Is Disney’s Very Merriest Christmas Party worth it?

Disney’s Very Merriest Christmas Party is an annual event at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, one that many people wait for the entire year. It’s honestly the most magical time to visit Disney World, by far! Christmas decorations, holiday treats, characters dressed up in their holiday attire and the famous Mickey’s Christmas parade – all make Mickey’s Christmas Party the best party of the year! If you’re attending with a toddler, here are some important tips you should know before the party starts. 

What is Disney’s Very Merriest Christmas Party? 

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a special event, which means you have to have a separate party ticket to enter – it is not included in the regular Magic Kingdom ticket for the dates of the party. The Christmas party usually begins around a week or so after the last Halloween party in November and runs through the end of December. Dates closer to Christmas are likely to be more expensive than others.

The 2021 Disney’s Very Merriest After Hours dates are: 

Limited days in November and December. Check here to see the calendar of available dates.

Best Dates to Attend Disney’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Typically, the pricing of the tickets indicate the crowd strength for the party – higher prices means bigger anticipated crowds and cheaper tickets generally indicate less crowds. The last three parties of the year are typically the most expensive, making them the busiest. Based on ticket prices, the best week to attend is usually the one before Thanksgiving – although all the parties come with their fare share of crowds. 

We attended Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party a week before schools were out for the holidays last year, so it was busy, but not crazy busy yet. We actually attended 2 party’s, the first on December 17th and the second on the 19th, because the first one rained out and we were gifted a free voucher to attend another one.  

What started as a clear, beautiful afternoon ended in an intense thunderstorm, so always be prepared for rain during this time of year. 

Tip: Wear layers and bring a rain poncho, just in case. 

My Disney Experience App

Downloading your free ‘My Disney Experience’ App is the best thing you can do to keep ahead of the night. It’s by far the best tool you will use on your trip to the parks – especially when it comes to using your fast passes. The app shows you every feature of Disney’s Magic Kingdom, along with wait times of rides and the locations of various Disney Characters throughout the park. This is especially key with the limited time you’ll have on the rides. 

Let’s Get this Party Started Right! 

Although the Disney’s Very Merriest Christmas Party officially starts at 9pm and ends at 1am, you can actually enter the part at 7pm. This is important to know because during this time all the rides are still going. At a certain point in the evening, rides stop and it’s 100% the party. So if you’re looking to get a few rides in before official party business, make sure to arrive at 7:00 with your My Disney Experience App already downloaded on your phone, because it will be a huge help throughout the night. 

Disney's Very Merriest Christmas Party

Wristbands and Minnie Cookie

At the entrance to the party, you’ll receive your wristband and a special Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party map of events. You’ll also have access to the the back of Main Street where you’ll find your first special treat of the night along with some cool photo-ops. 

Make a Disney’s Very Merriest Party Plan

There will be so much to do and so much to see that it might get a little overwhelming when you first enter. That’s why the best thing to do is MAKE A PLAN IN ADVANCE, so you’re sure to catch everything you know you want to see. There’s really no way to see everything, so planning your own personal preferences is a must! 

I suggest figuring out what rides you want to hit up first before they close. This way you can coordinat with your fast passes and go from there. Also, decide what shows you want to see and where you’d like to be for the parade. If front row seating for the parade is important for you, you’ll need to arrive at least 30 minutes – an hour in advance to grab a spot. People get crazy about their front, curb-side spots. But if you’re not set on front row, you can still arrive just before the parade and find great spots. 

We opted for a non-curbside spot on Main Street and found a great spot, perfect for us and our stroller. We were able to see everything perfectly and our daughter could stand in the stroller with a great view! 

Best Rides for Toddlers

Because you are looking at a limited time to ride the rides during the Mickey’s Christmas Party, it’s best to know exactly which ones your toddler can ride and plan out your time wisely. You are able to use your lightening passes for the night, but only up to 6pm, so I recommend you choose rides that typically have the longest lines so you can get as much in as you can. 

Lightening Passes

The general idea of a lightening pass is to skip the ride lines and use the shorter and faster line. Most rides will still have a line even with a lightening pass, but you’ll get through it much faster. Instead of waiting in a line for hours, the fast pass will be a shorter 20-minute or less wait. 

If you’re combining the party while staying at a Disney resort or hotel, you can book your lightening passes 60 days in advance. If you’re coming to Disney World just for the the Christmas party, you can book your fast passes 30 days in advance.

The lightening pass system works a bit different during the Christmas party though, and you should be aware that lightening passes do not work once the party officially begins at 7pm. You’ll have 3 hours to use your passes, from 4-7pm – about 3-4 rides if you can squeeze them in. 

Rides

In order to get in as many rides as we could before they started closing them for the party, we used our Lightening Passes for Peter Pan’s Flight and Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid, which were typically longer lines. We also rode Dumbo, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, It’s a Small World and The Tomorrowland Speedway. All the rides we chose were toddler-friendly, in order for all of us to ride together. 

Tip: If you want to ride all the rides at Magic Kingdom, you need to plan a separate day at the park. You’ll never be able to hit them all during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. 

