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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 either Walt Disney World or Disneyland does have its advantages, aside from seeing the sun again. To make a trip even more enticing, both coasts offer some special events in the Fall with Halloween themes. Florida even offers 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 has to offer across the country.
WALT DISNEY WORLD
||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 something 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. 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!
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 spooky 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!
And, if you can’t make it to the party, Disney is showing “Hallowishes,” the same fireworks as at the Halloween party, every night until Halloween. It doesn’t include the perimeter fireworks, which are reserved for party goers, but it does give guests an opportunity to experience some Halloween magic.
||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. Throughout the World Showcase, booths are set up in the countries with “taste” portions of food and drink native to that particular country. There are even booths from countries not normally represented in Epcot. Each food item is priced low, so sampling around the World makes a perfect meal and a stroll, all in one.
There is now 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 special 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 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.
List of Dining Experiences
Eat to the Beat Concert Series Line-up
This year Disneyland has embraced Halloween with a real Disney flair.
Of course the Haunted Mansion is at the center of the celebration. Its traditional Haunted Mansion Holiday, the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay, is already on display. Main Street is now home to pumpkin sculptures, a large Mickey jack-o-lantern in Town Square and a variety of other orange and black seasonal decorations are a treat for guests. In Frontierland, Big Thunder Ranch is now Woody’s Halloween Roundup, complete with pumpkins and other Halloween decorations. Also in this area are story tellers, pumpkin carvers and crafts for your little goblins.
Characters abound in this celebration. There are costumed characters throughout the parks, ready for pictures and autographs.
Starting in September, Jack Skellington’s presence will be felt in New Orleans Square. In honor of the Haunted Mansion changes, there will be a few new items on the French Market menu, including “Sally’s Scared Chicken with Pumpkin King Rice” or “Grim Grinning Ganash Cake.” Annual Pass holders have also been treated to 13 commemorative Jack Skellington coins with a $30 purchase from the French Market or Cafe Orleans.
Disney’s California Adventure isn’t left out of the fun, either. The sign on the esplanade is decked out with candy corn decoration. DCA has transformed the Golden Dreams Theater into the Golden Screams Theater. Inside, guests can watch scream scenes from Disney Animated compete for a top prize. This is the place to meet and greet your favorite villains. And for a few fun frights, stop by the Tower of Terror, which also has some Halloween enhancement.
Don’t forget the Halloween themed merchandise, either. There are Minnie and Mickey plush dress in costume and even a limited edition Halloween trading pin set, just to name a few.
||Mickey’s Halloween Treat
Unfortunately, this event has already sold out for this year, but it’s never to early to think about next year, right? Mickey’s Halloween Treat at Disney’s California Adventure is an evening of Halloween fun. Guests of all ages are encouraged to wear their kid-friendly Halloween costumes for some trick-or-treating through the park (costumes are limited to guests 9 and under at other times through the month). The event includes meet-and-greet opportunities with your favorite villains, princesses and of course Mickey and Minnie. There are live bands at various locations throughout the park and spooky (but not scary) music through the rest of the park. Before the end of the party, the characters make a last appearance in a Halloween procession.
||“Nightmare Before Christmas” at El Capitan Theater
Starting on October 19 and continuing through the end of the month, El Capitan Theater will be hosting presentations of “Nightmare Before Christmas.” Jack Skellington and friends will be seen in a whole new light as the movie is presented in 3-D.
So, you see, there is much to do at Disney to celebrate this wonderful time of year. Whether your plans bring you east or west, you are sure to find some Fall Fun waiting for you – Disney style!