This week’s SATURDAY SIX is a special one as we present: A First Timer’s Guide to Surviving Halloween Horror Nights. Today is the last day of Halloween Horror Nights, the Universal Orlando Resort’s signature event, and one of the absolute best reasons to plan a vacation to Orlando this time of year. 2015’s HHN looks to be even better as it will be the 25th anniversary, and we already know that HHN icon Jack Schimdt will be returning. While many guests are used to the offerings of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, there are more than a few who are skittish about putting their foot into HHN to test the water. So I reached out to Joseph Matt of Parkscope.net, as he recently returned from his first ever HHN, and he is here to share six tips he learned from the experience. Take it away Joe….
A First Timer’s Guide to Surviving Halloween Horror Nights
“[Horror] shows us that the control we believe we have is purely illusory, and that every moment we teeter on chaos and oblivion.” -Clive Barker
Halloween Horror Nights is intimidating. For my first year to HHN I was a little nervous, and it didn’t help that several Orlando blogs, Orlando United, and my friends had hyped up the event to a point where #OperationScareJoe became a ‘thing.’ However, my anxieties and worries were largely unfounded. I had a blast, and cannot wait to go back for more HHN. As this year’s event closes this weekend, I will cover my top tips to surviving the event next year.
1.) Pick Several Nights and Split Them With a Day in the Parks
Eight houses, four scare zones, several open attractions, and two shows. Easy as pie, right? Wrong. During my trip The Walking Dead never dipped below 90 minutes and John Carpenter’s Halloween hovered at 60 minutes. How does one beat this? Pick multiple nights to attend and split that with a day visit to the parks.
Halloween Horror Nights at Universal. (photo by Hate to Fly)
With Halloween creeping closer and closer, it’s finally time to start getting those costumes ready. Today, I’ll be sharing my experience attending Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, as well as what costumes we wore. Now, let’s grab our candy buckets and be on our way!
We attended Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party on September 19, so we were ahead of the game when it came to costume planning. Our family is pretty low maintenance when it comes to Halloween costumes, and as we’d be running about all night, we dressed for comfort. We decided on a group costume, so off to Neverland we went. First up was our little pixie, Tinker Bell.
It’s that time of year! Holiday sailings for the Disney Cruise Line! I just returned from a Halloween on the High Seas sailing on the Dream and we enjoyed our Thanksgiving cruise on the Disney Fantasy so much last year that weve booked another on the Disney Magic this year! The Halloween sailings for 2014 started in September and continued through the end of October. The Very Merrytime sailings start November 8th and go through the end of December. All Disney cruises are magical for me, but the holiday cruises have something a little extra. Here are 10 reasons to try one!
1. No Cooking Holiday Dinners – Oh, yes! This is my favorite part. If you are onboard for one of the big holidays like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas – you do not have to cook!!!!!! Equally exciting – you do not have to clean, so you get to enjoy the holiday as well!!!! Win win win. We had a choice of seven entrees for our Thanksgiving dinner. And I can testify firsthand that the turkey was delicious. On our Halloween sailing, our servers even brought us an absolutely adorable cake in the shape of a spider.
2. Gorgeous Decorations – The ships are gorgeous any day of the year, but they are really done up for the holidays. For the Halloween sailings, there are four different Halloween trees decorated with pumpkins. Actually, they usually start off with just leaves and by the end of your sailing it’s covered in pumpkins. And don’t miss the portholes on deck 4, they have adorable Jack-o-lantern faces. During the Very Merrytime sailings, there will be Christmas trees everywhere! In the restaurants, in the atrium, in the terminal, even on Castaway Cay! There is also a giant gingerbread house in the lobby which they start constructing in early November and finish around the last week of November.
Plan your Nights of Horror with our updated HHN24 touring plans (photos by Seth Kubersky).
Halloween in still three weeks away, but Universal Orlando’sHalloween Horror Nights 24 is well underway, and as always the event — and therefore our HHN24 touring plan — is ever evolving. After experiencing the rain-soaked chaos of opening night, I returned on a precipitation-free Thursday without the benefit of an RIP guided tour or Express Passes.
The good news is that I was able to experience all 8 haunted houses, and both shows, before the evening ended even without those extra-cost line-cutting perks, but it wan’t easy. To update my previously published Halloween Horror Nights Survival Guide, here’s a summary of my recent observations, followed by an improved edition of my HHN24 touring plans to plot your escape from the evil of overstuffed queues.
And we’ll never be roooooyalllls….oh! Hello! Welcome back to another edition of my wearable costume series. I hope some of you found my ideas for Mickey and Minnie Mouse helpful. In case you’re just tuning in, it’s my mission to make your Halloween costumes not only affordable, but comfortable! (Side bar: I sound like an infomercial ad. Think I have a future on TV? Don’t answer that…)
Little Cinderelli looking for her mouse friends.
