Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Overview for First Time Visitors
Thank you for listening to The Orlando Local Show and checking out our first look at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP). This is one of the best parties at the Magic Kingdom and we’re looking forward to going again.
In this episode, we’ll lay out why we like it so much and cover the details of getting into the party and what to expect when you attend.
Once you’re inside, we’ll give you our tips and experiences to help you make the most of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, from collecting candy to enjoying characters, parades, fireworks and shows.
We also cover some things that you may want to avoid, as they can be time consuming and may waste your limited time at the party. However, we know that it’s your party, and we present both sides to help you choose the best plan for your experience at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.
Walt Disney World Tickets for MNSSHP – (includes Costume Guidelines)
William: Hi! Welcome to the Orlando Local show, episode number five.
Hey, thank you for joining us on the Orlando Local Show. My name is William Beem.
Lee: Hey! I’m Lee Beem.
William: Today we are going to give you some tips and advice. We are going to be talking about how to plan for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.
If you haven’t been before, this party is a blast. We enjoy it very much. It’s one of our favorites and I say that, but I’ve only been one time. But Lee, you’ve been there more times that I can count!
Lee: Probably more than we can! I think we’ve done twelve or fourteen parties in the last four of five years.
William: When she says “we” she’s talking about her and her daughter, before we got married. So I mean you’d come over here and you’d take vacations for maybe two or three weeks at a time. And then you’d plan it so that you could do multiple parties per trip.
Lee: We would. And then what we would do was we wouldn’t buy enough days worth of tickets sometimes and we would tag on the Halloween party tickets as Magic Kingdom day entries.
I would think nothing of dropping the cash for three parties in one trip.
William: Tell me. Obviously you did it a number of times, especially on one trip. So what is it about the party that you enjoyed so much? What did you like so much? What did it have that really made you want to come back and do it over and over again?
Lee: You know, I really do feel that this was one of the things where we felt we got value for the dollars that we spent. The atmosphere is something where, if you’ve been, you know what I’m talking about; if you haven’t been, it is really difficult to describe.
We tried to explain this to you last year and we tried our best, but it was only when you got there and you went, “Now I get it!”
William: Exactly. Because I remember when I walked in I thought this is very different to what you typically see.
Lee: It’s unparalleled to the way that you are going to experience the Magic Kingdom at any other time.
William: It’s the combination of the lights, the colors, but not only that. There are decorations around and then there are characters around that are a bit different to what you experience any other time.
Lee: It’s not just the lights. It’s the lighting in the park. It’s the music that is there. They have got these little lights that are projected and they make little shapes and patterned Halloween images on the sidewalks and on the sides of buildings and there is something about the atmosphere that is so very different.
William: And those glowing eyes in the Mickey Pumpkins that are up on the light posts.
Lee: Yes, I mean everything just takes on a whole new look and feel. So yeah, the atmosphere is one of the things.
The other thing is that when we started going, Tové was very much into her character meet and greets and that extended right through until I’d say she was probably about twelve, when she started feeling like, OK, I’m done with this now.
William: So there are a couple of differences with the characters. I mean, I know there are going to be some characters that aren’t out at other times. They are specific to the Halloween Party.
William: And then there are characters that you might see at other times, but they are going to be in different costumes.
Lee: They are in different costumes. Like Mickey and Minnie have a costume on that you don’t see them wearing at other times and as I say, you are going to see characters that you wouldn’t ordinarily find out and about. They are often referred to as the “rare characters.”
William: That’s kind of cool, because if you’re going to pay money for a hard ticket party like this, you want to get something that you don’t get any other night at the Magic Kingdom.
Lee: Oh, absolutely! You do.
And then the other thing is the parade. I think this is my favorite parade of any Disney parade.
William: And this is the one with the name where I’ve got to laugh when I see it. Boo To You?
Lee: Yeah. So?
William: I thought it was funny.
Lee: It’s Halloween. Of course!
William: No-one has ever told me, “Boo To You!” But as soon as I was sitting down ... when I went there I was ready to take pictures and I got my spot and here they come right at me and the first thing you see are a couple of characters that have got the little banner and it says “Boo To You.” What is it? Like a big drum or something?
Lee: I think it’s really cute, though. I love the parade. I mean, it’s something different. It’s something really special and I think they really pull out all the stops for this.
The music; the characters that you see; the energy as well. The energy in that parade is something completely different.
William: The energy was nice. What I remember is there were some of the characters that you don’t see - like from the Haunted Mansion – that you don’t see as live characters. So they had the grave diggers, they had the dancers from the grand banquet hall, whatever it is.
Lee: The dead waltzers. I love them. They are my favorites and I love the grave diggers as well. I mean there is just so much to see.
And then Winnie the Pooh and Tigger and Friends for the little ones are also – all four of them are there – and they are dressed up in Halloween costumes. Tigger’s got his mask on and they have got their little Halloween theme going on there in their furry selves.
William: It’s for everybody. It’s, as it says in the title, not so scary. So they’ve got something there for the adults and they’ve also got something there for the kids. They see their favorite characters that are kind of out for Trick or Treat.
Lee: That’s right. And then the other thing is that from when the party starts, which is at 7 o’ clock, you go into the stores, like the Emporium and some of the other stores in Main Street, and they’ve got merchandise that they set out that you won’t be able to buy outside of the party hours. So you do get a little bit of exclusivity when it comes to your shopping.
William: I remember there was an exclusive cupcake, too, that we failed to get!
