Epcot: Festival of the Holidays!

Epcot: Festival of the Holidays!

Just when you’re missing the International Food and Wine Festival, Epcot International Festival of the Holidays arrives! Keep reading for information on the food, cookies, shopping, traditions and more!

Walt Disney World has a magical part of their world that includes all kind of different worlds from future land to many different countries, Epcot. Exploring Epcot is an excellent way to explore different cultures and learn while playing. For Christmas, it turns into a worldly celebration for Epcot International Festival of the Holidays.

My friend, Whitney at Simplifying Family, invited me to check out the preview of the Festival of the Holidays with her. Thank you to Whitney and Walt Disney World for inviting me to sneak a peek at all of the fun offerings starting on November 29, 2019 and going through December 30, 2019. I’m excited to share with you some of the fun things we learned and saw!

Holiday Belle

My friend, Whitney, and I met Belle all dressed up for the holidays!

Festival of the Holiday Booths

Similar to the other Epcot Festivals, the Festival of the Holidays has booths throughout the World Showcase offering speciality food and drink offerings. You can find all of the food offerings on Disney’s official booth list here. For those of us who eat vegan, the Aripes at L’Chaim Holiday Kitchen can be made both vegan and gluten free simply by asking at the booth. Disney can accommodate allergies at many of the booths, again simply ask and they often will call a chef to confirm for you.

Holiday Drinks

Holiday Cookie Stroll

The holiday cookie stroll will include a passport so you can try each cookie! The black and white cookie at L’Chaim Holiday Kitchen is plant based / vegan! Cookies are one food I definitely associate with the holidays so I love the cookie stroll idea and that they have a vegan cookie! So special!

Black and White Cookie

Plant Based Black and White Cookie

Special Country Offerings

Many of the countries have special shows or fun offerings that are specific to the way their country celebrates the holidays! For example, in the America Pavilion, you can meet Santa and Mrs. Claus. In the China Pavilion, you’ll be able to see a Chinese dancing dragon (check out the sneak peek in my video below).  One of my favorites is meeting Befana in the Italy Pavilion. Also, while you’re exploring the different countries, don’t forget to do the Chip and Dale experience which you can see in the video below as well. You’ll just have to go experience a walk through the countries to experience it and tell me which one is your favorite!

Candlelight Processional

Traditions:  That’s what the holidays are about!  One of our traditions has been to see the Candlelight Processional.  I remember the first Candlelight Processional I saw with my family when I was younger.  It was so magical and special.  Now, my husband and I get to bring our daughter as we actually started the tradition when I was pregnant with her! We always make sure we see Neil Patrick Harris.  I love his fun anecdotes about his own family fun at Disney mixed with his excellent narration.  Many of the popular narrators are hard to see without seating, so a Candlelight Processional Dining Package is a great idea and makes an excellent gift for the family!

Shopping

Speaking of gifts, another fun part of the holidays is shopping! While the holidays are not all about material gifts and are also about traditions, it’s so fun and can make your heart feel so warm when you get the perfect gift! There are plenty of adorable gifts to choose from at Disney overall but the cute Chip and Dale themed merchandise available this year is so fun, and a nod to the nostalgic scene of Chip and Dale dancing around the tree. Check out the video below to see all the fun shopping to be done. Can you imagine any of those gifts under your tree?

Santa Goofy

What’s Santa brining this year?

Floral & Gifts

Did you know that you can have flowers and gifts delivered to your Walt Disney Resort and even some other places locally (that’s right, if you’re local they may be available for you as well!).  Be sure to check out the video below to see the cutest My First Visit Christmas Gift!

Floral and Gifts

Frozen 2 Fun

As you’ll know if you’re following my stories on Instagram, my daughter wears Anna and Elsa dresses day and night and sings Let it Go and Into the Unknown all day. She 100% has Frozen fever so we were excited to see that Anna and Elsa have new Frozen 2 outfits! Meeting Anna and Elsa is in the Norway Pavilion along with Frozen Ever After ride.

Elsa’s New Dress

There is also plenty of shopping to be done to grab new Frozen 2 gifts too!

Living with the Land for the Holidays

Living with the Land is one of my favorite rides and this year they have added some more holiday decor to make it even more festive! Be sure to check out this cute holiday version of a classic ride available after dark, with a preview in the video below.

Epcot Forever

During the preview, we also got to experience the Dessert Party and the Epcot Forever Fireworks show.  This is the perfect end to a perfect day! There were plenty of treats and drinks for everyone, including for vegan and gluten free.  They offered several dessert cups as well as cookies, fruit punch, coffee and more. Everyone will leave happy and full ending the night this way!

Vegan Dessert Party

One of the many vegan and gluten free, allergy friendly options available!

I really enjoyed this preview of Epcot International Festival of the Holidays and I’m really looking forward to enjoying it with my family in just a few days! What is your favorite part of Epcot Holidays? Tell me in the comments below.

I hope you’re having a magical day and always feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

30 Minutes in November: Safari

30 Minutes in November: Safari

The Kilimanjaro Safari has always been one of my favorite things to do at Animal Kingdom. We used to go come to Walt Disney World for vacation and now that we live here, it still remains one of my favorite things to do at all of the parks. No two safari rides are ever the same. You often see different animals, they grow and change, they sometimes are closer or more active. It’s a joy to see every time!

Now that we live about 20 minutes from Animal Kingdom, taking a ride on the Kilimanjaro Safari is one of my favorite ways to spend a half hour. The ride is about 20-30 minutes, depending on if there are any surprises like a giraffe-ic jam! It’s such a calm, peaceful experience. When my daughter was younger, she always fell asleep by the end. I hope you enjoy seeing these 30 minutes in our daily life and be sure to go check out the next 30 minutes blog at the end, as this is a photography loop blog.

Pelican

Hippopotamus

The hippopotamuses are one of my animals to see.  When I was nursing my daughter, a mother hippo was also nursing her baby. The Safari driver told us that while the hippopotamus is a generally a peaceful herbivore, she will do anything to protect her baby, which is very relatable to this plant-based mama!

giraffe

Giraffe in the way of Safari truck

This is what they call a giraffe-ic jam! The giraffes often hold up the truck while they cross the path.  I think they enjoy doing this as I see it often, and it’s one of our favorite parts too.

elephant

elephant

elephant

Another animal I always look forward to seeing is the elephant.  Mother elephants are also very nurturing and protective and elephants spend about 12-18 hours a day eating grass, plants and fruits (which sounds fantastic, minus the grass part haha). Asian elephants are categorized as Endangered and African elephants are categorized as Vulnerable due to hunting elephants for their tusks which have no practical use to humans. I hope that we continue to strongly advocate for these beauties so they can continue to live safely in their natural habitats.

I love all of these images, the way they showcase the animals and we get to see a little glimpse of them living their daily life as well.  I hope you enjoyed seeing something we love to do with 30 minutes in our life and I will see you next month to share another 30 minutes!

Some technical information about this photography: This session was taken with a Canon 5D Mark IV and a 70-200 2.8 IS II lens.  Photos were edited in Lightoom, adjusting for warmth to give that African glow feeling and to highlight the details in the animals. It is a bumpy truck ride, making it difficult to get some images. However, I am pleased with the clarity I got.

Please be sure to check out my friend, Jennifer, at Blueberry Hill Images and her 30 minutes about Bedtime Stories here.

Tell me in the comments, which is your favorite photo or animal on Safari?

Thank you for visiting today and I hope you have a wonderful day! – Jess

The Ultimate Princess Gift List

The Ultimate Princess Gift List

This post contains affiliate links, which at no extra cost to you help me support my family.

Have you been wondering what to get the Little Princess in your life?  I’m bringing you a list of ALL of the BEST things to gift your little princess this holiday season.

We have a princess obsessed toddler in our house and several friends who have little girls who love all things princess, glittery, fancy and fun.  So we are very familiar with all of the princess favorites.  In this list you’ll find gifts ranging from big to small, younger kids to older kids and for a variety of activities.  But one common theme is these are all perfect for your little princess!

The Ultimate Princess Gift List

I like to theme gifts with one large item and a few smaller items that complement the larger item.  If you’re looking to do this as well, you could start with a wardrobe for your princess to display dresses, shoes and accessories and add a few new dresses, shoes and accessories too! Or a small vanity to sit and play.

Little Adventurers makes beautiful, durable and washable dresses. Here are a few examples of princess dresses available from Little Adventurers.

