One of my absolute favorite things to do at Disney World in the Fall is the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. If you've never heard of it, the Halloween party is a special event that occurs on select nights in September - October at the Magic Kingdom. It does require a separate ticket, but it is so much fun that it is honestly worth every penny! Having been to the Halloween party several years now, I have a few tips to help you get the most out of your time at the party!
Costumes are by no means mandatory at the Halloween Party, but man, do you have more fun in them! The planning and making our costumes builds the excitement in our house and we usually begin the brainstorming as early as July! The vast majority of guests do wear costumes. Some are in simple t-shirts, some are in costumes straight from the Disney store, and some are in full cosplay glory. It doesn't matter what your level of costuming is, but I highly recommend joining in the fun!
*Bonus Tip - I always try to stick with lightweight, cotton fabrics! It might be very hot in which case the last thing you want is for your costume to ruin your evening! This goes for shoes as well...Also, Disney World has very strict rules about costumes for guest safety, such as no masks or capes that touch the ground. I highly suggest giving these a read when you are planning out your costumes.*
2. Enter at 4pm and Eat Before 7pm
The Halloween Party technically begins at 7pm. This is the time when non-party guests will be quietly escorted to the exits, the lights will lower, and you are welcomed by your Ghost Host. However, what most people dont know is that with a Party Ticket you can begin entering the park at 4pm. And you don't need a park ticket in addition to your Party ticket.
Because there is so much to do during the Halloween Party, you don't want to waste those precious moments waiting for your check at a table-service restaurant! So we recommend eating a light dinner between 4:30-5pm at one of the quick service restaurants such as Pecos Bill or Cosmic Rays. Then when you are finished, you can get your game plan out and ready to go. This is also usually when I recommend getting in a line for the top character meets.
But what if you get hungry? Another reason I recommend a light dinner is that the Halloween Party has lots of candy and specialty treats available in addition to the normal ice cream and popcorn stations open. So save some room in there for the extra good stuff!
3. Have a Game Plan
4. Try the Treats!
Every year there are some delicious limited time treats served only during the Halloween Party. This year you can try the Jack Skellington dessert served push pop-style, Haunted Mansion themed treats, a Pumpkin Cheesecake dome or the candy corn ice cream. In addition the spooktacular desserts, there is also special edition merchandise for sale at various locations including: pins, pumpkin-shaped popcorn buckets, and orange Mickey ears. The popcorn bucket is $13.50 found in Frontierland. This popcorn bucket gets the $1.50 refills.
The Pumpkin Cheesecake Dome can be found at Main Street Bakery and Gaston's Tavern.
The Jack Skellington Dessert is located at Sleepy Hollow in Liberty Square.
The Haunted Mansion Desserts are located at Aloha Isle, Auntie Gravity's Galactic Goodies, Liberty Square Market, and Storybook Treats.
Pumpkin Mickey Wafles with Ice Cream are at Sleepy Hollow.
The Worms and Dirt are located at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe.
5. Bring Your Own Trick or Treat Bags
6. Choose Your Parade Location Ahead of Time!
Boo To You Parade! While there are two parade showings, most people go to the earlier one so this will be the most crowded. If you your game plan from above includes watching the first Parade, then stake out your spot early! The Boo to You Parade is not to be missed. Ill be honest that I usually pass up the daily parades at the parks, but not this one. The focus on villains, the music, and the rare characters are so fun. But our absolutely favorite part is that the parade is rung in by the Headless Horseman riding down the parade route on horseback. HOW DOES HE DO THAT? We typically like to watch the parade from Frontierland. There are crowds there and you are closer to rides and characters to get to as soon as the parade is over. But many people prefer the Castle as a backdrop and choose Main Street.
Some logistics: The Parade is about 20 minutes long and follows the traditional parade route beginning in Frontierland near Splash Mountain, comes through Liberty Square to the front of the Castle, and then down Main Street and around the Flag Pole in Town Square. So the closer to the entrance of the park you are, the longer you are going to wait for the parade, but perhaps the better overall ambience.
