Category Archives: In the Parks

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – All your questions answered!

A few weeks ago we attended Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom.  It was my first time attending and I really didn’t know what to expect.  Before buying the extra ticket necessary to attend the event, I didn’t even do much research – I just trusted that it was going to be fun because there’s so much buzz that surrounds the event every year.  Then, $200 later, I started to wonder about the event – what happens there? how’s it different from the regular Christmas festivities? How do they make sure that people without the extra ticket leave the parks?  So instead of going on and on about everything we experienced at MVMCP, I decided to write this post in a Q & A format with some of the questions I was asking myself.

Welcome to MVMCP!

Welcome to MVMCP!

How is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party different from the regular Christmas festivities at Magic Kingdom?
MVMCP is a special event that requires purchase of an extra ticket.  The event is held on specific nights in November and December and runs from 7pm – midnight.

What makes the Christmas party unique are the special events that are held such as Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, Celebrate the Season stage show, SNOW on Main Street, Holiday Wishes fireworks and FREE cookies and hot cocoa!

Goofy in the Once Upon A Christmastime Parade

Goofy in the Once Upon A Christmastime Parade

Santa joined Mickey;

Santa joined Mickey in the parade

These event are all exclusively for the party and as always, Disney doesn’t cut any corners – they are just as good, if not better, than the parades and shows during the day.  It seemed weird to be getting something for free but I must say it was nice to walk up to the counter and be handed 2 cookies and a cup of hot cocoa at any of the treat stations.  On the night we were there the cookies were snickerdoodles, but I’ve heard that they sometimes serve chocolate chip cookies too.

How do you know where to get the free cookies and hot cocoa?
I had read about the free treats and was very concerned about not knowing where to go to get them.  I wondered if there would be one treat station way in the back of the park, but to my delight there were 7 different stations throughout the park!  Luckily they were very easy to spot because they were marked with giant inflatable light-up candy canes.  They were also marked on the special park map created just for MVMCP (also very handy for keeping track of what time each event was happening.)

Cookies and hot cocoa at MVMCP

Cookies and hot cocoa at MVMCP

Friendly cast members MVMCP serving treats

Friendly cast members serving treats

Treat stations were: Sunshine Tree Terrace, Tortuga Tavern, Columbia Harbour House, Pinocchio Village Haus, Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe, and the Crystal Palace.

Candy Cane treat station

Candy Cane treat station marker

How does it work with the extra ticket that I purchased for the party? And how do they get people without the extra ticket out of the parks?
A few days after we purchased our tickets they arrived in the mail.  I was a little disappointed because they were on regular park ticket cards without any Christmas decor!

On the day of the party I brought the tickets with us to the park, unsure of what exactly we had to do with them.

We were waiting in line for Splash Mountain around 5:30pm and a cast member asked if we were staying for the party.  He let us know that we could go to one of the spots that were set up to check in and get our special bracelet for the party.  We went to the spot and found that we didn’t even need the cards we got in the mail because the tickets were loaded onto our MagicBands!  We scanned our MagicBands and were issued a bracelet.

Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party Ticket

Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party Ticket

I had wondered how they were going to evacuate the people who didn’t have tickets to the party.  Right around 7pm,  cast members started patrolling the entrances to each land asking (or more like shouting at) everyone to show their bracelets as they walked by.  I didn’t see them stop anyone who didn’t have a bracelet and it seemed fairly easy to get by if you really wanted to, but knowing Disney I’m sure they have ways to remove the uninvited guests.

Is it super crowded?
I thought the crowd was very reasonable (although the night we attended was not sold out.) We were able to watch the show in front of Cinderella Castle from the section right in front of the stage.  We never had to wait in a line to get our cookies and we rode the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train with just a 25 minute wait (the wait the rest of the day was 90+ minutes.)  We did go to one of the first party dates in late November so I imagine that as it gets closer to Christmas the crowds in general will be bigger and the parties might be more crowded.

Celebrate the Season with Mickey and Minnie

Celebrating the Season up close with Mickey and Minnie

Mickey the Nutcracker

Mickey the Nutcracker

Is it worth the money?
I think it was worth the money to attend the party.  Just like a nice table service meal or behind the scenes tour, it’s another Disney experience that we can say we did.  I’d say it’s best for older kids because of the timing – I wouldn’t want to pay for a kid who is going to fall asleep halfway through.  Overall, I’d give Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party two thumbs up!

Hopefully I’ve answered all your questions – if not, drop me a comment below!

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Must-see changes at Disney World

I’m so lucky to have vacationed at Disney World at least once a year for the past 6 years.  For two of those years, we were annual passholders so we made the trip to Orlando several times a year.  One concern that I would have before each trip was that the magic would wear off and we’d have the ‘been there, done that’ feeling.  Luckily, that never happened because we made an effort on each trip to do something new, whether it was eating at a new restaurant, staying at a different resort, or going on a mission to find hidden Mickeys!

Our last trip to Disney was earlier this year in March but it seems like so much has changed since then!!  DHS hat – gone (pretty soon!) Maelstrom – gone! Studio Backlot Tour – gone!

Mickey's Sorcerer's Hat

Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat – Bye bye!

Bye Maelstrom!

Bye Maelstrom!

Bye Studio Backlot Tour!

See ya Studio Backlot Tour!

