Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: Observations from 2011

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The Walt Disney World parties are wrapped up for this year, but in the spirit of “always planning for the next trip,” here are some observations from my 2011 visit to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party that may be helpful when 2012 trip planning time rolls around.

  • It’s all about the dwarves. I showed up at the meet and greet area for the seven dwarves at 6:58 p.m. The cast member attending the queue told me that my wait at that time would be, “Well over an hour, probably an hour and a half.” As much as I’ve been wanting that me-with-the-dwarves photo for years, I decided to skip it. I just couldn’t rationalize spending more than 20% of my party time waiting in a line. Next time, I’ll show up at the queue at 5:30 or 6:00 and plan to eat dinner and clean out my email in-box while on line. Santa also had a sizable line, but most other characters could be seen in half an hour or less. Plus, there was no-lines-no-waiting character access at the dance party locations.
  • Snow fall in Florida.
  • The snow makers have upped their game. I’ve been to MVMCP during each of the past five winters. In my previous experience, the “snow” that fell on Main Street was more like a suggestion of snow – a few odd flakes to remind you that there’s a winter wonderland somewhere out there in the universe. This year, the winter wonderland had really and truly taken residence in the Magic Kingdom. Fluffy white stuff was actually accumulating on the sidewalk. I was wondering when they were going to break out the shovels. Well done, magic makers.
  • Disney is making a solid effort to include everyone with their holiday snack options. In addition to the endless supply of snickerdoodles, apples, cocoa and cider, there are gluten-free, sugar-free, and nut-free cookies available, as well as sugar-free cocoa. Just ask at any of the food stations for these alternative items. They’re included with the cost of your ticket.
  • Snickerdoodles and cocoa are yum, but there are plenty of alternatives for those who need them.
  • They’re still making one misstep in the food area. While it’s lovely that guests get a free candy cane after visiting Santa, cast members are offering those candy canes directly to children, without first asking the parents. There are enough kids out there with food issues that I’m sure this poses an occasional problem.
  • Christmas fireworks viewing is no good from the train station. One of my favorite evening spots at the Magic Kingdom is at the raised train station loading area just above the entrance to the park. From here you get a bird’s eye view of the Castle and the entire length of the parade coming down Main Street. This is perfect on a summer evening, or for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, but in November and December the view of the castle is almost entirely blocked by the very beautiful, but nonetheless completely annoying in this context, Christmas tree.
  • Disney is experimenting with their special event merchandising. In the past, hard-ticket party merchandise had only been available at the party. You had to go there to get it – that was part of the allure. This year the special limited edition collectible Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party vinylmation figure was sold via disneystore.com. I’m curious to see whether this is a trend that will continue
  • A personal touch in Tomorrowland.
  • Keep an eye out for personal touches. During my party tour, I encountered several cast member initiated activities that made the Magic Kingdom feel like a small home town, in the very best sense. Of these, my favorite was at Mickey’s Star Traders. Cast members we walking around with narrow strips of paper, asking children what they wished for the holidays. The wish paper is made into a chain encircling the backstage area of Tomorrowland to help cast members in that area personalize their guest interaction. Very sweet.
  • Gingerbread castle!
  • Technology is working its way into the guest party experience. Park maps and signage throughout the parks invited guests to receive party tips via text message on their mobile phones. The messages were mostly generic reminders along the lines of, “Don’t miss the fireworks show starting in 15 minutes.” I’m looking forward to seeing how this concept evolves in future years.
  • The holiday version of “The Magic, the Memories, and You” is all kinds of awesome. I must admit that when this fireworks preshow was announced, I was one of the naysayers. Pictures on MY castle? Never! But when you see the castle dressed up as the world’s most perfect gingerbread house, all that bah-humbug nonsense just melts away. I can’t wait to see it again.

Alrighty peeps, what’s was your take on the 2011 MVMCP offerings? Anything you particularly liked, or anything that you wish they’d bring back from previous years? Let us know in the comments below.

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Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel (now PlanDisney), a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater.

12 thoughts on “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: Observations from 2011

  • December 22, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    I was a little disappointed in the selection of merchandise this year. I don’t want tshirts, pins or vinylmation, but I’d get other items if they were offered.

  • December 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Hi Erin,

    I totally agree about “The Magic, the Memories, and You!” The holiday version was sensational. I really hope they continue with themed versions of the show. The technology is amazing.

    Other than that, though, I think the Christmas party was a total waste of money. I went on Sunday, December 11. With posted wait times of up to 50 minutes for Space Mt., Peter Pan, etc. the small crowds of the past seemed long gone. In fact, it seemed jam packed the entire night! At 11:55 we still had to wait for Pirates – which is usually a walk-on even on busy days! The Tomorrowland and caste forecourt shows are both pretty terrible, too. All in all, I felt like I had flushed my money down the toilet.

  • December 22, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    We’ve gone the last 2 years. Last year on Nov 30th (Tues) and this year on Nov 30th (Wed). We didn’t use a Touring Plan, just followed what we wanted to see. We didn’t have a wait longer than about 20 minutes for any ride. We got a curb seat for the fireworks and Memories, arriving approximately 20 minutes prior. We viewed the parade from Frontierland snagging a ropeside view about 15 minutes prior, while enjoying our hot cocoa and cookies. We chose not to do character meetings either year. Will definitely be going again, early, gets us in the Christmas spirit.

  • December 22, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    We felt this year was a bit down from last year and if it is worse next year and more expensive (need more AP dates) we wont go. The event seemed shorter and rushed as well. We were also there Dec 11 which was a rainy, crowded evening so that was a downer.

    We have 6 years of the MVMCP ornaments hanging on our tree and this was the first year they didn’t offer it. We looked everywhere and the only things available were pins and shirts. Cast Members said they cut back a ton on merch which is odd to me.

