Mickey’s Very merry christmas after hours is gone, at least until 2021. We have a new event in its place: Disney Very Merriest After Hours. We discuss what you need to know about Very Merriest After Hours in this post, including our experience at the event and the big question-is it worth it?
We’ll discuss Very Merriest in two ways throughout this post: as an After Hours event and as compared to the old Christmas Party. It’s important to understand how this new event differs from a traditional Christmas party or After Hours.
DISNEY’S Merry Christmas AFTER HOURS Party BASELINES
Here are the basics of the event, including comparisons to other After Hours events and the former Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
After Hours, what makes Disney very merry?
The Disney Very Merriest After Hours is like a hybrid of two events that existed before the 2021 closure / reopening phase-Magic Kingdom After Hours and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
During Disney World’s “After Hours” events, guests can access the park and select attractions “after hours”-that is, a few hours after the regular Magic Kingdom park hours. Ticketed guests are permitted access to the rides after park closing.
Villains After Hours was the only event featuring the same type of entertainment / offerings as Very Merriest After Hours (completely different theme, obviously…though a “villains Christmas” theme actually sounds awesome).
This is because, unlike other After Hours Events, Very Merriest After Hours will also replace Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. In addition to unique entertainment, food, and character sightings, the event will be a replacement for that event. More on this stuff below.
We also visited and reviewed Disney After Hours Boo Bash, which debuted in August and has some similarities to a former holiday party (in that case, it was Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party).
Disney Very Merriest After Hours Dates And Times
Disney Very Merriest After Hours will be held select nights from November 8 through December 21, 2021:
November: 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30
December: 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, 19, 21
The party will be held from 9PM to 1AM, which means it might not be great for little ones.
When Will Disney Very Merriest After Hours Tickets Be On Sale?
Most guests were able to purchase tickets for Disney Very Merriest After Hours on August 20. Guests of Disney hotels were able to buy tickets early on August 17.
How Much Does Disney Very Merriest After Hours Cost?
Very Merriest After Hours pricing has been announced by Disney:
Tickets range from $169 to $229 plus tax for select November-December nights and $249 plus tax for December 19 & 21.
Members of Disney World’s annual pass program and Disney Vacation Club receive a $10 discount on select dates.
Is it necessary to reserve a Parks Pass for Very Merriest?
To attend Disney Very Merriest After Hours, you do not need a park pass reservation (or another park ticket). Tickets for the event grant access to the event, separate from the rest of the day and the park pass.
When Can Very Merriest Guests Enter Magic Kingdom?
If you buy a ticket to Disney Very Merriest After Hours, you will be able to enter the park at 7PM for the 9PM-1AM event. You’ll have two extra hours to spend with fellow guests that day.
If you want to enter the park earlier than 7PM, you’ll need a ticket for that day (and either a Magic Kingdom park pass, or you’ll need to switch to Magic Kingdom).
DISNEY VERY MERRIEST AFTER HOURS INCLUDES
As we said, there’s two points of comparison here. We’ll start with a comparison to After Hours and then compare the event to the old holiday party.
How Does Disney Very Merriest After Hours Compare to Other After Hours?
During “After Hours”, small crowds are available at select attractions. As with other After Hours events, there are more than 20 attractions available, including major rides like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, Jungle Cruise, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Splash Mountain.
Another core component of “After Hours” events, which are part of Very Merriest, is the inclusion of popcorn, ice cream bars, and bottled beverages. Popcorn, ice cream bars, and bottled beverages are available at the park’s kiosks.
There will be some differences between Very Merriest and the other After Hours events. Good news all around. The event will have everything an After Hours event has (ride list may vary), and more!
How Is Disney Very Merriest After Hours Like / Different From Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party?
Switching gears, Disney Very Merriest After Hours includes much of the magic of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, but not all of it.Some of these attractions include::
Mickey & Minnie’s Very Merry Memories (new castle stage show)
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade (but see below)
Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show
Club Tinsel dance party in Tomorrowland
Reindeer Wranglers (western music trio)
Holiday-themed attraction overlays (but see below)
Free Holiday treats (but see below)
Special Character “sightings” (but see below)
Special lighting / decorations / castle projections
Snowfall on Main Street, U.S.A.
