Disney Very Merriest After Hours Debuts at Magic Kingdom Park!

by Mommy Frog on November 9, 2021 36 Orlando

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If you've ever wanted to see snowfall on Main Street, here's your chance! At the separately ticketed Disney Very Merriest After Hours event, take part in holiday fun for four festive hours after Magic Kingdom Park closes. Enjoy a parade, stage show, fireworks, special character sightings, castle projections, ride overlays — and of course, food and beverages — just for the holly-jolly occasion. With limited capacity, that also means you can enjoy lower wait times on your favorite rides!

Disney Very Merriest After Hours - Minnie's Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks

Overview of Disney Very Merriest After Hours

All right, you festive frogs — it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! New this year, Walt Disney World has gifted us with Disney Very Merriest After Hours, a special ticketed event with lots of holiday extras at Magic Kingdom Park, beginning Nov. 8. We are big fans of the After Hours events and the traditional Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party — just put them together, and you've got Disney Very Merriest After Hours!

Much like other After Hours events, Disney Very Merriest After Hours grants guests exclusive access to Magic Kingdom after it closes to non-ticketed guests — for four fa-la-la-la fabulous hours! What's better than a stocking full of goodies? Bottled beverages, popcorn, holiday treats, and ice cream are all included with your ticket. Plus you can enjoy Minnie's Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks, a new castle stage show, holiday ride overlays, characters in their holiday best and, best of all, the return of the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade! That's right — this is the first full-length parade back since reopening in July 2020. Not only were we filled with Christmas cheer but also frogcitement while watching the characters march down Main Street, U.S.A.

Disney Very Merriest After Hours - Nutcracker Soldiers

We had so much fun at Very Merriest After Hours and highly recommend it to get into the holiday spirit! There is so much entertainment that kept us busy all night long. We kept our energy up with hot cocoa and snickerdoodle cookies (which were delish, by the way). There's a lot to unwrap from this awesome event, so keep on reading. Cue the Christmas song playlist!

Disney Very Merriest After Hours Dates

Disney Very Merriest After Hours replaces Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party for 2021. This special ticketed event runs from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. on select nights from Nov. 8 to Dec. 21, 2021. Event tickets allow entry as early as 7 p.m. to Magic Kingdom on the following dates:

  • Monday, Nov. 8, 2021
  • Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021
  • Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021
  • Friday, Nov. 12, 2021
  • Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021
  • Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021
  • Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021
  • Friday, Nov. 19, 2021
  • Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021
  • Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021
  • Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021
  • Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021
  • Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021
  • Friday, Dec. 3, 2021
  • Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021
  • Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021
  • Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021
  • Friday, Dec. 10, 2021
  • Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021
  • Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021
  • Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021
  • Friday, Dec. 17, 2021
  • Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021
  • Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021

Even if you aren't planning on attending Very Merriest After Hours, but you'll be at Walt Disney World while the event is taking place, you'll want to take note of the event dates. Magic Kingdom closes early on event nights, so if you've got a base ticket and are not attending Very Merriest, you may want to choose another park for the day to make the most of your time. Only ticketed guests will be able to remain in the park after 9 p.m. But don't worry — you'll still be able to experience the Disney Enchantment nighttime spectacular even on event nights! (For those of you attending the After Hours event, that's TWO fireworks shows in one night!)

Disney Very Merriest After Hours Tickets

Tickets for Disney Very Merriest After Hours are on sale now. Guests of select Walt Disney World Resort hotels, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel and Shades of Green were able to purchase tickets in advance.

As we mentioned before (we're checking our list twice!), event admission allows entry to Magic Kingdom as early as 7 p.m. A Disney Park Pass reservation will not be required for this event, and you do not need regular park admission if you're only attending Very Merriest. If you wish to arrive earlier than 7 p.m., you will need daytime admission and a park reservation. In that case, you would need to find a wristband distribution station in Adventureland or Tomorrowland to scan your tickets and receive an After Hours wristband to show cast members as they filter out day guests. Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members can receive a $10 discount on select dates in November. (And of course, we frogs have discounts available as our gift to you!)

Disney Very Merriest After Hours Entertainment

Disney Very Merriest After Hours - Minnie's Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks

Holiday fireworks are back with the return of Minnie's Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks! For the first time since 2019, guests are able to enjoy an exclusive holiday fireworks show only seen on event nights. Fireworks light up the night sky at 11:15 p.m. We really enjoyed the show and easily got a centered spot at the end of Main Street near the castle hub. Keep an eye on the castle throughout the night for the new Beacon of Magic projections for the 50th anniversary celebration.

