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!

Disneyland Halloween Time!

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It’s that time of year when Halloween takes over the Happiest Place on Earth! We love Halloween at both Disney parks, but we are going to give you the scoop for what is going on at Disneyland for Halloween. If you are thinking about planning a fall trip to Disneyland, now is the time to book!

Halloween Time at Disneyland includes these fun additions:

Haunted Mansion Holiday – This is our favorite! Jack Skellington and friends have taken over the Haunted Mansion and redecorated inside and out. It is one of the best themed rides we have seen! And of course, you can see Jack, Sally and Zero from Nightmare Before Christmas. Jack and Sally have meet and greets near the Haunted Mansion.

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Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy – A ghost overlay is added to Space Mountain as you ride. We have mixed reviews on this one. Older kids may think it is fun but younger kids may not. I personally don’t like it myself, but the ride is still one of the best!

Pumpkin Festival on Main Street, USA – The decorations on Main Street are amazing! You enter with the largest pumpkin ever and then throughout the entire street are the best Jack-O-Lanterns! We love Main Street during Halloween!

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Dia de los Muertos in Frontierland – Frontierland has special displays for the holiday Dia de los Muertos.

Seasonal Sweet Treats–Throughout the park, there are special Halloween candy apples, cookies and cupcakes that kids will love to enjoy!

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Mickey’s Halloween Party

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This is a special event that requires an additional ticket from the regular park pass. Party tickets range from $69-$77 depending on the day of the event. Tickets increase in price on the day of the event, if there are still tickets available. The closer the date is to Halloween, the more sold out the night will be. Here are the dates that the party will be at Disneyland:

September 25, 28, 30
October 2, 5, 7, 9,12, 14,16, 19, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31

Park closes for regular guests when the party starts. Times vary for each day but most nights begin at 6:00 and end at midnight. With the tickets, you can enter Disneyland 3 hours before the start of the party. You receive a bracelet when you enter that shows you are staying for the party. Here are some of the special attractions during the Halloween Party:

  • Guests are allowed to wear Halloween costumes in the park
  • Trick or treating stations throughout the park
  • Halloween Screams fireworks show – exclusive to the Halloween Party
  • Paint the Night parade
  • Photo ops with Disney characters dressed in Halloween costumes as well as special Disney villains
  • Dance party

New to the Halloween time is a new dining experience: Blue Bayou Premium Halloween Dining Experience. This special night, hosted by Dr. Facilier, the villain from The Princess and the Frog, also includes tickets for a priority viewing area for Halloween Screams fireworks. It is only offered on nights of Mickey’s Halloween Party. Price is $150 per person.

If you are interested in visiting Disneyland during Halloween time or anytime during October, check out our friends at Get Away Today for a quote for your vacation. They offer some great deals to Disneyland including neighboring hotels. Now is the time to have a fantastic fall at Disney!

Join us tomorrow for a full update on what is happening at Disney World and Magic Kingdom for Halloween!

JackSally

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Christmas Time at Walt Disney World

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We are continuing our holiday series with a look at Christmastime at Walt Disney World! Have you ever considered spending the holidays at one of the happiest place on earth? We caught up with the busy O family after their trip to Disney World this last December, and talked with them about the highlights of a holiday trip. They also have some great tips for any family thinking about planning a trip.

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PS Ears: When did you visit Disney World?

December 13-20 2013

PS Ears: What ages were your kids when you took your vacation?

13, 11, 8, 5

PS Ears: How many days were you at the parks? Was it enough time for you or not?

We had a 5-day park pass. Yes, we had plenty of time.

PS Ears: Where did you stay? Would you stay there again?

We stayed off property at Orange Lake Resort. Yes, we would stay there again.

PS Ears: Were there any challenges or advantages to staying off property from Disney World?

The biggest challenge for us staying on Disney Property was the size of our family. The cost was too much because we would need a larger room or 2 rooms. It would have been wonderful and more convenient but our place was VERY close to Disney Property. We were able to get to the resort and park and get into the park very quickly. Not a problem at all.

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PS Ears: Would you visit Disney World at Christmas time again?

Yes, we would visit again before Christmas but not in between Christmas or New Years.

PS Ears: How long did it take you to plan and book your trip?

13 years – just kidding!  Over a year only because we were deciding on the time to go and where to stay and if we should do Disneyland or DisneyWorld

PS Ears: What were some special experiences from your trip that you loved?

We loved every park and had a magical time at each one. I think it is because everything was new and a fun adventure.

