Archive for July 2015

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party - a budget solution for short trip?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I spent the holiday season of 1998 practically chained to a popcorn cart in the hub at the Magic Kingdom as I completed my College Program. Somehow this hearty New Englander had gone soft subjected to a hot Florida fall. I recall shivering while wearing a heavy winter coat standing beside my nut wagon in Fantasyland through much of December. Despite how odd it felt to hear holiday music with palm trees, it was such a unique experience to be in Florida at Walt Disney World on Christmas. It was special.

It still is.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is offered during the holiday season beginning just after the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party season and well before Thanksgiving, lasting through the Christmas holiday. Those guests visiting during the actual holiday week gain access to party events like parades and fireworks without needing to attend a party, though they will experience the heaviest crowds of the entire year. Tough trade off.

There are twenty opportunities to enjoy Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP) in 2015.

Dates are as follows (advance adult ticket pricing/child pricing PLUS TAX):

November 8 ($74/$69)
November 10 ($74/$69)
November 12 ($74/$69)
November 13 ($74/$69)
November 15 ($74/$69)
November 17 ($74/$69)
November 19 ($74/$69)
November 20 ($79/$74)
November 29 - ($79/$74)

December 1 ($74/$69))
December 3 ($74/$69))
December 4 ($79/$74)
December 6 ($74/$69))
December 8 ($74/$69))
December 10 ($74/$69))
December 11 ($79/$74)
December 13 ($74/$69))
December 15 ($74/$69))
December 17 ($79/$74)
December 18 ($82/$77)

Some of these parties will sell out in advance of the party date, but bear in mind that the tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. So be absolutely sure of your plans before you purchase your event tickets.

How do these parties work?

You purchase a separate ticket to attend these parties, which typically begin (officially) at 7PM and end at 12AM. You can gain entry to the park with your party ticket prior to the official start (usually 2 or 3 hours). Be forewarned that the crush of the day crowd and the party crowd together in the park can feel incredibly busy. Rest assured though that the park will definitely feel much less crowded once 7PM hits and the day crowds are politely shown to the exits and the special events of the evening begin.

What is so merry about MVMCP?

Snow falls on Main Street as a holiday parade with our favorite characters (and some friends like gingerbread men and toy solderiers) makes it's way TWICE down the street. Dreamlights make Cinderella's castle sparkle in the most spectacular way. Cocoa and cookies are complimentary. You can find special live entertainment and meet rare characters like all seven dwarves. Holiday Wishes lights the sky and did I mention the SHORT lines for attractions?  Oh, and who can forget the big guy himself from the North Pole as the parade grand finale??

It is special and lovely and can be chilly (we were very, very cold), but it can ALSO be a budget choice for short trip. That's right, a money saver!

Utilizing the party to save a little green

For our trip, we were less focused on parks and more focused on holiday. We knew we wanted to dedicate an entire day to EPCOT (mostly in Germany, of course) and it just doesn't feel right to go to Walt Disney World without a trip to the Magic Kingdom. With just a long weekend, the park tickets were a large part of our budget. We had fancy meals to enjoy, tea to drink, and SHOPPING missions to complete.

Cost for two adults to spend a day at EPCOT and a day at Magic Kingdom: $408.96
Cost for two adults to spend a day at EPCOT and a night at the MVMCP: $364.24

Though I would not recommend a first time visitor utilize this strategy, for a veteran looking to hit their favorites, have shorter than typical waits, and experience a lot of holiday magic, well, this could be a great solution to skim a bit off your budget.

It definitely met our needs for our trip!

share this on »
Add a comment »

Meet Kerry...

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Meet my wonderful, adventurous, talented sister-in-law, Kerry. She indulged me in accompanying me on a holiday themed long weekend at Walt Disney World in December 2014. She completed my post-trip survey and I have been saving it to include in this holiday series about our fun, but quite grown up weekend together.

