SATURDAY SIX: Top Six Reasons We Loved the 2013 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

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This candy cane is a treat location icon, new for 2013

This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at the Top Six Reasons We Loved the 2013 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP). Recently, Kristina Murphy wrote a blog answering the question “Is MVMCP worth it?” Personally, I think the Disney hard ticket parties are the best way to experience the Magic Kingdom, especially if you take advantage of the fact that they will let you into the park as early as 4PM on party nights (the party official runs from 7PM-midnight). I think the parades are better, the fireworks are better, the characters you can meet are rarer, the lines for the attractions are generally much lower, and the overall atmosphere just feels special.

Regardless of whether you think the parties are worth the cost or not, there is no debate that they bring something unique to the table compared to an average day at the park. Today we’re going to look at what we enjoyed from this year’s MVMCP…

(Remember, you can click on any picture to see a full size version)

# 6 – Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

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Santa’s reindeer having a good ol’ time during the parade

 

MVMCP_ParadeCastleWhile many guests are looking forward to a much needed revamp of the normal Magic Kingdom parades, the holiday versions seem to be loved by everyone who sees them. We raved about the Boo to You! parade in our Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) and came away similarly impressed by Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade. Taking place at 8:15PM and 10:30PM each night, this is one parade worth going out of your way to see. Disney characters, toy soldiers, and Santa’s reindeer were the highlights (we’ll get to the big man himself later), but this is one parade that should put a smile on your face from beginning to end.

# 5 – The Cookies and Hot Cocoa

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Hot Cocoa and Cookie displayed by professional hand model Krissy Murphy.

Ok, I get it. Just like the free candy during the MNSSHP, if you only came to the party for the cookies and cocoa, you’d actually be spending a lot of money in terms of what you’d pay outside the park. Mike Scopa of the WDW Today podcast has jokingly referred to MVMCP as “the $50 cookie” in the past. However, I look at the cookies and cocoa as the the proverbial cherry on top of the sundae that you are getting with your party experience. The hot cocoa can warm you up on a chilly night, and the cookies – thick and chewy, just how we like ‘em – were fantastic.

Look for the big Candy Cane treat icons located around the park, as they identify where you can pick up your complimentary cookies and cocoa. Here are your options (and the hours they are available):

# 4 – The Exclusive Merchandise

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The exclusive MVMCP ornament displayed by Magic Band wearing Brandon Glover

As a big fan of theme park merchandise, I’m happy to report there is a good variety of MVMCP merch this year – mostly in the form of shirts and pins – with the designs are very well done. I really liked the main t-shirt design (pictured) along with the limited edition “snow globe” style pins, one of which had Mickey and Minnie as snowmen. There was a special MVMCP ornament, which is a natural tie in for the party. The stores for merch include the Emporium, Heritage House, Mickey’s Star Traders, Big Top Souvenirs, and the Frontier Trading Post. The Emporium is of course loaded with other Christmas related items including a great Pluto-as-a-reindeer plush that reminded me of how The Grinch dressed up his dog Max in How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

# 3 – The Characters

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Scrooge McDuck joining Donald and Daisy for pictures

Character meet and greets are getting more and more popular by the day, and just as the MNSSHP had characters you don’t see out in the parks often, so did this year’s MVMCP. New for this year’s party were Mary Poppins, Bert, and some penguins from the Mary Poppins film meeting guests in New Fantasyland. The Seven Dwarfs are back, and they are decked out in holiday gear. Scrooge McDuck can be seen with Donald and Daisy Duck. Several princesses can be seen with their princes, and many of your favorite characters will be wearing outfits you can only see at the party. Here is an article by Len Testa with some tips for meeting characters during MVMCP.

Speaking of Scrooge McDuck, did you know that Mickey’s Christmas Carol is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year? Seeing that movie was the first time I encountered the character Scrooge McDuck, who later would become possibly my favorite Disney character, thanks to the incredible comic books by Carl Barks (and Don Rosa) and the DuckTales TV show that was part of the Disney Afternoon.

# 2 – The Exclusive Treats

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Chocolate peppermint cupcake (available at Gaston’s Tavern)

I was impressed with the overall quality of treats available during the party, especially the chocolate peppermint cupcake that you can get in Gaston’s Tavern. There was also a Gingerbread Waffle with soft serve ice cream in Sleepy Hollow Refreshments, a Demitasse Minnie or Mickey Milk Chocolate Cocoa with Cookies at Tony’s Town Square and Christmas themed treats at the Main Street Bakery. For theme park special event food this year, the snacks at Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights are the winner, but I’m placing MVMCP in second place in that category.

# 2 (Tie) Holiday Wishes

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Holiday Wishes as seen from New Fantasyland

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Glow With the Show at MVMCP 2013

Disney’s nighttime spectaculars are the best in the business, and the hard ticket parties take the usual five star Disney fireworks display up to a new level. When the Magic Kingdom uses perimeter fireworks and seems to fill the entire sky with light, it is an experience like no other and almost impossible to describe the wonder displayed in front of you. I’m not sure which one to pick as my favorite, as the soundtrack for the Happy HalloWishes is better than the one for Holiday Wishes, but since I like Christmas more than Halloween as a holiday, I have to admit I was more drawn in by the red and green bursts in Holiday Wishes.