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PS Ears: What were some special Christmas experiences/attractions/events that you would say visitors should definitely see?

We loved the Christmas parades and just the feeling there around Christmas. Magic Kingdom did something that my kiddos liked –the princesses all handed out Christmas cards when you met them and they were already signed!

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PS Ears: What were your children’s favorite things – by age?

Our daughter, age 13-Animation Academy, Rockin Roller Coaster, Big Thunder, Toy Story Mania
Our daughter, age 11- Expedition Everest, Rockin Roller Coaster, Toy Story Mania
Our son, age 8- Animation Academy, Rockin Roller Coaster, Toy Story Mania
Our daughter, age 5- Meeting the princesses, Splash Mountain, Toy Story Mania

PS Ears: What things would you do different next time?

It would be really nice to stay on Disney Property and see what that includes. The Magic Bands would have been cool, not too have been so rushed.

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PS Ears: What challenges did you experience? What could make those better next time?

The dining at the parks was tricky because you couldn’t do last minute. You had to make a reservation 24 hours in advance. So if you didn’t know where to eat and you were only at that park for one day you were in trouble getting in to eat ANYWHERE. Also, we had our picture taken everywhere by the PhotoPass people but we never were able to see them. I had trouble retrieving them from the cards and the website and customer service didn’t help. I wonder if I would have paid for this service it would have been better.

PS Ears: What tips/advice would you give families planning a trip to Disney World during Christmas time?

Go before Christmas, get the Disney World apps for your phone. It helped a lot with wait times. Talk to someone who has been there before and can help you navigate the whole Fast Pass thing.

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If you are interested in planning a Disney World vacation for this December, now is a great time to start planning and booking! Our pals at Destinations in Florida can help you plan and book your Christmas trip! Disney World is very magical for the holidays and it books up quickly!

If you are interested in Disneyland during Christmas time, check out our post all about Disneyland during the holidays.

*Some photos provided by Disney World News

Christmas Time at Disneyland

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How can we be thinking about Christmas already? It’s only April! Well, some families are thinking of planning a holiday trip to the Disney parks, so we took the opportunity to interview one of our Parent Panel members about their last Disneyland trip during Christmas time so we could share it with our readers. If you are thinking about taking a trip to Disneyland this December, you will enjoy our interview with the K family and their tips and reviews!

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PS Ears: What dates did your family visit Disneyland?

We arrived at night on Dec. 13 and left the afternoon of the 16th.

PS Ears: What age is your child?

Our daughter is nine.

PS Ears: Where did your family stay? How many days did you visit the parks? Would you stay there again and did you feel you had enough time at the parks?

We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel in a standard, parking lot view room in the Frontier tower. For the same price and similar walking distance, I recommend an upper level/theme park view at Paradise Pier, especially during the Christmas season. We love seeing World of Color from the view of those rooms on nights we don’t stay out late. It would be a big treat to watch the Winter Dreams version of World of Color because of the extra Christmas lighting and all the big bubble snowflakes that float over California Adventure during the show. Plus, since Olaf from “Frozen” is the host, kids would have fun hearing his jokes & the soundtrack from the t.v. in the room.

The long weekend worked great. Adding tours and using the extra park hours for hotel guests helped make the most of our time.

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PS Ears: How was the hotel’s Christmas decorations and special offerings?

Everything was very pretty–the cutest decoration at the hotel was a big plastic gingerbread house in the lobby. There are many holiday activities for hotel guests. They had Santa visits, holiday movies shown outside, carolers, a holiday-themed scavenger hunt & trivia game, and Christmas crafts. The best crafts for kids are Washcloth Creations and Snowglobe Ornaments. It’s free to learn how to fold washcloths into favorite Disney characters & decorate them with stickers/ribbons which kids can keep. The snowglobes were $20 or $25 each and fun for kids to assemble.

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PS Ears: Would you visit Disneyland at Christmas time again?

Yes!  We all had so much fun!

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PS Ears: What would you do different?

We watched the fireworks behind the castle instead of on Main Street. This has been a great spot other times of the year but this time, they didn’t play the music back there. It was still fun to see!

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PS Ears: What age of children do you think would best enjoy Disneyland at Christmas time?

Any age is perfect! The only thing I’d caution is this time of year is usually crowded so it can be draining for kids (and adults) navigating around and waiting longer times for rides.

PS Ears: What were some of the best highlights at the parks for the holidays?

