Disney Parks Holidays

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Tips For First-Timers

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If you’re heading to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World for the 2019 holiday season and you’re a first-time partygoer, then let me assist you. I went to the party for the first time this year myself and learned so much.

Similar to scheduling a Disney vacation, going to a party at the parks takes a lot of planning. There are character meet and greets, multiple entertainment times, select attractions with holiday overlays, exclusive party treats, and so much more to remember.

So to help you have the most successful time, here are some Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party tips for first-timers.

1. Prior Research & Schedule-Making Are Musts 

Walking into the party without having any idea what you want to do is a huge mistake. You will waste both your time and your money running around trying to squeeze everything in, which isn’t even possible in the first place.

It’s extremely important to make a list of everything you want to do and then turn your must-dos into a schedule. Now, remember, there’s no way to do every single thing offered at the party, so only choose the items you absolutely want to experience.

My opinion? Don’t waste your time riding attractions that you can ride outside of the party. If you have time, great, but make sure you’re sticking to rides that have holiday overlays and other items that are exclusive to the party.

Photo of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party map

2. Check In Early

If you didn’t know, you can check in starting at 4 p.m. — that’s three hours before official party time. This is an absolute must, especially so you don’t waste time getting your wristband right at 7 p.m. and then rushing off to do party things.

Better yet, if you’re an Annual Passholder, you can enter Magic Kingdom prior to 4 p.m. and experience whatever you’d like before party time. If you’re not an AP and you don’t have a park ticket for the day, guess what? You can still enjoy all things Magic Kingdom, including grabbing FastPasses for attractions prior to 7 p.m. When you make FastPasses for your visit, just remember to choose a time between 4 and 7 p.m. and you might be able to enjoy several attractions before MVMCP.

Photo of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party welcome

FYI: there are multiple locations to get a wristband:

  • The front of the park as you enter
  • Inside Chamber of Commerce on Main Street
  • Near Buzz Lightyear
  • Outside of Mickey’s Philharmagic
  • The Liberty Square Guest Relations window
  • Near Tortuga Tavern

3. Don’t Forget Your Welcome Cookie

Be sure to head to Main Street at 4 p.m., so you can grab your welcome cookie! As you can see in the photo above, there will be Cast Members pointing you in the direction of the welcome cookies (there’s a path located to the right of The Chapeau). Just follow the crowd and not only will you be handed a cute Santa Minnie cookie, but there will also be special photo opportunities.

4. Eat Before The Party

Make sure you grab a bite before the party starts, so you don’t have to waste time eating during the party. This will be a huge time saver and you’ll be able to accomplish more without worrying about where to eat and if there’s a long wait (some dining locations even close at 6 p.m. to be used for treat locations). If you get hungry during the party, there are plenty of places to grab a snack throughout the evening. TIP: If you want to get in line early for a character, take food with you and eat in line.

5. Pick Two Characters To Meet

There are many different characters to meet at the party. I recommend choosing two characters max that you want to meet and the ones who don’t normally meet during regular park hours.

By choosing two different character meet and greets this will allow you to have time to experience the attractions with holiday overlays, enjoy all three holiday-themed shows on Main Street, shop for party merchandise, try special snacks, and more.

Be sure to check the My Disney Experience app and/or look at the map for all of the character locations and times. Also, for the exclusive and most popular characters, you may want to get in line before the party starts so you don’t have to wait in a super long line. You don’t want to take up too much party time by standing in line. Another strategy is to get in line near the end of the evening when some lines are shorter.

Basically, you’ll have to figure what is best for your schedule and check wait times.