This was also the first time I had ever watched any version of Wishes from behind the castle in New Fantasyland. I actually liked this a lot, as I’m usually on Stress Level Midnight any time I have to deal with a crowd waiting for fireworks in front of the castle. The only negative to this experience was seeing the castle – which looks jaw droopingly good from the front – not be completely decorated with lights in the back. What’s up with that? Do we need to start a Kickstarter to get more lights?

# 1 – One word: SANTA.

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Whoever is in charge of MyMagic+ is getting coal this year

When you take one of the world’s most iconic characters in Santa Claus and put him in the Magic Kingdom, one of the world’ most iconic places, you get magic. If you don’t get goosebumps seeing Santa on his sleigh, you may want to check your pulse or maybe have an intervention with Buddy the Elf.

Not only is the big man himself the centerpiece of the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, but you can also get your picture taken with Santa at the front of the park by City Hall.

Overall, a lot of fun was had at the party. The Jingle Cruise is running throughout the night, “snow” falls on Main Street, U.S.A., there are dance parties at Cosmic Ray’s and the Diamond Horseshoe, and there’s another exclusive Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card that  you can pick up at the Firehouse on Main Street or Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in Liberty Square. It’s America’s greatest holiday (sorry, Groundhog Day!) combined with the world’s most popular theme park, and that’s one combination that can’t be beat.

See you next weekend for the latest edition of the Saturday Six! If you had fun, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories and Merch! articles, this Universal Character Breakfast review, or the Pardon the Pixie Dust podcast.

Special thanks to Universal NOW‘s Brandon Glover and Krissy Murphy for their assistance with this article.

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Posted on November 23, 2013

16 Responses to “SATURDAY SIX: Top Six Reasons We Loved the 2013 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party”

  • I know tickets are nonrefundable. If it looks like bad weather for your party night, can you switch to another date if not sold out? How far in advance can you switch?

    • Hi Mike, I’ll look into this for a current answer but I know in the past it has been very challenging to try and switch the date of your ticket. You would probably have better luck if you knew you were switching dates several weeks out, but since you’re looking at weather being the possible reason to switch I imagine you’d only have a couple days. Generally most parties don’t sell out, and since you don’t get a huge discount for buying weeks (or months) in advance it might be a better idea to just wait until a couple days before you plan on going before you buy. That way you’ll have a better idea of what type of weather you are looking at.

      Here’s a good article on Brian McNichols to give a little more info on what days look to be the most popular: http://blog.touringplans.com/2013/06/05/disney-world-magic-kingdom-christmas-party/

  • Just wondering if the Holiday Wishes fireworks can be viewed from any of the Disney resorts? We are visiting next week but tickets for the Christmas party aren’t in our budget, so we plan on visiting MK on a day the party will be happening to hopefully avoid the crowds.

  • Derek, we were just at Universal last week and I have an idea for your next Sat. 6….the top six locker rentals at Universal. There is nothing more annoying than the locker Natzis at Universal….even Men In Black requires a locker (WTF??). As long as this crap is still in place, Universal will remain just a glorified amusement park.

    • The top two locker rentals would definitely have to be the extra large ones available at the front of either park. I believe they are $10 a day and you can just keep going back to them as many times as you want. All kidding aside, I can definitely see both sides of the locker situation. It’s frustrating to have to take the time to use the lockers (although they are free and pretty simple to use), but even during Halloween Horror Nights this year there were reports of people taking stuff onto rides like Rip Ride Rockit and losing control of them, causing them to potentially injure other guests. Considering it is done for the safety of the guests themselves (and preventing stuff from falling into the actual rides), I consider it a necessary evil much akin to the security we go through at airports and even something like a security bag check walking from the Royal Pacific Resort to Islands of Adventure. I personally think the enjoyment I get out of attractions like the Revenge of the Mummy and Dragon Challenge more than make up for the couple of extra minutes I have to spend getting a locker.

  • Any idea if the exclusive party items are available after the parties end? We’ll be there a day or 2 too late to make one of the parties this year, but the shirt and pins are so cute.

  • I’ve been to MNSSHP a couple of times and love it; I’m planning do this one for the first time on 12/19. However, I’ll also be in MK on 12/21 and just heard that the parade/fireworks will be the same as the party that day. Do you think the party is still worth it in this case?

    BTW – love the caption about MyMagic+ – ha, ha. It looks like it will beat “Water World” out for the most expensive mistake ever.

  • Great update, thanks Derek! We had a chance to be there this year for MVMCP, which was a real treat for us. It is also nice to hear from a fellow Scrooge McDuck fan; he is hands-down my favorite character (also from comics, DuckTales, and Mickey’s Christmas Carol) and meeting him for the first time was a genuine thrill.

  • I’m going with my family on Friday, as we have for the past 10 years or so. Can’t wait to see the new things this year and enjoy some of our favorite traditions!

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