I’ve never really loved Halloween.  Sure, when I was a kid, I went door to door in my suburban neighborhood trick or treating for candy and loved it.  I always struggled with creating a costume because I’m just not that creative.  My mom is so she helped a lot.  Fast forward to when my own kids were in elementary school – yes, I dressed them up as well and we went on a hunt for the best candy.  But, it was in those years that I became a little wary of those handing out the candy.  Was it safe for my kids?  And what message was it sending?  Coming from a family of faith, I began to question if “celebrating” this holiday was sending the right lesson to my impressionable young children.  Before you get concerned that this blog is getting preachy, hang in there with me.  I’m not going deep here.  Suffice it to say I just questioned these things, but we dressed up the kids and struck out into the night anyway, checked the candy for safety upon returning home, saved a few of my favorites aside for myself (as every good mom does, right?), and stored the plastic pumpkin receptacles for next year’s trick or treating.

As my babies grew into teenagers, they tried the scary haunted houses that never were my thing.  My thing was Disney and there wasn’t really anything scary about Disney except for the mildly scary aspects of the Haunted Mansion attraction.  Madame Leota and Constance Hatchaway, the Black Widow Bride were scary, but with repetition, I became a fan of this classic Disney attraction.  But we still never attended the Halloween Party at Disney because Halloween just wasn’t my thing.

These days, my kids are all young adults and we find ourselves going to Disney quite often without them.  We go each fall especially for Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.  With Epcot being my favorite park, I was always happy to focus our time there and spend a minimal amount of our vacation at Magic Kingdom.  Because of the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, several days a week the Magic Kingdom closes at 6pm to anyone not attending the party.  And because we’re annual passholders, I couldn’t see spending even more money on tickets to the party.

This fall happened very differently.  In early September, I attended a conference at Walt Disney World with a group of young moms.  We had one free evening during the conference.  It just so happened that that one free evening was a Halloween Party night.  Because they all wanted to go only to the Magic Kingdom and it was cheaper for them to purchase party tickets than it was to purchase a full day’s park ticket, the decision was made to attend the Halloween Party.  So, this was it, I was going to the Halloween Party for the first time!  I attended with these young women and fell in love with the whole evening!  My favorite part was the parade where many of the Haunted Mansion characters (including Constance Hatchaway) come to life and entertain the party attendees.  Of course, Minnie and Mickey Mouse are headliners in the parade as well.  We also attended the Hocus Pocus Show which featured the Sanderson Sisters from the movie of the same name.  Well done, Disney!

Following my conference, I met up with some family members who happened to be celebrating the 5th birthday of their daughter at the Happiest Place on Earth.  And guess what?  They, too, wanted to go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!  I had never been to the party before and found myself attending twice in one week!  This time, my favorite part was the amazing fireworks show.  You should understand that the fireworks show is specific to the Halloween Party.  And the biggest part of the show are the projections onto the castle telling the story of Mickey and his friends trick or treating and finding a haunted house.  The projections are so cool!  There are all sorts of Disney characters incorporated including many Disney Villains which lend themselves so well to the Halloween theme.

Finally, we planned our annual pilgrimage to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival in October.  Both my husband and my cousin claim Magic Kingdom as their favorite Walt Disney World theme park.  Because of this, we try to always plan to be there for our final night as a traditional farewell of sorts riding classic attractions and watching the fireworks from Main Street.  Since Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party was being held at Magic Kingdom on our final night of this visit, we decided to try something different and attend the party in order with our tradition.  So, here I was, definitely NOT a Halloween person and attending the Halloween Party for the third time in one season!  This time, we really focused on the attractions because many of them have special Halloween overlays.  Pirates of the Caribbean, for instance, has real live pirates in the ride talking with the guests as they go through the attraction.  It was really fun.

And then there’s the Trick or Treating!  As you enter the Halloween Party, you’re given a special treat bag.  Located throughout the park are special markers to guide you to the very generous candy stations.  There are specially costumed cast members giving out some really quality candy – both chocolate and non-chocolate.  There is even an allergy friendly station located in the front of the park!  Disney thinks of everything.

Being a fan of the Memory Maker Photo Package, I can also highly recommend trying to get some of the fun Magic Shots offered only during the Halloween Party.

Let me just clarify that while the Halloween Party is jam packed with tons of activities, you don’t need to plan multiple party visits like I did to still have a great time.  With careful planning, you can do everything available at the party in one visit!

As you can see, I’m not a fan of Halloween.  However, I just may be a fan of Halloween “Disney Style”!  From never having attended Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party to attending 3 times in one year, I have been convinced of the fun to be had!

If you, too, are considering a fall trip to Walt Disney World and are curious about this Halloween Party you’ve heard about, please let me convince you, too!  Email me at Jeri@TravelwiththeMagic.com and I will help get you there and next year!  BOO!!