SATURDAY SIX: 6 Reasons We Love The Christmas Season at UNIVERSAL!

by on December 2, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Reasons We Love the Christmas Season at Universal! When it comes to the Universal Orlando Resort and holidays, the one which they are most associated with is Halloween. Each year Universal’s signature event – incredibly popular Halloween Horror Nights – somehow becomes even bigger. Many theme park guests would associate the Christmas holiday with Disney. With Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom, Candlelight Processional at Epcot, and all the amazing decorations at various resorts (including the Grand Floridian’s Gingerbread House and the massive Christmas tree at the Wilderness Lodge,) WDW is loaded with festive Christmas spirit. However, over the past few years Universal has quietly put together a great Christmas package as well.

(photo by Mike Sperduto)

Today we’re going to take a look at some of our favorite holiday offerings at Universal, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular

During most of the year, no theme park can touch The Mouse when it comes to in-park shows. Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo – The Musical, and even Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage are crowd pleasers of the highest order. When the calendar hits December, Universal brings out some big guns that deliver in a major way. The Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular is a must-see stage show presentation of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, and it combines elements of both the beloved animated version along with the Jim Carrey live-action film. Meanwhile Seuss Landing becomes decorated to the nth degree, and you may even run into Whos in the land putting out even more decorations!

The Grinch. (photo by Hunter Underwood)

The Grinch and Cindy Lou Who. (photo by Brandon Glover)

“Fahoo Fores Dahoo Dores
Welcome Christmas Come this way”

The Grinch and Whos sing Welcome Christmas. (photo by Hunter Underwood)

Read the rest of this entry »

Ask It: Best Holiday Park Decorations

by on November 8, 2017

It is an amazing feat of logistics to watch the Disney parks seemingly overnight go from full-on This is Halloween to a Winter Wonderland. Each has its own charm and brings delight to everyone. Castles covered in icicles, or Cars Land filled with Halloween spirit. Scarecrows in Town Square or the giant Christmas trees all around. Can you pick a favorite between the two? That brings us to this week’s Ask It:

Which holiday season gets the best decorations at a Disney theme park?

  • Christmas (84%, 366 Votes)
  • Halloween (16%, 72 Votes)

Total Voters: 438

Loading ... Loading ...

The question is live here and on Twitter, and we’ll have your answers next week. In the meantime, feel free to share your views in the comments.

Daisy’s Best Week Ever, October 26, 2017: 46 Hours in California

by on October 26, 2017

Hello, friends! I’ve just returned from a wild adventure that I’m so excited to share with you. When new Halloween events were announced at Disney’s California Adventure, we started trying to make a trip to the west coast happen. Unfortunately, between other plans and work we just couldn’t find a time… Until we realized we had one glorious weekend to squeeze in just 46 hours at the happiest place on Earth! The Headless Horseman was our first hint that we’d make a good decision.

If I’m being honest, the entire reason we wanted to visit so much were the decorations in Cars Land. We’re huge fans of this area and really wanted to see the new changes. This sign greets guests as they enter to wish them a Happy Haul-O-Ween. I’m glad I snapped a photo first thing in the morning because this spot had a long Photopass line the entire rest of the day!

Want to see the rest of our trip? Click to read more.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ask It Results: Do You Dress Up for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party?

by on October 18, 2017

There’s a rumor that fall temperatures will be starting to sneak into the Central Florida area very soon. And, as a result, retailers have started bringing out all their Christmas decorations. But fear not, because we still have time left before Halloween gets here! And best of all, it will actually feel more comfortable for those who are spending the evening at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. With Halloween on the mind, last week we asked you:

Do You Dress Up for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party?

Here’s your results.

Yes (485 votes, 57%)

Not too many people go to Disney (or go more than once to Disney) unless they have some child-like joy inside of them. And what child doesn’t like a chance to play dress up? Halloween gives that great excuse to get back to that favorite childhood pastime. For one night, everyone is a kid–wearing costumes, going trick-or-treating. It’s the whole package that makes the night extra magical. And costumes don’t have to be all over the top. Many people said that “normal” plain-colored shirts, shorts, and pants along with special hats, headbands, or mouse ears allow for a costume experience without much hassle. Some of the most memorable costumes I’ve seen at Disney Halloween parties (both east and west coast) excel in creativity matched with simplicity and practicality. There aren’t too many other times when you get a chance to dress up, so why not make the most of it for this one night? Speaking of, make sure you read to the end to see some of TouringPlans writers in their costumes…

Read the rest of this entry »

SATURDAY SIX: 6 Reasons We Love HALLOWEEN at the Disneyland Resort

by on October 14, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Halloween at the Disneyland Resort! Here at the SATURDAY SIX HQ we are suckers for Mickey’s Not Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom. Boo-To-You is one of our favorite parades, Happy HalloWishes is one of our all time favorite fireworks spectaculars, and – no matter how absurd it may technically be to “waste” your time doing it – picking up candy at the treat stations is a blast. This week though we are going across the country to see some of the Halloween offerings in Disneyland. With fun decorations, exclusive treats, and one of the most amazing top-to-bottom overlays of a land ever done, Disneyland truly brought it’s “A-game” this year and we’ll look at our favorite parts starting with…

# 6 – Haunted Mansion Holiday

In September, The Haunted Mansion began its annual transformation into Haunted Mansion Holiday. Inspired by Tim Burton’s 1993 stop-motion musical The Nightmare Before Christmas, this soup-to-nuts overlay features characters such as Jack Skellington, Sally, and Oogie Boogie cavorting among our favorite mansion haunts to music from Danny Elfman’s memorable score. Everything, and we mean EVERYTHING, at the Mansion has been tweaked for this special holiday version. The outside facade, the signage, the stretch room pre-show, and the entire ride is decked out with the Nightmare Before Christmas story, making it a completely different experience than the original attraction.

Jack Skellington welcomes guests to Haunted Mansion Holiday. (photo by Brian Pinsky)

Haunted Mansion Holiday. (photo by Brian Pinsky)

Haunted Mansion Holiday. (photo by Brian Pinsky)

Read the rest of this entry »


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)

Read the rest of this entry »

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:

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Read the rest of this entry »

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. 

Read the rest of this entry »