We also love the Disney dresses! My Daughter can’t get enough of Elsa and Rapunzel right now. She loves both the original Frozen and Frozen 2 dresses.

Of course, all princesses need to accessorize!

The Wet Brush is one of my favorite brushes ever and now you can get a Princess Wet Brush, which is as practical as it is adorable!

Jewelry sets help complete an outfit.

Every princess needs a tiara, and these are the perfect option!

Every Princess loves nail polish, of course! And Piggy Paint is a very natural option even for younger princesses.

Wands and scepters make little princesses feel excited and ready to take on the world!

“If you wear a dress and have an animal side kick, you’re a princess” – Maui (Moana). So obviously, you’re little  princess needs a side kick!

Your little princess may also love dolls.  My daughter loves the plush dolls and sleeps with them at night.

Play castles are a huge hit in our house too and provide hours of entertainment.

For bath time fun, here are a few options like the swimming Ariel or Sparkling Light Swimming Barbie.

For your princesses who love games, these games are adorable!

I always love the products from Melissa and Doug and so does my daughter.  Quality and princess approved!

Princesses also love to learn and read, so don’t forget to fill their stockings with a few good books, too.

And last, but not least, little princesses love castles to imagine, play and read and use all of their amazing gifts in!

Tell me, what is your princess getting this holiday season? My daughter has many things on this ultimate princess list and is getting a few more for Christmas!


Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: Tips for the Family!

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: Tips for the Family!

I want to thank Walt Disney World and my friend, Priscila at Social Parenting, for inviting me to experience my very first time at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!

A few of my favorite things in life are my family, Disney and the holidays.  So getting to experience all of these things at once was incredibly magical for me! I’m happy to help you by sharing some tips and photos so you know what to expect when you go.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP) is a special ticketed event at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom during the winter holiday season. This party will run through December 22, 2019. For more information on dates and tickets, see Disney’s website here.

As a local Annual Passholder and a parent of a toddler, I’m bringing you some special tips to get the most out of your experience as well as share a few of my favorite parts.

General Tips:

  1. You can arrive at 4 PM on your party night with your party ticket even without a regular admission ticket.  Four to seven PM on party nights tends to be a quieter time, so you may experience lower than normal wait times.  If you also have regular admission tickets, you may schedule Fast Passes during that time. There are no Fast Passes after the party starts but waits for rides tend to be reasonable.
  2. Plan your dinner sometime between 4 and 7 PM too. Whether you are eating at home, a resort or in the parks, it’s a good idea to make sure you have had a solid meal before the party starts so you’re prepared to have some treats once the party begins.
  3. Make a priority list and a general itinerary.
  4. Be sure to grab a map / brochure immediately.  This will have the time guides and locations of special “party only” things like treats and rides. Even if you’re familiar with the park, this will still be immensely helpful for you.
  5. Two things to make sure you get right away are your Sorcerer’s Card (available by the fire station on the left side of the entrance) and your first cookie (on the right side of the entrance).
  6. Make sure you take plenty of pictures.  If you have a ticket that includes Memory Maker / PhotoPass, you can take advantage of the magic shots available throughout the party.  If you don’t have it, they do have a special one night Memory Maker price available.
  7. Plan your outfit! You can wear Christmas Jammies or Ugly Christmas Sweaters or some festive Minnie Ears. Many people are dressed for the holidays and it’s a lot of fun!
  8. Do not miss walking through Main Street!  At the beginning of the party, during each parade and at the end of the night, it SNOWS on Main Street and it is simply magical.
  9. There are treat stations throughout the park and you can get treats by going through those lines. If you have a food allergy, you can request an allergy cookie which is the Enjoy Life chocolate chip mini cookies (they are not available at every station). There are cookies, snowman pretzels and drinks such as hot cocoa and cider.  What is available and where to get it is listed on the map/brochure.

Tips as an Annual Passholder (AP):

  1. Arriving around 6 PM will give you enough time to get your first cookie, a few photos and get in line for the first thing on your itinerary.  You can arrive before 6 PM but as an AP, there are not many advantages to arriving much earlier.  This gives you time to make sure you are rested and ready for the rest of the evening.
  2. You can save money by signing into your account and buying your tickets with your Annual Passholder discount in advance – around $10 savings per ticket.
  3. If your AP includes PhotoPass photos, be sure to take advantage of the many photographers. There are Magic Shots and photographers everywhere throughout the party.

