Aug 242016
 

Ann Dunnington

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Fall is in the air.  Can you feel it?  Ok, maybe it’s still technically summer, but school is back in session and pretty soon, pumpkin-spiced EVERYTHING will be everywhere you turn.   If you’re planning on visiting the Walt Disney World resort in September or October, you will undoubtedly be there during a special ticketed event at the Magic Kingdom known as “Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party”, or MNSSHP for short.  This event is full of special parades, shows, fireworks, trick-or-treating, character meet and greets, party-specific merchandise and treats, and little to no wait time for select attractions. This event is always a hit, and is a fabulous way to get into the Halloween spirit!  We are attending one of the parties this year, so here are my top 5 tips for getting the most out of your MNSSHP experience!

 

  • Save time, money, and potential sell-outs by purchasing your ticket in advance

Depending on the date you choose, adult ticket prices can range from $72 to $105 if purchased in advance ($67 to $100 for children), or $79 to $105 if purchased on the event day ($74 to $100 for children).  So save yourself a few dollars and purchase your tickets in advance on the Walt Disney World website.  This will also save you time by being able to skip the ticket counter at the Magic Kingdom, and prevent the potential disappointment of the party being sold out when you arrive.  There are only a select number of tickets available for each party, which helps keep the crowd levels low.  BONUS TIP:  Even though the party begins at 7:00 p.m., Cast Members have historically allowed entrance to the party as early as 4:00 p.m.!   If you purchase your ticket in advance, add it to your My Disney Experience account, and you can add up to three FastPass+ selections to use before the party starts!  Your FastPass+ selections can be between 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., 4:45 p.m. – 5:45 p.m., and 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., with no additional admission ticket required!  Of course, this is historical information, so it’s all subject to change at any time.  But, this allows you to have a nice restful day swimming and relaxing at the hotel, and then a full 7 hours at the Magic Kingdom starting at 4:00 p.m.!

  • Dress Up… carefully

Children are allowed to wear full costumes of their choice, as long as the costume isn’t long enough for them to trip on, doesn’t have a mask that they can’t see through, and doesn’t have any weapons.  Adults have a few more restrictions now due to safety concerns.  The new adult policy states: “Guests ages 14 and older are strongly discouraged from wearing layered costumes or costume props that surround the entire body as they may be subject to additional security screening. Additionally, costumes may not contain any weapons that resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon.”

Because of how hot and humid Florida can be in the fall, and of course there’s always the potential for rain, choose a costume that is comfortable and can be covered with a poncho if necessary.  Disney bounding, aka dressing in normal clothes that are inspired by a Disney character, is a popular choice, as are family-themed costumes (like the whole cast of Finding Dory).  But don’t feel like you HAVE to dress in costume- you don’t!  My husband and I will be Disney bounding this year, dressing up as the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels… because we’re completely normal…  Ha.

  • Trick-or-Treating with a special diet? No problem!

Disney is known as being the ultimate destination for guests with special needs of all kinds.  If you’re attending MNSSHP and have food allergies, but still want to participate in the Trick-or-Treating fun, bring the bag of candy back up to City Hall and exchange it for some special diets treats!  Or if you don’t want to Trick-or-Treat at all, head straight to City Hall upon arrival and pick up your goodies!  These treats are generally “Big 8 Allergen” friendly, and sometimes aren’t even edible at all (think pencils, stickers, small toys, etc.).  To make sure that special diet treats are available during the party you will be attending, you can email Special.Diets@DisneyWorld.com.  They always have these available at every party, but they can sometimes run out if there’s a lot of demand.  Stop by early in the party, just in case!

  • Catch the 2nd shows/parades of the night for smaller crowds

The most popular parades and shows are the first ones of the night.  If you want to meet characters that are only out during the party, like Jack and Sally or all Seven of the Dwarves, get in line for THEM early (I suggest 6:00 p.m.), rather than getting a spot for the first parade or castle show.  You’ll be able to meet the character you want to meet, and have fewer crowds around you when the later show or parade rolls around.

In regards to the best places to stand for the parade, I prefer Frontierland or Liberty Square over Main Street.  These areas seem to be less crowded.

  • Not all attractions are open during the party, so plan accordingly

Of course, riding rides at MNSSHP is not high on everyone’s to-do list, but for those that prefer taking advantage of the more popular attractions with little to no wait time (like us), this is something to keep in mind.  A few of the popular attractions, like the Jungle Cruise are not open during the party, so these would be great attractions to use those FastPass+ selections on before the party starts.  This year’s MNSSHP map is not yet available, but you can see last year’s map here.

So there we have it!  What are your tips for making the most out of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party?  Are you planning on attending this year?  Let us know!

Mar 232016
 

By Tim Rogers

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So you’re taking a trip to Walt Disney World – great! One of the first things to think about is when you actually want to go. While for some people that is determined narrowly by work and school schedules, if you have more flexibility, the yearly calendar at Walt Disney World provides a wide range of special events and activities to make your trip special. While I won’t be discussing all of these (sorry marathon!), I will take you through some of the big times of year and why you should go then.

 

Spring

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There’s no time like the present – Spring has definitely sprung around the Walt Disney World resort. The biggest and most noticeable special occurrence during this time of year is the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.

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As seems to be the case with several of these festivals, the Flower and Garden Festival seems to get a little longer every year. This year, the festival began on March 2nd and will run through May 30th. This will cover most spring breaks and even last past when some early schools get out for the summer, and includes some relatively “low crowd” times, and some of the busiest times of the entire year (the week before and after Easter).

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At the festival itself, there are plenty of things to explore and enjoy. The most noticeable might be the wonderful topiaries that populate all of Epcot.

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Beyond that, the festival center has special speakers and exhibits related to horticulture. Additionally, on weekends you can see the “Garden Rocks” Concert series. The bonus is that, for this festival, pretty much all of these speakers, concerts, and exhibits are included with normal park admission.

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Some of the most recent, and popular, additions to the festival are the Outdoor Kitchens. These booths have great treats from around the world, and have given the beauty and educational value of Flower and Garden some of the energy that the Food and Wine Festival has enjoyed for years.

 

Early Fall

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Fall at the Walt Disney World resort is when the special events really pick up. The first of these is usually Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This party takes place in the Magic Kingdom, generally on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings, from early to mid-September through the day after Halloween.

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The party itself features special character meets, trick or treating, a great parade and fireworks, and more. You do need a special ticket to attend, and some of the nights do sell out in advance.

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Also in mid-September is the start of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. Running this year from September 14th to November 14th, this festival is a huge draw and you will routinely see the Epcot Area Resorts completely full throughout the duration.

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You can expect a few things from this festival. First, the Eat to the Beat concert series, which happens pretty much every night throughout the festival and is included with your admission.

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At the festival center, you can explore and learn about all kinds of food related topics, but several of those will cost extra.

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The big draw for the festival, however, has to be the kiosks. Located generally around the World Showcase, and spreading a little bit into Future World last year, these kiosks provide an incredible range of international food and beverage offerings.

 

Late Fall/Winter

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The Food and Wine Festival ends up overlapping slightly the next big activity, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. In fact, some visitors try to plan a trip every year that will let them attend the last Halloween Party, the first Christmas Party, and the Food and Wine Festival, while only staying for about a week.

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Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party starts in early November and runs through just before Christmas. Its schedule is about the same as the Halloween Party schedule and also takes place in the Magic Kingdom. At the party you can expect special characters, shows, a parade and fireworks, all themed to the holidays.

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However, the holiday spirit at Disney World is not contained to the Christmas Party. Starting just after Thanksgiving, Epcot hosts the Candlelight Processional, a celebrity narrated telling of the story of Christmas, complete with choirs and an orchestra. Also in Epcot are special performers and storytellers to show and discuss holiday traditions from around the world.

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You can also get into the holiday spirit simply by visiting the hotels on Disney property, especially the deluxe ones. Here you will see beautiful trees and decorations, and some astounding gingerbread creations.

So what is the best time of year to go? As with anything, that is a personal question, and honestly there are no bad choices. I am a Christmas fanatic so it would be hard for me to not choose that first. The fall activities are more numerous than in Spring (if for no other reason than Halloween) and the parade and fireworks during the Halloween Party are thought by many to be the best that Disney does all year. However, it is hard to describe how beautiful and exciting the Flower and Garden Festival is. Really, what I am trying to say is no matter when you go, it will be great – just make sure you take advantage of all that is being offered!

Oct 072015
 

In each issue we share tips from our readers. If you have a tip to share send it to us at info@magically-speaking.com.

We’re looking for your best tips to share with us all about touring during the summer and tips for experiencing the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. In addition we are looking for your best tips for experiencing Halloween events at Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

At Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Halloween-themed specialty treats have been available at the following locations:

  • Gaston’s Tavern
    Ghost Cupcakes
  • Storybook Treats
    Candy Corn Soft Serve Ice Cream
  • Main Street Bakery
    Spider Cupcakes and Monster Cupcakes
  • Main Street Bakery
    Halloween Cookie
  • Plaza Ice Cream Parlor
    Halloween Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Outdoor Vending Carts
    Candy Corn Cotton Candy

Make sure to pick up your themed sweet treat at the party!

 

Best of Be Our Guest Podcast

BOGPLogoEach issue we will feature a snippet of what you could learn by listening to the Be Our Guest Podcast. Be sure to check back each issue for more fun.

Episode 919 – Mother/Daughter Trip to Disneyland

Angie talks about her Mother/Daughter trip she took to to Disneyland over Spring Break 2015.  Hear what she thinks about her first visit to Disneyland after many trips to Walt Disney World.  She also shares details about staying at two Good Neighbor Hotels, including the legendary Candy Cane Inn, and more!

The Be Our Guest Podcast is hosted by Disney lover Mike and co-hosted by fellow Disney aficionados Pam, Rikki and Debbie. The show covers everything from listener experiences to questions about how to make the most of your dream trip to the world! We hope you will join us each week as we share our love of all things Disney and we hope you will share yours as well. The BOGP family has members from all over the world and we hope you will join us!

Listen to us every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Be Our Guest Podcast!

Sep 092015
 

In each issue we share tips from our readers. If you have a tip to share send it to us at info@magically-speaking.com.

We’re looking for your best tips to share with us all about touring during the summer and tips for experiencing the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. In addition we are looking for your best tips for experiencing Halloween events at Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

Disney gives out a pretty nice selection of candy at the party, including “fun-sized” Snickers, Twix, Milkyway, Almond Joy, Hershey bars, Heath bars, Nestle Crunch bars, Reese’s cups, Kit-Kat, M&Ms, Skittles, SweetTarts, Smarties, gummy “Toy Story” characters, SweetTarts, Tootsie Rolls, Starburst, Now & Later, Twizzlers, Bottle Caps, Mike & Ikes, Bit ‘o Honey, Jolly Rancher, Goofy Candy Co. lollipops, Werthers caramels, Candy Corn and more. You can collect as much as you want! Those with special dietary needs can do a “candy swap” at City Hall; they’ll exchange your goodies for treats that meet your dietary restrictions. Just ask to see a list of your options which included Jelly Belly (sugar, dairy, egg and nut free), Chocolate Pumpkin and Bat Suckers (gluten, sesame, egg & nut free), Mixed Fruit buttons (sugar, dairy, egg & nut free) and Butterscotch Buttons (sugar free).

Best of Be Our Guest Podcast

BOGPLogo

Each issue we will feature a snippet of what you could learn by listening to the Be Our Guest Podcast. Be sure to check back each issue for more fun.

Episode 907 – When Illness Strikes At WDW

Today we are excited to have April joining us from Houston, Texas to talk about her recent trip to Walt Disney World with her family.  While staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, one of her daughters got very sick.  Hear what April learned about what options are available if you or a loved-one gets sick on your next WDW vacation.
Listen to the podcast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Be Our Guest Podcast!

Aug 262015
 

In each issue we share tips from our readers. If you have a tip to share send it to us at info@magically-speaking.com.

We’re looking for your best tips to share with us all about touring during the summer and tips for experiencing the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. In addition we are looking for your best tips for experiencing Halloween events at Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

Trick-or-treat bags are provided at any of the candy stops or at the gate as you enter the party. The bags are on the small side and fill up very quickly. You may want to bring your own bag to avoid carrying several of Disney’s bags. If you’ll be using the Disney bag(s), be sure to get them as early as possible as, unlike candy, Disney tends to run out of bags early. As an alternative, you can purchase larger trick-or-treat bags or plastic pumpkin buckets with Mickey ears at the Emporium to gather treats or buy popcorn in one of the Hitchhiking Ghost or Hatbox Ghost Mickey popcorn bucket (available at popcorn carts) to enjoy during the parade and then use the empty bucket to trick-or-treat afterwards.

 

Best of Be Our Guest Podcast

BOGPLogoEach issue we will feature a snippet of what you could learn by listening to the Be Our Guest Podcast. Be sure to check back each issue for more fun.

Episode 901 – 30 Years Between Disney Trips

We are excited to have Bev from New Jersey with us today to talk about a couple of fun Walt Disney World vacations!  She had 30 years between her first trip as a kid and then taking her own family in August 2014.  Hear about this multi-family adventure!  We discuss nice stays at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort, fun meals at Biergarten and Cinderella’s Royal Table, kid’s club experiences and much more!

Listen to the podcast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Be Our Guest Podcast!

Oct 302013
 

By Chris Johnson

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Are you a fan of Halloween? I am, but mostly only because I met my wife at a Halloween party. LOL

In general I was never a fan of the holiday. As a life-long Disneyphile however, I can say, without a doubt, that Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party is easily my favorite event or party that occurs regularly in any of the Walt Disney World parks.

For those that might not be familiar, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) is a hard ticket event that takes place on certain nights each year starting in mid-September and ending in early November. A hard ticket means that guests who would like to attend will need to purchase another ticket in addition to their regular park ticket in order to do so.

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