Fall Festivities at Walt Disney World

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By Carol Garcia

Ah, fall! The leaves are changing. The air is getting crisp. The rain has started. The kids have colds. I miss the sun! What a wonderful time to go to Disney.

Although my Midwest perspective on fall doesn’t always paint a pretty picture, a fall trip to Walt Disney World does have its advantages, aside from seeing the sun again. To make a trip even more enticing, Walt Disney World offers some special autumn events with Halloween themes and even one treat especially for the grown-ups: Food and Wine Festival. So whether you have a trip planned, or are just dreaming of one, let’s explore the fall fun that Disney offers.

The train station (above) is awash in color. A closer look at Mickey’s head reveals that it is actually made from pumpkins and gourds.

And it lights up at night!

This year, it seems that Walt Disney World is awash in orange. Nowhere is that more obvious than the Magic Kingdom. Just walking into the park, guests are greeted with festive fall decorations and bunting down Main Street, as if the residents are ready for a fall festival.

Main Street is ready for fall visitors.

A closer look at the wonderful orange colors on the buildings.

Even the light poles are dressed for the season.

Scarecrows dressed in costume great guests as they enter the Magic Kingdom.

The characters and their prize-winning pumpkins are honored in bronze. Here we see Musketeer Donald showing off his pumpkin carving of his beloved Daisy and Musketeer Pluto showing off his carving of his beloved dog treat!

Belle’s garden really got into the seasonal act! We were even able to catch a Cast Member posing for us!

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Halloween can be a fun and festive time of year. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) is a great way to have some Halloween fun without the gruesome displays that sometimes accompany Halloween.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a hard-ticket event at the Magic Kingdom. On select nights in September and October, the park closes early to regular guests and opens to Halloween revelers.

Many guests, and not just the children, choose to dress up for this fun evening. And don’t worry if your little guy wants to be someone like SpongeBob for Halloween. Costumes don’t have to be Disney related (although they do have to be in good taste). This is a great time to let out your inner child and dress up. Plus, there is trick-or-treating! Everyone who enters the park is handed a bag and there are treat stations throughout the park. Characters and Cast Members pass out candy to anyone who comes by.

There are lots of other worthwhile activities throughout the evening. Although select attractions are open throughout the event, there is so much more than that. Be sure to pick up a times guide as you enter the party and check out the special shows that can only be seen during the event.

Characters in costume

Cast Members in costume, too!

There are special party-only shows throughout the night. This one was at the Castle stage.

Then there is the Halloween parade. It opens with a ride through the parade route by the Headless Horseman. A very spooky treat! There are plenty of villains and other seasonal Disney characters. The Haunted Mansion inhabitants make their presence known. One year my daughter, dressed as Mulan, even drew the attention of some Huns, who were not happy to see her watching the parade. What a great place to make some Halloween memories!

The “Boo to You Halloween Parade” brings the grim grinning ghosts out to socialize!

A few familiar pirate faces get into the act, too.

No overview would be complete, however, without mentioning the parade and “Happy Hallowishes.” “Hallowishes” is the Halloween version of Wishes, the Magic Kingdom’s nighttime fireworks display. Only “Hallowishes” is different, and many park-goers feel it is even better. There are even perimeter fireworks, which means at times through the presentation, guests are completely surrounded by fireworks. It is a truly amazing sight!

For more information about this event, visit TheMouseForLess website.

Food and Wine Festival

Each year, Epcot hosts one event that really caters to the grown-up palates visiting the park: The Food and Wine Festival. The theme this year is “Tastefully Inspired” and features many Ratatouille references. Where else would we think combining mice, rats, food and wine would make for a perfect event? Throughout the World Showcase, booths are set up in the countries with “taste” portions of food and drink native to that particular region. There are even booths from countries not normally represented in Epcot. Since each food item is priced and portioned to be a sample, snacking around the World makes a perfect meal and a stroll, all in one.

There is a cookbook for purchase containing recipes from the Festival. How fun to bring some of the tasty treats home with you. Unfortunately it appears that the chef is not included, or even an option, in the deal.

Sampling food and drink isn’t the only thing that makes this event special. There are plenty of seminars and special events for those guests who want a bit more from their culinary experience. There are wine, tea, and even beer presentations, all included in the price of admission. And there are specially priced meals, including wine pairings and even the biggest event of them all, Party for the Senses, a night of fine food and equally nice wine in an adult atmosphere.

Guests can tailor their Walt Disney World experience to include this festival as much or as little as they choose. For more details about this festival, visit TheMouseForLess website for the category that most interests you.

Festival Overview
List of Dining Experiences
Festival Entertainment
Eat to the Beat Concert Series Line-up

So, it seems no matter where you go, Walt Disney World is ablaze with the colors and decor of fall.

Thanks to Carol V., Stefanie, and Brad K for your help with the photos for this article!

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