Friday, July 3, 2009
Okay, it's July. You're probably not even thinking about Christmas. In fact, you're probably thinking about what you're grilling tomorrow or fireworks or how incredibly hot it is. But if you're going to Disney World in November or December, you can buy tickets now to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party and dream about (somewhat) cooler weather and snow on Main Street.
What, you didn't know it snowed on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom during the Christmas season? Okay, it's not real snow, obviously, but it does snow thanks to a few strategically placed machines up and down Main Street that mysteriously float little flakes over your head as you walk around soaking up the Christmas spirit. Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP to those in the know, which now includes you) is a separately ticketed event that takes place in the Magic Kingdom on select nights in November and December. This year's dates are as follows:
November 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 29
December 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 18
Weekends and some weeknights tend to sell out, particularly the closer you get to Christmas. Tickets are on sale now at the Disney site . I've also seen tickets listed on the Orlando area Craigslist closer to the event, but keep in mind that you're not dealing with Disney directly and you could be opening yourself up to less than scrupulous sellers. Still, if you're in Orlando and don't have tickets, then a cash-only transaction in a public place could save you money or get you access to a sold-out event. MVMCP tickets are plastic and look very much like your park tickets; the date should be on the back.
MVMCP officially runs from 7:00 to midnight, but you'll be allowed into the Magic Kingdom as early as 4:30 the day of the event, so it makes sense to not go to the parks that day. Instead, think about having a quiet day at your hotel and then going that night. We did this the first time we went and it was perfect; the second time, our six-year old was at the parks all day. By 7:00 that night, he wanted to go back to the resort and sleep; needless to say, that was one wasted ticket (although, I went back later with my best friend, who travelled with our family).
Besides the aforementioned snow on Main Street, you'll see a special Christmas parade and shows, and be able to ride most attractions with the promise of shorter lines. There is also free hot chocolate and cookies. The Christmas parade alone, to me, made the whole evening worth it, but you also can't beat the Magic Kingdom lit up at night with added bonus of gorgeous Christmas decorations. We've gone the last two years in a row and it's been the highlight of our trip (tired six-year old notwithstanding).
MVMCP gets some bad press and the naysayers do have a valid point. Some nights are notoriously crowded, however as much as I enjoy speculating on how crowded a park will be on any given day, I wouldn't begin to guess as to MVMCP because there doesn't really seem to be any way to predict it. I will say that we have gone on both a Sunday and a Thursday night in early December. Both nights were not crowded, although I did hear that other nights those weeks were so bad that guests complained that they couldn't even watch the parade. I think the trick is to not expect to do everything and to go for the atmosphere--it is, afterall, a party. You may do as we did and simply walk onto every ride or you may not ride anything. We didn't bother trying to see the Christmas shows because the lines were too long, but it also wasn't important to us. I would definintely not schedule it as your only visit to the Magic Kingdom that trip, not only because of the crowds but because not every attraction is open. For me, the festive atmosphere was everything; the fact that we rode Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin half a dozen times in a row without waiting was just extra.
Okay, that was pretty great. But, I would have had a wonderful time regardless.
Advance tickets for adults run $55.38; event day tickets are available for $62.84. Kids tickets are $48.99 for advanced tickets and $56.45 for same day purchases. Slight discounts are available for Annual Pass holders and DVC members. Again, be advised that some nights often sell out in advance.
A little video for the uninitiated:
Another on how the castle is decorated during the holidays: