Mommy Frog's Note: For the 2021 holiday season, a brand-new Disney Very Merriest After Hours event will hoppen instead of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. Disney Very Merriest will take place on select nights, beginning Nov. 8 through Dec. 21, 2021. Event highlights include character sightings, Minnie's Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show, ride overlays, holiday decor and more! While Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party won't be taking place this year, it has not been confirmed if it will return in 2022, so you can reference all of the holly-jolly details from 2019's event below.
Santa Claus is probably working hard in the North Pole right now, prepping for his annual December voyage, while you are organizing your own holiday trip. Attending Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is usually one of our absolute favorite ways to celebrate and spread Christmas cheer. Walt Disney World Resort maximizes this magical season by transforming the theme parks into their own unique winter wonderlands promptly after Halloween comes to a close. While Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19, there was still plenty of Christmas cheer throughout Magic Kingdom. We've left in details from the 2019 party in this guide, so you can plan for its return in the future!
During our visit in 2019, we noticed heavier crowds at the beginning of the party, but as the night wound down (especially noticeable after the fireworks), the crowds lightened up. Crowd levels vary by party, but it's safe to say that you'll want to stay until the very end to maximize your time because there's soooo much to do. (Special fireworks, exclusive character meet-and-greets and free cookies, oh my!) We befriended another frog family who told us they attended the previous year's event, and at the 2019 party, they had a completely different plan to do the things they missed out last time. Toadally relatable ... but have no fear, your favorite frogs are here!
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party Dates, Tickets and Pricing
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is a separately ticketed event, which means you must purchase a party ticket to attend. The party usually starts about a week after the last Halloween party in early November and runs through late December. Prices typically increase each year, and select dates are likely to be more expensive than others. In 2019, there were 23 parties total, starting as early as Nov. 8 and ending Dec. 22.
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party Crowds & Best Days to Attend
Pricing is the strongest indicator of what Disney expects to be its busiest days. Higher prices mean higher demand, and higher demand means bigger anticipated crowds. Cheaper tickets generally mean less crowds. The last three parties of the year are typically the most expensive, and the first two are not the cheapest. This makes sense. Some families decide to go all out and time their vacations so that they can experience both the last Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and the first Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. Based on pricing, the best week to attend is usually the one before Thanksgiving. Disney does not publish attendance numbers, but these parties are always well attended, so plan accordingly!
If you want to learn more about all of the festivities at Disney World going on during this time, check out our full guide to Disney World holiday events.
Before we get into the party itself, we have a weather warning! This time of year can be consistently inconsistent. Sometimes Florida can be true to the Christmas season with temperatures in the low 60s, but more often than not, highs are in the 80s. We find it can go from a hot, muggy day to a chilly night pretty quickly. So wear a flexible outfit with layers to accommodate whatever Florida throws your way. (Hoppy news — there are usually a few super cute holiday-themed spirit jerseys available to purchase around property to keep you looking festive and feeling toasty warm!)
Entrance Procedures and Overview of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
In recent years, the party hasn't officially started until 7 p.m. (and ran through 12 a.m.), but guests have been able to get into the park starting at 4 p.m. with a Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party ticket. We highly recommend doing this, as this will give you more time to ride a few rides and have an early dinner before the party-exclusive activities begin. Of course, allot time for bag check and ticketing to be sure to arrive on time and enjoy the most of your evening. (Additionally, if you're driving, keep in mind the extra time to park and ride the monorail or the ferryboat — it can take about 45 minutes just to get to the entrance!) Head toward the separate event entrance (generally a separate turnstile with a sign noting the special event) in order to receive your wristband upon arriving at the gate.
Note: Magic Kingdom closes at 6 p.m. on party nights for regular daytime guests to allow for a smooth transition into party time.
Upon entering, beginning at 4 p.m., party guests have a VIP entrance through the backside of Main Street behind Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. This is the first treat spot, where cast members hand out a welcome holiday treat. There are also fun photo-ops with props and a few merchandise kiosks for those interested in special holiday Mickey ears or a T-shirt.
If you are already enjoying a day at Magic Kingdom, you can stop by a wristband station to swipe your ticket and have a cast member apply your wristband. The most convenient locations in the past have been located near Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor and Mickey’s PhilharMagic. It’s important to snag these before the party starts — cast members will be on the lookout for wristbands as soon as 6 p.m. hits!
