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Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party Archives

November 12, 2015

What’s new for 2015 at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

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Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party has returned to the Magic Kingdom for select nights in November and December, bringing Christmas cheer to visitors and locals alike. My children and I attended the first party of the 2015 season and I will have several reports about what you can expect. First, here’s what’s new this year at the Christmas Party.

Holiday entertainment

Most of the entertainment this year is the same as last year, and that’s not bad news! Expect to see your favorite features of the party -- characters, stage shows, fireworks, the parade and the dance party. I can’t imagine not seeing Holiday Wishes – Celebrate the Spirit of the Season! It’s my favorite version of Wishes fireworks, hands down.

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There is one new addition to the evening’s entertainment, however, and you won’t want to miss it because it’s a unique show. VoicePlay performs its a cappella holiday concert four times each night (8:10, 9:05, 10:10 and 11:05 p.m.) on the Rockettower Plaza Stage in Tomorrowland. The five-part harmonies are produced by Earl Elkins, Jr., Geoff Castellucci, Layne Stein, Eliezer Jacobson and Tony Wakim. The group was started 15 years ago, and now tours the country with its production. In fact, after the last performance at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, VoicePlay heads out on tour again!

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card
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As has been the tradition since the interactive Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game debuted in 2012, a new holiday card will be given to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party guests. It’s free, like other Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom cards, and available at the Fire House on Main Street, U.S.A., and behind the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in Liberty Square beginning at 4 p.m. if you have your party wristband. This year’s design features Olaf and his Snowgies from the “Frozen Fever” short and is only available at the party.

Exclusive Christmas party merchandise
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Of course, there is new exclusive merchandise for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, including trading pins, a graphic MagicBand and T-shirts. There also is a passholder-only T-shirt and trading pin. The pins are only available at the Frontier Trading Post, which made for some long lines that my family and I experienced when both of my young pin collectors insisted on spending their money. MagicBands are only available at the Emporium. T-shirts can be purchased at the Emporium, Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe and Mickey’s Star Traders.

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All merchandise can be purchased beginning at 4 p.m. if you have your party wristband. I really like that event organizers have made the merchandise available before the party starts at 7 p.m. Not only does this disperse the crowds a bit, but it also allows families like mine to take care of purchases without sacrificing precious party time.

Complimentary professional photos

This is the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party for which most annual passholders can get free professional photos. When Walt Disney World changed its annual pass structure in October, it added free digital downloads of professional PhotoPass photos to most of the passes. (Only the Florida resident Silver, Disney Weekday Select and Epcot After 4 passes do not have the free photo download feature.) With this in mind, I would encourage you to stop and take a few professional photos. (Even if you are not an annual passholder, having your photo taken doesn’t cost anything and you can decide later if you want to purchase the photos.)

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Many people use this opportunity to take photos for their Christmas cards. A word of warning: If you are counting on a photo for this exact reason, allow for the possibility of needing a retake. Take your photo early in the evening and check it on My Disney Experience to make sure it is what you expected. It doesn’t take long for the professional photos to show up in your online account. Also, you might want to plan outfits (or props) accordingly.

This is the first year for the extra Cinderella Castle turrets to be covered in holiday lights, which makes a beautiful backdrop. There's also a new photo op in Adventureland that features a Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party ornament plus an elf and a reindeer from the Christmas parade.

Jungle Cruise festivities

The Jungle Cruise has been transformed into the Jingle Cruise for the third year with a "world-famous" holiday overlay. The back story, according to Jennifer Fickley-Baker on the Disney Parks Blog: “The Skippers are homesick for the holidays and to add cheer, they decorated the attraction queue and boathouse with homemade decorations, gifts and items from back home. Boats have temporarily been renamed with holiday monikers and the Skippers are armed with seasonal jokes. (Listen carefully in the queue, too – you may hear a holiday-themed radio broadcast playing in the background).”

But that’s not what is new. Jen recently reminded readers that the new Jungle Skipper Canteen, a restaurant under construction in Adventureland, still is scheduled to open this year. So, perhaps some lucky partygoers will be among the first to try out the new restaurant.

“Guests will be able to experience “World Famous Jungle Cuisine” in one of several unique dining rooms, including a crew mess hall and a once-hidden secret meeting room of the famed Society of Explorers and Adventurers,” Jen wrote.

In my next blog post, I’ll be giving tips for families attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.



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November 14, 2013

Tips for making the most of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

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It's been a few years since I've attended Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, so I was excited to return to the holiday festivities at the Magic Kingdom this year. My elementary-school-age children and I showed up with a short list of things we definitely wanted to do, but we didn't have the jammed-packed schedule my family adhered to at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

Judging by our experience at this recent party and others, it's a good idea to have a general idea of what you want to see and do rather than simply arriving at the front gate and then trying to decide about all the offerings. Take it from Santa: A list can guide you well.

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Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is a hard-ticket event, which means you will need to buy a ticket separate from your other Disney theme-park tickets. Tickets are on sale now and have different price points because of variables such as dates and discounts. You can see the full breakdown here.

Because you're paying extra for this special event -- which, by the way, I think is worth the price -- you probably want to get the most for your money. For many of us, that means enjoying all the holiday activities and entertainment that can only be done at the party before spending time on the usual attractions that are open every day.

