Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party dates for 2017 + Tips for your travel!

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It’s official! Disney has released dates for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party for 2017. Are you attending? I AM! This year, Disney starts the party at the end of AUGUST and it runs through November 1. What a schedule. I can’t wait to see what magic they bring this year!

  • August – 25, 29
  • September – 1, 7, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 26, 29
  • October –1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27, 29, 31
  • November – 1

No official on sale date yet but going based off of historical data, they should go on sale in early May.

The big question for adults with the change in costume policy earlier this year is “can I wear a costume?” The answer is YES! They are discouraging guests from some specific types of costumes and larger costumes are subject to further inspection in security – it’s a safety thing. So plan accordingly but definitely bring you creativity!! For adults, long layers and full length dresses are not allowed. Capes may be worn but not past the waist. Remember all of these things are for the safety of all guests!

Some highlights from the 2016 party:

  • Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade – including Disney Characters and the stars of the Haunted Mansion attraction. The parade kicks off with a ride from the Headless Horseman.
  • Happy HalloWishes fireworks – an AMAZINg display different from the everyday fireworks!
  • Many favorite Disney Characters and Disney Villains in special Halloween costumes.
  • Special lighting, music and theming effects transforms special areas of Magic Kingdom into happy haunted hollows.
  • Hocus Pocus Villain spectacular bringing back the Sanderson sisters to put a spell on the park. This stage show was wildly popular!
  • Trick or treating around the Magic Kingdom with more candy that I know what to do with (and tons of options for guests with allergies).

I expect this year to have even more haunting magic! While it is a separate admission into Magic Kingdom, if you travel in fall it’s 100% worth the cost to take advantage of lower crowds and all of the fun things that ONLY happen during the party.

Tips & Tricks for Special Events in Magic Kingdom:

  • Depending on your length of stay and number of days with park tickets, you have two options for the morning and early afternoon of your special event.
    1. For longer trips or those with park hopper tickets: Take the morning off! Sleep in (you’ll rarely hear me say this on a Disney vacation, so take advantage). It’s a great opportunity for a late morning character breakfast at Chef Mickey in Contemporary or the delicious flavors of Boma in Animal Kingdom Lodge. Enjoy your resort’s pool and explore to see some of the hidden things it has to offer. Use Disney’s transportation to navigate to another resort to explore (I choose the deluxe resorts!) or head to Downtown Disney for the morning.
    2. For shorter trips with only base day tickets, you may want to take the opportunity to “park hop”. Since you do not need your daily ticket and your special event ticket, enjoy a morning in another park
  • Regardless of your morning plan, eat a large late lunch before you arrive at Magic Kingdom! While select quick service restaurants are available, you don’t want to use your precious time eating a meal you could have any other time during regular park hours. You may find yourself roaming around the park for something that’s open by the time you are hungry. There are dining options both table service and quick service during the party, but you’ll use up precious time if you dine during the party.
  • Skip the long character lines and enjoy some of the special live shows and open attractions. You’ll rarely ever see lines that short! If there is a must do character, don’t worry about waiting! Do what is important to your kids (if characters are more important than rides, GO FOR IT! We are a character meet and greet family so seeing them in different attire is fun and it’s the only way to see some villains!)
  • Arrive as close to 4 pm as possible. While the park may still be a bit crowded with ticketed day guests, you’ll want to use as much of your ticketed time as possible.
  • Rest up earlier in the day (make sure kids have napped appropriately). Bring a stroller for your younger ones to take a little snooze waiting for a parade or a place if they are just too tired.
  • Consider Memory Maker. It’s a great little add on to any Disney vacation, but why not grab a few holiday photos for your Christmas card or capture some lasting Halloween memories through the eyes of Disney! Even if you don’t add it on, you can still take advantage of Disney’s PhotoPass photographers throughout the park.
  • If you know you want to attend one of the parties, buy your tickets before your arrive. Advanced purchase is a bit cheaper (usually about $5) and some popular dates sell out.
  • If you are not attending the party and you have base tickets, avoid these party dates! You won’t get a fireworks show at the end of the night (unless you watch it off the Magic Kingdom grounds). If you have park hopper tickets, it’s a pretty good park to start your day with as many people do avoid Magic Kingdom on party nights!
A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your 2017 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

