For about a decade now, I have covered Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party for AllEars.Net (and before that the Orlando Sentinel), which meant that my family and I attended one of the earliest parties in November so I could get the word out about what other guests could expect. This year, however, my husband and I decided to surprise the kids with tickets to a party a week before Christmas as part of our Advent box of family activities — and that experience was a little more different than I anticipated.
First, let me say that I expected the crowds to be heavier. The night we attended Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party was sold out, after all. We arrived at the Magic Kingdom about 5:30 p.m., and crowds were thick at the front of the park especially with day guests who still had time to enjoy the park and party guests who were arriving as early as 4 p.m. to enjoy their full eight hours in the park. We decided to avoid the worst of the bumping elbows on Main Street, U.S.A., by walking along the bypass area, which normally is considered “back stage.”
Disney cast members have done a fantastic job making the bypass area, which starts near Tony’s Town Square, appealing to incoming guests in order to reduce congestion on Main Street. Besides more room to move, guests were offered several cute party-exclusive photo ops that were staffed by Disney’s PhotoPass. Plus, we each were handed stacks of large pre-wrapped snowmen sugar cookies. My family and I promptly tucked those away in backpacks to take home because we had all the new cookies to sample during the party.
Despite the sold-out status of the party, once it started at 7 p.m., the crowds really did thin out and I can’t say we noticed much of a difference between early November and late December parties. The first Christmas parade still was the busiest, and Main Street was filled with people enjoying Holiday Wishes fireworks. But the attractions had pretty short lines, and we didn’t even encounter long lines at the cookie stations. Plus, the party-exclusive merchandise and Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom cards were readily available.
Speaking of cookies, in between the evening’s holiday entertainment, we enjoyed tasting all the new drinks and cookies that were being offered for the first time. Among them were Eggnog and Gingersnap Molasses Cookies, Snow Cones and Snowman Sugar Cookies, Spiced Apple Cider and Snowman Sugar Cookies, Hot Chocolate and Peppermint Bark Cookies, and the previously offered Hot Chocolate and Snickerdoodle Cookies. Plus, the Magic Kingdom continues to offer allergy-friendly and healthy snack alternatives with apple slices and apple juice available upon request. Adding the new choices really added another fun element to our evening. My husband raved about the Eggnog and Gingersnap Molasses Cookies, while I loved the Hot Chocolate and Peppermint Bark Cookies.
One thing that never changes, at least for my family, is that we never have time to see and do everything we want to at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party — even when we were leaving the park at 12:30 a.m. But having too many fun things to do is a good problem to have!