Halloween at Walt Disney World

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Halloween is fast approaching and Disney World is getting ready to celebrate this spooky holiday! All of the Halloween celebrations happen at the Magic Kingdom. The other parks don’t decorate for Halloween and Epcot is having the Food and Wine Festival all the way until November. So all of the following Halloween treats are focused at Magic Kingdom. If you are considering visiting Walt Disney World this fall, you may want to book some of these things right away as they are already selling out, but some treats are part of the regular park pass.

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The main attraction at Magic Kingdom is Mickey’s Not-S0-Scary Halloween Party. This event is an additional ticket to attend and is only on select nights. Tickets began to go on sale in April and one night is already sold out. The cost of tickets vary depending on the day of the week, but they range from $68-79 per ticket. Here are the dates of the party:

September 15, 18, 20, 21, 25, 27
October 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31 (sold out)
November 1

To purchase tickets, visit the Disney World website here.

All parties run from 7:00 pm until midnight, and Magic Kingdom closes at that time for regular park guests. Those who have tickets for the party will receive a special bracelet and will be allowed into the park 3 hours early. Here are some of the special happenings during the party:

Mickey’s Boo to You Halloween Parade

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This is one of their best parades by far! Expect to see characters you never see as well as ghosts and villains. And the music is fantastic! Times are 8:35 pm and 11:15 pm each party night.

Celebrate the Villains Castle Show

This is the Castle projection show that has been turned into a villain-themed show. It begins at 9:45 pm.

Happy HalloWishes Fireworks

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This special fireworks display is amazing! It is a Halloween themed “Wishes” show that includes the villains. It follows the Celebrate the Villains Castle Show. Fireworks are at 10:00 pm.

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These are the wonderful Halloween special lighting, music and effects that come on throughout the park once the party officially begins!

Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular

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New this year is the Hocus Pocus show at the castle that features the Sanderson sisters from the movie “Hocus Pocus” as they cast a spell on the Magic Kingdom, along with other Disney villains. Show is at 8:00 pm, 9:00 pm, 10:40 pm and 12:00 am.

Character Meet and Greets

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Characters will be out for special meet and greets as they will be dressed in their Halloween costumes! There will also be a few special greets including Jack Skellington and Sally, the Seven Dwarves, Villains (excluding the Evil Queen and Maleficent for 2015), Princesses with their Princes, Anna & Elsa, Gaston, Lotso, and the Queen of Hearts.

Special Photo Op at the Haunted Mansion

Hitchhiking ghosts will be added into photos in front of the Haunted Mansion.

Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom Special Card

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A special Halloween card will be introduced at parties for the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game.

Select Rides Open with Shorter Lines

Party-goers can enjoy many of the Magic Kingdom rides without much of a line as there is so much to do at the party, lines are shorter. Not all rides are open during the party.

Happy HalloWishes Dessert Package

New this year is the HalloWishes Dessert party at Tomorrowland Terrace that features new Halloween themed desserts. This event requires an additional ticket. Guests at this party will also receive VIP seating at the Boo to You Parade. Cost is $69 for adults and $39 for children.

Party Specialty Treats

  • Ghost Cupcakes at Gaston’s Tavern
  • Candy Corn Soft-serve cones at StoryBook Treats
  • Spider Cupcakes at Main Street Bakery
  • Monster Cupcakes at Main Street Bakery
  • Halloween cookies at Main Street Bakery
  • Halloween Ice Cream Sandwich at Plaza Ice Cream Parlor

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Special Merchandise

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Some merchandise is only available at the parties, but some is available in stores throughout the fall. Some of the items we love are the commemorative pins, Halloween MagicBands and cute party shirts! There are lots more Halloween souvenirs in the parks including candy buckets, decorations and more!

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If you do not attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, you will still enjoy the amazing Halloween decorations throughout the Magic Kingdom including some fantastic Jack-O-Lanterns.

You may wonder if it is worth it to go to the Halloween Party if you will be at Magic Kingdom. We do think that this party offers a lot of really fun opportunities and experiences. Here are some of our tips if you attend:

  • Rest the day before you go to the party. It will probably be a long night.
  • Don’t plan anything for the following morning because you will be tired!
  • While costumes look cute, consider having your little trick-or-treaters wear a cute Halloween shirt and be a bit more comfortable. In the Florida heat, costumes for long hours can be tough
  • Lines are very long for photo meet and greets, so pick just a couple that you really want to do, and then ride the rides!
  • Grab a special party map that shows where all the trick or treating stations are as well as character greets. Some trick or treat stations have very long lines and they are better to hit later in the evening.
  • Arrive to the party early!
  • Don’t miss the parade or the fireworks! They are the best!

If you are heading to the Magic Kingdom for Halloween time, enjoy all the fantastic and spooky fun!

Akershus Royal Banquet VS Cinderella’s Royal Table

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At Disney World, there are two main choices of character dining with the princess: Cinderella’s Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom and Norway’s Akershus Royal Banquet at Epcot. If your little princess or prince is dying to meet a lot of princesses and you want to try a character dining experience, the big question is – Which one do we choose?

We are asked all the time which princess character dining is better? Or which should we pick? If you haven’t experienced either, it is hard to know which to choose. Luckily, we have been to both with our crew and we will compare them for you. Then you can decide which is right for your Disney experience.

Keep in mind one thing: Cinderella’s Royal Table is a much smaller restaurant than Akershus Royal Banquet. Royal Table has much less tables and thus has fewer reservations. It is much harder to get into this restaurant, not because it is better, but because it is smaller. You may not be able to get a reservation depending on the time of year as well.

Atmosphere

Royal Table

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The entrance to the restaurant is actually on the first floor and it is designed like a castle with armor and flags. This is where you will meet Cinderella and take a picture with her. From there, you will climb stairs to the dining room. This room is, again, decorated like a castle with crests, flags and lots of wood and stone. It has amazing views out into the park. These views, unfortunately, are only enjoyed by the families seated right in the center or in front of the windows. If you have more than 4 in your party, you will not be sitting near these areas. The tables are dark, thick wood and the chairs are thick wood with medieval-style fabrics. The dining area is somewhat of a circle shape. The stain-glass windows looking out into the park are beautiful.

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Stain-glass windows that look out into Fantasyland

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Akershus

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Main dining room at Akershus

The entrance to this restaurant is somewhat like a restaurant waiting area, and you will take a photo with a princess in a small inlet area. The decoration is designed to feel like a castle with somewhat similar decoration to Royal Table – flags, crests, wood and stone. Inside the dining halls, there are many wood tables and wood chairs. The tables and chairs are less fancy than Royal Table. Stained glass windows and regular windows surround the dining areas. The dining areas are much larger than Royal Table and there are about 3 different rooms of dining tables.

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Overall: The overall atmosphere at Royal Table wins out only by a hair – the design of Akershus is still delightful and royal. But being inside the actual castle makes Cinderella’s just a smidge better.

Food

Royal Table

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Stuffed French Toast

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Kids meal breakfast

Cinderella’s Royal Table is served as a sit-down style where you order from the menu and it is brought to your table. The food is very good and the selections should appeal to most people. The menu is somewhat European/American style fare. The service is very good and prompt. The servers are very good with small children. Our kids always enjoy the food at this restaurant! This restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you are using the dining plan, this table-serve counts as two table-serves.

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Steak and potatoes breakfast

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Vegetarian quiche

Akershus

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Breakfast fare served family-style at table

Akershus is served as both a buffet/family style and a sit-down style. They serve Norwegian/American style fare food. Breakfast offers a buffet as well as family-style breakfast offerings brought to your table. Lunch and dinner have family style appetizers and desserts as well as menu-ordered entrees. They offer some different fare like fish, but we found the food was delicious and our kids enjoyed the food a lot, and even tried some new dishes.

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Breakfast fare from buffet

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Buffet at Akershus

Overall: It is pretty even on the food unless your family is extremely picky and Norwegian fare scares you (but it shouldn’t). Our family enjoyed meals at both restaurants evenly.

Princess Meet & Greets

Royal Table

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Cinderella greet before you enter the dining room

Cinderella meets guests at the entrance and takes photos there. There is a PhotoPass photographer there and the photos can be added to your PhotoPass account or on your MagicBand. All other princesses will do meet and greets in the dining room and come straight to your table. If you are there at the beginning of the “session”, each princess is announced individually and then begins a set pattern through the dining hall stopping at each table to say hello, interact, sign books and take photos. They also will do a wishing star portion with all the princesses and each child gets a plastic wishing star to make their wish. They used to give princesses wands and princes swords but that may have changed.

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Princesses love little princes!

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Wishing star and wand that girl receive at Cinderella’s – boys get a sword

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Akershus

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Belle greet before you enter the dining room

One of the princesses meets guests at the entrance and takes photos there. There is a Photopass photographer there and the photos can be added to your PhotoPass account or on your MagicBand. All other princesses will do meet and greets in the dining room and come straight to your table. Princess are announced individually and then they begin a set pattern through the dining rooms stopping at each table to say hello, interact, sign books and take photos. They also do a princess parade, where all the kids get in a line with the princesses and walk through the dining hall. They do this several times while guests are there.

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Princesses love little princes!

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Cinderella leading the Royal Parade

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Overall: The experience of meeting the princess at each restaurant is completely the same. They interact at your table and with your kids the same. It takes the same amount of time for them to get to your table. There is really no edge given to either restaurant for this one.

Keep in mind: All photos taken inside the restaurant are with your personal camera and not PhotoPass photographers. Also, the princesses NOT included in these dining experiences are: Anna, Elsa, Rapunzel, Merida and Tiana. Princesses usually included in these experiences: Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Ariel, Jasmine, Mulan and Belle. Belle is typically NOT included at Cinderella’s because she has her own greet at Enchanted Tales with Belle in New Fantasyland.

Price

Cinderella’s Royal Table is more in price than Akershus. Both are expensive and prices vary based on time of year so we can’t give you a set price. It can cost anywhere from $130-$160 for a family of four. Akershus counts as one table serve on the Disney Dining Plan. Cinderella’s Royal Table is more expensive – it is roughly $180-$210 for a family of four. It also uses two table-serve credits from the Disney Dining Plan. At both restaurants, breakfast is less expensive than lunch and dinner. At Royal Table, tax AND gratuity are included in your price. At Akershus, only tax is included. Also, Table of Wonderland discount cards are accepted at both locations.

Overall: If you are simply looking for the cheapest princess dining, then breakfast at Akershus is the least expensive.

Those are the four most important things to look at when deciding which princess dining experience you want to do with your family. Our family has dined at Cinderella’s Royal Table many times and recently wanted to try something different with Akershus, and we were pleasantly surprised with how much we enjoyed it and how similar it really was to the other restaurant.

We hope this comparison has helped you decided where your royal crew will dine with Disney royalty!

Disney World Updates

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Here are the latest and greatest of Disney World news and updates, and maybe a few scoops! We will be sending a separate update on Disneyland news since there is so much going on in California.

Disney Parks

Disneyland and Disney World now ban all selfie sticks in the parks. They have stated this is for the safety of guests and cast members. Do not bring them into the parks – this is as of June 30th.

Magic Kingdom

Splash Mountain has been added to evening Extra Magic Hours as of June 13.

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The Orange Bird is now returning to Sunshine Tree Terrace and Aloha Isle in Adventureland. The menus at Sunshine Tree Terrace and Aloha Isle switched earlier this year, so our beloved Dole Whip is now available at Sunshine Tree Terrace. We love this change as there is far more space at Sunshine. Aloha Isle now serves our other favorite cold treat, Citrus Swirl. You can find the Orange Bird added to the marquee. There was limited edition merchandise that may find its way back to the stores.

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Be Our Guest Restaurant began serving breakfast starting in the spring. Reservations are recommended and it has been quite a hit with guests. Breakfast includes scrambled eggs and eggs florentine.

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Taste Track – new quick-serve food at Future World near Test Track. They serve new delicious recipes for the favorite grilled cheese sandwich including Gruyere and Applewood smoked bacon, Fontina with tomato basil grilled cheese, and Canadian cheddar and apples grilled cheese on cinnamon raisin bread. Each sandwich comes with your choice of soup or salad. Other menu items include chicken salad and kid’s grilled cheese.

Sounds Like Summer Concert Series lineup continues:

Don’t Look Back–A Tribute to Boston –June 27-July4
Fire & Ice–A Tribute to Pat Benatar–July 5-11
Stayin’ Aline–A Tribute to the Bee Gees–July 12-18
Hotel California–A Salute to the Eagles–July 19-25

All tribute bands can be seen at the America Gardens Theatre Stage at various concert times.

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American Music Machine

New World Showcase Entertainment: The American Music Machine will be performing at the American Adventure pavilion. B’net Al Houwariyate, a Berber music and dance troupe from Marrakesh, with perform at the Morocco pavilion.

New Norway attractions for Frozen are set to open in 2016. Work is already underway for “Frozen Ever After” and “Royal Sommerhus”. The Maelstrom ride will be transformed into a ride into the world of Arendelle. There will also be a meet and greet for Anna & Elsa.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will celebrate its 20th year this fall. A new 12-inch Figment plush will be introduced to commemorate this event. There will also be a new concert series called “Eat to the Beat” that includes a wide array of bands performing.

