It is time to take a look at the questions that arise about these events that require an additional “hard” ticket for entry.
10. What is a “hard ticket” event?
What we refer to as a hard ticket event is one of the evening parties that Walt Disney World hosts (usually in the Magic Kingdom) that requires a separate ticket. You cannot use one of your Magic Your Way ticket days for these parties, you must buy an event specific ticket for that designated date. The main events are the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP). Although, there are additional events added to the calendar for special occasions from time to time.
9. What are the dates?
Dates for the parties follow a pattern each year with Halloween starting in late August or early September through early November. 2020’s MNSSHP is on select days between August 13 – November 1. Christmas Parties usually begin in November through December (except for holiday weeks, and as you get close to Christmas). 2020’s MVMCP dates have yet to be released. The 2019 parties were held on select days between November 8 – December 22.
8. How much does it cost?
Good question. The pricing for the parties changes every year and it varies by the date you want to attend. You can save a little with advance purchase pricing. Prices are upwards of $79, but check DisneyWorld.com for the latest pricing. If you buy your ticket the day of you will pay slightly more (and you might not be able to attend because some nights do sell out well in advance). There are some discounts available on select nights for Disney Vacation Club members and Annual Passholders. Everyone has to buy this separate ticket for admission to the party—it is not included with any “regular” day tickets.
7. How do I buy my ticket?
Tickets for these events normally go on sale in the spring. To order in advance for the savings and to guarantee your ticket you can visit DisneyWorld.com and login to you My Disney Experience account. You can search for the party you want to attend and buy your tickets online. Your tickets can be linked to your My Disney Experience account and hard tickets also come in the mail if you don’t plan on using a MagicBand to gain access.
6. When can I get in to the party & can I just stay?
Usually, you can gain entrance to the Magic Kingdom at 4:00pm with your “hard” party ticket. You will go to the turnstile as you would normally and scan the ticket. You will then get a wristband that makes you “official.” If you are visiting the park that day and have a party ticket there are usually areas in the park where you can go and redeem your hard party ticket for a wristband. If you are visiting the park and DO NOT have a party ticket you will be politely but firmly escorted toward the front of the park beginning at 7:00pm (although this year’s Christmas party has people leaving at 6pm). The Cast Members set up check points throughout the park and look for wristbands, if you don’t have one they send you toward the exits.
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5. Will it be crowded and when is the best time to go?
Maybe. If you attend the MNSSHP on Halloween night the answer is yes. If you go on a Tuesday in early September, probably not. There are a limited number of tickets sold, so that helps. And you will sometimes find that the lines for attractions are shorter because most of the party-goers are there for the other entertainment. Of course, the closer to a holiday you go the more you will be in that “spirit” but if you want to avoid the crowds the best time to go is on a weekday and earlier in the season (with the possible exception of the very first party).
4. What is so special about the parties?
The parties are very different from a normal day in the park. MNSSHP is probably my favorite thing that Disney does, and my favorite part of that party is the special Halloween parade—it is amazing. From the ride of the headless horseman to the dancing grave diggers you will want to see both parade showings the night you go. MNSSHP also features special Halloween themed fireworks (also amazing), trick or treating, special stage shows (one features villains), dance parties, and most fun of all most people dress in costumes. MVMCP is also a fun event that features the Christmas parade (similar to the one aired on Christmas Day but without the celebrities), holiday themed fireworks, stage shows, dance parties, Santa Claus, and hot cocoa and cookies included with admission.
3. Is there special merchandise?
Yes. The parties have limited edition pins to collect. There are also t-shirts and the usual types of souvenir merchandise for the parties. Sometimes there is a special cupcake for the party.
2. Where can I eat?
To me, my party time is precious so I don’t want to spend it in a table service restaurant. Other people prefer to have an early dining reservation in the park to kick off the party. Not all of the counter service restaurants will be open during a party, and several of the carts will close down. It does vary each year, so be sure to consult your party map (different from the daytime park map) when you enter the park. Most of the table service will be open, but you want to have a reservation. And speaking of the map—pick up a couple, they make nice souvenirs, and you want to make sure you know where all of the special party entertainment is happening (especially those trick or treat stations).
1. Is it worth it?
The number 1 all-time question I get about these parties. My answer is YES (in reference to MNSSHP and MVMCP). If you have never done them before, I especially say yes. As I said, the Halloween party is my favorite Disney thing to do. The Christmas party is also very special. I feel like the Halloween party is “repeatable” multiple times, while the Christmas party is a definite do at least once and probably repeat every several years.
What are you favorite things about the “hard” ticket parties? And do you have any tips for visiting during these parties?