Updated May 5, 2012 with 2012 dates, pricing, and information
What is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party?
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (often abbreviated to MVMCP) is an after-hours “hard ticket” event held at the Magic Kingdom on select dates each holiday season. When I say “hard ticket,” I mean that you will need to purchase an additional ticket to attend (prices below). Magic Your Way Tickets, Annual Passes, etc. will not get you into the Party. The Party runs from 7pm through 12am. The Magic Kingdom does not completely close prior to the event. Instead, visitors who have tickets will trade them for a wristband that indicates they are attending the Party. Those without tickets will be asked to leave and there will be attendants checking wristbands throughout the evening, including at each of the ride entrances.
What Dates is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Scheduled in 2010?
Friday November 9
Monday November 12
Thursday November 15
Friday November 16
Sunday November 25
Tuesday November 27
Thursday November 29
Friday November 30
Sunday December 2
Tuesday December 4
Thursday December 6
Friday December 7
Sunday December 9
Tuesday December 11
Thursday December 13
Friday December 14
Sunday December 16
Tuesday December 18
Thursday December 20
Friday December 21
What is the Price of a Ticket to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party?
Pricing is a little easier to follow than for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Here are the prices, including tax:
Advance Purchase Adult: $62.78
Advance Purchase Ages 3-9: $57.46
Day of Event Adult: $69.17
Day of Event Ages 3-9: $63.85
Passholder Discount Adult: $58.52
Passholder Discount Ages 3-9: $53.20
Advance purchase blackout dates
November 16 and 30; December 7, 14, 20, and 21
Passholder discount blackout dates
Nov 16 and 30; December 7, 9, 13, 14, 18, 20, and 21
What is Included With the Ticket to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party?
The Party includes several features that may appeal to your group. The first is that most of the rides in the Magic Kingdom will be open for the duration of the Party. While the FASTPASS system is not in use, chances are good that the majority of rides will have a wait time of 15 minutes or less, including many that have essentially no wait. The one major exception is Peter Pan’s Flight, which often sees waits of 20+ minutes due to its popularity and low capacity. Wait times and crowds depend on the date you attend the Party (best dates explained below).
Second, the crowd level will be much smaller than at any other point during the day in the final two hours, other than perhaps morning Extra Magic Hour. This makes touring much more enjoyable and you will have a better chance to slow down and enjoy your time in the Park without having to wade through thousands of people. Because the Party runs during weeks that the Magic Kingdom usually closes earlier, this may be your only opportunity to be in the Magic Kingdom after 9pm, other than Saturdays or during evening Extra Magic Hours.
Third, there is a special “Holiday Wishes” fireworks show and “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime” parade. The only time you will be able to see these shows is during the Christmas Party and the extremely busy and extremely expensive Christmas Week. In other words, if you are visiting between November 8 and December 21st, the only chance to see the special Christmas parade and fireworks is the Christmas Party. If your dates include December 22 – 30, then you will be able to see the shows during regular hours at the Magic Kingdom.
Fourth, there will be many more characters out to meet, greet, and take pictures and they will be dressed up for the holiday season. Lines to meet some characters will be short, while others will have long lines. In 2011, the line to meet the Princesses, Beauty/Beast, and the Seven Dwarfs was often over an hour long. While we won’t know exactly which characters will be present and where they will be until the first date, we can expect to see all of the major Disney characters as well as Santa Claus, Flynn Rider, and Snow Prince, all of which are extremely rare during the rest of the year. Beauty and Beast should also appear in their fine attire, which also doesn’t happen during regular theme park hours.
Fifth, there are several unique shows throughout the evening featuring the characters dancing, singing, and having a good time.
Sixth, unlimited cocoa and cookies are served throughout the Park at no additional cost.
Seventh, Cinderella’s Castle is magnificently lit up with holiday lights and it will appear like it’s snowing on Main Street throughout the Party.
In essence, you are paying to enjoy the Magic Kingdom with less people in the Park. Lines will be short to both attractions and most characters and there is special entertainment throughout the night, including the spectacular Christmas parade and fireworks shows.
What Rides and Restaurants Can I Expect to be Open during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party?
While we won’t know exactly which rides will be open until the first Party date on November 9, we can expect this year’s availability to mirror last year’s. Feel free to click any of the blue highlighted links for full ride reviews.
Here are the rides and counter services that should be open:
Main Street USA:
Casey’s Corner – Hot Dogs, Cracker Jacks
Main Street Sweets – Candy
Pirates of the Caribbean
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Swiss Family Treehouse
Aloha Isle – Dole Whips, Ice Cream
Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn – Burgers, Salads, Wraps, etc.