Hollywood Studios

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Frozen Summer Fun began on June 17th at Hollywood Studios! This includes:

  • Frozen Royal Welcome– Processional twice a day and this year it will include Olaf as well as Anna, Elsa and Kristoff with a new ice palace.
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  • Olaf’s Summer Cool Down–New show with Olaf and friends
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  • “Frozen Fever” will be playing in the ABC Sound Studio including a peek behind the scenes at the making of the film
  • A “Frozen” Sing Along Celebration will be moving into the Hyperion Theater at the center of Hollywood Studios
  • “Frozen” Fireworks will follow the “Coolest Summer Ever” Dance Party that includes Olaf with Anna, Elsa and Kristoff.

New Frozen Summer Fun cupcakes will be available starting June 17th at ABC Commissary, FairFax Fare, Backlot Express, Studio Catering Co., Pizza Planet, Starring Rolls, Rosie’s All American Café, and The Trolley Car Café. The cupcakes are included in Disney Dining Plan, and all “Frozen” specialty cupcakes will be available through September 7th.

Once Upon a Time fans will love the new themed window fronts on the Streets of America! This very popular show will have new displays along the street.

Animal Kingdom

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Zuri’s Sweet Treats opens in Harambe Market and will be serving traditional candy treats with an African twist. They will also have Flame Tree Barbecue’s signature sauce to purchase!

Creature Comforts reopened June 18 with re-imagined food and beverages. Menu includes Starbucks coffee as well as breakfast options like sandwiches and pastries.

Pizzafari will no longer serve breakfast at Animal Kingdom – lunch and dinner only. Breakfast is available at Tusker House, Rainforest Cafe and kiosks and stands throughout the park including Creature Comforts.

Pocahontas has a new meet and greet location at the Discovery Island Character Landing. This is the only location in Walt Disney World to meet Pocahontas. Animal Kingdom is home to other exclusive character meet and greets: Tarzan, Rafiki, Dug & Russell from “Up”, and Baloo & King Louie. As always, check the Times Guide for character times.

Typhoon Lagoon

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As part of the Coolest Summer Ever celebration at Disney World, Typhoon Lagoon water park will host the Teen Beach 2: Beach Party (#teenbeach2)! This celebration will include summery games, dancing to retro-beach tunes and hula hoop contests daily. Teen Beach 2 runs through July 5th.

Downtown Disney

With the renovation of Downtown Disney still underway and transforming into Disney Springs, rumors are flying about the closing of Disney Quest, the interactive game center in Downtown Disney. It is possible that next year, it will be gone from the newly redesigned area.

Disney World Resorts

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Polynesian Bungalows are now open at the Polynesian Resort. These new Bungalows as well as studio villas are part of the Disney Vacation Club family. The bungalows sit over the Seven Seas Lagoon and can sleep up to 8 guests. We will be sharing a detailed post on the new additions to the Polynesian resort shortly.

Please keep following Preschoolears for more Disney updates for Disney World, Disneyland and all things Disney!

Photos credit: Walt Disney World News

Disney Parks Update 2014

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This is our last update of 2014 for the Disney Parks and news! Hard to believe that 2015 is almost here! If you will be at the parks this holiday or soon after, here are all the news!

Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom

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New “Frozen Christmas Celebration” – On Christmas Day, millions of viewers will be watching the Christmas Day Parade at Disney Parks on ABC. This year, the characters from “Frozen” have been added to the parade which moves several characters around on floats. Filming has already begun at Disney World and musical guests this year include Train, Trey Songz, Lucy Hale, and Trisha Yearwood. Disney hasn’t announced all the hosts of the parade but one of the co-hosts was recently announced: Tim Tebow. Tune in on Christmas Day for all the parade fun!

New! Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Sold Out Dec 19: The very last Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party of the Season is now officially sold out.  Tickets are still available for December: 11, 12, 14, 16, and 18 2014.

New! Meet Santa at Magic Kingdom Park During Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: Santa is available to meet guests at Town Square Courtyard on Main Street, U.S.A., during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Epcot

New! United Kingdom Pavilion Receives New Entertainment Offering: The Paul McKenna Band debuted last week in the United Kingdom as one of the new World Showcase entertainment acts. The Paul McKenna Band is a traditional four-piece group from Glasgow, Scotland who will perform in the courtyard of the United Kingdom. The band’s contemporary approach to songs never strays too far from their Scottish, folk music roots. Show times for the Paul McKenna Band are 11, 11:50 a.m., 12:45, 1:40, 2:35, 3:35 and 4:50 p.m.

