If you're looking to overdose on Christmas spirit, Florida "snow" and sugar, Disney World is where to go.
As soon as the clock strikes midnight Nov. 1, Disney World in Orlando transforms its four parks, dozens of hotels and Disney Springs into winter wonderlands. Almost every spare inch is covered in garlands, ornaments or lights. Or all three.
The hotels have their own towering Christmas trees and Disney Springs has a tree trail with firs decorated with inspirations from Disney films and park rides
And since 1983, the Magic Kingdom has hosted Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, a separate ticket event that promises smaller crowds, festive shows and fireworks and free treats around the park.
You might not notice a dip in crowds except on rides still open during the event. When we checked out the party the Friday before Thanksgiving, the Main Street U.S.A. and Tomorrowland areas were just as crowded as a normal day.
But speaking of treats, there are six locations around the park (marked by an inflated peppermint stick) to indulge in complimentary cookies, snow cones, soft pretzels, chocolate, hot cocoa, apple cider and eggnog. Don't even bother trying to eat dinner beforehand.
But what Disney fans really want to see at Mickey's Very Merry are the holiday decorations, stage shows, fireworks and the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade down Main Street.
Magic Kingdom is probably the most decked out place of them all. Mickey-shaped wreaths adorn light poles, snow bubbles shoot out from canisters above buildings and even some of the rides get the holiday treatment with lights and bows.
The most stunning piece of decor is the light projection on Cinderella's Castle, making it look like Queen Elsa's icy palace from Frozen. The castle is a picturesque backdrop for three holiday shows throughout the night – Mickey's Most Merriest Celebration, A Frozen Holiday Wish and the Holiday Wishes fireworks.
With two shows, fireworks and the holiday parade, you could easily spend the entire Christmas Party along Main Street and in the castle's courtyard. But you'll have to at least venture into Tomorrowland and Liberty Square to get those free cookies.
After Jiminy Cricket hosts the Holiday Wishes fireworks with seasonal songs like I'll Be Home For Christmas and Jingle Bells, the evening is capped with a star-studded holiday parade.
Disney pulls out all the stops, and almost every character you can think of, for Once Upon a Christmastime Parade. You won't see Mickey and Minnie in their holiday best, Frozen sisters Elsa and Anna in a sled or all the Disney princesses and princes together on a long crystal float at any other parade.
We often get asked if separate ticket events at theme parks are worth the extra money. For Disney events like Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, it's a deal for non-passholders.
Those without passes pay a little less for a Christmas Party ticket than a regular park ticket, and get the experience of a less crowded park with added activities. Christmas Party ticket holders can even get into the park as early as 4 p.m. With the party lasting until midnight, that's eight hours to spend in Magic Kingdom.
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party offers an overload of sugary sweets, beautifully overwhelming decor and catchy Christmas earworm tunes, but if you're not in the holiday spirit afterwards you're probably a Scrooge.
If you go
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Select nights through Dec. 22
Tickets start at $89 and get more expensive closer to Christmas.
Contact Chelsea Tatham at [email protected] Follow @chelseatatham.