Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2013 Review
On December 16, 1983 Disney hosted the very first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. It has grown in popularity each year. This 30th year, first party of the year, was a sell-out crowd. Official crowd total for the night was??? (Disney keeps this a big secret). It was a large crowd for what was supposed to be a smaller amount of people hopefully resulting in shorter lines. It was uncomfortably crowded and I would have left if it had been a regular night in the park, with the idea of trying another evening that was not as crowded. I am used to Disney crowds, and this was a very busy night. It is highly recommended that you purchase your tickets in advance for this special event. An annual pass, Magic Your Way or Park Hopper pass does not cover this event; a separate ticket must be purchased for it. The Party begins at 7PM and runs until midnight. You should be able to enter the Magic Kingdom at 4PM on the party date with your MVMCP ticket. The park is not closed prior to the event which allows you to enter the park early. Be sure you get your wristband as you enter the park, or at one of the stations set up throughout the park. At 7PM only guests with MVMCP tickets and wristbands will be allowed to stay in the park, all the other day guests will be asked to leave immediately. A wrist band is required to ride, shop, eat, and experience all the Party extras.
You will find the MVMCP brochure with times guide and map HERE. Take a look at it to familiarize yourself with the layout and how much there is to do during the Party. You will have to set your priorities if you want to accomplish much of what is offered. Don’t expect that you can do it all in one Party night. There is just too much to get done in one evening, especially if it is a sold out crowd.
The entertainment is always great at Disney. This became the top priority for my party group. More about this later. The complimentary cookies, hot cocoa or alternative gluten free/sugar free cookies, apple juice and red apple slices are available at 7 locations. Just look for the giant inflated, lighted Candy Canes outside the facility that is hosting the treats. My party went to three stations as we had time. We had to wait in a line that took about 5 minutes each. The evening was beautiful but with a little chill, so the hot cocoa was really nice to enjoy. The only regular cookies available were Snicker doodles. We had been told to expect Snicker doodles, but also Sugar Cookies and Chocolate Chip, so only having the one flavor all night was less enticing. We were tired of the same cookie but enjoyed the cocoa. To be fair, the first Snicker doodle was a nice chewy texture and had nice flavor. I feel for the price of the ticket having a variety of cookies is a reasonable expectation. If you would like to purchase special Party treats you won’t want to miss Sleepy Hollow where you can get a Holiday waffle with soft serve ice cream. At the Main Street Bakery, you can purchase Mocha Cocoa Cupcakes, and at Westward Ho refreshments you can purchase a Peppermint Brownie. I recommend eating prior to the Party start time so you don’t waste precious time sitting in a restaurant. You will enjoy the complimentary treats more after having eaten a meal beforehand. The Taco Salad at Pecos Bill is very filling by the way. I have been craving a Casey’s Chili Cheese Dog and enjoyed eating at the corner of Main Street people watching. It was delicious and just what I needed to keep me going. The Dog comes with fries and one of my Party friends wanted to try the Corn Dog Nuggets. She really enjoyed them. There was a whole cup of the Nuggets and she was filled up by the bottom of the cup. There are 13 counter-service locations open during the party.
There is special MVMCP merchandise at the gift shops including a special collector trading pin for the event. You may want to buy a set of the Glow with the Show Mickey Ears that have lights in the ears that interact with the entertainment. They are fun for those around you to watch as they change colors in time with the music or the theme of the event.
After eating we went to check out the Jingle Cruise on its first day with the Holiday overlay (Jungle Cruise turned into Jingle Cruise overnight and is available for regular park hours.) The Fast Passes are all gone and the Stand-by Line is 50 minutes long. (Note: There are no Fast Passes during the Party) Thinking that we will be enjoying a much smaller crowd in a couple of hours we decide to go ride Pirates of the Caribbean. We see the giant Candy Canes are already in place at Tortuga Tavern and there is a station there to get wristbands for the Party.
We went to ride the Haunted Mansion in Liberty Square. We could see that Sleepy Hollow was very busy. We then went on to Fantasyland and rode Small World. When we came out it was Party time! We knew that Pinocchio Village Haus was one of the Treat locations so we got in line which enters through the back entrance of the restaurant. On our way in line we saw Mary Poppins, Bert, the Penguin, were lined up in front of the Carousel for a meet and greet. And the 7 Dwarfs complete with green Elf hats had a very long line for a meet and greet with them. The cast member behind the counter at Pinocchio Village Haus handed me a cookie and a cup of hot chocolate. We enjoyed our first cookie and hot chocolate as we walked over to Story time With Belle. I was not sure if ALL the characters at the party would be in their Christmas finery and I really wanted to see Belle in hers. The little house that you enter into the attraction was decorated on the outside and inside with Christmas wreathes, garland, even a Christmas tree. The rest of the experience is exactly the same as it usually is, including Belle in her golden yellow gown. It was still a fun experience. Minnie Mouse is spotted doing meet and greet near one of the small castle wall sections.
