Halloween

SATURDAY SIX: 6 Reasons We Love Universal’s HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS 27

by on September 23, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Universal’s 27th Annual HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS! While Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is arguably Disney’s best hard ticket event, the premiere Halloween party in Florida takes place down the road at Universal Studios Florida. Halloween Horror Nights (HHN), transforms the entire park after day guests leave. When HHN begins, out come elaborate street experiences throughout the park, 9 insanely detailed haunted houses, and two great stage shows.

(photo by @bioreconstruct)

A perennial Golden Ticket winner for Best Halloween Event, HHN 27 faced two rather large challenges in 2017. For the first time in four years. the blockbuster sensation AMC’s The Walking Dead IP would not be part of the event. More importantly, longtime HHN creative lead Michael Aiello moved up on the corporate ladder at Universal, leaving the event in the hands of show director Patrick Braillard. Today we’re going to look at our favorite parts of HHN, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – The Scare Zones

During HHN, the streets of Universal that are normally lined with churro carts become home to elaborately designed set pieces filled with costumed characters. This year’s lineup includes The Altars of Horror as you walk into the park in Production Central, The Purge in New York, Invasion! in San Francisco, Trick ‘r Treat in Central Park, and Festival of the Deadliest in Hollywood. Each of these locations have unique characters, and there is also “roaming hordes” of clowns wielding the ubiquitous HHN chainsaw that you will see mostly in the Springfield USA area. Lots of great photo opportunities here.

The Purge. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Trick ‘r Treat. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Updated: What to Expect from 2017 Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland

by on September 21, 2017

DSC07067Mickey’s Halloween Party is a special extra-ticket event held select nights at at Disneyland during the Halloween season. The party includes a special fireworks show featuring a fly-by of Zero (instead of Tinker Bell), an exclusive Halloween parade with an appearance by a horseback-riding headless horseman,  trick-or-treating, and more. In this post we’ll talk about what to expect from 2017 Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland.

Mickey’s Halloween Party takes place in Disneyland on select nights in the fall, typically running from late September until Halloween. In 2017, the party dates are September 20, 22, 25, 27, 29 and October 3, 6, 10, 13, 17, 20, 24, 27, and 31.

Tickets for Mickey’s Halloween Party are now on sale.

What time is the Party?

Officially the Party starts at 6 pm on some nights and 7 pm on others. The party runs until 11 pm or 12 am, depending on the night. Guests with valid Halloween party tickets may enter Disneyland (OR Disney California Adventure, which is a new perk for 2017) up to three hours prior to the event’s start time.

Will I need a special ticket to get into the Party?

Yes. Admission requires buying a separate ticket just for this event. It’s not included in any regular theme park tickets or annual passports.

How much do the Party tickets cost?

There’s a range of pricing, including discounts for buying in advance. The official Disney website lists the following prices:

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Costuming Your Princess or Pirate Without Raiding the Treasury

by on September 19, 2017

Kids are only young once, and every parent wants to have amazing memories (assisted by plenty of photographs) of those precious childhood years. It seems that you can’t poke around the internet without seeing videos of parents doing transforming princess dresses or multiple costume changes over the course of the day. For most parents, those kind of photo shoot forays don’t couple with limited packing space or a limited budget. And although you can get the royal treatment from Disney itself through the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and Pirate’s League, the full experience including costumes, makeup, and hair styling can add up quickly, especially if you have multiple kids in that age range.

There are other options if you want to have your child experience the fun of dress up for a day in the park, however. Here’s some options for your Pirate or Princess that won’t have you emptying the royal treasury.

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Face Your Fears at Halloween Horror Nights 2017

by on September 11, 2017

TouringPlans is pleased to welcome back guest author Laurie Breen.

Maybe you’re a fan of classic horror movies like The Shining. Maybe you’ve been riveted by all six seasons of American Horror Story. (Who else is dying for Cult to come out!?) Or maybe, like me, you’ve been to one or two Halloween events and want to find out if you’re brave enough to tackle the biggest frightfest of them all. Well friends, screw your courage to the sticking place and join me on a Halloween Horror Nights adventure.

Where to Start

With 9 haunted houses, a.k.a. “mazes”, and 5 outdoor Scarezones, Halloween Horror Nights is a killer event. First, you’ll want to check out the Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) website. On every page there is a big warning: Halloween Horror Nights is NOT FOR EVERYONE. Universal advises that this “event may be too intense for young children and is not recommended for children under the age of 13.” Not only are there enough ghouls and gore to unsettle the staunchest stomach, there is plenty of revelry among the adult guests. Horror Nights runs on select nights from September 15th through November 4th.

(c) Universal Orlando Resort

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Overview: Mickey’s Halloween Party 2017 at Disneyland Park + Video

by on September 5, 2017

Photo - Angela DahlgrenI gotta say, I feel guilty.

Here I’ve been going on and on about Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World.

Have I mentioned Halloween at Disneyland Resort?

Not. Even. Once. 

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Get in the Spooky Spirit with the “Return to Sleepy Hollow” at Disney’s Fort Wilderness

by on September 1, 2017

Return to Sleepy Hollow

©Disney

The Headless Horseman is one of the most spooky things in Disney lore. He is a fan favorite during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, but goes by in a flash. What if you want the ability to have a more personal experience?

Well, at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, you can with the Return to Sleepy Hollow experience.  During this event, Guests will be able to view the 1949 Disney animated classic film The Legend of Sleepy Hollow inside the resort’s Tri-Circle-D Ranch stables, but you should also be ready for an up close encounter with the Headless Horseman.

