(Article last updated: June 21, 2017)
The biggest event held during the holidays is Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP) which takes place on select evenings at Magic Kingdom in November and December. It features exclusive holiday entertainment, snow falling on Main St., and complimentary treats.
Let's dive into the details...
In this article
- Dates, cost, and times for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
- Castle Dream Lights and A Frozen Holiday Wish
- Mickey's Once upon a Christmastime Parade
- Holiday Wishes Fireworks
- A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas Show
- Mickey's Most Merriest Celebration
- Meet and greet opportunities with Disney Characters
- Character Dance Party
- Many Magic Kingdom attractions will be open
- Shopping for event merchandise
- Food options
- Special Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card available
- Tips and a sample touring plan
- Extra touches
- Is it worth it?
Dates, cost, and times for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
This is a special event with its own ticket.
2017 event dates are:
- November 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, 26, 28
- December 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22
People often ask about the least crowded parties and which days they should attend. November party dates will almost always be less busy than December dates, and Tuesdays are usually less crowded than parties offered on other days of the week.
Tickets for 2017 went on sale May 10 and can be purchased on DisneyWorld.com or by calling 407-WDISNEY. Prices vary depending on the date you plan to attend.
Tickets are non-refundable, even if there's bad weather. For this reason, I used to advise people to wait to get their party tickets until they got to Disney World so they see how the weather was going to be. However, many party dates sold out in the last couple of years so I now suggest buying them ahead of time if you're pretty certain you want to attend.
The party events begin at 7 p.m. and end at midnight. People with event tickets can enter Magic Kingdom as early as 4 p.m.* to enjoy the park in its "regular" state before the party officially kicks off at 7. You do not need a regular park ticket to visit Magic Kingdom on this day if you have a party ticket and arrive at 4 or later.
*If you do not go to another park this day and enter Magic Kingdom at 4 p.m. with your party ticket, you can make FastPass+ reservations ahead of time for 4-7 p.m. FastPass+ isn't available once the party officially begins at 7.
This was the map for the 2016 Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.
(Click to view the full-sized PDF)
Visiting after the final party date?
Special holiday entertainment shown during this party will be shown daily after the last party of the year (since the last party in 2017 will be on December 22, this entertainment will be shown in the parks daily beginning December 23). Everybody with regular theme park admission will get to enjoy these things (and the busy crowds) without a special ticket.
Here are the events that take place during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party:
Castle Dream Lights and A Frozen Holiday Wish
Not only does the castle look different during the holidays, but there's a little ceremony that precedes the lighting of the castle.
From early November to early January, Queen Elsa from Frozen appears twice each evening to get the Castle Dream Lights lit up for the night in a 7 minute show called "A Frozen Holiday Wish." On party nights, the times for this are 6:30 and 8:15 p.m.
I don't think Disney communicates the details of this show clearly because they want people to think this is only part of the Christmas party but the party doesn't begin until 7 p.m. and the first showing occurs daily before that time.
Tip: The best place to watch the stage show is close to the stage. If you want to be able to view the whole castle better, it's best to stand back a little bit further. Show up about 30 minutes beforehand to make sure you get a good spot to watch.
Mickey's Once upon a Christmastime Parade
This special holiday parade takes place at 8:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.
Marching toy soldiers, reindeer, gingerbread men, classic characters dressed in their holiday best and Santa Claus himself appear in this super fun parade.
Parade tip: See the second showing of the parade for lighter crowds (plus you can spend time doing other things during the first parade). Secure a spot on Main St. toward the front of the park. Viewing from there provides the best ambiance: the brightly-lit castle as a backdrop, the storefronts decorated for the holidays and snow falling overhead.
Holiday Wishes Fireworks
This special version of Wishes fireworks takes place at 10:00p.m.
Tip: Viewing suggestions for this show are basically the same as the regular fireworks show.
A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas Show
Shown nightly at 9:20, 10:45 and 11:45 p.m. on the stage between Space Mountain and The Carousel of Progress, this funny show lasts for about 20 minutes and includes Stitch, characters from Monsters, Inc., Buzz and others.
