Christmas in July: Tips, Times, and Dates

Can you believe it?

It is the last Tuesday in July and August is literally just around this week’s corner. All this month we have been celebrating Christmas in July and jingle-jangling our way through the Walt Disney World resorts and theme parks. Today I just wanted to bring you a short to-the-point, just-the-facts kind of post with dates and pricing of the special holiday events, and a few Elrod WDW Tips.

The Walt Disney World theme parks and resorts will start decorating and celebrating the Christmas season just before Thanksgiving up until the first few days in January. Elrod WDW Tip: The best time to book your holiday trip is the week following Thanksgiving up to the week before Christmas. It is also best to visit during the middle of the week verses the weekends. Room prices will be cheaper and the crowds will be much lighter. If you are there the weeks of Christmas through New Years, be sure to go in with a positive, holly-jolly spirit; knowing you will see some crowds and that the parks often shut their gates at some point during the day because they have reached visitor capacity.

For Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2011 dates and prices, click the image below.

EPCOT’s Candlelight Processional will run November 25, 2011–December 30, 2011.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights will run November 10, 2011 – January 3, 2012.

Elrod WDW Tip: If you have little ones, be sure to check brochures or ask a Disney Cast Member where you can meet Santa! Last year Jack got his picture with the big man at DownTown Disney for free with very little wait! Santa, and sometimes Mrs. Clause as well, have been known to be spotted at the America Showcase in EPCOT, or even in your resort hotel lobby! Don’t miss your chance to see him so you can whisper into his ear your Christmas wish list.

Well, I hope you have had a Very Merry Jolly July! Thank you for coming along with me all this month to talk about Christmastime at Walt Disney World. Tim and I would love to go back this year to take part in the festivities. However, with Gummy Bear being due on the 2oth, it is not advised by our doctor to travel that far. If you and your family go, be sure to let me know! I’d love to hear all about it.

Until next time, Merry Christmas! And a happy New August!

Christmas in July: A Jolly Holiday in the Parks

Last week we discovered some of the magic behind how Disney celebrates Christmas at their resorts, but today we are going to get a taste of what you can expect in the Walt Disney World theme parks.

Expect big things like larger than life trees and decorations, brand new seasonal merchandise, and special events, shows, and parades that will knock your cheesy Christmas-printed socks off! Not unlike the resorts, a lot of it just can’t be accurately described in an amateur blog such as mine. You just have to be there to experience the full extent of it. However, today I am going to tell you, based on our humble one-time Christmas visit, the Elrod’s top picks of what to see and/or do in each park during the holiday season.

Animal Kingdom

Although I hear that the Jingle Jungle Parade is tons of fun, the day that we visited Animal Kingdom during Christmastime was a day that we were park hopping, so we didn’t have it in the schedule to stay for the parade. Maybe next time. My favorite thing about Animal Kingdom during the holidays was the uniquely African influenced decorations. They were so unlike all of the other decorations throughout Disney property. They weren’t in-your-face red and green, peppermint stripped, or Santa-clad. Instead they were earthy and natural, yet still so beautiful. I would love to decorate our house like that one Christmas.

But don’t forget to pick up jalapeno cheese stuffed pretzel while you are enjoying the decor. The Elrods never miss a chance at that delicious snack option!

EPCOT

We loved EPCOT at Christmas! It was decorated up beautifully as well, but our favorite thing was getting to see how all of the other countries around the world celebrate the holiday season! Like, who new the story behind the German pickle ornament? I didn’t! Or that in Canada, they call the man that we know as Santa, Papa Noel.

Also, each evening EPCOT hosts the Candlelight Processional. This amazing special event takes place in the America Showcase where each night a celebrity narrates the true story of Christmas accompanied by a 50 piece orchestra and choir. Admission is free but limited, so if you wish, you can purchase the dinner package that will include seating, a meal, and a special viewing area for the Illuminations Firework Display that night.

Hollywood Studios

In the eyes of the Elrods, Hollywood Studios seemed to be the least dolled-up park at Christmastime…until you got to the Streets of America, that is. On the Streets of America, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights takes place nightly during the yuletide season. I have home videos of this jaw-dropping show, but I don’t want to show them to you because they come nowhere near doing it justice. The building facades of the Streets of America are covered inch by inch in different colored lights. At dusk each night the lights flash and “dance” to merry Christmas music as snow flurries around your head. It is an amazing thing to experience, indeed, and I implore you to make an effort to see it if you haven’t already. It is definitely the number one thing to do at Hollywood Studios at Christmastime!

