A highlight of the Holiday Season at Walt Disney World is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (or MVMCP), which is held at the Magic Kingdom on selected nights through December 21. With the chance to see magical fireworks, a parade and live shows, plus carolers, special characters, “snow” on Main Street and all the cookies and hot chocolate you want, it’s easy to see why this is a great way to get into the holiday spirit. A “hard ticket” event, MVMCP is not included as part of regular park ticket admission however, so if you want to attend, you will need to pay extra.
But if you are visiting Disney World during this time frame, should you pay the extra money for it? And if you do, how can you get the most for your money?
Glad you asked. Let’s talk some basics first.
Dates/Time: This year, MVMCP is being held on the following dates: November 9, 12, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29 and 30; and December 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20 and 21. While the party “officially” begins at 7 p.m., in previous years, guests have been able to enter the Magic Kingdom for the party starting at 4pm. As the party begins, those guests who have MVMCP tickets will receive a wristband that indicates they are attending the Party. At 7 p.m. the Magic Kingdom will officially close to non-party guests and those without tickets will be asked (politely) to leave. Don’t even think about trying to hang around to join the party without a ticket, as there typically are castmembers who will be checking wristbands throughout the evening, including at each of the ride entrances.
- Cost: Advance Purchase: $58.95-67.95 adults/$53.95-62.95 ages 3-9 (Cost depends on dates chosen) Passholder and DVC Member Discounts are available. Advance purchase will be a savings for most (but not all) dates. All prices include tax. You can order tickets online or by calling (407) WDISNEY or (407) 934-7639. Get full details and pricing here.
- What You Get: Well….lots. The highlights are:
The Castle Dream Lights that transform Cinderella’s Castle with 200,000 twinkling white lights into a sparkling, magical ice palace.
Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, featuring a variety of special Christmas themes, dancing snowflakes, Wooden Soldiers, and of course a special appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus.
“Holiday Wishes, Celebrate the Spirit of the Season” fireworks that offer Disney’s dazzling fireworks set to holiday songs.
Live shows at both the Castle and in Tomorrowland, featuring Disney Characters.
Special meet and greets with Disney Characters.
A magical snow fall on Main Street, U.S.A.
Complimentary cookies and hot cocoa
So is it Worth it?
Maybe, and maybe not. It really depends on a number of things for your own family situation. You certainly should consider the ages of your children and how well they do after a certain time of the evening. Will an afternoon nap help? In addition, as you are deciding, you should realize that:
- All the decorations (except for the “snow”) are out during regular operating hours…no need to pay extra for this.
- If you will be at Disney during Christmas/New Year’s week, you can see both the parade and Holiday Wishes during regular operating hours….for no additional cost.
- The Castle Dream Lights are lit between 6 and 6:30…before the beginning of MVMCP and are lit every night from right before Christmas until early January…again, for free.
So if those are the most important things that you want to see at MVMCP, and you will be at Disney World close to Christmas and after, you may very well want to save your money. However, there are other benefits to attending the Party that you should think about:
- There will be less people in Magic Kingdom than during the day. Lines will be shorter to see both attractions and the characters. You will be able to ride the major FASTPASS rides and meet a lot of characters in less time than normal. And with that lower crowd level, you will probably enjoy your time a bit more.
- If you are visiting between November 9 and December 21, the only chance to see the special Christmas parade and Holiday Wishes is at MVMCP.
- For many folks, the characters, shows and entertainment are worth the cost of admission alone, and these are not offered at other times.
- Free cocoa and cookies.
I’m Going! How Can I Make the Most of My Time (and Money?)
As with everything at Disney World, there are ways to plan and strategize so that you are making this event as affordable as possible.
- Take a look at the weather forecast, especially the predicted low temperatures. It can get cold. Average lows are in the mid-50s but I have been there when it was in the 30s. Bring a sweatshirt, jacket or coat, as well as some gloves…or prepare to buy them in the Disney gift stores.
- Take a break in the afternoon so that you (and your little ones) have the energy to stay for the full 5 hours, until midnight. Crowds will be lightest after 11 p.m. If you can arrive right after 4, you can get your wristband and get started having fun even earlier.
- Don’t waste Party time eating dinner. Plan your meal before it starts, whether you are eating counter service or want a table service meal. And if you are planning a table service meal, make your Advanced Dining Reservations well in advance.
- The line for Fantasyland characters will grow rapidly, so go at the end of the night, or be in line before 7.
- Go to the second parade each night as it is less crowded than the first one, and do the major rides during the first parade. Visit Fantasyland after 11 p.m. when little ones have left.
- Go left to start at Adventureland, as most people will start in Tomorrowland.
Things to Keep in Mind When Buying Tickets
Before you order your MVMCP tickets, there are some things keep in mind.
- Since you can start the Party at 4 p.m., many folks decide not to get the Park Hopper option on their tickets, and attend a different park earlier in the day….and then essentially “hop” to Magic Kingdom at 4, without using a Park Hopper. Saves money!
- Another strategy is to just not get theme park tickets for that day at all, and rest/relax at the resort earlier in the day. If you are only staying a few days this will save you more money than if you are staying more than 7 days though, since at that point, the cost on your ticket per additional day is only a few dollars.
- Wait as long as possible to get your tickets: you get the advance purchase price a few hours or many days in advance…so if possible, make sure that the weather looks like it will cooperate, since Disney doesn’t typically issue refunds for MVMCP. Heavy rain and freezing cold can make it more miserable than magical. Having said that though, there is no guarantee that tickets will be available on any given night: some nights do sell out since Disney does limit the number of tickets sold so that crowds are kept down. So if it matters to you which date you go, then get them to be certain. And hope for good weather.
- Anticipated busiest nights? Thanksgiving weekend for sure. Fridays will typically be busier (due to locals attending) than Tuesdays or Thursdays. And generally speaking, the closer you get to Christmas, the more likely you will deal with higher crowd levels (and more likely to sell out).
So is it worth it? In my opinion, totally worth it! If you have visited MVMCP, what are your thoughts?