Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Thanksgiving at Disney: A Trip Report - Is MVMCP Worth the Price?

Before we continue the trip report today, did you know that this blog has joined with the Magical Blograil to offer you an amazing giveaway? You can win a Disney Dooney & Bourke Wristlet, pin set, and resort toiletries set from either Walt Disney World or Disneyland. You can enter the giveaway daily! 2 lucky winners will chosen on September 26th at 11:59 PM ET to win one of these two fabulous prizes! Enter here.

When planning a trip, many of my friends come to me asking for tips and help. I am always glad to share. The question I get most about holiday trips is usually "is the cost of the party ticket really worth it?"

Let's break it down a bit. There are a couple of parties in the Magic Kingdom. One is in the fall: Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP). The other is in the winter: Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP). Both parties feature a special holiday specific parade and fireworks show, characters in costumes you don't usually see, characters you don't usually see doing mass meet and greets, treats (like trick or treating or hot chocolate and cookies), and smaller park crowds.

Both parties also come with a fairly high ticket price though especially when you take a family of 4 or more. When we visited MVMCP in 2012, the ticket price for advanced tickets was $58.95 per adult and $53.95 for ages 3-9.  That meant for my sister's family of 4, they had to shell out over $200 for this special evening and that was on top of the park tickets we had for the rest of the day.  Remember the party ticket only get you into the park at 4 PM, so if you want to visit another park before that, you'll need a regular day pass ticket.

As for the question of "is it worth the cost?" The last three posts on the blog described the party before the parade, the parade itself, and after the parade. I, myself, have attended MVMCP twice over the past few years, and I love it.  Let me share why:

  • The parade is awesome! Yes, Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade becomes the evening parade in the parks closer to Christmas, but I can't be away from work during those times.
  • The crowds, even during a sold out party, are still crazy small compared to most other days. It's like you have the run of Magic Kingdom!
  • I don't do the character meet and greets usually, but if I wanted to meet Snow White, her Prince, and all Seven Dwarves at once, I could. Cinderella, Prince Charming, and the StepFamily? Absolutely possible!
  • After the parade the "party crowd"dwindles to next to nothing!
If you decide to spend the cash on the party, I have a few recommendations to make the most of it though: 
  • Arrive at Magic Kingdom before 7 PM.  The park closes early, so people without Park Hopper tickets will not choose this as their park for the day.  The crowd leaves toward lunch.  Go after your afternoon rest time, grab dinner, and the crowds will be noticeably smaller when you're done eating.
  • Be aware of what attractions are not open during the party. Ride those attractions you love before 7 PM!
  • If you have small children or kids that go to bed early, make sure you have a substantial afternoon rest time (with a nap if possible).  The best value for the party happens after the second parade. You don't want to leave early because of grumpy, tired kids!
  • You should take a nap in the afternoon too. Grumpy, tired adults can ruin the party too.
  • Plan to go to the second parade. Enjoy the attractions before then.
  • If you are a Disney veteran, pick a nontraditional (not in front of the Castle) spot for fireworks or enjoy them while continuing to tour the park or while riding an outdoor ride. Sometimes the neatest view is from a spot you don't normally stand in!  This will keep you out of the exiting the park crowds after the parade too.
  • Plan to leave when the park closes. PhotoPass photographers stay out on Main Street, USA until midnight but close up promptly. If you want a family photo in the snow in front of the Castle, grab one before then!
  • Have fun and be flexible! It's ok to split up to let everyone do what they want to do, but remember that you came as a family and spend time together too. Everyone is there for the same reason: to have fun. Allow everyone in your family/party to do their favorite thing. 
So is it worth it? Absolutely! 

Friday's post will explore PhotoPass and if the CD is worth the cost. See you soon!

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