PHOTOS & VIDEOS: We Went to the First Disney Very Merriest After Hours

It is officially the holiday season in Disney World!

Holidays in Magic Kingdom

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party may not be happening this year, but there’s a NEW event for guests looking to celebrate the season in Disney World — Disney Very Merriest After Hours! Today is the first night that the event is taking over the park and we’re bringing you along with us to check out all that there is to explore! Let’s get to it!

This year, there are 24 Very Merriest dates (on select nights in November and December) where guests can experience the holidays with Disney characters and more during the 4-hour ticketed event.


And, with the event kicking off in just a few hours, we’re already headed into the park!


Guests who purchase Very Merriest After Hours tickets are able to enter Magic Kingdom as early as 7PM without a separate day ticket or Park Pass Reservation, and that’s when we arrived!

It’s all lit up for the special occasion!

The Cast Members at the park entrance were dressed in their festive holiday best. It gives us so much joy to see these costumes again!

How cute are they?!

Once inside, we picked up a Very Merriest park map to be sure we didn’t miss anything that the night had in store!

Inside, you can find a listing of allll the exclusive snacks, merchandise, and entertainment!

The back has the entertainment schedule.

Plus, you can be sure that you don’t miss any of the complimentary cookie and hot chocolate locations, magic shots, character sightings, and more by using the full park map inside!

It’s important to know about those treat locations!

All guests of the event will receive a wristband when they enter the park. (If you’re a day guest, you’ll pick yours up after 7PM.) This is how Cast Members will tell regular guests apart from Very Merriest After Hours guests — it helps them clear out the park more quickly.

Every guest gets a wristband.

As you walk around, be sure to be on the lookout for some holiday decor! We spotted several festive projections in Tomorrowland.

It’s a snowman!

There were little snowflakes all over the ground!

Such a fun addition to the event.

And of course, one of our favorite atmosphere features of the Very Merriest After Hours is the snoap that falls on Main Street, U.S.A.! It doesn’t really ever snow in this part of Florida, but the fake snow makes it feel like it.

It’s so magical!


Guests of Very Merriest get some free treats included with their event ticket. Starting at 9PM, you’ll be able to pick up free popcorn, bottled drinks, and ice cream novelties at snack stands around the park. Here’s a look at the menu:

This is what the snack stands will serve!

The carts opened up at 9PM and started serving guests. These snacks are unlimited, so stop by as many times as you’d like!

This cart was open and serving guests.

There are also several exclusive treats around the park that are NOT included with your ticket. The first one can be found at Sleepy Hollow Refreshments — it’s the Ginger-Apple Funnel Cake for $7.99. And if you need something to wash it down, snag the Apple Cider Float to go with it!

Party-exclusive treats.

At the Main Street, U.S.A. snack cart, you can also pick up the Orange Bird Churro. It’s drizzled with citrus-marshmallow cream and topped with orange candy slices for $7.

Orange Bird Churros don’t look very holiday to us!

Over at Golden Oak Outpost, there are two different treats you can check out. The first is the Gingerbread Almond Cake Pop. It’s made with gingerbread almond cake dipped in white chocolate, all in the shape of Minnie Mouse. You can grab it for $4.99.

Gingerbread Almond Cake Pop — isn’t she cute?

We’ve also got the To Be Jolly Float for $6.99. It’s a peppermint iced coffee blended with vanilla ice cream. It’s topped with whipped cream, sprinkles, and a chocolate Minnie bow.

The two treats match!

And if you’ve got a hankering for some Christmas cookies, we’ve got good news! You can grab snickerdoodle cookies and hot cocoa for free at various spots around the park.

Free cookies and cocoa!

These free cookie stations are located at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe, Columbia Harbour House, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe, and Pinocchio Village Haus.

Look out for the inflatable peppermint stick!

They also have allergy-friendly options available if you can’t eat gluten. They come separately packaged, so just ask a Cast Member if you have dietary restrictions.

They have allergy-friendly options as well.

And when we stopped to pick up our cookie, we were also surprised with a free caramel!

An added bonus!


Because Disney Very Merriest After Hours kicks off at 9PM, we were able to catch the showing of Disney Enchantment (Magic Kingdom’s 50th Anniversary fireworks show) from Main Street, U.S.A. Guests with tickets will also get to experience Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks, so stay tuned for that!

Disney Enchantment

Tonight’s performance was at 8PM, which is when the park closed. Main Street, U.S.A. and the castle hub were both packed with guests during the show!

We had a great view of the projections!

Throughout the night, make sure to hit up Tomorrowland for the Club Tinsel Dance Party at the Rockettower Plaza Stage! When we walked by, they were getting ready for a night of jammin’ with a soundcheck.

Once the event started, things got a lot more exciting over here, with dancers stationed in the crowd and Disney characters on the stage! When we stopped by a second time, Santa Stitch was busting some moves for the guests.

It’s Santa Stitch!

One of the main entertainment options that you won’t want to miss is Mickey & Minnie’s Very Merry Memories — the new holiday castle stage show. It features musical numbers from past years’ shows, so it’s a bit of a throwback.

You don’t want to miss this show!

Mickey, Minnie, and all of their friends perform classic holiday songs with some spectacular dance moves and vocals. It’ll definitely put you in the holiday spirit!

