Disney Very Merriest After Hours kicked off yesterday, November 8th, 2021. We purchased tickets to this first night, which cost $189 plus tax (prices range from $169 – $249 plus tax for adults and children). The event runs four hours and guests can enter the park two hours early. Disney Very Merriest After Hours is billed as an After Hours event but includes some holiday entertainment options that are reminiscent of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Don’t expect that party. There certainly is more entertainment than Mickey’s Boo Bash at Halloween, but for example – the parade is shortened quite a bit. Here are our photos and video of Disney Very Merriest After Hours and also I discuss my thoughts on the event at the end. We will also talk about it on our Mousesteps Weekly show this week.
Guests are let into the Magic Kingdom two hours prior to Disney Very Merriest After Hours. We arrived around the time guests started entering and it was pretty busy at the turnstiles. It took us about 15 minutes from getting in line to get our wristbands.
Inflatables welcome guests to Disney Very Merriest After Hours.
There is a guide map for the event, which doesn’t start until 9:00 p.m. Between the late starting time and prices being the same for adults and kids, there didn’t seem to be as many families as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party would have. That said, there were also less guests overall since the attendance is capped.
Being an After Hours event, guests can enjoy unlimited select beverages (bottled water and sodas, popcorn and ice cream novelties). This year there is one cookie – a snickerdoodle from Cheryl’s Cookies – and hot cocoa.
The park officially closed at 8:00 p.m. and Disney Enchantment fireworks started then as well. From 8:00pm – 9:00pm was a great time to go on rides for event goers because the park was officially closed, lines were overall short and Very Merriest entertainment hadn’t started yet.
We rode the People Mover a couple of times, including during the fireworks. It was a nice view and a lot less busy.
My first stop during Very Merriest After Hours was Pecos Bill’s for a cookie and hot chocolate.
I thought the snickerdoodle was an upgrade from previous parties.
Cast Members at Cosmic Ray’s were ready for guests when we stopped by later in the evening.
At outdoor carts, popcorn, ice cream, sodas and waters were given out.
“Snow” falls on Main Street U.S.A.
I know so many were excited about “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade” and it was great to see a full parade in the Magic Kingdom again. But while it was a full parade, it wasn’t the full parade that guests will remember. Quite a few performers, characters and other aspects of the parade were cut from it.
Here is our parade video.
Pluto, Peter Pan, Wendy, Daisy and Donald were ahead of Mickey and Minnie’s float.
Mickey and Minnie are up next.
Alice was with Mad Hatter, Pinocchio and Gepetto.
Olaf was back on the house float.
I don’t have good photos of Kristoff and Anna, they were on foot. Elsa was on this float.
Max was in the gingerbread car.
Goofy was behind him.
Chip and Dale as bakers were with the gingerbread men.
Clarabelle Cow was back on her float.
Disney princesses were up next.
The mirror float says “Happy Holidays”.
Princess Elena is also part of the procession.
Fairy Godmother is back as well.
There are certain areas of the parade where the lessening of performers is very noticeable.
Woody and Jessie (but no Bullseye) were on the Toy Story float.
There were a lot fewer toy soldiers this year and they are missing their horns.
Reindeer are another favorite of mine in the parade.
Santa ends the procession.
Mickey is meeting in Town Square Theater during the event, but in his Walt Disney World 50th costume – not a holiday outfit.
Mickey & Minnie’s Very Merry Memories is the stage show, and the performances are inspired by “Mickey’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” “Celebrate the Season” and “Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration.” I quite enjoyed the show. It was scaled back from previous shows but we saw it almost two full times during the night.
Here is our show video:
There are various characters including the Three Cabelleros and Clarabelle Cow who were part of “Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration”.
Donald and Daisy point along with two reindeer and Jose.
Santa Goofy dances.
Goofy also wears a holiday sweater during the show.
Clarabelle Cow and left reindeer were hits of the show.
Mickey takes a break while watching Donald and Daisy.
Fireworks and snow end the show.
Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show is also a highlight of the evening. Because of the lower attendance, there was plenty of room to enjoy the entertainment aspects of the evening.
This is our video of Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show.
Here are some photos of the show.
The “50” on the castle has a variety of holiday looks.
The pinwheel fireworks effect has been a staple of Disney fireworks shows.
Perimeter fireworks were back too.
Characters from Winnie the Pooh were at the Crystal Palace. Two greeted guests at a time – Tigger and Pooh, then Eeyore and Piglet.
The Country Bears were out at their normal location, with scarves. For the most part, the characters out were who we normally see every day but with scarves.
The Reindeer Wranglers entertained guests. They were fun. I am not sure why entertainment is still so distanced from guests. When we attended the Oogie Boogie Bash at Disneyland Resort, there was ground level entertainment and a ton of different characters.
When I saw that there would be a Club Tinsel, I thought it would be at Cosmic Ray’s as usual with reindeer and polar bears. That has always been super cute. Instead it is at Tomorrowland. This is where A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas normally would be during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. When we arrived, there was a DJ and Stitch was dancing. I miss A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas.
Captain Hook and Smee were in Adventureland.
There were a lot of projections around the park.
Projections were on the rocks at Tomorrowland as well.
Snowflakes coverered the ground with Space Mountain in view.
“Happy Holidays” projections could be seen throughout the park.
I know I’ll be asked if the event was worth it, and for the most part – for me – I’d say no. When we went to Oogie Boogie Bash in California, I would have gone again to another party if we could have secured tickets. There was so much energy, so much to see all over the parks and rare characters everywhere. I have never said in the past that I was bored at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and I have attended probably 25 years of the parties. I hope they return. But yesterday I was bored a bit at times. We watched the parade a second time because there wasn’t much else we wanted to do – almost anything else not mentioned we can do during the day. All of the performers are great, there just isn’t much to see around the park. Very Merriest After Hours is expensive, almost $200 each last night. If decorations had been added to the Tomorrowland Speedway and Mad Tea Party and such, it would have given some much-needed holiday energy to the park and I wish A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas was back too.
There is one type of guest that I’d definitely recommend Very Merriest After Hours for – someone coming in for a day or two, just looking for single-park tickets. If I was visiting and just needed a ticket for the Magic Kingdom and it fell on a Very Merriest After Hours night (especially in November when it is less expensive), I’d go for the After Hours instead of the all-day ticket. Ride lines were short for 5 hours, and there are snacks and holiday entertainment. Or a local who just wants to go to the parks one day per year. I think in that case, the event can be worth it.
There will be those who enjoy the low crowds, I certainly did appreciate being able to easily watch the shows, the fireworks and the parade. But it wasn’t worth $200 to me without some other reasons to be there. I was surprised even at the price, that some guests left the party after the first parade – then many after the fireworks.
There were aspects of the event we didn’t experience – meeting Santa and the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor holiday (which did have a line when we passed).
We paid for and attended both Disney After Hours Boo Bash and Very Merriest After Hours and I’m glad we did that this year. But next year if in a similar situation I think we’d do something else – like purchase an extra ticket to the Oogie Boogie Bash in California. That was my favorite event so far this year and showed how much entertainment can be provided at a Disney extra hours evening.