It’s that time of year again, the start of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and, in November, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. . .
Each party is a hard ticket evening event, meaning you’ll pay a separate admission price. Both parties offer special parades, activities, and shows, but at around $60 per ticket, it can take a huge bite out of your budget. So, are these parties worth the price? Let’s look at what they offer and see if they’re right for you.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.
There are plenty of opportunities for trick or treating at this party, where even grown-ups dress up and hunt for the best candy. You can also see a special showing of “Hallo Wishes” fireworks, dance parties, a flash mob, meet rare characters, and even talk to a very entertaining, opera singing “ghost” outside of the Haunted Mansion while you wait in line.
Where this party really shines, however, is during the parade. You’ll see some of your favorite villains and scenes from the Haunted Mansion come to life, including a group of dancing gravediggers who steal the show. The parade takes place twice a night, so if you’re not coming with younger children, see the second parade. You’ll start to see parents of younger children clearing out sometime around 10:00 PM, which means better viewing for those who stay later.
Get Park Wise: If you’ve ever wanted to parade around the Magic Kingdom dressed up as your favorite princess, now’s the time to do it. While Disney has a strict policy against adults dressing up as Disney characters during regular hours, this rule is thrown out the door during the party. So grab your tiara and and that Belle dress you’ve been dying to wear–on this night, it’s allowed.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party:
Want to see ” snow ” on Main Street? Well you can, several times a night, if you go to this Christmas party, which features a special parade, Holiday “Wishes,” cookies and hot cocoa, meet-ups with your favorite characters in their holiday finery, and dance parties throughout the night. It’s less lively and creative than the Halloween party, but its still a great time and it’s a wonderful way to be in the park late at night during at time of year when the Magic Kingdom closes early.
Get Park Wise: You can only see this parade during the party until the day after the parties end for the season. However, after that date, this special Christmas parade becomes the daily 3:00 o’ clock parade in the Magic Kingdom.
One benefit of these parties is at they’re capped at around 25,000 guests (Disney doesn’t release official figures, so this is just an estimate) and they often don’t reach capacity. This means that you can walk on many attractions on less crowded nights, particularly after 10:00 p.m. or so. Unfortunately, busier party nights can feel like a waste of money; better to focus on the parades and shows if you’re going on one of those nights and save the rides for another time.
One word about sold-out parties: Avoid them if you can. These tend to be any party close to Halloween, Halloween night, and the last couple Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas parties of the season. Weekend parties tend to be more crowded as well, although they’re rarely sold out. In general, if you’re looking to avoid crowds, go on a weeknight. While you can’t predict what party will be sold out, discounted party nights tend to cost less because they’re historically less popular. If you really want to avoid sold-out parties, just buy your ticket the day of the event. You won’t get a discount for paying in advance (around $5) but you’ll know that your party isn’t going to be packed to capacity either.
Get Park Wise: If you’re not attending the party, you’ll be required to leave promptly at 7:00 on party nights. Guests who dawdle will not be allowed in shops, restaurants or, of course, rides. Party guests will be required to show their wristbands most of the night, much like during Extra Magic Hours.
Because these parties allow guests to experience lower crowds, you shouldn’t need a touring plan for the party, but it helps to have a rough idea of how you’re going to tackle this event and what your goal is. For example (as I advised above), if you came to see the parades and fireworks and you’re with a group of adults, go to the second showing once parents with younger children have cleared out. If you’re a character fan, you’ll want to get as much character interaction as possible since these parties are a great places to see some of the more unique characters, so do that first. If you want to experience the entirety of the party, go ahead and do those events unique to the party first, then visit attractions later in the night, since you can do those any time.
Get Park Wise: Officially, these parties begin at 7:00. Unofficially, Disney allows party guests to enter the Magic Kingdom as early as 4:00. While we hear rumors every year that Disney has changed this policy and is enforcing the 7:00 o’clock entrance rule, the fact is that crowd control issues mean it benefits Disney to allow party guests to enter early.
Now that you know a little bit more about the parties, lets break down the pros and cons to see if they’re worth the high price of admission.
It might be worth the money if . . .
- You have older kids who can stay out late.
- You’d like to visit the parks when they are (potentially) the least crowded.
- You’d like to see a different parade and meet characters in their holiday finery.
- This is the only “late” night in the Magic Kingdom during your stay. The Magic Kingdom is extra special at night and shouldn’t be missed, especially during the Christmas holidays.
It might not be worth the money if . . .
- You have younger children, since they might not be able to stay for the bulk of the party.
- You’re on a tight budget. This is probably the first “extra” I would skip. Instead, think about adding hoppers, which can make touring easier and increase your park time, or even going out for a special dinner. At around $240 for a family of four, this is a lot of money to spend on one night.
- You can only attend a party on busy nights and you don’t want to deal with crowds.
These parties allow Disney to try new, fantastic things and really stretch their creativity. For this reason, I think it’s worth it to attend these parties at least once. As always however, I don’t believe in stretching your budget too far; there’s just so much to do already, that these parties are more of a nice bonus than necessity, so skip it if you’re worried about costs. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these parties. What do you think? Do you have a favorite? Are these a ‘must do’ for you or a ‘been there done that’ sort of thing?
Thanks to John Frost of The Disney Blog for the Halloween party pictures.