Next up is my take on Rapunzel, Cinderella and Prince Eric.
Babies and Toddlers
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, Disney apparel can be found everywhere. This Cinderella costume is essentially a baby girl onesie with a tutu on it. I found it at Target for less than ten dollars. If you don’t have a matching headband, you can always do what my parents did: Tape a bow to her head. They would take a small bow, attach it to a piece of scotch tape, and place it on my head…thanks parents. My mom claims it would just fall off at the end of the day without any pulling or pain. On second thought, just look for a headband.
There are so many different ways to dress like a Prince. Amongst all these interpretations, a crown and sword seem to be common props. If your little one has a shirt and tie, see if you can convince him to put it on. Hint: Offering a fruit snack or piece of candy may just do the trick. Now, I don’t condone fast food but if you have a burger king, stop by and grab one of their crowns. It would be a really cheap way to get your hands on one. For the sash, head to a craft store and see if they have ribbon 3-4 inches wide. Cut it to size, drape it across his shoulder to his hip and safety pin the ends together. Slick his hair in a nice side part and hand him a sword. Extra points if you find a cape to complete the costume. Voila, your debonair guy will be fighting dragons and meeting his one true love in no time!
Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re visiting Typhoon Lagoon, taking a look at the fall decorations at Magic Kingdom, and stopping by to check on Frozen at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You may notice a little difference in the photo quality this week. I picked up a new camera, the Canon S110. I wanted to get something a little more portable than my big DSLR. I’m still getting the hang of it so forgive me if anything looks “off”. With that out of the way, let’s get started! I thought what better way than how I start every trip to Disney? WIth a quick pass under this magical sign!
Our first stop is Typhoon Lagoon, somewhere I’ve never taken you before! When I visited I had every intention of busting out the GoPro and taking you on some slides, but mother nature had a different plan. Black, ominous storm clouds started to fill the horizon and I knew it was going to be a short trip. I decided to run around and take a few photos and ask you if you’d like to see more. Pictured below is the Crush ‘n’ Gusher. I’ve only done the slides a few times and didn’t love it, but the wading pool out front is very nice.
It’s finally getting to be that time of year in Minnesota: jacket weather, football games, falling leaves and trips to the Pumpkin Patch. It all leads up to my favorite holiday: Halloween. As if I haven’t mentioned enough already, I will be visiting Disney World this Fall and experiencing my very first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.To get into the Halloween spirit, I’ve taken inspiration from classic Disney characters and shared a few costume ideas with you fine readers!
Now, if you share the same sentiments as a few of my relatives, you may not jump at the chance to walk around in a hot and itchy costume for several hours. Therefore, my goal is to make the costumes you see here more ‘wearable’ and comfortable!
Let’s Begin with our Favorite Couple – Mickey and Minnie Mouse
Hello, tender lumplings everywhere! If you believe that life’s no fun without a good scare, chances are you’re a big fan of Halloween. Luckily for you, Florida is one of the best places to enjoy the Halloween season, and I’m not just saying that because literally anything is better than back home in Canada, where all the kids have to wear parkas over their costumes. (If you look at my childhood photo album, you might assume every year I was a skier. I was a fairy princess, curse you!) In fact, two of the biggest Halloween events happen less than an hour away from each other… Busch Gardens Tampa’s Howl-o-Scream, and Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights
Not into the dark side of Halloween? Fake blood, chainsaws, and people chasing you not your thing? Although Halloween is usually associated with these things, there are still some of us innocent hearted individuals that prefer the Halloween of our youth: carving pumpkins, dressing up as our favorite cartoon character or super hero, eating caramel apples and drinking apple cider, and my all-time favorite the glutinous event of trick or treating. There was just something about knocking on the door of family and friends dressed as a smurf, hobo, Raggedy Anne, or whatever other thing my mother concocted that made my heart beat with delight. Waiting ever so patiently while grandma oohed and aahed over me, all the while wondering with childhood anticipation what goodie she was going to place into my plastic pumpkin. Sometimes it was raisins (oh granny, what a great sense of humor you have) and sometimes it was a whole regular size candy bar (jackpot!). Either way, it was my reward for this one night of joy.
After pulling into the parking lot in front of T-REX and fruitlessly searching for a parking spot, I ended up driving all the way down to the lot that is in front of Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba. I still had to search for a spot in this lot, and thankfully someone was leaving during one of my trips going back and forth. I can’t even fathom how bad trying to find a parking spot will be when the Christmas shopping season comes.
Down by La Nouba they had a huge photo op set outside. There was a similar one over in the Marketplace section in front of Earl of Sandwich.