Tag: disney parks

Sneak Peek: Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

We had the opportunity to attend one of Walt Disney World’s Passholder Previews for Pandora, Animal Kingdom’s new land. Be warned: there are lots of photos ahead, showing off Pandora’s amazing visuals and delights.,  including new rides, food, and beautiful architecture.

pandora

Come in for a sneak peek into Pandora at Disney's Animal Kingdom, opening May 27, 2017. Click To Tweet

pandorapandorapandorapandora

As soon as you walk into Pandora, the landscape changes. There’s the lush foliage and flora you’re used to at Animal Kingdom, but it’s … different somehow. Alien. You’re in another world. The floating mountains loom in the distance and the sounds of birds are everywhere around you. All the strange and exotic blooms of Pandora are there for you to enjoy. From what the cast members told us, the nighttime views are even more spectacular, when Pandora’s bioluminescent plants come to life.

 

pandora

Our first stop, after taking in all the sights, was Pongu Pongu, where we each ordered a Night Blossom. This non-alcoholic frozen beverage (seen here in the souvenir cup) is a mix of limeade combined with apple and pear flavors topped off with passion fruit boba balls. It was very sweet, but I thought incredibly refreshing.

pandora

We enjoyed our drink in the outside seating area for Satu’li Canteen and then stepped inside for lunch. The quick service setup will look familiar to any Disney visitor — you place your order at the register, then pick it up at the counter. This restaurant, though, will be the first to offer mobile ordering through the My Disney Experience app, beginning May 27th. Make sure you’ve installed the latest update before you go.

pandora

The food at Satu’li Canteen? Pretty darn good. I got the Chopped Wood-Grilled Chicken Bowl with wild grains and rice and the creamy herb dressing (seen here). My husband got steak with potatoes and the onion sauce and enjoyed his just as much. Both were tasty and filling. In fact, we were too full for dessert but the offerings looked delightful.

Now … the new rides.

First up, Avatar Flight of Passage. For the Passholder Preview, we were taken through the standby queues, though there were no lines at all given the limited attendance allowed. It gave us a chance to enjoy the scenery, and to appreciate all the work that went into designing this world.

 

pandora

pandora

pandora

pandora

pandora

 

pandora

I have a feeling this queue will never look so empty again! It was a long, long walk to get to the ride, and it gives you pause to think how many parkgoers will fit in it. Rumor has it that the queue can accommodate a 6 hour wait, but I would hope for anyone’s sake that’s overestimating.

After you reach the end of that very long hallway, you wait until a “link room” is available. At that point, you and fifteen other riders are ushered into a room where the link process is explained to you, as well as a brief history of the Avatar program.

 

pandora

 

At this point, we were asked to turn off cell phones and cameras, so I can’t give you pictures of the room where the ride takes place itself. My experience, though, was this: as I expected, I wasn’t able to ride. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Flight of Passage does not accommodate all body types, and this is true. In addition to being somewhat Pooh-sized, I’m a tall girl (over 5′ 10″) with long legs. No amount of scootching up or pointing my toes or sitting up straight or any of the tips you’ve heard were going to make a difference when my knees were already right up against the seat, with no room to move. Some tall people and some people more “Pooh” than I am have ridden, but it all depends on each person’s individual body shape. If you’re all leg and not tiny, you may run into the same problem I did. The Cast Member was super nice and helped me, and sounded absolutely miserable that I wasn’t able to ride (she was more upset than I was, but more on that later).

So, I stepped outside through the exit door and waited there on a bench while my husband rode. While I waited, I had a great time talking to Cast Member William, who told me that this is a frequent occurrence and one the CMs feel terrible about. He said, and I hope he doesn’t mind me paraphrasing him here, that as Flight of Passage Cast Members it’s their sole purpose to give us an excellent ride experience, and that they’re truly disappointed when they can’t accommodate a particular rider.

We also talked a bit about why I wasn’t upset at missing the ride — I never had any intention of doing it, even if I had fit (but wanted to see if I did) because I have a lower back fusion and continuing disc problems, and this ride seemed like it would easily aggravate that. (A cast member I spoke to indicated his own mother won’t ride for the same reasons.) Disney gives its usual health disclaimer for this ride, warning those with high blood pressure, motion sickness, and “other conditions that could be aggravated”. For me, because of the back restraint on this ride, as well as the banking and leaning that would take place, this was too big of a risk for my too-easily-aggravated back condition. I’m sure it’s perfectly safe for anyone else, but if you’re in my shoes, be careful.

My husband, however, did ride, and enjoyed it very much. You wear 3D glasses and the visuals are perfect and seamless. You truly feel as if you’re flying, and part of that is because of the sounds, smells, and feel of your banshee beneath you, as well as the wind in your face as you soar and dive through Pandora’s skies. Everyone’s thrill level is different, but many are describing Flight of Passage as “Soarin’ meets Star Tours meets Mission Space” — three great rides rolled into one and set in the exotic world of Pandora.

 

pandora

pandora

 

For a complete change of pace, we then went on the Na’vi River Journey, a beautiful boat ride through Pandora’s nighttime world. The ride is serene and lovely — we rode it twice — and the technology is stunning. The boats have two seats and legroom is ample for a comfortable ride.

Both rides will offer FastPass+, but Park visitors can only choose one of the two Pandora: World of Avatar rides in their first three selections. In other words, you can FastPass Flight of Passage, Kali River Run, and Dinosaur, and then if you like, try to get a same-day 4th FP for Na’vi River Journey. This may or may not be easy to do at first, so choose wisely (and use MDE to your best advantage).

Pandora is an exciting addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, with a great deal to enjoy visually, two new rides, an excellent quick service dining option, and banshees of your own to buy at Windtraders gift shop. Face painting, a drum circle, and other activities can be found throughout the land. While some may have questioned adding Pandora to Animal Kingdom (due to the fact that, well, Pandora doesn’t exist, unlike DAK’s other inhabitants), its message of conservation and protection ties in closely with Disney’s commitment to environmentalism. I think visitors both young and old (and even those who’ve never seen “Avatar”) will enjoy this new land to explore.

Celebrate the 4th of July at Disney’s Grand Floridian

4th of july fireworksStarting to make your summer plans, especially for the 4th of July? Independence Day can be an exciting but crowded day at Disney World. Guests from all over will be there celebrating and enjoying the Parks. If you aren’t up to braving the enormous crows at Cinderella’s Castle that night but still want to enjoy the fireworks in a beautiful and exclusive venue, you might be glad to hear that Disney’s Grand Floridan Resort & Spa will host a special limited ticket event to celebrate July 4th.

The entire event will be held at the marina at the resort. Dinner will include grilled steak and shrimp, other cookout favorites, dessert, and includes both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. After the meal, guests will have a terrific viewing location to watch the 4th of July fireworks show performed at the Magic Kingdom, including music piped into the area during the show for a full experience.

The tickets will be $120 (plus tax) for adults and $59 (plus tax) for children (ages 3-9). Reservations are already available for the event by calling (407) WDW-DINE. I would recommend making your reservation as soon as possible for this first-time event that is sure to be popular. You do not have to be staying at the Grand Floridian in order purchase tickets to the event.

Review: AMC Disney Springs 24 Dine-In Theatre

Last weekend my husband and I went to Disney Springs to see Beauty and the Beast, Disney’s new live action version of the animated classic. (The movie was wonderful,  by the way!) We decided to head up to WDW for the movie so we could do some shopping, be immersed in Disney, and to try out AMC’s Dine-In Theatre.

Seating is reserved. The chairs are comfortable, but getting old; the leather is stiff and aging. They lean back but in a desk chair kind of way, not like the feet-up recliners you see in a lot of theaters these days. In front of you there’s a table for your food, which conveniently has a foot bar I found very comfortable to prop my feet up on. It’s not stadium seating at all, though; there isn’t much slope to the floor so I wouldn’t get seats too far in the back. Overall, the theater viewing room itself needs a refurb soon.

disney springs amc

Our movie was at 11 AM, so we got there a little early to get our food order in right away. There are menus waiting for you, as well as silverware and 3D glasses, if needed. You can look at the full menu here on Disney’s site, but it offers a wide array of choices, including but not limited to burgers, boneless wings, nachos, sushi rolls, flatbreads, teriyaki bowls, mac & cheese, salads, wraps, tacos, chicken tenders, fish & chips, and doughnuts. You can also, of course, order traditional movie fare such as popcorn, candy, and drinks.

When you’re ready to order, you press a button at your table.

disney springs amc

Shortly thereafter, a waiter arrives and takes your order. The food arrived rather quickly after that — we had everything, drinks, appetizers, and main course, before the movie started. The waiters were all extremely helpful, polite, and attentive. Definitely a little of the Disney spirit of customer service going on there.

Review: AMC Disney Springs 24 Dine-In Theatre at Walt Disney World Click To Tweet

You don’t have to order early, though. And if you need anything during the movie, like a refill or napkins or dessert, just push the button and your waiter comes by again. This, though, was my biggest concern about a dine-in theater. I hate it when people talk, use their cell phones, or do anything distracting during the movie. It drives me crazy. People ordering food, waiters walking around, all during a Disney extravaganza and remake of one of my favorite movies, that I’d waited over a year for? Sounds like a recipe for disaster. Weirdly, though, it wasn’t at all distracting. The aisles are wide and the waiters really know how to be unobtrusive. It was fine, no problems, no distractions. Trust me, if there’s ANYONE this arrangement was going to bother, it was me, and it didn’t.

So, on to the food!

disney springs amc

We ordered two appetizers, the first being the Crispy Brussels Sprouts. They were very nicely seasoned, crunchy-crispy, and the cheese was a nice added touch. I know everyone isn’t a fan of Brussels sprouts (though I don’t know why not!) but these were delicious.

disney springs amc

We also got the loaded tater tots, and these were a little disappointing. The tots did have cheese sauce, bacon, scallions, and Ranch dressing, but not the way I’d imagined it — there was just a drizzle of each on top of regular old tater tots. Which are always yummy, but I expected something a little more decadent.

disney springs amc

Both of us had burgers and fries as our entrée. The fries were pretty good, especially while they were still hot. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, nicely greasy. The burger wasn’t exceptional, though. The bun was fine but the patty itself was overcooked and dry.  My husband got the Royal Burger, which was loaded with bacon, brie, carmelized onions, sweet fig jam, and Royal sauce, and he didn’t notice that it was dry, given all those gooey toppings. A better-cooked burger to start with, though, would be a good improvement all around.

We had a great time at the AMC Dine-In at Disney Springs and would definitely go to a movie there again, especially a Disney movie, just to feel a little more immersed in the land of the Mouse. A few updates, a fresh coat of paint, and a better meat thermometer and I’d give it an A+, but even without those it’s a fun experience I can definitely recommend.

 

Review: Le Cellier Steakhouse

Le Cellier Steakhouse in Epcot’s Canada Pavilion serves tender steaks, fresh seafood, cheesy poutine fries and other regional cuisine inspired by the provinces of Canada. From Disney:

Under sweeping stone arches and flickering candle sconces, this sizzling steakhouse recalls the wine cellars of grand château-style hotels like Fairmont Le Château Frontenac and Fairmont Château Laurier. Enjoy such signature dishes as the Canadian cheddar cheese soup and the “Le Cellier” mushroom filet mignon—or, for a lunch-time exclusive option, design your own 3-course feast from a selection of luscious prix fixe menu choices. And for a sweet ending to any meal, save room for maple crème brûlée or one of our other decadent desserts!

le cellier

I’ve had the pleasure of eating at Le Cellier twice and enjoyed both experiences greatly. The first time was during the Christmas holidays; the restaurant was decorated in a festive but understated way with garland and white lights. We had a wonderful time.

