Disney World’s Very Merriest After Hours Details + Review

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Unveiled in 2021, Disney World’s newest Christmas event, taking place of Mickey’s Very Merriest Christmas Party, is the Very Merriest After Hours event. This super pricey event has been a topic of a lot of discussion, mostly with guests wondering if shelling out the cash is worth it for this event.

So here’s what you need to know about Very Merriest After Hours — from what’s offered, to our thoughts and whether or not it’s worth the price.

Ticketing and Hours

The Very Merriest After Hours Event, like other After Hours events, is a separately ticketed event at Magic Kingdom on select nights throughout November and December. Note that this means you cannot attend with just a park ticket. It’s an additional price, and it’s not small. The prices range from $169 to $229, with the most expensive nights being those closest to Christmas.

While the event takes place from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., those attending can actually get into the park starting at 7:00 p.m. Just make sure you pick up your wristband and event map (this will help you find all the snacks and characters!). Getting in a couple hours early also means you can knock some rides out before the event actually starts.

Minnie's Fireworks show once per night at Very Merriest After Hours

Merriest After Hours Entertainment

The biggest attraction for this After Hours Event is definitely the entertainment. It’s the first time in almost two years Disney World has had a full parade, plus there’s a bunch of other fun throughout the park. So let’s break down what you can find.

Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show

This is fireworks and castle projections set to Christmas music. I had heard people say it was an okay show, but I thought it was great. It’s fun and cheerful, and some of castle projections coordinated to music are especially good.

Because this is an after hours event, it’s pretty easy to find a seat. But also note that this show only runs once during the event, so you still want to get there a bit early to find a seat. (I found my spot about 20 minutes ahead of time.)

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

The parade was probably my favorite thing about the event! It’s starts with Mickey and Minnie by their Christmas tree and ends with Santa Claus. And in between you have everything from Clarabelle making cookies on a FLOAT THAT SMELLS LIKE COOKIES to Princesses waving. Plus you have toy soldiers and reindeer. I absolutely loved the whole thing.

The parade takes place twice during the evening. Most people will watch the first one, but it’s still completely manageable to find a spot, especially if you watch it somewhere other than Main Street.

Mickey & Minnie’s Very Merry Memories

This stage show in front of Cinderella Castle takes place four times throughout the evening, so there are plenty of opportunities to catch it. It’s mostly tons of singing and dancing, which in and of itself is fun to watch. But you also get fun character performances, like the Three Caballeros and Clarabelle.

Again, a lot people are going to watch the very first show. I watched the second one and found a spot about 10 minutes before it started with absolutely no problem.

Reindeer Wranglers

This musical group performs country Christmas songs in Frontierland four times throughout the evening. It’s a fun little show, but not really one of the main draws of the event. It’s easy to stop and catch some of it while you’re walking through Frontierland.

Club Tinsel Dance Party

This is a DJ in Tomorrowland with Stitch dancing up on stage. It’s fine, and I think little kids could get really into it. But it’s honestly a little…meh and doesn’t seem to get a lot of crowds. It also goes all night, so you don’t have to worry about missing it and can stop by whenever you want to.

Very Merriest After Hours Food

One thing that’s super fun about After Hours events is free (well, okay not free, but included) food. I know that it’s not like the most amazing stuff, but it’s still fun to walk up to a cart and ask for a Mickey Premium Bar and not have to pay.

At the After Hours Event you can get drinks, popcorn, and ice cream at the carts. There are also special snack locations where you can get hot chocolate and a cookie.

The After Hours Event also has some special food for purchase. This includes a Gingerbread Almond Cake pop (which I had and thought was really delicious!), a To Be Jolly Float (ice cream and coffee drink), a Ginger Apple Funnel Cake, and an Orange Bird Churro.

Gingerbread Almond Cake Pop was cute and delicious!

Very Merriest After Hours Rides

Of course, a big attraction of the After Hours events are the low wait times for rides. And a lot of rides will definitely be walk-ons or at least very minimal waits.

During the event I rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Winnie the Pooh and waited about 5 minutes of reach of them.

But note that not all the rides will be this way. If you are trying to go on one of the most popular rides, they are still going to have a decent wait. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan both seemed to hover around 30 minutes for a lot of the evening. And while I didn’t check out Space Mountain, I saw a lot of crowds walking that way so I would imagine it had a wait as well.

While 30 minutes isn’t long for some of those rides during the day, when you are working with limited After Hours time, that can be a big chunk of your night when there are so many other things to do.

The thing is, that if you are trying to do a lot of rides and see all of the entertainment, it can be a little tough. There’s definitely time to do a lot (I did all the entertainment, rode two rides, got the snacks I wanted, and left early because I cannot stay up until 1 a.m.), but you will need to be a bit judicious about your time.

Very Merriest After Hours Characters

One of the draws for the usual parties Magic Kingdom has done (as well as some of the past After Hours events like the Villian After Hours) is the special characters that are out.

I will say that this event doesn’t exactly have a ton. The main draw is, of course, Santa, who you can find between Liberty Square and Adventureland. You can also find the Country Bears in Adventureland, Princesses at their usual location in Fantasyland, and Stitch in Tomorrowland.

There may also be characters out and about that aren’t indicated on the map (I found Tweedledee and Tweedledum near the Tea Cups). But generally there aren’t a lot of character interactions to be had at this event compared to some other events in the past.

Very Merriest After Hours Review

So let’s get to my thoughts on the Very Merriest After Hours event. Mostly, I thought it was fun. I loved the special entertainment, and after three days of fighting busy holiday crowds it felt SO NICE to walk though an uncrowded park. There’s just something about being at Magic Kingdom late at night without crowds that feels special.

I thought the entertainment offers were especially fun. The parade was FANTASTIC, and the stage show and fireworks were both great too.

The food was fine, but I do think there could have been more options offered considering how expensive the event was.

I also think the event could stand to start a bit earlier, considering the price of the ticket. More time to get on rides would be awesome. (Although, admittedly, I left before the event was over and probably could have packed more rides in if I had been willing to stay up that late.)

Is Disney’s Very Merriest After Hours Worth It?

This is the question of the season — is the After Hours event worth it?                                

This event is super expensive, and if you have even a small family wanting to go, the price can add up FAST. (Which is exactly why I went by myself and didn’t take the rest of my family. That and the fact that my kiddo really needed to go to sleep earlier than midnight.)

Here are my thoughts: if you have the money and really want to have the experience, then sure. It very well may be worth it for you. It’s a lot of fun and offers entertainment you won’t be able to have with just a regular park ticket.

But if you feel like you would be pinching your pennies too much to go? Don’t stress about. Sure, the event is fun. But for how much it costs, it might not feel like you’ll get your money’s worth. If you really want to go, maybe considering doing this instead of getting a park ticket for one of your days to make the price more manageable.

But if you don’t think you should go, that’s fine too. With all the constant Disney news and Disney content that gets put out, it can be easy to feel like you are missing out on fun experiences like the After Hours event. But no matter how you choose to spend your time at Disney, you are going to find magic in all kinds of places. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be at the pricey events.