Tag Archives: Disney World

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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Disney vacation update – must see list (plus a line-cutter sighting!)

In my last post I wrote about the new attractions at Disney World that I was hoping to see on my recent visit.  Below is the rundown on everything I saw (and what I didn’t get to see – luckily that list is short!)

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – This was definitely a highlight of the trip.  I will have to write a separate post to get into all the details, but I was pleasantly surprised that I felt like it was worth paying the extra ticket, which I was a little hesitant about. More details to come later this week!

Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – We rode the minetrain during the Christmas Party so the wait was only about 25 minutes, which took into account the guy who just cut in line a few people in front of us! I could not believe it – I’ve never seen a line-cutter at Disney World but a man cut across through the line, pretended to look at something and then just got in line and signaled his wife and kids to come over.  When the man behind the cutter asked if he just cut in line (which he obviously did) the cutter just proceeded to look at his phone and did not even acknowledge that anyone was talking! Unbelievable! Has anyone else seen something like this!? If so, did you do anything about it?  Vote in the poll below!

Festival of Fantasy Parade – We saw the parade and it was very entertaining, even though I’m not usually a big fan of the parades. My favorite was Flynn Rider flying on the swinging hammers – the float was really amazing because it had such huge moving parts!

Flynn Rider - Festival of Fantasy Parade

Flynn Rider – Festival of Fantasy Parade

Fire breathing dragon - Magic Kingdom Festival of Fantasy Parade

Fire breathing dragon – Magic Kingdom Festival of Fantasy Parade

Tinkerbell

Tinkerbell

Magic Kingdom Festival of Fantasy Parade

Magic Kingdom Festival of Fantasy Parade

Cinderella and Prince Charming

Cinderella and Prince Charming

Anna and Elsa - Festival of Fantasy Parade

Anna and Elsa – Festival of Fantasy Parade

Mickey at Festival of Fantasy Parade

Mickey at Festival of Fantasy Parade

Meet and greet with Hiro and Baymax from Big Hero 6 – This is one thing we didn’t get to do.  We waited in line for a while, but with the characters heading out on a break and our FastPass time at Toy Story Mania quickly approaching, I gave up on my hopes of squeezing Baymax.  I have to say, he was pretty amazing – he walked around and blinked, much more mobile than I thought he would be.

Frozen sing-along – Didn’t do this one either – we went to the Streets of America in Hollywood Studios and there was a giant mob of people in a roped off area that I assumed was the line so we decided in two seconds flat that the sing along wasn’t happening!

Downtown Disney – We took the ferry boat from Port Orleans – Riverside to Downtown Disney a few times and it was interesting to see the panorama view from the water of the changes that are happening.  The boat docked over close to the Saratoga Springs resort at the edge of the Marketplace.  We walked around and enjoyed the new stores – specifically at the Marketplace Co-Op. There’s a huge assortment of items from iPhone cases to Vera Bradley bags to home decor to sports apparel – truly something for everyone!

Maelstrom – So sad, the sign is gone and there’s no trace of Maelstrom.  But the giant troll is still in the Puffin’s Roost so hopefully he stays!

No more Maelstrom!

No more Maelstrom!

Memento Mori – This store wasn’t as big as I thought it would be – I was imagining something the size of the Tower of Terror store but it was much smaller.  A few spooky items that would probably be of interest to big fans of Haunted Mansion but not to most people.

Lastly, something that was not on my wish list but definitely the highlight of the trip – my husband got us a reservation at California Grill for our wedding anniversary!  We had an amazing seat by the window and since our reservation was at 5:15pm, we saw the sunset over the Grand Floridian and then at dusk the lights illuminated Cinderella Castle.  The view, the food and the service were all amazing, and my husband definitely earned some brownie points!  It’s going to be hard to out-do that anniversary dinner next year! More to come in a future post with all the delicious details!