When we had the chance to return last month, we were worried that our meal, and our impression of Le Cellier, wouldn’t live up to the first impression it gave. Luckily, it very much did.

le cellier

My husband and I both started with the Canadian Cheddar Cheese soup. Made with Moosewood Beer and Applewood Smoked Bacon, this is unbelievably tasty. I thought it would be fun to dip Le Cellier’s famous pretzel bread in the soup, but in all honesty that made for too salty of a bite. As an aside, when we tried the “same” soup at Biergarten last year, we found it overall too salty, as well. But the soup offered up at Le Cellier is perfect.

le cellier

We tried the poutine on our previous visit and… we’re not fans. I love a good french fry and my husband does as well. But we like fries that are crisp, on the outside at least, and drowning fries in gravy or cheese creates a texture we’re not fond of. You know, my mother used to make what was, I’m told, a fantastic pork roast. I don’t like pork roast, though. So even the best pork roast in the world, which for all I know hers might have been, wasn’t ever going to be my favorite thing to eat. It’s the same thing with poutine. Le Cellier’s might be fantastic, if you like that kind of thing. We found it soggy. But it might be just what you’re looking at on a plate of smothered fries.

For the main course, I can never resist filet mignon. Le Cellier’s is served on a bed of mushroom risotto and with an asparagus relish (which I omitted) and truffle butter sauce. The risotto is creamy and rich; I didn’t quite finish all of it as a result. If I had one complaint it might be that the flavor is a little too strong and could overwhelm the flavor of the filet.

le cellier

The beef itself was cooked to an absolutely perfect medium rare, as requested. It had a nice char, but truly could be eaten with a butter knife, it was so tender. And delicious — drenched in the truffle butter, this might have been the most wonderful steak I’ve ever had. Is it buttery and rich? Yes. If you don’t like your beef that way, you might want to ask them to omit the sauce. I personally couldn’t resist ever bit just as it was.

Review: Le Cellier Steakhouse in Disney World's Epcot lived up to expectations & then some. Click To Tweet

le cellier

My husband enjoyed the Angus New York Strip, and he felt just as I did about the beef — perfectly cooked, tender and delicious. As per the menu it is normally served with a potato turnip gratin and crispy onions. This didn’t appeal to him (personally, I love turnips) so he asked if he could substitute the sides for those which normally accompany the Rib-Eye instead. Of course his request was accommodated, and so instead he enjoyed Crisp Fingerling Potatoes and Frisée salad with Bacon Viniagrette and Heirloom Carrots. He wasn’t excited about any of them; the salad was okay and the rest unmemorable.

Another disappointment was the side of Smoked Macaroni & Cheese that we ordered to share. We were debating between that and the Loaded Mashed Potatoes, and I think we should have gone the other way (next time!). The dish was creamy and the bacon crumble added nice texture, but when they say “Smoked”, they mean smoked. I found the flavor way too smoky. The portion size was very generous, though, and this was easily shared.

On our previous visit, my husband ordered the creamed spinach and enjoyed it very much. Our waitress also recommended the aforementioned Loaded Mashed Potatoes (and I ignored her, more fool I) so those are two sides you might want to give a try if smoky cheese isn’t your thing either.

le cellier

Finally, we arrived at dessert — who can resist? And neither of us could resist ordering the house specialty, the Maple Crème Brûlée. I can very highly recommend it, especially if you don’t have too much room left for dessert. The served dish wasn’t skimpy, but the creamy brûlée was light and airy, and didn’t feel overwhelming. The whipped cream tasted fresh, and the crisp, crunchy maple tasted wonderful. We were both very glad of our choice.

le cellier

Overall, we had a wonderful time at Le Cellier. You have to want steak, and you have to want it buttery and seasoned.  If you’re a fan of poutine, as well, I doubt you’ll be disappointed. The service was excellent and we enjoyed our experience there, both times. Give it a try and see if you agree that Le Cellier is not to be missed.

WDW News roundup: Rivers of Light (finally), Pandora, and Star Wars dates

This was a big week in Walt Disney World news as dates were confirmed for some highly-anticipated new attractions at the Parks: Rivers of Light, Pandora and Star Wars Land!