7. Do NOT Miss Hallowishes
In addition to the Boo toYour Parade, Hallowishes is a CANNOT MISS part of the Halloween Party. Magic Kingdom's new firework show, Happily Ever After, is amazing. But Hallowishes is designed around the more spooky, villainous Disney characters. It rivals the July 4th Fireworks show in pyrotechnic display, but I like it more because of the music! Hallowishes only happens once per night, so this is something to plan around and make sure you have a great spot to take it in! Try to get a spot between 15 -30 minutes before they start. But the park is much less crowded, so its easy to get a good viewing spot without staking ground 2 hours before!
8. Bring Extra Clothes
It is Central Florida. So your guess is as good as mine as to what the weather will bring. We have been to the Halloween Party in Early October and it is very hot all night long. Usually the kids stay in costume for about the first two hours and are then ready to change clothes. We have also been in late October and it can get pretty chilly by 11pm. In this case its always nice to have a sweater or just a pair of pants to throw on. Either way, Id think ahead about bringing in an extra set of clothing. You can always store them in a locker or stick them under a stroller.
9. PhotoPass Magic Shots
For many Party goers the central draw is the characters. During the Halloween Party you can meet some very rare characters, villains, and characters in costume. For the characters in costume, they don't tend to have the long lines, but they are so fun! This year Goofy is dressed up like a pirate, Donald Duck is a jack o'lantern, and the entire Winnie the Pooh Gang are in costumes as well.
For the Villains, you can meet Jafar, Cruella DeVil, the Evil Witch from Snow White, Gaston, and Lotso Hugging Bear. All are really fun and have great interactions with the guests. The lines for these characters can range from 25 - 45 minutes each, so definitely pick your favorites and know their locations!
For the rare character seekers Jack Skellington and Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas, the Seven Dwarfs, and Moana all will have VERY LONG LINES ranging from 90 minutes to over 2 hours. These characters I highly recommend choosing one and getting to their locations well before 6pm. Sometimes they may even come out a bit early such as Moana has been coming out at 6:45, but her line starting forming at 5pm!
One more character to mention is that Prince Eric is now meeting with Ariel over near the Market area in Fantasyland and because he does not appear often, he is considered rare and their line will be longer than normal.
In addition to the shows (I havent even mentioned the Hocus Pocus Show!), the attractions, the Characters, and the Food, the Halloween Party also have a few other additional little touches that make this Part so much fun. First, the Cadaver Dans are a Halloween rendition of the Dapper Dans barbershop quartet. The Cadaver Dans' repertoire centers on the more Villainous songs such as "Curella DeVil", "The Oogie Boogie Song", etc. They can be found in Frontierland near the Country Bear Jamboree.
The second are what most refer to as the Madams. Madam Carlotta and Madam Renata are two of the ghostly inhabitants of the Haunted Mansion. During the Party they can be found at the Haunted Mansion sharing ghost stories and interacting with guests.
Here are a few extra things to know before you go.
1. Not every attraction is open during the party. The ones that are available are:
2018 Event Dates
One of the questions I hear most from my friends and other Disney-lovers is why should we stay in a vacation rental like Adventureland Villa instead of on Disney property. And this is a great question. One I struggle myself depending on the trip and I LOVE Adventureland Villa! So I thought today I would break down what are some of the pros and cons of staying at Adventureland Villa vs. Staying On Property. And I promise to try and stay as neutral as I can, but please know I recognize my bias. I hope this helps anyone out there struggling with the same decision!
Staying on Property
SO WHICH IS BETTER?
Well, it completely depends on the length of the trip, how many people are going and how is it that you want to spend your vacation. If you are on a short 4 day trip with just your family of 4 and want to spend as many waking hours in the parks as possible: Then stay on property. The perks they offer will help you get the most out of your short trip. But if you are looking at taking more than 4 people, want space to spread out and relax during your vacation, and want to save some money, too, then check out Adventureland Villa! We would love to have you stay here!
