March 2019 | by Suzanne Burmeister

The scenario? Two grandparents, two parents, and two kids (aged 3 and 1) contemplating spending even MORE money for a special ticketed event. I’ll cut to the chase: It’s worth it.

My family and I went to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on Sunday, November 25, 2019. We waited until around 4pm to make our way over to Magic Kingdom with my two kids, meaning we did not use one of our park day tickets on the same day. We solely went to the special ticketed event.

Beware—Warning—Heads Up: We did not have our tickets. We only had our confirmation number, so we had to waste an enormous amount of time at Will Call trying to get our tickets. It was annoying, so if you can get your tickets beforehand, do it.

We decided to have dinner, so we ate at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café. We filled up on burgers, just as Cast Members started to pass out the free treats. The cookies and hot cocoa were a big hit with my daughter.

But then, we began to do the rides. Because we were there for the Merry Christmas Party, we did not have fast passes for any rides. But no one else did either, which meant that everyone was on the same playing field.

Good idea: After some research, we decided to avoid the first parade and go for the second one. That meant while most people were scoping out seats to watch the holiday parade, the ride wait times sank lower and lower. We often walked right onto rides.

Because this was our first time at the parks for the entire trip, I was aware of which FastPasses we had. In other words, we were going to Magic Kingdom two more times, which mean I had six FastPasses already set. So we went for things we did not have FastPasses for, like Dumbo, Tea Cups, the “Jingle Cruise,” and so on.

A personal highlight: My daughter, 3, tried Goofy’s Barnstormer with no wait. This was my experiment to see if she could handle roller coasters, and she absolutely loved it. I felt as though we were good to go for Slinky Dog later in the trip (her most coveted ride).

The weather was cool and fabulous, and the decorations were magical. While I’m certain the crowds were still present, we managed to navigate the park with no problem whatsoever. Because of the short wait times, we managed to go on more rides during this ticketed event than we did during the other two days at Magic Kingdom.

On my bucket list was watching the 360 degree fireworks with my dad. I first saw them years ago when I went to Magic Kingdom for New Year’s Eve—and um, never again. However, my fireworks-loving father had never experienced any fireworks like that, but this ticketed event satisfied the desire for Dad to see this.

Okay, here’s the mildly bad: So here’s the thing. I was at the park with an almost four-years-old and a one-year-old. We decided to wait for the second parade, which means we slid into a viewing spot around 11pm at night. And after all the fun we had? The kids were sound asleep and missed the parade entirely.

So if your kids can make it to those late hours, then you’re getting the most bang for your buck. However, our little ones fell asleep—meaning we paid for extra time in the park where we were pushing our double stroller around with sleeping kids. It wasn’t a huge deal, but I would have liked for them to have seen Santa!

Now that we’re several months away from when we attended this event, we all agree that we would definitely go for another ticketed event. It doesn’t have to be a holiday party. We would even enjoy extra hours if it meant we could enjoy a bunch of rides with little to no wait in a short amount of time. Ideally, our kids will be old enough to make it to midnight at least.

So do it. Pay the extra money. You won’t be sorry!

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