A brand-new Disneyland special event, Disneyland Merriest Nites, has launched! Guests can celebrate the Holiday season with an evening Disneyland “Christmas” party event. But since the party comes at a steep price, guests who are attending will want to use their time wisely.
I attended the very first Merriest Nites party on November 11th, 2021, and here’s what I think is worth your time and some thoughts on what you should skip. And yes, it’s Merriest Nites, not Merriest Nights. No idea why.
3 Things TO DO at Merriest Nites
You’ve paid a lot of money for this exclusive Disneyland holiday party. Here’s what I think you must do to make the party worth your money.
Muppets Christmas Caroling Coach
My Merriest Nites party started off well since I was on Main Street for the first Muppets Caroling Coach performance. We managed to situate ourselves well and got a decent view since we were tall-ish adults.
Parents with small kids or guests who are shorter might have some difficulty seeing the full show and especially Miss Piggy and Kermit on the lower level of the bus.
This show was a highlight for the Merriest Nites party. Guests who grew up with the Muppets will really love seeing your favorite furry characters. The Muppets will sing three Christmas carols, and there is a small storyline as well that plays in between the songs.
Of course, Fozzie tells some corny jokes, and when the Muppets sing Let It Snow, snow (actually bubbles) falls on Main Street.
Tips for Watching the Muppets Christmas Caroling Coach
The Muppets all “stand” on the right side of the Caroling Coach. It comes from the train station end of Main Street, drives down Main Street, around the Partners statue, and parks at the end of Main Street in front of the partner statue with the Muppets facing Main Street and the railroad station.
If you’re really eager to see the performance, you need to be ready to run to the end of Main Street just before the roundabout lane of the Partners statue. Try to be standing right at the edge of that corner of Main Street and watch for the Cast Members to start motioning people to come forward to stand in the street for the show.
Do note that if you’re standing here, you’ll not experience much of the “snow” falling on Main Street.
If one of your favorite things to do at Disneyland is the ride attractions, Merriest Nites will help you ride your fill. As I walked through the park, I saw most ride times were extremely low. Especially late at night.
Space Mountain was a 5-minute wait at 11:30 pm, Indy was around 10-20 minutes, and smaller rides were easily 5 minutes or walk on. Even Peter Pan was 20 minutes. Earlier in the party, the times were much longer. So, for guests who can stay up late, take advantage of riding your favorite attractions during the party.
I will note that if you haven’t heard, there was a flooding issue with It’s a Small World Holiday and that special holiday overlay attraction was not open. It’s been rumored that the attraction will reopen this week. During the closure, the exterior is still fully lit, although the Santa hat-wearing clock face does not rotate.
Also note that Mickey’s Toontown, Critter Country, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will not be available during event hours.
One of the perks of attending the party is getting to see unique characters around the park as well as seeing some classic characters in holiday costumes.
I just missed the line for Belle and the Beast at the backside of the castle, but that seems to be a great chance for photos with them. You’ll also see Mickey and Minnie and the other Fab 5 members dressed in cute holiday Victorian costumes on Main Street in the corner near the Mad Hatter and Disney Showcase corner store.
Characters from Frozen will appear in groups of three on the elevated area near It’s A Small World, just past the Matterhorn. I saw Olaf, Hans, and Anna, and my friends saw Elsa and the Duke of Weselton. In Fantasyland near the Royal Theater, I saw Santa Claus.
Other notable characters you can find during the party is Donald having a snowball fight, Pluto with a beautiful Christmas tree (great for those family holiday photo cards!), Buzz Lightyear is dancing up high with a DJ in Tomorrowland, Tiana, and Jack and Sally all make appearances in New Orleans Square up high on balconies, Lilo and Stitch can be found in Adventureland near the exit for the Tiki Room, and Miguel from Coco is located in Tomorrowland.
Photopass is INCLUDED with your party ticket, so if you do find a great character photo opp, make sure to stop and get your photopass photo scanned to your Disney app.
If you do want to dress up for the party, make sure you check the costume guidelines for the party.
3 Things to SKIP at Disneyland Merriest Nites
My friends who I attended the party with love to buy Disney merchandise and so we jumped through the hoops to shop the exclusive party merchandise. You have to show up near Star Wars Launch Bay around 7:30 pm to scan a QR code to join a shopping waiting list.
You’ll give them your phone number and will get texted when it’s your turn to shop. You have 30 minutes to show up back at Launch Bay once you’ve received your text. Once you go inside, you’ll wait in a line for your chance to go to a register where you’ll tell the cashier what merchandise you want to buy. It’s not a traditional shopping store experience where you “browse” the merchandise.
The options were very limited and frankly not worth the time you’ll spend jumping through all the hoops to be able to shop. That’s my opinion at least. :)
One of the title parts of the party was the mention of “6 parties in 1”. So I was expecting the spaces where each of these parties were to be decorated and over the top with that land’s “theme”. I was completely surprised to discover there wasn’t really a strong “themed party” like was promoted.
What you’ll find is a musical performance, a character, and a light-up photo backdrop. Other than Main Street’s beautiful “Dickens Christmas” building light overlays, you don’t really “get” the party feel. I will say that the “Galactic Greetings” DJ dance party with Buzz Lightyear in Tomorrowland was kind of fun.
If you’re an experienced Disneyland fan, one of the musical performances was taking place ON the Mark Twain Riverboat ride. As someone who has been to Disneyland quite a bit, this was one holiday performance that seemed fun to do and I wish I had timed it right to be able to ride.
Make sure you check your Disneyland Merriest Nites map/program to see the music performance times and decide which might be the ones you want to try and watch.
I waited to watch the Christmas Fantasy Parade and then realized it’s the exact same parade that runs during the Disneyland Christmas holiday season in the park. It wasn’t exclusive or special for the party.
Don’t waste your time watching the parade if you DO have other days in the parks and can catch the parade then. If you do want to watch the parade during the Merriest Nites party, I have a couple of tips.
1) Don’t worry about scoping out a spot too early. There are nice viewing spots all along the route.
2) If you’re crunched for time, know that the parade goes from the front of the park to the back by It’s A Small World during the party. So time watching with wherever you are in the park knowing that it can take a good 10-15 minutes for the parade to reach the back of the park even after the parade “start” time since it starts at the front of the park.
Tips and Tricks for Attending Merriest Nites
Arriving / Checking In
There will be long lines at the turnstiles to get into the party. If you have tickets for the parks, make sure you’re inside Disneyland Park well before they start allowing party guests into the park. If you have a party ticket you can get into the parks 3 hours before the party starts, so you can get in at 5 pm for an 8 pm party.
If you only have a party ticket, I recommend you get to the parks an hour before they allow guests to enter, so 4 pm. You’ll be able to clear security and wait in line for when they start letting guests inside the park. This will maximize your park time with your party ticket.
Once you show your party ticket at the turnstiles you’ll be given a holiday light-up necklace lanyard. This was a fun gift I wasn’t expecting.
One BIG heads up is about mobile ordering. Those in my group all experienced really long wait times to pick up our mobile orders. I’m hoping it was just because we were at the first party and hopefully they’ve worked out these kinks, but I wanted to give you a warning just in case.
Overall, I hope Disneyland improves this event. I love the idea of a Holiday special event, but I regretted the cost I paid for this one. At $175, it’s an extremely low value with nothing really unique or extra.
With the high price you do get lower crowds, so ride lovers will rejoice. But compared to the Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party, Merriest Nites missed offering anything truly unique and immersive to its high-paying guests.