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Disney Date Nights with Kid’s Clubs

Some of our best “grown up” memories are at Disney World without kids – just for a night though! I thought I would share a few ways to get away for an adult/couples night out while on vacation with the little ones:

Children’s Activity Centers will keep the kids entertained in a secure and well supervised environment at four resort locations throughout Walt Disney World.

Clubs and locations are:  Lilo’s Playhouse at Polynesian Resort, Simba’s Clubhouse at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Sandcastle Club at Beach Club Resort, and Camp Dolphin at Walt Disney’s Dophin Hotel (ages 4-12 here).

In each of these cool clubs, children (ages 3 to 12) can enjoy arts and crafts, video and board games, watch Disney movies, play with a toys, and even make new friends – my son met a new pen pal named Edward from England! They had a blast together!

Themed activities along with dinner, snacks and even some cool crafts/keepsakes make it a truly unforgettable experience they’ll have a hard time not talking about for a long time.  Different nightly programming may include: learning about physics by decorating a volcano and watching it explode like a real ones.  Decorate cookie with a Disney pastry chef or train like a pirate buccaneer and come face to face with the one and only Captain Hook!

 

 

 

Prices will vary by location: Camp Dolphin and Simba’s Cubhouse have an hourly rate of $15 per child, with a 2-hour minimum. And then Lilo’s Playhouse and Sandcastle Club, charge a flat rate of $55 per child for the duration of the evening.  Dinner is included in the cost of the service and parents can order kid-friendly meals for their children at time of check-in. If given early notice, they can accommodate special dietary needs and mealtimes are served at 6:00pm with snacks at 10:00pm.  The club hours vary based on each location and advance reservations are recommended for all locations (please note that hey are required for Camp Dolphin).

 

Please note that activities are subject to change and we will be glad to make reservations for you in advance – up to 180 prior to your trip. Same day walk-ins are also welcome but note that they are based on availability.

Also, Disney offers convenient in-room babysitting as well and we loved this option when our kids were small (4 years and 18 months) because I believed in a strict bedtime and the nanny came to our resort room to stay with the children once I had put them to bed.  Ours were easy since they were already asleep but arts and crafts, reading and playing games are among the fun-filled activities for children 6 months to 12 years of age if you would like.

With this service an independent childcare provider Kid’s Nite Out offers one-to-one babysitting in the comfort of your Walt Disney World Resort hotel room. Prices range from $18 per hour for 1 child to $26 per hour for 4 children, etc…Please note that after 9:00 PM, a $2.00 charge will be added per hour and an additional one-time transportation fee of $10.00 is also required. We also paid ours a tip but this is not required. (Please note that rates are subject to change without notice.)
Lastly, if you would just like some down time around the pool without a cost then check out the resort activities for the children.  My favorite are the pool parties every afternoon at any of the resorts (weather permitting).  And my all time favorite resort for family/kid activities is the Animal Kingdom Lodge – there is so much to do and see there! So let’s get started planning your Disney vacation!

MinnieBox

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation and help navigating all of the things to do and planning excursions for your cruise!  The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) It’s also a worry free cruise opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

The Best and Worst Times to Travel to Disney World in 2017!

 

For all of you advanced planners, we’ll talk about 2017 Disney World vacations! It’s never too early to start planning. Whether you wanted to save up for a big vacation or you’re just looking to try your first Disney adventure with your kids, it’s always a good time to research and plan a Disney vacation.  But when to go? Timing is everything.