Candlelight Processional at America Gardens Theatre, with show times at 5, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m. While some of these dates have passed, we wanted to share with you the entire list of narrators that are part of this program. Narrators include:

  • Jodi Benson – November 28 – 29, 2014
  • Neil Patrick Harris – November 30 – December 2, 2014
  • Jonathan Groff (NEW!) – December 3 – 4, 2014
  • Whoopi Goldberg – December 5 – 6, 2014
  • LeVar Burton – December 7 – 9, 2014
  • Edward James Olmos – December 10 – 12, 2014
  • Joe Morton (NEW!) – December 13 – 14, 2014
  • Chita Rivera – December 15 – 17, 2014
  • Ana Gasteyer (NEW!) – December 18 – 20, 2014
  • Marlee Matlin – December 21 – 23, 2014
  • Isabella Rossellini – December 24 – 25, 2014
  • Blair Underwood – December 26 – 27, 2014
  • Steven Curtis Chapman – December 28 – 30, 2014

Candlelight Dining Packages are available for Guests. With these special dinner packages, Guests receive dinner at a restaurant of their choice, guaranteed seating at America Gardens Theatre for a booked Candlelight Processional show time and viewing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. Note: Dinner packages do not include park admission. Limited availability.

New! Meet Santa at Epcot:  Santa is available to meet guests at The American Adventure, during Holidays Around the World.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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Disney Forms Relationship with Turner Classic Movies for The Great Movie Ride: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) has announced a new strategic relationship with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and The Walt Disney Studios to broaden its reach in family entertainment with joint efforts centered on classic film. The relationship features include new TCM integration into The Great Movie ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and on-air showcase of Disney Treasures. TCM branding will be integrated into the attraction’s marquee as well as banners, posters and display windows outside the attraction. In the queue line, families will enjoy new digital movie posters and will watch a new pre-ride video with TCM host Robert Osborne providing illuminating insights from the movies some of which Guests will experience during the ride. The finale will feature an all-new montage of classic movie moments. After Guests exit the attraction, they will have a photo opportunity with a classic movie theme. Changes are expected to be seen in The Great Movie Ride by Spring 2015.

Disney’s Star Wars Weekends Dates Announced and Dining Available for Booking: Attention fans of The Force – get ready to plan your trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in spring 2015! Star Wars Weekends will be held every weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) from May 15-June 14, 2015. Once again, the Star Wars Character Dining Experiences will be available and they are open for booking now. Choose from Star Wars Dine-In Galactic Breakfast at $49.99 per adult and $31.99 per child ages 3-9 or Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine, Including Fantasmic! Dining Package at $57.99 per adult and $34.99 per child ages 3-9. Prices include tax, but not gratuity. Star Wars Weekends dates are as follows:

  • Weekend I: May 15-17, 2015
  • Weekend II: May 22-24, 2015
  • Weekend III: May 29-31, 2015
  • Weekend IV: June 5-7, 2015
  • Weekend V: June 12-14, 2015

Animal Kingdom

Flame Tree Barbecue to Close Temporarily Starting Jan. 5: Beginning Jan. 5, construction will start at Flame Tree Barbecue, which will result in an approximate three month closure. During the refurbishment, which is anticipated to last until early April, we will enhance the location by adding additional covered seating areas, covering choice Guest walkways to some pavilion seating areas and extending the roof over the main building to offer additional cover for Guests waiting to place their order. Since the food offerings at Flame Tree Barbecue are favorites amongst Guests, a selection of them will be offered at existing kiosks throughout the park during the downtime.

Disney World Resort Hotels

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Front Desk Reopened: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has reopened the front desk of the Great Ceremonial House, and it’s beautiful!

Resort Holiday Decorations have Returned:

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Disney’s Contemporary Resort:  The all-new “Frozen” gingerbread ice castle at Disney’s Contemporary Resort is adorned with sugar snowflakes, gingerbread shingles and chocolate-coated trees – Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven are decorated with sugar, chocolate and candy.

