Park: Magic Kingdom
at: Disney World
visit was specifically based on attending Mickey’s Very Merry
Christmas Party, and, it was absolutely worth it.
amazingly… this would have made a perfect regular visit to the
park as well. They offered and unannounced (but easy enough to
learn about) early admission. It was organized… and I’m not saying
you could have showed up in the morning when the gates opened
for the day and gone in. (Because that’s not true.) But if you
do your internet research you’ll find out that when they say the
party starts at 7pm, they also start allowing people in well before
that. So for less than the cost of a regular full-day ticket…
about $25 per person less… we still stayed in the park for well
over 7 hours, saw everything we wanted to see, and if we have
concentrated solely on rides, I have zero doubt we could have
covered almost every ride in the park.
though… the park itself wasn’t our intent. It was the holiday
festivities. We went to the parade and watched the fireworks,
and took it easy later in the evening. And that was also partly
a result of having been there not long ago. We avoided the Mountain
Trio. (Splash, Big Thunder and Space.) But to emphasize the point
about how much park could have been covered… in less than three
hours we had been on six rides, eaten dinner, and picked up the
first of our free holiday snacks.
we went on:
Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
Pirates of the Caribbean
Country Bear Jamboree
“it’s a small world”
Peter Pan’s Flight
Snow White’s Scary Adventures
four of us had visited the Magic Kingdom earlier in 2011. Terry
and I in January, and Ellen and Richard around the end of May.
So for the most part, we carried no agenda into the park beyond
seeing the holiday festivities.
was a basic approach… if we got to the rides, great, but if time
became a factor we’d focus on what we needed to see that was special
to this particular visit. And I can’t say time ever became a factor.
We never really waded into Tomorrowland, and yet I can’t say we
ever really felt we had to or that we were sacrificing anything.
Would we have liked to have seen Stitch? Yeah. Of course. Same
for Pooh and Tigger, Buzz Lightyear, the Mountains, and so on.
But the visit wasn’t compromised in any way because of anything
we decided to skip.
yet… even without a go-go-go approach to getting things checked
off or a specific battle plan for which way to turn once inside
the gate, some things became evident when we saw the park map.
Terry and I visited in January, the plans
for remodeling, adding, and essentially just changing Fantasyland
and Tomorrowland meant I thought that we had missed an opportunity
to see Snow White’s Scary Adventures one last time. But there
it was… on the park map… an open attraction. And it was open for
the day and the evening. So that became a bit of a must-do.
second, most of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland were open for the
day and the party. It was rides like the Jungle Cruise that would
be closed later on.
were quickly able to come to an agreement about what all of us
wanted to see during this visit… the holiday festivities, while
hitting things like the Tiki Room, Peter Pan and Snow White, that
for one reason of another we hadn’t seen during the earlier respective
2011 visits. Anything else would be a bonus.
things to consider here… first a meal, and second the event.
one meal we had came before the start of the Christmas events,
when we stopped in the Pinocchio Village Haus.
the evening’s festivities, there was a special free service of
items throughout the park, including hot cocoa, apple juice, cookies
and apple slices. (I want you to think about that. It cost less
to get in, and after 7pm… unlimited free cocoa and snickerdoodle-type
our visit last January, Terry and I decided to share some meals.
We figured it was better to split a hamburger and fries instead
of tossing stuff we didn’t want. And I think that bears repeating
here… not because I’m going to go on and on about chicken fingers
or whatever… but because many theme park locations do carry similar
meals. Sandwiches… burgers… fries… they appear on listings all
over the place. I’ll readily admit that every location generally
offers some twist… and often that twist has made it a favorite
of some person or family. For the most part though, splitting
meals is a great tip.
Very Merry Christmas Party
Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade
“The Magic, The Memories and You” Holiday Edition
Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season
one way, we were very lucky. People normally can be seen staking
out parade-route viewing spots well in advance of a start time.
(And I mean at least an hour ahead of the parade, and often more.)
