It’s no secret that spending any part of the winter holidays at Walt Disney World is a magical experience on the Christmas list of many around the globe. Though it’s true that pixie dust flies year round at one of the happiest places on Earth, something extra magical and spectacular happens around the holidays at this vacation spot.
Two years ago, my husband and I took opportunity to celebrate our 18th anniversary just as the holiday festivities were beginning at Walt Disney World. We had the most amazing time together and vowed that we would take the kids during this time of the year as soon as we were able to do so. This year, we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary (yeah us!!) and, instead of taking our family vacation in the summer, we decided to arrange our calendar to celebrate this milestone event, as well as the advent of the Christmas season with the boys at our favorite place on Earth.
We arrived at perhaps what we would consider one of the best times to visit the Resort. Epcot was just wrapping up its International Food & Wine festival (click here to read my delicious review), Magic Kingdom was beautifully decked out in its holiday decor and many of the resorts were just beginning to pull out their seasonal decorations. We even saw the first stages of Grand Floridian’s Gingerbread House being assembled. However, this year for us, the biggest event of the week took place on our last night of the Florida portion of our vacation, when we attended Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP, for short).
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is one of several ticketed events held at Walt Disney World, meaning that a separate ticket must be purchased in order to attend and be in the Park when and where the event is being held. We were able to purchase our discounted tickets ahead of time through Shades of Green, as my husband is retired military. Anyone can purchase these tickets at any of the Guest Services counter around the Resort and prices vary depending upon whether you are an Annual Passholder, a Disney Vacation Club member, a military family, Florida resident or regular family on a Christmas vacation. This year, the price also fluctuates depending upon which night of the event you attend. The ticket provides you access to the Magic Kingdom any time after 4 PM on the day of the event, though the party itself does not start until 7 PM, at which time anyone not donning a designated party bracelet is kindly escorted out of the Park. The bracelet I just mentioned is something that you can pick up upon your entrance to the park if you are coming in at 4 PM or at various locations throughout Magic Kingdom if you happen to be visiting the Park all day long.
The party is held on select nights during the holiday season (this year, November 7th through December 22nd) and lasts from 7 PM until midnight. Yes – most people stay all the way through to midnight. There are special character meet-n-greets (Seven Dwarfs, Sandy Claws, Scrooge McDuck, Nick and Hops, etc), a special stage show staring Mickey and the Gang, various holiday shows throughout the Park (such as in Tomorrowland), special holiday treats (free and available for purchase), an exclusive fireworks display, a special parade starring the Man in Red himself and then, of course, one cannot forget the snow on Main Street! Snow in Florida, people!
Our family had decided to use that as our Magic Kingdom day, so we picked up our bracelets at a designated location in Adventureland and just casually enjoyed courselves around the Park all day long. After 4 PM, the Christmas merchandise offerings came out and I was determined to pick up my Annual Passholder Pin and a few Christmas party shirts. I was disappointed, though ~ the kids were not into the shirt thing this year, but I still got mine – and wore it with pride!
At 7 PM, we began to scout out a character line, but found that they were already rather long. I noticed that the line for Scrooge McDuck and Donald was not as lengthy as I feared the rest were going to be, so I planted myself. In the meantime, the boys rode Dumbo and The Barnstormer, as well as picked up a few extra treats to snack on while we waited a full hour or more. Yes – I was that crazy and determined!
TIP: I heard (after the fact) that the best time to visit a character is later in the evening. The lines go down around the time of the parade, so, if the parade is not an important aspect of the party for you or you choose to see the earlier parade rather than the later one, this would be a great time to visit some of your Disney friends.
Pixie dust moment!!! I have to share. While standing in line to meet Scrooge and Donald, I spilled hot cocoa on my brand new shirt. I know, right?!! What a clutz! I grabbed a wipe from my son’s epi bag and began cleaning it, clearly showing a tiny pout on my face. A Cast Member came up, noticed what had happened and told me to stay put (trust me ~ I wasn’t going anywhere). Within ten minutes, she came back with a brand new shirt for me! Politely, I asked if she needed me to return the other, but she signaled no and smiled as she walked away. I didn’t even get to see her name tag!! So ~ to the CM who pixie-dusted me that night?? THANK YOU!!!