Lee: That’s at the Bakery? I know, because they moved it. It used to be at Main Street Bakery and that’s since changed and they had it at Gaston’s Tavern last year. Tové really wanted this ghost cupcake. We used to always get her a ghost cupcake or something special and oh! We really messed up because ....
William: Oh, I know, because they were out of the cupcakes.
Lee: No, they weren’t.
William: We went to the wrong place, is that what it was?
Lee: We told her that we wanted to get a spot to take photos first and when we were done with the photos we would get the cupcakes. By the time we were done with the photos they had closed.
William: Oh they closed! That’s right.
Lee: We didn’t hear the end of it for a long time! Even though she probably had like thirty pounds of candy (I don’t know how much she really had).
William: I probably shouldn’t tell her to listen to this podcast, because she’ll come back at us again.
Lee: Yeah, don’t tell her about this one! We’ll let her know the other ones.
William: Next time we go to the Halloween party this year, we’ll make sure we just tell her, “Go get your cupcake first.”
Lee: We’ve already told her, I think, haven’t we?
William: I don’t remember, but that’s me.
Lee: We’ve told her. She gets her cupcake this year.
William: Alright, so you mentioned Trick or Treat and bags of candy.
William: This is the part that I really couldn’t wrap my head around because I know you’re walking through the park, they give you a bag and then there are different candy stations you can go to, but you and Tové had an interesting way of doing it.
Lee: Yes, we know how to Trick or Treat. We’ve actually been – there was one trip – where we went to three parties and we used the luggage scales to weigh out stuff and we ended up leaving some of it behind because we had over fifty pounds of candy collectively between the two of us from the three parties.
William: Last year was my first Halloween party. I still have candy left over from that party.
Lee: We gave ours away, didn’t we, to our own Trick or Treaters. We didn’t ... I mean we couldn’t eat it all. It’s just fun to collect.
William: You gave yours away. I’ve still got the caramel in my bag.
Lee: I gave you all my caramels.
William: I know. I was going to make caramel corn with it, but I didn’t realize that’s not how you do it.
Lee: Huh. Ungrateful! All the Werthers stuff.
William: Oh, the Werther’s caramel is great.
Lee: The Trick or Treat is a lot of fun. They do give you these little plastic bags. You can get more if you fill yours up. You can go back and get more. What I would suggest is if you are not taking a backpack or something, consider taking something to carry this candy, especially if your kids are really into it and you don’t have a stroller. I know the people with strollers use the stroller to load the loot in there, but that candy gets heavy.
I remember a very disgruntled cast member. It was the one and only time I made the huge mistake of riding the Astro Orbiter. I’ll never do that again!
I’m not a very big person and I had my little kid with me and the two of us could not fit in this rocket. I was standing up, they wanted to go, but I couldn’t seem to squeeze my butt and my legs in there and the cast member wanted to know what the problem was. I said to her, “I can’t seem to fit.”
Yeah, she had some words for me. But it turned out that I had so much darn candy with me that I was having a problem trying to get myself in there and she was not impressed.
Of course people started giggling and Tové turned around and said to me, “Well, that’s you told Mom. You should be able to fit!”
I just had this immaturity attack. I got into fits of giggles and couldn’t stop laughing.
William: Here’s the funny part for me, because I’m the big one in this relationship. I mean you’re like a stick!
Lee: Aw, I’m not a stick!
William: The idea that you can’t fit in a ride is just mind-blowing.
Lee: I know. This is what she was saying. Anyway, I promptly thanked them. I will never be back on there again because I threw up when I came down. I don’t do things that go round and round.
William: We will not be taking you on anything that spins around and around.
Lee: No more!
William: Alright, so you mention the parade and the other thing that is different is the fireworks.
Lee: OK, the fireworks show is different because it’s not your regular Wishes and unlike with the Christmas party, where, when the Christmas party season comes to an end they kind of continue it through the busy period and you still get to see the Christmas stuff, Halloween is different.
If you don’t attend a party, unless you’ve got a view from outside somewhere like the Contemporary, Bay Lake Towers or various other locations around where you can see from outside, but you do not get to experience this fireworks show. It’s the colors, the music and the whole theme of the show is completely different.
It really is beautiful. I just like it. Lots of greens and purples and oranges.
William: Well, you like your villains, too.
Lee: I do. I’m a villains person. I’ve never been a princess person. What did I tell you? If anyone every proposed to me in front of the castle, I’d know I had the wrong man.
He didn’t do it!
William: No, we went to Cosmic Rays instead.
Lee: Yes, we did!
William: Alright, so let’s get into the details. If you are going to want to plan for this party, for this year, tell us what’s going to be happening and what the details are for getting in.
Lee: This year they are starting a bit earlier. I think ... I don’t recall now. Was it last year or the year before? They have started commencing the party dates from early in September. It used to only start the Tuesday after Labor Day, but things seem to have changed now.
So it’s running from September 2nd this year, which is the night of the first party – it’s a Friday – through October 31st. This year they do not have a party for November 1st, which is different to other years. I am pretty certain that last year November 1st still had a party. But you’ve got select nights through those dates. I’m not going to list them all. They are all on the Disney website.
William: We’ll make sure there’s a link to that web page in the show notes.
Lee: We’ll get you hooked up with that. We’ll actually put something in the transcript as well.
William: Yeah, just go to orlandolocal.com/5 and from there we will get you links to make sure you know where else to go to take a look at this stuff.
Lee: What was I going to say now?
William: You were talking about the dates and you said October 31st is going to be the last show, and that’s a little bit different.
