This article was updated November 15th, 2018.
We went to the first three Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party nights this year, the first two were sold out and guests now stay later than ever at the end of the night! That will be reflected in the 2018 tips, this is my 7th year posting them and there are a few changes for this year. I’ve been attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party for over 20 years now, posting photos to the site for 12 years and each year is a little different from the last. If I think of more tips, I will add them to the article. We will be recording our Mousesteps Weekly YouTube show #290 all about the Party tomorrow, and I will embed that here when it is posted.
I have been asked a few times about ride wait times. I didn’t add those to my tips, but ride times tend to be low, especially after fireworks.
Here are my tips for 2018!
1 – Arrive early – Guests can arrive at 4:00pm on a Party ticket or even earlier – 2:00pm – for DVC members. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party does not officially start until 7:00pm, but there are characters to meet and first photo locations and a cookie station prior to the kickoff time.
2 – Plan ahead – There is plenty to see and do during the Party, and you can’t do it all. Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade is a must, as is Holiday Wishes, Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration and just enjoying the included treats, atmosphere and characters. A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas is a must-see for me as well. So plan your evening to make the most of it!
3 – Meet Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws with Sally this year – Jack as Sandy Claws is now with Sally, he’s met alone previously. Also, their meet and greet is in Town Square Theater this year and starts at 4:30pm! We got in line an hour earlier than that, at 3:30pm and met them by 5:00pm. Then we went to the Seven Dwarfs, who were meeting at 6:15pm and we were out by around 7:00pm. So by the time the Party started, we had two character meetings.
4 – Pick up your Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom souvenir card – Upon entering the park, go to the Main Street Firehouse and pick up your card! It features the Enchanted Tiki Room this year and is included in the Party price.
5 – Head to the Main Street bypass for photos and a treat – Upon arrival into the park, you can head to the Main Street bypass to the right and pick up a cookie and enjoy some fun photo ops. Only guests of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party can enter and it eventually does close. It is busier at 4pm than ever before, so there are some waits for photos.
6 – Watch Cinderella Castle turn to “ice”! – Cinderella Castle is lit every evening, once before the Party and once after it starts. Make it a point to see the short stage show “A Frozen Holiday Wish” as Elsa makes the castle glisten! Cinderella Castle will be bathed in Christmas lights for maybe half of the Party, depending on what is going on as far as entertainment. For example, during Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration (4 shows), the castle has projections instead.
7 – See the first Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade if you want the best Cinderella Castle view – We always try to photograph the parade once from Town Square looking toward Cinderella Castle. There is a very limited amount of space, and now the second parade is taken up by Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party reserved viewing. So arrive early if you really want that spot!
8 – View the second Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade for less crowds – As long as weather is cooperating, the second parade is better for finding a good spot to watch from.
9 – Watch the parade from Frontierland – If a castle view doesn’t matter and you just want to enjoy the parade, then seeing it in Frontierland instead of Town Square will free up 15-20 minutes of Party time.
10 – Don’t miss Holiday Wishes – Holiday Wishes is best seen on Main Street, or anywhere in front of Cinderella Castle. I now watch from around the park from whereever I am (since there is no major projections like Happily Ever After), but it’s more of a “wow” for the 180 degree fireworks and such with a castle view.
11 – Try all the included treats and drinks – I never use the word “complimentary” but instead “included” because treats are part of your Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party ticket. There are a nice variety of items, my favorite is probably the snowman pretzel at Tortuga Tavern, since it veers away from the normal cookies and other sugary items. That said, I do enjoy the cookies as well, and I recommend stopping at Pinocchio Village Haus because you can find all 4 there, plus Fanta and hot chocolate. It is a one-stop shop for cookies! Cookies are individually wrapped this year for the first time. Apple slices are no longer part of the Party treats as of last year, those were my favorite option.
12 – Find treats early – During our third party, we were able to walk around earlier than others (by not standing in longer character lines). Some treat stations were open early. Tomorrowland was open at 6:30pm and Storybook Circus 6:45pm. I can’t guarantee they will be open early, but it is pretty easy to tell if they are. We were told that each location was able to choose whether to open earlier or not.
13 – Watch the last Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration show – The last show starts at 11:55pm so it doesn’t take up any real Party time and is MUCH less crowded than earlier in the evening. A rush of guests leave after the first parade, the largest group is after fireworks and then by the end of the night, the show space in front of Cinderella Castle is pretty empty.
14 – Ride the Jingle Cruise – This is not a Party exclusive, so you can enjoy it anytime during your visit. But it will help you get into the holiday spirit! Riding between 4:00pm and 7:00pm is best as not to take Party time.
15 – Purchase Party specific treats – Over 3 Party nights, we tried just one item – the Sugar Rush Jumbo Cupcake. It is actually very good! If you look at the first Wreck-It Ralph film, it is based on a scene in the film. We don’t usually buy many treats since there are treats already included in the Party. When I do pick something up, I buy it from the Main Street Bakery so I can earn Starbucks Rewards.
16 – Walk around the park – There is a lot of special lighting and some extra entertainment, l enjoyed the Reindeer Wranglers quite a lot and the Country Bears were out meeting guests there too. The Disney Junior Jingle Jam in Storybook Circus offers some fun for the little ones, and you can dance with reindeer and polar bears at Club Tinsel in Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe.
17 – Purchase Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party merchandise – There are always some fun items from apparel to pins to mugs and more.
18 – Stay late – I have never seen so many guests staying as late as I have this year! I walked past two Photopass photographers and one was confirming that the other was working through 1:30am on the first night. So for those of us who like taking tripod photos, you really have to wait until very late to get photos without many guests and the time period for it is short. But for those who are looking to get Photopass (or your own) pictures after the park closes, it’s a great time to hang out on Main Street. Christmas music is playing, Cinderella Castle is beautiful, projections are on the buildings and the Emporium has been open pretty late. It’s a more festive atmosphere than in previous years, when it was a quieter experience.
19 – Stop for Photopass Magic Shots – There is fun photo magic for some pictures, ask the Photopass photographer if they have one!
Have fun! Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party dates are:
- November 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29, 30
- December 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21