Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party can be a very fun holiday tradition, but if you’re traveling with kids, having a plan for the evening will help you come away with the memories you’re hoping for.
Your family plan can be as simple as focusing on rides (because the lines are expected to be short at a limited-attendance event) or as detailed as an hour-by-hour schedule to hit all the holiday shows.
In any case, gIve yourself some extra time by arriving early. The party activities don’t start until 7 p.m., but you can enter and get a wristband anytime after 4 p.m. That’s three extra hours for rides, dinner or photos in front of holiday backdrops — things you might choose to finish before the party starts.
When my family goes to special-ticket events at the Magic Kingdom, we usually plan to see the second parade because it’s less crowded. (That doesn’t work well for young children, though, who may be asleep in their strollers by 10:30 p.m.) This year, we decided to try seeing the three Main Street, U.S.A., holiday events back-to-back.
We were in line for the complimentary hot chocolate, sugar cookies and apples when the counter opened at 7 p.m. and then took our goodies straight over to the hub by the castle. This is, of course, one of the most crowded places for viewing, but we wanted to try to watch the Celebrate the Season show on the Castle Forecourt Stage at 7:45 p.m., Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade at 8:15 p.m. and Holiday Wishes fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
We lucked into front-row seats for the parade and fireworks, but the view wasn’t great for the stage show because guests stand, which makes it tough for kids to see. Next time, I would try a later show so we could find a spot closer to the stage. Still, Disney’s Christmas parade is our favorite, and we had the perfect spot with the Castle Dream Lights in the background. We moved back down Main Street for the fireworks — the booming is not quite as loud for little ears — which also allowed the kids to see the “snow” and get more cookies and hot cocoa.
After the fireworks, we went out into the Magic Kingdom for rides and two dance parties, Woody’s Hootin’ Holiday Open House at The Diamond Horseshoe and Cosmic Ray’s Jingle, Dance and Play in Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe.
There also are plenty of character meet-and-greets, including Mickey and Minnie dressed in their holiday finery in the Judge’s Tent in Mickey’s Toontown Fair. Be sure to get a special PhotoPass card for a 40 percent discount on photos from the party.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party nights are Dec. 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17 and 19, but the 19th is already sold out. Tickets cost $59.95 for adults ($53.95 for ages 3-9) on the day of the party. Advance tickets are available with $6 savings for many dates at Disneyworld.com/christmasparty.
After Dec. 19, the Celebrate the Season stage show, Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade and Holiday Wishes fireworks are included in regular park admission.