Turkey Leg Cart – Turkey Legs
Golden Oak Outpost – Flatbread Sandwiches, Fries, Chicken nuggets, Drinks, Dessert
The Haunted Mansion
Hall of Presidents
Sleepy Hollow – Mickey Waffles, Funnel Cakes, Treats, Drinks
Peter Pan’s Flight
Cinderella’s Golden Carousel
Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
It’s a Small World
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Mad Tea Party
Mrs. Pott’s Cupboard – Ice Cream, Milkshakes, Drinks
Friar’s Nook – Hot Dogs, Caesar Salad, Fries, Drinks
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Monsters Inc. Laughing Floor – Expect Last Show to be at 9pm
Stitch’s Great Escape
Tomorrowland Transit Authority
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café – Great Variety of Meals
The Lunching Pad – Turkey Legs, Pretzels, Chips, Drinks
As you can see, the great majority of rides are open. The ones that aren’t include: Jungle Cruise and Enchanted Tiki Room in Adventureland; Walt Disneyworld Railroad, Country Bear Jamboree, and Tom Sawyer Island in Frontierland; Liberty Square Riverboat in Liberty Square; Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress; all rides in Fantasyland are expected to be open.
Do Adults Without Kids Attend the Party; Is It Still Fun?
Absolutely. There will be thousands of people in attendance without kids. Don’t be shy about getting in line to meet the characters, collecting signatures, or taking pictures.
What Time Can I Enter the Park with a Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Ticket?
In the past, the tickets have been good for admission beginning at 4pm. You may also use a day on your Magic Your Way Ticket, your Annual Pass, or another ticket form to enter the Park for the whole day if you like. Some people forgo the Park Hopper upgrade and purchase the Christmas Party ticket instead. This way, on the day of the Party they can spend most of the day at another Park and “hop” over to the Magic Kingdom at 4pm without needing to use a Park Hopper ticket.
What are the Best Nights to Attend the Christmas Party?
Let’s first start with the most crowded dates. Any date where an advance purchase discount is unavailable will be busier. November 9th is also busier because it’s the first Party and the Jersey Week crowd tends to purchase tickets. Dates closer to Christmas will also be more crowded because of the increased crowd level and the fact that people are feeling more festive as Christmas nears and they are naturally more likely to purchase tickets to a Christmas event closer to Christmas. In general, Tuesdays and Thursdays are the best days to attend the Party and Fridays are the most crowded. Any discounted day in November, other than the 9th,will be lightly attended because it’s so far away from Christmas and the overall crowd level is low. If possible, attend the Party on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Sunday as far away from Christmas as possible.
Generally speaking, I don’t recommend attending the Party on the day you arrive in Orlando. Chances are you’ll be tired and stressed out over travel plans and won’t enjoy the Party as much as you would later in your vacation. Personally, I like to attend the Party on one of the last days of my vacation, after I’ve had a chance to visit the Magic Kingdom during the day. This way, I know which rides I want to ride again and which characters I still need to see. It’s also an extra-special way to end the trip on an especially high note.
When Should I Purchase Tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party?
I recommend waiting to purchase tickets until you see a definitive weather report. Weather is a major factor in how much fun Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will be for your group. Nothing puts a damper on the mood like temperatures that near freezing and heavy rain. Remember, you get the same ticket discount a day before the start of the event that you would get three months before the event. However, you will want to purchase tickets as soon as possible for the December 18, 20, or 21 Parties because those may sell out as soon as June or July. It’s somewhere between difficult and impossible to switch ticket dates after you purchase them, though you’ll be much more likely to find success several weeks before the date of the Party. Disney does not cancel Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party due to weather, though some people have reported they were able to get tickets for another Party on nights with extremely bad weather. If you would be devastated to not get tickets to your desired Party date, you will want to purchase tickets as soon as possible. There is always the possibility that a date will sell out. If there are two or three Parties scheduled during your vacation, it is highly unlikely all dates will sell out before you are able to purchase tickets, unless those two dates are the last two Parties of the year.
Is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Worth the Cost of the Ticket?
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is not an essential component of a Disney World vacation. Whether or not it makes sense in your situation is a more difficult question to answer. First, if your visit includes a date within December 22-30, you can see the Christmastime parade and Holiday Wishes fireworks during normal Magic Kingdom hours. The Christmastime parade will run at 3pm daily and Holiday Wishes will replace “regular” Wishes at 9pm. Those are two of the major components of the Party and they won’t be as special if you can see them again “for free” the next day. Cinderella’s Castle Lighting Ceremony also occurs before the Magic Kingdom closes for the Party and it will be lit up throughout the evening every night beginning in early November. Other than the “snow” on Main Street, all of the other decorations are up during a regular night at the Magic Kingdom. There aren’t special “Party-only” decorations.
Second, you can see the fireworks show from outside the Magic Kingdom, either at the California Grill or Contemporary Resort 4th floor lookout, the Polynesian beach, the Grand Floridian beach, the Fort Wilderness beach, and several other places throughout Disney World. While it isn’t as awesome as actually being at the Magic Kingdom, it’s pretty close, especially considering the cost is zero additional dollars.