When I was new to Disney World, I was so overwhelmed by the immense number of things to do! The restaurants! The rides! The characters! I would cram pack our trip's itinerary. We got every last minute of fun during those vacations, but we frequently returned home thinking we need a second vacation just to relax! And I hear this from a lot of Disney-goers. They are exhausted at the end of their trip because they try to do as much as they can. For a short trip or if you only go once in a blue moon, that makes sense. But for those of us who wish to actually relax on vacation, I've compiled a few tips to have a relaxing day at Walt Disney World or at least help squeeze in a few relaxing moments.
1. Book a Service at a Disney Spa
2. Plan Non-Park Days
This may be hard for some of you to do, but take a day away from the Parks. Thats where the crowds and the lines can really add some stress and exhaustion to your trip. Instead, make a late breakfast reservation at one of the more picturesque resorts. I recommend any of the Boardwalk area resorts, then after you've had a leisurely meal you can stroll along the Boardwalk and people watch. Another great option for this is the Polynesian with 'Ohana and the beach right there. You can then head to Disney Springs and stroll through the shops at your own pace.
3. Return to Your Villa/Resort of the Afternoon
This is a tip we have followed for a long time! If you just can't stay away from the Parks for an entire day, retreat for the afternoon at least. Just when the parks are really getting crowded and sun is at its hottest, we take a siesta/pool break. Its a great time to let the kids play in the water and you can relax nearby with a drink/book or take a dip yourself. This is a great way to recharge for the evening if you are headed back to the parks or perhaps to Disney Springs.
4. Find the Quiet Spots Inside the Parks
5. Make a Date (Night!)
I am a huge advocate for enjoying some adult only time at Disney World. Either an entire trip without kids or just a Magical Date Night, you can't go wrong by having some time to yourselves. If you are staying off property (Hopefully at Adventureland Villa!) you can reserve a babysitter through Kids Night Out. We have used them numerous times and always been happy. If you are staying on property, a few of the Disney resorts have kids' "playhouses" where they can watch your kids for a fee. We are trying this out in October, and will let you know how it goes!
Does anyone else out there tear up on their final walk down Main Street? I know that when I hit that flag pole, I turn around for one last look at the castle and to say good bye to the happiest place on earth. The pure sense of melancholy that sets in on the day I depart Disney World usually lasts a week or more. When a place as special as Walt Disney World touches you, you will inevitably suffer from what I have termed, "Disney Depression." (DISCLAIMER: If you or someone you love is suffering from actual depression, please seek help from a doctor.)
So, how do you get over your "Disney Depression"? I have found in my years of Disney obsession, there are three ways to help stop the suffering:
1. Incorporate Disney Into Your Everyday Life
There are many people out there who live and breath Disney all day, every day. Their rooms are Disney-fied, they only watch Disney movies, and frequently are "Disney bounding" to work. Those people are awesome! But you don't need to go all out for the full on Disneyfication of your life, but merely incorporat a few Disney touches. Here are my favorites!
2. Watch a Disney Movie
3. BOOK YOUR NEXT TRIP!
If you have tried #1 and #2 and still are suffering from Disney Depression, then the fail-proof way to get over it is to channel it into excitement! Book that next trip! Whether it is with us at Adventureland Villa or to stay on property at Walt Disney World, you can quickly overcome the sadness by looking forward to the new experiences you are going to have or the new restaurants you are going to try or maybe its looking forward to revisiting your old favorites. If you have a future trip in mind, your Disney Depression will be a thing of the past!
And Just for Fun, Here's an Info graph!
Most adults will not give T-Rex Cafe the same rave reviews as say Homecomin' or other Disney Springs restaurants. Adults are usually drug there at the request of their children. No doubt this restaurant is geared towards the kids in the family, however, it is absolutely ok for adults to make a reservation here! And here's why:
The Theming Is Just Cool
T-Rex Cafe is a dining experience immersed into the age of the dinosaurs. Surrounded by large animatronic prehistoric creatures and meteor showers, the T-Rex Cafe will transport you to the Jurassic Age. The overall atmosphere is a clear reference to the theming of Rainforest Cafe, the sister restaurant, but there is just so much more here. Unlike other Disney property restaurants, T-Rex Cafe is not subtle. It is "in your face" dinosaurs!