Disney Very Merriest After Hours - Minnie and Mickey in Once Upon a Christmastime ParadeWe are so hoppy for the return of Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade! Catch Mickey and Minnie in their holiday best as they travel through Frontierland, Liberty Square and Main Street, U.S.A. with a variety of characters, including Anna and Elsa from "Frozen," the popular Toy Soldiers and, of course, Santa Claus. This marks the first time a full-length parade returned to Disney World since March 2020. You could just feel the happiness in the air as the parade made its way through the park!

There are two parades at 9:45 p.m. and 12:05 a.m. We recommend watching the second parade because it is a lot easier to find a spot. We were able to get a front-row spot on Main Street for the second parade only ten minutes before, while we were a few rows back near the castle for the first parade. If you want to save time, you can watch the parade in Frontierland or Liberty Square, but you won't get the full ambiance of Main Street. Plus snowfall on Main Street only hoppens during the parade times!

An all-new castle stage show, "Mickey and Minnie's Very Merry Memories," debuted for the event. Join Mickey and friends for a holiday celebration featuring music and dancing. The show pays homage to previous holiday stage shows and is the first show to return to the castle stage since reopening! There are multiple shows to catch at 9:25 p.m., 10:35 p.m., 11:45 p.m. and 12:50 a.m. We loved this show so much that Lily and I even watched it a second time!

Disney Very Merriest After Hours - Mickey and Minnie's Very Merry Memories show

Other entertainment at Very Merriest includes character sightings throughout the park. We love seeing our favorite characters decked in holiday garb or even catching some rare characters out and about — what a gift!

  • Crystal Palace — Pooh and Tigger; Piglet and Eeyore (alternating)
  • Liberty Square gazebo — Santa Claus
  • Frontierland balcony — Country Bears
  • Club Tinsel at Tomorrowland — Santa Stitch

During the party, you can also visit the new indoor distanced character sightings. See Cinderella, Elena, Rapunzel and Tiana at Princess Fairytale Hall, and visit Mickey in his new EARidescent outfit at Town Square Theater.

Disney Very Merriest After Hours - Santa Stitch at Club Tinsel

Guests can also enjoy the festive ambiance with snowfall on Main Street and themed lighting, music and decor throughout Magic Kingdom. Break out the dance moves at the Club Tinsel dance party in Tomorrowland anytime during the event. Join the Reindeer Wranglers in Frontierland for their holiday hoedown and enjoy seasonal songs with a country twist. Snap the perfect holiday card photo with holiday-themed PhotoPass photo opportunities. For our ride lovers, enjoy lower wait times for select attractions and even experience holiday-themed attraction overlays, including the ever-popular Jingle Cruise and Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor.

Disney Very Merriest After Hours Food and Beverages

Nothing says "holiday season" like some delicious themed food and beverages! As with all After Hours events, the usual ice cream, popcorn and bottled beverages are all complimentary, as well as snickerdoodle cookies and hot cocoa. You can find the snack carts throughout the park, and the snickerdoodle cookies and hot cocoa at four different stations (allergy-friendly options are available upon request):

  • Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe (Frontierland)
  • Columbia Harbour House (Liberty Square)
  • Pinocchio Village Haus (Fantasyland)
  • Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe (Tomorrowland)

Disney Very Merriest After Hours - Cake PopBut save some room — there will be specialty food and drinks available for purchase too! These festive foods include:

  • Gingerbread Almond Cake Pop (Golden Oak Outpost) - Gingerbread almond cake dipped in white chocolate
  • To Be Jolly Float (Golden Oak Outpost) - Peppermint iced coffee blended with vanilla ice cream and topped with whipped cream, peppermint sprinkles and a chocolate Minnie bow
  • Ginger Apple Funnel Cake (Sleepy Hollow) - Gingerbread funnel cake topped with apple pie filling, vanilla ice cream and caramel drizzle
  • Orange Bird Churro (Main Street, U.S.A. Snack Cart) - Churro drizzled with citrus marshmallow cream and topped with orange candy slices

Additionally, some restaurants stay open with full menus or select items available:

  • Main Street Bakery (full menu)
  • Casey's Corner (full menu)
  • Golden Oak Outpost (full menu, plus specialty treats)
  • Sleepy Hollow (select items)
  • The Friar's Nook (full menu; open until 10 p.m.)
  • Auntie Gravity's Galactic Goodies (select items)
  • Joffrey's Coffee & Tea Company

Disney Very Merriest After Hours Tips and Tricks

Disney Very Merriest After Hours - Guests in Christmas Outfits

  • Get all wrapped up in the fun with festive outfits! It truly felt like Christmas walking around and seeing so many great looks.