Third, you can ride all of the rides that will be open during regular hours. If you follow my recommended Park advice and arrive at the Park in time for opening, you shouldn’t have any problem riding all of your favorite rides. Since the Party isn’t available during the extremely busy Thanksgiving or Christmas weeks, you won’t have the opportunity to do the Party during an extremely busy time. The other weeks in November and first two and a half weeks in December have fairly low crowd levels and you shouldn’t run into much difficulty riding the headlining rides.
Fourth, there are a lot of Christmas activities around Disney World to get you into the holiday spirit. There’s Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade at Animal Kingdom, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios, and the Candlelight Processional and Holidays Around the World at Epcot.
Fifth, the price continues to go up at the same time that Disney removes some of the Party’s best features. Gone are the free Christmas pins, free family photo, Christmas version of Country Bear Jamboree, and other past perks.
Sixth, Disney seems to sell more and more tickets to the event every year, which increases wait times at the characters and rides.
On the plus side, there’s no denying that Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a lot of fun. For those without budget constraints or for those who don’t mind spending $60+ per person for an additional five hours at the Magic Kingdom, the Party is a fantastic opportunity to ride the major FASTPASS rides and meet a lot of characters in a relatively short amount of time. Wait times are especially short if you plan to attend a recommended night. Second, if your vacation doesn’t include a day in the December 22-30 range, the Christmas Party will be your only opportunity to see Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade and Holiday Wishes. Both are excellent and a lot of people will tell you that they’re worth the price of admission alone. The Christmas Party can definitely be worthwhile if you pick a date that isn’t crowded, the weather is good, and you aren’t sacrificing an integral part of your vacation to attend.
Other Ways to Spend That $60 Per Person
For a family of four, tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party cost about $260 with tax. In many cases, that’s more than it would cost to add another day and night to your trip at a Disney Value or Moderate resort. Remember, the cost to add additional days on a Magic Your Way ticket is only about $8 per day after the third day and the cost to add an additional night at the resort is between $10-$120 at Value resorts and $170-$180 at the Moderates during Party dates. For the same cost as the Party, you could feasibly spend an entire extra day and night at Disney World. The cost to attend the Party is also the same or more than it costs to book the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package, which includes a three course meal at one of Epcot’s best restaurants, a prime seat at the Candlelight Processional, and private viewing area for Illuminations. The Party costs more than adding the Park Hopper or Water Parks & More upgrades.
How to Maximize Your Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Ticket Experience
- Check the daily low temperature and plan to bring a sweatshirt, jacket, or sweater. December lows are almost always in the mid-50s.
- Make sure you take enough of a break in the afternoon so that you are ready to take advantage of the full five hours. Plan to stay until 12am because crowds will be the lightest from 11pm-12am. The best time to arrive is between 4:00pm-5:30pm. Get your Party wristband as soon as possible.
- Cinderella’s Castle Lighting Ceremony begins at 6:15pm, before the start of the Party. The best place to see it is right in front of the Castle, where a short stage show will precede the lighting.
- Eat dinner before the start of the Party. Eating a counter service meal during the Party is a waste of time. Both Pecos Bill and Cosmic Ray’s will be busy throughout the evening. Consider getting a quick snack at one of the other food carts or horde cookies and hot cocoa.
- Be prepared to get in line for the Seven Dwarfs at 5:45pm. Wait times will be 60+ minutes all night. For another popular character, get in line by 6:30pm.
- There are two parades each evening – one at 8:15pm and one at 10:30pm; attend the second because it is always less crowded than the first. Ride the headlining rides during the first parade (Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin). Save the Fantasyland rides for after 11pm, when the majority of younger kids and their families will have left for bed.
- Consider beginning your evening in Adventureland and move towards Tomorrowland. The majority of people will start in Tomorrowland, making it much busier at 7pm than it will be at 10pm.
- If the crowds to see the parade are heavy on Main Street, check Frontierland and Liberty Square. While it won’t be “snowing,” the crowds will be much thinner and you won’t have to wait as long to get a good spot.
Should I Go (Conclusion)?
Mickey’s Christmas Party can be an excellent way to ride the headlining rides and meet a lot of Disney characters in a short period of time, provided you visit during a recommended date. The Christmastime parade and Holiday Wishes fireworks are also spectacular in their own right. It makes a lot more sense to attend the Party if you won’t be able to see those shows during regular Park hours. If you enjoy visiting with the characters and Christmas is one of your favorite holidays then the Christmas Party may make a lot of sense, provided you have the budget that allows for the cost of the tickets. Be aware that the last few Party dates and Friday night Parties are generally crowded. If you follow the advice above and tour efficiently then you shouldn’t run into many major problems. However, be aware that lines at peak times can be very long, including waits of more than an hour to see Mickey and the Disney princesses. Overall, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a lot of fun, but the high cost and potential for heavy crowds makes me tentative about recommending it more strongly.