Tips for Families with Young Children:

  1. This party was seriously MAGICAL overall and my daughter LOVED it. The snow on Main Street and all of the magic around every corner was just so special. Prepare for your heart to melt with love and joy sharing these fun holiday traditions with your little ones.
  2. Consider how late your child will stay up. My two-year-old surprised me by staying up the whole time for the Halloween Party but she was clearly done around 10 PM when she took her shoes off and she didn’t want to leave the stroller again after that. I made the first half of the night heavier on activities she would like to be up and doing. For this party, I only had her stay with me for the first hour so that I could have some much appreciated alone time.  We plan on going back as a family in the near future.
  3. Create a child-centric itinerary but also do some of the things you want to do. Balance your itinerary with things that will keep everyone happy.
  4. Consider bringing a stroller and/or baby carrier, depening on what your child prefers.  We always prefer to have both.
  5. Rider Swap is available for rides like Space Mountain.  Rider Swap is a program available to families with young children so that parents only wait once while the other parent stays with the young child(ren) and then the parents swap places and the other parent rides.
  6. Be flexible.  Flexibility is always the key to happiness with young children.  You may think one plan may work, but they may have other plans and you just have to roll with it.
  7. Plan for a longer nap before the party and a slow morning/day the day after the party. We were all tired the next day were all in bed early the next night!

Plant Based Eating

If you eat vegan and/or gluten-free, there are Enjoy Life Cookies available during the party.  They are vegan. gluten free and allergy friendly.  They are only available at the first stop and a few locations like Pinnochio House and the Launching Pad.  They are not available at every location. The apple cider (more like apple juice but still good) is also available at The Launching Pad. The Snowman pretzel is vegan (but not gluten free).

I chose to pay for my own hot chocolate which is vegan and gluten free when ordered with plant milk at the Starbucks on Main Street. You could also choose to bring one from home and bring it in a stay warm mug. There are few vegan and gluten free options included during the party so I do think purchasing this extra is worth it.

Vegan & Gluten Free Cookies, Complimentary During the Party

Snowman Pretzels, Vegan, Complimentary During the Party

Very Merry Specials

Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show, Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration and Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade are shows you cannot miss! I chose to stay by the castle from about 9:45 PM until 11:30 PM to catch them all in a row. If you do this, it’s the Fireworks at 10 PM, Merriest Celebration (castle stage show) at 10:30 PM and then the Parade at 11 PM. Here are some photos of these merriest specials.

Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show was every bit as special and magical as I wished for.  Tinkerbell does fly during the show, too!

Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration is a sweet show about inviting all of your friends to join in celebrating the holidays with you. My favorite part was when the prancing reindeer brought in Clarabelle. It was so fun, you’ll just have to see it… There’s even an appearance from Santa Mickey!

I don’t think I could pick an absolute favorite part of my night but seeing Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade directly in front of the castle was certainly in my top favorite Disney memories to date. There was something special about the music, the cheer and seeing all my favorite friends with the castle lit up in the background. With so many of our Disney friends waving right at us, it was just a perfect time! Who is your favorite Disney friend to see? I loved seeing the Prancing Reindeer because my sister and I loved them growing up and it’s a special memory for me.

For more snippets of my night at the party, head over to my Instagram and check out my pinned stories. Be sure to follow me while you’re there to stay up with our latest adventures.

Tell me in the comments – what’s your favorite part of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party?!

For me, it was seeing the magic in my daughter’s eyes as she experienced the snow and tree on Main Street.

I hope you have a wonderful, pixie dusted holiday with your family! – Jess

Give Kids the World Village

Give Kids the World Village

Give Kids the World Village offers an immersive week long all-expenses-paid family vacation for families with a child who has a critical illness.  If I had a wish, I would wish away any illness and discomfort these children and their families experience. The next best thing is the memory of a lifetime provided by Give Kids the World.

As a foster parent, I lived the medical mom life. I spent a lot of time in children’s hospitals and doctors’ offices. It can be extremely difficult and exhausting. It can be a little lonely too, even with good support. One thing I found effective for myself was to plan fun things to do as a family and take a lot of photos. I displayed these photos on our TV through a screen saver as a reminder that our entire life wasn’t just medical appointments. And another helpful thing for me was to find other families in similar positions who could relate to us. So I really see the value in an experience like this where they find support and receive amazing memories. For some families, this could possibly their last family vacation together. Can you imagine the value in the memories and photos? Priceless.

