By Charly SHELTON
Each year, the local theme parks go all out for the spookiest time of the year. It used to be a few nights around Halloween, with some festive decorations – a little fake blood and some pumpkins – and put on a Halloween stage show or haunted house. Then it grew to several haunted houses. Then it ran all month. Now Halloween officially starts with the first theme park to do Halloween events. In the case of theme parks in Los Angeles, the season usually starts in mid-September. But at the Florida theme parks, Halloween starts in August. This year, we at CV Weekly did something new. For the first time, we are proud to present coverage of the East Coast’s premier Halloween event at Walt Disney World, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
This event has been running for over a month now, nearly six weeks by the time I made it out there so the event is in full swing and well-practiced by cast members now. Mickey’s party is a trick-or-treat in the park event similar to the one held here in Disneyland Resort, but turned up to 11. Guests come in costume to visit the Magic Kingdom after closing hours and fill their goody bags with candy, hit some popular rides and take pictures with their favorite characters, who are also dressed in their Halloween costumes. There is a special parade, stage show and fireworks show during the event. Some of the rides get special Halloween twists just for the party, like live actors as pirates on Pirates of the Caribbean and as ghosts in front of Haunted Mansion, or a lights-off experience on Space Mountain with a spooky horror-movie style soundtrack for the ride. California does Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy on their rides for Halloween but those run all day. What Florida’s event really does best is something that California doesn’t capitalize on – anticipation and exclusivity.
California’s event only really adds the trick-or-treating aspect at night, and the parade, a clone of Florida’s Boo to You parade. But the only big change for guest experience between day and night is the trick-or-treating. That, in my opinion, isn’t enough to get me into the specially ticketed event. But that feeling of anticipation, of waiting for things to change over for nighttime, is what drew me into Florida’s event. I was in the park last year before Mickey’s party and had to leave before it got started, knowing I would miss out on the fun. That’s what brought me back this year, because it teased me into wanting those changes after dark. Now this year, being a guest at the party satisfied my curiosity and I had a great time in part because I knew I was in that special club that got to stay for the extra fun.
I’m not saying make the trip all the way to Walt Disney World just for this party, but I’m not NOT saying that. There are a lot of other awesome things happening at WDW right now like the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival, the newly opened Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land and Toy Story Land in Disney Hollywood Studios, and lots more, all of which will have articles in future issues of CV Weekly. So if you’re looking for a good time to go, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party overlaps with some other great reasons to hit the WDW Resort this time of year. The party is on now and runs select nights through Nov 1.