Category Archives: Magic Kingdom

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!

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:

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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

10 photos I take on EVERY trip to Disney World

After going to Disney World many times, you’d think that it would become less and less important to take pictures since we have literally thousands of pictures from the parks.  However, no matter how many times we go there are certain pictures that I find myself taking again and again, even though nothing has changed since the last picture!

One of my biggest pet peeves about picture taking in general is taking a lot of photos where people are not in the shot (things like landscapes, animals, buildings, etc.) because they always seem so interesting at the time but are boring to look through later.  However, I find myself breaking this rule all the time at Disney!  Even after taking these photos every year, I still just can’t resist the urge when the next trip comes around. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in my opinion no pictures really capture the magic of what happens in the Disney bubble… but at least they help bring back those magical memories!

Here are 10 photos that I take every single time I’m at Disney World:
Continue reading

Lines you WANT to wait in at Disney

They say patience is a virtue and I agree.  I just don’t happen to have that virtue.  I do things to try to practice patience – I meditate when I’m in the doctor’s waiting room, I play loud music and avoid looking at the clock when I’m in traffic and running late.   One place where most people (either patient or impatient) can get a little frazzled is in a long line – couple that with a few cranky kids, cranky husband, hunger, heat stroke, and fatigue – and you have a perfect storm for a meltdown.   This perfect storm is almost guaranteed at some point when you’re at Disneyworld.

However, there are some attractions where the lines are part of the fun – I’m disappointed if we happen to get right through with no wait!  Here are the best along with the worst lines – but luckily all of the worst have Fast Pass availability, so I’d highly recommend taking advantage unless you have a surplus of patience that day!

Here are the best and worst lines to wait in at Disneyworld:

Magic Kingdom

Best Line – Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid (New Fantasyland)

The path to this ride leads through a coral-like rock formation that looks like it was just pulled from the seas.  There is an animatronic show that sings every few minutes, keeping people entertained.  But the most captivating part is the interactive hologram in the fish tank windows.  Guests’ actions in front of the windows cause sea creatures to appear and react – it was pretty entertaining and made the line go by fast.

Worst Line – Big Thunder Mountain 

This line is pretty barren – just up and back, up and back until you zig zag your way to the front.  The worst part is the lack of fresh air, especially in the summer. There’s just a lot of humid air and unpleasant odors at times on a hot day.  Wrangle yourself up a Fast Past, partner!

Animal Kingdom

Best Line – Expedition Everest

This line is pretty cool from the get go.  The theme is a mountain expedition with detailed displays of the supplies, artifacts and anything else that the Sherpas have left behind from their journeys.  In the middle of the line there is a wishing well structure, except instead of water there is a monkey sculpture in the middle, representing the sacred status of monkeys in the area.  Once inside the last room before you get to the ride there are books, documents, masks, and even a giant Yeti footprint cast that makes you question if it’s really real…

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Yeti - Real or Make Believe? Yeti – Real or Make Believe?

Worst Line – Kilimanjaro Safaris

The part I hate most about this line is that it’s very wide and there are several sections where the cast members direct you to ‘fill in all available space’ even if that means you’re coming up beside (what seems like cutting) the people in front of you.  I just don’t like doing that, and there’s not much interesting to look at in this line. Say ‘Jambo’ to a Fast Pass!

Hollywood Studios

Best Line – Toy Story Midway Mania

This line puts you right into the Toy Story movies.  There are giant crayons leaning against the walls, a game board on the ceiling, barrel o’monkeys strung from side to side.  But the best is the interactive Mr. Potato Head at the front of the line who talks to the guests.  This line has so much to look at and is so recognizable from the movies that it can keep you entertained for a while.  I guess with 240 minute wait times they had to come up with something to keep people occupied!

disney vacation 2012 127

Worst Line – Tower of Terror

Until you get up to the entrance of the Hollywood Tower Hotel there’s not much other than a cement path with walls that kids can’t help but want to climb all over, to parents’ dismay.  I’d suggest you take the Fast Pass!

Epcot

Best Line – Test Track

This line was pretty interesting under the old design but with the newly re-imagineered design it’s a look into the future.  The first section has prototype futuristic cars that lend themselves to conversations about what the future will be like, how these cars would work (the car below would run on tracks in big cities – no driving required!)   There’s a little lull in the line when you’re getting into the design room, but then you’re back in action designing your car.  The surprising part about this ride is that after the ride is over, we probably stayed for another 30 minutes in the exit rooms – driving the car we designed around a virtual racetrack, picking a soundtrack for our car, and getting our picture with some of the model Chevrolet cars (all of our car info was on a swipecard that we kept throughout the ride.)

