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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party!

Our original plan for this Disney trip was just Kye, Britt, Zach and I going down for a short visit. Doing BBB, Park Fare Breakfast and then Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party! When we decided to combine Britt's bday trip with Tess's first visit we still kept the original birthday plans in place. Thankfully Mrs. Charlotte didn't mind having a day of rest and she hung back with Tess during our party night!

The Christmas and Halloween parties start at 7:00 and you MUST have a ticket for the event to be in the park at that time. However, party ticket holders are allowed in the park at 4:00. So from 4:00-7:00 both regular park visitors as well as party people are at MK at the same time. 

On our way!




This was my first time going to both parties in the same year :) For both they changed the way you enter the park. Rather than walking down Main Street they fed us through a back alleyway that was decorated for the event and they passed out cookies as we filed onto Main Street. Here our crew met a woman who was ADORABLE. She was wearing a precious Mickey Ear hat that said she was celebrating her 100th Birthday. How amazing is that?!?! #goals for sure!!!

Outfits:

I really wanted to be themed out for this party. Zach and I have attended the Christmas Party in the past (You can read about our experiences here and here!) and it was in my pre-Disney obsessed days so I didn't know to dress up ;) 

I actually got Zach's shirt last year after Christmas at Books-A-Million. I know. RANDOM. It was super cheap!

Kye's shirt I found on Ebay from this seller. It was $12 (here's a direct link to the actual shirt). It did run big but I'm okay with that as it'll fit next year ;)

My dress is from Amazon! (Direct link here!) I really wanted to have something that screamed Disney and went with Britt's dress :) I loved it and got several compliments throughout the night :) I ordered a small and it fit great :) 

I also do wanna go ahead and comment on my shoes. My foot has made SO MUCH progress! I used to HAVE to wear my orthopedic tennis shoes every day all day at the parks. Now I just bring them with us and change if needed. On this trip we did a TON of walking. We had 5 days in a row at the parks. And for all of those days I wore my Olukai Ohana Sandals. I heard about them in a Disney group and bought a pair before California. I recently purchased a second pair. They are not cheap but they are WORTH IT. They are cute, comfortable, and allow me to go an entire day in the parks without pain! Huge win! (Direct link here!)

Britt's dress I fell in LOVE with and was so excited to get such an amazing deal on it. It was the perfect holiday dress for a Birthday Girl! It's from AliExpress (notice a trend? I've been LOVING some AliExpress lately...and you get 5% back with Ebates!) This is the direct link for the dress. It runs small. She's in a 5 and the 6 fit well but still needed some leggings under it. I saw this exact dress ALL over my FB feed sold from boutiques and such for $40. I paid $11.60 (right now it's higher but just keep an eye on it!). It was great quality, very comfortable and straight up adorable :)

I wanted to get us fun light up necklaces but didn't want to pay the $16 Disney price tag. I got a couple from Hallmark and then another couple from Amazon. I will talk more about these later ;)



Since party ticket holders are allowed in the park at 4:00 you are allowed to schedule fast passes up until 6:30ish. The big draw for the party is meeting special characters that are only out during party times. I can see when Britt is older enjoying that but no way would I have my kids wait in line forever to meet the 7 Dwarfs or Jack Skeleton as Santa or even the Fab 5 dressed up for the holidays. Britt would probably love it and mayyyyy be okay with standing in line that long for it, but Kye wouldn't care. I had no plans for character meetings but did decide to get fast passes to meet Talking Mickey. I thought he'd be too intense for Tess but that Britt would love for him to recognize her birthday :) 

While in line we met several nice people, including this AWESOME group of women who all made their matching outfits and have come to the Christmas Party for 17 years together. These are my people ;)

He did some really neat magic tricks with them!


We've seen him a couple times now and he will never stop being just SO awesome!!! 
I took three videos:















I hate we didn't get the best castle pic with Tess and I think next visit I may try going to this hub again as a family! We got great pics here at the Girl's Trip  and the photo pass guy was awesome again at the same spot! 




I don't love the Magic that Disney adds to pics (people always ask me "where is the Magic?" on my photo pass pics...I never keep them haha) but I thought this was really cute!


