This has been a terrific and busy couple of weeks, we spent 2 nights at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (I have 1500 photos to show for it), enjoyed Discovery Cove for an unheard of $59 day rate for Premium Passport members, and we were invited to a media event for ICE! at the Gaylord Palms Resort (then went back two days later to check out their new DreamWorks 3D Theater).
I have several hundred photos posted from Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, daytime Christmas photos at the Magic Kingdom, as well as an article with photos about ICE! I plan a special Denise’s Corner article for Monday, discussing the overall DreamWorks Experience at Gaylord Palms, including some photos of the characters and DreamWorks 3D Theater Experience.
We also have a new Walt Disney World Christmas book out (our first book!), and I learned so much with this one that I am planning a second non-holiday book to hopefully be released in June. You support Mousesteps with your purchase!
Now that we have two Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties under our belt for this year (and a couple of dozen over the last 15 or so years!), I wanted to offer some tips on enjoying the Party.
Tips to Enjoy Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2011
Purchase Tickets Early. Some dates offer an advance purchase discount, which is a big plus. More importantly, there has already been at least one sold-out Party this year, and that will happen even more as Christmas gets closer. The first two Parties were very busy, much moreso than I ever remember so early in the season. “Busy” means that the special Party events are crowded, but rides tend not to be.
Plan Ahead – You won’t see it all. Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, Holiday Wishes fireworks, The Magic, The Memories and You! Castle show, along with the two other holiday shows could fill up nearly an entire evening. There are characters to meet, rides and attractions open, hot chocolate and cookies to enjoy, dance parties – it’s a lot to do in just 5 hours. Decide what is important ahead of time, but allow for some time to enjoy the atmosphere of the park!
Arrive Early. While the Party doesn’t officially kick off until 7pm, guests can start arriving at 4pm. That is 8 hours of fun for the price! I recommend not buying another ticket for the parks that day, and using the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party ticket only. That won’t work if you really want to visit another park and don’t have time otherwise, but it will save some money.
Stay Late. Many guests leave after the fireworks, and the Magic Kingdom tends to empty out after the second parade. The last hour of the Party is the least crowded, and for me, the most enjoyable. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party tickets aren’t inexpensive, and I always like getting the most value I can out of a ticket.
Don’t Miss the Castle Lighting – While I can take or leave the Cinderella’s Holiday Wish show, I very much enjoy watching the Cinderella Castle Dream Lights at their first lighting of the night! This happens before the Party starts, and is available for all day guests (check the park guide for times).
See the Second Parade – On both nights we attended, guests were already lined wall-to-wall on Main Street for the Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade at 6:45pm. The parade didn’t start until 8:15pm, and didn’t arrive to Main Street until 15 minutes later (a little more if guests were further down Main Street, we were in our favorite spot in Town Square and I believe the parade showed up closer to 8:40pm). The Magic, The Memories and You! starts soon after the parade ends in Town Square, and then the fireworks begin. You can get a spot for the first parade near parade time, but not likely a good one (often looking over other guest’s heads). For the second parade, it’s a lot easier – and if you don’t need to be on Main Street, Frontierland is a great choice. Guests can watch the parade and be on their way to enjoy hot chocolate and cookies as the parade rounds Liberty Square towards Main Street.
If you do skip the first parade, you’ll find the line for characters such as Mickey and Minnie, Duffy, etc. much shorter at that time (and toward the end of the night as well). We waited for five minutes to see Mickey and Minnie at around 7pm, then took a walk around the park. The line for Santa always seemed longer than any other characters we saw, except for the Princesses and Phineas & Ferb. Lines for cookies, hot chocolate, apple slices and apple juice are longer early on, but we still never waited more than a few minutes.
Kids also may need to be told not to stick their tongues out (the snow is soap!) We saw a few kids who learned this the hard way.
We were the last guests out on both Party nights, lingering on Main Street after the Party ended. The shops are closed at this time – so if you want to buy any Party merchandise, buy it before midnight.
I’ve been attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party regularly since the mid-1990’s, and it has changed quite a bit since then. I still enjoy it greatly, and it certainly dunks us head-first into the holiday season each year!
Remaining Party dates are:
November 27, 29, and 30
December 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 16 and 18.
Tickets can be purchased by calling (407) WDISNEY or through Disney online.