This year, we attended Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP) for the very first time on Sunday, December 8, 2013. We’ve been to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) twice (including once just this past October) and were excited to try this party for the first time. This post will include lots of photos from that night, as well as a few videos and some tips along the way. It’s a long one, so go grab some egg nog and enjoy!
To be honest, we were a little nervous going into the party. At MNSSHP in October, Trent was getting sick, so he did not want anything to do with everything. He didn’t want to wear his costume AT ALL. He wanted to be held the entire time and I had to hold him and push the stroller at the same time because Brett said a stroller didn’t go with his costume (I won’t even elaborate how the rest of that conversation went). It felt like it was 150 degrees out. Our timing was off on everything. We arrived at 7pm, when the party started, to a so-packed-you-can’t-even-move Main Street. We didn’t even get to enjoy the atmosphere or have a family photo taken of us because Trent ended up falling asleep for most of the night. Even worse was that we came home and Brett was disappointed in his photos.
We did NOT want a repeat.
It’s one thing when you have expectations and they don’t go as planned for a regular day at the park when you have annual passes….but when you spend an extra $130 for a one night party, it can be extremely disappointing when things aren’t as fun as you hoped. I know this is always a risk with kids, but we were going to try our hardest to make this a much better party.
Way before we even left for our trip, we became super germaphobes so Trent wouldn’t get sick. Sickness is the quickest path to a bad evening. Luckily, we held any potential sicknesses at bay. He was teething at the time, but we equipped ourselves with Orajel to stop any pain with the quickness.
The second thing was that we didn’t go to a park that day. We woke up at a nice hour (and not 6am), we leisurely strolled to breakfast, played at the playground, swam a little and took a long nap. We didn’t do anything to tire us out. We took it easy and it was nice.
The third thing was that we ate RIGHT BEFORE heading to the party. We all enjoyed a late lunch at the hotel, enough to fill us up and not need food for a while. A full baby = a happy baby.
The fourth thing was that we arrived at 4pm, instead of 7pm. Although the party doesn’t technically start until 7pm, they have the decorations up. So we were able to show up and take photos without the convergence of the two crowds (leaving and arriving) on Main Street.
So, just those 4 changes made such a big difference. We had an absolutely wonderful night. Here’s the details 🙂
But first, a video of our fun-filled night!
We arrived at the Magic Kingdom parking lot a little before 4pm. We have the WORST luck when it comes to parking spots…we are usually all the way at the back, which makes for the longest walk to the tram. We were nervous, but we got the very front parking spot. Hallelujah! My foot was very thankful, which was still achy from when I fell down the stairs a week prior. The odd thing was that there were a ton of people waiting for the tram. It was actually faster to walk to the Transportation & Ticket Center…so we did. Go figure, we save walking by being the first parking spot and then we walk all the way to the TTC. We beat the tram we would have been on by several minutes, so it was worth it.
We’ve been taking the Ferry a lot more, so that’s what we did. When we got off the ferry, a monorail had just dropped off a bunch of people, so the lines for bag check were extremely long.
The entrance was separated into two sections…to the left was for people not going to the party (yes, they were still letting non-party ticket holders into the park…), and to the right was for people going to the party. We had printed our tickets at home, so the cast member quickly calls a manager over to scan them and then we are given wristbands. The wristbands are for cast members to quickly see that you are a paid party-ticket holder and not someone who just stuck around from earlier in the day.
When you walk into the park, I didn’t get a Christmas smack in the face like I got a Halloween smack in the face when we entered for MNSSHP. Perhaps it’s because of the time we got there. It was still light out, so you couldn’t see any Christmas lights, but we did take the opportunity to take some family photos by handing our camera to the Photopass lady at the end of Main Street.
Ok, I know Brett’s a photographer, so we are slightly biased about other photographer’s skills, but this lady was terrible. We could hardly understand her, she told Brett to move to one side but not Trent and I, so there is a big gap between us and my head is covering the castle. When he tried to help her zoom out because she kept saying “Castle don’t fit, castle don’t fit” she snatched the camera back and was like “D’uh!” and then proceeding to joke around saying “Oh this camera so heavy, I can’t do it” insinuating that we were treating her like she didn’t know what she was doing. And then we looked at our photos and it confirmed that she indeed didn’t know what she was doing. They were horrible…so we thought maybe the ones from her camera would be better (and we looked online after we got back home and they were even worse).
Luckily, we went to a guy a little further up Main Street and as soon as we handed him our camera, he said “Oh, this is my favorite lens” which let us know that he indeed knew what he was doing. Those photos turned out so much better. 🙂
At this point, there weren’t any party events going on, so we strolled to the left towards Crystal Palace so he could scope out a potential fireworks spot. Brett had 2 objectives that night…good parade photos and good fireworks photos. He already knew the parade location he wanted and that we would have to show up around 7 to see if it was available, so he needed to determine the fireworks location too.