I LOVE that we have the Memory Maker! It gives us the chance to take a variety of pics and I love a chance to have just Zach and I in some :)




Next up I had a Fastpass for the boys for Space Mountain. I asked Britt what she wanted to do and she said Dumbo. Seriously. What is it with Dumbo?!? We headed there and had a short line. It was a VERY low crowd day at MK (if I didn't care about Tess visiting MK first then I would have done MK that day rather than Sunday) so it worked out in our favor!








The boys finished up with Space Mountain and we were supposed to meet them to ride Tomorrowland Speedway (which is usually one of Britt's favs). Britt was wanting to play in the Dumbo playground area so she opted to skip the cars and play instead. The boys rode it and we met up with them after for BUZZ!!!

Cool kids rocking their party bracelets and their magic bands (complete with adorable decals from aNn Monograms!)


Stealing kisses ;)


As usual, we defeated Zurg ;)


For our evening at the park we did a family first: we left the stroller at home! Zach and I both carried a book bag and only brought the necessities! It worked out SO GREAT. It was very freeing to not have the stroller and it made the whole night feel more relaxed. 

The party is super great because it's limited to the number of people who can attend. Since there are so many party-specific activities (meet and greets, shows, parades, food etc) ride lines are all, typically, very short. 

I would NOT recommend this as an alternative to a day at Magic Kingdom with your kids. It's dark majority of the time which does cause some of the Magic of the park to be lost (also harder to get good pics). Fastpasses are only available for those three hours of overlap so it's tricky to fully plan your park time. There are SO many party specific things to do that it's hard to possibly fit in all the must do MK things along with the must do party things. It's also SUPER late. The party ends at midnight. I personally can't imagine trying to really tackle the entire park with young kids and staying up that late! It just doesn't sound fun to me!

However, the party IS awesome if you're a person who goes to MK decently often. If you're kids have done all the "must do" MK things then you CAN just ENJOY the party and be more relaxed about it. I'd also recommend waiting to bring your kids until they are old enough to handle the late night. Our kids were PUMPED to stay up to the "real midnight" but guess what? We didn't make it. And they were EXHAUSTED and they are almost 5 and 8. And they had a nap that day prior to the party!

I love how much our kids all love each other. I got a lot of sweet sibling pics on this trip huh? This trip was a few weeks after we learned about Zach's potential MS diagnosis and seeing the love my babies have for each other was exactly what I needed. We're so blessed with our little family and no matter what the future holds, I'm thankful we'll all face it together :) 


Zach and I hate the Tea Cups. As in, we've never ONCE ridden them at Disney. Kye and Britt love the spinning dragon ride at Wild Adventures (which is essentially the same exact thing as the Tea Cups) so we told them they could ride the Tea Cups JUST the two of them at Disney. I even booked them each a FP to ride it. Because they are able to ride alone at Wild Adventures (which is oddly MUCH more strict than Disney about policies) I assumed they'd be able to ride together at Disney. Well. I was wrong. Children must be ages 7 or older to ride a ride without an adult. We were hoping they'd just let them through to ride but they didn't. And we were hoping a cast member would offer to ride with them. But they didn't. So poor Zach got stuck riding ;) The kids were SO BUMMED that their tea cup didn't seem to spin as fast as the others...I wonder why haha


Poor kids couldn't ride solo...we did promise them that when Britt turns 7 they can for SURE ride together!

(and yes, more hand holding!)


Something I've learned from my party experiences is that a lot of the restaurants close down during the party. It's VERY smart to eat dinner before the 7:00 marker! We enjoyed Pinocchio Village Haus when we came on the girl's trip so I suggested for us to eat there. They have SUPER yummy flat bread pizza!

Kye and I got seats and waited on Zach and Britt. A cast member said something to Zach and he turned to speak to her and BAM Britt was GONE. Zach said it was THE most terrifying moment for him. He actually brings it up quite often and how horribly scary it was (sorry Mrs Charlotte I don't think we told you about this at the time...oops!). He was a bit frantic over finding her. 

From my perspective Kye and I got seats and then all the sudden Britt walked up and sat with us. Zach had NO CLUE she'd left him or that she knew where we were sitting (I don't think she knew where we were either, I think she just got lucky that the direction she went happened to run into us) b/c he didn't know where we were sitting either. When she came up I asked her if Daddy sent her or knew she was coming to sit with us and she said Yes. So clearly there was some issue there, either she told him in a whisper where he couldn't hear or she just walked off and didn't tell him at all. 