Disney’s BoardWalk Resort: Also all new is a life-size replica of a Jersey Shore Boardwalk concession stand serving holiday treats – ice cream cones, gingerbread houses and cookies and stollen bread. Sweet wreaths and Mickey- and Minnie-shaped gingerbreads decorate the stand.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa: The life-size gingerbread house celebrates 16 years at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – the pastry chefs use the same building plans to re-create a fresh masterpiece each year, using a classic gingerbread recipe from Austria (they estimate 400 hours of baking).

Disney’s Beach Club Resort: Check out the 14th annual Holiday Carousel, a life-size, spinning carousel with ponies made of chocolate and fondant, handcrafted poinsettia and gingerbread snowflakes – look for 14 hidden Mickeys, one for each year!

Disney’s Yacht Club: Find an adorable holiday village with miniature train adorns the lobby, surrounded with sugar rock mountains.

Disneyland

“Frozen Fun” at Disneyland

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Frozen is invading Disneyland in 2015! All the new Frozen attractions will officially open on January 7th but they will begin select sneak peaks starting December 20th.

  • For the First Time in Forever – A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration – The Muppet*Vision 3D theater in Hollywood Land has been transformed for this event into the beautiful Crown Jewel Theatre from Arendelle. You’re invited to step inside and join the Arendelle Historians – along with special appearances by Anna, Elsa & Kristoff – for a fun and comedic retelling of the unique history of their kingdom, filled with delightful, sing-along moments from “Frozen.”
  • Olaf’s Snow Fest – Stage 17 in Hollywood Land plays host to an immersive winter wonderland straight out of the Kingdom of Arendelle, complete with a giant snow play area and musical performances by The Frolicking Fjords and The Tubadors. You can glide down a snow slide, build a snowman of your own and visit everyone’s favorite snowy pal, Olaf and give him a warm hug.
  • Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post – Head back outside, and nearby you’ll find Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post, where you can pick up the latest “Frozen”-inspired apparel, plush, toys, mugs and more.FrozenOlaf
  • Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome – Anna and Elsa meet & greet will move from Fantasyland to an elegant new location inside the Disney Animation attraction at Disney California Adventure park, where you can meet them as part of a special royal greeting. You may also get a chance to meet Olaf! The colorful and varied display in the Animation Courtyard will also now include scenes and music from Disney’s Academy Award-winning blockbuster hit, “Frozen,” and at Animation Academy, a Disney artist asks, “Do You Want to Draw a Snowman?”
  • Freeze the Night! A Family Dance Party – Each evening, you’re invited to “chill out” in Hollywood Land with music, dancing, interactive fun and more in this new, family-friendly experience. You’ll arrive at the party through an icy archway to find wintry décor, dazzling lighting effects, cool photo spots, yummy treats and frosty beverages for all ages. Throughout the night, a giant thermometer registers the drop in temperature, as things get so cool they ultimately reach the freezing point when everyone lets it go in a spectacular “Frozen Fun” crescendo!
  • Mickey’s Soundsational Parade resumes January 7th and Anna & Elsa will once again be on their pre-parade float.
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats returns later this month with a new addition to this charming and beloved Fantasyland attraction, with excursions through the world of “Frozen” offering views of the fjord-side village of Arendelle, including the stately castle where Anna and Elsa grew up, Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post, and Elsa’s mountaintop ice palace. The miniature locales of “Frozen” will find a new home among the familiar scenes of some of Disney’s most enduring and timeless fairy tales.
  • Olaf’s Frozen Ice Rink will be continuing through February 22, 2015 at Downtown Disney District
  • Anne & Elsa Boutique is open now at Downtown Disney District.

We will soon be posting a look into what is happening in 2015 for Disney parks and Disney news so stay tuned for our next post!

Happy Disney travels!

Halloween Events at Disney World and Disneyland

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Its that time of year again when Halloween has come to our favorite Disney parks. Both Disney World and Disneyland celebrate Halloween in an amazing way, and they both offer similar but different experiences. If you will be heading to the parks this fall and would like to know what the parks are offering for Halloween fun, we have the rundown for you. We have been to both park’s celebrations and we will share with you what is in store for Disneyland and Disney World during Halloween time.

Disney World Halloween

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If you will be visiting Disney World this fall (September through October), you will experience not only fall celebrations but Halloween as well. Most of the Halloween celebrations are done at Magic Kingdom. During September through November (9/19-11/10), Epcot has the Food & Wine Festival in full swing and that is the focus at that park. Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom do not have Halloween festivities.

