We’ll head out to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on the evening of December 10th. A very special thanks to Christy and family for supplying the website with a ticket. Apparently arrangements had been made for her nephew to travel with them, but he ended up falling in love and didn’t want to go anymore. I think I would have tried to murder this person if they were related to me, or at the very least made some pretty serious threats involving bodily harm and perhaps some airing of secrets, but I guess there are people out there more understanding than I am.
I usually run an in-depth strategy article on the Halloween Party, but pay less attention to the Christmas Party. I like the Halloween Party a lot more, perhaps because Christmas is so played out these days. And beginning next week, Disney will run Holiday Wishes, Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, and the other Christmas shows during regular Park hours, so dropping $65+ a head is redundant. You can’t see the Halloween Party stuff without attending the Party. Of course, those Christmas shows also come with the heaviest crowds of the year around the winter holidays.
One thing to keep in mind at the Parties is how busy it can “feel,” particularly on Main Street and some of the narrower walkways. The vast majority of people that attend the Parties are interested in the Party-specific offerings, like the Seven Dwarfs meet and greet, Holiday Wishes, and the Christmastime Parade.
Lines are short to nonexistent at most attractions, including Enchanted Tales with Belle, where we waited four minutes. They were so desperate for talent that they cast me as one of the suits of armor. There were three people on Barnstormer around 9pm. Total. Six people on Dumbo, a 5-minute wait for Peter Pan’s Flight at 11pm, no wait for Buzz Lightyear, nine people in line for Ariel, etc. This year, they are letting guests into the Party at 3:45pm, so your $68ish ticket buys you over eight hours inside the Park. It’s an excellent value if you’re mostly interested in the regular attractions.
On the other hand, you’re going to wait an awfully long time for the Dwarfs, Scrooge, Jack Sparrow, Santa, the Princesses with their Princes, and other Party-specific characters. The line for the Dwarfs before the Party even started was hundreds of people long and two or more hours in line. The line for Scrooge initially looked short, but it turned out that it weaved all the way back through the Dumbo queue. You can reduce waits at two or three characters by getting in line by 6pm or at the very end of the night, but you can’t do everything during those two less crowded times.
The Party is still doable, but you want to do whatever you can to see the 10:30pm Parade. People were already staking out spots for the 8:15pm Parade when we arrived at 5pm. Seriously.
For the 10:30pm Parade, there were plenty of spots in the front row on Main Street as late as 10:15pm. The easiest spots to grab are closer to the train station.
On the other hand, I’m not sure we need to be quite this dramatic:
Terrified at MVMCP
Does anyone else think they are overselling these Christmas parties, or at least managing the crowds badly? We are here tonight. At one point I was trying to swim upstream to a bathroom- DH and DS were staking out Wishes spots. Well, I thought I had a few minutes to go. At 9:15 I was firmly sandwiched in a non- moving crowd in front of the Plaza Restaurant when the lights went out for some preview show being cast on the castle. The whole crowd around me freaked. It was absolutely panic inducing. I managed to crawl back to DH and DS, where we watched what fireworks we could see over the masses of children on shoulders (my 8 yr old didn’t stand a chance), and then were terrorized in the absolute crush of the crowd after Wishes. Both times I was left shaking, and I’m not someone who does that in crowds! We came from about 2007-2009 each year to this event and NEVER experienced anything like this tonight! What gives? I would be interested to hear your thoughts…
This sounds more like the NATO bombing of Kosovo than Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
The Celebrate the Season stage show (not to be confused with the Celebrate the Magic projection show) is scheduled three times nightly – 7:45pm, 10:05pm, 11:20pm. Because the show is scheduled less often than its Halloween counterpart, the shows are much more crowded.
And because the first show is scheduled around the time the first Parade steps off you’ve got all the people around the Hub that are intent on seeing the shows crowding around the walkways and sidewalks.
It’s easier to see the show further back from the stage in the street.
Anyone waiting for the Parade will be on the sidewalk and the crowds are much thinner in the street.
Standing as far back as the area in front of the bridge over to Adventureland will afford a fine vantage point and easier viewing with the elevated stage and far fewer people around.
Despite being the most crowded, the 7:45pm show is the best bet for most people. At 10:05pm, you’ll already want to be on your way to a viewing spot for the second Parade.
And at 11:20pm, you’ll probably want to be in line for one last major character.
The ummmmmm “cultural portion” of the show always strikes me as a bit insensitive. Unless all Asians are actually white, dress in silk, wear funny hats, and giggle a lot.
To recap, plan to see the first show from further away from the stage – ideally in the street on the Adventureland side.
Celebrate the Magic begins at 9:15pm with Holiday Wishes following at 9:30pm. I like to watch the show from Main Street around Casey’s Corner for a full-on view of the Castle and fireworks. It’s a little more congested than Tomorrowland Bridge, the area outside Crystal Palace, the Rose Garden, and other locations that are generally recommended to beat the crowds, but the view is great. After the fireworks end, move to the curb on Main Street and set up shop for the Parade.
Shooting fireworks is kind of fun. I had never tried before but it might be easier than it looks. You’ll need a tripod and a shutter release.
Turn the flash off, set the camera to manual focus, focus it to infinity, turn the ISO to 100, the aperture somewhere between 8 and 11, and use bulb mode.
I prefer HalloWishes, which I think has more energy and more impressive blasts, but the holiday version is good too.
The Parade is easier to see in Frontierland or Liberty Square outside Hall of Presidents because it’s less popular and the Parade arrives earlier, so you can be on your way sooner. You also won’t deal with the ridiculous crowd that follows the Parade to the exit for whatever reason. But the view on Main Street, with the lighting and snow, may make an extra 25 minute wait worthwhile.
It’s a fun parade and an integral part of the Christmas Party. In my opinion, seeing the second Parade is the most important part of a successful evening.
Duck into the Emporium, Confectionery, Cinema, or somewhere else after the Parade passes to avoid the crush of people.
Refreshments are limited to Nestle instant cocoa, apple juice, snickerdoodles, and apple slices. There are plenty available, but collecting them is a lot less fun than trick or treating during the Halloween Party. The cookies are pretty good for what they are and the apple juice is refreshing, but it’s far from a major selling point.
The Christmas Party can be a lot of fun, but it’s hard to look past the crowd problems on Main Street and severe lack of special characters, causing absurd waits. Crowding isn’t exactly terrifying, but it’s frustrating to pay all that money only to end up waiting two hours for two meet and greets, have a parent hoist their toddler on their shoulders for the show you arrived 25 minutes early for, jostle for a parade viewing location 30 minutes early only to have someone push their kids in front of you two minutes before the parade arrives, etc. You’ll have the most success if you prioritize one or two of the more popular characters and forget about the rest of them, avoid the first parade like the plague, and stay away from Main Street as much as possible, perhaps with the exception of seeing the fireworks and 10:30pm parade there. You also want to stay through 12am as crowds only diminish later in the evening.
With other Christmas activities included in admission, like the Candlelight Processional, Osborne Lights, Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade, resort decorations, etc. my personal opinion is that the Christmas Party is more of the same for a lot of money. I’m more positive about the Halloween Party because I think the theme is more fun and unique and there is not a lot of festive stuff going on otherwise. Other people have different opinions. And considering that the majority of Christmas Parties have either sold out or were just a few ticket sales short of selling out, plenty of people are forking over their money only to stake out a spot for the first parade three hours early and wait two hours for the dwarfs while sucking down lukewarm instant cocoa and exactly one type of cookie. But the parade, fireworks, and shows are a lot of fun. It’s just too bad they’re such a hassle and so expensive to see.