2018 has become the year of the Disneyland Paris annual passholder party. The resort has held several events for passholders at Walt Disney Studios this year, but left it to the last party of 2018 to make the move over to Disneyland Park. The clumsily named “Mickey 90 Mouse Party” took place on December 6th between 8.30pm and 12.30am. In this review I’ll cover my full experience of the night and compare it to the other annual passholder parties I’ve attended at Disneyland Paris this year.
My decision to attend actually came pretty late. A few weeks before the party Disneyland Paris announced that the nighttime show Disney Dreams would be returning at the party for one night only. Like many Disney fans I loved this show and after the announcement I rushed to buy a ticket and extend my already booked Christmas trip by one night.
As mentioned above the party was scheduled to start at 8.30pm. I learned my lesson from FanDaze so didn’t join the queue in Fantasia Gardens until just after 8pm. As it turned out, they didn’t start letting guests into the park until just after 8.30pm.
This is one of my very few negative opinions about the night. Advertising a party to start at a time indicates that stuff will be happening from that time. In reality the first piece of entertainment was the opening ceremony at 9pm. Guests were not permitted to enter the park beyond Main Street USA and Central Plaza until the opening ceremony was finished at 9.15pm. This may sound like pedantic criticism (and it probably is in a way) but it essentially meant what was advertised as a 4 hour party was really only 3 and a half or even 3 and a quarter hours long if you didn’t care about the opening show. With parties this limited in time, every little helps.
As we entered the party we were given our included gift(s).
A really nicely themed guide for the night
And a cute Mickey 90 poster. As you can see from the picture below the edition size for this colour was 1,835. I believe there was 3 colours available each with the same edition size. Assuming they made one for each attendee this would put the attendance at around 5,500 which seems about right from the crowd levels I experienced throughout the night.
The gifts have become some of my favourite things about these nights, even though most of them end up in a drawer never to see the light of day again. Regardless of that Disneyland Paris should be applauded for “plussing” these nights by giving out unique gifts at each of them.
My first priority of the night was to try and meet Carl Fredricksen, an incredibly rare meet these days at Disneyland Paris. According to the guide he was scheduled to be meeting in Adventureland, so we positioned ourselves as close to there as we could for the opening ceremony.
The opening show was cute without much substance. I found the choice of music – Soundsational from the Disneyland parade of the same name – a bit odd, but it was a high energy and fun start to the evening. The projections on the castle were one of my favourite things of the evening though. Really well done.
We were eventually let loose in the park just after 9.15pm. Aiming for Carl we “briskly walked” through Adventureland towards his meeting area near Colonel Hathi’s. After reaching the meet it turned out the regular line actually entered from Frontierland near Cowboy Cookout. Cue another “brisk walk” back around to enter the queue.
The programme we were given suggested that two characters would be meeting together at each spot, in this case Carl and Russell. It turned out though that the characters would be meeting alone and switch out at 30 minute intervals. Understandably this caused a bit of annoyance amongst some people at the party. In my case it wasn’t a big deal. I’ve already met Russell and thankfully Carl was in the first slot of the evening.
The “brisk walking” paid off, and I met him within about 10 minutes.
My priority meet of the night done, we decided to fit in one more before taking in the party entertainment. Of course I couldn’t resist another new meet, so decided on the wonderfully sassy Clarabelle Cow!
That actually concluded my character meets for the entire evening, shocking I know!
One thing I don’t do much at any of these parties is rides. My girlfriend on the other hand much prefers rides to characters, so in the interest of compromise we decided to take advantage of the lower crowds and do a few rides before the shows started.
As we were already in Frontierland, it would’ve been rude not to have a go on Big Thunder Mountain. The posted wait time was 20 minutes but, partly due to smartly selecting the left queue, we were on in under 10 minutes. It was then off to Discoveryland where we literally walked onto Buzz Lightyear and finally onto a half empty starspeeder at Star Tours. If it wasn’t being refurbished I’ve no doubt we would’ve also rode Hyperspace Mountain. If you’re interested in doing the rides with a very short wait, these parties should be a very attractive proposition.
Time was rapidly passing us by at this point so we went to grab a spot for Disney Dreams, showing at 11pm that evening. Most of Central Plaza was blocked off due to the stage shows (which gave me the impression that adding Dreams to the event was a last minute decision) so we decided to stand a little bit further back on Main Street USA to ensure we could both see the show.
I’m so glad we did. The Main Street area was not crowded at all and we had a fantastic and clear view of the castle projections and the fireworks. I could wax lyrical all day about how good this show is, I’m sure most Disneyland Paris fans could. It’s still an incredible night time show. It has a light story connecting everything together, songs you can sing along to, stunning visuals and fireworks that work so well in the context of the show. Or, in summary, it is pretty much everything that Disney illuminations isn’t.
To wrap up the evening we watched two of the other shows – “Les folies de Mickey & Minnie” and the finale. The first show felt like an expanded version of Happy Anniversary Disneyland Paris. It began with a short parade of Mickey, Minnie and dancers along Main Street USA and onto the stage. The show was then split into sections for each land of the park including appearances from lesser seen characters such as the Country Bears and Jiminy Cricket.
This was another really fun show, perhaps a little too similar in theme to a show that only recently finished in the park, but overall I enjoyed it. I have heard complaints about how guests were handled as the show transitioned between Main Street and the stage, but as were again standing further back I didn’t experience any of that so can’t comment on it.
The finale show felt like an elongated and enhanced version of the show I just described. It began with the Mickey 90 projection show that has been preceding Illuminations recently. A solid choice, and a really sweet show , but with limited viewing points as guests had been set up by guest flow to allow for the parade that was shortly coming through.
The parade again felt similar to the previous show. This time though Mickey and Minnie were joined by lots more characters! They made their way to the stage and danced, and danced, and danced. They were really milking the Mickey Mania song. If I had to say anything it would be that this went on a bit too long. It began to feel like a running joke on the cast to see how many times they’d dance to the song. Again these are small points. The show was good, and the castle projections really added to it, but it wasn’t up there with my favourite Disney stage shows.
After the show we slowly headed out of the park, where Mickey and Minnie were bidding us goodnight from the train station.
Once again I had another fantastic time at an annual passholder party. This is my third of the year (after the Marvel and 25th anniversary parties) and I’ve honestly enjoyed them all. I feel like they’ve been a learning experience, not only for Disneyland Paris but for me. I’m much more realistic in my expectations of how much I can achieve and this led to a much more relaxing experience at this party compared to the others that I attended.
I would rank this as my favourite of the annual passholder parties I attended. It had the best piece of entertainment (Dreams), some cool rare characters, and I much prefer being in Disneyland Park than the Studios. There are still small issues, like how Disneyland Paris handles entry to the parties, but my overall experiences have been extremely positive. As a regular visitor to the resort these unique experiences are what will keep bringing me back. I’m not at all interested in attending the Pirates and Princesses party in March, but beyond that I can’t wait to see what events they have in store for 2019.