The following review is based on our experience from 2018, with updated details on timing and pricing for 2019. The general idea is exactly the same, but you may find slightly different food and drink selections throughout the season.
Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party returns as an “Enchanting Extra” to this year’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. It promises to offer a holiday spread of food and drink at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant along with reserved viewing for the 11pm Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime (at Christmas) Parade.
Here’s how Disney describes the event:
For more of the official word and to check on availability, see Disney’s site here.
Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party will set you back $99 per person, in addition to the $99-$139 cost of each ticket to the Christmas Party. Just about anyone will tell you that it’s pretty dumb to book a dessert party on top of the high cost of the Christmas Party. That’s typically how I feel about the Christmas/Halloween Fireworks Dessert Parties, which cost $84 for adults and $50 for kids, or between $15 and $49 less than the Tony’s Party.
The Dessert Parties are easy to skip because Mickey’s Not So Spooky Fireworks during the Halloween Party and Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show during the Christmas Party are not particularly difficult to see – this was our spot for the nighttime spectacular during the first Christmas Party of the year that officially “sold out.” We left Tony’s Town Square five minutes before the fireworks started and made our way up Main Street to my favorite spot in the street near Casey’s Corner without much trouble.
It probably “looks” crowded in the picture, but the people are loosely filling the street and there’s plenty of room to move around or adjust as necessary. The Christmas and Halloween Dessert Parties no longer include reserved viewing for the Parade, which is also where Tony’s comes in.
Check-in for Tony’s Most Merriest Christmas Party begins as early as 2pm at the regular check-in podium at the restaurant. There isn’t necessarily any advantage to arriving that early unless you’d like to be constantly reminded that you’ll be spending up to three hours at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant later via the band that they’ll place around your wrist.
The entire restaurant, along with the patio seating out front, is available to event guests. You can also watch Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade from said patio if you’d prefer, though the view from the flag pole area is going to be better in most scenarios.
About 80% of the Town Square Flag Pole area is roped off for Tony’s Party attendees for the second Parade and cast did an admirable job of policing the space.
For me, finding a suitable, front-row Parade spot is always the most stressful aspect of the Christmas Party. The 11pm Parade is always less crowded than the first, but there’s still at least seven rows of people cramming into the narrow viewing area along the sidewalks. See this post for 100+ more pictures from the Christmastime Parade.
Meanwhile, just before the Parade arrived on Main Street at 11:20pm, there’s at least ten feet of empty space to my left in the reserved viewing area, which is among the best views available anywhere in the Park.
Of course, this is why a lot of people are against these sorts of upcharge events: you’re taking something away – in this instance, a large Parade viewing location – and handing it over to people willing to pay an exorbitant amount of money for the privilege. It’s not unlike having FastPass+ for an attraction – it’s great when you have it, and sucks when you don’t.
But one of the key components of Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party delivers on its promise and offers a fantastic, low-stress viewing opportunity for the second Parade.
I was a little nervous about heading out at 10:50pm for the 11pm Parade, but was happy to see that my favorite spot was still wide open. Of course, our Most Merriest Party was only about half-full, if that. When we checked in, I asked the cast members if it was popular and she said there were 124 people attending that night, which sounded high to me. If that was ever the case, at least half of them must have canceled when they realized that the “Tony’s” in the name referred to his Town Square Restaurant.
Tony’s is decorated for the holidays during the day, but you’ll find some additional table runners and decorations on each of the tables for the Party.
At a minimum, Tony’s Town Square Restaurant is air-conditioned or heated, depending on the weather, which makes it a nice respite from the people and outdoors. It’s nice to have a large, comfortable space to fall back on throughout the evening. You’re free to come and go as often as you like during the event, which runs from 9:30pm through 12:30am with the Christmas Fireworks Show at 10pm and the Parade stepping off at 11pm. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party officially ends at 12am, so the Party runs an extra half hour. People arrived a little past 12:30am and while the bar closed at that time, the food was still out and available to guests and nobody was rushed out.
Here’s the setup inside the restaurant, with the hot food buffet in the main dining room and the dessert line on the opposite side inside the solarium. A short ways away from the meatballs and empanadas, you’ll find the antipasto station, and against the wall is where you’ll be able to pick up unlimited beer, wine, and soft drinks.
Yes, Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party is the first of its kind in that regular Magic Kingdom guests can imbibe as much as they like for the full 3-hour duration of the event.
A few of the beers and wines offered grace the regular Town Square Menu and run between $8 and $11 per glass, which means there’s an opportunity to do some real damage if you’re looking to drink several glasses over the three-hour event time.
Several of the wines are brought in “special” for the event, including the lower-end Ruffino Chianti, which is an $8 bottle, compared to the reserve bottle with retail price of $25 on the regular menu.
A glass of Once Upon A Vine sparkling wine would set you back $8 or $9 if you saw it on a regular Disney restaurant menu. It was only poured into the appropriate flute about half the time.
For the beer, Tony’s was using a growler system that they did not quite have the hang of yet. Still, Peroni is a decent Budweiser alternative and the Moretti La Rossa is actually a pretty decent dopplebock that comes in at 7.2% ABV.
On to the food, it was a nice selection of cheese that “felt” a little higher quality than what’s served at the Fireworks Dessert Party.