First, Rivers of Light is finally opening on February 17, 2017 — in just a few short days! “Get swept away in a timeless show that celebrates the beauty of all living things. With a brilliant fusion of water, sound and light, it’s quite unlike anything you’ve experienced before!” Both FastPass+ and dining packages (at Tiffins and Tusker House) are now available. After all the delays and setbacks, we’re looking forward to seeing this evening show at Animal Kingdom.

pandoraSpeaking of Animal Kingdom, on The Walt Disney Company Q1 FY17 earnings call, Bob Iger announced that Pandora: The World of Avatar will open on May 27, 2017. According to the Disney Parks blog, this new land will feature two exciting new rides:

First, the family friendly Na’vi River Journey will send guests through a bioluminescent rainforest. Their journey will end in an unforgettable encounter with a Na’vi Shaman, a figure who has a deep connection to the life force of Pandora. And second, Avatar Flight of Passage will offer guests the jaw-dropping experience of exploring the world of Pandora atop a Banshee.

Also opening will be dining at Satu’li Canteen and a gift shop for Na’vi cultural items, toys, science kits, and more, Windtraders. Can’t wait until May? Read up to prepare for your Visit to Pandora now.

Big week in Walt Disney World news- Rivers of Light, Pandora & Star Wars Land openings revealed! Click To Tweet

Lastly, on that same call, Iger also revealed that Star Wars-themed lands at Disneyland park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be opening in 2019. From the Disney Parks blog:

At each location, guests will be transported to a never-before-seen planet – a remote trading port and one of the last stops before wild space – where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life. Check out some of our earlier images, including a glimpse at one of the signature attractions which lets you take the controls of the Millennium Falcon!

Disney’s just a short drive away…

Disney moving to FloridaWe did it: last week we made the two-day drive (not fun) from Long Island and moved into our new house in Florida. I’ve gone from being a born New Yorker to a transplanted Floridian. There are a lot of reasons I’m happy about that, but I cannot tell a lie: being close to Walt Disney World is definitely right up at the top of the list. We’re about a two hour drive away from the Happiest Place on Earth, and as anyone who’s ever lived in the tri-state metro NYC area can tell you, that’s a piece of cake. We’ve driven longer (but shorter distances) just to go to lunch.

We have a week-long Disney vacation coming up in December (planned before the move!) where we’ll get our annual passes. I can’t wait to start visiting WDW at the drop of a hat!

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party : Everything You Need to Know For Festive Fun!

There’s plenty of festive spirit to go around this holiday season at Disney World, especially at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! Planning your party visit can be daunting, but we’ve gathered together a lot of great information to help you right here.

Christmas MVMCP

Here's everything you need to know about Magic Kingdom's Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party! Click To Tweet

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (also known as MVMCP) takes place on select evenings at Magic Kingdom in November and December. It features exclusive holiday entertainment, snow falling on Main St., and complimentary cookies and hot cocoa.

Here’s everything you need to know to have a very merry time!

Tickets – Dates and Times

Buy tickets HERE! This is a special event with its own ticket. People with event tickets can enter Magic Kingdom at 4 PM to enjoy the park before the party officially kicks off at 7 PM. Park visitors who do not have  a party ticket have to leave Magic Kingdom by 7 AM.

Tickets are non-refundable. Some party dates, especially close to Christmas, do sell out.

2016 event dates are:

November: 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27 and 29
December: 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18 and 22

Tickets for 2016 went on sale May 5 and can be purchased online or by calling 407-WDISNEY. Prices vary depending on the date and whether or not you purchase in advance.

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

Christmas MVMCP dwarvesMickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade is a fun, festive experience that is one of the highlights of the Very Merry Christmas Party.  Mickey and Minnie start the parade and Santa finishes it (of course), with all sorts of festive friends marching in between — marching toy soldiers, reindeer, gingerbread men, and classic characters dressed in their holiday best . And on Main Street USA, there’s even snow!

There are two parades at each party. The second parade will generally be less crowded than the first, so see that one if you can. If you would rather see the first one,  grab your spot early. The parade starts in Frontierland, so you might consider looking for a good spot there.

