REVIEW: Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party By Bill Iadonisi
It’s hard to believe but the Christmas Season is again upon us! At this, the happiest time of the year, millions of families have their plans to celebrate and traditions to follow. For my wife and me, that means two things…Attending two of our favorite holiday parties at the Magic Kingdom- “Mickey’s Not-so-scary-Halloween Party and our favorite, “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party” And we are not alone. Countless families have included these venues as part of their traditional Holiday celebrations.
Walt Disney above all was the quintessential American family man. Family and the Holidays were always first in his mind. The rich tradition of Celebrating Christmas at Disneyland came about from The Mickey Mouse Club Circus in 1955, which evolved into a group of 12 Dickens Carolers who performed throughout the park. Guest choirs were also invited to perform daily in the Main Street bandstand that had been recently moved to the Magnolia Park area of Adventureland. By 1956, the event was known as “The Christmas Bowl” This was so well received by the guests, and it grew so big that by December 1958, the first evening Candlelight Processional was held with singers from sixteen choirs moving down Main Street to the Plaza where they performed a full concert with the Dickens carolers singing from the Sleeping Beauty Castle balcony above. Now at Walt Disney World, we have the Osborn Family Lights at the Studios, the Candlelight processional at the American Gardens Theater at EPCOT, and of course Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
As a member of the media, I was an invited guest for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at this year’s press event. The party is a separate hard-ticket event in addition to any regular park pass. Guests wanting to attend the parties, which are held on select nights from November 7th to December 19TH, should realize that the Mickey’s Christmas party is extremely popular and advanced booking is recommended. Tickets can be purchased on-line (Your best bet to get the date you want!), in person at the Ticket and Transportation center or at Guest Relations. You can purchase tickets on the night of the parties, but if they are sold out, as many dates are, you will be disappointed.
New to the event this year is the Christmas magic of Disney’s hit movie, Frozen. You can see Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and of course everyone’s favorite snowman, Olaf. “Mickey’s once upon a Christmastime Parade” features new floats from that magical movie, adding to the Christmas fun.
- ADVENTURELAND… Pirates of the Caribbean, Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Swiss Family Treehouse, Jingle Cruise, a special holiday version Jingle Cruise.
◆ FRONTIERLAND…Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain and Country Bear Jamboree.
◆ LIBERTY SQUARE…The Haunted Mansion.
◆ FANTASYLAND…It's A Small World, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Mickey’s Philharmagic, Peter Pan’s Flight, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Princess Fairytale Hall, Mad Hatter Tea cups, Ariel’s Grotto, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, The Barnstormer, Casey Jr. Splash N Soak, Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel and Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid.
◆ TOMORROWLAND… Astro Orbiter, Tomorrowland, PeopleMover, Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, Stitch's Great Escape, Tomorrowland Speedway and Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor.
◆ MAIN STREET, USA…Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom.
FOOD AND BEVERAGE
- Tomorrowland…Cosmic Ray's Starlight Café, The Lunching Pad (Closes at 12:00am- You can still get hot-dogs)
◆ Liberty Square…Sleepy Hollow, Liberty Square Market
◆ Main Street…Main Street Bakery, Casey’s Corner and Plaza Ice Cream.
◆ Fantasyland…Gaston’s Tavern, Storybook treats and Friar’s Nook.
◆ Frontierland…Westward Ho, Turkey Leg Cart, Frontierland Churros Wagon and Pecos Bill (Closes at 11pm)
Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe Tomorrowland, Sunshine Tree Terrace Adventureland, Columbia Harbour House, Sunshine Tree Terrace, Tortuga Tavern and Pinocchio Village Haus.
And what is a Christmas party without the parties and shows? There is entertainment galore all night, starting out with the decorations, Christmas Carols and snow all along Main St. USA. And, in my opinion, the focal point of the whole evening, Cinderella Castle. Nothing gives that warm Christmas Feeling all over than seeing the Castle all lit up and sparkling in millions of lights and colors. And what a beautiful picture it makes! The kids can Meet Santa next to City Hall at the Candy Cane Garden. There are two character dance parties…One is at the Diamond Horseshoe in Liberty Square. Dance with Woody, Jessie and the gang to country tunes and then head out to Tomorrowland at 7pm in Cosmic Ray’s “Club Tinsel” with your favorite characters.
Mickey’s Once upon a Christmastime Parade…8:15 and 10:30 PM
NEW…A Frozen Holiday Wish: 6:15pm and 8:00pm on the Castle Stage. See Elsa transform the Castle into a icy wonderland for the event.
Celebrate the Magic…Cinderella Castle turns into a splash of holiday colors and magic.
Holiday Wishes Fireworks…9:30pm
Totally Tomorrowland Christmas…Rockettower Plaza stage 7:45, 8:45, 9:55, 10:50 & 11:45 PM
Celebrate The Season"…Cinderella Castle Stage at 7:45, 10:05 & 11:20 PM
Disney character appearances throughout the night.
Here is a hint…Many guests begin to leave after the Fireworks. The best opportunity to see the parade and get a good viewing spot is at the second showing. One of my favorite spots is the mezzanine level in the Train Station. You get there a bit early and get an amazing unobstructed view of the parade and it’s a perfect place for pictures.
And don’t forget your Christmas shopping! There are plenty of presents to be had to fill those stockings up. The following merchandise stores are open…Emporium, Main St. USA, Frontier Trading Post, Frontierland, Ye olde Christmas Shoppe, Big Top Souvenirs and Mickey’s Star Traders.
Since this is a separate ticketed event, the crowd levels are a bit lower than a normal day. Lines for attractions and other venues are a little lighter. But it can still be crowded, especially on sold out nights. But even on busy nights, the lines are not that bad. As with regular days at the Magic Kingdom, the best time for your favorite attractions is during the parades and major shows. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party begins at 7pm and runs till 12am. But you can enter around 4pm. All ticket holders must get a wristband at the event entrance. Without one, you will be asked to leave the park.
11-7, 10, 13, 14, 16, 20, 21, and the 30th.
12/ 2, 4, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, and the 19th.
Day of Event…All Dates Except December 19, Ages 10+ $71.00+tax-ages 3 to 9 $66.00+tax
December 19… Ages 10+ $74.00+tax-ages 3 to 9 $69.00+tax
Advance Purchase Prices…All Dates, Ages 10+: $67.00+tax-Ages 3 to 9 $62.00+tax except on these dates.. 11/21, 11/30, 12/5, 12/12, 12/18, and 12/19.
Annual Passholder and DVC Discounted Prices…11/ 7, 10, 13, 14, 16, 20, 12/2, 4, & 9: Ages 10+ $62.00+tax, ages 3 to 9 $57.00+tax
Active and Retired U.S. Military…On these select dates, 11/ 7, 10, 13, 14, 16, 20th, Ages 10 & Up $46.90 + tax-Guest Ages 3 to 9 $43.40 + tax. Military tickets available only at Vacation Planning and Guest Relations locations.
The simple fact that this event is consistently sold out almost every event night is just how Disney got the Christmas Season right. To see hundreds of adults and children reveling in the fun and magic of the Christmas Season, enjoying snow on Main St. and noshing on hot chocolate and Christmas cookies gives one that Old time holiday feeling and spirit that, sad to say is very missing in today’s high-tech world. I hope to return again next year to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.
Call 407-934-7639 to purchase tickets, or click Disneyworld.com. Members of Disney Vacation Club must call Member Services.