The most wonderful time of the year will be here more quickly than you might think, and we’re starting to wonder about some of the festivities that could take place in Disney World.
The global health crisis has had a significant effect on the way things operate in the Disney parks, and things haven’t stopped adjusting yet. We recently shared that Disney has canceled Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party completely for 2020. Well, Christmastime is not too long after that event, so will Disney World cancel Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party? It’s a question we’re getting a LOT from our readers and followers on social media, so let’s take a look at what we know.
Disney is “closely monitoring” the viability of the 2020 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
With the announcement of the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party cancellation, Disney explained that a decision has not been made about this year’s Christmas Parties.
Of the party and other events, Disney stated, “We are monitoring our new environment closely, and will make a decision on these events as we continue to learn more from government and health officials. As always, our goal is to explore every option and look at ways in which we can still host events and festivals full of Disney magic, while still operating responsibly with the health and safety of our guests and Cast Members in mind.”
From this statement, we can glean that Disney will make the choice that makes guest and Cast Member safety a top priority. Maybe we’ll see a modified party, or maybe we won’t see one at all; it comes down to the health situation and doing what they deem safe for all involved.
An event like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is currently considered high-risk.
As it stands, being in a theme park at all is considered a higher-risk activity. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently considers “medium-sized in-person gatherings that are adapted to allow individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and with attendees coming from outside the local area” to be high risk. This describes pretty much every day in the Disney parks, including special events like the Halloween and Christmas Parties.
Plus, per the CDC, the higher the level of community transmission in the area of an event, the greater the risk. At the time of writing, Florida’s community transmission rate is 78% of positive and traced cases according to the Florida Health Department.
On the other hand, a night at one of the Christmas Parties, with all health measures considered, wouldn’t be THAT different from a current day in the theme parks. So, it IS possible that the event could move forward with appropriate health measures if things start to improve by the time Disney would need to sell tickets for the event.
The health situation would likely need to improve. Soon.
If Disney makes the decision based on the environment around them, then we know from Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party that things will need to get better soon! Normally Disney would have already been selling tickets for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and the first event would happen in just three short months.
Unfortunately, current projections currently do not show great improvement in the circumstances in the United States or in Florida in the coming months. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has crisis models that predict deaths continuing to increase in the country and the state through November.
If these projections end up being accurate, we can assume that the risk levels for large events will not change. Again though, the parks ARE open even in the current environment. If a similar level of diligence is put in place for the parties, they could be considered sufficiently safe. But that leads us to the next — possibly bigger — concern.
The viability of fireworks, shows, and parades are a big factor.
Disney’s statement about Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party said that one of the big deciding factors was that there was no way to do the staples of the party safely. Disney said, “We determined that many of its hallmarks – stage shows, parades and fireworks – are unable to take place in this new, unprecedented environment. With that in mind, we have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.”
Now, this is interesting when we consider that the fate of the party might rest on the ability to conduct the party’s hallmark events. Right now, Disney World is not conducting most shows, fireworks, parades, or character meet and greets. The highlights of these special events are exactly the things Disney has put on hold. Many guests attend these parties specifically for the chance to see the special event parades and fireworks, and the chance to meet lots of unique Disney characters. What would a Very Merry Christmas Party be without a hug from Jack Skellington or the Seven Dwarfs and watching Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks?
Still, we have recently seen the return of trial periods for firework shows in Shanghai Disneyland. If Disney World continues to follow a similar timeline to Shanghai Disneyland in response to the virus, we could see fireworks trials in the next few months.
Plus, some of the smaller, low-demand shows have returned in Disney World already but without equity actors and with plenty of social distancing in place. The entertainment at the Christmas Parties is NOT low-demand, so they would have to be managed with limited capacity to be viable. Would guests want to risk spending upwards of $100 for a ticket that doesn’t ensure they’re able to see all of the entertainment? Also, if the shows use equity actors, the current union disagreements would need to be resolved for those performers to return.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is months away from now. So, if Disney can manage to modify and bring back the hallmarks of the event in time, as well as if cases in the country and state start to improve, we may be partying away this winter. But if Disney can’t shoot off holiday fireworks and hold holiday parades, or if numbers continue to rise, we might get the Mickey’s Not So Scary treatment again for Christmas.
A LOT would need to happen for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party to open with current health and safety expectations.
Let’s say that Disney does decide to move ahead with the parties — a LOT would need to happen to be able to get them functioning in this new environment. For one, modifications would need to be made to the parades, shows, fireworks, and meet and greets to allow for guest social distancing and safety for the Cast Members.
Speaking of social distancing, capacities would need to be lowered for the parties in general. It has not been uncommon to be stuck on a VERY crowded Main Street U.S.A. during Christmas Parties of years past. If typical parties are a lower capacity than allowed in the park during the day, capacities would need to be cut even more to match the already lower capacity we’ve seen in the parks. If you think the parks look empty now, imagine what they COULD be like for the Christmas Parties!
Then we have to consider, would a party even be worth it with the necessary modifications? Tickets to these events are not cheap (typically above $100), so if we consider that shows and entertainment might be modified, menus may be limited, and health and safety measures may need to be a priority, would that ticket price even feel fair? Or would demand be extremely low?
So, it’s possible that Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will be a go, but we need to be ready for cancellation.
If Disney considers the parties viable and can work through these issues in time, then there’s a possibility that we’ll be headed to a Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party this year. But based on their decisions about Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Disney may still opt to cancel.
It’s difficult to say what the holidays at Disney World will look like this year. We may very well see modified holiday offerings much like the Taste of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival that’s currently running. Halloween is sure to be a good indication of what modified festivities could look like, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on the spookier developments ahead (believe it or not, in just two weeks we WOULD have been headed to the first Halloween Party!).
If Disney does decide to cancel Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, we need to remember these decisions are made in the interest of guest safety.
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Are you hoping to head to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party this year? Tell us in the comments!