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My "Not So Merry" Christmas Party…And Why I Would Do It Again!


What could be more magical than celebrating the Christmas season at a special party at the Magic Kingdom? Nothing, right? From the snow on Main Street, the special Christmas themed parade, free hot cocoa and cookies given out around the park, special event only entertainment, and arguably the most impressive fireworks display all year makes it is a pretty fantastic event. This party is well worth the ticket price.



And we had a terrible time. 






That being said I would do it again in a heartbeat. It is very easy to read wonderful things about Disney, and believe that nothing ever goes wrong in the most magical place on Earth. Things can go wrong. You are not the only person in the world that it has happened to, or will happen to. Despite all that you can overcome it and still have a wonderful time! 



Here\’s a recap of our night, what went wrong, and why I still loved it. 




First, I planned this to be the grand finale of a week long trip. This seemed like a great idea, but in hindsight I would have had an early evening planned instead (maybe something like Animal Kingdom that closes early). We were all very tired and didn\’t have the energy to party it up in the Magic Kingdom till midnight. 




Second, we had spent the whole day in the Magic Kingdom to begin with. I would still do this again, it\’s just not the most economical way to use tickets. We essentially paid to get in the park twice in one day. If you are on a budget and want to attend a special event at WDW, do it on a day you are not already in the parks. 




Oh, did I mention this was also the day we were celebrating my oldest child\’s birthday? He was dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow that day, and was going to be participating in the Pirates League (where they put awesome pirate makeup on you, and induct you into the league with a pirate name and everything!) I can\’t tell you how long I obsessed over if/how/when he would change his clothes.  You cant be a pirate at a Christmas party, right? Cinderella Castle is GORGEOUS when decorated for Christmas. I had already scouted a location for the perfect picture spot. \”What a wonderful Christmas card this will make!\” I thought.  \”I\’ll bring a change of clothes for ALL of us! Our Christmas clothes! That will be a perfect picture!!!\” I thought.




So, let\’s recap my expectations:




  1. Wonderful birthday celebration day

  2. Pirates League with a 9 year old

  3. No meltdowns from the 3 year old

  4. Magical Christmas party

  5. Perfect picture in front of a Cinderella Castle for a beautiful Christmas card to send out to all of our friends and family. 

  6. Grand Finale of a week long trip





We had a lovely day in the parks. My son participated in the Pirates League which left him looking like this:



Awesome, huh? Around the time we were walking into our appointment I realized I had left the bag with our change of clothes back at the resort. No big. The 3 year old was napping in his stroller, we are about to commit some time to the Pirates League, perfect opportunity for my husband to hop on a bus and get back to the resort to grab it (a perk of staying on property!). 






We finished up Pirates League, and sat down to wait for Captain Jack Sparrow\’s Pirate Tutorial. The tutorial started and my son was picked to go on stage!



Unfortunately my husband missed it because he was still out picking up our Christmas clothes. He caught up with us right as it was ending.




Bummer. Overcome-able though.




The day was winding down and it was time to get our wristbands for Mickey\’s Very Merry Christmas Party. There are Cast Members set up around the park to distribute wrist bands so you don\’t have to physically leave the park and re-enter. I went over to the Cast Member and handed her our tickets that had been printed from an email. She turned around and started talking to another Cast Member, then walked away. Um, let\’s talk about panic! She came back and told me we had tickets FOR THE WRONG DAY! We had tickets for the day before. 

NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!



We had to go to guest services to see if there was anything we could do. The Cast Member there was FANTASTIC, and had us on our way in no time!




\”Phew, ok. This night started a little bumpy, but now we are on our way to a great night!\”




We headed back to Adventureland and thought this would be a good time to stop for a Dole Whip. This seems like a minor detail, but keep it –it will come in to play later.




We rode a couple of rides and wound our way to the Rapunzel bathrooms in Fantasyland. It was just about the official start time for MVMCP, and we were near bathrooms, so this is the perfect time to change. I changed, then changed the 3 year old. No problems. Then the 9 year olds turn. 




Nope, he doesn\’t want to change out of his costume and as a matter of fact neither does my husband. I\’m pretty sure my eyes bugged out of my head and my face turned red!




\”Uh, too bad kid, go in that bathroom and change! And You\’re an adult, SUCK IT UP AND CHANGE YOUR SHIRT!\” Remember, I had been dreaming of the perfect picture in front of the castle for quite some time now. He changes, but now doesn\’t want to take off his makeup. Next my husband comes out of the bathroom in the same clothes he was wearing before. 




WHAT?! Turns out someone spilled a small amount of Dole Whip on the bottom corner of his shirt and he wasn\’t going to wear it.   Honestly, I\’m dealing with three children here.




All I could think about was my perfect picture slipping through my fingers…


I may or may not have yelled at them at them a little bit before agreeing to let the makeup stay on for a little while longer, and my husband would just put the shirt on right before we would take the picture (after I took the makeup off of my son).




Yep, I had turned into that person. The person who yells at her kids at Disney World. I had let the stress of the day and the disappointments we had faced get to me. 



Don\’t the look like they are having so much fun here:



I felt awful! Time to let go of the picture and just have a good time. WE ARE IN MAGIC KINGDOM CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS for goodness sakes!!! We rode a few more rides, then found the perfect place to eat and watch the parade. My husband and older son head over to Cosmic Ray\’s Starlight Cafe to grab dinner and bring it back while I stayed with the 3 year old and held our place. A few minutes later I saw my husband walking back. Empty handed. 




NOOOO! I thought we were on the upswing! Things were supposed to be improving! We had to move around a couple of dining reservations earlier in the week and with out realizing it we were out of dining credits.




For the second time in what was supposed to be a magical night, I was raising my voice and arguing with my husband. How embarrassing! We came to the conclusion that we had to eat dinner and we would just have to pay out of pocket. This time I would go and leave him with the 3 year old. We ate dinner without saying many words to each other. All of this caused us to miss the parade. Again, I felt awful.


Then the castle entertainment started. The fireworks were amazing! We were all entranced. My 3 year old snuggled up on me, my 9 year olds face was enthralled and delighted, and my husband was smiling like a child. It was beautiful.



Once they were over, simultaneously, my husband and I apologized to each other, and my older son wanted to take of his makeup. 




Like magic, the fireworks had done it! Here is our magical evening! I took off my sons makeup, my husband changed his shirt, and I fixed my hair as well as I could. We packed up and started to head over to the picture spot.




The castle was glittering with twinkle lights! We were next in line to have our picture made! I\’m going to get my picture after all!! Right as it was our turn and we stepped up to have our picture taken, the twinkle lights turned off and show lights turned on. 




You. Are. Kidding me. 



Ok, I give. We took a picture anyway, and it is beautiful but not at all what I had in mind. By this point it was getting close to 10pm and we were done. We decided to pack it in and head home. We had a long night ahead of us packing to get ready to leave. 





So after all that, I WOULD GO TO THE PARTY AGAIN IN A MINUTE! It is a beautiful party, and despite all the disappointments the highs were amazing!  I feel like experiencing all this helped make me a better travel agent too.




And as they say, a bad day at Disney World is always better than a great day at work!


Lauren Tanner is a Disney travel planner with Wishdrawals Travel. After planning her own family\’s magical vacation, she now plans magic for her own clients!  

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