Now I’m worried that when we visit next month we won’t have time to see all of the new attractions that have popped up recently!  Here’s my must-see list to round out Disney vacations 2014:

  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – this will be the first holiday party I’ve been to at Disney World and I’m so excited!
Christmas Minnie and Mickey

Christmas Minnie and Mickey

  • Ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – When I heard about the ride catching fire I thought this was in jeopardy but my Fast Pass hasn’t been cancelled yet so I still plan on riding!
  • Festival of Fantasy Parade – This may have been around in March but I haven’t seen it yet – that dragon looks cool!
  • Meet and greet with Hiro and Baymax from Big Hero 6 – I just want to squeeze him.  Do they allow that?
  • Frozen sing-along – Even though I’m still mad at Frozen for causing the Maelstrom to close, I do want to sing….In Summmmerrrrrrrrrr!
  • Downtown Disney – The Marketplace Co-op could be dangerous on the wallet – so many good shopping opportunities!  I’m excited to take a stroll through downtown and see everything that has changed as they’re renovating the area.  Still deciding whether or not to eat at Splitsville, but I’m sure we’ll swing by and take a peek.
  • Maelstrom – I just want to see it one more time.  I know it’s closed, but I’ll drink a Carlsberg and toast the vikings and trolls alike.
  • Memento Mori – The new Haunted Mansion shop at Magic Kingdom.  I was looking at the Disney Parks blog and it seems like there are some very cool aspects to this shop.  Even though the ride genuinely scares me, I’m looking forward to seeing the shop!

    Haunted Mansion

    The Haunted Mansion

Is there anything I’m missing?  What other new must-see’s should I put on my list?  Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

Goodbye Maelstrom!

Long time no blog!  I haven’t written a post for a while, but it’s not because I haven’t been thinking about Disney World – I just couldn’t find time to get it down on paper.  I’ve been having a lot of fun co-hosting on the weekly WDW Fan Zone podcast that airs live every Friday night at 11pm – catch up on past episodes here!

I’ve been ready to get back to blogging over the past few weeks and I found out some news over the past few days that I knew I had to write about – my beloved Maelstrom will close next month!

Maelstrom

Maelstrom

According to Disney Parks Blog the Maelstrom in Epcot’s Norway pavilion is being replaced with a Frozen-themed ride! Continue reading

Be Our Guest lunch review

One of my top priorities on our last trip to Disney World was to get a reservation at Be Our Guest Restaurant.  I was really hoping for a lunch reservation because we had the free quick service dining plan, but I would have taken any reservation I could get.  After going online daily and even calling a few times, we arrived to the Disney property with no reservation.

I had heard a rumor about a website that would allow guests to use a FastPass+ credit towards dining and I had tried that as well in my efforts to get a reservation, but when I tried to go to the site it asked for a code (which I did not have.)  So I was disappointed, but still figured we could bite the bullet and wait in the loooooong line.

This is kind of how I felt about the outcome of my efforts:

IMG_3851

We went about our vacation, leaving our dining options open.  Then, on the second or third day of the trip, we got a magical email from Disney INVITING US TO USE FASTPASS+ FOR BE OUR GUEST!!!!  I could not believe our luck and we immediately booked our reservation and menu selections online for lunch.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, knowing that the restaurant was used for both quick service (lunch) and table service (dinner) but I was excited just to walk across the bridge to get to the entrance of the castle.

Entrance to Be Our Guest

Entrance to Be Our Guest

With the FastPass+ we went straight to the front of the line and since we had already placed our order online when we booked the reservation, there was nothing to do but enter the castle and find a seat!

This meal was by far the best quick service I’ve had!!  Here are some of the highlights: Continue reading

Epcot Passport

Epcot is sometimes known as the Disney park that doesn’t have a lot to offer kids, but I couldn’t disagree more! In addition to the popular rides, Future World has Innoventions, which is a fun interactive play area that can keep kids entertained for a few hours!

One well known activity for kids in the World Showcase is the Kidcot stops, where kids can color a character on a wooden stick (Duffy Bear or Agent P) and then take their character to each country and get a stamp, along with a special hand-drawn symbol representing that country.

Kidcot Fun Stop at Epcot

Kidcot Fun Stop at Epcot

Agent P Epcot

Agent P Epcot

It’s fun for younger kids, but not always exciting enough to keep an older kid’s attention.  However, on our last trip, we stumbled upon a new fun way for kids to explore the World Showcase – the Epcot Passport.  For around $10, the stores sell an authentic-looking passport that comes with stickers that look like stamps – including the flag of each country and a few of the sights from each country of the World Showcase.

Continue reading

Ideas while waiting for Anna and Elsa

By now I think everyone has heard of the insanely long lines to meet and greet Anna and Elsa from the movie Frozen in the Norway pavilion of Epcot.  I did not wait in the line, but my sister and her family did (4 hours with 2 kids) and I started to think of ways for families to pass the time while waiting in the line. During my brainstorming, I had a breakthrough and I think I actually invented a new game!  Well, not technically new, but a Disney-fied version of the old favorite Rock, Paper, Scissors.

I call it Snowball, Snowflake, Carrot.

Snowball, Snowflake, Carrot

Snowball, Snowflake, Carrot

The rules are the same as Rock, Paper, Scissors, but in case you don’t know here they are: Continue reading

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2014 – Photo Gallery

On our recent trip to Disney World, we visited Epcot just a few days before the official start of the 2014 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.  I didn’t think we’d get to see any of the displays but I was excited to discover that we were able to view a lot of the amazing topiaries (although some were partially hidden until the official festival opening date.)  We were at Epcot for the Flower and Garden Festival a few years ago (here are some photos from that visit) and I thought a lot of the displays would be the same but I was wrong – there were so many characters that we hadn’t seen before!

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival - Chip and Mrs. Potts

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival – Chip and Mrs. Potts

 

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival - Phinneas and Ferb

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival – Phinneas and Ferb

Here’s a hidden one – I just stuck my phone through the bushes and took a pic: Continue reading

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