(Article last updated: July 9, 2018)
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
This is a special event with its own ticket.
2018 event dates are:
- November 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29, 30
- December 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21
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 2018 went on sale on March 19th. Tickets are currently available by calling 407-WDISNEY or online at DisneyWorld.com.
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.
Here's the map for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party in 2017. The map for 2018 won't be available until closer to the 1st 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.
We are still waiting for details on the 2018 party. However, typically the party stays fairly similar from year to year.
While we wait for 2018 information here are the events that took place during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party in 2017:
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 6:15 and 8:15 p.m.
Disney often doesn't communicate the details of this show clearly because they want people to think this is only part of the Christmas party, but even though the park closes at 6 p.m. and the party doesn't begin until 7 p.m., guests are still allowed to stick around to watch the 6:15 p.m. showing of A Frozen Holiday Wish.
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
In 2017, this special holiday parade took 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– Celebrate the Spirit of the Season 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 in 2017 at 7:45pm, 8:35pm, 9:25pm, 10:45pm, 11:35pm 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 in 2017 (7:40pm, 9:25pm, 10:30pm, 11:55 pm), Disney Parks Blog describes the show this way:
“Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration” debuted in 2016 and is back again for 2017. In this 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."
This a cappella singing group performs on the Rockettower Plaza Stage in Tomorrowland at 8:10pm, 9pm, 10:20pm, 11:10pm on party nights.
The Reindeer Wranglers
A fun and festive musical act that performs at 7:15pm, 8:05pm, 9:30pm, 10:30pm, 11:45pm during the party.
Meet and greet opportunities with Disney Characters
Throughout the entire party, there are opportunities to meet with lots of different characters.
These were the characters available for the 2017 party:
- Moana - Adventureland (very popular! Line up by 6 to meet her.)
- Nick Wilde & Judy Hopps - Tomorrowland
- Captain Jack Sparrow - Adventureland
- Peter Pan - Adventureland
- 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
- Big Al, Liverlips, Shaker and Wendell - Frontierland
- Seven Dwarfs - Fantasyland near Mine Train but sometimes in Storybook Circus (they're very, very popular. Line up by 6 to meet them, maybe even earlier!)
- Princesses with their princes - You can meet Ariel and Prince Eric, 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
- Ariel - in Ariel's Grotto in Fantasyland
Character Dance Party at Club Tinsel
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 for 2017:
- Adventureland - Pirates of the Caribbean, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Swiss Family Treehouse, and Jingle Cruise
- Frontierland - Splash Mountain (beginning on November 17), Big Thunder Mountain, Country Bear Jamboree
- 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
- Main Street U.S.A - Characters at the Town Square Theater
Like with Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party you'll find exclusive PhotoPass opportunities at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, too.
PhotoPass photographers will take special photos during the party and when you see the pics afterward, you'll see something magically inserted into the photo.
Magic Shots for the 2017 party were available at these locations:
Magic Kingdom Main Entrance
Fantasyland and Main Street, U.S.A.
Near Ariel's Grotto
Near Cinderella Castle
Main Street U.S.A.
In front of Haunted Mansion
Available throughout the park
And you can also find props to pose with during the party, like these party signs...
Shopping for event merchandise
During the party, there's exclusive merchandise available to purchase. Here's what was available for 2017:
- Emporium (Main Street) - event t-shirts, pins, ornament, and MagicBand
- Big Top Souvenirs (Storybook Circus in Fantasyland) - event t-shirts, pins, ornament, and MagicBand
- Mickey's Star Traders (Tomorrowland) - event t-shirts, logo pin, ornaments
- Fantasy Faire (Fantasyland) - t-shirts, logo pin, ornaments
- Frontier trading Post (Frontierland) - trading pins and 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 were 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) - Snowman Soft Pretzel and Sno-Cone
- The Friar's Nook (Fantasyland) - Silky Smooth DOVE® Chocolate and Sparkling Apple Cider (candies provided by DOVE® Chocolate and J&J Snack Foods)
- Pete's Silly Sideshow (Fantasyland) - Peppermint Crunch Cookie and Nestle® Nesquik®
- Liberty Square Ticket Office - Ginger Molasses Cookie and Eggnog
- Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe - Snickerdoodle Cookie and Hot Chocolate
- Aunty Gravity's Galactic Goodies - Santa Claus Cookie and Sno-Cone
Disney notes that "Alternative healthy and gluten-free options are available upon request" and of course menu offerings are subject to change or availability.
Specialty seasonal treats were available to purchase at these spots:
- Main Street Bakery (Main Street) - holiday cinnamon roll & peppermint cupcake (both available daily, not just during the party).
- Plaza Ice Cream Parlor (Main Street) - peppermint ice cream sundae (available daily, not just during the party)
- Main Street Bakery (Main Street) - white chocolate mousse Yule Log
- Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn (Frontierland) - chocolate mousse Yule Log
- Gaston's Tavern (Fantasyland) - gluten free Belle cupcake
- Sleepy Hollow (Liberty Square) - Sandy Claws cake push pop, red velvet Mickey Waffles
- Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe (Tomorrowland) - gluten free Tinker Bell Dessert
- Storybook Treats - Scrooge McDuck eggnog custard
Some dining locations remain open for the party. For 2017 you had these options:
- Main Street - Casey's Corner, Main Street Bakery, Plaza Ice Cream Parlor
- Adventureland - Aloha Isle
- Frontierland - Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe
- Liberty Square - Sleepy Hollow, Liberty Square Market, Columbia Harbor House
- Fantasyland - Storybook Treats, Gaston's Tavern
- Tomorrowland - Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe and Cool Ship. The Lunching Pad
Special Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card available
A special Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card is available to partygoers. In 2017 the card was titled "Rover’s Christmas Carousel of Progress" and, according to Imagineer Jonathan Ackley, “because Merlin is inspired by the Carousel of Progress’ celebration of human innovation.”
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 offered 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.