Is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Wheelchair Friendly? Sharing a full Accessibility guide + best tips to plan for this special ticketed event. This post is sponsored by Walt Disney World. All magical opinions are my own.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Wheelchair Accessibility Guide & Best Tips
This year was unlike any other Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party that I’ve been to. This was the first year where I had to consciously force myself to slow down for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
I mean, really slow down.
Not only was it my parents’ first Very Merry Christmas Party, but it was also the first time my dad was visiting Walt Disney World via a wheelchair. And I’ll be honest, I had no idea how different a Disney event could be when you’re traveling with a loved one who is disabled. Beyond just mobility, there are real challenges when visiting a Walt Disney World theme park in a wheelchair or ECV. So that begs the question, is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Wheelchair Friendly? Today I’m sharing my best tips for those with mobile disabilities, a full accessibility guide during this special ticketed event and a FREE printable to bring with you to the park!
Should I Bring My Own Wheelchair or ECV?
The hardest part about planning for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is that you cannot guarantee that you will have an accessible wheelchair or electronic conveyance vehicle (ECV) when you get to the Magic Kingdom front gates. It’s first come, first serve. No reservations. I recommend arriving early, between the 4-6 pm entry time to ensure that you have a wheelchair or motorized scooter available. With many guests leaving the park for the day at that time, you will have higher chances of obtaining a scooter. Here are some more tips to help you device about whether to bring your own mobility device:
- Wheelchairs/ECVs brought from outside of the park must fit within WDW guidelines: maximum of 36″ wide and 52″ long.
- Courtesy Wheelchairs are available to use for free from the accessible parking lot to the nearest wheelchair rental location. These clearly marked wheelchairs cannot be used inside of the theme park.
- Wheelchair and ECV Rentals are available at the Mickey’s Gift Station at the TTC (no ECVs) and the Wheelchair Rental Shop just inside of the main entrance of Magic Kingdom.
- Stroller, wheelchair and ECV rentals can also be reserved in advance through third party vendors. See the full Walt Disney World ECV rental policy for more info on how to reserve and secure before Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
- There are no discounts for special ticketed events. Wheelchair rental price is $12 per day. ECV rental price is $50 (+ $20 refundable deposit) per day.
- You can store your personal wheelchair at the Rental Shop. This is what we did. You will get a receipt to store and then pick up at the end of the night. We brought a wheelchair from home just in case there were no ECV rentals available. At the end of the night we showed our receipt to switch for our wheelchair and took that back to the TTC.
Very Merry Christmas Party Attractions Guide for Disabilities
Not all Walt Disney World rides are created equal. And one of the things I learned that night was that attraction accessibility varies greatly from attraction to attraction. Knowing the limitations of the guest in your party and what rides can and cannot accommodate during Very Merry can make a huge difference in how your night will go. Here’s the Very Merry Christmas Party Wheelchair Guide for Rides from easiest to hardest mobility:
FULL Wheelchair/ECV Accessible Attractions
No need to transfer at all to ride these rides!
- HOLIDAY TWIST – Jingle Cruise
- HOLIDAY TWIST – Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor
- Princess Fairytale Hall
- Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom (don’t forget to grab your FREE exclusive card during the party)
- Character Greeting Spots
Must Transfer from ECV to Wheelchair
If in wheelchair already, no need to transfer. Otherwise ECV guests must transfer to ride designated wheelchair before riding:
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- “it’s a small world”
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
- Enchanted Tales with Belle
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Prince Charming Regal Carousel
Must Transfer from ECV/Wheelchair to the Ride
One required transfer whether you’re in a wheelchair or an ECV:
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Splash Mountain* (transfer device available)
- Haunted Mansion
- HOLIDAY TWIST – Mad Tea Party* (transfer device available)
- HOLIDAY TWIST – Tomorrowland Speedway* (transfer device available)
- Astro Orbiter
- The Barnstormer
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Must Transfer from ECV to Wheelchair to Ride
Guest must transfer twice if using an ECV to get on these rides. Wheelchair guests must transfer once:
- Pirate’s of the Caribbean
- HOLIDAY TWIST – Space Mountain
Must Be Ambulatory to Ride
Guests must be able to walk by themselves or assisted by a member of their party to ride:
- Swiss Family Treehouse (full walk through experience)
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
Companion Restroom Locations
Not all bathrooms are created equal either. And while all restrooms at Walt Disney World have wheelchair accessible stalls, the companion bathrooms provide a larger space and more maneuverability for an ECV. Knowing the location of all Magic Kingdom Companion Bathrooms before you go to Very Merry is going to be crucial to a more relaxing evening. Here are all of the companion restroom locations in the park:
- Transportation and Ticket Center East Gate
- City Hall Companion Restrooms (to the left of the Fire Station)
- First Aid (to the left of The Crystal Palace Restaurant)
- Rockettower Plaza Stage (to the right of Space Mountain, behind the stage)
- Splash Mountain (to the right of the store for viewing your Splashdown Photos)
- New Fantasyland Railroad Station (behind Casey Jr. Splash n’ Soak Station)
- Pirates of the Caribbean (to the back right of the ride, across from Tortuga Tavern)
- Pinocchio Village Haus (adjacent to the back right of the restaurant)
- Enchanted Forest (behind Gaston’s Tavern)
- Tangled (to the left of “it’s a small world,” on the way to Liberty Square)
Parade and Fireworks Disability Viewing Areas
One of the biggest highlights for 2019 is that the Very Merry fireworks show got a face lift. The all-new Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks show at 10 pm is guaranteed to be crowded and both Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade shows at 8:30 pm and 11:00 pm will also be packed. Maneuvering the crowds while trying to get a good spot for each -it was difficult. I wished that we had known that there were designated spots for guests in wheelchairs to view both.