Lee: It is. Now the pricing structure varies. You often see it and this year is no different. There are questions all over the internet, on forums and Q&A sections and Disney fan groups, where people are asking: “I’m looking at this night and this night and which one do you think is going to be better or worse?”
It’s an educated guess. Nobody can tell you for certain, but as a guideline, the parties that are cheaper are the ones that Disney expects to have lower attendance. They are not idiots when it comes to marketing and they are going to charge more for the ones that they are anticipating are going to be sold out.
If you are looking at parties with the same price and you are trying to pick between two dates, generally any party that is on a weekend night is going to be busier than something that falls on a week night when your regular people have to go back to work.
Sunday night is a good night.
William: Well, exactly. Locals like us who have got to get up and work Monday through Friday, 8 to 5 kind of jobs, it’s hard to go off and do a party like that and then show up clear-eyed for work the next morning. So we are going to be more likely to do a Friday or Saturday night.
Lee: We are, and for some people it’s unavoidable so depending on how your trip falls, that might not be an option for you. You can pretty much figure it out for yourself and have the best guess. Nobody else is going to be able to tell you.
What I can say is that I have been to two or three sold out parties, two of them were not actually terrible at all; one of them felt full and I had a suspicion it was sold out. I’ve also been so parties that were just absolutely dead, where we strolled up to the kerb thinking we were going to watch the second parade and the first parade was coming round and we just walked right up and took a kerb-side seat minutes before the headless horseman.
It’s a guessing game and nobody really knows for certain. I’m sure Disney has ways to collect their data.
William: Well, it makes sense because, like you said, it’s going to start early in September and it’s going to be hot!
Lee: It is going to be hot!
William: As you get into the end of October it’s going to cool down and it’s going to be much more pleasant. So people are probably going to want to plan for going for a much more pleasant night. The locals are going to want to go out on Friday and Saturday nights when they can, so that’s an add to the crowd. It’s going to cost more for when there are more people there. If you want to go and save some money, go early and just be prepared for the weather.
The weather could be just the fact that it’s going to be hot, or it’s still storm season. We are still in hurricane season so theoretically a storm could come in. We haven’t really had a problem this year. We haven’t had a problem for many years, but it doesn’t mean that a tropical storm couldn’t come along.
Lee: We attended a rained out party once and if you remind me, I’ll touch on that at the end. It doesn’t fit in here, but we can give you some what-if scenarios.
The other thing is that if you are here in October or if you have the option to go September or October, just bear in mind that there are Annual Passholder discounts and there are military discounts. It’s not a huge amount, especially not for the Annual Passholder. I think ours we are looking at about five bucks off per adult ticket.
Lee: I know.
William: Five dollars? That will save us fifteen dollars. It’s almost a meal for me.
Lee: I know, but if you want to cash in on these discounts, there are a lot of blackout dates from about a third of the way through October, through to the end of the party season. There are no Annual Passholder discounts. You can still go, but you just buy the regular ticket and cough up the extra money.
The military discount also has blackout dates so there are certain dates that you won’t be able to apply the discount. These are just things out there. It’s all on Disney’s website. You have to dig around to find it, but if you go into the party section to purchase tickets, I think if you log into your account and you’ve got all your things set up on My Disney Experience it seems to generate the discounted tickets as soon as I log in.
William: There is one other thing that is a little bit different. Typically Disney does not like adults to dress up as characters going into the park. But this is Halloween.
Lee: I know it is and you told us that we can’t dress up this year.
William: I said I’m not dressing up. I don’t dress up. That doesn’t mean other people can’t dress up.
Lee: See we dressed up before and it was lots of fun.
William: If you want to dress up, you go ahead and dress up.
Lee: OK, well we’ll discuss that between ourselves.
Now there’s been a lot of chatter since the changes and when Disney upped the security late last year there was all the speculation about the costumes and what was going to happen at the Halloween party.
You are still welcome to wear the costumes, even as adults, to the Halloween party. There really have not been that many changes to the restrictions. There are a few really stupid ones. They actually encourage you to come dressed up.
William: Can you come dressed as a Disney character?
Lee: You can come dressed as a Disney character.
William: So if an adult woman wants to come dressed as Tinkerbell, can she do that?
William: Not during the regular time though.
Lee: Not during the regular time, but for the party, yes you may.
Now there are some restrictions. This one just really got me. Capes are not to be any longer than waist length. Now I ask of you with tears in my blue eyes, have you ever seen a character with a cape that is only waist length?
I mean, you’re just going to look like such a dork. Don’t bother. Leave the cape!
William: My thought was just like Edna Mode in the Incredibles. “No capes!”
Lee: No capes. It’s dangerous. You’ll kill yourself with a cape.
OK, face masks for adults fourteen and over, they have always said that you can’t. I know people have maybe slipped in with them and used them, but ...
William: You run the risk. It’s not that we haven’t seen them there, but technically it’s not within their rules and someone may approach you and say sorry, but you have to remove the mask.
Lee: There is also this thing that people seem to have a problem misinterpreting. I am not saying everyone, but I’ve seen people state that Disney has said that you can’t wear multiple layered costumes.
They don’t actually say that. All they are saying is be aware that you may be subject to further screening. I do not think that somebody who is going in their beautiful, home-made, Cinderella dress – and I have seen some gorgeous costumes that people have worn – they are not going to have a problem with that. They don’t want the stuff dragging on the ground. I understand that because I don’t really want to be tripping on somebody’s skirt and pulling it off. I don’t want to wreck somebody’s costume and you don’t want somebody else tripping and falling into someone else or hurting themselves.