You can find cast members filtering guests out at major intersections throughout the park — primarily when you’re headed from Main Street, U.S.A. into the Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland and Tomorrowland entrances. Keep your wristbands on and visible, as cast members will be keeping an eye out for them throughout the night while you are waiting for the parade or shows to begin.
For those of you reading this who will not be attending the party and hoping to stick around past 6 p.m., we wouldn’t count on it. Cast members will not allow you on any rides or into certain areas without a wristband and will promptly lead you toward the park exit.
Planning is critical at these parties, as time is limited and experiences are endless. Because they get crowded and are packed with special activities, including meet-and-greets with rare characters — or your favorites in their fun holiday attire — you really need a plan. Start by identifying your family’s not-to-miss activities and then fill in the gaps when you get to the park with some unexpected surprises. There are more fun things to see and do than a typical family could probably accomplish in one night, so set your expectations in advance! Make sure to allow for extra time to get in place for the shows and parades — A Frozen Holiday Wish, Mickey's Most Merriest Celebration, Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade and Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks — as the hub around Cinderella Castle and Main Street, U.S.A. get very crowded. You need to arrive at least 30 minutes early even for the second parade to have a shot at the front row of viewing. If front row isn't a priority, you can come in after that and still find great spots.
There is “snowfall” on Main Street right when the clock strikes 7 p.m., and then it continues intermittently throughout the night. Tad and Lily especially lovvvveeee to stuff their bellies with the cookies and hot chocolate that are given out around the park for free.
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party Schedule of Events
Here are the entertainment showtimes from 2019. We expect a similar lineup of entertainment in future years.
- A Frozen Holiday Wish - 6:15 p.m., 8:15 p.m.
- Mickey's Most Merriest Celebration - 7:40 p.m., 9:25 p.m., 10:30 p.m., 11:55 p.m.
- Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade - 8:30 p.m., 11 p.m.
- Minnie's Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks - 10 p.m.
- A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas - 7:45 p.m., 8:35 p.m., 9:25 p.m., 10:45 p.m., 11:35 p.m.
- Club Tinsel - 7 p.m. - 12 a.m.
- Snowfall on Main Street - intermittently
Character Greetings at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Special characters are one of the main draws of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Rare characters such as Jack Skellington (aka Sandy Claws) and the princes can be found, and “regular” characters are out in their holiday finest. This is such a fun, exciting part of the season and an excellent photo-op! (Don’t worry: PhotoPass photographers can be found with each character, except for those “roaming,” as listed below.)
Some of the popular, rare characters. such as the Seven Dwarfs, Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws and Moana, start meeting guests before the party starts. You're able to line up for these characters once you receive your wristband. However, these wait times can grow very long early on. It's better to wait until later in the night, such as during the first parade, to hop in line. We recommend visiting Sandy Claws during this time and catching the second showing of the parade!
Crowds die down later in the night and characters become less of a priority. Anytime after Minnie's Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks at 10 p.m., you're likely to experience shorter waits. With so much to do at the party, we’d hate to spend so much time waiting in line. Most characters have at least an hour wait time, so be sure to prioritize who your frog squad REALLY wants to meet ahead of time.
Here are the characters that were available to jingle and mingle during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party 2019:
Main Street, U.S.A.
- Santa Claus (Main Street Courtyard)
- Mickey Mouse (Town Square Theater)
- Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws and Sally (Town Square Theater, where Tinkerbell normally meets)
- Aladdin + Abu, Jasmine + Genie (alternating every 30 minutes next to The Magic Carpets of Aladdin)
- Captain Jack Sparrow (across from Pirates of the Caribbean ride)
- Moana (in the Tiki Room)
- Peter Pan (roaming)
- The Country Bears (roaming)
- Mary Poppins and Bert
- Ariel and Prince Eric (across from Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid)
- Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Tiana and Naveen, Princess Elena of Avalor (Princess Fairytale Hall)
- Snow White and her Prince, and Aurora and Prince Phillip (near the Castle Wall near Princess Fairytale Hall)
- Belle (to the right side of Bonjour! Village Gifts)
- Pooh and Friends (next to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh)
- Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum (next to Mad Tea Party)
- The Seven Dwarfs (inside Pete’s Silly Sideshow in Storybook Circus)
- Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, Donald Duck, Scrooge McDuck (Storybook Circus)
- Santa Goofy (next to Barnstormer exit in Storybook Circus)
- Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps (at the exit of Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin)
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party Entertainment & Rides
Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade
By far, our favorite part of the night is Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime parade. We love it so much that we go to both showings! Dancing nutcrackers, gingerbread men, reindeer and the big man himself — Santa — join your favorite Disney characters for a gorgeous parade complete with scented floats (yes, you can smell Clarabelle Cow's cooking!). Keep an eye out for lesser-seen characters such as Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde.