After that, we continued strolling around until we made our way back behind the castle. Brett started to take photos and I remembered to check our Fastpass+ selections to see if we still had any. Before the trip, I made selections just in case we showed up to the park early (there is no Fastpass+ during the party), and there was 15 minutes left of our Peter Pan FP+! So Brett stayed to take photos while I hauled booty back to park the stroller and then make it to Peter Pan. The wait for FP+ people was non-existent – we walked right on. Non-FP+? 50 minutes. Yikes.
This was the first time Trent has ridden Peter Pan and he seemed to really enjoy it. He kept leaning around to see everything. He likes Jake & the Never Land Pirates on Disney Junior, so I wonder if he recognized Captain Hook.
After the ride, we met back up with Brett for our other FP+ that was left, Winnie the Pooh.
We then decided to slowly make our way towards Main Street to scope out our preferred parade viewing spot. Along the way, we grabbed some of the complimentary (i.e. paid for in your overpriced party ticket) cookies and hot chocolate. They also have apple juice and apple slices available. The cookies are basically sugar cookies and the hot chocolate and apple juice come in cute little coffee cups with lids on them.
There were plenty of people already claiming their parade spots, but luckily, our preferred spot was still open, so we decided to camp out…for an hour and 45 minutes…with a 1.5 year old. The very first thing I did was grab a bucket of popcorn and drinks to go along with the Christmas party cookies we already had. Remember…full baby = happy baby. Trent had fun feeding me and himself piece of popcorn and cookie.
There was plenty of tickling, peek-a-boo, questions (“Where’s your belly?”, “What does a cow say?”), but we did it without a meltdown. Success! I would have let him out of the stroller to move around, but that boy would have taken off running and had me chasing him down Main Street.
It was also nice that it snowed on Main Street, which Trent found fascinating. It was 80 degrees out and snowing…only in Florida! lol
Right before the parade started, the cast members walked down Main Street asking people to hold up their hands to show their wristbands to make sure everyone that was there indeed paid to be there. In not-so-surprising fashion, there were several people that had been camped out for a parade spot that didn’t have wristbands and were trying to stay over from the regular park admission earlier in the day. I wonder how many people get away with it…I also wish they would stop letting non-party attendees at an earlier hour. I know Disney wants to bank on as many people as possible, but as we sat there waiting for the parade to start, non-party ticket holders were still filtering out of the park at 8:30pm…an entire hour and a half after the park closed for them. As someone that paid over $60 a ticket to be here, I don’t like seeing other people benefit from it for free and I don’t like them crowding the streets either. Humph, I say!
In true never-fails parade fashion, as soon as the parade started, some little girl came pushing through in front of us (we had a rope in front us, so she came from behind us) nearly knocking over our GoPro that Brett just spent several minutes finding the perfect spot for. We yelled “No!” and she went back behind us and then she (along with another girl) appeared behind me, leaning all over the stroller and pushing up on me. I had to turn around and say “Excuse me” several times, but even worse was that Trent wanted to pay them more attention than the parade…looking up, trying to talk to them and bouncing all around in the stroller. We better watch out if he’s already trying to be a little ladies man.
I’m sorry, but some parents just suck for not teaching their kids manners and respect. I didn’t wait in this spot for almost 2 hours for you to be all up in my business. If you wanted your child to have a good spot, you should have waited here too. The lack of parade etiquette just blows my mind. But I digress…
The parade was really fun…the characters don’t interact with you as much as the regular parade, but it was very enjoyable. Here is a video of the entire parade. We waited 2 hours to watch it from this spot and you don’t have to wait a single minute…my present to you!
Here’s some of Brett’s amazing photos from the parade.
Our favorite part is at the end with the toy soldiers. Their marching is so exciting. That was probably the part Brett was looking forward to photographing the most.
After the parade, we headed to the spot Brett wanted to view the fireworks from…only to find a Photopass location set up there, two ladies with their tripods set up, and a sea of elderly people in scooters. Figures.
We hung around to see what was happening and we overheard that the two ladies with tripods were going to move into the Photopass spot once he was finished right before the fireworks. There was more than enough room for them and Brett, so Brett made his way up there to be nearby for whenever this transitioned occurred. While waiting, other more outspoken people showed up and asked to stand here and there and everywhere, but luckily, none of them affected where Brett was and he was pretty happy with his spot.
As we were waiting, I kinda stood in the worst spot…I was a few feet behind the Photopass guy and everyone thought I was in line, even though I was standing in the grass. I either had to tell people I wasn’t in line or had people asking me as soon as they walked up.
However, I’m really glad for this because I heard someone ask “Are you in line for Photopass?” so I turned around and said “No, you can go ahead.” and she said “I read your blog!”