So it’s kind of practical things. There haven’t been a lot of changes. Again, I’m not going to rehash what Disney has said on the website under the Halloween party section. We will put links in there in our show notes and in the transcript as well. You can go through and check it up for yourself.
William: Now that you know when it is, where it is and what it is, what the benefits are that you want to go to the Halloween party, you kind of want to have a plan for it. That’s what this show is really about. So how do you start off getting prepared? What do you want to know before you even get there?
Lee: It’s kind of harder if you’re going to the first party. Once you’ve got the benefit of the first party, people start putting their experiences out there and anyone who is going to subsequent parties can plan accordingly. So you never know exactly for sure what characters there are or where they are going to be, where your special PhotoPass Magic Shots are going to be. You have an idea because most of these things are pretty stable though the years, but occasionally they do make changes and sometimes they are forced to make changes for various reasons.
William: So in other words, the characters that are going to be special and the things that are going to be special, nobody really knows for sure until the first party and then everybody goes on the internet and starts reporting, “Oh, I saw the Seven Dwarfs over here; I saw Jack and Sally over there ...”
Lee: That’s true, but look, there aren’t really that many changes. Sometimes they add things and sometimes they take something away. Things move.
William: Sometimes they change the whole show.
Lee: Sometimes they do, but it’s not the whole show. It’s just elements of it. So I’d say that based on past years, you can be pretty certain for most things. Just allow yourself to be flexible. There are usually one or two minor changes here and there and if you are not planning on going on September 2nd, you will be able to tweak your plans accordingly, based on the information that comes out.
William: You’ve got a limited amount of time for your party.
Lee: Yes. You’ve got five hours. It starts at 7 pm (officially), ends at midnight ...
William: You can get in with your party ticket earlier at, what? Four o’ clock?
Lee: Four o’ clock and it is on Disney’s website. I know of a number of years it was kind of unofficial that they would let you in at 4 pm and that was to stop a bottle-neck when everybody arrived. But they actually put on there now that you can be admitted on your party ticket from 4 pm in the afternoon.
William: So that’s our first tip. Get there early. Get there before the party starts.
Lee: Yes, try and use that time if you can.
William: You can go do some rides on that, but another benefit of it is there may be items that you want to do for the party and you may want to start lining up for it before it’s officially seven o’ clock.
Lee: Yes. The Seven Dwarfs is one of them, because the lines tend to get incredibly long and they do stay long pretty much throughout the evening. I know if you want to risk it and go much later in the evening you can get into line.
William: Well, let’s not be ambiguous. When you say long, how long is the line that you’ve seen?
Lee: Oh, we’ve been in a line at a party – I don’t think it was even a sold out party – and there were people who waited over two hours. We spoke to people who waited over two hour in the line.
William: Two hours out of your five hour party?
Lee: Out of your five hour party.
William: Now you told me before, though, that you did this earlier when you got in line at about 6:15, 6:30?
Lee: Actually, no it was earlier than that because the party starts at seven. So what we did was we didn’t rush to be there at four, but I think we got in about 4:30 pm. We went and did a couple of rides. They are not going to have things set up for the party so early.
William: No, you had a meal. What time did you get in line to meet the Dwarfs?
Lee: Well, we went and grabbed ourselves some snacks so we got an ice cream or a Dole Whip or something and we got in line at about 5:30 pm. It was a general “This is more or less where the line is going to be.”
We were quite near the front. We were kind of fifth or sixth family waiting in line. So by the time it was 7:05 pm we had met the Dwarfs, we had our photos taken and we were good to go and enjoy the party. We didn’t feel like we’d really lost any party time.
William: Alright, that’s kind of a key thing. If you want to get to some of these characters and you get there early, you can get in line for it early, even though the party hasn’t started. The nice part is you are not going to waste two hours for something.
You still get a memory that isn’t available any other time of the year.
Lee: That is true. Jack and Sally is another very popular character meet and greet. You’re going to have a similar experience with this. The other thing is when you are getting in line, if you are going to the first party, this is where it’s always kind of hard for the people who go the first time, nobody seems to really know exactly or be willing to confirm for certain where the meet and greet is. Unless you happen to meet the right cast member who knows. A lot of these people genuinely don’t know.
William: They’re not told so they can’t spoil it.
Lee: Well, they don’t want to give wrong information. It’s not that they can’t spoil it. It’s probably just there are so many things for them to know and that’s not on top of their list.
See if you can find out what you can. Most people, if you do a little bit of asking around before, people have a good guess as to where you need to be.
William: That’s just something that you keep in mind for your planning. If you really want to do the character experience, the first party goes and you don’t know anything before you get there. After the first party is over, word starts to get out on the internet and the forums and then the cast members also know. You’ve got a better shot of planning where to show up to line up to get your character experience and then you’re out of there as the party is beginning, rather than wasting an hour or two hours in line.
Lee: If you’re into characters you’re going to want to meet a few of these so you don’t want to burn two hours in a line because you are going to dedicate time to wait in other lines and you have got to be willing to wait for these characters. We were always happy to wait for some.
William: Oh yeah, if that’s what you’re into, but at least if you know the ones that are most important to you and you have a priority list, you can go ahead and start waiting on your regular ticket time, so to speak.
Lee: Yes, exactly.