The parade typically steps off in the Frontierland area, follows the waterway until it reaches Liberty Square, crosses the Liberty Square Bridge, circles Central Plaza in front of Cinderella Castle, heads down Main Street, U.S.A., circles Town Square in front of the Walt Disney World Railroad Station and ends next to Harmony Barbershop. Note: If watching from Town Square, the parade won't reach you until about 20 minutes after its scheduled start time.
If you want a prime parade spot along Main Street, U.S.A. or in front of the castle, we recommend snagging your seats at least an hour ahead of showtime for front row viewing. We got lucky and managed to find a prime front row spot in front of Casey's Corner about 45 minutes before, but it was a tight squeeze. If you don’t want to waste valuable party time waiting, try for a less popular spot in Frontierland or near the train station in Town Square. However, we really recommend taking the time to view from one of our favorite spots such as in front of Cinderella Castle facing the bridge from Liberty Square. If you’re OK with the tadpoles staying up past their bedtime, the 11 p.m. showing is usually less crowded.
A Frozen Holiday Wish
Get swept up in the holiday spirit as Queen Elsa uses her powers to create a sparkling, icy centerpiece for the celebration. This show is short and sweet at less than 10 minutes long, and a must-see for "Frozen" fans. Even if Anna and Elsa aren’t your favorite, it is a truly magical moment to see the castle come alive with its iconic, glowing icicles. While you can catch Queen Elsa's lighting of Cinderella Castle in icy, glittering lights any time during the holiday season, not just the party, you definitely don't want to miss it. Anna, Kristoff and Olaf join her in a brief stage show leading up to the big reveal!
If you don't want to waste valuable party time, you can watch the show at 6:15 p.m. However, keep in mind that it will be busy with lingering daytime guests. Main Street will be packed once the show finishes as they leave the park, so we recommended heading to Liberty Square, Fantasyland or Tomorrowland immediately following the 6:15 p.m. show.
Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks
The fireworks spectacular show made its debut at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party in 2019, and we hope to see it return in 2021. It's hosted by Minnie Mouse and features medleys of beloved holiday songs, including "Joy to the World" and "Deck the Halls."
The projections are fun to see, but they don't necessarily tell a story. Since the show isn't too dependent on castle projections, you can really view the spectacular from anywhere in the park. If you're standing in front of Cinderella Castle, you'll see Tinker Bell fly into the night from the top of the castle in the blink of an eye! Disney also offered a dessert party premium package for this show at an extra cost last year.
Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration
Mickey and Minnie host their very own holiday party and invite your favorite Disney pals to ring and sing in the holidays with classic carols and new favorites. It includes medleys of holiday tunes, both classic and contemporary, and features Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Pluto, who are celebrating just a few days before Christmas. Woody, Jessie, Peter Pan, Snow White, Alice, the White Rabbit and many more stop by! The highlight of this show for us is the iconic Clarabelle Cow belting out “All I Want for Christmas is You” in true Mariah Carey fashion while strutting her stuff in a silver sequin dress.
“A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas” Show
Taking place on the Rockettower Plaza Stage in Tomorrowland, we find A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas to be the most underrated part of the whole party. This hilarious show follows the storyline of Stitch trying to hunt down Santa to bring snow to Tomorrowland. There are plenty of jokes along the way as Stitch tries to come to grips with who exactly Santa is, and the best way to hunt down his reindeer. In the meantime, Buzz Lightyear and Mike Wazowski each have their own brilliant musical numbers. Tad and Lily especially love this show as it’s suited for the younger audience and even has a kids-only area at the front of the stage. With five performances, this is one that you can fit in as you have time or in passing.