Say what?! I’ve never had someone I didn’t know tell me that before! I was so happy at what a coincidence it was too…at Magic Kingdom during the Christmas party because I was in a bad spot and probably annoying people…lol. She had recognized Trent. Sometimes, I often wonder if anyone more than family and friends reads this little blog of ours…and I will remember this when I doubt it. It made my night. Thanks Giana and I hope you enjoyed the party. 🙂
Of course, as soon as the fireworks started, Trent shut down. He put his head down on my shoulder and passed out. I guess he just isn’t a fan of them any more and doesn’t even want to look at them. I just happened to be standing in the spot for the Photopass (they don’t take photos during the fireworks) and that sneaky photographer took several photos of us. I just love Disney cast members.
We are big fans of the special event fireworks because they almost circle the park and provide something a little extra than normal Wishes. However, I do prefer HalloWishes over Holiday Wishes, as this one didn’t really have a storyline, just some Christmas music as the soundtrack. It was fun and cheery, though, as compared to the spooky, villainous HalloWishes.
Since Trent was now sound asleep in the stroller (my arms are FREE!), we stopped by the treat location at Crystal Palace to stock up. We didn’t get all that much throughout the night, but the lines at these treat locations were WAY shorter than any trick-or-treat line at MNSSHP. Trick-or-treating took too long at MNSSHP, so I was glad that I could walk up and grab a treat at this party without it eating up a big chunk of time (<—intentional corny pun).
We stopped at various locations to take photos of the decorations. Nothing was overly decorated and I feel like the majority of decorations were in the Main Street and Hub area.
One of my favorite sights….Cinderella Castle all lit up for Christmas.
We didn’t watch the 2nd parade, since we got our preferred location for the first. Instead, we just kept strolling. We had kind of decided to just slowly head towards the front of the park to leave, taking photos along the way and making a quick stop at the Christmas Shoppe. When we arrived at the front of the castle, a show was about to start, so we stuck around to see that…including the creepy white horses.
The show was fun and I recorded bits and pieces of it. I’m glad we caught the final show of the evening, as opposed to seeing one of the earlier shows. There was hardly anyone there and much of the front of the castle forecourt was open to just stand anywhere you wanted. Too bad Trent missed it.
We stopped in the Christmas Shoppe to pick up a gift for the winner of a contest I held at my Disney site (www.TheBestof Disney.com) and our yearly Disney Christmas ornament. We chose one of the new ear hat ornaments…Dumbo!
By the time we left the Christmas Shoppe, it was about 11:50 and had been about 9 hours since we last had a real meal (popcorn, cookies and hot chocolate doesn’t count), so we grabbed 2 hot dog meals at Casey’s Corner. Man, for some reason, those cheesy hot dogs and fries hit the spot. Even better was that we didn’t have to wait to order and had a nice spot outside watching everyone filter out of the park. We finished eating shortly after midnight and sloooowly made our way to the front of the park.
Brett stopped to take photos at the train station just as Trent was waking up. It must have been his power nap because he now had so much energy and was running around like crazy. He could barely sit still for this photo.
After a bit, we could see the cast members making their way down Main Street to gently push people out of the park. I definitely feel that they push a little harder after the parties, as opposed to normal operating nights. We ended up being one of the last people out of the park, but it was well worth it (to Brett, anyway) to get photos of the castle and Christmas decorations without a flagpole, Christmas tree, garland, and media boxes in the way. A completely unobstructed view of Cinderella Castle…the stuff Disney photographers dream about.
By 1pm, we were standing by the entrance taking photos and Brett had a CM standing next to him just as he picked up his camera to leave. Brett hadn’t noticed him, but as soon as he did, the CM said “Have a nice night!” It was kind of like he was saying “Now get heck out of here so we can go home!”
We were on the last ferry of the night (that we could tell), joined by one other family and several CMs. After arriving at 4pm and leaving at 1am, I can say we got our money’s worth out of this party, much better than the Halloween Party (which I haven’t written about yet, but will). We don’t ride any rides during the parties, but we try to participate in most of the special events throughout the night. The highlight of this party was the parade and sitting on Main Street with all the “snow” falling on us.
With that being said, as much as I love Christmas and the jolly feeling surrounding this party, I still prefer the Halloween party and getting dressed up along with hundreds of other people. The feeling is definitely different and whether you would like one or the other depends entirely on your opinion on either of the holidays.
I haven’t decided if we will make this party a yearly tradition, but if we do, we are definitely picking this night again. It was the Sunday after the Christmas parade was taped (that gets aired on Christmas day), so Brett gets to take photos without anything obstructing the castle and it didn’t feel crowded at all. In fact, it felt like a ghost town compared to the Halloween party. Sundays are cheaper than Fridays by a few dollars, but I’ll take what I can get since there are limited Passholder discount nights and they are only in early November.
We combined this with a visit to the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios the night before, so it was a nice weekend filled with Christmas cheer 🙂