We’re planning our first trip to WDW for our family: two adults, two grandparents, 3 kids (9,7,5) during the week before Xmas 2018.
My specific question is whether Happily Ever After still runs at MK on Very Merry Christmas nights for non party goers or if there’s any other non-party nighttime spectacular. Or if it’s possible to see the Christmas fireworks from outside the park. It looks like from the crowd calendar my choices are switch from a level 5 day to a level 9 day if I want to be in MK at night.
Any other tips about planning around the Christmas Party (we don’t plan on attending) or general tips would be appreciated.
HEA does not run on MVMCP nights. We are actually attending a party, but we are planning another night in MK so that we get to see HEA.
Will you have park hoppers that you could use to hop to another park for the evenings when there are parties? My family also uses those opportunities to spend evenings in Disney Springs sometimes.
Edited to add: You can see the fireworks from outside the park but they are not HEA. They are Holiday Wishes.
Thanks for the quick response. Yes, we will have hoppers so we won’t “waste” the evenings. That said, it would be nice to have a late evening at MK to see HEA. Is the difference in crowding between MVMCP days and non-party days that significant? Is there a better way to see HEA than to fight level 9 crowds just to get in and out for the one show?
Hi there! We visited the first week of December in 2017, and while we attended the MVMCP one night ourselves, we did experience other ‘party nights’ during our vacation. On Party nights, they do a fireworks show specifically for party nights called “Holiday Wishes”. If that stays the same for 2018 (no reason to expect it not to, I would think), then Happily Ever After (HEA) will only be available on NON-Party nights.
Our experience last year was that because there was only a limited number of nights to view HEA that week, MK would get VERY crowded on those nights. The park was packed for HEA and it was tough to navigate. Our group of 10 ended up in the middle of Main Street packed in quite a bit, and what I hadn’t realized was that young kids really cannot see unless picked up. So my husband picked up our 6 year old & I held our 4 year old - not so easy for the full show! Granted, we didn’t really stake out a viewing spot early, so you could fare better if you are willing to do that.
On Party nights when MK closes early and shows Holiday Wishes fireworks, you can view the fireworks from outside the parks at the monorail resorts - Poly, Contemporary & GF. Or you can take a fireworks cruise that night like Pirates & Pals or a private fireworks cruise to see them - we took a cruise like this from the Poly marina and it was a lot of fun.
Ultimately my opinion is that seeing HEA is very nice and I would try to do it - however, be fully aware that it will be swamped. If you have Park Hoppers, then just hop over to MK in the evening before HEA, but if you don’t, try to go to MK on an HEA night and just stay in the park.
Oh, and back to add - if you view HEA outside of the parks, you won’t be able to see the projections on the castle, which are a big part of the show.
Won’t be same experience as seeing in front of castle, BUT you can see HEA from Ticket and Transportation Center, or the Poly beach or I think I heard you can somewhat on the bridge from Contemporary to Bay Lake Tower, or if you dine at California Grill that night, if you keep your receipt you can come back and watch from balcony
I wish I knew of a better way. Our plan is to go in fully aware that it’s going to be crowded, grab some snacks and try to find a place to stay put for awhile.
I think that in the past Holiday Wishes takes the place of HEA at some point and is shown every night. I’m not 100% on that (currently planning our own Dec trip) but I think that is what I have read. I seem to recall that it’s maybe 3-4 days before Christmas that HEA is out and only Holiday Wishes is shown until NYE. Anyone know from experience? Until that point HEA is shown on non-party nights only and Holiday Wishes is shown on party nights only. I also think the Christmas parade replaces the normal parade at some point close to Christmas. If you plan things right you can experience both without paying to go to a party since you’re there close to Christmas.
Anyways, all that to say, make sure you check the schedule as time gets closer. You’d have a better shot of actually seeing HEA if you plan your full-day in MK for earlier in your trip, not closer to Christmas. I think.
You sound like us…2 adults, 3 kids (will be 4, 6, 8), and various grandparents joining us in early December. Party days are supposed to have way lower crowds at the MK. Take advantage!
In the past, once the party nights were done for the season, Holiday Wishes was shown every night in place of HEA. During “party season” the MK is especially crowded for the PM shows on non-party nights (because there are so few of them. In order to get a place with a relatively good view, plan on hunkering down at least an hour before show time (some people will stake out places 2 or more hours in advance). As much as I hate up-charge events, if I wanted to see HEA on a crowded day I’d suck it up and buy dessert party tickets for the Plaza location.