The same goes for eating. If you have got a table service reservation in the park, for the party, don’t make it during the party hours. In fact, make sure that you’ve allowed yourself time to eat and get the heck out of there to enjoy the party. Don’t be sitting inside a restaurant when the party starts, because you’ve paid for this time and you’ve paid for the different experience for this time. Don’t waste it.
William: And that’s kind of like the biggest tip that we’ve got. Don’t spend time during the party doing things that you could do another time.
Lee: Except some rides. There is something special. We used to love dressing up and then getting photos of ourselves in costume on the rides and there was something really cool about that.
William: You can’t go to the park and not do any rides. Not all of the rides are going to be open during the party, so you may want to take a look at the list and see which are going to be closed and if some of those are ones you want to do, do those before the party actually begins.
Lee: That’s another way to get around it. Also some of them are just really long rides or shows.
I mean, doing a show ... if you need a breather, for some people a show works because it’s a necessary break, but if you can avoid it and try and spend your time experiencing the things you’re not going to get to do any other time.
William: So long as we’re talking about rides, one other thing that we were looking at is there are no FastPasses during the party hours.
Lee: No, there are not. Your seasoned visitors know this; people who have done parties before or know people who have done parties generally know this, but sometimes it comes as a surprise to those who have not.
And it’s not an obvious thing where you can go, “D’oh.” You would assume that it’s available. It’s not available for the party times. It kind of works like the extra magic hours.
William: But if you get there on your ticket at four o’ clock, you can still schedule FastPasses?
Lee: Oh, for sure.
William: You’ve got a three hour window between four and seven.
Lee: Oh, yeah, use them! Use them if you can book them for then. Although I’m not sure how it works with booking FastPasses on a Halloween party ticket. I think if you have gone in on a day ticket you could do that.
William: Hmm, there’s something to explore then.
Lee: I’ll double check on that, but as far as I know, you cannot use your Halloween party ticket to book FastPasses.
William: OK, so it’s more about the ticket than the time of the party.
Lee: Yes. Your rides tend not to have very long lines at that time of day, compared to a normal day when there’s not a party.
William: That’s true. Because they are not going to put as many people in the park for the party as they do if it gets really filled up.
Lee: Some of the parties get filled up and feel concentrated, but it’s also because there are certain areas where there is all the activity.
William: Alright, now since this is Halloween, we talked about this a little bit earlier, but there are Trick or Treat stations.
William: They’ve actually got some decent candy there. It depends on what you like. I’m a chocolate fan myself. I don’t want anything but chocolate.
Lee: I’m a hard candy girl.
William: But they’ve got enough to keep us both happy.
Lee: Yes, we trade.
William: Then they’ve got those little marshmallow Peeps. There were Peeps in almost every handful of whatever I got.
Lee: No, there was a special Peeps station.
William: I got Peeps in my bag sometime and I know I wouldn’t have gone to a special Peeps station.
Lee: You went because we told you that you had to so that you could trade Tové for Werthers.
William: Is that what it was?
Lee: Yeah, she likes Peeps.
William: OK, so long as there’s a use for the Peeps. I have no use for Peeps.
Lee: No, you traded them. You got good candy in return. You got chocolate.
William: Alright, so how far apart are these little stations?
Lee: Well, they are marked on the party map. That’s another thing you’ll be given is a party map, when you go in, along with your wrist band and your party bag. So you can have a look and see where they are. They tend to be in the same places every year. There is nothing in Main Street, which is probably a good thing because it can get very congested.
Tomorrowland has a couple of them, there are several in Fantasyland, Frontierland and Liberty Square have a few as well.
There is also a really nice trail that starts at the Fantasyland Train Station and walks you through to Tomorrowland and we used to sometimes do a run through and then belt back and run through again.
You just walk through and there are several candy stations as you walk. You just keep passing through these.
William: And she’s not talking about running through one station to the next. She’s talking about “I went to station A. I got candy.”
I said, “I want more of that.” So let’s go back to station A like three or four times.
Lee: That must have been Tové. Tové is shameless!
William: She is! I mean, I’m thinking, we just went to this place. She says, “Yeah, we’re going back!”
Lee: I know. I think kids can get away with that a little bit more easily than the adults can.
William: They didn’t give me a hard time for it. I noticed that the handfuls of candy they were giving me were getting smaller with each trip.
Lee: Yes. You switch bags with Tové.
William: I’m kind of waving like, “It’s not my fault, it’s hers!”
OK, we mentioned there is special merchandise. What kind of things are you going to find there?
Lee: I know that they often have special pins and things. It varies from year to year.
William: So if you’re into pins they are definitely going to have commemorative pins.
Lee: Yeah, they’ve got T-shirts ....
William: Oh, T-shirts, yeah.
Lee: It’s the usual stuff. Just have a look. The Emporium has and on the other side of Main Street they sometimes have a few things in there as well.
William: OK, we talked about parades and fireworks, but there’s more than one parade.
Lee: Yes, there are two parades. So you’ve got your first parade which I believe is traditionally around 8:30 pm and then you’ve got your fireworks show and then you’ve got your second parade.
William: So Main Street is going to be kind of crammed for most of the time between 8:30 pm and maybe 10:30 pm when the last one ends?
Lee: It is crammed, but it’s not like it’s crammed on a regular night when you’re going to go and watch the Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes. It’s not that kind of crammed.
It’s going to be busy because they have got the Villains show on the castle’s forecourt stage, which appears intermittently during the evening. There are things going on there like character meet and greets. You’ve got a lot of ... you’ve got the stores there. People are wanting to get in and out for merchandise, so yeah, it’s kind of a hub of activity. There is a lot of the themed lighting there.