Exclusive themed food and drink (at an extra cost)
Okay. There’s a lot to process here. I’ll start with what’s missing. First of all, two shows that were part of the old Christmas Party will no longer be performed on the Tomorrowland stage. Secondly, there will no longer be exclusive merchandise for the old Christmas Party. Event guests can purchase holiday merchandise, but nothing exclusive to the event.
Next, we’ve got all the things I put “but see below” on above. These all come with important notes that distinguish them from the old Christmas Party.
Firstly, nearly 90 performers from Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade have been cut from the original version. As I watched the show, I had no idea what it was about.
The overlays for the Holiday-themed attractions are basically cut. Only Jingle Cruise is open all day anyway, as is Monsters Inc Laugh Floor. It is just their normal versions of Space Mountain and Tomorrowland Speedway (which had an amazing overlay). For us, this means no holiday overlays.
We have significantly reduced the number of free holiday treats. Instead of a variety of beverages and cookies, there is only hot chocolate and snickerdoodles. There can only be so many sweet treats you can eat anyway, so it’s not a huge deal.
However, the big one was that, as of our visit on November 8, there were virtually no characters associated with the holiday season. Only two characters wore scarfs – Pooh and Stitch (as part of his experience at Club Tinsel). But where were the princesses? Mickey Mouse? They were in the same outfits they wear all day.
MY VERY MERRIEST AFTER HOURS EXPERIENCE
‘Very Merriest’ officially started at 9PM, but there are three start times to be aware of. Attendees are allowed to enter at 7PM. If you have a day pass (I have an annual pass), you can enter whenever you want (subject to park passes / park hopping rules).
At 8PM today, the park “closed,” meaning no non-event guests were let in and only event guests could get on rides. At 9PM the event officially started.
I arrived at 6:30 p.m. Outside, there was a sizable gathering. Guests waiting to enter the celebration at 7 p.m. were directed to the right set of gates. I was able to use the left set of gates to stroll right in because I’m an annual passholder park hopping from Hollywood Studios.
You’ll need a wristband to take advantage of the benefits of Very Merriest. If you have a Very Merriest ticket and are entering the park after 7 p.m., you can obtain your wristband at the gate. If you’re inside the park, you’ll need to go get your wristband in either Adventureland or Tomorrowland.
Both these spots had long lines before 7PM and you don’t need a wristband until 8PM when the park closes to day guests. I hung out a bit before finally getting a wristband around 7:40 at a short line in Tomorrowland.
Today’s Disney Enchantment show occurred at 8 p.m., so if you have an After Hours ticket, you could see it. Instead, I took the PeopleMover, which I do frequently at the outset of events to study the map and devise a strategy.
As previously mentioned, the hour between 8 and 9 p.m. is considered a “extra” hour for event attendees. Although the rides are closed to day customers, there will still be some lines because the rides are just closed to other guests. Another oddity about this hour is that wait times aren’t displayed in the app. You can expect most rides to have little-to-no wait, but Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight might have significant waits.
From PeopleMover I headed to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, arriving a bit behind some of the firework-watching crowd. I waited 15 minutes (posted was 20) and boarded
Heading out I noticed a Photopass photographer set up for a Magic Shot a bit early. I personally have no interest in Magic Shots, definitely not when I’m solo, but at events I like to try and fit in a sampling of everything. I waited 13 minutes for about eight groups in front of me. The shots included holding an A-ticket and a magic shot with Tinkerbell.
At this point it was 8:55PM, five minutes before the official event start and I decided I’d head out west to catch the Reindeer Wranglers (9:25PM) and the start of the parade (9:45PM). Along the way I got sugared up.
First I stopped at Harbour House for a snickerdoodle and cup of hot chocolate. This is the free holiday treat included with the event. In the old Christmas Party, there was a variety of combinations available at different stops, but this event had
After that I stopped at Golden Oak Outpost, the at the far end of the park between Frontierland and Adventureland. There are a few event-exclusive treats available for purchase here. I bought the Gingerbread Almond Cake Pop ($4.99) and the To Be Jolly Float ($6.99). They were both good, but it was a bit chilly for the latter.
With about 10 minutes until the Reindeer Wranglers started, I moseyed around Frontierland. The Country Bears were on their balcony in holiday scarves:
The Wranglers perform on the balcony over the walkway connecting Adventureland and Frontierland, right next to Country Bear Jamboree. The set is about 15 minutes long, ending just before the parade begins.