Celebrate the Magic

Christmas MVMCPThe nightly castle projection show you love, but with a holiday twist. Past Christmas scenes have wrapped the castle in colorful bows and boughs, gift paper and ribbons, ornaments, candy stripes, strands of lights, and gingerbread.

Celebrate the Magic takes place at 9:15 PM, just before the fireworks begin.

Holiday Wishes – Celebrate the Spirit of the Season

Christmas MVMCPThe Christmas Party features a fantastic fireworks spectacular. Holiday Wishes is a festive show featuring a delightful score of all your favorite holiday and Disney songs.

There is only one performance of Holiday Wishes, at 10:00 PM.

A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas Show

Christmas MVMCPA Totally Tomorrowland Christmas Show is a stage performance held near Space Mountain that lasts about 20 minutes and is held several times per night. It stars an eclectic mix of characters including Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc. and Stitch. Part entertainment and part dance party, this show will get you moving!

Times: 7:40, 8:30, 9:20, 10:45, 11:35 PM.

A Frozen Holiday Wish

Christmas MVMCPQueen Elsa from Frozen appears twice each evening to get the Castle Dream Lights lit up for the night in a 7-minute show called “A Frozen Holiday Wish.”

This special ceremony happens each night at Magic Kingdom from early November to January, not just on party nights, at 6:30 and 8:15 PM.

Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration

New for 2016!  Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration will make its debut for the 2016 holiday season. From Disney:

It’s just days before Christmas and all through this house, excitement is stirring thanks to Mickey Mouse.

Mickey is thrilled that the holidays are here, and he knows the only way to make this season more special, is to share it with friends. So he’s throwing a Most Merriest Celebration and inviting lots of Disney pals—and you—to join the festive fun!

Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Pluto are dropping by dressed in their Christmas best. Peter Pan is flying in from Never Land, Alice and the White Rabbit are hurrying over from Wonderland and Woody and Jessie from Toy Story are galloping in for this holiday ho ho hoedown. Plus, Snow White and Dopey, Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket and many more surprise guests will be stopping by.

Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration will feature medleys of holiday songs both old and new, special effects, projections and all of your favorite character friends. The new show will be presented on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Times: 7:40, 9:25,10:30 PM, 12 AM (midnight).

Sweets and Treats Included!

Throughout the Magic Kingdom, Cast Members will hand out all kinds of treats to guests. (If you have a particular food allergy, Guest Services at City Hall has allergy-free options.)

Tortuga Tavern: Hot Cocoa and Snickerdoodle Cookies
Heritage House: Eggnog and Ginger-Molasses Cookies
The Friar’s Nook: Snow Cone and Sugar Cookies
Pete’s Silly Sideshow: Apple Cider and Sugar Cookies
The Lunching Pad: Hot Cocoa and Peppermint Bark Cookies

Special Snacks for Sale!

Special goodies are available for purchase only during the party. These can be found at the following locations and include:

• Plaza Ice Cream Parlor: Peppermint Hot Fudge Sundae
• Gaston’s Tavern: Holiday Tree Cupcake
• Main Street Bakery: Frozen Snowflake Cupcake, Peppermint Cupcake, Holiday Cookies
• Sleepy Hollow: Pumpkin Waffle Sundae

Wishes Fireworks Holiday Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace

Christmas MVMCPSweeten your night with this holly-jolly premium experience. For $79 per adult and $47 per child (age 3 to 9), this package includes a reserved viewing location for Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade on Main Street USA, followed by a private dessert party on Tomorrowland Terrace. The party features a host of holiday-themed cupcakes and desserts freshly prepared by our pastry chef, along with a bountiful buffet of sweet treats—like chocolate-dipped strawberries, chocolate mousse, ice cream, cheeses and fresh, seasonal fruits. Raise a cup of good cheer with sparkling cider, signature lemonades, specialty Christmas drinks, hot chocolate, coffee or tea, and then marvel as the sky above explodes with color, music and light with your reserved viewing of Holiday Wishes from the terrace.

For reservations, please book online or by calling (407) 939-3463. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call. Please note: a separate ticket to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is also required and is not included in the price of this package.

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

Christmas MVMCP Sorcerers cardEach year a special new Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card is available only to partygoers. This year’s card features Goofy!