  • The princesses at Fairytale Hall and Mickey at Town Square Theater are in their regular outfits, so if meeting them is a must, we recommend meeting them between 7 to 9 p.m. before the party officially starts.
  • Lots of people leave after the fireworks at 11:15 p.m. so you can get a lot done in the last hour and a half of the party.
  • We recommend watching the second parade as it is a lot less crowded. We were able to get a front-row spot on Main Street with only ten minutes until the start time!
  • But if you only want to stay for the first parade, then we'd suggest getting a prime spot before you watch the stage show. By the time we finished watching the 9:25 p.m. show, it was hard to find a good front-row spot for the parade. (We power-hopped from the front of the castle hub area to the end of Main Street in Town Square in order to get a decent view.)
  • If you want to get lots of rides in, the last hour is the time! Wait times in the last half hour were all 15 minutes or less (yes, even Seven Dwarfs Mine Train!).
  • Genie+ service is not available at the party (since wait times are so low — you won't need it!).
  • Looking for transportation options? Disney transportation remains available an hour after the party ends. (For boat transportation, be sure to ask in advance, as buses may be the primary option back to resort hotels!)

Do you plan on attending the new Disney Very Merriest After Hours? Have you begun the countdown to Christmas? Let us know in the comments below!

Related: Complete Guide to Walt Disney World Resort Christmas Events

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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Dec 6, 2021 at 10:13 p.m. Joanne Says...

Are there any daytime parades during the holiday season this year with a regular park ticket at Magic Kingdom? We will be there on Dec 19, which is a special event night, but tickets are sold out.

Dec 6, 2021 at 5:24 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Joanne!

Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade will run in the daytime between Dec. 22 and 31, 2021.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Nov 27, 2021 at 4:19 a.m. Liu Says...

I am not planning to attend the Disney Very Merriest event but was planning to attend the Magic Kingdom during the day on 12/14/21. According to your crowd calendar (which is fabulous!), it’s the best day to attend the Magic Kingdom. Will the park be less crowded in the day even with the Disney Very Merriest occurring the same evening?

Nov 30, 2021 at 12:37 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Liu!

Thanks for hopping by! Very Merriest shouldn't affect daytime crowds too much, as it's a limited-attendance event and party guests can only enter at 7 p.m. if they do not already have daytime admission for the same day. You can expect it to be busier in the last hour that the park is open.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Nov 23, 2021 at 1:28 p.m. Robert Morris Says...

Nov23 looks sold out. Any 3rd party ticket providers have tickets for Nov23 Merriest Christmas Party?

Nov 23, 2021 at 8 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Robert!

Unfortunately, we're sold out of Very Merriest tickets for Nov. 23 as well.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Nov 18, 2021 at 11:44 a.m. Ruth Fritsch Says...

Where do you pick up your wristband? I have my tickets connected to my bands and cards. do I have to go to a ticket window?

Nov 18, 2021 at 8:23 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Ruth!

If you're entering the park at 7 p.m. (or after, until they clear the park of daytime guests), you'll get your wristband right as you walk through the entrance. If you hoppen to be inside the park before 7 p.m. as a daytime guest, then you can go to a wristband distribution station in Adventureland (across from Pirates) or Tomorrowland (usually nearby Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor).

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Nov 15, 2021 at 1:27 p.m. Ruth Fritsch Says...

How much will parking be for this event?

Nov 17, 2021 at 9:38 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Ruth!

Parking rates would be the same as the standard $25 general parking rate. If you're a Disney hotel guest or an annual passholder, parking is still free.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Nov 10, 2021 at 4:01 p.m. Lily Says...

If you are staying at a Disney Springs hotel - what is the best way back to your hotel if you want to go to Merriest after hrs? I've stayed at the hilton b4 and during normal hrs, it only runs a few times during the day

Nov 10, 2021 at 12:59 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lily!

Since you're staying off-site by Disney Springs, we'd recommend Uber or Lyft.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Nov 9, 2021 at 7:14 p.m. Tim Says...

We love WDW at Christmas. Being from a northern central state where snowfall is a way of life five months out of the year, I still get tears in my eyes every time it begins to 'snow' on Main Street during the parade. As an option to being in a park, my wife and I always spend at least one full day (sometimes two) 'resort hopping' to see the wonderful decorations and immerse ourselves in the varied holiday theming at each location. Disney certainly does its part to make it the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

Nov 9, 2021 at 1:48 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

We toadally agree, Tim! Thanks for sharing with us :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Nov 9, 2021 at 3:44 p.m. Aundria Costellow Says...

Will Christmas festivities still be happening the week after Christmas? We are going to two parks, one on the 29th and one on the 31st

Nov 9, 2021 at 10:23 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Aundria!