At long last, 9:45PM brought a huge moment—the first true parade to pass through Magic Kingdom since March 2020. Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade is a gem, filled with unique floats and characters in unique holiday costumes. I was disappointed to later read the parade saw a number of performers cut this year, but to be honest I didn’t notice (I’ve never claimed to be a parade expert).
From my spot in Frontierland, the parade ended at about 10:02PM. At this point I’m basically trying to fill time until the 11:15PM fireworks. It’s a good time for rides, and if the characters were in unique outfits you’d also budget some of this time to visit them (so far this year, they aren’t).
There are basically two approaches from here. You can ride things in Frontierland / Adventureland or you can follow the parade and ride Haunted Mansion / rides in Fantasyland. You can go all the way to Tomorrowland, but if that’s your plan you’d be better off just watching the parade from that side of the hub.
I opted for Fantasyland, first stopping by Peter Pan’s Flight but then moving on to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh when I decided the Pan line was too long. I walked right on at 10:12PM. I followed that up by walking right onto Space Mountain at 10:24PM.
I took a quick stop at Club Tinsel, the now outdoor dance party in Tomorrowland. The map indicates a character sighting near here, too, but that’s actually just Stitch, who is on stage as part of the Club. At 10:36PM I walked on to Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin.
By 10:40PM the hub still had plenty of space, so I had no worries about finding space for firework viewing. I headed down Main Street, taking pictures of the very quiet scene along the way:
I like Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks, but the short is sort of a hodgepodge of fireworks, projections, and Christmas music. That makes for great entertainment, honestly, but it’s also probably fitting for an After Hours event and not the sort of design you’d want for a full time show…ahem…
The fireworks are only about 12 minutes, but I just hung around for the next 18 until the 11:45PM showing of Mickey & Minnie’s Very Merry Memories began.
This is one of the tough things about these events—you don’t want to waste 18 minutes, but it’s hard to fill every small gap with something special. In the old Party setup there would have been a show on the Tomorrowland stage you’d catch (in part, at least) in this gap.
Mickey & Minnie’s Very Merry Memories was a ton of fun. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what I liked so much, but I think it’s the range of characters you get. There’s numbers led by the Three Caballeros and Clarabelle Cow, fan favorites who don’t make many appearances in the parks.
The show ended at 11:59PM, which left me an hour for any rides I wanted. Peter Pan’s Flight was top of my list, so I headed there, walking on at 12:09AM.
There are plenty of ways to end the night. Jingle Cruise would have been my next choice if it was on my list. My goal would have been to finish the night near Fantasyland / Tomorrowland. This would have allowed me to hustle from one ride to another—covering things like Mad Tea Party, Dumbo, Barnstormer, etc.—until the event ended at 1AM.
I had a long day ahead of me, so I opted instead for one last ride before heading home. I waited 13 minutes for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train—longer than I expected—boarding at 12:29AM. There’s no reason I’d ever recommend riding something twice at this event, I just mostly wanted to see what the wait was like at this hour.
I don’t often leave events early, but at 12:43AM I left, quickly boarding a bus back to Port Orleans Riverside.
Here’s the itinerary from my visit. This is basically how I’d approach the event in future visits, with the last hour of rides varying as necessary (I just re-rode Mine Train and left early).
8PM — PeopleMover (Walk On)
8:30 — Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (posted 20, actual 15)
8:53 — PhotoPass Magic Shot (13 minute wait)
8:56 — Snickerdoodle and Hot Chocolate (free)
9:15 — Exclusive treats at Golden Oak Outpost ($12+tax for beverage and snack)
9:25 — Reindeer Wranglers
9:45 — Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade
10:11 — Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (Walk On)
10:25 — Space Mountain (Walk On)
10:33 — Club Tinsel (just for a minute or two)
10:37 — Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin (Walk On)
10:48 — Meet Mickey (no Holiday outfit) (Walk In)
Popcorn and walk around
11:15 — Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks
11:45 — Mickey & Minnie’s Very Merry Memories
12:09AM — Peter Pan’s Flight (Walk On)
12:28 — Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (again) (posted 20, actual 13)
SHOULD I ATTEND DISNEY VERY MERRIEST AFTER HOURS?
We’ll deal with this inquiry in three ways. To begin with, we examine whether or not Very Merriest is awesome. Second, we examine whether or not it squeezes into your outing. Third, we examine elective ways of getting comparative worth to the occasion.