The Edge Effect
The Edge Effect (formerly VoicePlay) returned to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2019 for alternating shows between A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas. We really recommend checking out these shows back-to-back, and taking the small break in between to grab cookies and apple cider from The Lunching Pad. The Edge Effect is an incredible a capella group that will wow you with its vocals-only performances of classic Christmas tunes. This show is a great break from the chaos of characters at the party and will get you into the spirit with their unbelievable talent.
Dance the night away with a live DJ and holiday friends at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café. Polar bears, reindeer and elves groove with your tadpoles to fun musical hits. We love mingling with the iconic parade reindeer!
Snowfall on Main Street
Snowfall in Florida is magical enough, but you can’t miss the beauty of snow fluttering down in Magic Kingdom. You can find flurries down Main Street during both parades and all of the Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration showings.
Storybook Circus Disney Junior Jingle Jam
Following the success of a similar dance party taking place at the 2018 Halloween Party, the Disney Junior Jingle Jam takes place throughout the entire party so little ones can move and groove with their faves including Doc McStuffins, Fancy Nancy, Vampirina and Timon. We recommend hopping over here before you sit and wait for the parade to get any extra tadpole energy out prior to staying in one place for a while.
Because it is a separately ticketed event, one of the party perks are significantly less guests in the park. And with so many special experiences available, ride waits are typically much shorter.
For the first time, in 2019, some rides received special holiday enhancements! We zoomed down a festive freeway decorated with thousands of lights on the Tomorrowland Speedway. Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor put on a new show, and both Space Mountain and Mad Tea Party had special lighting and music to celebrate holiday cheer. The fan-favorite Jingle Cruise returned in 2019, as well, and is available for all Magic Kingdom guests in 2020. We'd expect to see these ride overlays again in 2021.
The Frog Family is usually too busy hoppin’ from character to character and enjoying the special shows to tackle too many coasters, but we do have a few tips. In our experience, the wait times get shorter and shorter as the night goes on. Aside from waiting until later in the night, the best time to hit popular rides is during parade and showtimes. If you’re waiting to attend the 11 p.m. parade, then use the first showing time to hop on high-demand rides such as Seven Dwarfs and Peter Pan’s Flight. The wait times will be significantly shorter since so many people will be lined up on Main Street for the parade. We found the popular rides anywhere between a 10- and 45-minute wait depending on the time of night.
While we may be alone in this, one of our favorite memories is seeing the fireworks while riding Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It’s a magical, surreal experience and a way to enjoy two magical things at once — and there are significantly shorter lines during the fireworks!
“Smaller” rides such as Mad Tea Party and “it’s a small world” will have a consistently short wait that typically won’t exceed more than 20 minutes throughout the night. These are great to quickly hop on if you have time to kill before a show!
Attractions Open During Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party:
Main Street, U.S.A.
- Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom
- Town Square Theater
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- Jingle Cruise
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Splash Mountain
- Haunted Mansion
- “it’s a small world”
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
- The Barnstormer
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Mad Tea Party
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Princess Fairytale Hall
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Space Mountain
- Astro Orbiter
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party Snacks and More
Keep an eye out for gigantic, inflatable peppermint sticks to signify a treat location! We found the following treats and beverages at these locations in 2019. The treats and locations usually stay the same year after year, but the combination of the two may be switched around (for instance, the peppermint cookie might be found at Tortuga Tavern instead of Cosmic Ray's).
- Welcome Holiday Treat - Market Street (open until 8 p.m.)
- Ginger Molasses Cookie - Jingle Cruise, The Lunching Pad
- Snickerdoodle Cookie - Golden Oak Outpost, Pinocchio Village Haus
- Peppermint Cookie - Miner's Cove, Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe
- Chocolate Chip Cookie - The Diamond Horseshoe, The Friar's Nook
- Snowman Pretzel - Tortuga Tavern, Storybook Snack Carts
- Fanta - Tortuga Tavern, Pinocchio Village Haus
- Eggnog - The Diamond Horseshoe
- Apple Cider - Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe, The Lunching Pad
- Hot Chocolate - Pinocchio Village Haus, Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe
We always like to stop by Tortuga Tavern for the party's salty selection, a snowman soft pretzel. Our favorite stop last year was Pinocchio Village Haus for a snickerdoodle and hot cocoa. All of the cookies we came across were individually wrapped. This is perfect for those concerned about allergies ... or if you just want to stock up your treat stash for the winter. Speaking of allergies, most treat locations offer allergen-friendly options. You can ask the cast member at the front what the options are.