Magic Kingdom

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party all the way. The park is dressed beautifully for the season, but you just can’t go to Walt Disney World at the holidays and not go to the Christmas Party. Enough said.

Well I hope you are having a great week so far. Christmas in July is flying by!

Come back next week for Elrod WDW tips on the best times to visit and 2011 dates of special events!

Dates and Pricing for 2011 Disney Holiday Parties!

A couple of weeks ago, Disney released the current dates and prices for their 2011 holiday parties; Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. I thought I would pass that information along to all of you, so that if you are planning a trip this fall or winter you can be sure to plan ahead and get tickets to these events.

I have talked heavily of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in the past because my husband and I just attended the party for the first time this Christmas 2010. We had an absolute blast! But what you may not know is that I have also attended Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party!

My sister and I dressed up for Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in 2006.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party takes place in Magic Kingdom on certain nights in September and October. Just like the Christmas Party, you do have to buy a separate ticket to the event to be admitted. Tickets to the Halloween Party grant you access to the Magic Kingdom rides and attractions and include a special Halloween parade, with the Headless Horseman leading the way, a spectacularly spooky fireworks display, and all the candy you could ever Trick-or-Treat for. Many guests dress up in costume, and when my mother, sister and I attended several years ago, we did too! We had made the trek down to Disney, just the three of us, specifically for the Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. We had so much fun, and I would really love to do it again. I just know Jack will love it in a few years. The fireworks display was one of my favorites that I have ever seen in Magic Kingdom. It was comprised of villain music from favorite Disney classics, which I have always loved for some reason, and lots of Halloween colors laced throughout the special effects lighting and fireworks, like orange, green, and purple. You definitely need to go at least once, especially if you have kids.

The 2011 dates and pricing for both of these events are as follows:

Dates

September: 13, 16, 20, 23, 27, 30
October: 2, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31
November: 1

Hours: 7:00pm – 12:00am.
Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade: 8:15 and 10:30
Happy HalloWishes fireworks spectacular: 9:30

Pricing

Sep 13 to Sep 30
Advance purchase adult $53.95
Advance purchase age 3-9 $47.95
Day of event adult $59.95
Day of event age 3-9 $53.95
Annual Passholder and DVC Member adult $49.95
Annual Passholder and DVC Member age 3-9 $43.95

Oct 2 to Nov 1
Advance purchase adult $56.95
Advance purchase age 3-9 $51.95
Day of event adult $62.95
Day of event age 3-9 $57.95
Annual Passholder and DVC Member adult $52.95
Annual Passholder and DVC Member age 3-9 $47.95

(prices exclude tax)

Blackout dates for discounts
Oct 7, Oct 13, Oct 21, Oct 28, Oct 30, Oct 31

Dates

November: 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27, 29, and 30
December: 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, and 18

Hours: 7:00pm – 12:00am.
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade: 8:15pm and 10:30pm
Holiday Wishes fireworks spectacular: 9:30pm

Pricing

Nov 8 to Dec 18
Advance purchase adult $56.95
Advance purchase age 3-9 $51.95
Day of event adult $62.95
Day of event age 3-9 $57.95
Annual Passholder and DVC Member adult $52.95
Annual Passholder and DVC Member age 3-9 $47.95

(prices exclude tax)

Blackout dates for advance purchase discounts
Nov 18, Nov 27, Dec 2, Dec 9, Dec 16, Dec 18

Blackout dates for Passholder discounts
Nov 18, Nov 27, Dec 2,Dec 7, Dec 9, Dec 11, Dec 13, Dec 14, Dec 16, Dec 18

Call (407) WDISNEY or (407) 934-7639 for tickets.

Just the Facts

I wanted to give you a post with just the facts about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. I love being able to chronicle some of our Elrod family fun, but I know that some of you would prefer to just know the specifics, and to that I say, fair enough!

 

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party takes place in the months of November and December in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.  It runs from 7:00pm to midnight only on specific dates.

 

Advance Tickets (including tax)

Adults (10 and older) – $57.46

Children (3-9 ) – $51.07

 

Day of Event Tickets

Adults (10 and older) – 63.85

Children (3-9) – 57.46

 

*Only a limited number of people are allowed to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, so it is advised that you buy your tickets in advance since they are accustomed to selling out.  Ticket prices are subject to change from year to year. Annual Passholder and DVC Member discounts are available.