California Grill

California Grill

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:

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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

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

#MagicalMondayMinute #2 – Mad Tea Party teacups

Magical Monday Minute is a weekly quick Disney tip to help you enjoy your Disney vacation even more!

If you want to see the video version, I’ll post it on Instagram on Mondays with the hashtag #MagicalMondayMinute.  Follow me there so you don’t miss out on valuable Disney hints!

Today’s Tip: Bring a camera with you when you ride the Mad Tea Party teacups at the Magic Kingdom. You are sure to capture a photo that illustrates the feeling of pure joy at Disney World! Just be sure to hold on – to your camera AND your lunch!

Mad Tea Party Teacups

Mad Tea Party Teacups

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Disney Cruise Surprises

As someone who has been to Disney World many times, I usually don’t stress too much about planning our vacations since I know what to expect.  However, when we booked our cruise on the Disney Magic, I felt that fear of the unknown creeping in.  I  researched on the website.  I reviewed deck plans.  I browsed recent Personal Navigators on the Disney Cruise Blog so I would know what to expect.  I was nervous.

But in the end, as usual, Disney doesn’t disappoint.  We had an awesome cruise, and there were so many surprises along the way!

Disney Magic

Disney Magic

Disney Magic

Disney Magic

Here are some of the amazing surprises on the Disney Magic cruise:

  • Applause as you board the ship – we were announced by name and applauded as we boarded through the main lobby… I can’t say I don’t love people applauding me…
  • Cleanliness – everything was exceptionally clean and I loved the fact that there were cast members passing out wet wipes at the entrances to all restaurants.  All the drink stations had signs advising to take a new cup for each refill, limiting the risk of contamination!
  • It’s still Disney-level service! It is different in a cruise environment, but I worried they couldn’t replicate the service from the parks. Apparently they can!
Disney cruise service

Disney cruise service

  • There were people without kids (that was surprising to me!)
  • It never felt crowded (except for the pool) – okay, this picture doesn’t look that crowded but believe me, it was hard to get a lounge chair!
Disney Magic Pool

Disney Magic Pool

  • The room was amazing! We got a Navigators Veranda, which had a balcony and a very big room as far a cruises go.  I had a little bit of claustrophobia when we went with the interior room on a past cruise, so this was literally a breath of fresh air!
  • Room service is included! One of the best parts of the cruise was ordering coffee and donuts from room service and enjoying them out on the balcony.  No better way to start the day!!
  • The food really is all-you-care-to-eat! I know food is a big part of cruising and that it’s basically available 24/7.  But I assumed at the sit down dinners, you ordered like a regular restaurant. Wrong – if you want all the appetizers, you can get them! If you eat your entree and want another, just ask! If you don’t like what you ordered, pick something else! And when you order dessert, don’t be surprised if the waiter brings out a few extra Mickey bars.
Mickey Bar

Mickey Bar

  • They recognize you!  At dinner, there was a photographer who came around each night and took our photos.  When we went to Castaway Cay, I saw a photographer taking our daughter’s picture in the ocean.  What they never took was our name/photopass card (that doesn’t exist on the cruise) so we asked how they keep track of the pictures – face recognition! When we checked into the ship we had our pictures taken and apparently from then on we were recognized! Pretty cool, somewhat creepy, but when we looked in our photo folder, we were happy to see all our cruise pics!
  • Always in the loop – Between the Personal Navigator and Brent, our cruise director, we always felt like we knew what was going on.  It could be easy to get bored and not know all the activities going on at any given time, but the Personal Navigator daily newsletter gave a full matrix of time/location/activity – whether it was a movie by the pool or a game of Who Wants To Be a Mousketeer, we always knew what was going on.
Brent - Disney Magic Cruise Director

Brent – Disney Magic Cruise Director

Overall the cruise was full of surprises and truly exceeded my expectations (which were high to begin with.)  While it’s completely different from a Disney Parks vacation, it is totally magical in it’s own way! What surprised you about your Disney cruise!? Let me know in the comments!

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