The Return to Sleepy Hollow opportunity will take place at 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on:

  • September 29-October 2
  • October 5-9
  • October 12-16
  • October 19-23
  • October 26-31

The offering costs $22 per person, however there is also a premium seating option for $38 per person, which includes a priority photo opportunity with the Headless Horseman and a Halloween treat bag. Guests age 3 and older, will receive an exclusive limited edition pin. Guests age 2 and younger will receive complimentary admission with their families, but they are asked to sit in a parent’s lap. The Return to Sleepy Hollow experience can be reserved by calling 407-WDW-TOUR.

Halloween Time Expands to Cars Land and Buena Vista Street in Fun Ways

by on August 31, 2017

Disney California Adventure is absolutely getting in on the Halloween fun this year. With the brand new mission on Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT! called Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark, as well as fun new decor for both Cars Land and Buena Vista Street, it’s sure to be a spooktacular time! With Halloween Time rapidly approaching (it starts on September 15), we have a brief glimpse at what Guests will be able to expect this year.

First, the main entryway for Disney California Adventure will be seeing some already announced Nightmare Before Christmas themed decor, but that’s not all. There will also be a new 10-foot-tall statue of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow! He will be holding his jack-o’-lantern head and will haunt Carthay Circle. If you’re a character fan, you’ll want to catch Mickey Mouse dressed as a bat, Goofy as a ghost, and Daisy Duck dressed as a witch. There will also be new, themed background music that further creates the appropriately eerie, but still fun, mood.

©Disney

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Julia’s Best Week Ever, August 31, 2017: It’s Halloween Everybody?

by on August 31, 2017

Unless one very lucky reader out there is the one that won PowerBall last week, most of us probably are looking at our tickets and thinking “That’s okay, I usually don’t win anything anyhow.” Last week, I saw a Disney Parks Blog contest for tickets to the first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party of the year, and so I entered expecting my chances to be about equal to that of PowerBall. Well, luck was with me for that! I won tickets for two….for my family of three. (Awkward.) A few credit card charges later, I had tickets for the third in my party, and our “free” Halloween Party and dessert party was set (for a cost of $150). We had gone last year just to the party and had a blast, but were planning to skip this year. I really can’t turn down a chance to go to this party, though. Feel free to tag along… if we can have Christmas in July, why not Halloween in August, right?

This was the scene when we arrived. An unnamed tropical system (not related to the devastating effects of Harvey) had been sitting over Florida for several days, and so storm clouds were solidly predicted for this night as well. Still, we decided to press on, as it had been rainy when we went last year and miraculously cleared right at the start of the party. Besides, how can you not be excited seeing those giant inflatable pumpkins on the autoplaza?

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Allergy-Friendly Trick or Treats at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

by on August 29, 2017

As a child, I learned very early on to say “No thank you, I have allergies.” or flash my metal medical alert bracelet when in doubt. In the era I was growing up, there were few alternatives for my most severe allergies (soy being the most dangerous to my personal safety with the potential for anaphylaxis). Today, thankfully, I have outgrown many of the allergies that caused me discomfort as a child, and I can even eat soy in certain forms (although tofu and edamame can still trigger anaphylaxis for me, and some other legumes cause severe pain). But when I hear about children (and adults) who still have the challenge of dietary allergies, I really can sympathize from a personal level. Halloween nights were always a challenge in my house, watching candy get sorted into “safe”, “okay in moderation”, and “not safe” piles based on ingredients. Years ago, when I heard about the Teal Pumpkin Project (to offer allergy friendly or non-edible trick or treat options for kids), I was delighted. Out house has participated for several years now.

At Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, there’s also a “teal friendly” (allergy friendly) option for trick or treating. When it comes to food allergies, I don’t have to worry about an allergic reaction from physical contact with foods, and because I was pretty positive that there wouldn’t be individually wrapped pieces of tofu handed out, I figured that I’d give a try trick or treating in line with the allergies I had as a child to see how allergy safe the experience really is. My experience was, pun intended, a mixed bag.

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Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Touring Plan Review

by on August 28, 2017

August 25th was the first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party for 2017. I volunteered my wife and myself to test out the premium touring plan, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party for Parents with Small Children (Focus on Treats). It’s a great touring plan if you’ve already covered most of the Magic Kingdom. The primary focus of the touring plan is on meeting characters, trick-or-treating, and the activities that can only be found during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. It also includes tips for finding great viewing spots for the 9:15 pm Mickey’s Boo-To-You Parade and 10:15 pm HalloWishes fireworks show.

The touring plan has been updated after our experience. We found the plan was very ambitious. Most of our touring plans are designed using our software and historical data, however with unique character meet and greets in this event, the wait times can vary dramatically. This plan is more of a strategy to navigate the Halloween party, rather than a precise itinerary.

The plan starts in Adventureland for character meet and greets and trick-or-treating before the 9:15 pm parade. After the parade, we squeezed in a ride on the Haunted Mansion before heading to Main Street to see HalloWishes. Then it is off to Tomorrowland and Fantasyland for more characters and candy.

It has been a few years since I did the Halloween party but very little has changed.  The markers for the trick-or-treat locations have been changed from a Mickey Ghost to a colorful Mars|Wrigley branded marker. Disney has added multiple party-exclusive Magic Shots, Animated Magic Shots, and photo opportunities from the Disney PhotoPass service. The candy path that went from New Fantasyland to Space Mountain is no more. The top-off candy at the exit at the end of the party has also departed. (But have no fear–with trick or treating, you can still get a full bag of candy by the end of the night.)

Copyright Disney

What We Learned

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