Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is one of our all-time favorite things to do at Walt Disney World and it’s the perfect way to kick off the holiday season! As soon as the park closes after the last Halloween party, the Halloween decorations come down and the Christmas ones go up. Almost overnight, the Magic Kingdom is transformed into a Christmas wonderland, and about a week later, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party begins and runs until right before Christmas. We always make the trip down to Florida to start our holiday season with Mickey, and now, I’m sharing some of our best tips and tricks with you so you can enjoy a magical night at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, too!
VERY MERRY TICKETS
The Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party dates were released in March 2018 for this year’s party and tickets were available over the phone initially, and then also available online here or at the gate. While it’s not imperative to buy them as soon as they’re released, the parties do sell out, especially the first one of the season and those around Thanksgiving. Traditionally, Friday night parties are more crowded because locals can easily attend and not have to worry about work or school in the morning. Weeknight parties are typically the least crowded especially those earlier in the season (barring the first party).
DATES FOR 2018
November: 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29, 30
December: 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21
Party ticket prices range from $99 adults/$94 kids to $125 adults/$120 kids if you purchase them in advance. You’ll be paying more if you want to buy them the day of the event (and that’s assuming that it’s not a sold-out party). Double check for discounts if you’re an annual passholder, DVC member or eligible for military tickets because they could save you enough for a few Mickey ice cream bars! Note for military tickets: Buy them at Shades of Green and they’re tax-free! Also, if you want to attend a sold-out party, those eligible for military tickets can purchase at the gate, the day of the event but no discount is offered.
Like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party runs from 7pm-midnight but you can actually get into the park at 4pm (or a smidge earlier since they sometimes open the tapstyles around 345pm). And, if you’re a DVC member, you can actually get in at 2pm!! We took advantage of that perk this year and enjoyed a couple of extra hours in the park, which was great since we were just there for the party and didn’t have park tickets.
We recommend NOT using a park ticket on your party day and instead, spending it relaxing at your resort or resort hopping to check out all of the Christmas decorations, especially at the resorts on the monorail loop. The Christmas decorations at all of the Walt Disney World deluxe resorts are absolutely magical but we especially love the Gingerbread House at the Grand Floridian and then Gingerbread Castle at the Contemporary.
If you arrive at the Magic Kingdom before 6pm (when it officially closes for day guests) head to the far right and make sure you go through one of the Event Entrance tapstyles. Once you’re through, a Cast Member will put a party wristband on your (right!) wrist and the Christmas magic begins!
VERY MERRY GAMEPLAN
With the ages of our kids right now and the fact that some years, our only time at Magic Kingdom is for the parties (Not So Scary and Very Merry!), the rides and treats are the biggest draws for our family. We make sure to arrive at the park by 4pm (or 2pm this year for DVC members!) and then go on as many rides as possible AND eat dinner by 7pm when the party officially starts. This year we also stopped for a popcorn snack break to pick up the new Pluto Christmas Sweater refillable popcorn bucket!
Once the party starts, we spend our time doing a mix of rides, treat stops, and enjoying the party entertainment, but we almost always skip the character meet and greets because our kids don’t want to “waste” park time in character lines. If meeting the characters (especially the popular ones) is important to you, make sure to get in line for your first choice well before 7pm (like at least an hour early) so that you don’t waste official party time waiting in line. This year, several of the character meet and greets actually started around 5pm- they were definitely checking wristbands so if you’re not really there for the party, don’t even bother getting in line.
We definitely take a different approach to Very Merry than most people and I think it’s partly due to the ages of our kids, as well as not being locals and needing to buy so many tickets (so we really want to get our money’s worth out of our time!). For our family, going to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party allows us to spend 8+ hours in the park (this year we got it up to almost 12 hours!) with lower crowds than usual, at night (which is our absolute favorite), participate in some Christmas fun, and go on lots of rides with much shorter lines! If you’re an annual passholder or are doing the party as part of a longer trip, I can absolutely see the appeal of doing character meet and greets and spending the bulk of the night focused on party exclusive events and entertainment!
We typically head to Tomorrowland once we’re in the park so that we have a chance to go on Carousel of Progress before the park closes for day guests (for some reason, it’s not open during either the Halloween or Christmas parties). While we’re over there, the big kids go on Space Mountain and we all go on the PeopleMover!
Our family LOVES the PeopleMover so we go on it at least once every time that we’re in the park– but usually way more than that!
For the holiday season, the Jungle Cruise transforms into the Jingle Cruise, and those silly skippers change up their puns and keep the holiday laughs going all the way through the new year.
The boats are decorated with Christmas ornaments and garland and take on Christmas-y names, too! Normally, we’re not fans of riding Jungle Cruise at night because it’s hard to see the “animals” but Jingle Cruise looks extra-festive once the sun goes down and the Christmas lights go on.
VERY MERRY TREATS
Once the party officially starts at 7pm, there are treat stops throughout the park where you can get (complimentary) snacks!
- Tortuga Tavern: Snowman Soft Pretzel and Sno-Cone
- Cosmic Ray’s: Snickerdoodle Cookies and Hot Chocolate
- Storybook Circus: Peppermint Crunch Cookies (though this year they don’t have the milk…)
- Liberty Square Ticket Office: Ginger Molasses Cookies and Eggnog
- The Friar’s Nook: DOVE Chocolate and Apple Cider
- Auntie Gravity’s: Chocolate Chip Cookies and Sno-Cone
Pinocchio Village Haus is the best one-stop treat location because it has all four cookies: Chocolate Chip, Peppermint Crunch, Ginger Molasses, and Snickerdoodle. They give you one of each cookie along with hot chocolate or orange Fanta and you’re welcome to go through the line as many times as you’d like in case you want extras.
Holiday Wishes, the exclusive Very Merry fireworks show, should not be missed- it runs every party night at 10pm.
The hub/Main Street is the best place to watch the show so that you can see all of the projections on the castle. However, if you’ve already seen Holiday Wishes, or don’t want to deal with the crowds by the Castle, Storybook Circus and the Rivers of America are both great locations to watch with fewer crowds.
However, if you want to be able to see Tinkerbell fly during the show (weather permitting!), you have to make sure that you have a clear view of the castle and the sky towards Tomorrowland. You cannot see her fly if you’re on Main Street or in other areas of the park.
ONCE UPON A CHRISTMASTIME PARADE
The Once Upon A Christmastime Parade runs nightly during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at 830pm and 11pm starting in Frontierland and then making its way down Main Street. This is my absolute FAVORITE parade in the current WDW parade line-up and we stake out spots for it EVERY year. Before the parade begins, the snow starts to fall on Main Street and it is absolutely magical!
If you’ve never seen it before, I would definitely add Once Upon a Christmastime to your must-do list! While Frontierland is less crowded and you don’t have to get there as early to find a spot, it absolutely does not compare to watching the parade from Main Street, with the snow falling and Cinderella Castle in the background.
The toy soldiers are the absolute best part of the parade!!
Those silly reindeer are a close runner-up though!
Once Santa makes his way down Main Street, it really feels like the Christmas season has started!
MICKEY’S MOST MERRIEST CELEBRATION
Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration is another party exclusive and runs nightly at 740pm, 925pm, 1030pm, and 1155pm on the Castle Forecourt Stage. We love watching the 1155pm show because it doesn’t take up very much party time and it keeps you in the park past closing!
Aren’t these two the cutest?!
The END of the Night
We wrap up every night at the Magic Kingdom with an ice cream cone from the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor while we watch all of the guests walk down Main Street and out of the park. And once Main Street has cleared out, but before the Photopass photographers close up for the night (so sometime between 1230-1am), we get a family picture in front of Cinderella Castle. We all wore ugly Christmas sweaters for the party this year (even though it was 85 degrees out!!) so I wanted to make sure that we had a great family picture of us in our sweaters!
And then we slowly make our way towards the exit, stopping every so often to turn around and snap a picture of Cinderella Castle at the end of an empty Main Street. We always have a magical time at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party which is why we keep going back every year! It’s one of our favorite ways to kick off the holiday season, and even though it can still be hot in Florida in November, it feels like Christmas when you’re walking down Main Street in the snow!
Things to Remember for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
- Dress up! Unlike the Halloween party, most people don’t wear full costumes but many guests do dress up in festive shirts or Christmas pajamas. It’s so fun to see all of the people walking around the party in their Christmas-y best and we try and get ideas for what to wear to our next party while we’re there since so many people are dressed up!
- Get there early! While the party officially runs from 7pm-midnight and those are the hours for the exclusive party offerings, you can get into the park at 4pm with a party ticket (or 2pm this year if you’re a DVC member). Spend your morning/early afternoon relaxing and arrive right before 4pm in order to maximize your time in the park
- Get lots of cookies! This year, the cookies are individually wrapped so you can stock up and bring them home if you want. I think we had about forty cookies to bring home by the end of the night!
- Buy your ticket early! You don’t have to buy your ticket as soon as they’re released but if you want to go to the first, last, or a Friday party, definitely buy your tickets sooner rather than later.
- See if you qualify for any discounts! Tickets are definitely expensive, even more than the Halloween party, but there are discounts for military, AP, and DVC for some of the November/early December parties so double check before you buy.
- Check the weather! While it’s the tail end of hurricane season, it is Florida and rain is likely- we always make sure to bring disposable ponchos with us! Also, November and December can be really hot or really cold so make sure to pack appropriately.
- Have fun!! Go with a plan, especially if you want to see a lot of the party exclusive characters, but take time to soak in the atmosphere. There is nothing better than the Magic Kingdom decorated for Christmas.
Have you been to Very Merry yet this year?? Do you have any tips for a first timer??