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Published: June 13th 2017
Geo: 28.5377, -81.3774
I LOVE Christmas and I love Disney. So what's not to like about Mickeyâs Very Merry Christmas party!
I asked my husband, whose enthusiasm for Christmas and Disney no where near matches mine, if he would take me to Disney for just one night as a birthday present. He reluctantly said "yes" because he could see how enthusiastic I was. It wasnât actually my birthday, but it was my birthday month. Mickey didnât care.
I booked our trip through Debi at Mouse Counselors. After a lot of consideration, I decided to stay at the Grand Floridian, Disneyâs top property. I had eaten there before but had never stayed there. It was just one night, and it was a birthday celebration after all.
We arrived in Orlando. I had checked in online a few days before and asked for early check-in. Our room was ready for us when we arrived at 11:45 am.
Our room was lovely, a corner room on the second floor of the 9th
• We had two balconies, one overlooking the Magic Kingdom and the Castle, and one looking over the large lake on which the property sits.<li
style="color: font-family: 'Calibri',sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal;">There were two queen beds, a good size bath with not good lighting. A large closet with luggage racks. A table and two chairs. A desk and chair. A dresser with a refrigerator in it and a flat screen TV above it.The room might have been 16x20. Several nights ago, some friends told us they rent one room and put parents in one bed, grandparents in another and all the kids on the floor in sleeping bags or aero beds. I see now where there is enough room, except perhaps for all those folks sharing just one bathroom.
We took our car (the hotelâs welcoming personnel recommended driving ourselves rather than taking the Disney bus) to Disney Springs where we met friends who work for Disney for lunch at Chef Art Smithâs Homecoming which features Southern cooking. I had shrimp and grits and my husband had the fried chicken special. Both were divine.
We headed to the Christmas store in Disney Springs and I picked up a green glass ornament shaped like Mickeyâs head, with Mickey himself sitting
on top. A Disney photographer took our photo near the jungle at T-Rex.
Back at the hotel, there was a message from Minnie Mouse on our voice mail, wishing me a happy birthday.
We changed for the Christmas party. I had a red tee shirt with a black glitter Mickey with reindeer antlers. I wore black crop pants and donned my black lace ballet Skechers. My manicure matched my tee shirt. My husband decided on slacks over shorts. We both packed wraps for after sundown. And, of course, we grabbed our MagicBands.
We headed to the lobby for our ride on the Monorail to Magic Kingdom. Itâs a quick 5-minute air conditioned trip to MK. They searched our bags and we used our bands to enter at 4 pm. We rented a locker where we left our jackets and a second camera in case something were to go wrong with the first.
I was disappointed today when we check in at Grand Floridian because there were no Christmas decorations up yet. I expected the entire Disney property to be ready for the first Christmas party.
But the Christmas decorations at Magic Kingdom did not disappoint.
It had been transformed. Poinsettias had replaced mums. Wreaths and garland were everywhere. Cast members were in holly and candy cane stripes. There were lights galore and plenty of âextrasâ â¦ all very merry.
• Frozen Holiday Wish, Castle Forecourt Stage
Elsa lights the castle 8:15 pm
Mickeyâs Most Merriest Celebration, Castle Stage
Holiday singing and dancingLaser show on castle 7:40, 9:25, 10:30, Midnight
Club Tinsel, Cosmic Rayâs Starlight CafÃ©
Holiday dance party Throughout
Totally Tomorrowland Christmas, Rockettower Plaza
Out of this world Christmas party 7:40, 8:30, 9:20, 10:45, 11:35
Voice Play, Rockettower Plaza Stage
font-family: 'Calibri',sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal;">Acapella harmonies concert 8:05, 8:55, 10:15, 11:10
Mickeyâs Once Upon a Christmastime Parade
Frontierland, through Hub, down Main Street 8:30, 11:00
Holiday fireworks above Cinderella Castle 10:00
Disney Character Appearances
18 spots marked on map for character greetings Throughout
Our first stop was a meet and greet with Mickey the Magician. Sort of thought heâd be in a Santa costume or something Christmassy. Not so much.
When we headed out, we were led down a side lane where they were handing out Christmas cookies and there were plenty of Disney photographers available for photos.