From the Disney Parks blog:

Just in case you’re new to Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, this interactive game allows guests to team up with Merlin in defeating Disney Villains who are scheming to take over Magic Kingdom Park. Guests search for villain hideouts throughout the park, visit magic portals and use special spell cards to defeat villains. Each spell card stars a different Disney character, each with their own unique powers. The game begins at the Firehouse on Main Street, U.S.A., where you can pick up complimentary key cards, spell cards and maps (additional cards can be purchased at select merchandise locations).

This year’s party-exclusive card is “Goofy’s Festive Fiasco” and, according to Imagineer Jonathan Ackley, “celebrates the glorious holiday chaos created by Goofy as he attempts to decorate for the season!”

Other fun events and sights to see at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party:

  • VoicePlay: This a cappella singing group performs on the Rockettower Plaza Stage in Tomorrowland at 8:10 p.m., 9:05 p.m., 10:10 p.m., and 11:05 p.m. on party nights. VoicePlay, who appeared on the TV show “The Sing-Off,” will share their incredible vocal harmonies and holiday cheer between performances of ” A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas” at the Rockettower Plaza Stage.
  • Meet and greet opportunities with Disney Characters
  • Club Tinsel dance party takes place continuously at Cosmic Ray’s in Tomorrowland.
    For people who like characters, this is a fun way to interact with them. They won’t be signing autographs but it’s a chance to enjoy them in a different way than you normally would.
  • Many rides and attractions are open, with short lines.
  • Exclusive merchandise
  • PhotoPass photographers will take Magic Shots during the party. When you look at your pictures, you’ll see something magically inserted into the shot with you
  • Also for the holiday season, the iconic Jungle Cruise will temporarily transform into “Jingle Cruise” for Magic Kingdom guests. Festive decor in the attraction queue and boathouse gives guests a bit of Christmas cheer. The Jingle Cruise boats each are given a unique holiday name, and the Skippers share a slew of seasonal holiday jokes throughout the tour.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party  Guide and Map

Click to see the full-sized map.mvmcpb1

Visiting Magic Kingdom at the end of December, after the final party date?

Special holiday entertainment shown during this party will be shown daily after the last party of the year. Beginning December 23, you will not need an extra ticket to see all of the special holiday events listed here. Be aware, though, that crowds during Christmas week tend to be extremely heavy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: If I purchase a ticket to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, do I need to have a Park ticket for the Magic Kingdom for that day as well?

A: No. You do not need a park ticket in addition to the special event ticket to attend the Christmas Party, which officially begins at 7 PM — however party guests have traditionally been allowed into the Magic Kingdom starting at 4 PM.

Q: Can I enter the Park at 4 PM, leave and come back?

You can, because you’ll be given a special Party wristband. But you’ll be giving up valuable Park time if you do.

Q: Do they really make non-Party guests leave Magic Kingdom at 7 PM?

Yes. As it gets closer to 7 PM, Cast Members will start reminding everyone not wearing a wristband that they must leave before the Party begins. Once 7 PM comes, Cast Members will start escorting anyone without a wristband out of the Park. You’ll always hear stories of people who claim they were able to sneak past the CMs and stay, but some of those may be exaggerated, and besides, you don’t want to be that guy, do you?

Q: What if I’ve got an ADR (Advanced Dining Reservation) at a Magic Kingdom restaurant like Be Our Guest at 6 PM? They’re not going to cut my dinner short, are they?

Definitely not. But when you are finished and leave the restaurant, you’ll be escorted to the gate.

Q: Will I be able to make FastPass+ selections for attractions during the Christmas Party?

No, but also kind of yes.

No — there are no FastPass+ selections available during the Party, between 7 PM and Midnight. The good news is, you won’t need them. Ride lines tend to be much shorter during holiday parties because guests are busy with other activities, like special character meet and greets, trick or treating, and the parades. So it’s a great time to ride your favorite attraction an extra time or two.

BUT… you can make FastPass+ selections between 4 PM and 7 PM on those days, since Party ticket holders are allowed in the gates early at 4 PM, before the official event starts.

