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The Christmas season will be here before you know it! To prove it, Disney just announced the creation of a new Christmas party, the Disney Very Merriest After Hours event (Updated August 20, 2021).
This is not a complete replacement for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. It’s a compromise between needing to control capacity but still offering guests some of the experiences they crave.
More details continue to emerge. We now have the official Very Merriest After Hours dates and ticket price, as well as more details about event entertainment.
Table of Contents
What is Disney Very Merriest After Hours?
Disney Very Merriest After Hours is an event held at Magic Kingdom after the close of regular park hours. It is modeled more after the After Hours events than it is after Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
We know hardly any details at this point, but we do know the event includes 4 hours of holiday festivities, from 9:00p to 1:00a.
Very Merriest ticket holders are allowed into the park at 7:00p, giving extra time to enjoy Magic Kingdom. Very Merriest After Hours guests are not required to have a regular park ticket for that day, or a Magic Kingdom park pass.
This early admission allows event guests to see the new Magic Kingdom fireworks, “Disney Enchantment”, created for the 50th Anniversary. This means you get 2 fireworks shows in one night.
I’m not going to lie, that’s pretty darn cool as far as I’m concerned.
After Hours events include some basic snacks and beverages in the price of the ticket. Think some holiday treats, ice cream novelties, popcorn, and bottled beverages.
In addition to the free good and drink, there are other special holiday treats available for purchase.
With the overall lack of information, at this point we’re going to take a lot of cues from Disney After Hours Boo Bash and assume much of it will also apply to Disney Very Merriest After Hours.
Disney Very Merriest After Hours Dates
First things first, when does Very Merriest After Hours take place? The first party takes place on November 8, 2021, a few days before the launch of the “official” holiday season at Disney World.
The parties run on select nights through December 21, 2021.
Disney just released the official Disney Very Merriest After Hours dates!
November 2021 Very Merriest After Hours dates:
- November 8, 2021
- November 9, 2021
- November 11, 2021
- November 12, 2021
- November 14, 2021
- November 16, 2021
- November 18, 2021
- November 19, 2021
- November 21, 2021
- November 23, 2021
- November 28, 2021
- November 30, 2021
December Very Merriest After Hours dates:
- December 2, 2021
- December 3, 2021
- December 5, 2021
- December 7, 2021
- December 9, 2021
- December 10, 2021
- December 12, 2021
- December 14, 2021
- December 16, 2021
- December 17, 2021
- December 19, 2021
- December 21, 2021
All in all, that’s 24 different dates to choose from. Now, we saw more party dates added after Boo Bash sales were so popular, but I’m not sure we’ll see that here.
These dates are already pretty clustered together and plentiful.
Disney Very Merriest After Hours Tickets
Disney Very Merriest After Hours tickets go on sale starting August 20, 2021. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 407-939-7947.
If you do plan on calling for your tickets, plan to be on hold for a very long time. Potentially hours. I wish I was kidding, but I’m not.
If you are looking for a slight discount, check the Very Merriest After Hours ticket prices over at Undercover Tourist. I verified that you can buy tickets there, and you can save around $11 per ticket, depending on the date.
The discount isn’t huge by any means, but it’s something.
If Boo Bash ticket sales are anything to go by, party dates will sell out FAST, so be prepared to jump if you plan to attend.
Very Merriest After Hours Cost
And here we have the million dollar question. Or at least the several hundred dollars for a family of 4 question…
Tickets prices for Disney Very Merriest After Hours are even more expensive than Boo Bash, and those are already ridiculously expensive.
While we don’t yet know what price goes with what dates, we know that the Very Merriest After Hours ticket cost ranges from $169 to $229 on select November and December dates. If you plan to go on December 19 or 21, plan to spend $249 per ticket.
DVC Members and Annual Passholders are eligible for a $10 discount on select event dates in November.
Entertainment at Disney Very Merriest After Hours
Here we have only vague details on what will definitely happen at Disney Very Merriest After Hours. Again, we’ll make some assumptions based on what we know about Boo Bash.
Low Wait Time for Rides
One thing we know with absolute certainty is that guests have access to 20 popular Magic Kingdom attractions with much shorter lines than usual.
This is the calling card of the After Hours events.
We know that the most popular rides will be open, such as, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, The Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Space Mountain.
There is a special holiday themed fireworks show for Very Merriest guests. Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks is back!
This fireworks show debuted back in 2019. The show involves favorite Christmas music accompanied by fireworks visible from all around Magic Kingdom.