We decide to head over to Tomorrowland. On arrival we run into Cosmic Rays Starlight Cafe-“Club Tinsel” Dance party with Chip and Dale (the dance parties are continual). We wait in the line at the Treat area and are handed another Snicker Doodle and cup of hot cocoa. We sip the chocolate and discover it is a much hotter temperature than our first cup and so much more enjoyable. As we enjoy our snack we walk over to the Tomorrowland Stage in time to see the 7:45PM “A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas Show” featuring Mike Wizowski, Buzz Lightyear, Stitch, and many dancers, in a very lively Christmas party performance. The crowd was dancing and singing along. We were standing right next to the Astro Orbiter entrance and someone in my party loves this ride and the line was almost nothing so she had to ride during the end of the show.
Doing character meet and greets is something we wanted to do a lot of and we spot Phineas and Ferb near the exit of Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin. The music is playing and the duo are having fun dancing with their visitors and posing for photos. They always have a lively interaction whenever we meet them. They appear daily at Hollywood Studios but this is the first time we saw them at Magic Kingdom.
We are in Tomorrowland and the call of Space Mountain is too strong, and it is a 10 minute wait so we have to ride. There are special lighting features on the outside of Space Mountain with a snowflake theme.
We heard that Periwinkle was visiting with friend Tinkerbelle over at the Adventureland area so we run through Tomorrowland Terrace to grab another cookie and cocoa. Another Snicker doodle. The crowd outside on the street and in front of the castle is very deep with people. It is snowing on Main Street! We got to the castle hub area just as the parade was ending so we crossed through the crowd, very slowly, to get to Adventureland. We waited about 35-40 minutes to see Tinkerbelle and Periwinkle. The Fairies were both entertaining and it was a fun experience, but a long line as usual to see them. The Party didn’t cut down on the wait time here.
We cut through from Adventureland to Liberty Square to visit the dance party in the Diamond Horseshoe: “Woody’s Hootin’ Holiday Open House featuring an emcee, Woody, Jesse, and Bulls Eye dancing with the crowd. Big kids and little kids were dancing to the tunes and having a great time. Outside it is fun to see the special lighting features. In the street nearby are some of the stars of Country Bear Jamboree dancing and getting photos with the party guests. There is a great three piece band that plays in Fronteirland regularly but tonight their instruments are decorated with Christmas lights. This is a popular spot!
Going toward the Liberty Square we decide to check in at the Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom station behind the Olde Christmas Shoppe and pick up our Party special card: Donald Duck’s nephews who throw snowballs at the villains. To our surprise the Cast Member gave us this 2013 MVMCP special card AND last year’s MVMCP card, along with our packet of cards for the day.
In the garden area right next to us we see Tiana in her beautiful gown and Naveen is here with her! We get in the short line to meet them and they were great. They are in their traditional clothing, not Christmas outfits.
Passing the Cinderella Castle earlier we notice that Merida was out in her traditional dress also. You can do a meet and greet with Captain Jack Sparrow over in Adventureland right across from Pirates of the Caribbean. The great thing about the Meet and Greets at the party are that there are characters that are not normally in the Magic Kingdom, and rarely seen anywhere outside of a party. An example of this is that the Princesses in Fairy Tale Hall tonight have their Princes right alongside them to meet the Party guests. That is double the fun! They play off each other and interact well with the guests. We really enjoy this aspect of the Party.
9:15 Back to the Castle, we are watching Celebrate the Magic where lights and images are shown on the Cinderella Castle. We knew this show would lead into the Holiday Wishes so we kept moving forward as the crowd shifted in front of us. “Holiday Wishes—Celebrate the Spirit of the Season” began right away. It has a different track than the regular Wishes and is available on the new four CD set just made available this week in the Disney Parks. The CD will be available on November 11 to the rest of the world. It is a very good fireworks show and the music is great for putting you in the Christmas spirit. There were some elements we had not seen happen before that actually shot fireworks from the castle façade itself. It was a great 360 degree fireworks show.