We got off of Peter Pan and decided our timing and place in the
park warranted going to Mickey’s PhilharMagic instead of rushing
to the parade route. As we came around the castle, we ended up
near the bridge that leads out of the center hub and into Liberty
Square… and basically had a front row seat. That was nice.
said, the parade was not well lit. I don’t know… maybe it was
because I’m used to night parades being the Main Street Electric
Parade or SpectroMagic… maybe it was because of where we were
located, not on Main Street or what you might call a primary location…
the parade didn’t knock us over. It was nice.
new event… “The Magic, The Memories and You”… was really well
done. Very creative and it’s just incredible to see what can be
the fireworks… well… I love Disney fireworks.
best of the best:
we didn’t all see the snow falling on Main Street, I did catch
a glimpse of the dusting that was taking place. It seemed nice…
and we probably should have paid a bit more attention to getting
there instead of mentioning it and then running off in a different
direction. By the time we realized we hadn’t really walked Main
Street in the evening, we were on the monorail and heading out.
said, the holidays were in full force, from character dress to
cast member greetings… snacks available for free to special shows.
And that was very nice to see.
does not skimp on its decorating… nor are they afraid to use the
is a good reason this picture has been included. Look carefully...
of all… I want to send a message out to a mother. If you were
at the park for the event… and you were getting ready to board
a boat on “it’s a small world” right around 7pm… and you have
an adorable baby that was wearing a holiday outfit… and you remember
my wife and I commenting about how cute the baby was and perhaps
even recall someone taking a picture of you… e-mail me. Tell me
what the cute outfit said and what day you were there. Because
while I’m not going to send a copy around to everyone, I have
a really great picture of you standing at the gate to board holding
your baby and I’ll gladly send it your way.
the holiday edition of “The Magic, The Memories and You”… was
an unexpected delight and surprise. We had positioned ourselves
for a bit of a collapse before viewing the special Holidays Wishes
fireworks. I had heard about the Memories efforts that were beginning,
but had zero clue what they were really planning to carry out.
Honestly… if I was looking for a picture of me… unless there is
some advance warning system they use, chances are good you won’t
see it. But the use of the castle, and the special effects, and
the pictures… pretty impressive stuff.
you are making plans to attend the Christmas Party, and wonder
what rides will or won’t be open once the 7pm start of the party
arrives, the reality is that’s a good question. Here’s a good
trick… when you enter the park, if you are getting an early admission,
open up both maps. (One for that day of the park, and one for
the party.) For the most part, everything I was physically given
during our visit matches up quite nicely with things I’ve seen
about this year (and most of what I’ve seen for previous years,
which will always involve minor adjustments and tinkering of some
sort) at the most reputable of Disney-information web sources
and sites. And places like Fantasyland and Tomorrowland tend to
keep just about every available ride open. It’s Adventureland
(Jungle Cruise was closed)… Frontierland (Country Bears was not
running the holiday show, and I haven’t learned why it was the
normal show… Tom Sawyer Island was closed, and the railroad seems
to have been shut down at night)… and Liberty Square (Hall of
Presidents and Riverboat closed, with the Diamond Horseshoe converted
to a special holiday party site)…. were the areas of biggest changes
and potential closings.
praise (or complaints):
refuse to promise anything… in part because most (if not all)
of the 2011 schedule will be done when this is posted, and I have
zero clue if the same idea will be followed in 2012… and in part
because Disney does it but will not admit to it… but you really
need to investigate admission being offered well in advance of
the scheduled 7pm party start time.
you are attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, you will
be issued a wristband that identifies you to staff after 7pm.
Basically, if you have no wristband, after 7pm you will not be
allowed to enter attractions and will be asked to head toward
the entrance and leave the park. However, once admitted before
7pm, you… the Christmas Party guest… have fill access to everything
in the park.
our listing of rides and such above? I wasn’t kidding earlier.
We had visited The Jungle Cruise, Tiki Room, Pirates of the Caribbean,
Country Bear Jamboree, and Haunted Mansion, eaten at the Pinocchio
Village Haus, and were boarding a boat at “it’s a small world”
before the announced 7pm start of the Christmas Party. And since
all four of us had been in the Magic Kingdom earlier in 2011,
we just kicked back after that, took in the holiday festivities,
and weren’t worried about what we did or didn’t do after that.
is an awesome benefit, and one that works as a win for both sides.
Disney gets people processed and in so a long line doesn’t slow
up the admission process at 7pm for people that paid for the party
(plus they get you spending money at restaurants and gift shops
ahead of 7pm)… and we, the guests, have the possibility of a couple
of extra hours inside the park so everything doesn’t have to be
crammed into five hours.