I am kind of shocked that I have written as many posts as I have and this is my first one about Disney, because I LOVE Disney trips! Please feel free to be skeptical about how great they are or even to think I'm a little odd, because I thought both those things about my friends who, as adults, loved their Disney trips so much. Until I went for the first time as an adult seven years ago, that is.
Apparently, I drank the Disney kool-aid, because I have been back several times and, am so excited to say I am pretty sure I see a Disney trip on the horizon for 2015!
Let me take you with me to our most recent trip a few years ago. We were actually headed to Florida to be in a dear friend's wedding, but knowing that Petunia was 6 (such a perfect age for the MAGIC of Disney, although there's not a bad age!) I had to find a way to squeeze just a little bit of Disney into our long weekend.
We did not have much time for the Disney part of the trip, only the half day that we arrived and then one full day, so we had to pick our favorites. As this was in the fall, I wondered if it would be a good use of our limited time to attend the famous Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, which is a special event requiring it's own ticket. We had never been and I had some questions.
We were not going to be there that whole day and the party starts at 7 p.m. Would we have to buy a regular ticket to Magic Kingdom and then another ticket to the party? That would be expensive, and unreasonably expensive if we were not even going to have the whole day at the park. I did some research and found out that if we were only going to be going to the party, we only needed to buy a ticket to the party. Given our half-day in the area, that was going to work for us.
We had a wonderful day all around! Let me explain why, including my top 5 reasons I recommend you consider attending the MNSSHP if you ever get the chance.
1. You have time to do non-park things at Disney!
I know a lot of people take time out of their days to do non-park things at Disney, but our family does not take much. Why? We have paid dearly to be in the parks and those are truly the things that we cannot experience when we are back at home.
I understand some families must go take naps, but we never had to. Other families take time to swim in the afternoons. We have once or twice. But, we can nap and swim at home! We are often park openers and closers. Not every single day, of course. And we do make special dinner reservations that sometimes take us to other resorts, but we spend the vast majority of our time in the parks.
That is why having an event ticket that was not good for all day gave us the opportunity to slow down our pace and explore a few things we may not have done as thoroughly and it was fun!
One of those things was walking around our resort, Pop Century, and taking pictures with some of the gigantic icons of the different decades. We really soaked up all the theming and had plenty of time to take all the pictures we wanted or stop and play.
We also took extra time at our late lunch that afternoon. We had a reservation for Sanaa at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and it was delicious! We have made lunch or dinner reservations a time to sit down and relax our legs before, but we truly took our time, not only over the meal, but looking around the resort, too.
In the picture above, you can see the "Salad Sampler"--Choice of Three Salads: Chickpeas with Cucumber and Tomato; Watermelon, Cucumber and Fennel; Kachumbari; Mango; or Bhel Puri
Such interesting and complex flavor choices. Yummo!
2. Take advantage of the party and dress up in costume to add to the fun!
Petunia had chosen that she wanted to dress up as Jasmine for Halloween that year. I took her to the Disney store and let her pick whatever she wanted. I was kind of surprised to learn of her pick, but she was sure! I let her get it and she was thrilled! At the time, she only thought she was picking out her Halloween costume because we kept the day and a half Disney trip a surprise until we were driving onto the Disney World property!
In our family, Petunia is the only one who dressed up in costume, but we saw many full families, couples, and adults all in costume having a ball!
Eventually, it was time for us to head to the party.
Oh yeah! Ready to get this party started!
You may notice that it does not look like 7:00 p.m. outside, which leads me to one of my favorite reasons for the party:
3. You can enter the park 3 hours early for free!
The tickets for Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party officially start at 7. You will not see anything else officially advertised, but I had heard from a few sources that you could enter the park at 4:00 p.m. with your party ticket, so we decided to try it. It was true! While the party hadn't yet started (at 7:00 the park is closed to regular guests and only ticket-holding guests can stay) you can enter and do a few regular Magic Kingdom attractions before the party. For me, this value really helped me decide to go. With the park being open until midnight, I knew we would have 8 solid hours in the park! FUN!
From what I read and hear these days, the same is still true this year.
We took our princess in to meet some other princesses since we had all the "extra" time! Princess Aurora not only signed Petunia's autograph book, but also sealed it with a kiss!
We love Belle!
Ok, this encounter below is one of my favorite Disney memories! Besides Jasmine, Tinker Bell and the Peter Pan crew were Petunia's favorites at the time. She would even go flying with them at night, as she regularly told us. Be.still.my.heart.
She wanted to be able to fly during the day, however, so she needed Pixie Dust. This had proven to be a big problem for Petunia. We could not find it anywhere. She had asked Santa for it for Christmas the winter before, but he told her there was a shortage and he needed all he had to help his reindeer fly.
So, this was her chance! As you can see, she straight up asked Tinker Bell how she could get her hands on some pixie dust.
And this mama held her breath.
What would be the reply?
They talked for a bit and then Petunia walked over to a table with her. What were they doing?
When she returned to us, Petunia told us that Tinker Bell had explained that in the humid Florida air, the tiny, tiny pieces of Pixie Dust came together in these Mickey shapes, which were about 1000 pieces each. She had received several thousand pieces of Pixie Dust from Tinker Bell!
(The ensuing weeks involved various attempts at dissolving them to turn them back into flight-enabling dust particles, to no avail. Petunia said that next time she was in conversation with Tinker Bell she would have to get specific instructions.)
4. See characters and objects not normally seen!
The special events at Disney bring out characters that are not present during normal days and this helps make the parties special, even for people who come regularly to the parks.
For example, while Snow White is regularly in the parks, her Dwarves are not! They are very popular and the line to see them was always long. Since they are cute, but not a favorite, we chose to spend our party time doing other things than waiting in line to meet them, but it was still fun to see them and I snapped a couple pics.
Above is the picture of Petunia with Princess Aurora that we got when we entered the Magic Kingdom early, but here is the picture with Prince Phillip, too! Another one of the treats for the party is that the princesses are out and about with their princes!
Of course, while all these special things are taking place, you can still enjoy all the normal treats!
Here is another sweet moment that comes from taking advantage of dressing up! On the left, Petunia got to wait in line to meet Aladdin and Abu. On the right, however, Petunia got a spontaneous greeting from Aladdin in his Princely garb when he spotted her in the crowd during the parade and came over to greet his princess! How special is that?!
5. Mickey's Boo to You Halloween Parade is fun and fantastic!
Let me first acknowledge that all of Disney's parades are great and worth seeing...even over and over. They are also updated regularly, so there is fresh theming and costumes. With all of that, however, the Boo to You parade is a fan favorite and with good reason!
One of the most fun things is that the start of the parade is preceded by the headless horseman riding through the streets. Ok, a little creepy, but very cool! You have to see it!
This parade features characters that are not normally seen while the regulars are in costume!
Eeyore as a clown! Too fun!
Here are some more pictures of the parade taken by someone who loves it and has taken some great shots to share!
Well, those are my top 5 reasons to attend MNSSHP, but I have a bonus one with which to end.
Create memories like this.
For her memory and ours. Believe me, it's worth it.
Next, I will be sharing what we did for day 2 of the 2 day trip to Disney. Please do hit the follow button and make sure you are getting all the posts from Have Heart Will Travel. Some exciting things, including giveaways for blog followers, are coming up in the near future. Thank you!