Scrooge and Donald was the only meet-and-greet we did, but it was worth it. Those two were hamming it up and kept everyone in line entertained. They spent a fair amount of time with each family of Guests, so the moment was memorable for eveyrone. I do wish I had seen a few other characters for pictures, but perhaps next time – if I have opportunity to attend, of course.
From there, we strolled the park to see what else was around and to scout out more snacks (the highlight for my sons). This year, the Party offered more than just the standard sugar cookies and hot cocoa. There were peppermint bark cookies and hot cocoa at the Lunching Pad in Tomorrowland, gingersnap molasses cookies and eggnog at Heritage House in Liberty Square, snowman sugar cookies and spiced apple cider at Pete’s Silly Sideshow in Fantasyland, snow cones and snowman sugar cookies at The Friar’s Nook in Fantasyland and Tortuga Tavern had snickerdoodles and hot cocoa. Hands down – our favorite was the peppermint bark cookies and hot cocoa….though the eggnog was pretty good, too!
TIP: Anywhere you see one of these candy cane posts, you will find free snacks!
I have to admit one disappointment: Allergy offerings were slim. The only thing offered that night were EnjoyLife chocolate chip cookies – which are GREAT and we are so grateful they had them….but it would have been nice to see some variety, such as I heard was offered for the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. I do believe pre-packaged apple slices were offered, too….but giving a ten year old apple slices while his older brothers are munching on peppermint bark cookies? Yeah – not quite as fair. (NOTE: Thank you, Disney and EnjoyLife, for providing at least something for those with food allergies).
The time had arrived when the fireworks were about to begin. We found ourselves a decent spot in the hub and watched the beautiful array of fireworks during “Holiday Wishes” over the Castle. I think my husband missed watching the original Wishes that night (he loves that music), but this was still a spectacular show nonetheless. There is just something that pierces the heart when watching a Walt Disney firework production (chills just ran down my spine and a smile just flashed across my face).
After the fireworks, we stayed in the hub, but moved ourselves closer to the stage as the new Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration show was about the begin. It was about a 15 minute wait, so we planted ourselves on the ground, but here was our view.
We were pretty much FRONT AND CENTER! Well, we would have actually been closer had the film stage not been in our way. That just happened to be the week they were filming both ABC specials for Thanksgiving Evening and Christmas Day. (PS – that was fun! My son and I got fairly close and snagged some pictures while they were rehearsing with Gavin DeGraw!).
The show with Mickey and the Gang was fun and energetic. I’m glad it was different than it was two years ago, as I enjoyed the new music, new harmonies and new characters.
From there, we planted by the curb in the hub and waited for the parade to begin. Two years ago, I had the most unmagical time watching the parade as a gentleman commandeered a post that would have allowed four children to view the parade much better. He kept pushing me farther back and it literally brought me to tears (and I don’t cry!). It ruined the whole parade for me that year, so I was determined to see it up close and personal this time around. I wanted some good pictures to share!
How are these?
The boys enjoyed the parade, but I could tell the youngest was quite exhausted and a little chilly. He held on very well and donned my husband’s Disney Christmas hat from about 10 PM on to keep his ears warm.
Once the parade was over, we decided it was time to make our way back to our resort. Our time at Walt Disney World had ended and we were about ready to embark upon another journey the next day. It was good to experience this together as a family and I am so glad my boys enjoyed their first time at the MVMCP. I would still like to do it better. I’m a scheduler. I like to maximize the enjoyment (we have FastPasses down pat!). I look forward to the opportunity in the future when we can attend once again.
Have you been to the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party? What was your favorite part? What would you have done differently? Share with me your thoughts and ideas below! I’d love to hear them!!