What’s the Difference Between Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Disney World’s NEW After Hours Event?

In honor of Halfway to the Holidays, Disney dropped a BUNCH of news on holiday celebrations coming to Disney World and Disneyland Resort!

The holiday season is coming back!

We got dates for the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, details on the offerings at Disney Springs, and the announcement that gingerbread displays would be returning to the resorts. But, the biggest reveal of all is that Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party would be replaced with Disney Very Merriest After Hours this year — so what’s the difference between the two?!

Dates and Times

Let’s start by discussing WHEN the parties typically happen. The dates for the Disney Very Merriest After Hours run on select nights from November 8th through December 21st. These dates are very similar to what we usually see for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP). 

Christmas at the Magic Kingdom

The big difference between the two events comes in the times each evening. MVMCP usually began at 7PM and ran until midnight, with guests allowed into the park at 4PM. However, the After Hours event begins at 9PM and runs until 1AM, with guests allowed into the park at 7PM.

We can’t wait!


Disney hasn’t yet shared too much about what entertainment will be available at Very Merriest After Hours, but we did get the BIG announcement that the Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks will be returning! Disney has also promised that we’ll be able to enjoy character sightings around the park.

Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show ©Disney

Typically, MVMCP offers fireworks, a parade, character meet-and-greets, and stage shows all around the park. For the Halloween event, the Disney After Hours BOO Bash, it was specifically noted that cavalcades would be coming back, but no cavalcades were mentioned today.

Last year’s cavalcades were so much fun!

The same is true for stage shows and other entertainment — Disney didn’t even discuss the Dapper Dans! They may be waiting to see what options will be available in the next few months and will share more details in the future. Fingers crossed for an awesome entertainment lineup!

Dapper Dans!


It was also shared that holiday decor would adorn the Magic Kingdom once again, likely very similar to what we’ve seen in the past. However, due to the 50th Anniversary decorations on the castle, the Dream Lights will not be returning this year. Instead, we’ll get holiday projections each night that alternate with the 50th Anniversary “beacons of magic.” Plus, you’ll get to enjoy “snowfall” on Main Street, U.S.A.!

The castle was so pretty lit up!

Attraction Overlays

In years past, we’ve seen several rides and attractions get special holiday theming and overlays. Disney has promised that some of these will return for the Very Merriest After Hours event! They didn’t specify which rides would be getting holiday themes, but we’ve previously seen Jungle Cruise, Mad Tea Party, Space Mountain, Tomorrowland Speedway, and others get updates.

The Jingle Cruise will make you ho ho ho!

Other Offerings

Just like the Christmas party, this After Hours event will have exclusive snacks, beverages, and merchandise available for purchase throughout. You’ll also be able to snap a festive photo at several exclusive PhotoPass opportunities around the park.

Bring on the snacks!

While Mickey’s Very Merry usually serves up free cookies and beverages throughout the night, the Very Merriest After Hours will have “holiday treats, ice cream, popcorn, and beverages.” After Hours events typically offer these types of free snacks to help balance the cost. 

Complimentary Treats at Villains After Hours

Important Things to Note

First of all, we need to discuss crowds. After Hours events typically promise smaller crowds than other hard-ticketed events, so it’s likely that there won’t be as many people as you usually see at the Christmas Party. This means shorter wait times for rides as well!

It won’t be very busy.

Also, you may have noticed that this is the second time Disney has announced an “After Hours” event in place of a holiday party this year. The BOO Bash is coming for Halloween, but we’ve already seen some upgrades for this Christmas event. The BOO Bash hasn’t announced any fireworks shows, but this one has — we’re likely to get more special offerings as things continue to go back to normal.

We’ll be looking out for more additions.

And finally, let’s talk price. The BOO Bash tickets are our best indicator of what this event might cost. Tickets for the BOO Bash ran anywhere from $129 to $199 depending on which night you selected, so you may want to budget that amount if you plan on visiting Very Merriest this year. We’ll make sure to let you know as soon as official prices are dropped, but these prices are much higher than what we typically see for MVMCP. (Because After Hours events are usually more expensive than holiday parties.)

We can’t wait to check it out!

That’s all we know for now, but we’ll continue to keep our eyes peeled for more Disney Very Merriest After Hours news. It’s definitely going to be different than what we’ve seen in the past, but you know that we’ll be there on opening night to share all the details!

Click Here to Get All the Very Merriest Details!

Will you be going to this event? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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9 Replies to “What’s the Difference Between Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Disney World’s NEW After Hours Event?”

  1. Already purchased tickets for November 11th than afterwards noticed that if Disney cancels the event no refund will be issued. What is up with that? The nickel and dimming is really starting to get annoying but not to refund my money when it is out of my control is ridiculous.

  2. The last 2 times I attended MVMCP I was quite disappointed that the regular park attenders were not made to leave the park at the end of regular hours. While wristbands were checked at the entrance to attractions, there was nothing preventing people from filling up the space for parades and castle shows. As a result it did not feel like a special limited participation event at all. They used to corral all the party goers in one part of the World and escort everyone without wristbands to the exits – those were much more enjoyable events.
    Maybe this change will move back to that kind of experience, although I agree it really is late.

    1. I think it has to do with the idea that After Hours events have fewer tickets available than holiday parties. I never attended an After Hours event, but reading what I see on AllEars, crowds are much lighter compared to traditional holiday parties I have been to which can be as crowded as a normal day in the park. Plus they are giving goers bottled soda, ice cream treats, popcorn, and maybe other items/treats that people could potentially stock up on.

      1. Not so sure about the stocking up On the snacks part…expect there will be a way to control it…I also find these after hours things getting insanely expensive and question whether it’s worth an extra almost $200 a person? Sorry but lighter crowds…some cookies, a drink and ice cream don’t really add up to that.

  3. Will be going to MK that week of the 8th in November and already have our park reservations how does this announcement affect that?

    1. The only impact I could see would be is if you have a Magic Kingdom park reservation for a day of an After Hours event. The park will be closing when the event begins, so could be earlier than other days of the week.

  4. Disappointed but hopeful. The hours do not seem as family friendly to me. Starting later when it’s a family/child themed event…well, we will just have to go and see if it’s worth the additional dollars. Why fix something that’s not in need of a fix???

    1. I’m thinking that the After Hours events are no longer considered family/child events by Disney based on the price and time. This could be an attempt to add adult events, which are highly desirable. The parks will still be decorated for each of the holidays, so children can still see them during the daytime.

      Personally, I like to see change.