Halloween

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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Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2017 + Video

by on August 22, 2017

We’re finally approaching my favorite time of the year: FALL!

I love it all: the cooler weather, colorful leaves (here in MN at least) and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party!

To see what ghoulish festivities this year’s party has in store for you, click on the video below!

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#AskIt Results: Which Magic Kingdom Hard-Ticket Party Is Best?

by on July 12, 2017

Hard-ticket seasonal parties at the Magic Kingdom offer a great opportunity for some unique experiences, such as special shows and fireworks, along with special character meets and reduced lines for attractions. Both Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party are incredibly popular, often selling out on select nights during their run, but is one better than the other? We asked, and you answered with a clear favorite. Here’s your results.

 

Neither is better than the other

(226 votes, 15%)

 

For some people, each event provides such a unique experience that picking a favorite event would be like picking your favorite child. For others, the high ticket price means that the events just aren’t worth it. Whatever your reason, 15 percent of you felt that it was impossible to pick one over the other. Everyone else had very clear feelings on which was the better party…

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Find the Least Crowded Halloween Party in 2017

by on May 12, 2017

Welcome back to what has become a yearly tradition: predicting the least crowded Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party. We’ll look back at last year’s recommendations in a bit and give you the full 2017 list, but first make sure you check out our dedicated page for a complete list of dates as well as a thorough description of what the Halloween party is.

In short, if you’re looking for the best 2017 Halloween Party to attend, we recommend Tuesday, August 29, 2017. Each of the past four  years we recommended the same basic party, September 17, 2013, September 16, 2014, September 15, 2015, and September 13, 2016. The reason we’ve broken with that slightly (that September party is #3) is because they parties just start so darn early this year. In the past, very early parties are more lightly attended, so we’re making that assumption again.

The entire list of parties and how we rank them can be found below, but here are some general rules:

  • September is less busy than October. There are exceptions, of course, but you are more likely to see crowds at the October parties. Special addendum for 2017: August will likely be less busy than September.
  • Tuesdays are generally less busy than other days. Sundays and Fridays are busier than other days.

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! October 2016 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on October 31, 2016

MMM positiveWelcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando. 

So what happened in October? We had some good news and we had some bad news. Good news: the Muppets themed PizzeRizzo is opening in just a couple weeks! Bad news: unfortunately it appears that the venue will be serving the exact same awful food as its predecessor, Pizza Planet. This would be a shame as Blaze Pizza in Disney Springs just proved that you can have a great tasting, affordable, personal size pizza at Walt Disney World. We also had more good news in the form of Muppets as the new Great Moments in American History show in Liberty Square is a certified hit! This is the Muppet humor we know and love. We also have to end on some more bad news as the first man is down at Disney Springs. That’s right, the incredibly named Aristocrepes has now gone seasonal. With the opening of so many great dining options, it was only a matter of time until we lost one. My bet was on Yesake (it’s actually a good place but you never see anyone there) being the first to go, but if you read this Me Thinks STK Doth Protest Too Much article, a certain high end steak house could be the next tenant to go buh bye.

Now while all of you were trying to sneak guns into EPCOT, Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo and I were hard at work to bring you the quality Outlet coverage you expect deserve!

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you.)

We always love to start with new Tsum Tsums, and at the International Drive location, this month we had the rest of the Pirates of the Caribbean line arrive with The Pig and The Bad Pirate. We also go another member of The Avengers B-Team with The Vision. Normal Tsum Tsums at Disney cost $5.99, and at the Outlet Store they are usually $2.99, but this month they were once again just 99 cents each. Picked up several of the pigs and one each of the other two.

tsum_pig

Seeing this pig reminds me of that awesome moment in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie when Orlando Bloom tosses a second bucket of water onto a guy and says, “That was for the smell.”

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The Bad Pirate.

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Vision.

Meanwhile over at the Disney Outlet Store on Vineland, they had the JUNGLE BOOK line! Also at 99 cents, bought one of each.

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Jungle Book Tsums. (photo by Julia Mascardo)

Next up is an item I’ve been waiting a while for. At the World of Disney store they have had three great Beauty and the Beast items show up in the last year or so that I’ve really wanted. A light up Lumiere, a “life size” Cogsworth, and a ceramic Chip cup. Well, the Chip cup finally made it’s way to the Outlet and now I begin my daily praying ritual for the other two. Not sure what the original price was, but I’m thinking it was around $19.95, which is why I always passed it. Outlet price was $6.99. Ya-hoo!

chip_699

Interesting how they do the “chipped” part of the cup.

Here is a stunning tapestry featuring the Magic Kingdom’s carousel, and the picture does not do it justice. The colors really make the picture come alive and it’s terrific. Originally $125, this was reduced to $29.99.

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Tapesty.

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Dani’s Best Week Ever October 27, 2016: Bidding farewell to Halloween in Orlando

by on October 27, 2016

Halloween season is almost over here in Orlando, and if you listen close enough you can hear sleigh bells ring in the distance. It’s hard to believe, but here in the land of eternal entertainment our Halloween and Christmas / Winter holiday season starts in September and runs continuously to January, more than a quarter of the year. Thankfully, I am a sucker for this season, yet I still find it comical that we get two full months each of Halloween and Christmas.

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Over the course of this past week I enjoyed my favorite Halloween celebration in Orlando’s theme parks, conquered a thrill ride at the last minute, and started to see signs of the Christmas season celebrations. Let’s begin to say our farewells to Halloween and slowly turn our attention to the most festive time of year.

Orlando’s most valuable Halloween celebration – SeaWorld Spooktacular

Photo by Brandon Glover

Photo by Brandon Glover

SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular is the best value for Halloween in Orlando’s theme parks. It is included in regular park admission, no extra charge. It takes place during regular park hours on weekends in October. This allows guests to enjoy all the regular park offers plus the added bonus of a fantastic trick or treat trail, whimsical characters, festive decorations, and great photo opportunity. Plus you don’t have to keep the kids up late for an after hours event like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Now, the ‘wow’ factor is not as strong as Mickey’s event at Magic Kingdom, but it is charming, fun, super affordable, and very kid friendly. Costumes are allowed, policies can be found here.

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Photo by Brandon Glover

Photo by Brandon Glover

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