First, ask yourself a few simple questions:

  • If I have kids, am I willing to take them out of school?
  • Do I have any blackout dates at work?
  • Are there any special events I want to attend? (i.e. Mickey’s Not to Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party)
  • Do I want to be able to swim or go to water parks? (is temperature a factor)
  • Is it ok to miss a few headlining attractions due to routine maintenance?
  • Is cost a major factor in our vacation?
  • Is it ok if it’s H-O-T while we are there? Summers in Orlando can get pretty brutal)

All of these simple questions will help direct you to the best time of year to travel. As we start to talk about overall crowds and dollar values, please be aware that Disney World has become an increasingly popular destination. Yes, it has always been a popular travel destination for families, but whether it’s more international guests taking the opportunity to travel to the states or families just taking more frequent Disney World adventures, overall crowd attendance is up no matter what the time of year. If you’ve traveled more than once in the last 5 years, you’ll feel this increase in wait times and overall people milling around in the parks.

From year to year, the best times to go are fairly similar, but let’s break it down by month:

January – After you get past the New Year’s crowd which is typically gone by the 3rd or 4th of January, it’s a pretty slow time. Crowds increase during the Disney marathon which is typically the first weekend after the holidays pass. Both crowds and costs are low, however you may miss a few major attractions due to maintenance. Crowds do increase during MLK Jr. weekend as many children have at least one day off school. Weather is typically cool and you may need a light jacket. Swimming may be out. Although the pools are open and Disney pools are heated, it’s still too cold for these old bones when the highs are only in the low to mid 70s.

February – This is also a fairly good time of year. Crowds peak for the Princess Half Marathon weekend as well as President’s day weekend. Other than this time, crowds and costs continue to be low. As with January, you may need a light jacket. In 2014, the weather was unseasonably warm so off season travelers got to enjoy some warm Florida sun but in 2015, weather was unseasonably cold and jackets were a must! 2016 saw a middle ground in weather and much of the year was pleasant. The closer you get to March, the more the crowd level begins to increase. I was told by a cast member that every single room in every Disney resort was booked for Valentine’s Day last year, so if it’s a romantic destination for you, make sure you plan ahead!

fg1March – Ahhh, spring break season! While schools across the country all have different weeks for spring break, you’ll typically see spikes in crowds at last 1-2 weeks during the month. With Easter falling in mid-April next year, Spring Break season will likely start during the 3rd week of March this year but schools will never surprise me with how early spring break may fall! Weather begins to warm up at this time and very few attractions are closed during this time.  Epcot begins their annual Flower & Garden festival which runs through the end of May.

April – Spring break season continues.With Easter in mid-April this year, you’ll see peak spring break through the week of April 16th and then a drop in crowds and costs.  After spring break crowds wear down, both prices and costs decrease as the weather heats up! It’s not the lowest cost of the year, but it’s better than the peak prices! There’s a bit of a lull here as kids go back to school after spring break and before school lets out.

May – A few things to note for May travelers: the first two weeks of May are often a great time to travel in terms of crowds but it can start to get hot! Our most recent May adventure saw daytime highs in the 90s which made park touring a bit slower paced than it would be in the cooler months of January and February. Disney has continued to elaborate and extend the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival so it’s still a fun time to explore this free event. Lastly, Memorial Day weekend is a popular long weekend for guests and crowds may mildly increase during this time. Prices and crowds tend to be moderate as we get closer to the end of school year and finals. It’s a nice little window between spring break and end of school to enjoy trip! The weather is easily in the 80s and sometimes warmer, and it’s not typically very rainy. Not many attractions closed during this time.

June – June of 2015 saw a HUGE influx of travelers throughout the month (moreso than previous years with 8-10/10 crowds each day) with a bit of a dip in 2016. This may be related to some new attractions opening in late June that had guests delay their arrival date to explore the new offerings. Early in the month, the unofficial event “gay days” is held in one of Disney’s theme parks. It does increase the crowds of that park specifically, so be aware as you start to plan.  Along with increase in crowds comes increase in prices and heat. The summer months can be sweltering. Although June is not that bad, the remainder of the summer is hot, hot, hot!\

July – It’s one of the most popular times of year to travel to Disney. I can’t say that I’ve been there in July, but it’s a hot! Plan for an afternoon rain shower which is often welcomed in the humid Florida weather. It provides some relief. Fourth of July weekend is even more costly than the standard summer pricing. Crowds continue to peak during this month. Take a break from the parks and enjoy a water park!