The main attraction during Halloween at the Magic Kingdom is Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. This is a ticket event, meaning even if you already have park passes for that day, you need to purchase additional tickets for the party. The Halloween party is only on select nights, which are:

September 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, 26, 28
October 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 13, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 30

Cost for tickets are $62.00 plus tax (ages 10+) and $57.00 plus tax (ages 3-9). The party times each night are 7:00 pm – 12:00 am, but they let guests with tickets into the park 3 hours in advance (4:00 pm). We advise you to arrive at 4:00 to get into the park and have your wristband.

Here are all the magical happenings at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party that are included with a ticket:

  • Mickey’s “Boo to You” Parade, twice a night. This is a wonderful parade and should not be missed!

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  • HalloWishes Fireworks, following one of the parades. This is one of their best fireworks shows.
  • Trick or treating stations throughout the park. These have long lines and can get congested. Plan on hitting just one for fun and skip the rest.
  • Villain pre-show in front of castle before fireworks

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  • Dead Cowboy Quartet in Frontierland. Similar to the Dapper Dans with their performance.
  • Unique and special character greets throughout the park, including Anna & Elsa, Cinderella & Rapunzel, classic Disney characters in Halloween costumes, villains, Pixar characters, Cinderella’s coach, Seven Dwarfs, Jack Skellington & Sally, Jasmine & Aladdin plus Genie & Abu, Winnie the Pooh & friends in costume, Captain Jack Sparrow and Tarzan, Jane & Terk. Character greets are subject to change.

WDWHalloween-Tink

  • NEW Villain’s Sinister Soiree – Additional tickets required
    • Dessert party inside Cinderella’s Royal Table restaurant
    • Hosted by Lady Tremaine and features other Disney villains
    • Live piano music
    • Preferred viewing area for the 8:15 Boo to You parade
    • Offered at 10:15 pm and 11:45 pm
    • Desserts and non-alcoholic specialty drinks offered
    • No Disney Dining Plan
    • Cost is $99/person plus tax (gratuity included)
    • Booking not available online – to purchase tickets, call (407) 939-5262
  • During the party, many of the park’s rides are open and the waits are short since most people are waiting in line for a photo op or enjoying other party festivities. It may be a great time to enjoy a ride or two!
  • Costumes are allowed at the park during the party. Disney has guidelines for costumes worn so visit their website for details.
  • Special party treats and merchandise that is only available during the party

WDWHalloween-Hearse

If you are visiting the park and not going to the party, you will still enjoy the amazing Halloween decorations throughout the park as well as special Halloween treats and merchandise. There are not Halloween photo ops except during the party.

A few tips on the party:

  • Arrive early to receive your wrist-band for the party. The largest crowds stay on Main Street so it is best to move past that part of the park.
  • Decide before that night what your high priority photo-ops will be and limit that list. Lines can be 30-60 minutes long for some pictures and you can’t spend your whole party time waiting to meet a character.
  • Find your spot for the parade about 30-45 minutes early (at least)
  • Make sure kids are well rested if you plan to stay late that night. And plan for a late morning the next day.

Disneyland Halloween

Entrance

Disneyland offers a special Halloween event as well called Mickey’s Halloween Party. It is only offered at Disneyland and not California Adventure. It requires an additional ticket to attend, meaning if you have a park pass for that day, you will need to purchase a ticket for the party as well or exit the park when it begins. Party runs 7:00 pm until midnight. Guests with tickets are allowed to enter the park 3 hours prior to the start of the party. Here are the select dates of the Halloween Party:

September 26, 30
October 3, 6, 8, 10, 14, 17, 20, 22, 24, 27, 29, 31

Here is all the magic during Mickey’s Halloween Party:

  • Monsters U Dance Party in Tomorrowland – lots of fun Pixar Monsters characters out and dancing. Not a great photo op
  • Mickey’s Costume Party Cavalcade – this is a small parade of characters in their Halloween costumes. Very cute and it is easy to find seats for this parade.

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  • Halloween Screams Fireworks – one of their best fireworks shows! Hosted by Jack Skellington, Oogie Boogie and a special visit from Zero!
  • Trick or Treat stations throughout the park – expect long lines for candy
  • Disney villains out for greets
  • Costumes are allowed for guests – Disney has guidelines for acceptable costumes so visit their website for details
  • Most attractions open all night
  • Fun activities and treats for families
  • Character ops throughout the park including Jack Skellington & Sally, Winnie the Pooh & friends, Toy Story pals, Mickey and friends in their Halloween costumes, Disney princesses, Peter Pan and Captain Hook, Smee & Jack Sparrow, Phineas & Ferb, Merida, and Star Wars Storm Troopers plus more! Characters are subject to change.