Knowing that Give Kids the World Village offers this priceless gift to families, I wanted to know more. So recently I took a tour of their village in Kissimmee so that I could bring you some more information about all of the magic they provide. Thank you to Jessica for showing me around the 84 acre property and telling me all about the amazing things they do for children and their families.

Join me in this short photo tour of their property and learn a little more about the joy and magic provided by Give Kids the World Village.

The behind the scenes work begins months before a child ever arrives in Florida. Any critically child who makes a wish for a trip to Disney or Orlando theme parks through any wish granting organization like Make-a-Wish is directed to Give Kids the World.

Founded in 1986, Give Kids the World aims to quickly and efficiently bring critically children’s wishes and dreams to life. The usual process takes just a few months to coordinate but can be coordinated in as little as one day if needed. Every family receives donated theme park tickets to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World and more, a stay in an accessible villa, all transportation, meals and a lot of magic!

Each family is welcomed directly in their villa so they can learn about all of their amazing offerings. Each villa includes a kitchen, washer and dryer and several bedrooms which can accommodate even larger families.

Give Kids the World Villa

Give Kids the World Villa Where Families Stay

Then families can choose whether to explore the theme parks or explore the property.  There are volunteers who can help coordinate the plans as much or as little as a family desires.

While in Kids in the World Village families feel welcomed immediately.  Flags from each of the countries families are visiting from hang to say, “hello and welcome!”

amberville at give kids the world

Amberville Play Area and Welcome Flags

The movie theater on the property plays movies that are currently in the theaters and includes delicious snacks!

Give Kids the World Village Movie Theater

Movie Theater

Families can play miniature golf in Marc’s Dino Putt which has a unique story. Marc’s wishes were to be a dinosaur, get a million dollars and live forever. When Marc met a Dinosaur at Universal, everyone fell in love with him.  Later when he passed away, Universal spent a million dollars building Marc’s Dino Putt making all of his wishes come true! And bringing magic to all the families who visited Give Kids the World Village after him.

Marc's Dino Putt

Marc’s Dino Putt

Families can also enjoy many other activities such as bowling, video games, skee-ball, arcade games and more throughout Amberville.

Dillons Bowling

Dillon’s Den Bowling Alley

Send a Letter to God

Send a Letter to God in Tyler’s Mailbox

Train Set

Train Set

There are several amusement rides right on the property which families can ride as many times as they wish, with no wait! All are fully accessible so that even people in wheelchairs can ride.

Kellys Sunny Swing

Kelly’s Sunny Swing

Kellys Sunny Swing

A Fully Accessible Swing Ride

ride

Fully Accessible Ride

A train will even take families around the property!

train ride

Train Ride Around the Property

Mayor Clayton is a bunny, the Give Kids the World mascot.  Mayor and Mrs. Clayton live in this little house and magically grow bigger to come out and meet the kids.  They can play in their house and garden too!

Claytons House

Mayor Clayton’s House

Children and their families can get a makeover or a glitter tattoo in the Rocking Spa.  Anything the child gets, any member of the family can get so siblings get the same magical experiences.  If one child gets a toy, all children get toys! If one child gets a makeover, they can all get one!

Rockin Spa

Rockin Spa

All meals at Give Kids the World Village are provided.  They also have ice cream available all the time.  Children who are critically ill hear “no” a lot and their time at Give Kids the World Village is a time to relax, enjoy and hear “yes!” I know the importance of this too.  When we had to say goodbye to the children we were foster parents for, I never regretted saying yes and one yes I often said was, “Yes, you can have ice cream for breakfast.”  So I absolutely love and support Give Kids the World for saying yes to ice cream all day!

Give Kids the World Village

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Here!

Give Kids the World Village Scoops Starlight

Starlite Scoops Provides Ice Cream All Day

Year round, Give Kids the World celebrates holidays in a week rotation.  So no matter when a family arrives, they’ll celebrate the whole year’s holidays.  They will celebrate things like Halloween and Christmas.  On the night we went, they were celebrating Halloween.  They could make masks and trick-or-treat.  On the Christmas celebration day, they have a Winter Wonderland including gifts and toys!

