Are Disney World Special Ticketed Events Worth The Money?

halloween 1I have many clients that sometimes get sticker shock when I tell them the price of tickets at Disney World. By the time I’ve gone over the value that ticket get’s you, they usually end the conversation by saying, “oh that’s a pretty good price then.” That’s the trick with Disney vacations, the value is in the eye of the beholder. The practical thinker inside me often compares Disney World tickets to sporting events or Broadway shows. Some people think nothing of shelling out 100-200 dollars to see their favorite team or to get a good seat at the Lion King on Broadway. These events only last 2-3 hours, but a day at Disney World can get you anywhere between 9-18 hours, or on some special occasions 24 hours. When you start to think that in one day, you can ride awesome rides, meet most of your favorite characters, see shows and parades, and end the night with a firework spectacular, you realize the value is there and Disney gives you a great bang for your buck. But you will only feel this way if you see all those things as valuable. Family members that get dragged to Disney against their will really won’t care how much the ticket cost, it’s overpriced and that’s that. So why am I now rambling about ticket values and Disney lovers and haters? Well, when you look at special ticketed events at Disney World, you have to think of them very much like a regular ticket to the park. If you can see the value in the event, the money will be worth it, if not, you won’t understand why people shell out all this extra dough to go to them.

christmas 1What is a special ticketed event?
Special ticketed events have been slowly popping up more and more at Disney World. Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party are the big two to know about. These party events are from 7 until until midnight and are available on select days September-December. The park is only open for people that have purchased this special event ticket. Depending on what night you go, the price could be anywhere between 60-75 dollars per ticket. Hollywood Studios offered a Villains Unleashed event and Disney’s Animal Kingdom introduced Harambe Nights this past summer, with tickets going for over a hundred dollars. So what do these parties include that would make me want to shell out an extra couple hundred dollars on top of my normal park ticket?

•Smaller crowds
•More personal time with characters
•Special parades, stage shows and fireworks
•Unlimited “goodies”: candy or cookies
•The feel of a party atmosphere
•Specialty food and merchandise

The park was pretty empty.

The park was pretty empty.

I can’t speak for Harambee Nights or Villains Unleashed because I’ve never been, but I have attended both the Halloween and Christmas parties. My experience was very little crowds. We felt like we had the park to ourselves. The wait time on rides were maybe 5-10 minutes (even for Space Mountain and Big Thunder). There were spots of the park that just had no people in them. To me, this has value in it. I hate crowds and I hate waiting in long lines, so to be able to experience all the rides I wanted to as basically a walk on is very enticing to me. Now of course I read Disney blogs and I have read that this is not always the case with everyone. Some people that attend the events on let’s say Halloween and very close to Christmas might experience more crowds than I have in the past. Even if this is true, it will be far less than the Magic Kingdom’s normal crowds for the day.

If you have children that love to get character autographs, pictures, or just want some one on one time with them, this also adds value. The lines to wait for the characters will be much shorter than during the day, and you might even see some of the less popular characters lurking about. I am not so into characters so this doesn’t really appeal to me, but that could all change when I have kids of my own.

halloween 3When I see a show or parade at Disney World, I am subconsciously thinking in the back of my head, wow, they really give me my money’s worth here. I see a lot of value in entertainment. The time they spend on costumes, choreography, decorations, details, songs, and concepts; I am always amazed. And seeing something new that you don’t get to see during a regular trip to the Magic Kingdom is always exciting too. This holds a lot of value to me, but someone like my husband that does not see the excitement in fireworks (weirdo) would not enjoy it as much.

unlimited cookies and hot chocolate

unlimited cookies and hot chocolate

Unlimited goodies at Disney are always very nice. During the Halloween Party, you get to trick or treat throughout the park. You will leave with an entire bag, full to the top with candy. Kids and chocolate lovers everywhere will really love this. At the Christmas party, they provide unlimited cookies and hot chocolate. If you ate about 8 cookies and hot chocolates, you would probably get your money back in food because we all know buying a cookie and hot chocolate from the Main Street Bakery would add up quickly.

At certain locations in the Magic Kingdom, they will have more dance music playing than their traditional themed background music. You may even decide to jump in and dance if you feel the rhythm. It does help to make the event feel more like you have been invited to a party and not just you get to stick around for extra magic hours. I love music and I love to dance so this is a win.

halloween 2Some people love buying specialty items that you can’t get everyday. These ticketed events will offer a variety of snack options and merchandise for purchase that are exclusive to the event. I definitely love yummy snacks, but I’d be ok with the stuff they are handing out that’s included.

So do all these party perks have you ready to pay that pretty penny yet? I will say that while I enjoyed myself at both of these events, it’s not something I would do every time I’m there for the fall or winter. I was happy to experience them, and maybe when I have kids I will try it again, but I feel that a normal day at the Magic Kingdom fulfils me enough with it’s entertainment and value that I don’t need to go seeking more. So give em a try if it’s in your budget and you’re looking to try something new, but do not fret if it’s not in the cards for your family. There is so much to do for everyone you will not be disappointed.