Finding the Least Crowded Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in 2017

by on June 21, 2017 13 Comments

Filed under: Christmas, Crowd Blog, Special events, Walt Disney World (FL)

Here I am once again to review the information from last year and give you an even better projection for the least crowded Micky’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2017. Make sure you check out our dedicated page for a complete list of dates as well as a thorough description of what the Christmas party is.

In short, if you’re looking for the best Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2017, we recommend Tuesday, December 5, 2017. The equivalent date was the party last year with the lowest wait times and has been very low in the past. It’s a Tuesday, early in December, far enough away from the first party for the initial rush to subside and far enough from Christmas to avoid that rush as well.

As I’ll explain below, we’ve made some adjustments to how we calculate the best party to attend, although since I’m sure you’re wondering how we did with our recommendations last year, the answer is…not too bad. Here are the top 5 from last year’s recommendations:

Party Date Projected Wait Time Rank Actual Measured Wait Time Rank
Tuesday, November 15, 2016 Lowest Wait Times 6
Tuesday, November 8, 2016 2 2
Thursday, November 10, 2016 3 11
Tuesday, December 6, 2016 4 1
Monday, November 7, 2016 5 4

[As a quick aside, it’s interesting to note that the average wait times had gone down each year that we had monitored them–until 2015. The past two years wait times have gone up, indicating that maybe they’re either letting more people into the parties or moving people through attractions more slowly. Probably both. Aside over, back to the best Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2016.]

As you can see, our predictions performed pretty closely to what we thought they would, except for that November 10 party. Remember how I said above that the wait times were increasing? Well the average peak wait time during the Christmas parties used to be around 11 minutes, while the average wait for the 2015 party was 11.7. In 2016, that jumped to almost 14 minutes–still not very high, but a significant jump.

 

The New Methodology

We fiddled with the formula a little this year so that we now consider more than just attraction wait times. We now also consider if previous parties sold out and we look at the crowd ratings for the daytime hours. We did not include the price in our calculation, even though the price is variable. We’ve found that the price differences even out the crowds as they are intended to do. You may notice below that the higher-priced parties are dates that have sold out in the past, although we weighted the 2016 sellouts higher and fewer parties sold out last year. No doubt attributable to the higher price–as well as a possible higher attendance threshold.

The result is something that we hope will be an even better representation of crowds. We present the chart below in order to give you as much information as we have so that you can make an informed decision.

2017 Scheduling Quirk

One more quick note: Previously all party days had the Magic Kingdom closing at 7pm, but in 2017 days with Christmas parties are listed as closing at 6pm. The scuttlebutt we are hearing is that they are doing that to prevent non-party guests from scheduling a 6:55pm dining reservation in the park. Apparently Disney’s reservation system can’t be adjusted independently from the park schedule–something that will not shock anyone who’s used Disney’s website or app. Why aren’t the Halloween party days closing at 6? We don’t know, but our theory is that they didn’t think of it until they were already inside the 180 day dining reservation booking window.

We don’t know yet if they will begin sweeping the park at 6pm, gently ushering out non-party-goers (those without wristbands). We don’t expect there will be any actual operational downtime, so if you are in the park between 6pm (official closing) and 7pm (official party start) we highly doubt they will shut down attractions.

Enough setup, let’s look at the chart:

Party Date Attraction Wait Times Rank Price for an Adult Ticket Notes
Tuesday, December 5, 2017 Least Busy Party $95 Sold out 1 day in advance in 2015.
Thursday, December 7, 2017 2 $95 Sold out 1 day in advance in 2013.
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 3 $89
Tuesday, December 12, 2017 4 $95 Sold out on the day of the party in 2015.
Thursday, December 14, 2017 5 $95 Sold out 2 days in advance in 2014 and 1 day in advance in 2015.
Sunday, November 12, 2017 6 $89
Tuesday, November 28, 2017 7 $95
Sunday, December 3, 2017 8 $95
Friday, December 8, 2017 9 $99 Sold out 1 day in advance in 2013 and 2 days in 2014 and 2015.
Thursday, November 16, 2017 10 $89
Friday, December 1, 2017 11 $95 Sold out 1 day in advance in 2013 and 2014.
Friday, December 15, 2017 12 $99 Sold out 2 days in advance in 2014 and 1 day in advance in 2016.
Sunday, December 10, 2017 13 $95 Sold out 1 day in advance in both 2014 and 2015.
Sunday, December 17, 2017 14 $95
Friday, November 10, 2017 15 $95
Thursday, November 9, 2017 16 $94 First party of the year.
Tuesday, December 19, 2017 17 $109
Friday, November 17, 2017 18 $95 Sold out 1 day in advance in 2014 and 2 days in advance in 2016.
Sunday, November 26, 2017 19 $95 1st Party after Thanksgiving break. Sold out 1 day in advance in 2013
Thursday, December 21, 2017 20 $109 Second-to-last party (was Dec. 18) sold out 17 days in advance in 2016.
Friday, December 22, 2017 Busiest Party $109 Final Party of the year. Sold out 7 days in advance in 2013, 20 days in 2014, 29 days in 2015, and 19 days in 2016. Lines for character greetings and parade viewing spots will be long.

 

Our wait times only include attractions−not character meet and greets, special shows, or parades. The characters, in particular, often have long lines, especially for rare characters like the Seven Dwarfs. Regardless of which party you attend, some of the character lines will be long. If those are a must do, do them as early in the evening as possible.