Give Kids the World Village

The Hoppening Place

Each Wish Child receives a star.  This is the only thing that only they receive.  They can decorate it and put their name on it.  Then they give it to a fairy who magically places it on the ceiling.  Seeing all of the stars is truly humbling.  Look at all of the magic spread over all of the years.

Wish Stars

Wish Stars

Wish Stars

Wish Stars

Wish Stars

Wish Stars in the New Tower

Even the new tower is already full of stars! They will be making more room for more stars, based on the support of donations like yours.

What do you think? With only an 8% administrative rate and mostly run by volunteers and ALL OF THE MAGIC provided to families, this is a charity that I can get behind supporting 100%.  I hope you’ll join me in supporting them.

So how can you support Give Kids the World Village?

  1. You can follow The Art of Adventures Photography Facebook Page to see when my next Magical Fairy Sessions will be.
  2. You can join our Challenge for Hope Team as an in person or virtual participant here.
  3. Simply donate to our team! All of the money goes directly to Give Kids the World.
  4. Volunteer! You do not need to live in Central Florida to volunteer either.  You can take some time out of your vacation and even volunteer with older children. Learn more on the Give Kids the World Village website.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party: Tips for the Family!

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party: Tips for the Family!

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) is a special ticketed event at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom during the fall, Halloween season. This party will run through November 1, 2019. For more information on dates and tickets, see Disney’s website here.

As a local Annual Passholder and a parent of a toddler, I’m bringing you some special tips to get the most out of your experience as well as share a few of our favorite parts. Also, I’ll be sharing an example itinerary you may feel free to customize based on your preferences! Read on to hear my tips, share your tips in the comments and let me know if you have any questions!

 Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party Projection

General Tips:

  1. You can arrive at 4 PM on your party night with your party ticket even without a regular admission ticket.  Four to seven PM on party nights tends to be a quieter time, so you may experience lower than normal wait times and be able squeeze in a few rides.  If you also have regular admission tickets, you may schedule Fast Passes during that time. There are no Fast Passes after the party starts but waits for rides tend to be reasonable.
  2. Plan your dinner sometime between 4 and 7 PM too. Whether you are eating at home, a resort or in the parks, it’s a good idea to make sure you have had a solid meal before the party starts so you’re prepared to have some treats once the party starts!
  3. If you are only attending the party one night, make a priority list and a general itinerary. There is not a good chance of “doing it all” in one night. There is so much offered at this party that it would take several nights to be able to fully enjoy everything. However, a priority list and a general itinerary will help make sure you don’t miss your favorite parts!
  4. Two things to make sure you get right away are your Sorcerer’s Card (available by the fire station on the left side of the entrance) and your first treat stop and treat bag (on the left side of the entrance).
  5. Make sure you take plenty of pictures.  If you have a ticket that includes Memory Maker / PhotoPass, you can take advantage of the magic shots available throughout the party.  If you don’t have it, they do have a special one night Memory Maker price for it.
  6. Plan your costume! A big part of this party is wearing a costume and everyone loves fun costumes at this party. Be creative and have fun. Remember, it may be still warm during the party, so costumes that are not too hot are best.
  7. Do not miss walking through Main Street! The pumpkins and music and the projections make the atmosphere of the party so be sure to check that out!
  8. There are treat stations throughout the park and you can get treats by going through those lines. If you have a food allergy, you can receive allergy tokens to swap in for candy at the two allergy stations marked on the map.  I recommend going to the allergy station a few times throughout the night if you’d like to bring home a bunch of candy! We stopped right away when they opened at 7, once after the parade and once on the way out. The allergy station will ask your allergy and then hand you a bag of safe candy. We simply stated “vegan” as this covers our preference and allergy and they had bags ready to go for us.

Tips as an Annual Passholder (AP):

  1. Arriving around 6 PM will give you enough time to get your treat bag, a few photos and get in line for the first thing on your itinerary.  You can arrive before 6 PM but as an AP, there are not many advantages to arriving much earlier.  This gives you time to make sure you are rested and ready for the rest of the evening.
  2. You can save money by signing into your account and buying your tickets with your Annual Passholder discount in advance – around $15 savings per ticket!
  3. If your AP includes PhotoPass photos, be sure to take advantage of the many photographers. There are Magic Shots and photographers everywhere throughout the party!