While there won’t be character meet ‘n greet opportunities, you will be able to find character sightings throughout the park.
It’s a good guess you’ll see characters at the following locations:
- Main Street Train Station
- Porch above Country Bears Jamboree
- Porch at the Crystal Palace
- Stage in Tomorrowland
There is also the possibility that characters will be stationed at other locations throughout the park.
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade
The initial announcement was curiously lacking in any mention of character cavalcades. Considering that character cavalcades have become a big thing since the reopening, this is suspect.
It turns out I was right to be suspicious, because now Disney made a huge announcement that Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade will return for Disney Very Merriest After Hours.
This is the first time we’ve seen the return of a full parade since lockdown.
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade features Mickey and Minnie Mouse, princesses, characters from “Frozen”, and so many more characters.
And what would a Christmas parade be without an appearance from Santa Claus?
The Toy Soldiers are seriously one of my favorite parts. I just love them.
While the park is already decked out in Christmas finery, there are a few extra special touches available during the party.
The Christmas themed castle projections will continue throughout the party. That will be available towards the end of regular park hours as well.
And if you haven’t seen them yet, they really are stunning. It amazes me how they use projections in such a realistic way.
And last but not least, the return of snow on Main Street. Don’t ask me why, but I simply love this special effect. Even though you know it isn’t real snow, the overall effect on the ambiance is amazing.
Christmas Themed Ride Overlays
Seasonally themed ride overlays have become a popular addition to the holiday parties. What we know so far for Disney Very Merriest After Hours is that Jingle Cruise definitely makes a comeback.
Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor gets new jokes for the joyful holiday season.
Dance Party at Club Tinsel
The Dance Party at Club Tinsel harkens back to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and brings a little bit more entertainment to an After Hours event.
Club Tinsel is located in Tomorrowland.
How is Disney Very Merriest After Hours Different from Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party?
One way you can look at Very Merriest After Hours is to view it as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Lite. However, that’s not quite accurate either.
The main focus for many people at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is the entertainment factor, while rides are secondary.
By their very nature, After Hours events have the exact opposite focus. With those, the event focuses on easy and fast access to Magic Kingdom’s most popular attractions.
Atmosphere and pizzazz are secondary.
Now, I think you will get more of a compromise between the two in the case of a Christmas themed after hours event. How can you not when the Christmas themed atmosphere is already in place?
However, you won’t get some of the best parts of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Without castle stage shows, character meet and greets, and potentially no parade, it’s just not the same.
For families like mine, who don’t wait in line forever to meet characters, this isn’t really a big deal. Honestly, I think my family would have a blast at Disney Very Merriest After Hours.
But I really will miss those stage shows…
The biggest issue though, is the fact that even though you get less to experience, the price tag for Very Merriest After Hours will likely be even more expensive than MVMCP. And MVMCP was already crazy expensive.
What We’ve Learned from After Hours Boo Bash That Can Apply to Very Merriest After Hours
Since it’s July, we clearly don’t know how Boo Bash will actually go, but there is information we can glean from it so far.
The first thing we know is that despite the astronomical prices, those parties sold out like crazy. Expect the first party to be one of the first to sell out.
All of the locals and bloggers tend to go to that party. Beyond that, expect parties around Thanksgiving and close to Christmas to sell out next.
Disney ended up suddenly opening up more tickets for a lot of sold out dates, because suddenly they weren’t sold out anymore. So much for super low capacity. Hopefully it’s still low enough.
They also ended up adding more dates to the schedule once they saw just how popular it was. I’m assuming they’ll probably use that information to provide more dates from the start this time.
Final Thoughts and Opinion
Just like Boo Bash, I think Disney Very Merriest After Hours is a good compromise considering the current situation. Disney is doing the best they can to provide guests with some of those extra bells and whistles that they really want.
However, the price of these events is ridiculous. I get it, Disney bled money for a year and a half. They do need to try to recoup some of those losses.
But really, around $800 for my family of four is more than I can reasonably justify. Especially if that’s on top of regular Disney park tickets.
This might be a good option for families enjoying resort only stays during the Christmas season. It gives you 6 hours at Magic Kingdom, and most of those hours give you very easy access to rides.
That’s as long as these events really do stay at a low capacity. If Disney oversells them, like they’ve started doing with MVMCP and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, then they no longer have my understanding for jacking up the ticket prices that high.
You can keep up to date on all of the official details on Disney’s website.
What do you think of this new Christmas offering? Do you plan to check it out this year? Let me know in the comments below.