Some of the previously-held ideas are out the window here. Earlier in the season is not always better, but it’s better than the last few parties. The other thing that throws a turkey-shaped wrench is Thanksgiving week, where there are no parties at all. That means that the last party before the break (November 17) and the first party after (November 26) get busier. We also demoted the first two parties of the year because they’ve been a little more crowded as of late–the lower ticket prices, locals checking out new things, and previous “go early” advice probably all contribute.

Mid-November through the first week of December looks like the hot spot, with the exception of those Thanksgiving bookends. Those parties are after the initial interest of the early parties, but before the real Christmas spirit kicks in. Those are the ones we recommend.

Looking for more information? Good, because we have a lot for you. Savannah Sanders wrote a post full of savvy tips that will help you whether this is your first trip or your 100th (and if it’s your 100th, you might have a problem…being too awesome).

If meeting characters is your main priority, the bossman himself, Len Testa, wrote a fantastic (yes, I’m kissing up) piece about strategy for character meets during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party. If you haven’t decided if the cost is worth it you should read Kristina Murphy’s post about that very subject.

Now that you are armed with the most powerful weapon…knowledge, you can plan your trip to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2017. This site will help you find all of the party info.

Hopefully this analysis will help you choose the best Christmas Party to attend. Merry Christmas (a little early)!

Thanks!

Posted on June 21, 2017

13 Responses to “Finding the Least Crowded Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in 2017”

  • Great article! However, I believe you meant December and not November in the sentence below?

    “It’s a Tuesday, early in November, yet far enough away from the first party for the rush to subside.”

  • by Brian McNichols on June 21, 2017, at 9:40 am EDT

    Ah yes, thank you. Staring at dates for a few days scrambles the (already mushy) circuits.

  • Enjoyed the article. We have visited several times during the first week of Dec (e.g. Dec 3-8) and haven’t found the crowds bad at all. Of course we use your site to plan. We have also asked workers at WDW and they suggest the week after the first weekend in Dec. We have also found that the last few days of our typical Thurs – Tues trip are even less crowded. Now I just have one more favor to ask – can you delete your article so I can plan my trip and not be bothered by everyone else following your advice? :). Thanks.

  • We spent almost$200 dollars to go to the party last year. It was not worth the money! I was on a wheel chair s d they did have a special place roped off for us and let our families in too
    The problem was half the people there put there kids on their shoulders and most of us in wheel chairs couldn’t see the parade at all
    200 dollars for s cookie.and hot chocolate and not see the parade! I will never do that again!!!?

  • When the park closed at 7 PM and the party started at 7, being able to get into the park at 4 with a party ticket was logically straightforward.

    Now there are some questions …

    Will they no longer let you in beginning at 4 PM with a party ticket?

    If they do let you in beginning at 4 with a party ticket, then what happens if you show up with a party ticket at 6:30 when the park is ‘closed’, but the party hasn’t started yet?

    I’m guessing based on the scuttlebut that the answer is that the park closes to *non-party* guests at 6 PM, and if worded that way it would be even more clear that there won’t be operational downtime.

    Do you have any insight here?

    Thanks for a great article!

    • Jennie – I have to believe you are correct that non-party guests get rounded up and escorted out by 6, but xmas party guests will still be able to arrive at 4. I can’t imagine them keeping party guests outside the gates until 7.

    • by Brian McNichols on June 22, 2017, at 5:29 am EDT

      I don’t have any particular insight, but from what I know I think you are correct. I don’t think there will be much change to the way they handle the parties now: you’ll still be able to get in at 4pm with a party ticket and there will be no actual park shutdown. The only difference is that they’ll start checking for wristbands at 6pm rather than 7pm. So they should be able to get most of the non-party guests out of the park by 7. That’s the educated guess I’m going with for now anyway.

  • You say the average wait time 11 minutes for attractions during the Christmas Party, can you report the average wait time for the top individual attractions particularly? The wait seems so short, but I’m not sure if the unpopular rides are diluting that??

    • Heather – my experience has been that popular rides (mainly Peter Pan) still have a significant wait time even during low attendance Christmas Parties. If we don’t hit Peter Pan immediately after the parade, the wait times can get up to 35-40 minutes. But many have little to no wait. Space Mountain can be 5-10. I have not been to an Xmas party since the Dwarves Mine Ride has opened.

    • by Brian McNichols on June 22, 2017, at 5:25 am EDT

      You are correct, the average is being pulled down by the less popular attractions. Rides like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train range from about 20-40 minutes depending on the party while something like the Barnstormer will only be around 5-7. Here are some of the other popular attractions and their rang of wait times:

      Space Mountain: 7-23
      Peter Pan: 21-30
      Haunted Mansion: 9-15
      Splash Mountain: 5-8
      Pirates of the Caribbean: 5-11

  • If party guest are allowed in the park beginning at 4pm are they also given a wristband at that time? I haven’t been in over 10 years & don’t recall how that worked.

    • DisGirl66 – Yes, party guests get a wristband upon arrival. Periodically, cast members will ask to see your wristband in the park, as they start cutting off parts of the MK as it gets closer to the actual start time. They continue to check until shortly after the party officially starts.

  • We’re attending December 5th, the 7th was our other option. It’s Pop Warner week so I assumed both parties would be busy. Was that a factor in this rating?