Every year Magic Kingdom hosts Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party on select nights starting in late August. You must purchase special tickets and you can’t enter the park until 4pm. However, if you don’t have a Halloween ticket you will be escorted out by 7pm. We went on the first Halloween party of the season this past August. While it was almost too hot to really enjoy the event, we did walk right on to a ton of rides. We also secured a hard to get reservation at the Skipper Canteen restaurant inside the park. There were stations throughout the park where you could line up for candy and if we had wanted to we would have come away with enough candy to fill a suitcase. What we enjoyed more was the special Hocus Pocus show in front of the castle with Disney’s Villains (if you haven’t seen the movie Hocus Pocus it is worth a rent). The Halloween fireworks feature spooky music and 180 degrees of fireworks (covering your sightline). The Parade was the main attraction and features an opening by the Headless Horseman. Our kids came away singing the theme song. There were great DIY costumes worn by many of the guests. It was super fun to see characters that don’t normally visit the park but we were surprised that the line ups to meet some of these characters were so long. We ate many of the special Halloween treats throughout the park that we purchased with our snack credits like pumpkin cheesecake treats, cupcakes, etc.
Overall we are glad we got to experience the park at this special time of year but attending a little closer to Halloween would make it even more special. But the cost of the tickets does vary depending on the popularity of the night.
We were very excited to ride the new Frozen ride. We just missed it by a few months on our trip last year. We are happy to report that the ride lived up to expectations. It is the refurbished Malestorm. The line is decorated to resemble a Nordic town. We loved going through Oaken’s trading post and seeing him appear in the sauna window. The ride itself had all our favourite characters, including the Snowgies and even showed Anna and Elsa in their winter and summer dresses. The only disappointment was the darkness in line that frightened our 4-year-old who then decided not to ride at the last minute. The staff was great and gave us a baby swap pass, but we certainly wished we’d been able to get a fast pass for this one.
Typhoon Lagoon’s Miss Adventure Falls
This ride wasn’t quite as exciting as we expected but that turned out to be a good thing as we took our 4-year-old on the ride. It starts off by travelling up on a steep incline that allows you to see a great view of the water park. The rest of the ride was similar to the other family raft rides at Disney’s water parks.
Soar ‘n updates
Who doesn’t love Soar’n – the ride in Epcot where you soar above the world looking at film of famous destinations? We are happy to report that the changes made to the show – adding a second screen and new destinations were seamless. Now you don’t have to wait as long and the new show has some surprises for Disney World fans. We love this ride because it is something both our kids could ride it without being afraid and because you feel like you are flying over places you might never visit.
Animal Kingdom is home to Pandora Avatar World with the famous Flight of Passage virtual reality ride and the Na’vi River Journey ride. Because you can’t get a fast pass for both we can only really comment on Flight of Passage, but we’ve heard that the River Journey moves slowly, has bright colours and doesn’t last long so it great for little ones. The hype and incredible wait times for these rides are a bit overblown in some ways but the Valley of Mo’ara (or area surrounding the rides) is certainly something to see. As you walk in you start to see large plants that look like they might reach out to eat you. You can’t help but stare at the giant rocks that are covered in vegetation. Imagine the Grand Canyon if it was in the rain forest. There are lots of beautiful photo ops and even live music performances in the vein of avatar.
We arrived 30 minutes before the rides opened and headed to Flight of Passage immediately and it took us an hour to make it on to the ride. I don’t think anyone should wait longer than an hour for anything so the idea that some people wait 4 hours to ride on Flight of Passage is downright depressing. Having said that, I heard many people around me saying it was worth it. Flight of Passage is indeed an incredible and immersive experience. I did think the interior walk-way before you get on your banshee was rather depressing, and not being a fan of the movie some of the nuances were lost on me, but the ride/simulation itself was jaw dropping. You really do feel like you are riding a banshee through Pandora world. There were smells, water spray and beautiful scenery. The banshee flies to the top of cliffs and then drops you down to skim the water. You fly inside a glowing cave and get attacked by other creatures. The ride did trigger my motion sickness but that was solved by a breakfast of French toast Na’vi style in the Satu’li Canteen (unfortunately the Canteen is only serving lunch and dinner but the unique options are worth a try.) If you aren’t able to get a fast pass for these rides at least walk over to the valley to see the scenery and check out the shop “Windtrades” that is a great extension of the theme.
We were certainly excited to eat at a table service restaurant inside Magic Kingdom. However, this meal didn’t quite live up to expectations. Our server was great, the décor of the restaurant was really well done and the atmosphere was fun but the meal itself was lack lustre. The chicken was extra salty and the noodle bowl was poor.
Happily Ever After fireworks
We’d heard so many great things about this new fireworks show that began on May 12, 2017, and it lived up to our expectations. This new show replaced the Wishes fireworks, one that we have seen a number of times. We are sentimental about Wishes because both our kids saw it as their first Disney fireworks show. But they really loved Happily Ever After.
The show is an amazing collage of characters and movie images projected onto the castle. It was neat that obscure and less popular movies were featured along with popular ones (Hercules, Brave, etc.) The fireworks themselves are almost an after-thought because the images on the castle are so engaging and seem to go on forever.
The downside to this show is that you need to be right in front of the castle to have the best view. It was difficult to move around, not block people behind you, and push a stroller into place. You also need to be there early to get a good spot, it takes longer to leave after the show and you can’t really enjoy this show from the boat as you leave the park. But overall we recommend planning to see this show! We were happy to see that our favourite fairy still made an appearance.
This little bar hidden down a hallway at the Polynesian resort only seats about 20 people. It is adorned with Tiki sculptures and moving décor on the walls. Depending on the drinks that are ordered the Tiki gods might get mad or it might storm. You can get munchies like Kahlua pork tacos and drinks like the Hippo Poto Mai-Tai (that makes it rain).
One of our favourite snacks of the trip was purchased right next door at Captain’s Cook’s quick service: Pulled pork nachos with fresh kettle corn potato chips topped with pulled pork, pineapple salsa, spicy mayo, and garlic aioli.
One of our favourite things about travelling to Disney is that we know there will always be new things to experience. We can’t wait to see Toy Story Land which should be ready in the summer of 2018 and Star Wars Land expected to open in 2019, both at Hollywood Studios.