Disney Headless Horseman Magic Shot

Tips for Families with Young Children:

  1. Consider how late your child will stay up. My two-year-old surprised me by staying up the whole time but she was clearly done around 10 PM when she took her shoes off and she didn’t want to leave the stroller again after that. I made the first half of the night heavier on activities she would like to be up and doing.
  2. Create a child-centric itinerary but also do some of the things you want to do. We balanced our itinerary with things that we knew our daughter would like the most and also things we wanted to see.
  3. Consider bringing a stroller and/or baby carrier, deepening on what your child does best with.  We thought our daughter would nap in a baby carrier, but she ended up wanting to stay in the stroller from 10 PM until we left at midnight.
  4. Rider Swap is available for rides like Space Mountain.  Rider Swap is a program available to families with young children so that parents only wait once while the other parent stays with the young child(ren) and then the parents swap places and the other parent rides.
  5. For character meetings, we usually have one parent wait in line and have the second parent show up with the child right before we are about to meet the character. Then our daughter is happy when she arrives and is ready to meet the character. Two year olds are not known for their patience so this helps keep everyone happy!
  6. Have a back up costume. In case of spills or accident or, in our case, refusal to wear a costume, it’s always a good idea to have a back up costume.
  7. The Monster’s Laugh Floor has a special Halloween themed show.  It has candy on the way in and out, is a drop in, shorter show and children do not need to get out of the stroller (they usually do).  This is one not to miss with kids as it’s cute, they can stay in the stroller (so could make this a stop later at night), and you get candy!
  8. Be flexible.  Flexibility is always the key to happiness with young children.  You may think one plan may work, but they may have other plans and you just have to roll with it!
  9. Plan for a longer nap before the party and a slow morning/day the day after the party! We were all tired the next day were all in bed early the next night!

 Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween

Mickey and Elodie wearing their Halloween costumes

Example Itinerary (Staying the Whole Night)

4 PM Rides with or without Fast Passes (ex. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Splash Mountain)

5 PM Rides with or without Fast Passes (ex. People Mover, Buzz Lightyear)

6 PM Dinner, collect Sorcerer’s Card, Treat Bag, get in line for first activity

7 PM Meet favorite characters, do favorite rides with special Halloween activities, collect candy (ex. Line up to see Minnie then do Tea Cups with special music)

8 PM Meet favorite characters, do favorite rides with special Halloween activities, collect candy, dance parties (ex. Meet Moana, Ride Pirates of the Caribbean)

9 PM 9:15 Boo To You Parade starts, watch from Frontierland, arrive 15+ minutes early, then walk to castle for fireworks. Wait a few minutes past the parade end and then walk toward castle as they open the walkway about 15 minutes after 9:15 Parade ends.

10 PM 10:15 Fireworks start, watch from in front of castle, arrive early. 10:45 Hocus Pocus show in front of the castle optional.

11PM Ride rides and/or last minute character meets (ex. Space Mountain, Meet Villains, Moana, Mickey – you may experience waits under 10 minutes at the end of the night for all of these)

Example Itinerary (With Young Children)

4 PM Rest at home or hotel, get ready

5 PM Start traveling to party

6 PM Dinner, collect Sorcerer’s Card, Treat Bag, get in line for first activity

7 PM Meet favorite characters, do favorite rides with special Halloween activities, collect candy (ex. Line up to see Minnie then do Tea Cups with special music)

8 PM Meet favorite characters, do favorite rides with special Halloween activities, collect candy, dance parties (ex. Ride Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion which both have special features on party nights)

9 PM 9:15 Boo To You Parade starts, watch from Frontierland, arrive 15+ minutes early, then walk to castle for fireworks. Wait a few minutes past the parade end and then walk toward castle as they open the walkway about 15 minutes after 9:15 Parade ends.

10 PM 10:15 Fireworks start, watch from in front of castle, arrive early. (Could leave after fireworks) 10:45 Hocus Pocus show in front of the castle.

11PM Ride Swap rides and/or last minute character meets while child is in stroller or carrier (ex. Space Mountain Rider Swap, Monster’s Laugh Floor, Dance Party in Tomorrowland)

Are you partying with teens or older children? Check out my friend, Meagan Gets Real, for having fun at Mickey’s Not So Scary Party with teens.

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