In the past, Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade has been available to daytime guests during the week of Christmas, although we're not toadally sure about this year. If not the full-length parade, we would expect to see cavalcades instead. EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays will also still be hoppening until Dec. 30.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Nov 7, 2021 at 6:27 p.m. Dex Says...

Will there be specialty alcoholic beverages sold?

Nov 9, 2021 at 10:07 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Dex!

There are some specialty treats and beverages available but none are alcoholic.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Oct 21, 2021 at 4:33 p.m. Brandy Fisher Says...

Hey! Do you know how many tickets they sell to the Merriest After Hours? We got tickets, but I was wondering what capacity the park is during this time? Thanks!


Oct 21, 2021 at 3:23 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Brandy!

While we know that attendance is more limited at After Hours events, we aren't sure of the exact number - in our experience, there have been low wait times and we've had a great time!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Oct 23, 2021 at 4:12 a.m. Archer Says...

Great post! Thanks for sharing this info.

Out of curiosity, do you know how an event like this is regulated? I understand that for rides and attractions they can require guests to scan their MagicBand or MagicMobile pass for entry. But how will they keep those who didn't purchase a ticket from staying in the park after closing and watching the fireworks, parade, stage show, etc.?

I purchased tickets for my family during our upcoming trip in November and am trying to justify the cost :P


Oct 24, 2021 at 8:30 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Archer!

Upon entering Magic Kingdom, guests staying for the event will receive a special wristband. Then once the park has officially closed to daytime guests, you will need to show your wristband to cast members as you move around to different areas until they are able to clear the park. If you happen to be in the park during the day, there are wristband distribution stations where you can check-in and scan your ticket so you do not have to exit the park.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Oct 17, 2021 at 9:39 a.m. Niecie Says...

We are scheduled to arrive 12/26/21. Are there any special events/activities for after Christmas?

Oct 18, 2021 at 5:32 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Niecie!

Yes! EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays continues until Dec. 30. If you're sticking around for New Year's Eve, then there is usually special fireworks at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT. All of the decor and special treats should remain through the first week of the new year too.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Aug 17, 2021 at 5:22 p.m. Steven Says...

So are you going to have discount tickets for the 8th 9th 11th12th of November or should I just buy them from disney

Aug 17, 2021 at 12:26 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Steven!

Yes, we will be offering Disney Very Merriest After Hours tickets! :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Aug 3, 2021 at 3:51 p.m. Cynthia k Smith Says...

What are the typical cost for tickets?

Aug 3, 2021 at 3:54 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Cynthia!

This year's similar After Hours event, Boo Bash, runs about $129 to $199 per adult. Hope this helps!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Aug 2, 2021 at 3:04 a.m. Deyanira Says...

We have 4 days for the parks but would like to spend more than a day in Magic Kingdom so we're trying to decide if adding this event would be a good way to do it or if it would be better to add park hopper instead.

Aug 2, 2021 at 9:54 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Deyanira!

Disney Very Merriest would be a great way to spend extra time in Magic Kingdom, especially if that's the only park you would want to visit for more than a day. After Hours events typically have very limited attendance, so wait times remain short and you can usually get a lot accomplished! However, something you should consider is that it would make your day much longer. If you have a younger tadpole or anyone in your party who gets tired easily, you may want to opt for Park Hoppers instead, which allows for a more flexible schedule.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jul 22, 2021 at 3:30 p.m. RD Says...

Hi There!

We're planning a trip for this December (7-14th) which is normally a quiet part of the year. But with 50th anniversary and travel restrictions being let up, is there an anticipation that this year will be very crowded?

Jul 23, 2021 at 9:55 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi RD!

It's harder to predict exactly what crowds will be like this year since things are ever-changing so quickly, but we do expect the 50th Anniversary Celebration to bring in more crowds than usual.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jul 19, 2021 at 8:31 p.m. Bob V Says...

Great information... many thanks.

I have a hotel reservation at the Contemporary Resort and want to purchase tickets for Magic Kingdom Disney Very Merriest event prior to August. How will I do this in advance of August?


Jul 20, 2021 at 8:35 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Bob!

We still don't have too many details about ticket information just yet, other than the fact they will go on sale next month. We're not sure exactly when the early release window will be for hotel guests, but if it follows a similar timeline for ticket sales for Disney Boo Bash After Hours, then hotel guests will have an early release window about a week in advance before tickets go on sale for the general public.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Jul 17, 2021 at 6:47 p.m. Jennifer Schmoyer Says...

Do you think the very merry after hours event will be held on the Sunday right after Thanksgiving?

Jul 19, 2021 at 12:47 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jennifer!

We are still waiting on exact dates, but we'll be sure to update once we know more! Since tickets go on sale in August, we expect we'll hear very soon :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

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