William: And we mentioned that the fireworks show is going to be different. If you want to see this show, it’s only during this ticketed event.
William: They are going to have different lighting, different music, and basically the whole atmosphere and experience is going to be different. You’re not going to see it anywhere else. Even the fireworks themselves are going to be different.
Lee: It’s really cool.
William: Then the parade we mentioned is different, the characters are going to be a mix of your traditional favorites in Halloween stuff and then some of the characters that you typically do not see.
Lee: Yeah, and also we didn’t find that we ever needed to show up extremely early for a parade. There has been the occasional exception when I’ve wanted to take some specific photos, but I tend not to make it every Halloween party. I’ll make maybe one per season a photography thing and the rest I just go to enjoy.
William: What about the shows? You were talking about the Villains show up there. What kind of shows are we going to be looking at?
Lee: Well, they’ve changed it but it’s a little show that they put on for like ten or fifteen minutes to music and dance. You’ve seen the little show that they do in the daytime in the Magic Kingdom with Donald’s dreams come true. They’ve got the Villains show. It used to be the Villains Mix and Mingle. It’s now the Villains ... they’ve got the little Hocus Pocus thing going on ...
William. OK, one of the other things I remember and I don’t know if this was a show or not, but there was a little dance thing over in Tomorrowland, or was it Fantasyland? No, it was Tomorrowland. It’s by the stage over there, not too far from Space Mountain and they had the Monsters Inc characters out there.
Lee: The dance party, yeah!
William: It was actually kind of cool. They had Sully out there, they had the little girl they call Boo. She was out there dressed like an alien and a few other characters. I thought it was actually kind of funny.
Lee: Oh it’s cute and if you’ve got little kids and you want to let them just burn off some energy and have some fun, let them do it!
William: The kids were having a blast!
Lee: There is a Trick or Treat station which is right nearby as well. actually, there are two of them. One of them is usually something healthy like Kelloggs sponsored or Craisins or something, but if you go around by the Carousel of Progress they’ve got real candy there and you can take a break, let your kids get some candy and come back and let them dance and burn off some energy.
William: And it’s fun to watch kids dance because they have no inhibitions about it at all.
Lee: No, they don’t. I kind of wish I could be like that. And nobody thinks they look silly, either.
William: Not if you’re under twelve years old, I think. You can do whatever you want to and no-one cares.
Lee: Yeah, if I do that, everybody cares.
William: OK, there is one other thing that is an extra cost item. And we’re going to talk about that right now.
That’s right. That’s Lee’s theme music!
Lee: Here it comes!
William: She’s got something to say about the dessert party. It’s an extra cost item. Go ahead, Lee. Tell them!
Lee: Oh, Disney? There is no way to put this politely so I’m just going to put it out here, because it’s going to be a rant.
They’ve got the Premium Dessert Party. Now this is going to set you back a cool $79 for an adult (which is anybody aged ten and up) or $47 per child. There is tax on top of that. I haven’t even bothered to calculate the whole thing, because I can assure you this is something we will not be doing.
This is over and above your party ticket. Anyone who is familiar with the Wishes Dessert Party, it kind of falls along the same lines. But this is on top of your party ticket, which is – a cheap one is going to cost you £72 plus tax. This is an expensive evening.
But wait for it. This is what you get. You get a preferred viewing for the parade, which is going to be the first parade of the evening.
William: And where was that? Does it change year to year or is it always the same place?
Lee: Well, last year it was in the same place. Now if you go into the details section to book the Dessert Party, which they won’t let you do without actually signing in and going through the steps and putting your credit card number in. You’re going to meet at the flag pole. So you know where the little circle is where the flag pole is and you’ve got the bench ...?
William: You can see the little trolley tracks kind of part there.
Lee: So, it’s in that area, so you are directly facing the castle up Main Street, and that’s where you’re going to be. This is standing room only. They will accommodate disabled, wheelchairs and people who are on scooters so ...
William: It’s reserved space just for them.
Lee: But it’s reserved space just for them, yes. Now, get this. You pay for your party ticket. The party starts at 7 pm. Forget that you can get in at 4 pm, because the party stuff only starts at 7 pm, right? This is first come, first served to get the best spot. So you might not necessarily be in the front. At 7:30 pm you can start showing up at the flag pole to go and get your spot and be shown into your spot. Then you can sit and wait for an hour and you can do absolutely nothing while everyone is having fun at the party.
You have also bought a ticket for this, but don’t worry about it, because you’re paying for this Premium Dessert Party because you’re really special. They are going to make you feel so good as well.
After the parade they are going to escort you through very nicely to the Tomorrowland Terrace, which is where you’re going to get your dessert party. It’s only dessert. No food. You are going to stay there until you’ve watched the fireworks. You are going to be in there probably until gone 10 pm before you get out.
William: So let’s say the parade starts at 8:30. Let’s say you walk up at the last minute. You’re going to be there from 8:30 until what did you say, 10 pm?
Lee: I’d say 10 pm or after by the time you get out of there.
William: But most likely you’re going to go to that spot earlier than 8:30, so let’s split the difference and say you show up there at eight o’ clock. That’s two hours out of your five hours worth of time.
