Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is an annual ticketed event at Magic Kingdom.
Tickets this year cost between $149 to $199 a person, depending on the night.
It's a lot to spend on an evening, but it's one of the most memorable holiday experiences.
You can get into Magic Kingdom early without needing an extra ticket.
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP) doesn't kick off until 7 p.m. on party days, but the special event ticket allows you to enter Magic Kingdom as early as 4 p.m. without needing to buy a separate day ticket.
For me, this is ideal. I was able to have a lazy morning in the pool, grab a late breakfast at 'Ohana (who can say no to Stitch-themed waffles?), and ride the monorail in the early afternoon to check out some resort decorations.
By 4, I was ready for some park time before the festivities began.
In those three hours, my friends and I rode Splash Mountain (twice), Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (twice), Pirates of the Caribbean, and Haunted Mansion.
Ride wait times are significantly lower during the party.
The Christmas party offers exclusive entertainment, but for me, one of the highlights is the shorter lines at my favorite attractions.
Because this is a hard-ticket event, crowds are lower than they are on typical nights at Magic Kingdom. And many guests aren't even waiting in line because they're busy watching parades and eating special snacks.
Without needing to pay extra for Genie+ (Disney's paid expedited-line service), we rode Space Mountain multiple times without having to wait at all.
We also walked right on other popular rides like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and the PeopleMover.
Some rides get special holiday overlays.
This year, Magic Kingdom has four rides with holiday overlays.
Jungle Cruise is my all-time favorite ride at the park, but it's extra special at Christmastime when it temporarily turns into Jingle Cruise.
The other transformations are Tomorrowland Speedway Race Through the Holidays, Space Mountain – Holiday Run, and a special holiday version of Mad Tea Party.
Jingle Cruise is available all day, but the other overlays are party exclusives.
Don't skip the holiday version of the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor either.
The Laugh Floor might not be everyone's top Tomorrowland attraction, but it gets a really cool upgrade full of Christmas humor during the party.
The Space Mountain overlay was fantastic, and we had so much fun spinning inside the Christmas madness of the Mad Tea Party. But Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor Holiday Show was definitely the best overlay of the night.
There are some great treats that are only available at the party.
Disney World is a foodie paradise, but some of the sweetest snacks are only available during MVMCP.
The party-exclusive sugar-plum shake ($8.49) was so worth it.
I also tried the chai-caramel Freeze ($7.99) and the Lock, Shock, and Barrel sundae ($17.99), but both of those treats are available all day at Magic Kingdom this season.
And don't forget about the free snacks at the party.
Party-exclusive snacks are exciting, but as a frugal park-goer, I like the free snacks even more.
All across the park, you can find candy-cane-marked treat stops where you'll find free cookies with hot cocoa, eggnog, or apple cider.
Pro tip: The cookies are individually wrapped, so you can load up on them and snack on them throughout the rest of your Disney trip.
The sky is filled with Christmas fireworks.
The special Christmas party lasts five hours, and there's never a dull moment.
At 10 p.m., you'll be treated to a special fireworks show hosted by Minnie Mouse herself that features classic Christmas carols like "Deck the Halls" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."
You can catch the fireworks from anywhere in the park. But if you want to see the special holiday projections on Cinderella Castle, park yourself on Main Street.
Luckily, the crowds are so much lower than on a regular park day.
We got a spot in the Hub Grass (close to the castle) even though we only showed up five minutes before showtime. In contrast, we lined up 30 minutes before the regular Magic Kingdom fireworks the night before and ended up halfway down Main Street.
I also think these fireworks are significantly better than the standard ones.
Parades keep the Christmas magic going.
Before and after the fireworks, you'll be tempted to ride Space Mountain and check out some of the exclusive character meet and greets. But don't stray too far from Main Street.
"Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime" parade rides past at 8:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. during the party.
The parade was fantastic. The toy soldiers were my favorite part, but so many great characters showed up, including Wreck-It Ralph, a handful of Disney princesses, Clarabelle Cow, and Santa himself.
Keep in mind the parade also travels through parts of Liberty Square and Frontierland.
The seasonal castle stage show is also fun.
"Mickey's Most Merriest Celebration" takes place on the castle stage at various times throughout the night.
It was worth seeing, but I wouldn't plan my night around it.
If you happen to be passing the castle during one of the sets, it's a good opportunity to see characters like Woody and Donald celebrating the holidays.
Tomorrowland's entertainment was the best.
The party-exclusive parade, fireworks, and stage show are all magical. But the best Christmas-party entertainment is on a smaller stage in Tomorrowland.
During "A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas," you can see Disney and Pixar favorites like Buzz, Mike Wazowski, and Stitch.
In the hilarious performance, Stitch quite literally hunts down Santa.
You'll stumble upon even more entertainment as you wander the park.
In Frontierland, we found live musicians performing Christmas carols and other crowd favorites with reinvented holiday lyrics, like "Sweet Caroline (Ho! Ho! Ho!)."
There are seasonal and exclusive character meet and greets throughout the party.
Magic Kingdom's ticketed parties are a great time to spot rare characters, like Aladdin and Abu, the Country Bears, and even Santa.
Jack and Sally from "The Nightmare Before Christmas" only meet during the Halloween and Christmas parties. But the wait time was always 60 minutes or more during our party, so we skipped out.
You get some adorable keepsakes.
Between spinning as fast as we could on Mad Tea Party and hearing the festive wisecracks on Jingle Cruise, there were a lot of memorable moments at this year's MVMCP.
I don't think I'll forget it any time soon. But just in case, I collected a couple of special keepsakes to commemorate the night.
Your ticket includes an exclusive ornament you receive upon entering. And on your way out, you get an adorable print of Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto in front of Cinderella Castle.
Both will be on display in my home for the rest of this Christmas season — and for many Christmases to come.
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