Is Disney Very Merriest After Hours Worth The Price?
Assuming I need to pick a side—Very Merriest does not merit the cost. Obviously truly more complicated and it’ll generally be that it’s awesome “for certain individuals on certain excursions.” Let’s examine more, utilizing a $200 per individual value point (your visit may be pretty much costly).
The issue is that Very Merriest is estimated well above either the old Magic Kingdom After Hours (about $140) or the old Christmas Party (about $127). In principle you may think “ah! in any case, it’s a mix of these!” however by and by it doesn’t play out that way.
At four hours, Very Merriest is an hour longer than the old Magic Kingdom After Hours occasion and an hour more limited than the old Christmas Party. Four hours is a great measure of time, especially assuming that you’re vigorously centered around rides, however it’s insufficient to encounter anyplace close all that the occasion brings to the table (for the most part since it offers such countless rides).
In case you took a gander at it explicitly as a rides-centered After Hours occasion, is the additional hour worth the greater costs than past occasions? Most certainly not. With low an adequate number of groups, you can achieve a great deal in three hours at Magic Kingdom. This occasion as marginally higher groups than an old After Hours occasion, however regardless of whether it the additional hour simply implies you’ll have the opportunity to ride a modest bunch of rides you’d have no issue squeezing into a customary day at Magic Kingdom, in any case.
That is, the greater part of the worth of a conventional After Hours occasion is in the two hours or so you’ll spend getting on the most famous rides that are a battle to squeeze into a customary park day. Stretching out the occasion from three to four hours doesn’t itself legitimize a cost increment.
There’s likewise this off-kilter circumstance where Disney has valued admittance to low looks out for these rides during the day at about $15 for Genie+ and $15 for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. So on the off chance that you begin speaking pretty much rides… you have a great deal of disclosing to do to get to $200 per individual. Certainly, Lightning Lanes during the day may have longer holds up than generally After Hours rides. Perhaps you can’t squeeze an entire day at Magic Kingdom into your outing. Etc. Yet at the same time, it’s a major hole from about $30 per individual to about $200 per individual.
Alright, yet this is likewise an occasion. Certainly that extra worth legitimizes the cost? This is the place where I begin to get disappointed, in light of the fact that the thing is this isn’t actually a mix of After Hours and the Christmas Party. Practically speaking, it’s pieces of After Hours and pieces of the Christmas Party—and you want every one of the pieces to truly get esteem.
The old Christmas Party was five hours in length and it filled that five hours. Assuming this occasion was a genuine blend occasion, it would essentially be not difficult to fill four hours with occasion exercises—yet it isn’t, as a result of the cuts.
At the point when you’re hoping to fill an evening with Holiday sorcery, losing the two Tomorrowland shows, the two incredible ride overlays, the assortment of occasion treats and, in particular, the extraordinary person encounters is a huge misfortune. You’re left with a managed down four-hour occasion that costs half more. We need to define the boundary some place.
Alright, so consolidate the two. You can’t fill four hours with simply occasion things, however assuming you arrive at the ideal equilibrium of occasion content and rides, then, at that point, perhaps you can get to $200 esteem. Perhaps.
Once more, Genie+ and a singular Lightning Lane for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train come out to around $30 per individual together. That is just with regards to the greatest you could say you’re “saving” by resulting in these present circumstances occasion. Those buys are sufficient to assemble an extraordinary day at Magic Kingdom with every one of the significant rides and loads of short pauses (and less the pressure of pushing everything into four hours).
During the occasion, you ride Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, Jingle Cruise, perhaps a couple of different rides, and in any case center around Christmas exercises. That implies you really want about $170 of worth from the occasion special features… which once more… it’s simply a stretch when you’re presently discussing 2-3 hours zeroed in on vacation content, when you used to get five hours for $130.
Is Disney Christmas sorcery precious? Are these interesting shows worth $100? $200? $500? For certain individuals, yes. Be that as it may, I thought the old cost around $130, perhaps up to $150 per individual was a sensible cost for the whole five hours of the Christmas Party. Perhaps by the following year I’ll need to rethink, yet I basically can’t track down sufficient worth in the new Very Merriest occasion.
Does Very Merriest Fit Your Trip?