In addition to these complimentary (and did we mention, unlimited?) sweets and treats, there is also special seasonal food available, such as the To Be Jolly float from Plaza Ice Cream Parlor. Our favorite, you ask? Olaf's Frozen Hot Chocolate Cake was delish and a hit with the whole Frog Family in 2019.
Only select restaurants are usually open during party time throughout the park, so plan ahead. We recommend snagging a big dinner before the party and then snacking throughout the night as to not spend precious party time grubbing, but there are also event-exclusive dining options.
Restaurants Open During Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party:
- Main Street Bakery
- Casey's Corner
- Plaza Ice Cream Parlor
- Aloha Isle
- Sunshine Tree Terrace
- Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe
- Columbia Harbour House
- Liberty Square Market
- Sleepy Hollow
- Gaston's Tavern
- Storybook Treats
- Cosmic Ray's Starlight Café
- Auntie Gravity's Galactic Goodies
- Cool Ship
Tony's Most Merriest Town Square Party
Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party debuted in 2018, and we expect it may return in the future. Beginning at 9:30 p.m., guests can pop in and out of Tony's Town Square restaurant for drinks, hors d'oeuvres and sweets. In 2019, the tasty eats included Tony's famous meatballs, hand-tossed mini pizzas, boursin-stuffed artichokes, pumpkin tartlets, Yule Logs and more! There is also an assortment of beer, wine and non alcoholic beverages. Plus, Tony's Most Merriest Town Square Party guests have access to special reserved seating for the second parade showing of the evening at 11 p.m. Tony's guests keep the party going until 12:30 a.m., even after Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party officially ends! The party cost $99 per person (plus tax) in 2019. And yes, you'll still need regular Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party admission.
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party Merchandise
Christmas is a dangerous time for my wallet and me to be at Disney. Not only do I adore all of the wonderful décor and adorable present options, but the event-exclusive merchandise is pretty tough to say no to.
While, of course, general Christmas merchandise can be found throughout the park, the event guide highlights where to find party-exclusive gear. If you’re an annual passholder, there are special products just for you too. We found the Emporium to be the one-stop shop for everything you could possibly be looking for, but you can also find party-exclusive items at Big Top Souvenirs, Star Traders, Frontier Trading Post and Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe.
Can I Catch Any of the Special Entertainment and Ride Overlays Outside of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party?
After the last Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party of the year, Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade is usually shown daily at Magic Kingdom for park guests in the afternoon through the end of December. Last year, the new Minnie's Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show was also available nightly from Dec. 23 through Dec. 29, 2019.
You can usually hop aboard Jingle Cruise during the day throughout the holiday season. Additionally, A Frozen Holiday Wish typically has a 6:15 p.m. showtime, so daytime guests can potentially squeeze it in on their way out of the park (or alternatively, on a day without a party scheduled). Just don't expect to be able to stay for the party without a wristband following this short show.
Is Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party Worth It?
Because the party is a separately ticketed event, we hear that many other frog families often question, “Is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party worth the extra price tag?” It really depends on what you want out of the experience and if you can budget the extra cost. Many families use party day to sleep in, explore Disney Springs or resort hop to see holiday decorations before heading into Magic Kingdom to get their jingle on, using the savings from what would have been regular park admission towards paying for their party tickets. Keep in mind that Magic Kingdom closes early on party days, so if you opt out of the party, your time will be best spent at a different park if you’re looking for a full park day.
If you’re only going for the shorter lines at rides, it’s probably not worth it. But if you love getting into the Christmas spirit and want to see all of the exclusive characters, shows and parades that the party has to offer, we think it’s toadally worth it. Come dressed for the occasion, and wear matching Christmas shirts ... or pajamas! Just be sure to plan ahead and maximize your time there by arriving early!
For us, we love all the holiday hoopla surrounding Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party and savor our time (and the cocoa!) at this annual event. We'd love to hear your thoughts about the party, and especially for those of you have never attended, we'd love to answer any questions! Check out the When to Visit Orlando page inside our Orlando Planning Timeline for more tips!