Extra Ticketed Events: The Pros, The Cons, And the Free Alternatives

Disney World offers a TON of various ticketed events and parties that you can do on top of your regular park ticket. If you have never been to Disney you might feel like you are missing out if you don’t do them. And while some of them are amazing, none of them are necessary for an amazing trip. So here is my rundown of the extra ticketed events. What I think the pros and cons are, and some ideas for some free alternatives you might want to do instead if the event is too expensive, or isn’t for you and your family.

Disney After Hours

What is it?

This is a special ticketed event held at Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios after hours. The park closes, and you can stay an extra 3 hours and hit the rides. There are also complimentary snacks and even a dance party.

What does it cost?

Starts at $119/ticket

Pros:

Most of the rides are running. Free snacks. Low crowds with little to no wait.

Cons:

This can be very expensive. If you have little ones, you are paying a lot and HOPING they stay awake to actually enjoy it.

Free Alternative:

Extra Magic Hours is an alternative if you are staying on property (although I don’t usually recommend because the crowds can be crazy).

If you are looking to ride with low crowds I would just suggest getting to the park right at rope drop.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

What is it?

This is a Halloween party that runs from August to Halloween. You can trick or treat, meet special characters that aren’t normally at the parks, like Jack Skelington and the 7 Dwarfs. There is a dance party and complimentary treats. There are also a limited number of guests so the lines for rides are short.

What does it cost?

Starting at $75/ticket

Pros:

You don’t HAVE to buy a regular park ticket to enjoy this party. The party starts at 7 pm, but usually, ticket holders for this party are let into the park at 4 pm. So you can always do this party on a non-ticket day. The entertainment is amazing, and you’ll have a chance to ride a majority of the rides in the park without a line.

Cons:

This party starts early, but it runs late. So if you want to get your money’s worth it can be tricky with small children who get tired. The special characters can have wait times of around 2 hours. This is also hurricane season, and the party runs rain or shine. So if it rains some of the special events for the party may be canceled.

Free Alternative:

You can enjoy the Halloween decor at any time during the season. You can also watch the special fireworks show outside of Magic Kingdom at one of the resorts on the monorail, or at the Transportation and Ticket Center.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

What is it?

This is a Christmas party that runs from November to Christmas. You can meet characters in special Christmas outfits, and some special characters like the 7 Dwarfs. There is a dance party and complimentary treats. There are also a limited number of guests so the lines for rides are short.

What does it cost?

Starting at $95/ticket

Pros:

You don’t HAVE to buy a regular park ticket to enjoy this party. The party starts at 7 pm, but usually, ticket holders for this party are let into the park at 4 pm. So you can always do this party on a non-ticket day. The entertainment is amazing, and you’ll have a chance to ride a majority of the rides in the park without a line.

Cons:

This party starts early, but it runs late. So if you want to get your money’s worth it can be tricky with small children who get tired. The special characters can have wait times of around 2 hours. The party is rain or shine, so if your party falls on an evening with rain some of the special events might be canceled.

Free Alternative:

You can still enjoy all of the Christmas decorations on a regular day at the Park. You also can still see Anna and Elsa from Frozen “light up” the castle before the party even starts. While the fireworks happen during the party, you can watch the fireworks from off property at one of the resorts on the monorail line, or at the Ticket and Transportation Center.

You can also go resort hopping! Don't have a car? Not a problem. Take a ride on the monorail and check out the beautiful holiday decorations at the resorts on the monorail line. The giant gingerbread house at The Grand Floridian can't be missed.

Dessert Parties

What is it?

Each park offers a ticketed dessert party. You show up and get deserts and drinks. You are then escorted to a private viewing area to watch the fireworks shows. There are several options:

  • Magic Kingdom
    • Fireworks Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace
    • Fireworks Dessert Party with Plaza Garden Viewing
  • Epcot
    • Frozen Ever After Dessert Party at Epcot World Showcase
  • Hollywood Studios
    • Fantasmic! Dessert and VIP Viewing
    • Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party
  • Animal Kingdom
    • Rivers of Light Dessert Party

What does it cost?

Prices vary depending on which party you are interested in. From $19-$69 per person.

Pros:

Yummy desserts. Some offer alcohol. You don’t have to steak out a spot for fireworks (I find this to be helpful if you have a little one who doesn’t have the patience to sit and wait for the show to start). The Frozen party includes a ride on Frozen Ever After, so that might save you a fastpass+ on that ride.

Cons:

This can be expensive. Some of the shows don’t really require you to steak out a spot (I’m looking at you Epcot). Some people don’t find the viewing areas to be anything special.

Free Alternatives:

There are so many yummy treats all over Disney World Parks. You can grab your favorite treat, and find a spot to watch the shows at your leisure.

Final thoughts

Some of the extra events are a ton of fun. But none of them are totally necessary for an amazing Disney vacation. Check your budget. Do what works for your family!

Still confused or need help?

I am happy to help! Contact me.

See you at the parks,
-Julie

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