August  – As summer ends, the crowds begin to dwindle. By the middle of the month, crowds resume their normal 5-6/10. The weather is still hot and you often have a pop up rain shower. Don’t be scared if you see a 30% chance of rain every day. No special events throughout the summer, and August finishes that trend. Toward the end of August, you’ll see value season pricing as back to school season really ramps up (even before Labor Day weekend). If your kids don’t return until after Labor Day weekend, this may be a unique time of year for you to travel!

September – After Labor Day passes, the some really low crowds and prices settle in. School is officially back in session and it can be somewhat rainy. The weather is still typically very warm (especially earlier in the month). By mid to late September, Epcot is geared up for the International Food & Wine Festival which runs through midNovember. September also brings Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This special ticketed event at Magic Kingdom closes the park early and allows guests to enjoy a special themed party where costumes are not only allowed, but encouraged. Plus, meet special characters appear throughout the park and lines are incredibly short. This even runs through the end of October. Great discounts and special offers are typically available September through mid November. This is often the time of year with the best promotional rates as it continues to have the lowest attendance. Over the last two years, the end of September has trended up in crowds with the addition of many schools adding a fall break to their school schedule. The last of September has become a much busier time of year.

October ­– October has become the “new summer” in terms of crowd levels. Without the heat of summer, days off of school for Columbus day, the draw of Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival, and Halloween festivities, it’s a huge draw for crowds. 2015 saw an astronomical spike in crowds over the previous year and 2016 is shaping up to be a busy year again. This can also be attributed to later fall breaks for schools across the country. There still appears to be a pocket of time at the end of the month around Halloween that gives a little reprieve on overall crowd levels. Weather finally begins to cool again after a long, hot summer. Temps will very likely still remain in the 80s, but it’s not as humid.

November ­– The phenomenon known as “Jersey Week” happens in early November. Schools in New Jersey have a week long break in early November inflating crowds. This isn’t a huge jump in crowd levels, but it’s a factor in making your plans. The first week of November often has lower crowd levels as Disney removes all of the Halloween and Fall decor and starts to set up for the Christmas season. You’ll see shorter hours in Magic Kingdom as the transformation happens literally overnight. For families with little ones, it’s a nice way to enjoy comfortable temperatures, and allow them to see fireworks shows without staying way past bed time!  Additionally, Veteran’s Day is often a day off for students (November 11) PLUS the Wine & Dine RunDisney event. Between this time and the week of Thanksgiving is a great time to travel as crowd levels begin to dwindle.  As it gets closer to Thanksgiving, crowd will peak. Discounts stop the days surrounding Thanksgiving as it’s often another peak travel time with multiple days off of work and school. Discounts typically resume the Sunday after Thanksgiving and continue through mid December. Watch for Christmas decorations as Halloween items are removed. Around this time, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party also begins. Similar to its Halloween counterpart, Magic Kingdom closes early for special events and characters culminated with a holiday parade and fireworks.

December ­­- The last month of a year is a mixed bag of crowds and costs. The first Tips and Tricks for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Partytwo and a half weeks finishes up the Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom. Decorations remain throughout the theme parks and resorts through the remainder of the year (and through the first few days of January). After the second full week of December, crowds begin to increase as families take their holiday vacation to Disney World. It’s the highest crowd levels of the year, and the prices match. Wait times during the days surrounding Christmas and New Years can often be measured in hours instead of minutes. While it’s a magical time of year, it’s not the best time to go the most magical place on earth. Around Christmas and New Years, no room discounts are available.

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your 2017 Disney World vacation? Can you believe we can already price out and plan your adventure? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!