Here’s what that spread looks like. At Tony’s, you’ve got Brie, Parmesan, and Blue, in addition to the Pepper Jack and Cheddar.
There was also a nice selection of breadsticks and rolls.
The Cured Meats selection was good too with Prosciutto, Salami, and Capocollo along with Marinated Olives.
If you’re looking for a little vinegar, you could spice things up with some Giardiniera.
It wasn’t all that far off from this $32 Antipasto Misto platter from Tutto Italia. The Meats and Cheeses are filling and it’s nice to add a crunchy breadstick to the mix.
Hot food started with meatballs, which were plump and tender, tossed in a thin red sauce and topped with basil and parmesan. They seemed to taste a little better with each passing glass of wine, but I thought they did the trick as far as buffet appetizer meatballs are concerned.
Tony’s is in the vicinity of an Italian restaurant, though I suppose that it’s just as easy to microwave an assortment of other foods in the kitchen. I kid. (Sort of.) Because of that, and the incredible number of possible Italian foods you could offer – ravioli, miniature chicken parmesan, arancini, mozzarella sticks, or even the restaurant’s signature zucchini fries, it seemed slightly odd to see Beef Empanadas with Salsa Verde on the line. But I suppose that not everyone likes Italian food, but still loves Tony’s Town Square, and really wants to spend $99 to go there for three hours, so we have these little guys. They were actually pretty good too, filled with a mildly-spicy beef and an exterior that probably could have been a little more crispy.
We enjoyed them well enough, particularly with the flavorful, verdant sauce full of tomatillos, cilantro, and lime juice.
In the Parks Blog post, Disney advertised “mini hand-tossed pizzas” that Erin and I were looking forward to trying. As with anything at Tony’s, this is a big mistake. The pizzas were in fact miniature, but you were also supposed to take one or two of these sad little unidentifiable slices rather than having the opportunity to enjoy a little tiny pizza of your own.
The pizzas were bland, not particularly hot, and you were never really sure what you were going to get. The Cheese and Pepperoni varieties were popular enough with the handful of kids, though.
Calamari with a spicy House-made Marinara was available in large quantities and tasted better if you could time it to a fresh batch. The presentation isn’t bad either with the herbs sprinkled over the top and the roasted lemons lining the outside of the dish. This is decidedly not why you’re going to book the Merriest Party, but it’s a decent couple of bites.
Also probably not particularly Italian, we’ve got “Smoked Chicken and Leek in Puff Pastry” served with Herb Aioli. These were similar to the empanadas, this time with a smoky chicken flavor
Boursin Cheese-Stuffed Artichokes are up next. It seems like a bit of a shame that we’re not seeing fresher stuff served, but the Artichokes are decent comfort food with enough melted Boursin to cover up the soft, meek artichoke.
Here’s the dessert spread, starting out with defrosted Mini Cannoli:
Red Velvet Cupcakes.
Each of these did the job and was adequately tasty. I think there’s enough variety given the other food available, but you’re not going to find the 15-ish selections that are served at the Fireworks Dessert Party. Some holiday cookies would have been nice.
Coffee, Decaf Coffee, and Hot Chocolate are offered nearby.
Overall, the food selection was adequate, though I would have liked to have seen a lot more fresher Italian options on the hot food line. Serving frozen empanadas at a $99/person event when there’s only five other hot items offered seems pretty low effort. On the other hand, if they were going to serve the Grilled Jumbo Shrimp, Hanger Steak, and Gnocchi from the regular menu, the cost probably would have been closer to $200 a person.
Personally, I find a ton of value in the reserved Parade viewing location. It’s in one of the best spots possible and the experience is completely stress-free. Just head out of Tony’s between 10:45pm and 11:15pm and enjoy a front-row view.
As is typical of these events, those who enjoy the occasional drink will find the most value. You could easily rationalize that three or four beers or glasses of wine are “worth” $30-$40. Saying the food is worth $30 probably isn’t a complete stretch given all of the meats, cheeses, desserts, and reheated hot food on the buffet. And again, those that come hungry will find more value.
The value of the Parade spot may be harder to quantify. For me, it’s always the piece of the Party that I enjoy the most, that I’m also looking forward to the least, due to the hassle of finding and securing a suitable spot to take a handful of below average photos for the website.
So being able to enjoy a couple of beers instead of fighting off children made the cost of the event “worth it” for me. If you’re happy seeing the Parade in Frontierland, or don’t necessarily care about getting a front row spot, then I think Tony’s Most Merriest Party is going to hold a lot less value. And if you don’t care about the Parade at all, I’d find something else to do with your hundred bucks a head.
As a surprise bonus, Tony was on hand to meet and greet guests tableside throughout the entire experience. He was beyond hilarious, singing to guests and assuring us that he would return to the kitchen in time to turn off the microwave. I’m not sure everyone will be as entranced by his antics as we were, but it was a real treat.
Overall, I enjoyed the experience more than I was expecting. It’s certainly not for everybody, but enjoying the Parade and Fireworks without any stress whatsoever was so far removed from the unpleasant experiences of past Parties that I would actually consider attending again if I were to go back. Of course, you’re paying handsomely for the privilege.