Friday night we attended the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party of the year. Due to the events that unfolded around “A Frozen Holiday Wish”, I am choosing to tell that story today and next week you can read my Christmas party recap.
This event is a family favorite each year but this one started off horribly. I understand all about Disney crowds and while I usually try to visit when crowds are lighter, I have never in my 42 years of visiting the Magic Kingdom been in a crowd like I was from 6:00-6:45pm on November 7, 2014, and I hope I never am again.
We arrived at the Magic Kingdom later than planned. Our traveling party was myself, my husband, Ron and our 8yo friend Matthew. We all love “Frozen” and Matthew especially loves Olaf so we were excited to see the new “A Frozen Holiday Wish” show and lighting of the castle dream lights. The crowd was lining Main Street like there was a parade coming, which there wasn’t. As we approached the hub we found an ok spot with some tree interference right on a rope line. We were late, it would have to do. After standing in this area for about 5 minutes, we were told by the cast member holding the rope that she would be moving the rope and we could move forward towards the next rope, but we had to stay inside the tape line. We moved up, squished in the taped off area and figured we had been blessed by having an open area in front of us so that our sight lines were much improved.
As show time approached guests were getting angry because there was a lot of reserved handicapped space that wan’t being used. There could easily fit a hundred or more people in this area. In all honesty, if I was in a wheelchair I wouldn’t have wanted to be there because of the throngs of people in front of the castle. Someone in a wheelchair had no chance of seeing what was happening on stage.
Anyway, as the show started, many of the lovely people in the back of the castle section lifted their young children onto their shoulders, making it impossible for those of us behind them to see.
We listened to the show, saw the pretty lights and then things got even worse. No one moved. We heard lots of people saying things like, “That’s it?” “I waited in this crowd for that?” and other similar things, some with language I would never type here. The lady next to me got into a shouting match with cast member Ron about all of the empty space for the handicapped area and how she was sure some of the people they let in there weren’t even handicapped. Cast member Ron even offered to bet her they all were-it was not behavior becoming of a Disney Cast Member…at all.
Next the cast members started hollering for everyone to start moving out of the hub. Unfortunately, the people on the perimeter hadn’t started moving yet, more than 5 minutes after the show ended! How could the middle move when the edges were standing strong? Finally, people in my area said, let’s just start walking so we did. We formed a line and tried to weave our way towards Tomorrowland. As we were walking and saying, “excuse me” I heard a lady yell and then I was smacked on the back! This wasn’t getting bumped in a crowd, I was hit. I turned around to see an older lady with her hand raised. I said, “Did you just hit me?” she said she did because I had knocker her over. 1. I hadn’t knocked her over 2. If I had tried she couldn’t have fallen anyway due to the crowd around her. I told her I didn’t think I had done it, I said I was sorry if I had and then I kept walking. The people behind me in line said I should have hit the lady, but I wouldn’t do that. We finally made our way to Tomorrowland and the crowd finally thinned out a bit. It was a horrible way to start off Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party that’s for sure.
Later in the evening, while at the media reception, I was chatting with a cast member about the crazy crowd. He agreed it was poorly planned and unsafe and it is only going to get worse the closer we get to Christmas.
How to Avoid the Crowd
- Unless you have a die-hard “Frozen” fan in your party, just skip the show and the hub area from 5:45-6:45pm every evening from now through the holiday season.
- IF you are going to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party there is an 8:00pm showing of “A Frozen Holiday Wish” go see that one since the day guests will be out of the park the crowd will be lighter.
- If you want to avoid the crowd altogether, just watch my friend John’s video below.
I truly hope Disney figures out a way to manage the crowd at this show better. I’m sure having many more cast members manning the area would help. I think they may even need to find a way to make some kind of general announcements because what they are currently doing isn’t enough.