No matter what time of year it is, you can always start planning for holiday celebrations at Walt Disney World. If Christmastime is your ideal season to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth, you’re in luck! We’re taking a look at all of the critical information you need to know in our 2019 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Guide.
This signature ticketed-event is held on select nights throughout November and December at the Magic Kingdom and is a definite must-do for all fans of Disney and Christmas – and who isn’t?
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, if you’re planning to visit Walt Disney World for Halloween, be sure to check out our Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Guide. Once the Halloween celebrations are over, however, the Magic Kingdom is transformed into a holiday haven overnight. There’s no time to mourn the loss of pumpkin spice when gingerbread and Christmas cheer are here to make you feel warm and fuzzy.
What is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party?
In November and December, Walt Disney World becomes a winter wonderland (minus the snow). On select nights, the Magic Kingdom closes early to prepare for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This is a separate ticketed event, meaning you have to purchase a party ticket to attend.
The ticket prices for the party range from $99 USD per adult and $94 USD per child to $139/$134 USD this year. That’s a price increase of $10-$30 per person, compared to last year’s tickets.
During the party, guests have access to some truly unique experiences. We’ll get to them individually, but in general, there are Christmas treats, special character meet-and-greets, a special parade, stage shows and a holiday nighttime spectacular, among other things. If you love Disney and Christmas, this really needs to be on your Disney bucket list. No one does magic better than Disney, and there simply isn’t a more magical time of year than Christmas.
When to Attend
As appealing as Christmas time is at Disney, we prefer to attend the festivities in November, though we also avoid American Thanksgiving. We tend to avoid holidays, both American and Canadian, in all of our trips because the crowd levels get heavy. The closer to Christmas you get, the bigger the crowds get.
The party tickets also get more expensive as you get closer to Christmas. Since it’s the exact same party no matter when you attend, we figure why pay more? If you’re looking to save a bit, then it’s definitely in your best interest to visit earlier in the season.
There is a potential downside if you’re visiting early in November. The full Christmas celebrations at the other parks and around the resorts aren’t necessarily in full swing just yet. You may miss out on the resort Christmas trees, decorations and the festivities at Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, so you’ll definitely have to weigh the pros and cons.
This year’s party dates are:
When To Arrive
When we have party tickets, we don’t usually visit another park that day. It’s like paying twice, but not getting the full value of that regular park ticket. Your MVMCP ticket will give you access to Magic Kingdom starting at 4pm, even though the party doesn’t officially start until 7pm. For the price of the party tickets, we want to get as much Magic Kingdom party-time in as we can, so we tend to arrive shortly before 4pm to be among the first to get in line and receive our special party bracelets.
We use this time to ride attractions and take in the atmosphere as the party is starting to take form. It’s also a great time to get some party Photopass pictures taken with the decorations. Once the party starts there’s actually quite a lot to do in a relatively short amount of time, so while the attraction ride lines tend to be shorter during the party, we don’t really ride many once the party starts.
Before 4pm, we spend time at our resort, have breakfast or lunch at a resort restaurant or visit Disney Springs. There’s no shortage of things to do around Disney before attending the party.
If you’re already visiting the Magic Kingdom on your party day, you can check into the party inside the park. There are a few locations where you can receive your party wristband and you won’t have to leave the park to get it.
That being said, for guests who check in at the front entrance, they are largely funneled through a separate entrance, the backside of Main Street, next to Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. The separate entrance is due to the fact that many guests who are not attending the party, will be exiting down Main Street and Disney doesn’t want a traffic jam along the way.
The separate entrance also has some photo ops and is usually has cast members handing out treats as you walk past (sugar cookies, anyone?).
During the party, many of the regular attractions are open (though subject to change). While the attraction stand-by times have the potential to be shorter during the party, we’ve found that it can still take a huge chunk out of your party time.
In the past we’ve used the pre-party time (4pm-7pm) to ride attractions, because once the party starts there’s actually quite a bit to do in a relatively short amount of time. So even though there’s the temptation to get on favourite attractions, we don’t generally ride many of the attractions once the party starts. That being said…
New attraction enhancements!
This year, Disney is adding a little extra Christmas magic to a few of the attractions. The Tomorrowland Speedway will have thousands of lights added and stylized décor to make it a festive freeway. Space Mountain will have new lighting effects inside, along with “high-energy holiday tunes”.
Similar to the Halloween Party, the Mad Tea Party will now have holiday music and lighting effects. Lastly, the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor will feature a new show with a holiday twist, which is sure to be fun for the whole family!
Dress for the Occasion
Part of the fun of MVMCP is dressing in your holiday best. You can put in a good amount of effort, or very little effort and still feel like you’ve done something special for the party. We’ve worn matching red plaid shirts, which we felt was in the holiday spirit, comfortable and also reflected our Canadian spirit (because we’re all descended from lumberjacks and love plaid).