    Parade was still great and if I could have seen the fireworks through the rain and low clouds I am sure it was great.

  • December 22, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    We went to the December 2 party. It was my and my wife’s second time (first, 2009) and my girls first. We enjoyed it immensely. We found the crowds to be a little larger than ’09 but not terrible. Our longest wait was about 20 minutes for different rides. PotC and Haunted Mansion were walk-ons that we rode multiple times. Peter Pan, as usual, was a longer wait most of the evening but we waited until around 11:15 or so and walked on to it as well. We only rode Space Mountain once because we were coming back the next night. The wait for it was about 20 minutes.

    The hot chocolate was better this time around. Not sure why that would be. The snickerdoodle cookies were good. If I remember correctly, we had sugar cookies the last time. Plus we loved having the other alternatives. Having an athlete in the family made the apples an attractive alternative for her.

    We watched the fireworks to the right of the hub heading toward Tomorrowland, not the best viewing spot but I liked being close enough to get a good view of “The Magic, Memories and You” show for the first time, which was good not great. I loved some of the scenes but others were a blur.

    Last time, my wife and I watched the Christmas parade in Frontierland. It was crowded and the lighting was not great. On Saturday this year, we watched the Main St Electrical Parade in Liberty Square and thought that it offered a much better viewing experience, although we didn’t make it there for the Christmas parade.

    We don’t really look for specific merchandise so that doesn’t really affect our family. We did take lots of pictures. Our girls stood in line for about 15 minutes to greet Wendy and Peter Pan (who, by the way, were completely fabulous!) but that was all the character greeting we did. The lines for most did seem rather long when we walked by.

    And I would agree that the snow this year on Main St was much better. In one of our picture a big flake of ‘snow’ got right in front of my face and in other pictures, you can actually see the ‘snow’ falling.

    All in all, MVMCP is one of those things that I would do ever few years just to remind myself how much fun it is. But it’s probably not going to be an annual experience.


  • December 22, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    We were there on Dec. 11. Love, love, love Magic, Memories, and You! Love it during non-holiday times too. I think regular Wishes is better than holiday Wishes, but still a great fireworks show.

    It was raining on and off that night so they didn’t do any snow (or at least, not any that we saw), and they had to cancel at least one of the Tomorrowland stage shows because the stage was wet. But unlike Jeff above, we hardly waited for anything. We did postpone Peter Pan until almost the end of the night — posted wait time of 25 minutes earlier in the evening, and 10 minutes when we entered the queue around 11:45 or so, but we didn’t wait nearly that long. We walked on Big Thunder 4 times in a row; Splash, Aladdin, Tiki, IASW, carousel, all walk-ons; Pooh, Buzz, and HM all nearly walk-ons. Right around 10:00 I sat out with the kids while other members of the party went on Space, and I was waiting for no more than about 20 minutes total. And aside from the Tomorrowland show, we saw all the special shows. We felt like it was money well spent.

    We also went to MVMCP last year, during an unseasonably cold night. It seems to us that people will pretty much hang in there with light rain, but cold will drive them out of the park sooner.

    As for merchandise, I wish they would at least have a kiosk open on Main Street with event merchandise past midnight. We were too busy having fun to shop, and I forget to get myself a pin. 🙁

    Didn’t like the snickerdoodles! But they were handing out peppermint Ghirardellis to everyone when we left the park, so that made up for it. 🙂

  • December 22, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    We went to our first MVMCP this year on Nov 9th and had a wonderful time! 🙂

  • December 22, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    I must agree. The Magic, Memories, and You! was spectacular. My daughters were amazed and one asked me “How do they do that daddy”. I told her it was Disney magic. I would ove to get the sound track for that.

  • December 23, 2011 at 11:42 am

    I went on December 5 for the first time. Had a little rain at the start and it was one of the coldest nights of the week we were there. Had a nice time but probably would only go ever couple years.

    Waited an hour for the dwarfs. Loved the magic and memories and the fireworks.

    But other the 2 tshirts and a sweatshirt I didn’t see ant merchandise, and I was looking to spend money.

  • December 23, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    We don’t meet the Dwarfs anymore. A) because of the line you mention for them (although if someone had read my earlier MVMCP TP blog post, maybe they would’ve known not to line up so early. Not naming names…) and, B) because Snow White is no longer with them!

    Other than that, excellent observations.

    Most of all, awesome gingerbread Castle photo at the bottom of the post. I’ll have to remember that location for MMY.

  • December 27, 2011 at 2:42 am

    Going to MVMCP on Dec. 13th was the highlight of the trip. Skipped the Dwarfs although my boyfriend kept trying to convince me to go. The only line other than characters was for SM and we saved that for our daytime visit to MK. We knocked PP, WP, SW, BLY, Pirates, the rest of adventure land before it closed at 7, and BTMRR out, as well as did all the shows/parades, and several other characters. The cookies and hot chocolate were all much better than I was expecting based on reviews, but I did get a little sugared out by the end of the night. Best money we spent on the trip.

  • October 24, 2012 at 2:40 am

    We are planning to attend MVMCP on Thursday November 15th 2012 (for the 1st time). I am wondering if the party will be less crowded since it’s before Thanksgiving and on a Thursday night when there is also a party on Friday. Also, I made a reservation for the Tomorrowland Dessert Party during MVMCP (my kids really want to do that one and I could not fit any other day). Anyone experienced TDP during MVMCP? Is that a waste of money? We are only spending another day at MK (Mon November 12th from opening to close) during this trip and it’s my kids first time so there is a lot to see. We could also attend the party on Monday November 12th instead but I wanted to go on the 15th as we are leaving the next morning… Thanks


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