We had a fast pass+ for Splash but decided against it. There were many other things to do, we had done the ride previously and
there was the danger of being wet the rest of the evening. We opted to wander and take in all the directions, the music, etc.
We wandered around behind the castle and through the revamped Fantasyland. I wandered in and out of a few shops and took photos of lots of the Magic Kingdom.
We had dinner at 6 pm at Be Our Guest, at the Castle where the Beast from Beauty and Beast lives. The ballroom is lovely but had wreaths on only Â¼ of the room. I wouldnât think that was the plan, but perhaps it was.
The red napkin was folded like a rose (I like that touch). There was a lovely Christmas tree. The menu was slightly adjusted for the holiday â“ e.g., I had eggnog cupcake which was quite tasty and really resembled a glass mug of real egg nog. Before leaving, we had our photo taken with the Beast. He's quite cute.
By now it was dark and buildings all over the Kingdom had donned Christmas lights.
On the stage in front of the castle, there was a Mickey Mouse version of the old Andy Williams Show. They sang
âItâs the Most Wonderful Time of the Yearâ and danced. With each number, the performers changed, and the castle was âredressedâ in another set of Christmas decorations. It was grand. The show repeats four times during the evening.
After that, there was a Frozen show featuring Elsa and Anna and all their friends. They sang and danced and closed with Elsa transforming Cinderellaâs castle into Elsaâs crystal castle. The transformation was fascinating, with many variations, but ending in the castle covered in white lights. The fans loved it.
Folks began to take their seats for the parade and the fireworks WAY before I ever dreamed. Some were seated as early as 5:30. The parade begins at 8:30 and the fireworks are at 10 pm. About 7:30 we nabbed a spot about halfway between the castle and Caseyâs at the end of Main Street. Good for fireworks, good for the parade. But too far away from the shows on the plaza in front of the castle. My husband held on to the spots while I slipped forward to get better photos of the cast.
The parade began with Minnie and Mickey in their Santa costumes, then featured ALL
of the Frozen characters. Olaf. Kristoff. Even Oaken. This was followed by Goofy and some other Disney regulars, then a float of princesses and their love interests (Jasmine and Aladdin, Snow White and her Prince, etc.). There were a lot of wooden soldiers and of course the parade ended with Santa. The parade repeats at 11:30.
The parade was magical. My photos werenât. Some of the floats arenât lit too well, so the requirement to remain behind the ropes, and dark-ish floats moving, the photos didnât come out too well. The flash didnât throw far enough so a lot was blurred. But I did get a few good ones. Note to self: Next time stay for the late parade when presumably there are fewer people and easier access to a better photography location.
Between the parade and the fireworks, I wandered down Main Street to take photos. There were probably 10-12 Disney Photographers with tripods taking family photos with the lighted castle beyond. You could tell these would be Christmas cards next month.
The fireworks were special for Christmas. Lots more red and white, and green. Fireworks were complemented by varying laser lights on the Castle exterior.
And wonderful Christmas music, of course.
I was tempted to stay and see the Christmas show, the Frozen show, and the parade again. But I was more enthusiastic than my spouse. As we headed down Main Street to the entrance, Disney was creating artificial snow (small soapsuds) which drifted down. It was a magical ending to a magical night.
The Monorail whisked us back to the Grand Floridian where we hopped into our very comfy bed.
Disney Memory Maker is a photographic package where Disney photographers take your photos and they all end up on a website to download. The cost for one day is $59. For an entire vacation, $169.
They even have âmagicâ, meaning they digitally add fun characters (like Tinkerbell or Olaf) into the photos. But the photographers will also take your picture with your own camera, so you donât have to buy the photos. I chose this option and was pleased I did.
• We didnât run across that many photographers in the 4-11 pm period we were there. And when we did, there were long lines, presumably because folks wanted âChristmas Cardâ photos.<li style="color: font-family: 'Calibri',sans-serif; font-size:
11pt; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal;">With the photos we DID have taken, we also had the photographer or assistant take them with my automatic Nikon. They are quite good. Just as good as the ones that just showed up on the link in the email to the Disney photos.One reason to buy the Memory Maker package is to get the stock photos that come with it. I am missing out on those.
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