Mickey's Most Merriest Celebration
Shown 4 times per night (7:40pm, 9:25pm, 10:30pm, 12:00am), Disney Parks Blog describes the show this way:
“Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration” will make its debut for the 2016 holiday season. In this all-new show, Mickey and his pals invite some of their friends over for an unforgettable Christmas party filled with music, dancing, color and fun. Look for Woody and Jessie from “Toy Story,” Fantasyland friends such as Peter Pan and Snow White, and many more!
Featuring medleys of delightful holiday songs both classic and contemporary, along with special effects, magical projections and beloved Disney characters, “Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration” will be presented on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage on nights when Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is offered, November 7 to December 22, 2016."
This a cappella singing group performs on the Rockettower Plaza Stage in Tomorrowland at 8:05 p.m., 8:55 p.m., 10:15 p.m., and 11:10 p.m. on party nights.
Meet and greet opportunities with Disney Characters
Throughout the entire party, there are opportunities to meet with lots of different characters.
These are the characters that were available at the 2016 party. Will update with 2017 info when it's released.
- Nick Wilde & Judy Hopps - Tomorrowland
- Captain Jack Sparrow - Adventureland
- Peter Pan and Wendy - Fantasyland, near Peter Pan's Flight
- Aladdin with Abu, Jasmine with Genie - Adventureland
- Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws - Storybook Circus (very popular! He even sometimes shows up early.)
- Donald, Scrooge McDuck, Daisy, Minnie - Storybook Circus
- Santa Goofy - near Barnstormer
- Tiana and Naveen - Liberty Square
- Big Al, Liverlips, Shaker and Wendell - Liberty Square
- Seven Dwarfs - Fantasyland near Mine Train (very popular! Line up by 6 to meet them.)
- Princesses with their princes - You can meet Elena of Avalor, Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip, Snow White with her Prince, Cinderella with her Prince, Rapunzel with Flynn Rider and Princess Tiana with Prince Naveen. Princess Tiana, Elena of Avalor, Cinderella, Aurora, and Rapunzel are in Princess Fairytale Hall. Snow White is in Fantastyland near Pricness Fairytale Hall. Line up at 6:30 for this.
- Tigger and Friends - Fantasyland near Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Santa Claus - Town Square (popular, but you can meet him during the day)
- Mary Poppins, Bert, and Penguin - Town Square
- Mickey Mouse - Town Square Theater
- Tinker Bell - Town Square Theater
- Merida - Fairytale Garden, to the right of the castle
- Gaston - near Gaston's Tavern in Fantasyland
- Ariel - in Ariel's Grotto in Fantasyland
Character Dance Party
Throughout the whole evening, the Club Tinsel dance party takes place continuously at Cosmic Ray's in Tomorrowland.
For people who like characters, this is a fun way to interact with them. They won't be signing autographs but it's a chance to enjoy them in a different way than you normally would.
Many Magic Kingdom attractions will be open
Not all of the rides and shows will be open during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, but many will and with very little wait times.
Please note that FastPass+ is not available during the party (and for most attractions, it's not needed anyway).
Here are the attractions that were open during the 2016 party.
- Adventureland - Pirates of the Caribbean, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Swiss Family Treehouse, and Jingle Cruise
- Frontierland - Splash Mountain
- Liberty Square - The Haunted Mansion
- Fantasyland - Princess Fairytale Hall, Peter Pan's Flight, Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Mickey's Philharmagic, it's a small world, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Barnstormer, Mad Tea Party, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid
- Tomorrowland - Astro Orbiter, Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, Tomorrowland Speedway, and Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
Shopping for event merchandise
During the party, there's exclusive merchandise available to purchase. Here's what was available for 2016:
- Emporium (Main Street) - event t-shirts and MagicBand
- Big Top Souvenirs (Storybook Circus in Fantasyland) - event t-shirts and trading pins
- Mickey's Star Traders (Tomorrowland) - event t-shirts
- Box Office Gifts (to the right just after entering MK) - MagicBand
Though I'd be careful about spending too much of your party time eating, there are some Quick Service and Table Service restaurants available during the party.
Table Service restaurants that are available in 2017 include Be Our Guest, Cinderella's Royal Table, and Crystal Palace. You can book those on the MVMCP dining page.