Future car - no driver necessary!

Drive your virtual car after the ride

Drive your virtual car after the ride

Worst Line – Soarin’

This line reminds me of a long hallway corridor in a hospital.  It’s drab, there’s nothing on the walls and it seems to go on forever.  Disney attempted to make this interactive by having giant screens on the wall that you’re supposed to be able to wave at and make plants grow, fly birds around… but the only person who can reach high enough to activate it is my 6 foot 3 husband, not 5 foot 2 me and certainly not a kid!  Upgrade to first class and get a Fast Pass!

I guess we can all take comfort in knowing that in the bubble, even at the end of a bad line is a magical fun time!

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4 Parks, 1 Day

DISCLAIMER: What I’m about to outline should NOT be attempted by anyone with the following:

  • A desire to sleep late and/or go to bed early
  • A young child (6 and under)
  • Uncomfortable shoes
  • An aversion to running – you can’t dilly dally and hope to get to all 4 parks
  • A park ticket without the ‘park hopper’ option – they’ll shut you down at park 2 (I’ve learned that lesson the hard way)

On one of our trips to Disneyworld our daughter, who was 7 at the time, asked if we could go to all four parks in one day – that’s Magic Kingdom – Animal Kingdom – Epcot – Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Any of these parks could take up an entire day itself so we had to make a strategic plan on when, where and what we would to do at each park in order to accomplish this lofty goal with minimal tears (and blisters.)  With our matching Mickey t-shirts on, we headed out on a mission.

Park 1: Magic Kingdom was our first stop – we were fresh and ready to go.  Our must-see attractions at MK are Big Thunder Mountain (my daughter’s favorite), Mickey’s PhilharMagic and “it’s a small world,” (my husband’s favorite) and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover (my favorite.)  It might be one of the slowest moving rides in the entire park, but I love cruising through the dark and relaxing on a hot day!

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Park 2: Epcot – Since the Magic Kingdom and Epcot are connected by the monorail, that was our next stop.  Our favorite ride is not Soarin’ or Test Track, which are the 2 most popular rides, but the Maelstrom in Norway.  Yes, another slow moving ride, but since my husband comes from a long line of Vikings we just have to ride it every time we’re in the park!

Stop 2: Epcot

Stop 2: Epcot

Park 3: Animal Kingdom – Time is usually a consideration when going to the Animal Kingdom because, like a zoo, the animals come out early and go back to their enclosures at dusk.  Most days the park closes around 7pm (earlier in the off season) so we got there just in time to ride our all-time favorite roller coaster – Expedition Everest.   The line going into the ride has so much to look at that you don’t even realize you’re waiting and before you know it you’re face to face with the Yeti!

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom

Park 4: Hollywood Studios – Last but not least we made it to Hollywood Studios.  The shows are really what makes this park great – Beauty and the Beast, the Little Mermaid, Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show… but the ride we can’t miss is the Tower of Terror.  No matter how many times I go on this ride, my palms get sweaty as we wait in the basement to board the elevator and my legs shake after we get off the ride – so scary but yet so fun!

Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios

That’s how we made it to 4 parks in 1 day.  It’s not for the faint of heart, but I’d highly recommend it to make one perfect day in the Disneyworld bubble!

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Let’s talk Disney!

Cinderella's Castle

Since this is my first post (yay!), I’ll give a little background on why I started this blog and the reason behind the name.  I went to Disneyworld exactly one time between the ages of 0-30 and that one time was just for a single day when I was 25 years old.  I didn’t see what the big deal was and I actually thought the premise of ‘the happiest place on earth’ was ridiculous (I know, the horror!)  I had zero desire to ever go back but my husband, who grew up in California going to Disneyland every year of his childhood, had a different opinion.  After we had our daughter, he had much more leverage to get a trip to Disneyworld!

So when my daughter was 3, I went to Disneyworld again – begrudgingly – and the rest, as they say, is history.  I’ve been back to Disney 10+ times and counting in the last 6 years and what I love most is being ‘in the bubble,’ as I like to call it.  Crossing the border onto the Disneyworld property is like entering an alternate universe of fairy dust and princesses, where all your dreams come true.  It’s funny now to see people’s expressions when I talk about my love of Disney – and often times asking ‘You’re going back AGAIN?’  Yes! Of course!  I understand their skepticism – that was me a few years back – but if I can change just a few people’s opinions then I’ll be happy.

Welcome to the bubble!

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