Q: Which special characters are available for meet and greets during the party? Do the lines tend to be long? 

There are plenty of characters to meet, and some you can’t see any other time. In some cases, lines can get very long. The Seven Dwarfs, Santa Claus, and Jack Skellington are especially popular. If these character meets are important to you, get there early — as in, before the party starts early.

These are the characters scheduled to appear for 2016 by their locations. These are subject to change — this list will be updated as more information is available.

Main Street, U.S.A.: Santa Claus, Mickey Mouse, Tinker Bell.

Adventureland: Aladdin, Jasmine, Genie and Abu, Captain Jack Sparrow, Peter Pan (roaming).

Frontierland: The Country Bears (roaming) Liberty Square: Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws.

Fantasyland: Ariel, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Belle, Pooh and Friends, The Seven Dwarfs, Snow White and her Prince, Aurora and Prince Phillip, Princess Elena of Avalor, Minnie Mouse, Scrooge McDuck, Donald and Daisy, Santa Goofy, Mary Poppins, Bert, Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen.

Tomorrowland: Nick Wilde, Judy Hopps

Q: Where is the best place to find exclusive merchandise during the party?

A: One of the easiest places to find items is The Emporium, but check out Big Top Souvenirs as well.

New Pandora Gift Sets and Charms from Disney Parks

I love my Pandora bracelets — I have one for Disney charms and one for the rest. I like to get a new charm on each trip or special occasion, so that I can look back and remember each one just by looking at my bracelet. Though my list of “must have” charms is already rather long as it is, I can’t resist checking out the new offerings whenever they’re available.

These new Disney Parks Exclusive charms will be available in the fall. The one on the left has a mother of pearl inlay.

pandora disney 2016

Also coming from Disney Parks this fall are four new Gift Sets that include a bracelet, two clips, and a Disney-themed charm. These starter sets are available starting today (July 26, 2016) but in the Parks only — they cannot be purchased through the Disney Parks app.

disney pandora starter iconic gift sets 2016

disney pandora starter iconic gift sets 2016

More from the Disney Parks blog:

If you are looking to start your own PANDORA Jewelry collection, a new option is arriving at Disney Parks on July 26, 2016.

Four Iconic Gift Sets will be released in select merchandise locations such as La Mascarade d’Orleans in New Orleans Square at Disneyland park in California, or Uptown Jewelers at Magic Kingdom Park in Florida.

Each set will include one bracelet, two clips, and one of four different Disney charms. These sets make perfect gifts for loved ones. They are also a great way to jump start your own collection.

These sets will not be available via the Disney Parks online store or the Shop Disney Parks mobile app. You can, however, find many other items by PANDORA Jewelry both online and via the mobile app.

New Vera Bradley Disney-themed bags coming Summer 2016

If you’re like me you love the Disney-themed Vera Bradley bags. I use a hipster every day, and a mini-hipster when I want something light. (Confession: in the parks, though, I go bagless.) There’s exciting news on the Disney Parks Blog for this summer with two new Vera Bradley designs available at Disney Parks and online.

Coming this July 2016, there’s the Mickey’s Magical Blooms collection, which is a variation on the Midnight With Mickey design introduced in the fall of 2013 — and my personal favorite. This new design comes in a Campus Backpack, Mini Hipster and Front Zip Wallet, as well as a Zip ID Case, Medium Zip Cosmetic Bag, Triple Zip Hipster, Vera Bag and Large Duffel.

Vera Bradley

 

And in August 2016, the new lightweight Lighten Up Collection will be released. Made of durable and water-resistant 560D polyester, Lighten Up styles are the perfect accessories to use when traveling to or from Disney Parks. The collection will include five of Vera Bradley’s best-selling styles including the Lighten Up Lunch Cooler, Travel Organizer, Expandable Tote, Grande Backpack and Expandable Travel Bag.

Vera Bradley Lighten Up
These collections will be available in merchandise locations at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The Shop Disney Parks mobile app (available on both Apple’s iTunes app store and Google Play for Android) may also offer these new designs as well.