You can get complimentary treats at these locations:
- Tortuga Tavern (Adventureland) - Hot Chocolate and Snickerdoodle cookie
- Heritage House (Liberty Square) - Eggnog and Gingersnap Molasses Cookie
- The Friar's Nook (Fantasyland) - Snow Cone and Snowman Sugar Cookie
- The Lunching Pad (Tomorrowland) - Hot Chocolate and Peppermint Bark Cookie
- Pete's Silly Sideshow (Fantasyland) - Spiced Apple Cider and Snowman Sugar Cookie
Specialty seasonal treats will be available to purchase at these spots:
- Main Street Bakery (Main Street) - Frozen Snowflake Cupcake, Peppermint Cupcakes, and Holiday Cookies
- Plaza Ice Cream Parlor (Main Street) - Holiday Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich
- Gaston's Tavern (Fantasyland) - Holiday Tree Cupcakes
- Sleepy Hollow (Liberty Square) - Pumpkin Waffle Sundae
- Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe (Tomorrowland) - Very Merry Strawberry Lemonade Slush
Some dining locations remain open for the party. For 2016 you had these options:
- Main Street - Casey's Corner, Main Street Bakery, Plaza Ice Cream Parlor
- Frontierland - Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe (open until 11), Westward Ho
- Liberty Square - Sleepy Hollow, Liberty Square Market, Columbia Harbor House
- Fantasyland - Pinnochio Village Haus, Storybook Treats, Gaston's Tavern
- Tomorrowland - Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe and Cool Ship (until 11)
Special Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card available
A special Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card is available to partygoers. In 2016 the card was titled "Goofy’s Festive Fiasco" and, according to Imagineer Jonathan Ackley, “celebrates the glorious holiday chaos created by Goofy as he attempts to decorate for the season!”
For more info, see this guide to how Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom works.
Tips and a sample touring plan
You have 5 hours to enjoy the special events that take place during this party so use your time wisely.
Things you should do:
- Watch the parade but wait until the second one since it's less busy and you can do other things during the first one.
- See the fireworks.
- Attend the shows - they are exclusive to this party and can't be seen any other time of year.
Things you should not spend time doing:
- Eating - you can get treats at many locations and there are some restaurants open, but I wouldn't spend too much time on that. Be sure to eat before the events begin so you can spend your time doing other things.
- Doing things that are not exclusive to this party which includes meeting some characters and riding rides. If you're attending on a busy night, focus on the exclusive things as opposed to things you could ride during the day. If you're attending on a less busy night, the short lines for rides are a lot of fun to take advantage of.
Here's a sample touring plan for the party:
- If you want to do a popular character meet, line up early. If you want to meet popular characters like Jack Skellington and Sandy Claws, line up around 4:30 for that (he often shows up before the party begins, sometimes as early as 5). If you want to meet the Seven Dwarfs, line up around 6:00 so you can see them as soon as they begin meeting people at 7. Want to meet the princesses w/their princes? Get in line around 6:30.
- Frozen Holiday Wish at 8:15 p.m. (or at 6:30 p.m. before the party begins)
- Go on some rides, pick up some complimentary treats, attend the dance party or watch VoicePlay
- Mickey's Most Merriest Celebration at 9:25 p.m.
- Fireworks at 10 p.m.
- Parade at 11 p.m.
- Rides, cookies, character dance party
- Totally Tomorrowland Christmas Show at 11:45 p.m.
Disney is offering a Fireworks Holiday Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace in 2017 which provides a holiday-themed version of the Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party. The price is $79/adult and $47/child, and it can be booked at online or by calling 407-939-3463. This is not something that we generally recommend because it takes so much time out of the party and you should be able to easily find a spot to view the fireworks, but it might be a nice add-on for people looking to do something a little different during their trip.
Is it worth it?
For about $100, you get up to 8 hours in the park with an exclusive parade and fireworks, special character interactions, low wait times on rides, and complimentary treats.
I happen to love the Christmas party and do think it's worth it for most people, although due to the late hours, I don't suggest it for most families with young children who would struggle to stay up that late.
This party is just 1 of many things happening at Disney World in November and December. For the full list of events, see my guide to Disney World during the holidays.