Tag Archives: Disney

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!

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

Jedi Training Academy at Hollywood Studios

Anyone who has seen Star Wars can probably agree that lightsabers are cool.  When you add in Jedi skills, an Obi-Wan robe and a chance to defeat the Dark Side, you’ve got a pretty big adventure waiting at the Jedi Training Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Jedi Training Academy

Jedi Training Academy

This high-demand event is only for kids ages 4-12, although I’m sure there are plenty of grown ups who would love to become Jedis too!  There are shows about every 1/2 hour throughout the day, but spots fill up quick – and the kids who are signing up have to be present to register. So if Jedi Training is on the ‘must-do’ list for your Disney vacation, plan to be at the park before it opens to head straight to the ABC Sound Studio to register.
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MagicBands – Love ’em or leave ’em?

Today I have a guest post from my friend and former cast member, Jo Anne!  She has been an annual passholder, is a DVC member, and when we first met I thought she was a Disney fanatic (in a bad way.)  I still think she’s a Disney fanatic, but in a good way!  She used the new MagicBands in September and this is her review. 

Since this review took place during the test phase, things may have changed since then. Be sure to check Disney’s website for updates to policies and procedures.

In late October/early November we took a family vacation to Walt Disney World with family and friends to celebrate several birthdays (including my daughter’s first birthday.)  As DVC members, my parents stayed in a 1 bedroom villa and my family and our friends stayed in a 2 bedroom villa at Animal Kingdom Lodge. We were all super excited to find out we would be able to participate in the soft launch of the new Disney MagicBand program. Marketed as a colorful, all-in-one band that connects all of your vacation plans and reservations through My Disney Experience, we weren’t sure what to expect. My friend and I were super excited about the colorful bands and a free souvenir for the kids’ first trip to WDW.  However, our husbands were very cynical – they made comments about how Disney will know everything about us, can track us, help us spend money…but deep down they were excited too.

Once we were registered in My Disney Experience, I linked all of our ticket and dining information to our bands. I still brought my trusty spreadsheet, but I could see phasing this out now that I have this great tool.

I highly recommend taking the time to customize your MagicBands through My Disney Experience. We assigned a character to each person and had fun picking the colors of our bands. The packaging on them is amazing as well. We were so excited when we finally got them in the mail. If you don’t customize your band, you will be issued a gray one at the front desk when you check in. Boo…gray is so boring!

When we checked into our resort, we were flooded by MagicBand merchandise. Continue reading

What I’m thankful for at Disney World

Often times when we are planning a trip to Disney, we keep it on the DL. Not because we’re not super excited, but because we know that not everyone is able to go to Disney World as often as we do – and maybe not ever. I never take for granted how blessed our family is to be able to go on a few vacations a year to get away and spend time together, especially when it’s in the Disney bubble.
Today on Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the countless things God has given us. Going to Disney World has provided so many amazing memories that we’ll share as a family forever.

Here are some of the things I’m most thankful for – be sure to vote below on what YOU are most thankful for!

  • Being an annual passholder
  • Getting to go to Disney World and Disneyland in the same year
  • Air conditioning in August
  • San Angel Inn margaritas
  • Dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table with my daughter dressed as Cinderella
  • Beauty and the Beast show at Hollywood Studios
  • The Magical Express
  • Perfume in Norway Pavilion
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority
  • Everything about Epcot
Thankful at Disney World

Thankful at Disney World

Hopefully we’ll be at Disney again soon, but until then I’ll just stay thankful for all the memories.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Christmas Magic at Disney World

One of the best things about Disney vacations is that something unexpected and magical seems to happen on every trip.  Last November, my husband and I went to Disney World to celebrate our 10 year anniversary and we definitely experienced some unexpected magic!

Christmas Minnie and Mickey

Christmas Mickey and Minnie

We planned our trip the week following Thanksgiving, knowing that we would beat the holiday crowds that grow as Christmas break approaches.  Upon arriving at Magic Kingdom, we saw some commotion and a stage set up in the Main Street square, not to mention people lined up along Main Street wearing Santa hats and Christmas-themed attire.  It didn’t take too long to realize something was going on and we soon found out they were setting up to tape the Christmas Day parade that airs on TV Christmas morning — and we were going to be there to witness it!

The timing of the parade happened shortly after the news of Disney taking over Lucasfilm, so there were tons of storm troopers lined up to march in the parade, lead by Darth Vader.

Star Wars Christmas Parade at Magic Kingdom

Star Wars Christmas Parade on Main Street

It was so cool to see the behind-the-scenes instructions given to Vader by the director and it only took a few takes to get the scene right.

Darth Vader Christmas Parade at Magic Kingdom

Darth Vader in the Christmas Parade at Magic Kingdom

Storm Trooper Parade at Magic Kingdom

Storm Trooper Parade at Magic Kingdom

After the parade was over, we made our way up Main Street towards Cinderella Castle.  Once we got there, it was obvious there was going to be a show. Continue reading

Golfing at Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course

I love to golf.  My husband and I used to golf nearly every weekend in the summer when we were first married.  It was a great time to bond, relax and enjoy the outdoors.  However, after our daughter came along it was harder to find time (and a sitter) to make it out to the course very often.

Once she turned about 6 years old, we had the great idea that we’d just teach her how to golf and then we could go back to our weekly golf habit!  I know Tiger Woods started golfing at age 3, but we soon learned that taking the average 6 year old on the golf course (even a par 3) is tough.  Carrying clubs, walking up hills, and the 4-5 swings needed to make contact with the ball were too draining for her to make it for 9 holes.  But over the next three years we persevered, continuing to teach her and from time to time golfing a round with her as scorekeeper in the cart (I think she’d rather drive the cart than golf most times anyways.)

On our last trip to Disney, I felt like we had reached the point where we could try to golf as a family.  After some research I was pleased to find a Disney course that was labeled as “family friendly,” which is pretty rare on a regular length course.  The age range on the website even listed preschoolers … which made me wonder if it was going to be the equivalent of a mini-golf course with lots of kids running around.  As soon as we arrived I realized that was not the case at all.  There was an attendant to greet us, take our bags and escort us into the pro shop, which had all the Mickey golf paraphernalia you could ever want!

WDW Golf

WDW Golf

Since we are annual passholders, our rounds were FREE!  Yes, I said FREE!  (Greens fees are a benefit for passholders at Oak Trail, but not the other courses.)  In addition, our taxi from the resort to the course was FREE! (Complimentary transportation is available for guests from most Disney resorts – check with the concierge desk to confirm.)  Free golf and free taxi – – how could we pass that up?  To save on the baggage fees at the airport we combined my clubs with my husband’s and I was able to get a complimentary bag at the course as well.
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