While Walt Disney World has made major strides in getting ‘back to normal’ after the pandemic, not everything is quite there. That remains true for the duration of 2021 as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party has been replaced with an After Hours Event. This doesn’t come as a huge surprise as the same happened to Magic Kingdom’s typical Halloween Party. In this post, we’ll give you the details on this new event before adding our commentary about this change.
Disney Very Merriest After Hours will take place from 9:00 PM to 1:00 AM on select nights, from November 8 through December 21, 2021. Tickets will go on sale in August. Event tickets will grant admission to Magic Kingdom park as early as 7:00 PM. These dated event tickets do not require an additional day theme park ticket or Disney Park Pass theme park reservation.
The event will include these highlights:
- Character sightings
- Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show
- After-hours access to Magic Kingdom park and less time waiting in line for popular attractions
- Holiday-themed attraction overlays and Cinderella Castle projections
- Snowfall on Main Street, U.S.A.
- Holiday treats, ice cream, popcorn and bottled beverages—all included with the cost of admission
- Themed food and beverages available for purchase
- Holiday-themed Disney PhotoPass photo opportunities (photos available for purchase)
- Special lighting, music and more
There aren’t any other details at this time. I would expect actual dates and ticket prices to come out in the next few weeks. More information will surely be released before tickets go on sale
My take on the After Hours events has not changed for the many years that WDW has held them. If you have the means, this is a great way to skip the lines and ride attractions without much wait. In this case, and for some other events, it includes some special offerings. With that said, I wouldn’t pay for it unless it’s deeply discounted. The reason being is that there are other upcharge events I’d rather pay for and, maybe more importantly, the event doesn’t offer enough value to me as a frequent visitor.
While I enjoy the Halloween Party more than the Christmas version, there’s no doubt that Very Merry is wonderful! Between the snow falling on Main Street and the Toy Soldiers in the parade, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas has a downright joyful vibe. It’s something that an After Hours Party can’t really replicate because the goal of the event is different. The third listed thing in the party offerings is shorter lines. That’s all well and good, but I’ve only been on a few rides at the actual parties. It’s simply just a different event.
As you can tell, I’d much rather there be a Christmas Party than an After Hours Event. That said, I don’t think this is a cash grab or anything of the sort by Disney. Honestly, they probably make more off of the parties than these events due to a much higher party capacity. While some of the reason the usual party isn’t happening this year could be due to lingering health precautions, I think the biggest reason is Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary.
The resort recently announced a new firework show for the 50th, that is currently the biggest addition coming to Magic Kingdom. With the move to this event, I think the park will still feature the new show before showing the Christmas firework edition once the After Hours Event starts. I’ve definitely been wrong before but that’s what makes the most sense to me here.
For now, I think Walt Disney World is just taking things slow in order to fully celebrate the 50th Anniversary. I would certainly prefer for there to be a party when it comes to Christmas attractions, but I’m okay with this hiatus in lieu of more people getting to fully experience the 50th. Now, if the parties are still missing next year then all of this is moot and I would be frustrated. Until then, Disney gets the benefit of the doubt from me on this one.
What do you think of this new event? Let us know your thoughts, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below! Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Check out our Disney World Trip Planning Guide to help you out. If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!