It’s that time of year again. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is in full swing and just a week after that, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party begins. The parties are a great way to see special parades and shows and enjoy the holiday atmosphere, but if you’re not holding a ticket for the event, where does that leave you? The answer is simple: You have to be out of the parks at 7:00 p.m., the official time the party begins. That’s pretty straight-forward, but if you’re like most people, you’re getting in that last attraction or a bit of shopping right before park closing and might find yourself caught up on a cordon of cast members politely ushering you out of the Magic Kingdom. Here are the basic rules:
If you’re in a store at 7:00, you’ll be allowed to complete your purchases. You will not be allowed to buy any special party merchandise, however.
You may not enter shops or eateries after 7:00 if you don’t have a wristband identifying you as a guest.
If you’re already waiting in a queue when the park closes, you’ll be allowed to ride.
During the first couple of hours of the party, there are ropes up designed to keep non-party guests from viewing the shows. Cast members won’t allow you to cross those lines without a wristband.
If you have a dining reservation in the Magic Kingdom for 7:00 or later, you will not be allowed to enter the restaurant. While missing dinner is bad, having to pay for it (as you would with Cinderella’s Royal Table) is worse. You’ll be advised of this when you make a dining reservation by phone, but there are no warnings on the website. If you’re eating anytime before, you’ll be allowed to keep that reservation and then be escorted out of the park after your meal. No dawdling allowed!
Even without a ticket you can still enjoy some of the holiday magic. The castle lighting ceremony begins between 6:00 and 6:30 and features a brief show with Mickey, Minnie and friends. They’re joined by Cinderella’s fairy Godmother, who “decorates” decorates the castle with gorgeous “icicles.” It’s truly one of the most breathtaking moments of the year at Disney World and it happens every night during the holiday season.