Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party only lasts for five hours — from 7 p.m. to midnight — so you’ll need a strategy in order to do most everything that’s important to your group. It’s unlikely that one family can do everything during that time.
But your party ticket allows you to enter the Magic Kingdom at 4 p.m., even though most party activities do not start until 7 p.m. You can use those three hours to really maximize your party time by experiencing other holiday entertainment, riding attractions, getting in line for rare characters and more.
Before the party starts, you might want to check out:
** The Jungle Cruise. This classic attraction has been transformed into the Jingle Cruise for the fourth year. The “world-famous” holiday overlay can be experienced during regular park hours, too, but if you have some time to kill, it’s a fun way to get in the Christmas spirit before the party. Plus, you’ll see all the little holiday touches better in the daylight.
** Meet Santa Claus. St. Nick meets with the young and young-at-heart at Candy Cane Garden next to City Hall in Town Square. He is there every day and during party hours, except for when he is needed in the evening parade. My children have always thought it was extra special to talk with Santa in the Magic Kingdom (or anywhere at Disney, for that matter)!
** A Frozen Holiday Wish. This short stage show takes place in front of Cinderella Castle during which the folks from Arendelle light up the 200,000 “icicles” adorning the castle. It takes place at 6:15 and 8:15 p.m. (during the party) daily, which means day guests can see the first show. In our experience, both shows are super crowded in the hub because that’s where you need to be if you want to see the “Frozen” characters on stage. However, you can see the castle being lit up from anywhere on Main Street.
** Attractions. If you think you might want to go on some rides before the party starts, be sure to book FastPasses. Although FastPass+ is not available during party hours, it is included with your ticket for rides scheduled between 4 and 6 p.m. If you forget to do this, you can stop by the kiosks in the Magic Kingdom, but know that many attractions may not have availability at the last minute.
** Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card. Once you enter the park, head straight to the Firehouse in Town Square so you can pick up the party-exclusive Christmas card based on the Carousel of Progress for the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom virtual game. Each person will need his or her party wristband to collect the card, beginning at 4 p.m. Because this is the only time you can get the card, I recommend collecting it and using it on another visit.
** Dinner. My family and I usually choose to have a quick-service dinner before the party starts so as not to use a lot of the time we could be spending on the holiday activities. This is a matter of personal preference, though, because a table-service meal might be more important to other guests.
** Rare characters. Finally, if you are interested in meeting any of the characters with long lines, it makes sense to do your waiting before the Christmas party starts so you’ll have more time to enjoy the entertainment that only takes place after 7 p.m. Plus, some of the characters have come out early for guests with party wristbands.
Jack Skellington dressed as Sandy Claws is as popular as ever and commanding long lines at his location in the gazebo in Liberty Square. Zootopia’s Judy Hoppes and Nick Wilde, who only appear during the Christmas and Halloween parties, are meeting in Tomorrowland. All Seven Dwarfs pose for photos across from the circus tent and the splash pad in Storybook Circus in Fantasyland. Moana is new to the party and is meeting guests in Adventureland. You’re likely to save party time if join the queues for these characters before the party officially starts at 7 p.m.
Look for Scrooge McDuck, Santa Goofy, and Daisy Duck, Donald Duck and Minnie Mouse in their holiday finest in Storybook Circus in Fantasyland. Princess Ariel and Prince Eric are new to the parties this year and are meeting guests across from Under The Sea — Journey of The Little Mermaid. Talking Mickey Mouse is dressed in his Christmas clothes in his usual spot inside Town Square Theater. These characters will have queues, though probably not as long as those I mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Another way to make the most of your time at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is to stay late. Although the party and its activities end at midnight, Main Street U.S.A. stays open until 1 a.m. If you can remain awake, leave these activities until the end:
** See the last show of Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration at 11:55 p.m. on the Castle Forecourt Stage.
** Take classic group photos with the backdrop of Cinderella Castle or the giant Christmas tree.
** Shop for party merchandise and other Christmas goodies.
Look for another blog post from me about what not to miss during the party!
DISCLAIMER: I was a guest of Walt Disney World for its Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This did not affect my story; my opinions are my own.