Showing posts with label parade. Show all posts
Showing posts with label parade. Show all posts

Say "Boo-to-You" at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party has been delighting guests of the Walt Disney World Resort for more than two decades.  Once you've visited this event, it's easy to see why guests return year after year for spooktacular fun.  Whether you are looking for unique treats, rare characters, fa-boo-lous entertainment, or more time on your favorite attractions, there is certainly something for everyone to enjoy.  So here is a list of my frightful dos and don'ts while visiting this special ticketed event.

Do Arrive Early - Magic Kingdom Park opens to guests holding a ticket to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at 4PM even though the party doesn't start until 7PM.  With the cost of the event soaring in recent years, make the most of your party ticket by entering early.  Use this extra time to ride some of your favorite rides (you can even grab FastPass+ reservations between 4PM and 6PM!) and grab some dinner.  You're paying a lot of money for the special entertainment and characters available during the party so you won't want to waste party time eating dinner.

Don't Miss the Special Treats - Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party features many great sweet treats.  Throughout Magic Kingdom Park, there are several trick-or-treat locations which generously distribute mounds of Halloween candy.  In addition, you can find desserts and unique eats at many of the dining locations around the park.  From cupcakes to ice cream and everything in between, you certainly won't go hungry during the party.  I tried the Zero Waffle Sundae at Sleepy Hollow Refreshments which was filling and fun featuring the image of Zero from The Nightmare Before Christmas. 

Do Arrive Early for the Parade - Whether you choose to watch the early or late parade or you choose to watch it from Frontierland or Main Street, U.S.A., be sure to arrive approximately 10 minutes early so you don't miss the Headless Horseman's arrival.  Of course, if you want a prime viewing location, you'll probably want to snag your spot up to 30 minutes ahead of the parade, but this also isn't necessary unless you're picky.  I went to the 11:15PM parade and watched it from Liberty Square.  Arriving at 11:05 still gave me a front row location and I grabbed my spot right on time for the beginning of the parade.  Speaking of the parade, Mickey's Boo-to-You Parade is fantastic - probably my favorite on property.  You won't want to miss the Grim Grinning Ghosts and the Gravediggers as they captivate audiences along the route.  Of course, villains and some other favorite characters make appearances too!

Don't Head to the Party Without a Plan - There is so much to see and do you won't want to come and "wing it."  Know what your priorities are before you arrive and make a plan to achieve them.  I love meeting rare characters, but no character in my mind is worth a wait of more than an hour so I knew not to worry about Jack Skellington and Sally.  I also knew that I only wanted to do rides during the party that were "special" as I can ride the other rides on any visit to Magic Kingdom Park.  For example, Space Mountain had a Halloween makeover and Pirates of the Caribbean featured live pirates in the queue and in the ride!  I used Kenny the Pirate's Character Locator app to help me plan out the characters I wanted to meet and used his tips for timing to make the most of my evening in the park.  I also knew that I'd be able to stay until the end of the party since I was traveling without my little ones so I opted to watch the later parade and the midnight Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular which were less crowded.

Do Dress Up and Have Fun - Halloween is a time for everyone to be kids so don't miss out on the fun!  There were plenty of adults and kids alike dressed in full costume and others simply wearing festive attire.  I opted for a simple Lularoe outfit using my Maleficent leggings and my new Maleficent ears to be comfy as I ran around the park. If you are dressing in costume, be sure to visit the Walt Disney World Resort website for current guidelines.  Costume restrictions are looser during the party, but there are still items that are prohibited for adults.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party was an amazing time and I hope to return again in future years.  I would still hold off a year or two to bring my kids as I want them to get the most from this special event and I know they wouldn't be able to hang late into the evening.  For families visiting the party, I would definitely recommend not visiting another park that day.  Enjoy your morning relaxing around your resort to rest up for the fun that awaits you and be in line to enter Magic Kingdom Park when your ticket becomes active at 4PM.  Here's wishing you and your family many boo-tiful memories at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.




FAQ - Should you use Disney FastPass+ on parades, fireworks, and shows?

Walt Disney World Resort
Magic Kingdom's Happily Ever After Fireworks
I hear this question asked often among friends and in several of the Walt Disney World groups that I'm in on Facebook.  We have chosen on some trips to use Disney's FastPass+ for viewing parades, fireworks, and shows and skipped it other times, so I can speak about the pros and cons here pretty honestly.  And like most answers related to planning a Walt Disney World vacation, the answer about how to use your FastPass+ reservations truly depends on your family and vacation priorities.

For our family, using Disney's FastPass+ to catch great viewing spots for fireworks and parades has been a good choice - especially if we're spending more than one day in that particular park.  As a family with two young children, we find it difficult to get to a prime spot to watch nighttime entertainment up to an hour before it starts.  When we visited the parks with babies and toddlers, we were traveling with a double BOB stroller - basically a minivan for kids - so even having one adult go to hold a spot while the rest of the family continues to run around the park can be a challenge.  For this reason, knowing that we can grab a perfect spot to see fireworks and parades while arriving just 10-15 minutes before they start is a great luxury.  If you have young kids in Walt Disney World too, the cost/benefit may be easy for your family to figure out.  Many of the rides and attractions for babies and toddlers don't really *need* FastPass+ because the wait times are rarely longer than 15 minutes or so.

So what are the big questions to ask yourself when determining whether or not to book Disney's FastPass+ viewing areas for parades and fireworks?

