the second parade and could even view the 10 pm castle show there. What we missed- characters (the lines were too long and the characters were very interactive so the lines moved very slow), the tomorrow land show, a good spot for the fireworks, a family picture for the Christmas card, meeting Santa, and enjoying the snow on main street. But that is disney, you can never do it all. It was definitely worth the money- the memories are priceless!
What’s the best thing to do and stand when you take a one year old? What attractions? We have never been.
Hi, we will be at Magic Kingdom at least for a couple nights during our stay this coming November and see that the Very Merry Christmas Party is happening on a couple of the evenings we are there. How does it work if you are already going to the park that day? Do you have to buy a separate ticket, then exit the park and come back? I’m just a little confused on how it all works. We have bought 3 day park hopper tickets and thought it would be easiest to just go to MK on the day of the Christmas party and just stay there. Any suggestions? Also, our children will be 5 and 3 – do you think it will be fun for them? Thanks!
Great questions! Here’s the scoop:
The party is a “hard ticket” event, which means it does require separate admission. Here’s a breakdown of some options for your situation:
1. If you were already in the park that day, your regular ticket will be valid through regular park closing time (7 PM), wherein you would be escorted out of the park if you did not plan to stay for the party.
2. If you wanted to visit the park that day PLUS attend the party, there are locations within the park you can exchange your party ticket for a special wristband that indicates to Cast Members that you are a party guest, so you don’t have to exit and re-enter.
3. If you wanted to attend JUST the party, it becomes valid around 4 PM, which wherein you’d use that ticket for entrance admission and obtain your wristband at that time. Some guests use this option so you can relax in the morning/swim/shop at Downtown Disney, etc. With the party running through midnight, this can be a good value depending on how you plan.
I love the Christmas party, and I do believe it’s great for all ages – there’s just something about the holidays that makes the Magic Kingdom even more magical. In general, lines are shorter for attractions (which makes mom and dad happy) and there are cool opportunities for characters wearing Christmassy-garb, which can be a great chance to get some cute family photos.