The holiday tour is expensive (I paid $60 each) but well-worth it on crowded days. It lasts about 2 ½ hours which includes the time watching the parade. The tour guide takes you on Haunted Mansion Holiday, the Jingle Cruise, and It’s a Small World Holiday. Each of these rides had a 60-90 minute wait that day. Being able to just walk on these popular rides was a big time saver for our short trip. You also get to sit in front-row seats by the beginning of the parade. So, instead of spending time staking out a good view, you arrive about 15 minutes before it starts. Being in the front row is definitely great for kids since characters will walk up & interact with them.

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The tour includes Mickey gingerbread cookies and hot chocolate in Christmas mugs to have during the parade.  You also get a special limited-edition pin, another pin and a piece of Christmas candy while walking through CA. The tour guide tells funny stories about holiday things that happened at Disneyland and California Adventure as you walk around. There were young kids on the tour & they seemed to like it.

The Jingle Jangle Jamboree at Disneyland has all sorts of games, crafts, shows & snacks. There’s a short line to visit Santa. Mrs. Clause is there along with at least eight other characters. So, you can get a bunch of photos/autographs quickly.

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We loved the short Christmas show projected on It’s a Small World. Our favorite show was definitely World of Color Winter Dreams. Keeping our short trip in mind, we got a World of Color lunch package. This included passes in the best section. We were able to arrive 20 minutes before the show and stand close to the front.  This saved time. Otherwise, you have to wait in the Fast Pass ticket line in the morning, then line up before the show starts to enter your assigned section and then wait for the show to start. That can be tiring for kids since they already had a long day.

The best meal was at Big Thunder Ranch BBQ which was decorated for Christmas and had a show of two singers who walked around the tables singing holiday songs. I’m still thinking about the delicious brownie with peppermint ice cream that we all shared! They had two other seasonal dessert choices which sounded great.

Also, there’s a Disney tradition of getting their rare candy canes that are handmade in front of you on certain days. We bought two. My husband loved the fresh sourdough bread in the shape of a Christmas tree that we got at CA. My daughter’s favorite treats were the Mickey-shaped gingerbread beignets at DL.

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PS Ears: Would you recommend Disneyland at Christmas time for a first-time visit? Why or why not?

I think going off-season is the better time to go. But, a first-time Christmas trip could be wonderful. I’d say splurge if you can and stay at one of the Disney hotels to get the extra hours in the parks. Also, take the Welcome to Disneyland Tour (I paid $20 ea.) In two hours, our guide walked us on the train, Haunted Mansion Holiday and It’s a Bug’s Life. She gave us Fast Passes to use anytime that day for Star Tours, Pirates of the Caribbean and Soarin’. She also gave passes for priority seating at the show of our choice (we did Mickey & the Magical Map).  She made dining reservations for us. She also had World of Color Fast Passes for shows that had already sold out to the public. Along the way, you’re walked through both parks and hear all sorts of fun & interesting stories. This is definitely a big time-saver. Also, there’s the Christmas tour I recommended. If you go with tours, you really get to do so much regardless of the crowds. They also help first-time visitors learn about the parks.

PS Ears: What advice would you give other families planning a Christmas time trip to Disneyland?

Going to Disneyland at Christmas is expensive but you can save a bunch with a Disney Visa for discounts on park purchases & tours. The main way we’ve saved money is with our Costco membership. Their Disneyland packages include free character meals, a $25 gift card and other perks. They have the best prices every time compared to Disney Travel and AAA. I don’t work for any of these companies, I’m just happy to have found these savings for our favorite vacation place!

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Sofia & Jake Valentines

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Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and with four kids having Valentine’s parties at school, we are busy with lots and lots of Valentine’s at our house! Since we are big Disney fans, our kindergartner wanted to have her favorite Disney princess for her Valentines. We thought it would be fun for each of her “princess” friends in class to get to make their own Sofia necklace for Valentine’s Day, so here are our Sofia valentines. Each bag includes an elastic band for stringing, and purple gems, pearl beads, and purple and white beads.

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Now most boys in class don’t want to make a sparkly, princess necklace so we came up with a fun Jake valentine for all the pirate fans! Each boy gets a treasure of gold chocolate coins and Hershey’s chocolate nuggets. We found the cute pirate coins at World Market. Here is our Jake valentine.

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If you want to make these cute Valentine’s for your child’s class, click on the picture below and download the FREE printable! We love to give out free printables for everyone, so please enjoy and share!

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