  • How many days are your going to spend in that park?  If you're spending more than one day you may have some FastPass+ allotments that you don't need to do your favorite attractions.
  • How old are your kids?  If you're traveling with older children or adults, it might be easier to arrive early and hold a spot as opposed to keeping young kids entertained while waiting for the show to start.
  • Are there any other options to get preferred seating for the show?  For example, we always book a Fantasmic Dining Package in Hollywood Studios.  We figure that we have to eat anyways, why not book at one of these locations and get the perk of prime seating for Fantasmic so we can save our Tier 1 FastPass+ reservation for another popular attraction? Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom have also offered dining packages paired with nighttime parades and shows as well.  

Check out my review of the Happily Ever After Fireworks Dessert Party at Magic Kingdom here!


If you do choose to use your FastPass+ options for entertainment, you won't be disappointed in the location.  All of them offer a great spot that's not as crowded as some other areas may be without the stress or worry about saving your spot.  

The Many Lands of Magic Kingdom - Main Street, U.S.A.


Enter the gates of Magic Kingdom and you will instantly find yourself stepping back into the world of Walt.  The hub in Main Street, U.S.A. is the center of the action for Magic Kingdom and where your magical journey begins.  But Main Street, U.S.A. is not simply a sidewalk to pass through on your way to the rest of the park.  Here you will find shopping, restaurants, and character interactions that will get your day started in the right direction!

One of the things to know about Main Street, U.S.A. is that both the afternoon and nighttime parades pass through this part of the park.  If you hoping to catch the Festival of Fantasy Parade or the Main Street Electrical Parade, be prepared to grab your spot early as serious parade watchers start claiming a viewing location up to an hour ahead of time.  The same is true for nightly viewing of Wishes.  All of three of these attractions do offer FastPass+ as well which we have found really useful traveling with young children and strollers.  Rather than fighting for a spot to view the parades or fireworks, we simply roll into our reserved areas about 15 minutes before the start time.

Main Street, U.S.A. is also home to a number of restaurants.  You can find everything from hometown favorites such as hot dogs at Casey's Corner or grabbing a dip of your favorite ice cream flavor at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor.  However, if you're looking for a "don't miss" dining experience, join Winnie the Pooh and his friends at The Crystal Palace for buffet character dining.  If you hope to dine in the Hundred Acre Wood, be sure to make a dining reservation as this popular restaurant often fills up quickly!  

And before you leave Main Street, U.S.A. you must pay a visit to Town Square Theatre where both Mickey Mouse and Tinker Bell can be found.  Each of these characters appear in separate theatre spaces which means that you must wait in two separate lines for them.  The best part?  Not only do you get a great big Mickey hug and an autograph, but this Mickey talks!  This was the most memorable of all experiences for my son.  Wait times can really vary at this attraction - I've seen them as short as 15 minutes and as long as an hour.  We almost always use a FastPass+ reservation on  this since it's a must-do for our family.  On your way out of Town Square Theatre, don't forget to look out for characters greeting guests including Snow White and Mary Poppins.

Whether you're grabbing a character photo, a Starbucks coffee, or picking up a last minute souvenir, Main Street, U.S.A. has something for everyone while paying tribute to the life and memories of Walt Disney - the man behind it all!

Fantasy Comes to Life in the Festival of Fantasy Parade

One of the long standing jokes at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom is, "what time is the 3 o'clock parade?"  Well, you'll want to be sure to be lining the sidewalks before 3 o'clock each day to catch the daily showing of the Festival of Fantasy Parade.  I can't believe it has taken me until November 2015 to catch this gem which debuted March 9, 2014, but with midday nap times necessary when traveling with my little guys, it wasn't until our adult getaway for Wine & Dine Half-Marathon Weekend that we had the chance to see what all of the excitement was about.

I had read previously that this may be the best parade that Walt Disney World has ever imagineered and I would have to agree!  Here are 5 things to love about the Festival of Fantasy parade!


1.  Modern Characters Meet Classic Friends - This parade has a little something for everyone!  Young children who haven't had a chance to appreciate all of the classics will delight in seeing Anna and Elsa, Merida, and Rapunzel while also getting acquainted with classic characters.


2.  Imagineering at it's Finest - Walt Disney World is known for being on the cutting edge of creativity, but this parade takes it to the next level.  I mean, c'mon.  . .a fire breathing dragon that is this cool?  Where else would you see something like this besides Disney?


3.  Crowd Interaction - The Disney cast members that walk along the parade route and the characters that join them enjoy getting up close and personal with the crowd.  You feel like you are part of the show and the magic truly comes to life for little ones!  The parade has a street performance feel and flair about it which is both fun and engaging.


4.  The Costumes - You won't find a parade with more colorful and intricate costumes.  Details on some of our favorite characters are spot on while the supporting cast members don beautiful designs as well!


5.  Premier Viewing with FastPass Plus - Guests can use one of their three FastPass Plus allotments to experience the parade from the Flag Pole Viewing Area on Main Street U.S.A.  This means that you don't have to worry about grabbing a great sidewalk spot up to an hour ahead of time.  Instead, enjoy all that Magic Kingdom has to offer and then walk into your reserved viewing spot just minutes before the parade begins - a guaranteed great view!  We didn't use this for the Festival of Fantasy parade, but have experienced this same viewing location with FP+ for the Main Street Electrical Parade.

Check the times guide or your My Disney Experience app for more information regarding this entertaining parade!