Photo of Santa Goofy at Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party

Also, to help you out beforehand, here is a list of the characters available to meet:

In Holiday Attire

  • Aladdin and Abu; Jasmine and Genie: Agrabah Bazaar in Adventureland, each pair swaps
  • Peter Pan: roams throughout Adventureland
  • Donald and Scrooge McDuck: inside Dumbo in Storybook Circus
  • Daisy and Minnie: inside Dumbo in Storybook Circus
  • Santa Goofy: between Barnstormer and Dumbo in Storybook Circus
  • Tigger and Friends: near Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in Fantasyland
  • Belle: near Bonjour! Village Gifts across from Gaston’s Tavern in New Fantasyland, in her Christmas gown
  • Mickey Mouse: inside Town Square Theater on Main Street
  • Country Bears: near Country Bear Jamoboree in Frontierland
  • Seven Dwarfs: inside Pete’s Silly Side Show in Storybook Circus (they are very popular and usually start meeting around 6:15, so get in line early)
  • Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws and Sally: inside Town Square Theater on Main Street; people start lining up as early as 2 p.m. and they’ll start meeting around 4:30, so either get in line early or near the end of the evening, when wait times tend to be shorter

Can Meet During Regular Park Hours

  • Elena of Avalor: inside Princess Fairytale Hall in Fantasyland
  • Captain Jack Sparrow: at the stage outside of Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland

Exclusives Or Special Characters Meeting Together

  • Moana: at the Enchanted Tiki Room in Adventureland
  • Ariel and Prince Eric: across from the Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid in New Fantasyland
  • Cinderella and Prince Charming: inside Princess Fairytale Hall in Fantasyland
  • Tiana and Naveen: inside Princess Fairytale Hall in Fantasyland
  • Rapunzel and Flynn Rider: inside Princess Fairytale Hall in Fantasyland
  • Snow White and The Prince: by the New Fantasyland wall to the right of the Pinocchio Village Haus
  • Aurora and Prince Phillip: by the New Fantasyland wall to the right of the Pinocchio Village Haus
  • Mary Poppins and Bert: in the Gazebo behind Ye Olde Christmas Shop (no PhotoPass photographer) in Liberty Square
  • Santa Claus: In between Chamber of Commerce and City Hall on Main Street (he doesn’t meet during the parades)
  • Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps: near Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin in Tomorrowland
  • Tweedledee and Tweedledum: near Mad Tea Party in Fantasyland

At A Dance Party & Don’t Sign Autographs

  • Reindeer and Polar Bears: they swap and can be found inside Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café, aka “Club Tinsel,” in Tomorrowland
  • Vampirina, Doc Mcstuffins, Fancy Nancy, and Timon: Disney Junior Jingle Jam dance party next to Pete’s Silly Sideshow in Storybook Circus

I highly recommend getting in line early before the party starts. For example, I got in line for Santa Goofy around 6 p.m. I hung out in Storybook Circus starting at 5:30 p.m. to see if there was a line and there wasn’t. I made my own line at 6 p.m. (and was first!) and Santa Goofy arrived at 7 p.m. (he doesn’t meet earlier) between Barnstormer and Dumbo.

6. Ride Jingle Cruise Before The Party

During the holiday season, Jungle Cruise transforms in the Jingle Cruise. I love this ride and it’s so much fun with its holiday decorations, music, and themed-jokes. The Jingle Cruise isn’t a party exclusive, so don’t waste time riding this during the party, especially since it’s so popular. If you can, ride it another time during regular Magic Kingdom hours or grab a FastPass before the party starts.

Photo of the Jingle Cruise at Walt Disney World

7. Bring A Bag For Cookies

Similar to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, there are treat trails, but you get cookies versus candy. Some of the holiday treat spots also offer beverages, including hot chocolate and apple cider (warning: the apple cider is NOT cider — it’s apple juice, at least at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café).

There are 11 trails, meaning a lot of cookies to take home, especially if you have multiple people in your group. Make sure you have a bag to carry all of the cookies. Also, the lines can get long, but don’t be intimidated by them, because they move fast.

8. See All Three Shows One Right After The Other

There are three different shows offered during MVMCP: Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration (shows four times nightly: 7:40 p.m., 9:25 p.m, 10:30 p.m., and 11:55 p.m.), Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks (one show at 10 p.m.), and Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade (two shows: 8:30 p.m. and 11 p.m.).