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For years, party-goers have known that they could enter the Magic Kingdom beginning at 4 p.m., even though the party events don't start until 7 p.m. It was an unofficial policy designed to disperse all the arriving guests over time. This year, though, Walt Disney World has publicized the early entry, too.

If at all possible, you'll want to arrive at the Magic Kingdom at 4 p.m. to maximize your time. My favorite things to do during those extra hours are:

** Take a family photo in Town Square next to the large props of toy soldiers with Cinderella Castle in the background. The line grows as the party progresses, so doing this in the afternoon or early in the night will save you precious party time.

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** Stop by the adjacent Fire House and pick up your free Christmas Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card. You don't have to play the game during the party, but you can only collect this special themed card at the party. You must have your admission ticket (card or MagicBand) and a party wristband to claim your Sorcerers card. At the first 2013 Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, guests also were given last year's Christmas and Halloween cards as a bonus.

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** Ride the Jingle Cruise, which replaces the Jungle Cruise for the holiday season. (See a full report on the new holiday overlay in my previous blog post.)

** Eat dinner, but save room for the complimentary snickerdoodle cookies and hot cocoa served during the party. There are seven stations set up -- see the official party map posted on AllEars.Net -- and you may go to each as often as you like. The stations also serve packets of apple slices and Minute Maid apple juice. My children, who rarely have turned down a sweet, were as excited about the apples and juice as they were the cookies and hot cocoa. Maybe they were just trying to get on Santa's good list.

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** Cinderella's Holiday Wish takes place at 6:15 p.m. in front of her castle. This is a short show in which the Fairy Godmother comes out and grants Cinderella's wish to have the castle decorated for the holidays. That's when 200,000 lights are turned on and the castle shimmers with what looks like an awe-inspiring array of icicles.

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** If you're interested in exclusive party merchandise -- shirts and pins -- you'll want to be at The Emporium on Main Street or any of the other four locations about 6:30 p.m. when cast members bring out the goods. Only guests with party wristbands will be allowed in the area to browse and purchase. Be prepared for crowds.

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** Have your heart set on a special character photo? Line up by 6:15 to 6:30 p.m. to avoid longer queues once the party starts at 7 p.m. This is one of the few opportunities to meet Captain Jack Sparrow; the Seven Dwarfs all together; Mary Poppins, Bert and Penguin; many princesses with their princes; Mickey and Minnie in their holiday attire; Scrooge McDuck and Daisy; and Winnie the Pooh and friends in their winter garb. Also, Santa Claus meets guests in the outdoor spot next to City Hall.


Once the party starts, you can focus on the holiday entertainment.
The highlights of the party, to be sure, are Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, Celebrate the Magic castle projection show and Holiday Wishes fireworks. You won't want to miss any of these!

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The parade steps off in Frontierland at 8:15 and 10:30 p.m. I'm often asked where the best spot is to view the parades, and I think a lot of that depends on personal preference. I almost always like to watch the special parades on Main Street, U.S.A., because I love having the castle as a backdrop for photos. That said, it is much more crowded there than other areas along the parade route. This year, we found last-minute, front-row seating in Frontierland, and we grabbed it. I appreciated not having other guests hovering over me or having to camp out for an hour for a great spot.

A bonus was being entertained before the parade by The Notorious Banjo Brothers and Bob in Frontierland. (You can see their performance in the video below.) Be aware that the first parade is always more crowded than the second, so if you have older children, you might want to wait to see it.

After the parade, we walked over to Main Street, U.S.A., to watch Celebrate the Magic projected on Cinderella Castle before the fireworks. It has a holiday segment at the end that is beautiful, and you can view it in our AllEars video below.

Then, it was time for my son's favorite, Holiday Wishes -- Celebrate the Spirit of the Season. This 12-minute version of Wishes fireworks features six songs and fireworks that match the lyrics with different formations. It's just amazing when they form a Christmas tree around the castle during "O Christmas Tree." And the wow factor certainly matches the festivity of the season when the fireworks are shot off along the perimeter, a trick that is only used for special occasions. New this year: Glow With The Show mouse ear hats are synchronized to the fireworks, which makes a fun addition.

The party also includes two ongoing dance parties with characters: Woody's Hootin' Holiday Open House at The Diamond Horseshoe and Club Tinsel at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe. Plus there are several showings of two stage shows -- "Celebrate the Season" on the Cinderella Castle Stage and "A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas Show" on Rockettower Plaza Stage.

Not tired yet? There are always attractions to visit and the special-ticket events like this party can cut down on ride wait times. My daughter couldn't resist the 10-minute wait for Space Mountain at our sold-out party and rode it multiple times.

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If you're vacationing at Walt Disney World after the last party on Dec. 20, you won't have to miss all the holiday fun. Beginning Dec. 21, Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade and Holiday Wishes are performed in the Magic Kingdom through Dec. 31 in place of the regular parade and fireworks. Santa Claus will appear daily until he returns to the North Pole on Christmas Eve.

So, if you're going to the party, make your list, check it twice, and then enjoy the holiday events most important to you and your family. What could be more very merry than that?


DISCLAIMER:
I was a guest of Walt Disney World at a media preview of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. This did not affect my story, and my opinions are my own.



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About Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to A Mom and The Magic in the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Junior Golf Camp is the previous category.

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Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.