Walt Disney World is magical any time of year, but there’s something about the holiday season that’s truly spectacular—and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party is a special way for families to ring in the holidays.
A hard-ticket event that runs from 7pm until midnight on select evenings in November and December, the party offers exclusive access to special holiday character greetings, entertainment, snacks, merchandise, and more.
Here are 8 facts and secrets to help you make the most of your Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party experience.
8. It’s only offered on select nights.
While guests can enjoy the festive yuletide décor throughout the Walt Disney World resort in November and December, you’ll want to be sure to plan your trip itinerary around the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party dates.
This year, the party will be held on: November 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27, and 29, and December 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18, and 22. The ticket prices represent a bit of a price increase from last year, and range from to $86 to $99 for adults and $81 to $94 for children (ages 3-9). Children under 3 are admitted free.
7. You can enter as early as 4pm
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party doesn’t officially start until 7pm, but many park-goers don’t realize that your ticket typically grants you access to the park as early as 4pm.
That means you’ll have plenty of time to grab a bite to eat—because you won’t want to waste your precious party hours eating dinner! — and, if character interactions are important to you, then you can hop in line for your must-see character well before they actually begin to greet guests and be among the first in line when the party starts.
6. You’ll have exclusive character meet-and-greet opportunities.
Part of the reason for the early entry for ticketholders is the popularity of special Christmas party meet-and-greets. Characters like the Seven Dwarfs will appear together—a party exclusive—and draw excessively long lines early in the evening. Other popular character photo opportunities include Jack Skellington (dressed up as Sandy Claws) as well as princesses posing with their princes.
You can also meet favorites like Minnie, Daisy, and Donald decked out in their holiday finest, as well as characters like Scrooge McDuck and Santa Goofy.
5. There’s some new entertainment this year.
Brand new for the 2016 party, a castle stage show entitled “Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration” will include medleys of both classic and contemporary holiday tunes. The show will feature the Fab Five and their friends, with special visits from characters ranging from Woody and Jessie to Alice and the White Rabbit.
The new show joins the line-up of already extremely popular holiday entertainment, including A Frozen Holiday Wish; Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade; Holiday Wishes; and A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas. The parade is extremely popular and offered twice per evening; for the chance of lighter crowds, plan to hit the later parade (after many of the youngest Disney fans have gone home for the evening).
4. There are free goodies located around the park.
The party runs until midnight, so you’ll need your energy if you’re going to make it until closing. Be sure to stop by the array of kiosks throughout the park that serve complimentary hot chocolate and cookies, as well as fruit slices, apple juice, and other options for those with dietary restrictions. You can find the snack locations on your Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party map.
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3. You can snag exclusive party merchandise.
As soon as the party begins (and sometimes shortly beforehand), select retail locations throughout the Magic Kingdom will roll out a limited supply of exclusive party merchandise. Annual passholders can also present their pass to get their hands on special “passholder” apparel.
The stock tends to run out early, so if nabbing that official 2016 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party t-shirt is important to you, try to squeeze in some shopping time early in the party.
2. There’s a new premium dessert experience.
For the 2016 party, Disney parks guests (and dessert lovers!) will have an opportunity to experience the holiday festivities in a whole new way. A new Holiday Wishes Dessert Premium Package will be offered on select nights from November 7 through December 22, and feature holiday-themed desserts such as chocolate-dipped strawberries, cupcakes, chocolate mousse, ice cream, cheeses, and fruit. You’ll also be able to make a toast to the season with sparkling cider, specialty Christmas drinks, hot chocolate, and other beverages.
Best of all, the package incudes reserved viewing for Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade on Main Street, USA as well as for Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season fireworks. The cost if $79 for adults and $49 for children.
1. It snows on Main Street.
We saved the best for last. Be sure to allot some time to hang out on Main Street, because you might just get to experience a very unusual sight in Florida: snow. Periodically throughout the evening (and at park closing), snow will fall on Main Street, USA—much to the delight of Disneygoers of all ages.