Thursday, November 10, 2016

Should I Buy Tickets to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party?

Hi there, Disney Fans! 
      Tink here, reporting from a freshly-holiday-decoration-coated Walt Disney World! The weather is FINALLY cooling down a bit in O-Town and it's starting to feel more like the holiday season is approaching. In fact, over at The Magic Kingdom, the very first Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party kicked off this past Monday! I'm hoping to get the chance to go to a party again this year. My bestie and I hit up one last year and we had SO much fun! Now, Disney does several of these special parties and events, but is this Christmas-themed one worth it?
      Let's start with the basics... For those of you that may not know, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is a special, hard ticketed event, occurring a few times per week, on designated dates. (2016 Dates Include: Nov. 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 15th, 18th, 27th and 29th. Dec. 1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 15th, 16th, 18th and 22nd.) The party admission is NOT included on a regular Magic Kingdom ticket. In fact, if you are visiting The Magic Kingdom on a night that the Christmas Party is scheduled to take place, be prepared that if you do not have tickets to the party, you will be politely asked to leave the park, promptly at 7pm. Party tickets run about $85-$100 per adult and $85-$95 per child. (Pricing varies a bit depending on whether you pre-purchase, and the date you plan on attending. November dates are the least expensive.) The party runs from 7pm-midnight. 
     But why would you spend an extra $80 or so to go to the party when you can already get into The Magic Kingdom on a different night with your regular park tickets????
     Well, you may recall that when I told you about Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, I talked about all of the things you can do that are exclusive to the party... the parade, the fireworks, the stage show, the trick-or-treating, character meet and greets, etc. Well, things are a little different with Very Merry. In fact, almost nothing that is offered at Very Merry is exclusive to the party alone. You can see the same parade performed the whole week of Christmas, during the day, with regular admission. Same for the fireworks, some of the shows, and even some of the character appearances. So that might lead you to ask even more so... ok....WHY pay to go?
     Have you ever been to Disney the week of Christmas? THAT's why it's worth paying for the party! Disney is INSANELY busy during Christmas break. You could easily wait in line for an hour, just to ride It's a Small World! The Very Merry Christmas Party allows you to enjoy all of the awesome events of the holidays, before the holiday crowds arrive. AND with a limited number of people! There is a capped number of tickets sold for the party, making it even MORE likely that you'll enjoy a less packed park during the party than on a regular park day over the holidays. When I attended the party last year, there were parts of the park that felt totally deserted at times. If you aren't coming to Disney until mid-December, even if you aren't all that into the holiday events, it may be worth buying a ticket to the party, so that you can do the attractions with much shorter wait times. Plus, there is still some stuff about the Christmas Party that is exclusive to the party. Let's talk about what exactly is included in your party ticket.


     Of course the rides and attractions are open for you to enjoy, (with a few small exceptions), but let’s start off with what’s unique about the party and then I will give you a couple of tips to help you plan.
     Bummed that there's no trick-or-treating at Christmastime? Well how about collecting cookies and hot chocolate instead? All around the park you'll find locations where you can get complimentary holiday treats. Last year, the offerings consisted of snickerdoodle cookies and hot chocolate, but Disney is upping their cookie and treat game this year! For the 2016 parties, at various locations, you can pick up not only snickerdoodles and hot chocolate, but also eggnog, ginger snaps, snow cones, sugar cookies, apple cider and peppermint bark cookies. YUM! I'd take fresh baked cookies over Halloween candy any day!
     If character appearances are top of your list for fun, you won't be disappointed! There are tons of characters out during Very Merry, including some rare ones, like Jack Skellington as "Sandy Claws". Plus, you’ll see Mickey, Minnie and pals in their Christmas finest! Here's who you should look for this year: 
  • Santa Mickey
  • Tinkerbell
  • Judy Hopps and Nick Fox
  • Minnie and Daisy
  • Donald and Uncle Scrooge
  • Santa Goofy
  • Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and Tigger
  • Belle
  • Snow White and the Prince
  • Aurora and Prince Phillip
  • Tiana and Naveen
  • Rapunzel and Flynn
  • Cinderella and Prince Charming
  • Elena of Avalor
  • Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws
  • Ariel
  • Mary Poppins and Bert
  • All Seven Dwarfs, together
  • Aladdin, Jasmine, Abu and Genie
  • Captain Jack Sparrow
  • Country Bears
     There’s Christmas entertainment all over, including two stage shows, a DJ dance party and an a cappella performance. You can dance alongside your favorite characters at Club Tinsel, inside Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe. A cappella sensation, Voice Play, from "The Sing-Off", will be performing holiday favorites on Rockettower Plaza Stage. There's also Totally Tomorrowland Christmas, which is a show that features friends from Monster's Inc, Lilo and Stitch, and more. And this year, in front of the Castle, Mickey and pals entertain with an all new stage show, Mickey's Most Merriest Celebration
     Also in front of the Castle, you can watch Elsa use her icy powers to light up Cinderella's home in icy lights, during A Frozen Holiday Wish. Or enjoy the amazing imagery projected onto the Castle, during the brand new Once Upon a Time castle projection show.
     Aside from all of the free goodies, there are special holiday snacks for sale all around the park, like Specialty Cupcakes, or Pumpkin Waffles. And many of the regular dining venues are open for meals. 
     Oh, and there’s specialty Holiday merchandise items sold exclusively at the party, like pins, t-shirts, Magic Bands and more.
     By far, the starring events are the parade and the fireworks. Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade runs twice nightly, and it is a gorgeous holiday parade that includes Cinderella's carriage, being pulled by white ponies, and a gingerbread scented holiday bakeshop float. The parade is twice the length of the regular daytime parade and has so much fun stuff. It’s a fantastic parade, and one that's worth watching from Main Street, since it magically "snows" during the parade, making it extra special!         
     The fireworks, Celebrate the Spirit of the Season, the holiday version of Wishes, are gorgeous and will dazzle any Guest with their spirited music and panoramic views!
     Ok, thinking you want to go???? Let's get to my  recommendations: 
     For starters, to make it more worth your while, don’t buy a park ticket for the day that you’ll be attending the party. Use this day as a “chillin’ out day”. Hang by the pool, do an elaborate breakfast out, walk around Disney Springs, or do something else fun outside of the parks. Make sure your kids, (even older kids), get a good nap in, and then head to The Magic Kingdom early. Your Very Merry ticket will get you in the park gates at 4pm, even though the holiday festivities don’t begin until 7pm. In the hours before the party starts, get in some rides and attractions. That way you can use your party hours to enjoy the actual themed events. I recommend knocking out character meet and greets early on, as lines can get HUGE! Visit the dance party and check out the shows. During the first parade, get in some attractions, or more meet and greets. The first parade is always the busier of the two. Make sure you are in front of the Castle for the fireworks, since they are designed with effects incorporating the structure. In fact, you'll be spending a lot of time in front of the Castle... for the show, the lighting ceremony, the fireworks, Once Upon a Time... But, do try and watch the parade from about mid-Main Street, in order to get the best snow effects. (Note that if you are going to be in The Magic Kingdom another night during your trip, Once Upon a Time and the Frozen Holiday Wish show are usually performed nightly, so you may want to skip out on those, and get some other party stuff in.)
     So here's what I would advise you: If you're not all that into parades, shows and characters? Save your money. Coming down during the slower weeks, (before Thanksgiving, or the first couple of weeks in December), and kind of indifferent to the live entertainment stuff? Save your money! Expecting to see lots of stuff that is exclusive to the Party and that you wouldn't see otherwise? Save your money! This event IS beautiful and wonderful and fun, and it is BOUND to get you into the holiday spirit, but it's not nearly as unique as Not So Scary, so if you have been to MNSSHP, but never to MVMCP, just be aware of that. Now, if you live for a good Disney parade and the fireworks make you tear up... Buy tickets! If you're coming during Thanksgiving week or right before Christmas and you want to get to do stuff without the massive crowds... Buy tickets!! If you want to feel like you're being wrapped in Christmas with a pillow of holiday cheer put under your head, BUY TICKETS!
     No matter what you decide, I can tell you that if you go to the Party, you'll have a blast and leave floating on a Christmasy cloud of cookies and cocoa. But if you decide against spending your vacation dollars on Party tickets, never fear... you'll still get to enjoy the holiday spirit, which is quickly taking over all four of the parks, the resorts and Disney Springs. There are plenty of decorations, special events, (the Candlelight Processional at Epcot, the new holiday fireworks show at The Studios, the all new drone-run light show at Disney Springs), and yes, even holiday treats and eats, all over Walt Disney World!
     If you're ready to book your tickets, or want to plan some unique holiday fun, contact the agents at Kingdom Konsultant Travel, and they will whip up some magical holiday memories, just for you and your family! 
     Until next week, Disney fans!!!

- Jenn aka "Tink"

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