Photo of Minnie's Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks

There are all kinds of strategies when it comes to seeing the shows, but here’s what I prefer. I like to get everything else I want to do out of the way before the fireworks start. Then, I head to Main Street and grab a spot somewhat close to the castle to watch the fireworks first, then the stage show, and then the second parade, which is typically less busy than the first.

Since there is only one fireworks show, this means most everyone at the party will gather for it. That’s why I like to grab a spot around 9:30 p.m. for the fireworks and stay put for the following stage show and parade. This way, I can watch all three shows from one spot without having to move. As avid Disney visitors know, grabbing seats for fireworks and the parade can be competitive.

Now, Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration is a stage show, so make sure you have a decent spot so you can see. My family is always nice enough to save my parade spot so I can move up close to the stage. If you have someone with you willing to do this, then definitely take them up on the offer. Basically, I just think it’s easier to see each show one right after the other without have to run around the park in between and worrying about getting a good spot for each show.

Photo of Mickeys Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

9. Ride The Tomorrowland Speedway Early

Five attractions have holiday overlays: Space Mountain, Mad Tea Party, Tomorrowland Speedway, Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, and Jingle Cruise.

Seeing as Tomorrowland Speedway is one of the newer ones, I recommend getting in line early. I hopped in line a little after 7 p.m. and the wait time was 30 minutes. From start to getting inside a car, it was a 20-minute wait. Once I got off the ride, 30 minutes had passed. It wasn’t a bad wait at all and moved fast.

The Mad Tea Party line isn’t usually too long, so if you want to ride it with the special lights and music, you can do that right after the Speedway since they’re located near each other. As for Space Mountain, I don’t ride it, because I get queasy, but, like Jingle Cruise, it’s popular, so you may want to ride that as early as possible, during the fireworks or one of the parades, or at the end of the night, when lines are probably shorter.

The Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor has a special holiday addition to the show that’s perfect for both kids and adults. You’ll just have to plan accordingly for this and the other attractions re: wait times and if they fit into your schedule.

10. When To See A Frozen Holiday Wish

Finally, my last tip is for A Frozen Holiday Wish, when Elsa turns on Cinderella Castle’s dream lights. There is a show at 6:15 p.m. and one at 8:15 p.m.

If you’re not in line for a character, see the first show, so then you don’t have to worry about seeing it during the party. However, if you have a seat for the first parade, you can catch the dream lights then. Another tip is to catch A Frozen Holiday Wish on another night and do party-exclusive things during MVMCP.

Photo of A Frozen Holiday Wish at Magic Kingdom

And to help you out even more, here’s the schedule I followed during the Dec. 8, 2019 party:

1. Jingle Cruise FastPass from 3:05-4:05 (checked in closer to 3:05)

2. Check in at 4 p.m. (got a wristband at 3:50 inside Chamber of Commerce)

3. Grab a map, welcome cookies, and photo-ops

4. Eat dinner

5. Get in line for Santa Goofy (went over around 5:30 p.m. and was first in line at 6 p.m.)

6. Head to Tomorrowland Speedway (got in line at 7:08 p.m. and exited at 7:38 p.m.)

7. Pop into Club Tinsel to see Reindeer dance and for cookie (I grabbed other cookies as I moved around the park)

8. Unplanned, but had time: Rode Haunted Mansion, snack in Liberty Square, and rode Carrousel (this also would have been a good time to meet another character)

9. Grab seat on Main Street for shows (got there early for the 9:25 p.m. stage show, watched 10 p.m. fireworks, caught the stage show again at 10:30 p.m., watched the 11 p.m. parade)

10. Take in last castle views

11. Walk down Main Street, check on wait time for Mickey (35 minute-wait at 11:45ish; didn’t end up waiting)

12. Exited the park close to midnight

If you need help planning for the Christmas party, CJ Ayd from Magical Vacation Planner is your go-to travel agent. His services are free and he specializes in Disney vacations. You can contact him by requesting a free quote here, via email, or calling: (443) 610-2773. Be sure to mention my name when booking. Full disclosure: if you book a trip via my recommendation, I receive commission.

I definitely recommend attending the party at least once. It’s so much fun and there are so many festive things to do that make the holiday season even brighter.

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