JackSallyStormTroopers

  • Complimentary parking
  • Special treats and merchandise offered only during the party

If you will be visiting the park and not attending the Halloween party, there are actually lots of other Halloween things to enjoy and Disneyland!

  • Haunted Mansion Holiday – The Haunted Mansion is taken over by Jack Skellington and his pals from A Nightmare Before Christmas. The attraction is “redecorated” and it is truly fabulous! Jack and Sally do meet and greets outside the mansion as well. Long lines for the ride during this time but it is well worth it!

HauntedMansionEnt

  • Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy – Space Mountain is changed to include zombie ghosts that scare guests during their ride. We didn’t enjoy this transformation but tweens and teens will think it is a frightful fun.
  • Halloween Carnival at Big Thunder Ranch in Frontierland – There are Disney Villain greets as well as other classic Disney characters in Halloween costumes. Kids can enjoy Halloween crafts and lots of Halloween fun at the ranch.
  • Dia de los Muertos is celebrated in Frontierland.

Disneyland vs Disney World

It may seem like both parks do about the same for Halloween but that isn’t quite true. Both parks have a ticketed Halloween party along with a parade and fireworks. Here are the difference between them if you are deciding which park you want to visit for Halloween time:

  • Disney World’s Halloween Party is much bigger than Disneylands. It attracts a larger crowd because it offers more events and appearances.
  • Disney World’s parade and fireworks are much grander by far. The Disneyland parade is less of a parade and more of the characters walking down the streets in Halloween costumes. It is still fun but much less “grand”.
  • Trick or Treating at both events have long lines for candy
  • Disneyland offers Halloween festivities and rides even if you don’t buy a ticket to the party. And you can still take Halloween photo ops with characters before the party. The characters change into different Halloween costumes for the party, but who cares?
  • Disneyland is more low-key, which is nice for families. It will still be busy and have crowds, but nothing like Disney World. We found it to be a little more fun and less stressful.
  • They both have the same guidelines for costumes – no weapons that resemble real weapons, no dragging parts, nothing inappropriate or scary, no dressing like a Disney character and signing autographs…
  • There are more unique character photo ops at Disney World, by far!
  • They both use the wristband system for ticketed guests and offer guest entrance 3 hours before the party begins.
  • There are many more dates of the Disney World Mickey’s Not-So-Scary than Disneyland’s Mickey’s Halloween Party.
  • Both parties have sold out for Halloween night or the nights closest to it.
  • Most rides stay open during the parties and the lines are pretty short, so plan some ride time!

If you are heading to one of the parties this season, here are some of our tips for young kids and families so you can enjoy the evening and not stress out!!

  • Have an easy day at the parks before the party. If you can have rest time before, even better! The parties run until midnight, and if you are planning to stay all evening, kids will need lots of rest and energy.
  • If you stay out late that night, expect a late morning the next day. Don’t schedule an early breakfast the next day. Plan on everyone being wiped out!
  • Dress comfortably. Even if you are planning to wear a costume, wear your tennis shoes. Make sure everyone is cool because costumes can get hot. I actually think kids are happier not in costumes but a cute Halloween shirt.
  • Bring glow-in-the-dark necklaces, bracelets and such, from home and give to the kids as a surprise at the party. The Disney glow in the dark toys are pricey. Something that blinks is even better!
  • Plan meals early. Many table serves close once the party begins, so either have an early dinner or plan for a fast quick-serve.
  • Limit the characters you want to meet. The lines can get pretty long and you will be very sad if you spend all that money on party tickets and spend the whole party in lines to see characters. Have a few must-see characters, split up the line waiting duty and then enjoy the night.
  • Get into character lines early in the evening so the rest of your evening can be parade, fireworks and fun!
  • Hit maybe one Trick or Treat stop and skip the rest. The lines are long there too. Your kids don’t need more candy and there are other things to do.
  • Parties closest to Halloween night sell out fast. In fast, some are already sold out now. Some nights, they will sell tickets up until the party starts.
  • Use the Photo Pass photographers. They have special “magic” pictures they take just for the Halloween party, like with the ghosts out front of Haunted Mansion. You have to ask for the magic shots if you want them.
  • It is essential at both parties to grab a map and guide for the party so you know where special events are as well as character greets.

We hope everyone has a fabulous Halloween, especially if you will be at a Disney park this season!
Boo to you!!

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