Character Meets at Disney’s Very Merriest Christmas Party

One of the biggest changes since when we attended the Mickey’s Christmas Party is getting the chance to see your favorite characters dressed up for the holidays. Whereas pretty much every major character was previously found throughout the park during the party, now everyone is only involved in the Christmas parade. I would say this is definitely a downfall to the new regulations, as we were able to get pictures with Holiday Goofy during our first Christmas party right before the rain pour began, and then Holiday Mickey inside the Town Square Theater during the rainstorm. 

Shows

The shows during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party are so much fun and definitely worth your time to make them a priority. 

A Frozen Holiday Wish

One of our favorite moments was watching the castle transform into Elsa’s Frozen Festival. The show, itself, is only about 10-15 minutes, but it’s packed with magical moments and the case of Frozen. It’s a must-see moment as Elsa lights up the Cinderella Castle with icy, white lights. And the fireworks are spectacular too! 

Tip: Expect large crowds, but it’s a great way to kick off the night!

Club Tinsel

We spent the majority of our first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party at Club Tinsel, due to the rain. Club Tinsel is an inside venue at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café, which allowed us to escape the downpour and wait out the rain (which never happened). But it ended up being a spectacular place to be as our daughter was so happy dancing the night away with reindeer, polar bears and elves. 

Tip: Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café is also a location for the FREE cookies and hot chocolate, so stop by, grab a quick bite and let the kids groove for a bit. 

Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks

Minnie’s fireworks are a great way to end your night. It’s hosted by Minnie Mouse and features holiday songs to sing along to. But if you have young children, it might be too much for them. Since we had already experienced the Frozen Holiday Wish fireworks, we decided to leave after the parade on our second MIckey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Our 3-year old was just about passed out anyway. 

And sprinkled throughout the park are other shows to catch, such as: A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas, Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration, The Edge Effect, Storybook Circus Disney Junior Jingle Jam and more. It’s not likely that you’ll be able to take in all the shows, so you’ll have to prioritize which ones you want to see. 

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas Parade

Undoubtedly, the highlight of the night was the Mickey’s Christmas Parade! The festive music, dancing nutcrackers and gingerbread men, all the Disney characters, and of course, Santa joins the crew for this monumental moment. Oh, and snow! That was definitely something special for our desert-dwelling daughter. 

The parade usually starts out in Frontierland and follows the waterway until it reaches Liberty Square. From there it crosses the Liberty Square Bridge, circles around Central Plaza at Cinderella’s Castle and then heads to Main Street, U.S.A. – the prime watching location for the parade. After Main Street, it will head toward the Walt Disney World Railroad Station and end at the Harmony Barbershop. 

As I previously mentioned, we choose to watch the parade from Main Street, and it was the perfect place for a wonderful show. Check out the highlights from Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas Parade in the video below. 

Tip: It’s best to decide in advance where you’d like to see the parade from. Keep in mind that if you’re watching from Main Street, the parade will reach you about 20-30 minutes after its scheduled start time.

Disney’s Very Merriest Christmas Party Snacks

Located at the giant peppermint sticks throughout the park, you’ll find the FREE holiday treats and drinks. Here’s what you’ll find and where: 

Treats

  • Welcome Minnie Cookie – Market Street (available during the beginning of the party)
  • Ginger Molasses Cookie – Jingle Cruise and The Lunching Pad
  • Snickerdoodle – Golden Oak Outpost and Pinocchio Village Haus
  • Peppermint Cookie – Miner’s Cove and Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie – The Diamond Horseshoe and The Friar’s Nook
  • Soft Pretzel – Tortuga Tavern and Storybook Snack Carts

Drinks

  • Fanta Soda – Tortuga Tavern and Pinocchio Village Haus
  • Hot Chocolate – Pinocchio Village Haus and Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
  • Apple Cider – Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe and The Lunching Pad
  • Eggnog – The Diamond Horseshoe

We loved munching on the soft pretzels as we took pictures with Goofy and Winie the Pooh, nearby. The Apple Cider was delicious, as was the snickerdoodle cookie. To be honest, we aren’t big “sweets” eaters, so all of the cookies were just so much for us to handle, but the selection is fantastic! 

Unique Party Merchandise 

There are also many unique items you can buy that are only offered during Disney’s Very Merriest Christmas party. From tree ornaments to lapel pins, there are amazing items to pick up as souvenirs for this special night. There’s also an incredible amount of Christmas merchandise waiting to put a whole in your wallet!

Tip: If you are looking to buy the unique party ornament or pin, do it right away! Unfortunately, they were already out of both of them when we attended our parties. 

Is Disney’s Very Merriest Christmas Party Worth It?

After attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, I got asked a lot if it was worth it. And for us, it was totally worth it! 

Because we don’t visit Disney World often and looked at it as more of a once in a lifetime event, it was such as special moment for our family. You really have to evaluate for yourselves what you want to get out of it.

If you’re a huge Christmas fanatic and love Disney, you’ll love Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Many families come in matching Christmas attire and make it an annual holiday event. It’s fun to see everyone filled with holiday spirit and enjoying the magic of Disney. 

And your chance to squeeze in the big guy, too! 

Santa at Disney's Very Merriest Christmas Party

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Disney's Very Merriest Christmas Party Family Guide

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