After Disney announced that the After Hours Boo Bash event would replace Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party, we wondered if a similar change would take place for the holidays and today that was confirmed. So, now the real question is just how this new Disney Very Merriest After Hours event differs when compared to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Today, we’re breaking that all down for you right here.
Separate Ticketed Event in Magic Kingdom
We’ll start with a few things that are the same between both events. Both Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Disney Very Merriest After Hours take place in Magic Kingdom, and both events require a separate ticket to attend. That means you aren’t able to attend these events with your ordinary park ticket. Instead, you need to purchase a specific ticket for the event in order to enjoy the park after it has been closed to the “regular” day guests and the party begins.
Keep in mind that Disney Very Merriest will not require a Magic Kingdom Park Pass reservation or Magic Kingdom Park ticket. All you’ll need to enter is the After Hours ticket.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party event typically took place from 7PM to midnight, and guests were allowed to enter Magic Kingdom as early as 4PM.
Disney Very Merriest After Hours will take place a bit later. The actual Disney Very Merriest After Hours event itself will take place from 9PM to 1AM. But, guests will be able to enter Magic Kingdom at 7PM.
So ultimately that’s 5-8 hours for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and 4-6 hours for Disney Very Merriest After Hours. So, purely in terms of number of hours alone, you will get less ours in the park at the Very Merriest After Hours event than you did at the Very Merry Christmas Party.
Parades and Shows
Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration was a show starring favorite Disney characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse (as Santa and Mrs. Claus!) in front of Cinderella Castle. The Once Upon a Christmastime Parade is a classic featuring toy soldiers, reindeer, lots of Disney characters all dressed up for the season, and (of course) Santa himself!
Disney has not yet confirmed that this show and parade will return for Disney Very Merriest After Hours. Currently, the Disney Very Merriest After Hours website does not list this show or parade as offerings included in the event. The website also doesn’t mention anything about holiday cavalcades.
Last year, we saw the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade essentially split up into different holiday cavalcades which guests got to enjoy throughout the day. Disney hasn’t yet noted whether these cavalcades will return as an exclusive perk of the After Hours event.
Since Disney has made no mention of the show or parade for the After Hours event at the moment, we would suggest that you go to the After Hours event NOT expecting them to be there. It’s possible that things could change, but at the moment these are not confirmed to be available.
Holiday-Themed Character Appearances
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party gave guests the chance to take some awesome and festive photos with their favorite Disney characters all dressed up in holiday costumes. There are also typically special characters that appear at the event, like Jack Skellington (as Sandy Claws), and more. Will that be making a reappearance at the After Hours event?
So far Disney has said that Very Merriest After Hours will feature Disney character appearances around the park. Disney hasn’t really specifically mentioned whether fans will get to take pictures up-close with their favorite characters or if they will continue to be socially distanced for photos. Disney also hasn’t confirmed what characters will be available.
At the moment, traditional character meet-and-greets have yet to return to the parks and characters continue to greet guests at a distance. It’s possible that will still be the case during this After Hours event. But, at least we do know you will be able to see characters around the park during the event!
Holiday-Themed PhotoPass Photos
During Very Merry Christmas Parties in the past, guests have been able to take some holiday-themed PhotoPass photos throughout the park, including some special Magic Shots.
This year, Disney has shared that there will be holiday-themed Disney PhotoPass photo opportunities during the After Hours event, so that is something that will be consistent across both events But, Disney hasn’t yet revealed what these PhotoPass photo opportunities will be yet.
In the past, guests have been treated to the Frozen Holiday Wish show, during which Elsa uses her powers to light up the Castle dream lights.
So far, Disney has shared that during the Very Merriest After Hours event guests will get to enjoy holiday projections on Cinderella Castle, which will alternate with the Castle’s transformation into a Beacon of Magic as part of Disney World’s 50th Anniversary celebration.
Disney has not officially noted that the Holiday Dream Lights will NOT be returning this year, but they did not mention anything about the dream lights in their holiday announcements today and the return of the Castle holiday projections likely indicates the dream lights will not make a reappearance this year. We’ll be on the lookout for more updates from Disney on this.
Okay okay, this is VVVVEERRRRYY important for lots of people out there. Typically, during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, you can walk right down the middle of Main Street, U.S.A. and enjoy some lovely “snoap” (soapy snow) floating all around you.
Disney HAS confirmed that guests will get to see “snow” falling on Main Street during the Very Merriest After Hours event! WHEW. What a relief. Gotta have that snoap!
Both Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and the Very Merriest After Hours holiday events allow guests access to select Magic Kingdom rides.
In the past, at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, guests have been treated to holiday-themed ride overlays at attractions like Tomorrowland Speedway, Space Mountain, Mad Tea Party, and Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor.
The Disney Very Merriest After Hours event page specifies that some rides will have holiday overlays during the event. It doesn’t specify, however, what these overlays will consist of or which rides will feature overlays. So, we do not know yet if these holiday overlays will be new or different from previous years.
Keep in mind that these holiday overlays are generally exclusive to the holiday party, so if you want to experience them you’ll want to grab a ticket to the After Hours event!
In the past, we’ve enjoyed a number of exclusive holiday treats at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. There were a number of treats available to purchase. But also, complimentary cookies and cocoa were available throughout Magic Kingdom.
The Disney Very Merriest After Hours event will be somewhat similar but also somewhat different than Very Merry Christmas Parties with regards to treats. Disney has noted that at Disney Very Merriest After Hours there will be select holiday treats, as well as ice cream, popcorn, and bottled beverages included in the cost of admission.
But, there will also be themed food and beverages available for purchase. This is somewhat similar to Very Merry, except that the After Hours event specifically includes ice cream, popcorn, and bottled beverages in addition to select treats.
When it comes to fireworks, Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks will be returning to the Disney Very Merriest After Hours event. This holiday fireworks show features classic Christmas songs like We Wish You a Merry Christmas.
This is a fireworks show guests were able to enjoy in the past at Very Merry Christmas Parties, so fans of this show will likely be very excited to know it’ll be available for them to enjoy again.
So those are the differences (so far!) between Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Disney Very Merriest After Hours party. We still haven’t gotten information as to the ticket price for Disney Very Merriest After Hours, which could be another big difference between the two parties.
As we learn more, we will keep you updated so you can decide whether you want to try and grab some tickets for this new holiday event for 2021.
Tickets will go on sale in August 2021 and there will be early purchase access for guests of select Disney World hotels.
What do you think of the new Disney Very Merriest After Hours party? Let us know in the comments!