Zach YELLED for me in the restaurant and asked if I had her and I told him yes. He said he's never felt so relieved! He said in his moment of panic all the cast member did was offer him some stickers hahaha. Like "Sorry you lost your kid, here's some stickers to help?" So funny. I guess it was a pretty crazy situation b/c a few days later at Hollywood Studios a family approached Zach who had been standing near him when this whole thing happened to see if everything worked out ok. 

Yes, if you are counting that's twice that we had a semi-lost child situation at Disney this trip! Both times the kids were WITH adults but it can still happen that a kid gets lost or separated. I made sure to go over with the kids that if they ever get separated they need to find a cast member OR a mommy. Mommy's are always safe bets!



So my DEALZ on the light up necklaces turned out to be a bit of a bust. The guys' (which were from Amazon) didn't last all night. Several of their bulbs went out! And then Britt's completely messed up. Now hers was user error b/c she kept twisting it and we kept telling her the wires were going to break...and bam. They broke. Daddy is THE man and did his best to repair it. But it was a no-go. I took it up to a Cast Member who was selling the Disney lighted ones and ask them if they knew a trick to fix it. The sweet cast member gave us a free one of the Disney ones! So so nice and saved us a HUGE headache of either a) trying to fix it all night or b) dealing with Britt being upset all night! Love me some unplanned Disney Magic ;)


The Disney necklaces ain't cheap (I think like $16?) but the quality was SO MUCH BETTER. I kept hers and plan to slowly purchase additional ones in the future if we attend parties more often!




When I originally made plans for the party I had a set itinerary like I do for any park day. But as we started the trip I just decided I didn't want some hardcore plan for the party night. I wanted to RELAX and just go with the flow and have fun! The kids had just ridden pretty much everything a couple days prior so there wasn't anything they "had to do." 

After dinner Kye wanted to go ride Space some more so Britt got to pick out what she wanted to do! We rode the carousel and did Philarmagic for the third time this trip haha





We didn't even look for Cinderella's horse and didn't even realize Britt was actually riding it until the ride started!




The boys on Space...they rode it 3 times in a  row making it 4 times in one night!








We met up and decided to get some of the free treats! At the Halloween party they pass out candy and for the Christmas party they have treat stations. In the past it's always been hot chocolate and cookies but this year they mixed it up and had different treats at different stations around the park. One of the treats were snow cones which I totally would have LOVED to hit up but we never felt like walking that far ha!

We got our hot chocolate and cookies and headed over to watch a Christmas Show in Tomorrowland (A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas)








Spoiler alert: the show was straight CHEESE FEST. Yes, the kids liked it but omg Z and I were SO over it. Def not something I'd recommend wasting park time on. But since we were at the party I figured we should try to see the shows and parade (since we weren't going to meet the party characters). 





We left the show early to make sure we could find a spot to see Elsa freeze the Castle. Y'all. Since a YEAR ago this has been ALL Britt has talked about for her birthday. She told a ton of people she was going to Disney for her birthday and she'd ALWAYS say "I'm going to see Elsa freeze the castle!"

It was a VERY short show but it was what our girl wanted for her birthday so we made sure to make it happen! We were shocked at the amount of people gathered to watch and did have a hard time finding a spot. It was really cool and she loved it! Here's  couple videos of the castle transforming: one, two, three, four and five! (okay it was more than a couple but homegirl dragged that thing out)


A disney stock photo of her girl Elsa ;) 


Castle before...


and after!


As soon as Elsa got done doing her thing we headed down Main Street for a spot for the 8:30 Christmas Parade. THIS is a must see thing at the Christmas Party! And to really experience it you have to have a spot on Main Street. Of course Main Street was packed SOLID with there only being about 10 min or so until the parade started...but my husband is a baller at finding spots to sit. Okay, I will give yall the secret ;) Look for people in scooters. They can easily let children sit in front of their scooter. Kids get a great viewing spot, person in scooter still has their front row viewing spot AND they get the benefit of seeing the happy children's faces :) Zach is so tall (and doesn't love parades OR sitting on hard grounds) so he stood back behind the people and their family. Of course he made friends with them all and they were sweet enough to let me sit down with the kids. The kids danced a little while people were still finding seats!




Before the parade started some "elves" came down Main Street to keep things fun for everyone. They had these "snowballs" and one girl tossed one to Kye and asked him to hold it for her and then she asked Britt to come onto Main Street with her! 