 

Nightly events include:

Snow on Main Street USA

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

A Fireworks Spectacular

A Castle-front Show

Additional Shows and Character Dance Parties throughout the night

Complimentary Holidays Treats (usually including cookies and hot cocoa)

Character Meet ‘n Greets

Access to your favorite Magic Kingdom rides and attractions

 

2010 Guidemap

A Very Merry Jolly Holday : DAY 2

December 14th, 2010.

Jack turned 6 months.

We attended Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

The. Whole. Reason. We. Went.

Another fun fact about me is that when it comes to Jack, I am a SCHEDULE mom. He eats on a schedule, he sleeps on a schedule, he plays on a schedule, he poops on a schedule…okay, maybe not, but if I could figure that one out, he just might! So needless to say, being on a vacation can really do wonders on a scheduled mom and babe. In an attempt to keep things as normal as possible, we tried to stay at the town home until Jack finished his morning nap from 10am to noon. It worked out perfect on the day of the Very Merry Christmas Party because to get into the Party you have to buy a separate park ticket than regular admission, and therefore cannot get into the park until 4:00pm. The tickets cost $57.46 for adults and  $51.07 for kids. Luckily, Jack is under the age of three and gets in free! DOUBLE luckily, we have a Disney Rewards VISA and paid for our Christmas Party tickets with points!! Yay! Go Team Elrod!

At 4:00pm on the dot we strolled up to the park, passed the bag inspection with flying colors, and made our way into the Christmas-decked entrance to Magic Kingdom. It was just wonderful! Usually when we go in September it is all decorated up for fall and Halloween, but seeing it sparkle with red and green, silver and gold was just amazing.

Once again, upon entering the park, I had some very specific goals in mind to accomplish before the Party officially started at 7:00pm.

1. Let Jack meet Mickey Mouse.

2. Ride a few rides, because once the Party started we wanted to do all things Very Merry and not worry about waiting in line for rides.

So back to the soon-to-be-no-more Toontown we jetted, knowing that that is a sure place to meet Mickey, and often for not too long of a wait. Mission: Accomplished! (Although I was quite unhappy with how we…okay, I, looked in the picture.)

Yikes! Could that hat look any dopier on my head?

Next, we hopped on It’s A Small World and Tim decided dinner would be nice, so we split a pizza at Pinocchino Village Haus. About that time, Schedule Mama looked at her watch and noticed it was dinnertime for Jack-Jack as well! Let me just tell you, one day I intend to dedicate a post entirely to this, but the Baby Care Centers are just one more reason of why we choose to vacation in Walt Disney World. They are clean, staffed with sweet and helpful Cast Members, and have everything you could need for your little one.

We fed Jack his nighttime bottle at the Magic Kingdom Baby Care Center located right behind Crystal Palace and [gasp!] let Jack stay up a little later than usual that night. His bedtime is usually 8:00pm, but we let him watch Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade at 8:15. Here are two clips. Sorry about the camera work. I am not a professional…and I used my iPhone.

Video: The beginning of the Parade with Mickey and Minnie.

Video: The end of the Parade with Santa.

After the Parade, Jack went to sleep in the stroller, and Tim and I were left to enjoy the rest of the Party! We watched the fireworks and shows, shopped, and made sure to get our FREE cookies and hot chocolate!

Knowing that the hot chocolate was free, we expected it to be some watered-down, instant-tasting stuff, but to our surprise it was actually really good! Rich and chocolate-y! We both downed more than one cup. They also served complimentary hot apple cider and apple slices at the seven different Holiday Treat stations throughout the park!

I can’t say enough about the Party. We had a blast! If you ever get the chance, GO! We can’t wait to take Jack back when he is a little older and can really enjoy it. To sum it up, here are a list of the events held at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and a few short videos and pictures of our night. Enjoy!

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade – 8:15 and 10:30pm
“Holiday Wishes – Celebrate the Spirit of the Season” Fireworks Spectacular – 9:30pm
“A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas” Show – 7:45, 8:45, 9:55, 10:50 and 11:45pm
“Celebrate the Season” Show at Castle Forecourt Stage – 7:45, 10:05, and 11:20pm
Character Dance Parties throughout the night in Liberty Square and Tomorrowland


Cinderella's Castle

Video: A little clip from “Holiday Wishes” fireworks show!

This was my favorite part! The Castle had spinning sparklers all over it, and I loved all of the colors!

Video: I also LOVED this! *Notice the Country Bear, Wendell, that sneaked up on us at the end!


DAY 3 coming soon!