Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: My Ultimate Plan
There are only a few Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas parties left this season, so here’s my plan for making the most of your experience!
If you don’t live locally or visit the Disney parks often, I suggest scheduling a 2nd full day in the Magic Kingdom. There is so much to see and do during the parties, and there is no way to fit every single party activity – let alone actually experiencing rides and exploring the Magic Kingdom – into such a short window. This plan contains only party-related activities and it differs just a little from my Not-so-Scary Halloween Party plan.
The goal: experience as many party activities as possible.
Step 1: Getting There
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party officially starts at 7:00, but the Kingdom usually starts letting party guests in around 4:00. Be sure to use the special event entrances – they’ll be marked at the tapstiles, and a cast member is usually around to direct traffic. You’ll get your wristband upon entering. The park closes to day guests at 6:00 PM, so anyone without a wristband is kindly escorted out.
On your way in, be sure to grab a times guide.
Step 2: Dinner
A few weeks out, make an Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) for 4:30 PM. We usually go to Tony’s, but we picked the Skipper Canteen this year and it exceeded expectations. You could do a quickservice meal, too, if you want, but I like to enjoy a few minutes of relaxation at a table service restaurant before we hit the ground running. Not all of the restaurants in Magic Kingdom are open during the parties, so it’s a good opportunity for everyone to have a substantial meal before consuming ALL the Christmas cookies.
Step 3: In-demand Character Meet & Greets: Sandy Claws
Have a particular character you’d like to meet? Lines for Sandy Claws, Moana, and the 7 Dwarfs are typically the longest. Sandy Claws arrives at 6:00 PM in order to accommodate the demand. Since you’ll be finishing dinner between 5:30 and 5:45, hop in line to meet Sandy. We got in line at approximately 5:45 and met Sandy at about 6:50.
Step 4: Party-exclusive Merch
Your times guide will indicate which party-exclusive items are available in which shop. Not all shops carry the same things, believe it or not! Sometimes exclusive merch sells out immediately; however, I’ve had great luck getting my hands on whatever I wanted this year, so hopefully Disney has increased supply a bit.
We always pick up a party-exclusive pin or two, and I’m a sucker for magic bands with pretty art and special lights and sounds (not to mention seasonal scents!). I find the Emporium to be too hectic, so after we said hi to Sandy Claws, we made our way back to Big Top Souvenirs in Storybook Circus. Special apparel is usually out on the shop floor, but you’ll need to ask for pins and magic bands at the counter.
This year, we made it in and out of Big Top Souvenirs just before 7:00 PM. Party merch is generally not available until 7:00 PM; however, if you have a party wristband, the store is ready, and you’re there at 6:55, I doubt you’ll have any issues.
Step 4.5: Treats!
During Christmas parties, multiple quick service locations convert to complimentary treat stations! When you pass one, be sure to pop in for cookies, hot chocolate, and various other treats.
- Tortuga Tavern: Snowman Soft Pretzel & Sno-cone
- Liberty Square Ticket Office: Ginger Molasses Cookie & Eggnog
- The Friar’s Nook: Dove Chocolate & Sparkling Cider
- Pete’s Silly Sideshow: Peppermint Crunch Cookie & Nestle Nesquik
- Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe: Snickerdoodle Cookie & Hot Chocolate
- Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies: Santa Claus Cookie and Sno-cone
Important note: my favorite cookies are the Peppermint Crunch. Ginger Molasses comes in a very close second!
Step 5: More Characters! And Shows! And Treats!
Santa Goofy meets in Storybook Circus, as do Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck (in winter gear, no less!), Minnie and Daisy, and The Seven Dwarfs. The line for Goofy is usually average (in my experience), but the line for Scrooge and Donald can get a little long.
After our stop in Big Top Souvenirs, we went over to meet Goofy, then scurried up to the Town Square Theatre to meet Mickey. Note: when on Main Street or Town Square, be sure to take a moment to enjoy the faux snow. By then, it was time to pop to the castle hub for the 8:15 showing of A Frozen Holiday Wish.
I highly encourage taking the time to watch A Frozen Holiday Wish. It’s just under 8 minutes, and it’s pretty dang magical. Opt for the 8:15 PM showing, though. There’s also one at 6:15, but it tends to be very crowded since non-party guests are still in the park at that time.
Just after A Frozen Holiday Wish ended, we headed over to the Rocket Tower stage to catch A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas. This is also a show worth watching; it’s upbeat and very cute. Expect to see Buzz Lightyear, Mike Wazowski, Stitch, and lots of super-talented dancers.
After ATTC, we dashed back to Storybook Circus to say hi to Uncle Scrooge and Donald. Then it was time to head back to the castle hub for Holiday Wishes fireworks at 10:00 PM. I like to stand one walkway up from Casey’s corner for the best view. While there are some castle projections, they aren’t as essential as the ones during Happily Ever After, so you can really watch from anywhere if you’d like.
Step 6: Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration
I absolutely adore this show, and if you watch Holiday Wishes from the castle hub, you’ll be in a perfect position to watch Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration.
Definitely make MMMC a priority. It’s the highlight of the party: fun, upbeat, ridiculously cute, and heartwarming.
Step 7: Once Upon a Christmastime Parade
Hang on to your spot in the castle hub and you’ll be in the perfect position for The Once Upon a Christmastime parade. It steps off in Frontierland at 11:00 PM and should reach the castle hub at about 11:10 and Main Street at about 11:15. The castle hub is great for viewing, but due to lighting, it isn’t the best for photos.
Note: there’s also an 8:30 PM parade, but I far prefer the 11:00 parade for the tamer crowds.
Main Street is obviously a great place to catch the parade, buuuut people start staking out spots around 6:30 PM, and I just cannot justify paying $100 for an event only to sit in one spot and do nothing for 3 hours.
Step 8: The end
The party is officially over at midnight, but heaps of people leave after the parade finishes (around 11:45). But you’ve still got 15 minutes of party left, so make the most of it! Plus, if you leave now, you’re going to get stuck in the throngs of people waiting for the ferry and monorail.
So what now? If there was something you meant to buy, go grab it. Was there a ride you wanted to try? Go hop in line! Want to snap some more photos of the spectacular Cinderella Castle? Go right ahead! Was there a cookie you liked? Treat locations are open ’til 12, so go back for more! Sometimes, just before midnight, the cookie givers are rather generous. 😉
Then, on your way out, have a browse through the Emporium on Main Street. This should have you exiting the park at 12:10 or just after, and lines for the monorail and ferry will still exist but will have calmed quite a bit.
And there you have it. I hope these tips will help you in getting the maximum enjoyment out of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! Any questions? Please leave ’em below!
Related: check out my MVMCP post from 2016 that discusses what I’d do differently!