Tag Archives: Disneyworld

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!

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

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!

 

 

I love MagicBands! (for some things)

On our recent trip to Disney World, we were very excited to use the new MagicBands that I had heard so much about!  My friend and former cast member Jo Anne wrote a guest post a few months ago, and I was anxious to try them out for myself.

Disney MagicBands

Disney MagicBands

Tickets & Charging

For the main purpose of using the MagicBand as a park ticket and room key with charging privileges, I absolutely loved it!  At first I felt naked leaving my resort without having my purse – no key to the world, no money, but I soon realized all we needed were our colorful and handy MagicBands!  There was one scare in Epcot when we saw someone getting carded for a beer (we had not brought our ID’s), but apparently we look old since we didn’t get carded. Whew! That could have been bad.  Scanning and entering the pin number made spending E-A-S-Y.  Luckily we had the free dining plan so we weren’t really ‘spending’, but boy do MagicBands make it simple!

FastPass+

The other main purpose of the Magic Bands is to store FastPass+ reservations. Continue reading

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

Disney World vs. Disneyland

After vacationing at Disney World many times over the past five years, I was excited to get the opportunity last year to go to Disneyland for New Year’s Eve.  I was anxious to compare the park that started it all to the parks I had grown to love.  Before we left for California, I did research online and saw a lot of familiar sights – many rides looked exactly the same as Disney World, which was very comforting to me.  However, after spending 4 days at Disneyland, I’d have to say there is no contest on which I like better – and that’s Disney World!

Here’s a quick comparison of the two: 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!

%d bloggers like this: