How to Halloween at Walt Disney World: A Beginner’s Guide

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One of my all time favorite Disney Traditions is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This, combined with the amazing life choices that are the Food and Wine Festival, makes October my ultimate time to visit Walt Disney World (that plus, like no one is there).

Hopefully this short intro is all I need to do to convince you to visit the parks this fall (or the next one, or the fall after that)… because if not, I could tell you for ever about why this is a great life choice. Instead,  I’ll just assume you’re going and that you want to partake in Halloween magic and help you figure out what to do once your there. With out further ado… here’s an adult guide to Mickey’s Not So Scary.

 

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These are glow cubes. They are magic, though we did put them in the wine after they came with the fancy Disney cocktails. Our blogger Lauren Spinelli took this photo.

1. Pre-Game – Now, I’m not advocating being wasted, because there’s no point in paying the extra money for a ticket to this even only to not remember it. But, it is true that there’s (virtually) no booze for sale in the Magic Kingdom. If this is something you think will be a problem for you, I highly recommend monorail bar hopping before hand. You get to have drinks at some classy bars – and there’s glow cubes involved! Really, what’s not to love about that scenario? Nothing. That’s what.

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Here I am as a Fireside Girl. Another year I went as Village Belle. Trust me, that was a solid costume, as is this one.

 

2. Dress Up – Don’t be a party pooper. You don’t have to be in a Disney costume, hell – you can even just throw on a decorative headband. But this is the only time of year adult park goers can dress up in Disney World, so use that to your advantage. That being said… it’s still a family affair. So, maybe don’t be the slutty Cinderella.

3. Catch the Halloween Specific Entertainment – Between the Villain’s Castle Show, the Fireworks, the Parade, the special character meet and greets and the Dance Party… there’s plenty to do here that isn’t just ride the rides. This is what you’re paying the extra money for, so watch the parade twice (because it really is the best one at Disney…except for maybe the Main Street Electrical), and also all the time with the YouTube video above.

space mountain, walt disney world, sleeping, tired, mickey's not so scary halloween party

Here’s a time I really could’ve used that Main Street starbucks. Those 12 hour Disney Days really take it out of ya.

4. Use the Main Street Starbucks To Your Advantage – Because nothing says fall like a Pumpkin Spice Latte. And nothing says a successful day at Disney like needing a coffee pick me up at 10 PM to get the most out of the extra Magic Hours. And if you can’t be #basic at Disney World, where can you be?

Do you have any tips for a great ‘Not So Scary’ experience? I won’t be going this year :( but let me know what I should plan on doing in 2015!

Wordless Wednesday: The End of Summer

I’m participating in my first attempt at a blog link up, with this one being Wordless Wednesday. I’m terrified I’m doing it all wrong and I am about to be kicked off the internet, but hey – you have to start sometime right? That being said… here is my contribution to Wordless Wednesday. 

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Yes, that’s me in the killer overalls and amazing shoes. Sometimes I still have nightmares about that version of Winnie the Pooh. Which is probably why I look so angry.

Growing up the end of summer always meant a trip to Walt Disney World, and while I’m glad that since my childhood I have learned that there are much better (read: less busy and humid) times to visit Orlando, every time a new school year rolls around I find myself getting antsy for a trip back down to America’s most penis shaped state.

Maelstrom: A Viking Funeral

frozen, reinactment, disney pricnesses, anna and else

The happier days, before ‘Frozen’ broke my heart.

‘Frozen’ and I are in a fight.

When I first saw the movie, in a crowded theater opening weekend, I was touched by the story of sisterly love. As the oldest of four, it spoke to me  and I, like most of America, spent the next two to four months singing every song and trying to convince anyone who didn’t agree that it was the best Disney movie since ‘Beauty and the Beast’.

If you know anything about anything at this point, you know I wasn’t alone in this mild obsession. At this point, in box office revenue alone, Frozen has racked in over a billion dollars. This doesn’t count merchandize, which has been sold out for months at Disney stores across the country, nor does it count the reason ‘Frozen’ and I are in a fight: what it’s done to Walt Disney World.

Last year when I went and visited the parks during Christmas time, Anna and Elsa had just started their meet and greets in the Norway Pavilion at EPCOT. The line was over four hours long, when I wanted to get in line at 1 PM I was told the lengthy line was actually for a meet and greet starting at 5:30. Since then the Princess have been relocated to The Magic Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been taken over by ‘Frozen’ Summer Fun, activities spread through out the park including: ice skating, a Frozen Sing Along, and Elsa themed fireworks.

And I was okay with these things. When my roommate got back from Disney she only had amazing things to say about the ‘Frozen’ fireworks, and when I heard they were shutting down the American Idol Live attraction, I was cool with the idea that ‘Frozen’ might take some sort of permanent residence in the that theater. But then, the worst happened: Disney announced they were closing Maelstrom (and basically the whole Norway pavilion by extension), and replacing it with a ‘Frozen’ themed ride.

malestrom, epcot, norway, norway ride, walt disney world

Soon this will be covered in fake snow and probably an Olaf and have a three hour wait instead of 15 minutes

If you’ve never got drunk around the world and then ridden this hidden gem of Walt Disney World, let me paint you a picture of your experience. Maelstrom features viking style boats, which carry you through the attraction based on both Norwegian history and mythology. You learn about the early settlers of Norway, vikings and the like, until Norwegian trolls send you backwards over a waterfall into a land of oil rigs and fishing boats. If it sounds super cheesy, that’s because it is, but there’s also something so deeply silly yet at the same time reverent about this ride.