We took off walking quickly to the Jingle Cruise immediately after the fireworks finale. We walked into the queue and about halfway through before running into other guests. It gave us time to enjoy the Christmas themed changes and additions to the attraction. The story is that the captains are homesick so they decide to add some Christmas atmosphere to their dock, boats, and housing to help them feel closer to home. We boarded the “Mistletoe Millie”. Our captain was wearing a “Santa hat” made of animal fur (faux). There were a few Holiday themed jokes told, but for the most part our captain spieled the regular set of jokes. The sound was very poor and unfortunately our captain did not possess comedic timing at all. Still, for fans of the Jungle Cruise and Christmas, you don’t want to miss it.
We moved through the street in front of the castle quickly to the other side, and find space in the Castle forecourt to watch the “Celebrate the Season” Show at 10:05. It is a Christmas musical celebration starring the main Disney characters in their Christmas garb. It is lively and entertaining. We really enjoyed seeing Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip and Dale, along with dancers, reindeer, horses, and more in Holiday dress. This was a good show and worth seeing.
After Holiday Wishes we had expected that a large group of people would move out for the night. But they didn’t. There was still a very large crowd for the second parade. We lined up behind people who were sitting down, about 2 to 3 deep on the streets edge in front of the Castle. Sure enough, as soon as the “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade” made its way from Fronteirland this far, two of them decided to stand up. One of them continually waved at the characters on the floats and I have several really great pictures of her hand shooting up just as I was snapping a shot. I typically wouldn’t bother trying to take photos at the parade, but rather just enjoy it. But I wanted to be able to show you some of the floats, just in case you would not get to attend the event yourself and would like to see what was in it. One of the floats that came by pumped out the smells of a Holiday bakery. The popular Disney characters were all in the parade, and they had great groups of dancers in between their floats.
As soon as the parade was over we booked it over to Princess Fairy Tale Hall thinking, again, that the line would be shorter. We entered the 40 minute line to see Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, Snow White and Prince. We wanted to see these princesses and princes the most. Again, the characters were engaging, funny, talkative and it was more special that they were there together. When we came out of the Hall there was only a few minutes left of the Party time so we made our way to Main Street where it was still snowing! On the other side of the Hall is Prince Charming, Prince Phillip, Sleeping Beauty, Aurora.
Hearing the Christmas music, seeing the snow, looking at all the decorations really put us in the Christmas spirit.
Just to recap the MVMCP Character Meet and Greets that are not listed on the brochure/map for the party I hope this list helps (I even asked Cast Members about where/when/which characters would be at the party and even they couldn’t tell me. I don’t know if it changes from one party to another or why the lists are not published. )
Mary Poppins, Bert, the Penguin -in front of the Carousel in Fantasyland
7 Dwarfs complete with green Elf hats near their ride in New Fantasyland
Minnie Mouse (in red velvet dress), by castle wall section in Fantasyland
Phineas and Ferb near the exit of Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, Tomorrowland
Tinkerbelle and Periwinkle, Fairy spot, Adventureland Veranda area
stars of Country Bear Jamboree, street of Fronteirland outside Diamond Horseshoe
Tiana and Naveen, Liberty Square garden behind Christmas Shoppe
Captain Jack Sparrow, Adventureland, across from Pirates of the Caribbean
Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, Snow White and Prince at Princess Fairy Tale Hall
On the other side of the Hall is Prince Charming, Prince Phillip, Sleeping Beauty, Aurora.
I don’t know who was in the Town Square Theater, or the Candy Cane Garden, both at the very front of the park. By the time we got to the entrance the Party was over. I had heard that Ghirardelli has sponsored a handout of Peppermint Chocolates as guests exited, but like the rumor that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party giving out peeps as guests exited, it did not happen.
Overall, I would recommend the MVMCP to other guests IF it is not a sold out night. I was at one of the first MNSSHP nights, which was also sold out; however, this crowd was much larger than that one. Since Disney has not published these numbers I can’t tell you by how many more thousands of people there were but I do know that there were still very long lines for some attractions that I didn’t experience at the Halloween party. I also left the park with a full bag of Halloween candy. I had two cookies and three cups of cocoa for the same price. I more highly recommend the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party over the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. If you love all things Christmas, you will probably have a great time at this party. I feel like I can experience the Christmas feeling during regular park hours just as much and at a greater value than the party.