There are four distinctly themed rooms in which to be seated, but you are encouraged to walk around and take in all of the restaurant. The Ice Age Room is beautiful as it changes colors from blue to purple to red (although I have a hard time eating in this one just because who wants blue food?). The UnderSea room surrounds you with octopi, starfish, and a live aquarium. The Forest is the more typically dinosaure-themed room with Triceratops and other dinosaurs greeting you. And then finally, there is the Meteor Shower room where the meteors shoot across the ceiling and the kitchen is visible through a firey bar.
One note about the meteor showers: They go off approximately every 15-20 minutes. When there is a meteor shower the lights flash, there are loud booms, and the dinosaurs gets very agitated. My kids love this! But I mention it because if you have a smaller child or someone in your party who may not react well to the stimulation, I would recommend not eating here.
Menu Has Something For Everyone
The menu is GIANORMOUS! It will take you some time to decide what you want, so order your drinks and then dive in. The menu features American cuisine with a "mammoth" touch. With entrees ranging for ribs to burgers to salmon to salads, everyone in your party will find something that they can eat. The same is especially true for the kids. The children's menu covers lots of ground and my picky kids always like what they get!
My husband always orders the Bronto Burger. It is a large burger topped with a fried onion ring and comes with waffle fries. The hubby says its his favorite burger on property. (I don't agree with this statement as I am particular to the Southern Burger at Sci-Fi Theatre in Hollywood Studios, but I digress) Personally, I really like the Omnivore's Delight which is a spinach salad with goat cheese, strawberries, and carmelized onions. I always add the grilled chicken.
Now, that said about the entrees, I would not recommend eating dessert here. T-Rex touts its Chocolate Extinction as the top dessert and while it sounds great, it is pricey and just not worth it. I recommend skipping dessert and heading elsewhere in Disney Springs such as Ghiradelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop, Sprinkles Cupcakes, or Amorette's Patisserie. They have a greater variety of deliciousness and are at a better price point as well.
Some Things to Note:
While I certainly advocate for dining at T-Rex Cafe if it is the right fit for your family, I do want to note a few things that are draw backs. The first is noise. This is a loud restaurant. The sheer number of tables, plus the meteor showers, plus the occasional roar of dinosaurs, make this a hard place to have a conversation. If you are looking to actually talk to your family over lunch or dinner, this is not the place. If you are looking to sit down somewhere cool, eat a decent meal, and watch your kids love it, then yes. Go here. It's OK.
The second is the crowds. It is a large restaurant, and it seats a LOT. This is a place I highly recommend getting reservations ahead of time. Or you will be sitting outside in the sun while your children are likely shopping in the gift store...see below.
The third is the GIFT STORE! My kids will not fail to find something they just have to have here. And its nearly impossible to keep them from going into it. The restaurant is already fairly pricey for what you get and sometimes adding on the cost of the souvenir at the shop is hard to stomach.
Finally, the price. The food, itself, is high for what you get. But you are not paying for the food. You are paying for a prehistoric adventure. Nevertheless, it is easy to be sucked into the "extras" such as the novelty, light up glasses or the specialty cocktail drinks, or the gift shop as mentioned above. The price is high and it gets higher quickly here.
Overall, T-Rex Cafe gets a solid OK. The cuisine is not gourmet, but its not trying to be. You go for the atmosphere and to see the face on your kids when the dinosaurs come to life. So do you have kids? Do they like dinosaurs? If you're family is like mine Happy Kids + Full Bellies = Reservation! Just because there are "better" restaurants to be found, doesnt mean this one you must skip.
Tara is a Disney-obsessed Mom of two active boys!