Lee: Now if you’ve got copious quantities of cash to throw about, by all means go and do it. What I would rather do, if I wanted to burn cash or if I wanted to get a better experience, I would actually just book two party tickets and go to two party nights. I know not everybody is there long enough to allow themselves time to do it, but quite honestly, it’s not really going to cost you any more unless you’ve got kids under nine years old. It’s going to work out a little bit more expensive then. So I can kind of get that, but even so, I just don’t see the justification that you’re not getting anything that special and I think what really bothers me is that at the Halloween party, even if it’s busy and sold out, it is not that hard to show up on Main Street and get a good view of the parade and fireworks. And you don’t have to be standing there for hours on end like you do for Wishes and for the Main Street Electrical Parade.
So my suggestion would be if you are thinking about this so you can get the most out of the party and you’ve got the time to do it, book two party nights.
William: Or you could do what I did. I really wanted to take photographs of the parade and I went there at the second parade.
William: I sat at the same spot where people paid money to have a reserved spot. I was sitting on the sidewalk looking straight down Main Street at the castle. The parade was coming straight at me and I had wonderful photos all the way through the parade.
Lee: Yes, you did, but let me remind you something as well. It was supposedly quite a busy night. I think the night we went was also a sold out night. Tové and I disappeared because she wanted to go Trick or Treat and you sat there and I realized if I’m going to leave this spot, it’s not really right to ask somebody to keep a spot for me. I went back and strolled up to an empty space next to you and we had some people come and join us about five minutes before the parade. There was lots of space.
William: Yeah, it wasn’t a big deal. You let the people pay $79 if they want to so they can have the first parade. Go there at the second parade. And not everybody wants to sit by the flag pole to watch the parade. Some people want to go where it begins over in Frontierland, some people like it over the bridge coming from Frontierland or they want to be at The Hub as it’s coming by the castle or anywhere along the way. Not everybody can be at the flag pole and not everybody wants to be at the flag pole.
Lee: OK, something else I want to point out, because I was reading through their terms and conditions for these dessert party tickets. Now I know there is always a disclaimer because Disney cannot help what happens with the weather. But I have been to a Halloween Party where we were rained out so they canceled one of the parades; I think it was the second parade? I don’t recall. Some of the Trick or Treat stations had to close because they were out in the open and it was just absolutely horrendous. They had forecast rain. We threw our ponchos on. Most of the people emptied out of the park because they were either leaving or they were trying to get a refund at Guest Relations. Now Disney will do this if it’s rained out and you’re losing out on stuff, they are pretty good with that kind of thing and we figured, well if everyone else is getting a refund, let’s go Trick or Treat. And the cast members – there was almost nobody around in the park – they literally handed us loaded bags and said, “Please take them.”
William: That’s why it was too heavy for your luggage!
Lee: That was a different party. And then we went and did rides, which were just basically walk-on. So you can make the most of it. Look, it’s not fun in the rain. I had face paint running down me and everything. I had colored hair spray ...
William: Alright, wait a minute. You’re getting off track of your rant though.
William: We got to the dessert party part and you’ve paid $79. How many desserts are you going to eat that are worth $79?
Lee: I do not think there is a table service meal where it is $79 per head in Disney.
The other thing, and this is how I got off track. I’m sorry, I just tend to do this sometimes! They’ve got in their terms and conditions that if it does rain and they have to cancel the show or the fireworks, there are no refunds issued. But you still get your dessert. So basically, you are guaranteed your dessert.
William: So you get a brownie?
Lee: Well, whatever the heck you want to eat.
William: Is that what it is?
Lee: There’s a limit to how much dessert a person can eat. I mean, I like my chocolate, but ...
William: I don’t know what desserts they are offering, but I’m figuring there is going to be a brownie, cookies ...
Lee: They’ve got a list of stuff. They are going to be nice desserts. I am not concerned about the quality of what they are serving.
William: I can’t eat that much sugar. I cannot eat $79 worth of sugar in one sitting.
William: It’s just not that important to me.
Lee: Yeah, some of you might have been considering it. I would just say, think very carefully before you put out that cash, because you add the party tickets on top of that cost, that is a very expensive night to get half the experience.
William: But you know what? If that’s the experience you want and you don’t mind the cost of it, go for it. It doesn’t hurt me any because the more people who are at that dessert party, the less people are going to be in front of me on the ride.
Lee: This is true.
William: We are going to start winding down now, but we’ve got some tips for you.
Lee: My rule with Tové, and I used to have to try explain this to a young child, is we eat before 7 pm. So whether we ate at the resort, because we always stayed on site, before we left for the party and just showed up at maybe 6 pm, or whether we went into the Magic Kingdom and at a Counter Service meal wherever we were going to eat, we wanted to be done and dusted by 7 pm so that we could enjoy the party time and not be wasting time doing stuff that didn’t count for our ticket. We wanted to experience the park.
Trick or Treat lines. Everyone rushes out to go Trick or Treat. It’s fine. We usually do stop right in the beginning, get a handful of candy so you’ve got something if you want to put it in your mouth, and go and do something else. The lines start to quieten down a little bit when the parades and shows and things are going on. People get siphoned off into doing stuff.
William: And not everybody is really there for the parades or there for the fireworks. If you want to go there and do the rides and get pictures of yourself doing the rides in your costume, that’s usually when the parades and fireworks are going on and that’s the best time to hit some of those rides.
Lee: Oh, it absolutely is.
William: Or even maybe the character experiences. Maybe they kind of filter off a little bit.
Lee: Well this is why we used to like to do multiple parties because we would dedicate one to the shows and parades and certain things and then we would have others where we could just skip that and then we could do the rides and character meet and greets while everybody else was lining up for shows and parades.