We had a great time watching this one.

And the show ends with “snoap,” Disney’s fake snow, falling from the sky. What a finale!

We love some snoap!

This one will surely be a hit with your family, so don’t skip it! It happens four times throughout the night, and you’ll be able to see the times in your Very Merriest guide map.

We’ve been waiting over a year and a half for parades to return to Disney World, and now we’ve got our wish! Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade strolls down the Magic Kingdom parade route twice throughout the night.

We missed this parade so much.

It’s just as festive as we remember, with fan-favorite characters, classic holiday tunes, and a finale that features Santa Claus. We may have teared up a bit watching it!

This parade is stunning!

If you stake out a spot to watch the parade on Main Street, you’ll get to enjoy the added benefit of snoap falling — it makes the scene look that much more magical!

Hey Santa!

If you’re hoping for a less crowded showing, we recommend waiting to watch until the second performance — usually, guests tend to flock to the first parade of the night.

Hoping to catch some more Christmas music? Well, head on over to Frontierland and listen to the Reindeer Wranglers! This band performs Country-style versions of holiday songs to fit the theme of the land.

The Reindeer Wranglers are a great addition.

Adding them here definitely livens up the ambiance of this area. They’re so fun!

And, as you make your way around the park you can stop to snap some special PhotoPass MagicShots too! There’s one with Tinker Bell dressed up in her holiday best…

Holiday Tink!

…one with Santa flying high over Cinderella Castle…

It’s Santa!

…one that puts you inside a snow globe…

Happy Holidays!

…and one that features an elf hat in front of Jingle Cruise (aka the holiday overlay at Jungle Cruise)!

You can’t NOT be jolly here!

Our final entertainment option of the evening was the Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks show at 11:15PM. This show used to play at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, so we were excited to see it return after a 2-year absence!

It’s a truly spectacular show.

Throughout the show, you’ll be treated to stunning projections, fun music, and fantastic fireworks. It’s definitely a highlight of the event — something you don’t want to miss!

We highly recommend!

The fireworks only happen once a night, and many guests leave after the show, so you may want to stick around afterward to enjoy the lower crowds.


Throughout Magic Kingdom, you’ll spot some of your favorite Disney characters in their holiday best! The first person we spotted was the big guy himself, Santa Claus. He’s at the gazebo near Liberty Square.

He’s got a fun little setup with a chair and a Christmas tree. You’ll be able to interact with him from a distance and snap some photos — they’ve even got a PhotoPass photographer over here!

Make sure to stop by and see Santa!

Winnie the Pooh and Tigger are also here! They’re stationed on the porch of Crystal Palace, waving and saying hello. (And dressed in the most adorable winter gear!)

How cute are these two?!

And when Pooh and Tigger aren’t there, some of their friends take their place. Later in the evening, we spotted Piglet…

Just look at that scarf!

…and Eeyore! It’s the whole Hundred Acre Wood, practically!

Glum, but still cute.

Later in the night, we spotted Captain Hook and Mr. Smee in Adventureland — that was a fun surprise!

These character interactions are spectacular!

And then we saw Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum in Fantasyland by Mad Tea Party. It’s pretty rare to see these guys!

How cool!

Attraction Overlays

Another thing that we were promised for Very Merriest After Hours is holiday attraction overlays. Throughout the daytime and during the event, you’ll be able to ride the seasonal version of Jungle Cruise, the Jingle Cruise!

Jingle Cruise is back!

We already checked out this overlay earlier this week when it first premiered, but it’s just as fun at night!

This overlay is so fun!

And the other overlay is over at Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor. Here, you’ll get some holiday decor and unique jokes. Disney really loves those holiday puns!

Ready for some more holiday jokes?

This one is only available during the After Hours event — during the daytime, it’s the usual version of the show.

Don’t forget to stop by.

Crowds & Wait Times

And finally, let’s discuss crowds and wait times. Crowds were definitely heavier when we first arrived, before the daytime guests had exited the park.

It was very busy during Enchantment.

After the event started, things began to thin out. However, you’ll probably encounter large groups of guests during the entertainment offerings. We noticed this particularly during the stage show, fireworks, and parade.

The stage show crowds were fairly large.

If the entertainment option has multiple showings, try attending one later in the evening to avoid the groups of people.

Main Street, U.S.A. before the first parade.

Wait times weren’t bad, either. Two of the park’s most popular rides were at 25 minutes each midway through the event, Peter Pan’s Flight…

You could hit some big ticket rides!

…and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. We suggest doing your rides later in the night as well. The wait times tend to drop even more towards the end of the event.

25 minutes isn’t bad for this one.

That was our experience at Disney Very Merriest After Hours! We hope that this information helps you when planning your trip to the event in the next few weeks!

Check out the 50+ Eats and Drinks Coming to Disney World For the Holidays!

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Are you going to Disney Very Merriest After Hours this year? Let us know in the comments!

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One Reply to “PHOTOS & VIDEOS: We Went to the First Disney Very Merriest After Hours”

  1. It seems unfair that regular admission tix price does not get reduced on “extra hours” days, yet the hours available to the regular admission guest is reduced. This on almost half of the days between now and Christmas. If Covid requires reduced operating hours in the parks, why is paying as much as $250 dollars per person make it o.k. to open the park later?