By Guest Blogger Liliane Opsomer, co-author of "The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids"
Without doubt, the Magic Kingdom is the place to be and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is chuck full with holiday fun. Start by getting there early. While the party begins at 7 p.m., guests with tickets to the event will be admitted to the park as early as 4 p.m. Discover the fabulous decoration, the giant Christmas trees, the garlands and wreath that have turned the Magic Kingdom into a yuletide wonderland. Try to get some rides under your belt and get your shopping done, as it will leave you more time for the special events once the party starts.
There are several must-dos during the party. There is Mickey's Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, which takes place at 8:15 and 10:30 p.m. and comes of course with a special appearance by Santa. My favorites are the Dancing Deer, the Snowflakes and the Toy Soldiers group. The fireworks show, Holiday Wishes, starts at 9:30 p.m. and will blow your mind. When it is all over, the castle is magically transformed into an ice palace aglow with more than 200,000 lights.
There are two different shows -- "A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas" Show at 7:45, 8:45, 9:55, 10:50 & 11:45 p.m. in the new Tomorrowland theater, where Stitch is in charge of getting Santa to fly over the Magic Kingdom and make it snow, and the traditional "Celebrate The Season" show with Mickey, Minnie and many favorite Disney characters at 7:45, 10:05 & 11:20 p.m. in front of Cinderella’s Castle.
Throughout the park favorite Disney characters are out to meet guests. You can meet your favorite princess as well as Mickey and Minnie in their holiday attire at the Town Square Theater from 7:00 - 11:30 p.m. It is a great picture opportunity and can make for fabulous Christmas cards, but beware, lines get long and you do not want to miss out on the parade, the shows or the fireworks. I found my way working around it by being in front of the line at 7 p.m. sharp. The other option is to go around 10:30 p.m. as the second parade gets under way when the wait was about 15 to 20 minutes.
For happy feet, there are two character dance parties. Enjoy Woody’s Hootin’ Holiday Open House at the Diamond Horsehoe on Liberty Square or rock away at my favorite hangout Club Tinsel in Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café located in Tomorrowland, where Santa Goofy joins the revelers.
There is so much to do that one can easily get frustrated trying to do too much, especially if you have small children in your party. Pick your must-do events and make some time to just take in the sights and sounds of the season and enjoy the snow on Main Street, U.S.A. as well as the complimentary hot cocoa and cookies distributed in six different places around the park. Check the special program for locations.
If you have never been to the Magic Kingdom, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party can be an overwhelming experience during which you try to pack too many things into a few hours versus spending an entire day at the park. Also keep in mind that during this special event not all rides and restaurants will be open. If you have visited the Magic Kingdom before, the Christmas party is a unique experience.
When midnight strikes, snow starts falling on Main Street, and it is time to go home. I leave every time smitten by the magic of it all and with the firm wish to be back next year.
Call 407-WDISNEY (407-934-7639) to purchase tickets, or visit disneyworld.com. Advance Purchase Prices are $58.95+ tax ($53.95+ tax for children ages 3-9) and $64.95+ tax ($59.95+ tax for children ages 3-9). The December 21st party costs $67.95+ tax ($62.95+ tax for children ages 3-9) if purchased on the day of the event. Children under 3 are admitted free of charge. Special discounted tickets are available on select days for members of the Armed Forces, Disney Vacation Club members and Annual Passholders. Disney Vacation Club members must call Member Services.
Liliane Opsomer is the co-author of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids. Find her on Facebook.