Are you considering a visit to the most Magical event in Disney—Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP)? We’ve got 12 tips you need to know to make it truly the most merry Christmas party of the year!
1. The Party Starts at 4PM and Ends After 12AM
MVMCP is a special, ticketed event at Magic Kingdom on select November and December nights. We’ve got a full guide to the party here. Disney lists the hours of MVMCP as being 7PM to 12AM. While it’s technically true that most offerings are available only between 7PM and 12AM, that’s not the entire truth.
Party guests can arrive and enter on their party ticket as early as 4PM, and (as seen above) plenty of event guests will queue before that time. Between 4PM and 7PM, they can ride rides, buy some merchandise, and attend some character appearances. Event exclusives are staffed by Cast Members who will check your wristband during these hours. (This tip also applies to the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.)
2. Bring Your Appetite…
While the Halloween party gets a lot of attention for its unlimited trick-or-treating, we find the free snack offerings at MVMCP to be better. No, you’re not going to take these home and live off them for weeks, but you’re going to get a decent variety of snacks and beverages, including cookies, sno cone, egg nog, cider, and hot chocolate.
The variety is much better than the Halloween party, and frankly we’ll take cookies and egg nog over grocery store candy any day. At our first MVMCP, we ate some many snacks we felt sick when we got home. We definitely considered that party a win. As of 2018, Disney packages the cookies—the most common snack—in plastic, which makes it easier to save them for home if you so choose.
3. …And Your Wallet
Party guests have access to exclusive merchandise, including t-shirts, pins, ornaments, and mugs.
During the hours when other guests may be in the park you’ll see it behind a rope guarded by vigilant Cast Members.
4. Ride the Jingle Cruise…
Jingle Cruise is a Magic Kingdom Christmas tradition. The overlay on the Jungle Cruise is a better overlay than the three new ones that came to the Halloween party this year, and it’s available all season long in the Magic Kingdom. This is a good one to knock out right when you arrive at the park between 4PM and 7PM. No need to waste party time on it unless you have to.
5. But Skip Rides After 7PM
With the exception of Jingle Cruise, which gets a pass as a Christmas-themed ride, you shouldn’t even consider any rides once 7PM rolls around! This is a $100+ event with tons of exclusives you won’t find any other time of the year. In some cases, you might never see these items again!
There’s no need to spend your time on rides that will be there tomorrow! (Forget about FastPass+, it isn’t even active during party hours!) If you really need to get a ride in, just hop in line a few minutes before the end of the party.
6. Be Sure To Watch The Once Upon A Christmastime Parade and Holiday Wishes
Santa comes to Disney World in the Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, which is enough to make it a must-watch on its own. But the parade offers even more, and it’s entirely exclusive holiday floats you won’t see outside the party. It’s twice a night, so be sure to catch the first showing in case you decide you want to watch it twice.
Holiday Wishes is another party-exclusive. It’s a firework show set to a well-compiled soundtrack of Christmas songs. You can catch Holiday Wishes once a night at 10PM.
7. Be Ready to Hop Between Stages
MVMCP is loaded with entertainment for a five-hour party. You’ve got six pieces of entertainment—two castle stage shows, two Tomorrowland stage shows, the parade, and the fireworks. Plus there are two dance parties. The way they’re spaced out is a little awkward, but designed for you to watch them all in a row. The 10 to 15 minute gaps allow you to run and grab a snack between shows, but not much else.
To visit all these, you’ll need to come up with a plan to hop between the two stages and wherever your firework and parade viewing spots are going to be. You could easily spend 2.5 of your first three hours catching all the shows. Our go-to itinerary targets the middle set of shows—we catch the entertainment at 8:15, 8:30, 9:00, 9:25, 10:00, and 10:30.
8. Grab Photos With Unique Characters
The most popular character at MVMCP is Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws. Other than that, you’ll find various characters scattered across the 15+ character spots in the park. Some will be characters you never see, and others will be your favorite characters dressed in their exclusive Christmas party wear.
Keep in mind that lines for the most popular characters can build early—as in to multiple hours by the time the party starts early. These waits typically plummet right around 10PM, when Holiday Wishes is shown and most families call it a night.
9. Enjoy the Snow
You might not see it on the guidemap, but as part of the parades and end of the night, you’ll be able to enjoy some “snow” on Main Street U.S.A.
10. Plan To Stay As Late As Possible
The party technically ends at 12AM, but just like every other night at the Disney parks, no one is going to kick you out at that time. Indeed, if there’s one night you want to plan to stay as late as possible, make it this night.
Plenty of people will be ready to head out right at 12AM, so you won’t have to stay too late to get some amazing views of nearly-empty Main Street, U.S.A. and Cinderella Castle decked in their Christmas finest.
11. Grab A Free Collectors’ Item
One of the most popular collectibles from the party is free (well, you paid for the party ticket, but yea). Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is the interactive game at Magic Kingdom, and its card—particularly from the holiday parties—are hot items. Per WDWNT reports this year’s features characters from Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. You can expect lines for that, at least near the beginning of the night!
12. Know Your Priorities
It is impossible to do everything MVMCP has to offer at a single party. The total character waits alone would probably take the entire time of the party. So you have to know what is most important to you. Is there a must-see character? Will you be trying to get all the snacks?
On our first party of 2018, we had two fit, spry adults speed-walking separately around the park and we still didn’t get everything done (we did both watch most of the entertainment, though). There is simply too much food, entertainment, shopping and character time to fit it all into one party.
All Your Other Disney World Planning Questions Answered
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Finally, before you head out, be sure to check out our to-the-point packing list, 10 essentials you forget to pack for every Disney trip. And if you're interested in saving, there's no better list than our 53 Ways to Save on your Disney trip from start to finish.