With out Maelstrom, I never would’ve known that those trolls in ‘Frozen’ are actually a significant nod to Norse life. With out Maelstrom, I would puke all over Test Track when drunk because it’s one of the three good rides in EPCOT (in case you were curious, number three is Figment). With out Maelstrom, I would never have been able to creep my boss out by knowing she was wearing perfume from their gift shop. It breaks my heart that my children will never know what it means to ‘smell like Norway’, or that polar bears could have actually been Arendelle’s biggest fear.

Most of all, however, I am disappointed in my greatest love, Disney. The World Showcase, however cheesily it does it, has always been a place of education. Sure, a place to eat and drink, but also a place to speak with people from countries all over the world, to learn about Mexico with the help of Donald Duck, and to have norse trolls chant spells at you until you sail off into the oil rig filled sunset. By turning Norway into ‘Frozen’ city, we’ll be loosing some of that weirdly semi-educational magic, and I for one think that EPCOT will suffer for it.

Maelstrom, Norway, Norway ride, EPCOT, Walt Disney World

This terrible panorama (because margaritas), is of the mural in the queue area of Maelstrom. THIS IS THE RICH HISTORICAL STORY TELLING WE ARE LOOSING HERE PEOPLE.

So, here’s to you Maelstrom, the ride of kings. You’ll be missed by many, and I hope someday when my kids inevitably loose their shit over being in Arendelle, I’ll still be able to convince them that they missed out on something grand.

Disney is Like a Fine Wine… It Gets Better With Age!

Editors note: Today’s post is from my roommate, who recently returned from a Disney Vacation of her own. Last week I told you how I dealt with her absence, but now she’s here to tell you all the fun things she learned being 21 and over at Walt Disney World.

I recently returned from a family vacation where we ventured off to the happiest place on Earth! Before you ask: no, I have no siblings or family members under the age of 20, and yes, I am well past the point where it’s appropriate to ask me what grade I’m in. But believe it or not my family refuses to vacation anywhere else.

For those of you who think you can put a time stamp on visiting Disney World, you are seriously missing out! It’s the only place in the world where it’s totally cool to get smashed while wearing Mickey Mouse ears. You can carry a giant leg of turkey in one hand and a Pluto stuffed animal in the other. Disney is truly like a fine wine, the older you get the better your trip is and if you still don’t believe me, here are the best things about my trip…

  1. Drinking Around The World- Okay this one might seem a little obvious but here’s something you broke 20 something year olds might not realize: the drinks are reasonably priced. At least for Disney World. I’m talking $6 bucks for a glass of Prosecco reasonable. I quickly learned that stopping for drinks in Mexico, China and London are a must.
  2. All The Frozen Fun- Let’s face it, Disney made Frozen for our generation. Sorry tweeny boppers you can have all the Hannah Montana you want but Olaf will forever be meant to give warm hugs to those who understand his sense of humor. Visit Hollywood Studios for Frozen Fireworks, a Frozen sing along and a super cool show featuring the Icemen of the North, a band that performs covers of 90s and 80s songs!
  3. After Magic Hours Are Actually Better – As a kid, these extra hours meant let’s stay at the parks for 18 hours. As an adult it means let’s drink and hang out at the pool all day and stay at the parks late night to avoid all the lines and toddlers who need to go to bed at 9 pm.
  4. The Food in Disney is Actually Damn Good- Remember all those character buffets where you sacrificed taste for a snapshot with Goofy? Well, not any more! Disney has a ton of AMAZING dining options, where the food is just as good as the ambiance. Try the luau at the Polynesian Resort or eat African cuisine with the animals at Sanaa.
  5. Disney Has a Great Sense of Humor- Ever wonder how your parents sat through hours of Disney classics with you as a child? Disney’s got something for everyone and now that you’re well past puberty you understand all the jokes that went over your head during Beauty and The Beast. You too can be especially good at expectorating! Try Muppets 3D and Mickey’s Philharmagic to see what I’m talking about.
  6. Dole Whip Is (Still) The Best – Maybe the most adventurous thing you do in the Magic Kingdom’s Adventure Land is visit Aloha Isle for a signature soft serve float. The ice cream is Dole’s own brand and it sits atop a large glass beverage of your choice. It’s the best dessert ever.
  7. You Actually Still Feel Magical- So maybe the best thing about Disney is that it does make you feel like a kid again, however you’re old enough to realize just how special that feeling is. So plunge down Splash Mountain, scream like a banshee on Tower of Terror and wait in line for 2 hours to shake Mickey Mouse’s hand. It’s the only vacation you’ll ever take that transports you back in time to your childhood and that’s a kind of trip that never gets old!

Do any of you 20 somethings have any other tips to add to this list? Does Disney, in fact, get better with age?

A Review of Villains Unleashed – Or How I Actually Managed To Do Some Cool Stuff on Hollywood Studio’s Busiest Night of the Year

Current CP Caroline Liddick is back, this time with a review of the (currently) one time only hard-ticketed event Villians Unleashed, which took place at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios last weekend. Read on for her review!

This past weekend, Hollywood Studios celebrated classic and new Disney villains alike with their new hard-ticketed event, Villains Unleashed. Being a longtime fan of many Disney Villains and a newer fan of alcohol, I of course bought my ticket and joined in on the fun.

After Hades officially opened the event and welcomed all fifty (FIFTY!) villains into Studios, I began my atypical night at Villains Unleashed. My first stop was in Animation Courtyard where Disney Junior Live is typically staged. That night, there was a Guardians of the Galaxy themed dance party. The DJ gave out copies of “Awesome Mix, Vol. 1”, some danced, but most waited for the reveal of Walt Disney World’s first ever Marvel characters – Star-Lord and Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy. When they finally came out to take pictures, everyone rushed to the velvet rope.

First of all, their costumes were A+. They were movie accurate down to the last detail. Star-Lord had his “purse,” his headphones, and his holster, and Gamora’s face makeup was on point. Not to mention, my bae Peter Quill’s dance moves were actually, literally (okay, metaphorically) off the charts.

After this dance party, the rest of my night was spent wandering Studios, save one return to see my new favorite face characters again. By the time I got out of the dance party (at around 8:45), lines were ridiculous. So I walked around and saw all of the villains I could. I walked through Pixar Place – Toy’s wait time was only 30 minutes! In August! – to get over to Streets of America, where the lights were dimmed and the speakers were blasting creepy atmosphere music. I followed Frollo around for a bit as he flirted with female Guests and ignored everyone else, basically. It was terrifying and amazing.

Walking through Muppets Courtyard, I got a glimpse and earful of Constantine – one of the E-ticket meet and greets of the night. According to some Guests, his line was three hours long, but it seemed worth it. Constantine met from behind the bars of the Gulag within the Muppets gift shop, and I even heard a glimpse of his Kermit impression as the exit doors swung open.

After swinging through the Star Tours area and getting a picture with a Stormtrooper, I went over to Brown Derby to get an event exclusive drink – One Bad Apple, with a signature glowing poison apple inside. It was fifteen dollars, and pretty weak, but totally tasty. A+, would buy again.

The rest of my night was spent wandering Studios, visiting my friends at Fantasmic!, and buying one of the last 20 event pins. I actually left before the fireworks to avoid traffic, but from what I’ve heard (and seen on YouTube), they were pretty awesome.

Now, before I get to the end of my Villains recap, I feel like I have to say that I know a lot of Guests I spoke with that night were not happy with their Villains experience. Yes, lines were long – some lines lasted for half of the event time! I want to acknowledge that because I totally understand where they were coming from. I do wish that the event lasted for multiple days, or maybe for longer hours, to allow more time for all of the Guests to get to meet as many Villains as possible.

However, to me, Villains Unleashed isn’t about cramming as many meet and greets into one day as possible. It’s about seeing other Disney fans getting into the spirit, taking pictures with great cosplays, and seeing your favorite park decked out to the max in purple lights and EDM-blasting speakers.

It is like a special brand of Comic Con – you pay a lot of money to wait around, but most of that money is spent for the opportunity to share something you love with other people. I paid $70 with tax to go to Villains Unleashed, and I thought every penny was worth it. I look forward to seeing what Studios does next year – and you can bet that I’ll be going!

 

Did you go to Villians Unleashed? Have a drastically different take on the event then Caroline did? Let us know in the comments!

4 Ways to Deal When Your Friend Is In Disney

At the time of my writing, my roommate is currently live texting me as she drinks around the world. This is hard to handle. Especially with my yearly October pilgrimage possibly being postponed, life is hard right now. Should you ever find yourself in a similar position here are my five tips for surviving what will feel like the longest vacation you’ve never been on.

1. Texting is a must… Like I said, my roommate is currently texting me as she drinks around the world. The benefit here is two fold: 1. I get to introduce her to the wonders that are the Cantoloopy, and 2. I get to pretend, if only for a moment, like I’m ordering one for myself. (Don’t worry, she’ll probably be on the blog soon creating EPCOT drink orders with me, at least if I have anything to say about it).

2. …as is Facebook stalking. My roommate and her younger sister have been posting daily photo updates, and I’ve been liking them all! (Sorry you two).

3. Keep Busy with Disney. In the past week I’ve dream planned about 400 Disney Vacations, listened to Disney Radio, and written this blog post. It’s easier to stop myself from Disney Depression if I’m not totally cutting myself off – because if I did that I’d just be dreaming about what my roommate was doing instead.

4. Get really obsessed with something else to keep your mind off things. I’m currently attempting to watch #EverySimpsonsEver for 12 days straight. Wish me luck!

What are your tips for dealing with Not in Disney depression? Does it get worse for you when you know someone who’s in the parks?