I'm telling you Britt gets picked for EVERYTHING and she LOVES It.



I get legit tears just remembering this moment. Britt was in her element. The "elf" taught her some dance moves and they were dancing in the middle of Main Street. Zach had gone to the bathroom and when he was walking back he saw Britt and was freaking out thinking she was being disruptive of the activities going on and then he realized she was part of the show ;)

The Elf had Kye come out too and they tossed the snowball and danced to the music. And then the music changed to "Let It Snow." Y'all. The looks on the kids faces when that snow fell onto Main Street was simply perfection. And the fact that they were part of the show that "made it snow" was even better. One of my top three favorite Disney moments of all time. Hands down. I was crying and freaking out and the people who let us sit in front of them were loving it too and were thankful we came to sit with them so they could see our joy :)



This. Is. Everything.




I wish you could see a bit more of Kye's face...their smiles just melt my heart!









To follow the kids' performances up with the parade was just awesome! 

It's been sad that the Electrical Parade got put into retirement. And even that parade isn't really filled with characters. I had SO MUCH fun at the parade during Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party that I realized...I love parades. My poor husband hates them so I never have us watch them but I LOVE THEM. And I especially love them WITH the kids. Waving to all the characters and having those brief moments of interaction. Where they choose to smile at YOU or give YOU a high five? I LOVE IT. 

















After the parade we hit up the bathroom and were just all very silly. There was a bit of downtime before the fireworks show so we discussed options: a different free snack location, ride something, buy something. Kye really wanted to BUY a treat for himself so we decided to just stay on Main Street and hunt for a snack :) 




Britt opted to wear the Christmas Party ears I made for her :) 




My Disney Girl!



Checking out the windows all decorated with Christmas scenes!


Kye is my child in many ways. When we went to vote he and I both took forever to decide which sticker we wanted. Britt and Zach just grabbed one and were done with it. They are decisive. They know what they want. Kye and I? We debate every decision. We over think it and then re-think it and ask opinions. We're just indecisive ;) He took AGES to pick something to buy and, shocker, ended up buying cotton candy haha


It was so neat to watch it get made!



Spending that money :)


We saw a game at Starbucks set up where you spin to win a prize. Duh. We like free things. We still have PLENTY of time before the fireworks so we waited our turn. Britt spun a free snack and Kye, Zach and I all had to sing a Disney Song. Much tougher to do on the spot than you'd think! (Kye sang a Christmas Song at first haha)

The cast members ended up really loving us. It was super funny b/c the people before us and after us they were just like "ok here's your prize" but with us? They ended up hooking us ALL up BIG TIME. While we waited for our treats we did some coloring pages :)




Free cookies for all and free fancy holiday drinks for both Zach and I! What what?!?! (and yes, my drink says my name is Charles Barkley haha). 


We took our treats to the streets to get ready for the Holiday Wishes! 

We were surprised at the lack of people on Main Street for the fireworks. They were at 10:00 So my only thought is that some people with younger kids cleared out after the 8:30 parade? My ORIGINAL plan was to wait for the 10:30 parade (I've heard it's WAY less crowded than the 8:30 one) but I knew we wouldn't make it that long and I'm glad we didn't try to wait it out for that! I love that we had our chill time on Main Street and just got to soak in the magic of the night :)











We all wanted to do a little shopping so we hit the shops as soon as the fireworks ended. I got Tess a Donald Duck and we bought Mrs Charlotte a new book bag. Britt got a snow globe with her money and Kye used his to buy a Buzz Lightyear toy grabber thing (that I saw in Cali and knew he'd love btw!). 


Goodbye Magic Kingdom!!!



It was SO funny how the kids were complaining that we didn't stay until the "real midnight" yet they were both worn out and so, so tired. We were out of the park around 10:30ish! 


Sleepy, silly girl! Daddy may be hurting but he's not gonna deny his baby girl a piggy back ride to the car even if it means doubling up on back pain meds and ice for the night!



I'm SO glad we decided to do the Christmas Party for Britt's birthday! It was SO fun and the kids were PERFECT ages to handle the late night. I loved how relaxed we all were. Y'all know I love me some Disney planning but just going with the flow for this event was perfect timing. It was in the exact middle of our park days and was perfect timing also for Tess to have a break to recover/rest/feel better for the end of the trip. It was seriously such a fun night and a highlight of our entire trip!

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