William: Would you ever do an all day thing at Magic Kingdom? So in other words a regular ticket for the first part of the day and then your party ticket for the second part of the day?
Lee: There have been times that we’ve done it. If you are buying tickets – I think it depends how you buy your tickets. If you’ve got park hoppers, the way we used to buy them, we usually had tickets for length of stay. There were times when we didn’t and we used it as our ‘rest day’ or maybe a Downtown Disney day or a pool day or whatever. So we didn’t want to burn a day of our park entry.
William: You’re not getting full value for that ticket at Magic Kindgom.
Lee: Well, not at Magic Kingdom. So especially if you don’t have hoppers and you’ve just got the base tickets, I would say no. Having said that, if you’ve got little kids or you ordinarily shoot to be out of the park before 7 pm, that is a really good day to do the Magic Kingdom, if you don’t have a party ticket. The crowds tend to be lower.
William: Nobody wants to go there for a regular day when they’re not going to get the full day.
Lee: Well, that’s exactly what happens. Unless you’ve got hoppers, in which case again, consider doing that for the day and then hopping to a different park for the evening. Crowd wise it definitely has its benefits.
William: So what if you’re not going to the party. You might do Magic Kingdom and then you think when the party starts maybe go and do Epcot?
William: But, what if you are having a meal? There’s kind of like a line between when your day ends and when the party begins.
Lee: Yes. Now Disney is pretty good. You told me you don’t do rope drop or you haven’t been. The literal rope drop where you are walking behind the rope is pretty much the same thing in reverse. They kind of start roping off areas. The hub and spoke layout of the Magic Kingdom means that everybody is going to come in and leave through Main Street.
The cast members are pretty good at filtering people through, not allowing access, so once you get out of a certain land, you get chaneled either to the exit or you have the option to buy a ticket if you are not supposed to be there. Or if you’ve got your party ticket and you don’t have your wrist band, you don’t have to leave the park to get it.
William: That’s good to know. You’ve got to wear a wrist band for the party. So they can visually see easily if you have a wrist band and you don’t. Hey, perhaps you didn’t realize but we are having a party tonight and it’s an extra purchase event.
Lee: Well, they’re not going to yell at you and frog march you out. But they will very politely escort you to the exit. And I can appreciate that because there have been times where we’ve been in the Magic Kingdom and we were not doing a party that night. I respect that because I’ve also paid a lot of money to do parties at night and you don’t want extra people on the street if they didn’t pay to be there.
There are people there who sneak in. You know what? Don’t worry about it. Leave it, go and enjoy your evening. I really don’t care, but the more people they get out, the better.
The thing is, they do make it very difficult to stay in. If somebody pulls it off, they’ve been very smart.
But Disney is going to do a clean sweep and they are going to escort you out if you’ve had a table service reservation. They seem to have clamped down on the times this year as well. I think after 6 pm you have to have a party ticket.
William: I think what happens is there may be some families where some of the people are going to stay and do the party and some are not. They may have misjudged the time or whatever the case may be. Someone is still in the park when they shouldn’t be and those are the ones that, like you said, the cast members are politely going to say, sorry but here’s the way. Do you want to buy a ticket?
Lee: Some people have no idea about the Halloween parties. Genuinely, it’s not that they are trying to cheat or anything.
William: I believe that.
Lee: Some people just didn’t understand it and didn’t know there was a party going on.
William: And that’s why the cast members are really polite about it. They don’t know what the other person knows so they are not going to assume that you’re trying to cheat or anything like that.
William: And it’s not a good experience for anybody if they take that approach. So no, they are going to be very nice about it.
Lee: I think most people left over in the park just lost track of time or didn’t know any better.
William: And if you go in there for the party and you weren’t already in there, at about four o’ clock they start letting you in and when you go up to the gate you’re going to see a well identified area that’s for party tickets. So you can go show your ticket there and they’ll get you your wrist band.
Lee: The cast members are in costume as well. Seriously, you can’t miss them. They are so cute. I love their outfits.
William: Honestly, it’s just a fun time. We are already planning to go at least one more time this year. We are probably going to go in September, but we are going to have a good time.
I may not be dragging along as many cameras this time. I don’t know. Maybe we will take video this time.
Lee: You can take video. I’m taking my camera. I am taking photos.
William: You need to take some photos. I don’t care if you take them with just your smart phone or if you’re going to lug along a bigger camera.
Lee: Well, I don’t know. Should I take photos? Do you think people want to see photos?
Leave a comment if you want us to take photos, because if I take a camera I’ve got to take the tripod and everything. So if you guys want to see photos, let us know. If not, we are going to wing it and trick or treat and we’ll let you know how we enjoyed it.
William: That sounds fair. Go to orlandolocal.com/5 and leave a comment for us. If you want us to take photos, tell us what you want to see.
Lee: Yeah, let us know. We’ll get it for you.
William: Alright, that’s all for today’s show. Thank you very much. We appreciate you.
We wrapped up another show. Again, thanks very much. We really appreciate you and as I’ve said a couple of times, show notes are going to be available at orlandolocal.com/5.
There’s going to be a free transcript of this show, so if you want to take it along or read what we’ve said, that’s fine. Go there, just give us your email address; tell us where to send it off to you.
And of course we really appreciate hearing your comments. Leave us a little feedback, let us know what you like and it will probably help us not only to know what photos to take, but also maybe what kinds of episodes you would like to see in the future.
Take care, everybody. We’ll see you next week!