One of the more controversial recent upcharges at Walt Disney World is Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party. The party cost $99 (plus tax) per person with no discounts available for children. Considering that unlimited beer and wine is one of the selling points of the event, this seems a little ridiculous. There is also no discount for either AP or DVC holders which is disappointing. Because the event is exclusive to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, you are looking at over $200 a person to attend Tony’s party.
The event includes several appetizers, unlimited beer / wine, a dessert spread and reserved viewing for the 2nd Once Upon a Christmas Time Parade. Keep in mind that Tony’s in notorious for being some of the worst food at any WDW table service restaurants. We don’t think its as bad as its reputation but its certainly not great.
Besides the hefty price tag, the reserved parade spot is the main controversy to come from this upcharge. The reserved spot is the best spot to watch the parade from, especially from a photography stand point (see photo below).
The only reason I decided to attend the event was to be able to view the parade from this spot. If you want to get this spot for the 1st showing of the parade, you are looking at a multi hour wait. In previous years, I could have easily snagged this spot right after Holiday Wishes concluded (as I did here), and it would not have cost me anything more. If you want this spot this year, you are forced to either withstand the super long wait for the 1st parade, or pay up for Tony’s party.
Controversy aside, lets take a look at Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party and see if it was worth it.
In terms of ambiance, the restaurant was nicely decorated with lots of warm, festive colors and plenty of little holiday touches.
The food consisted of a couple appetizer buffet stations (one cold and one hot), a dessert table and unlimited beer, cheap wine and soft drinks.
I opted to stick with the hot food: Penne vodka, meatballs, fried calamari, chicken leek puffed pastry, and pizza.
The penne, as well as the meatballs, were ok. The puffed pastry was about the same as you would expect from the frozen section of the supermarket. The calmari was super tough to chew and the pizza was terrible (think SNL’s “Almost Pizza” sketch). I’m not much of a drinker, but I wanted to try and somewhat get my money’s worth so I had a glass of Pinot Grigio, as well as a Coke. Overall, if you are attending this event mainly for the food, you are going to be disappointed.
One of the nicer touches of the party, which isn’t advertised is that Tony himself will be present to entertain guests throughout the evening. He was absolutely hilarious and is really the other main draw of this event besides the parade viewing.
The party runs from 9:30 – 12:30 so if you want to see the Holiday Wishes (which you should as you are paying for MVMCP after all) then you will want to eat real quick and then head out to grab a spot for the fireworks. The buffet line was long when I got there so I got my food around 9:45 and had to eat it real fast. You will get a wristband so you can come and go from Tony’s as much as you’d like throughout that 3 hour window. You’re gonna wanna come back for dessert after the fireworks.
I had some particular photo ideas in mind for Holiday Wishes, so I headed out and grabbed a spot right in front of the train station in Town Square. This area was completely empty, with good reason as it doesn’t offer a good view of most of the fireworks. Typically grabbing a last minute good spot up in hub is not a problem either, but it is definitely more stressful this year with Disney putting a much higher cap on the party attendance. Both parties I attended were seriously packed this year, and neither was sold out.
Here are a few shots of the Christmas themed fireworks:
For the sake of research, I decided to skip dessert and grab my spot for the parade right after the fireworks ended. I knew that since it was reserved I didn’t really need to grab that spot right away, but I wanted to get over there so I could exactly what time the area did begin to fill in and relay that on to all of you.
I grabbed what would eventually be this spot (as seen above) right around 10:20. This means right around an hour wait as the 11:00 parade takes about 20 minutes to reach Main Street USA. As I mentioned above, last year I was able to wait the same amount of time and easily get this spot for free.
You can see in the above photo here the large crowd in the hub watching post fireworks showing of Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration. Here are a few more photos I took while waiting.
I caught Santa scoping out the crowd for the parade 😀
The reserved area didn’t start to get crowded until around 10:50, and I could have grabbed a decent spot one row back right up until around 11:00. Still, by arriving at the spot early I was able to have the single best viewing location in the park. I would say to be safe, arrive at the reserved area no later than 10:45. Main Street will already be 3 rows deep on both sides by that point, so that’s definitely where the main value in this upcharge is.
As far as the parade goes, its really wonderful. It’s my 2nd favorite parade I’ve ever seen, only (very) narrowly beaten out by Boo to You. It’s the highlight of MVMCP and is an absolute can’t miss.
So finally, lets get to the main event of this post. Without further ado, here is Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas Time parade, as viewed from the Tony’s reserved viewing area.
The parade starts with a fun group of characters leading the way.
Followed by Minnie and Mickey!
Unsurprisingly, several Frozen elements have been added in recent years.
There are 5 floats / sets of performers dedicated to Frozen (Anna & Elsa, Skiers, Olaf, Ice Pickers and Kristoff).
The parade features several nostalgic scenes for me, the first of which are these Gingerbread Men.
Between the parade and Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration, Clarabelle really shines at the Christmas Party.
I like that Goofy still drives this Candy float in the Christmas parade. He was replaced by Vanillape in Boo to You the past couple years.
I much prefer photographing the 7 Dwarfs in the parade as opposed to waiting 2 hours to meet them during the party.
The toys are another iconic segment.
The toy soldiers are my favorite part of the parade.
The reindeer leading Santa’s sleigh are another highlight!
And Santa closes things out. After the parade I recommend working your way back up Main Street for the 11:55 showing of Mickey’s Most Merriest Christmas Celebration. We will have another post on that show soon but spoiler alert… its fantastic! You will however have quite the crowd to fight against to get there.
I suggest trying to make it over the Emporium and then taking that the whole way up to Casey’s Corner.
Overall, I have a hard time recommending Tony’s Merriest Town Square Party to anyone, unless you absolutely have to see the parade from the reserved viewing area. You can easily grab a spot on Main Street (closer to the Town Square end) right after the fireworks end, and the experience won’t be that much different. The food does little to change my opinion on this. That being said, if money is no object and you absolutely want the best spot (and with little effort) then this is by all means the easiest way to view the parade.