If we could spend just one day at Disney, we would spend it at....
Our family's favorite dining experience was....
It’s a tie, between:
 EPCOT's United Kingdom Pavilion,
Rose & Crown
– and –
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa,
Garden View Tea Room
The thing that surprised us the most was...
How well the Fast Passes worked, and how chilly it was in Orlando in early December. 
The attraction I would most recommend other families Fast Pass is...
EPCOT's Soarin’
The best advice I could give other families is...
Plan Fast Passes and make meal reservations as far ahead as possible.
The most magical moment on our trip was....
The holiday décor! We visited DisneyWorld in early December and the Christmas trees, wreaths, and garlands – plus whimsical items, like life-sized gingerbread houses and twinkling lights (everywhere!) – were truly magical.

Also – there were special events at every park, like carol sing-alongs, tree and castle lightings, fireworks, champagne dessert parties, and more. (You have to book those far in advance, at extra cost, but it was so worth it!)

Christmastime is a particularly magical season during which to visit the Mouse!

share this on »
Add a comment »

Christmas in July!?!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

I know. You are deep into summer; breezing through paperback beach reads, enjoying the outdoors, reveling in evening s'mores, and enjoying the ease that comes with fine weather and bbq. This is probably NOT a time of year when you want to think about the holidays, but you might want to reconsider that.

This time last summer, my sister in law and I began putting together preliminary plans for our Hop and Shop Holiday Spectacular for December 2014. It was a long weekend, packed with shopping, eating, holiday festivities and adult fun.

She was game, but I would say a bit reluctant to admit that she was going as a grown up to Walt Disney World without a single one of her nieces and nephews in tow. I promised it would be fun, she took my word, and on the other side of the trip she understood. Walt Disney World can be even more fun to experience as a grown up WITHOUT the kids. It's true!! Over the next couple weeks, I will be sharing more about our trip; the details, the food, the drinks, and the SPA. Yes, the spa.

What a fun little getaway this would be for a couple or a group of old friends! You'll come home refreshed, "hollyfied," and ready to welcome in the season with gusto.

Some highlights to get this started? Sure!

We took in the drool worthy décor everywhere we went! Each resort has their own themed tree. This one at the Grand Floridian with the lifesize gingerbread house beyond it over there to the left rear of the lobby is perhaps one of the most popular.

I lean Wilderness Lodge myself, but you could spend a great deal of time "resort hopping" to check out the beautiful details of each unique tree. Which one will be YOUR favorite??

My sister-in-law has an affinity for London. I knew we would appreciate a lingering afternoon tea on our arrival day before we hit the holiday party at the Magic Kingdom. We drank tea and had the most filling "meal" of entire trip at the Garden View Tea Room. It would a perfect pick for tea lovers, a mother and daughter, or friends.

We searched for the most untraditional and beautiful Mickey ornaments in EPCOT's World Showcase. You could decorate an entire tree with just the ornaments showcased in Germany.

Speaking of Germany, we were enamored with GERMANY, GERMANY, GERMANY! (even though we sat to enjoy this Schofferhoffer in Italy). Look two grown ups at Walt Disney World with no break in sight!

We didn't have to overschedule ourselves at fancy sit down meals to enjoy good food. We tried the Vegetarian Platter at Tangerine Café and declared it delish, Aladdin would most definitely approve!

Beach Club was ideally located for our one all day park day at EPCOT. That's right. We only spent one entire day at the parks! We did an evening at the Magic Kingdom for the holiday party (must do and a money saver tip!) and the rest of the time shopping, pampering ourselves at the spa, and relaxing. Our room was just a five minute walk from the International Gateway which made it super easy in the morning and spectacular at the end of the day when we were tired (and cold!). I cannot wait to try this resort with my kids in warmer weather so they can enjoy the fun at Stormalong Bay!

I think of our little curb here in Italy often where we escaped for moment to peacefully enjoy our cocktail off our feet taking in the sights and people around us. What is YOUR favorite tucked away spot in World Showcase?

Thinking you could use a quick holiday getaway this year? I cannot more highly recommend booking a long weekend Walt Disney World adventure of your own adult design! I'm not shy about sharing that I would like to head back myself this season! Worried about planning an itinerary to ensure you don't "mistletoe" a thing? Lucky for you, I'm sort of an expert on these things.

share this on »
Add a comment »