There are 3 designated parade locations and 2 designated fireworks locations for guests with disabilities. While I recommend getting there early (the spots fill up super fast), also keep in mind that accommodations are usually for the disabled guest and one other guest. Larger parties may need to be separated until after the parade and shows are done.
- Parade Disability Viewing Areas: Beginning of Main Street, U.S.A. next to the Fire Station, by the Partners Statue near Cinderella’s Castle, and Liberty Square across from the Hall of Presidents
- Fireworks Disability Viewing Areas: Two fenced in grassy areas with fountains behind the Partners Statue (heading back to Main Street, U.S.A.)
NEW Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show Video
NEW for 2019, check out Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show. Full video of entire new fireworks display replacing Holiday Wishes at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom. This 10 minute show is filled with amazing fireworks designs (how did they make a Christmas tree with them?), lights and music. Click the video above to watch the whole show!
Best Very Merry Christmas Party Wheelchair Tips
I’ve learned and shared a ton of Very Merry tips over the years. But that night I learned A TON about accessibility and traveling with a disabled person at Disney. It was eye opening to really be attuned to my dad’s needs while balancing fun for my 6-year old daughter and making sure everyone was having a good time. Here’s a few other Very Merry Christmas Party Wheelchair tips I picked up throughout our night:
- I recommend pre-ordering your Very Merry tickets online. (Worried about price? Check out this Is Very Merry Worth the Cost? post.) This will reduce hassle and stress and guarantee park entry during the event. You can then pick up tickets at a TTC ticket booth at a less crowded time or even a different day for easier access.
- Come early. Anticipate the need for extra time for travel to the Magic Kingdom (Monorail and/or ferry boat), for parking lot accessibility (for example, the TTC parking lot is currently under construction – which could be challenging for guests), and within the theme park itself.
- Have a general plan. Knowing what rides you’d like to get on, planning out shows and entertainment before you go, even having a general sense of bathroom locations can help the night go smoothly.
- There’s a Magic Kingdom Guide for Guests with Disabilities at the park and printable map HERE.
- Look for cast members at the Holiday Treat Locations. There are particular lines with wider access for guests with disabilities. Cast members can direct you to the proper line so you can enjoy your treats with minimal crowd frustrations.
- Stage show viewings do NOT have designated viewing areas. I recommend staking out a spot early. Look for areas up close to the stage, with higher ground (sidewalk curb vs. street), with fence in front of you, or areas to the extreme edges (my dad had a great view of the Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Show from the walkway to Liberty Square) for a better view.
- Communication is key. Be sure everyone in the party knows the plan and a meeting spot in case you need to split up throughout the night.
FREE Very Merry Cheat Sheet Printable for Wheelchair Accessibility
So the biggest thing I learned that night at Very Merry is that it can be overwhelming. You’re trying to balance fun and planning with an OVERLOAD of information. To make things so much easier, I made this FREE printable cheat sheet for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – for those traveling with guests who are disabled. Easy to print, laminate, and attach to your ECV or wheelchair, it’s a great guide to keep handy throughout the night so you can focus on more important things – like having FUN!
It was a humbling night to say the least. Exhausting too. But the 2019 Very Merry Christmas Party left me with a true appreciation for how far Disney will go to make the magical experience inclusive and magical – for everyone. Unlike the many spoiled opportunities my family has had to experience the Very Merry Christmas Party over the years, this year means so much more. Those memories would not be possible without people taking the time and consideration for wheelchair access, so my dad could experience it for himself.
Is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party wheelchair friendly? I think so. While challenging and not 100% accessible at all times, it was one of the BEST Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas parties I have ever been to. Nothing can replace those memories with my dad or the memories of a grandfather with his granddaughter. And nothing can replace the “very merry” snuggles.
Is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Wheelchair Friendly? What are your best tips for traveling with a disabled guest?
My family and I were invited to attend a special Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party media event in exchange for this Is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Wheelchair Friendly? post. All very merry opinions are my own. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians for the best family travel tips, recipes, kid crafts and more.