Some guests wear Christmas PJs, “ugly” Christmas sweaters, Christmas themed ears, and some guests will really go all out in borderline formal wear. Whatever says Christmas to you, we say wear it! It will also make those PhotoPass photos that much more festive.
Another thing to consider is bringing a sweater. November and December evenings can get quite cool, even for us Canadians. Check the weather ahead of time and plan accordingly. You wouldn’t want to be chilly watching the fireworks or waiting for the parade.
Check out the Party-Exclusive Merchandise
(and get the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Card)
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party has a ton of party-exclusive merchandise, from pins (our favourite) to shirts and many more collectables. We tend to look through the merchandise before the party officially starts (between 4-7pm), because some shops will start to set out the merchandise and give access if you already have your party bracelet on.
You’ll also want to visit the Firehouse at the top of Main Street and pick up another party exclusive – the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Card, which changes each year. This is the only time you can get this particular card and they are highly collectable. Even if you don’t play, it’s still fun to pick up this memento of the party. It’s these party exclusive cards that got us into playing the game in the first place. And so rarely does Disney give something away for free, so why not take advantage of this generosity?
We like to do quick service dining on party nights, or just eat snacks and desserts (because that is completely acceptable at Disney). As we mentioned earlier, we want to maximize our party time with party events, holiday sights and activities, the things that we’re paying for by attending the party.
If you do decide to have a quick service meal at the party, the earlier the better. The quick service lines tend to get long in and around your typical dinner time and in between parades and fireworks.
If you have party tickets, you are able to make dining reservations at the table-service restaurants in the park. However, to be honest, if we made dining reservations, we would feel like we’re missing out on special Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party happenings. Yes, it can be easier to score that elusive Be Our Guest or Cinderella’s Royal Table reservation, but it’s best to leave those to experience on any other day at Magic Kingdom. We have a better time trying the special party snacks, loading on up free Christmas treats and just enjoying the party atmosphere.
Parties within the Party
We will mention that there is a series of add-on dessert/appetizer parties that you can book during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
At Tomorrowland Terrace, there are two versions of the same dessert party. One gives you seated viewing of Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks from the terrace itself, while the other gives you Plaza Garden viewing. One hour before the fireworks, you can check into the dessert party, giving you a buffet of pastries, fruits, ice cream, cheeses and specialty beverages. Plaza Garden viewing prices are $69 USD for adults and $41 USD for kids 3-9. The Terrace viewing prices are $84 USD and $50 USD respectively.
Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party gives you access to a variety of hors d’oeuvres and desserts. There are also an assortment of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. This party also gives you preferred viewing of Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade along Main Street USA. This extra party reservation is an additional $99 USD on top of your regular Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party ticket.
Suffice it to say, these add-ons are pretty cost-prohibitive. Sure, if you’ve been to the Christmas party many times and you would like to try something new, by all means, go for it. However, there’s so much to experience in the main party and so little time to do it. Best to shelve these extra parties within the party for when you’ve experienced everything else.
Did we mention there are complimentary treats included with your party ticket admission? Because it’s amazing! Available at a variety of locations, scattered around the Magic Kingdom, the list of past locations has included:
- Pinocchio Village Haus
- Friar’s Nook
- Liberty Square Ticket Office
- Tortuga Tavern
- Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies
- Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café
- Storybook Circus Snacks
Each one of these locations will have at least one treat (cookies, soft pretzels, sno-cones, etc…), with many offering seasonal beverages as well (hot chocolate, chilled apple cider & eggnog). Lines can get long, but if you see one that is short(ish), hop in and grab a treat.
There are also some party-exclusive treats that you can purchase if you’d like. These include things like the Red Velvet Zero Waffles and the coveted Yule Log.
As a side note – It’s completely acceptable to fill up on these treats, because that’s also part of the holiday spirit.
For kids of all ages, there are not one, but two different opportunities to get into the Christmas spirit by dancing with some of your favourite characters.
The Disney Junior Jingle Jam hosted at Storybook Circus is a great place for kids to dance to a seasonal medley of tunes alongside Doc McStuffins and Vampirina!
The other dance party is over at Club Tinsel, inside Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café. This party has its own soundtrack of holiday favourites. Out on the dancefloor in previous years has been Santa’s prancing reindeer, some polar bears, elves and even Phineas and Ferb have made appearances in the past (as always, characters are subject to change).
Catch the Castle Shows
I’ll admit it…Lauren and I weren’t the biggest Frozen fans in the beginning. Over time, however, I have to say it has absolutely grown on us. That’s all due to the way Disney has incorporated Frozen into the parks. We love Frozen Ever After in Epcot, and I was surprised how much we really enjoyed For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration in Hollywood Studios.
In Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, A Frozen Holiday Wish brings that same enchantment to Cinderella Castle. It’s a short show in front of the castle involving Anna, Elsa, Olaf and Kristoff. The highlight of the show (of course) is Elsa’s ‘Let it go!’ moment. The castle comes to life with beautiful, festive lights and projections, all with a Frozen musical score playing underneath. While the lead in line is a little cheesy, it’s easy to get swept up in how spectacular the celebration is. A Frozen Holiday Wish isn’t a party exclusive, but it’s something you should make a point of seeing at the party, since it only adds to the Christmas magic.
Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration is another castle show, but this one is a party exclusive. It’s a fun, energetic show filled with Mickey, his friends and some characters that we don’t often get to see. It’s full of music and dancing, and extremely well done. We always recommend making a point of seeing it at least once. It runs several times throughout the night, but it’s also the last thing to see in the party, with the final show at midnight. If you can stay awake, it’s the perfect way to cap off the night.
In addition to the shows that take place in front of Cinderella Castle, Tomorrowland hosts two shows at the Rockettower Plaza Stage near Space Mountain.
First off, the Totally Tomorrowland Christmas celebration is a perennial favourite stage show. This musical performance features singing, dancing, storytelling and three special guest stars: Buzz Lightyear, Stitch and Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc. The music is jumping and there is plenty of space to dance along to some holiday classics (and some twists on the classics).
Secondly, the Rockettower Plaza Stage houses an a capella group who perform a holiday concert filled with incredible harmonies. Last year, Edge Effect were the artists in residence.
Each show is offset, with multiple times each night, so you can always find something to see in Tomorrowland during the party.
Character Meet and Greets and Photos
There are usually more than 15 characters to meet at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and the lines to meet these characters, can sometimes grow long. If meeting a particular character or two will make your evening, we suggest getting in line early, before the party actually begins if possible. You could easily spend an hour or more waiting in line to meet characters during the heart of the party, so getting in line early is key. We recommend prioritizing which character(s) you must meet, and put a cap on the time you’ll wait in line.
Crowd favourites from past years have included Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws, Scrooge McDuck, the Seven Dwarfs and, of course, Santa himself.
Another potential time to meet characters is right after Minnie’s Wonderful Chrismastime Fireworks, in the last hour of the party. Many younger guests will exit after the fireworks, so the lines for meet and greets may be slightly shorter.
We prefer the PhotoPass opportunities at the parties as well as the party exclusive magic shots, and they have shorter lines than the characters. Oh, and a photo at the Christmas tree at the bottom of Main Street is an absolute must.
Watch the Parade, Twice
We love, love, love Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade and we always try to watch the parade twice, because it really is that good – it’s the merriest parade around. We like to watch the parade from two different vantage points. Our first preferred location will always be somewhere on Main Street or close to the Cinderella Castle hub so you always have the castle as a backdrop for the parade. We also really enjoyed watching the parade from the second level balcony of the Main Street train station.
In addition to a host of classic Disney characters, this parade really is the only chance you’ll get to see the marching toy soldiers, dancing gingerbread men and prancing reindeer all together – not to mention a visit from Jolly Old St. Nick himself to close off the parade. Plus, the air smells of gingerbread and it just doesn’t get any better than that.
See Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks
For us, the fireworks are what our days at Disney are all about. If we could somehow end every day with fireworks, we would, and we often try to when at Disney.
This year, Disney has announced a brand new show, replacing Holiday Wishes. Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks spectacular promises to celebrate the magic of Christmas. Hosted by Minnie Mouse herself, this new show features musical medleys of many holiday favourite songs.
We don’t know too much about this new spectacular, but Disney does promise that it can be enjoyed across the park, which leads us to believe the fireworks and projections will be more accessible from places beyond just the Cinderella Castle Hub and Main Street USA.
Disney has also promised a finale that “you won’t want to miss”. When Disney says to stick around to see something, chances are good you should do it. We are so excited to see what this new spectacular has in store for us!
Spend Some Time on Main Street USA
There’s no denying that Main Street is the most atmospheric place to be during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and that largely has to do with the fact that snow falls on Main Street. I’ll let that sink in for a minute…it snows…on Main Street…in Florida. Of course, it’s not actual snow, but that doesn’t matter in the slightest. Something about seeing little white fluffy flakes fall down the street makes the evening magical.
Wandering down the whimsical Main Street of the Magic Kingdom also creates a feeling of Christmas nostalgia I never knew I had. It is the idealistic Christmas setting of a different place and time, and it really is a feeling that can’t be put into words. Main Street will be the busiest spot during the party, but it’s so worth fighting the crowds for, because the Christmas spirit is everywhere on Main Street during the party and there’s nothing quite like being there while a soft snow is falling all around you.
This party is easily one of our favourite things we’ve done at Walt Disney World, and we think it’s always worth the additional cost. If you can plan a trip in November or December, we definitely recommend working the party into your vacation budget, as it’s guaranteed to be a memorable holiday experience.