Alright, assuming that you’re content with this value point for what it seems as though you’ll get, we should discuss whether or not the occasion will squeeze a ways into your excursion. The center issue here is simply time.
First at the forefront of my thoughts—as another parent—is that 9PM to 1AM is intense with little ones. In case you observed every one of the most punctual occasions of the center diversion, you’d watch:
9:25PM Mickey and Minnie’s Very Merry Memories
9:45PM Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade
11:15PM Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks
Leaving at 11:30PM you’ll possibly have returned to your lodging by 12 PM.
Indeed, even without little youngsters, a 2AM sleep time on party night could deliver your next morning, all things considered, useless. You’re not going to be up 6AM to be at a recreation center for rope drop. So the day after Very Merriest should best be held for a hotel day, or possibly a retreat morning (delayed breakfast, unwind by the pool).
Assuming you’re remaining at a Disney lodging, that lost morning is a lost visit to Early Theme Park Entry. The arrangement here is basic—don’t design Hollywood Studios the day after your After Hours occasion. Night-time is a fine swap for a morning at Magic Kingdom. At Epcot and Animal Kingdom you don’t actually require Early Entry.
At last, assuming that you’re remaining at a choice Disney lodging, you may pass up an evening (at an alternate park) of Disney’s new evening hours only for fancy retreat visitors.
Options in contrast To Very Merriest If You Care Most About Rides
It’s basically impossible to get the occasion experience you’ll get during Very Merriest as a feature of standard park hours. Christmas week in some cases has a portion of the one of a kind contributions during the day, yet it’s no assurance and not declared far ahead of time.
Assuming you need to get on however many rides as could be allowed and you’re willing to spend a little to do that, you have as couple of choices.
Assuming your objective is getting on the most rides, the fundamental option is to just buy Genie+, which will cost you just $16 per individual each day. Indeed, even with two costly Lighting Lanes, you’ll be under $50 per individual for a day at Magic Kingdom without any lines. This is somewhat of an easy decision in case what you care about most is rides.
Another choice is redesign your visit to a choice lodging, giving you admittance to the evening hours for choice inn visitors. This is certifiably not a modest choice, however, as it’ll likely run you essentially $150 each night. Obviously, assuming you did a split stay and updated just two evenings of your visit, you may be in the ballpark of the Very Merriest expense. Tragically, as of right now the Extended Evening Hours plan is flimsy and just incorporates two parks (Magic Kingdom and Epcot).
One more option in contrast to a tagged occasion is adding a day to your outing. In the event that you’re paying around $150-$200 per individual, even a couple will be in a position where it may seem OK to add a day to their outing.
A five night test November stay for two individuals at Coronado Springs (Water View) without park container begins at $2878. Adding a 6th evening (with one more day of park tickets) costs $3248, or $370 more. That is concerning what you’d expect for two individuals to pay for Very Merriest, and I’d take an additional a full park day over a tagged occasion.
However, two things. To start with, that is only our view. Park days can be a trudge, After Hours occasions are an awesome breeze, so I can understanding picking the last option. Second, you probably won’t have the day to save. Late night is a decent method for squeezing more rides into a more limited outing.
In case you’re arranging a non-Disney lodging in view of value, you could change to a Disney inn and open Early Theme Park Entry, which will get you 30 minutes of reward time each day at each park. This is certainly a valuable advantage and will most likely further develop your general outing more than Very Merriest, yet I’d bet everything you get from Very Merriest will not be coordinated by getting up extra right on time to invest energy in the parks.
Indeed, there’s a sense where Disney Christmas wizardry is beyond value. However, by and by we need to define the boundary some place. In complete trustworthiness—I’m somewhat outraged that at $200 per individual this occasion saw such countless cuts from the Christmas Party, the deficiency of special characters being the most un-reasonable cut.
That to the side, Disney has enclosed themselves to the extent how rides are esteemed. Genie+ and a Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Lightning Lane will cost you about $30 per individual. Are these as fast as an After Hours occasion? No, however the After Hours occasion can’t cover an extra $170 of worth.
Regardless of how I cut it, I can’t find $200 of worth here. That doesn’t mean the occasion will not be great for everybody. It most certainly doesn’t mean I didn’t live it up (I did). In any case, in case spending plan is at the forefront of your thoughts, this may be a happy opportunity to pass and put the $800 for a group of four into an excursion store for a future year.