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.

Be sure to leave your tips below! And follow me on Facebook and Instagram to see more tips and information like this.

30 Minutes in August: Dino Diggin’

30 Minutes in August: Dino Diggin’

I’ve made a commitment to spend 30 minutes each month documenting our ordinary, daily life.  If you know us, you will not be surprised that our 30 minutes in August were spent at a Walt Disney World Park!  What might be surprising to you though is that this adorably themed dinosaur play area is located in Animal Kingdom in Dinoland USA. The Boneyard is open daily for you and your little ones to explore and play! It’s a hidden gem that I find many people I talk with do not know about.

Below you’ll find the 30 minutes of our normal life where my daughter and husband played together at the Boneyard Dino Dig playground and digging sand pit.

The Boneyard play area is open daily, usually from about 10 a.m. to an hour and half before close. The hours are posted daily. There are high climbing spots. So if you have several small children, it may be helpful to have several adults supervising.  Strollers are left outside the play area, although I have seen them allow them for sleeping infants. Animal Kingdom is one of our favorite parks to frequent as there is so much to do. This playground definitely makes the top of the list of the fun things to do there!

From a photographer’s perspective, I really enjoyed seeing where the light came in through the canopy and playing around with different light and perspectives.  It was fun to get some macro shots of my daughter playing with the sand too! I used my main professional camera which is a Canon 5D Mark IV and my Sigma ART 35 mm lens for the entire 30 minutes. It’s also just really nice to have some beautiful photos of my husband and daughter playing.  I really appreciate the push to have some photos of our ordinary life!

Walt Disney World Orlando PhotographerReady to play
Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando PhotographerLet’s explore, Daddy!Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando PhotographerShe loves climbing stairs and seeing what big kids can do.Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando PhotographerWater break!Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando Photographer

Walt Disney World Orlando PhotographerTime to clean off your shoes and go, Princess!

This is a circle blog, so please feel free to join me in checking out the other amazing photographer’s in this group starting with Jennifer Blake and her blog on friendships this month. 

Six Tips for Galaxy’s Edge

Six Tips for Galaxy’s Edge

Galaxy’s Edge is the newest land of Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Officially opening August 29, 2019, we were able to attend a Passholder Preview event on Saturday.  So I came up with some ways for you to enjoy your trip to Batuu the most!

First, a question I think many are asking themselves: Do I need to be a Star Wars mega fan to enjoy Galaxy’s Edge? Not at all! The details are incredible and you will definitely feel transported to a whole new world. So if you love the magic of Disney and feeling fully immersed in an experience with no detail left undone, you’ll be sure to enjoy this incredible land.

Here are six tips for planning your visit to Batuu.

1. Use PhotoPass and Magic Shots. There are several PhotoPass photographers available throughout the land. Be sure to get some photographic evidence that you were there and don’t forget to ask for Magic Shots which could include special friends or things in the sky!

Galaxy's Edge Batuu HollyWood Studios Walt Disney World
“The Force is Strong with This Family” – a PhotoPass Photo

2. Plan your food and drink. Food. It’s always about the food! Gotta eat! There are several food and drink options in Galaxy’s Edge. Docking Bay 7 is a quick service restaurant with many delicious food options, including an amazing plant based dish. Blue and green milks are available at a stand (with or without alcohol). Sodas in a special bottle are available for purchase. There is also a special flavored popcorn. Free water stations are available throughout the land. Oga’s Cantina is a bar with 90% standing room only and serves mostly alcohol and non-alcohol drinks but does have two (non-vegan) snacks. With so many options, it’s a good idea to choose which ones you want to try the most! If you want to see more about the food, drink and Oga’s Cantina, be sure to check out my highlights on Instagram.

Galaxy's Edge Batuu HollyWood Studios Walt Disney World
Vegan Meal
Vegan Gluten Free Galaxy's Edge Batuu HollyWood Studios Walt Disney World
Vegan and Gluten Free Meal
Galaxy's Edge Batuu HollyWood Studios Walt Disney World
Green Milk (vegan and gluten free)

3. Get the best Seat on Smuggler’s Run. For the ride that’s currently open, Smuggler’s Run, you can opt for different roles. I was a Pilot and so was my husband but he said he would have rather been a gunner. Pilots either steer left and right or up and down and the other Pilot does the opposite so Piloting is a little difficult! I think no matter what role you pick, you’ll be happy! But Pilot definitely seems to be the most popular and sits in the front row. This could also be your excuse to ride several times!

4. Enjoy the friends on Batuu. One of the coolest parts of Galaxy’s Edge is that there are several characters roaming the land including: Storm Troopers, Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Rey and more. They are extremely fun to interact with and we even witnessed them playing games and having fun on several occasions.

Galaxy's Edge Batuu HollyWood Studios Walt Disney World

5. Download the Disney Play App. On Batuu, there are many ways to Play with the Play Disney Parks App. You can scan special cargo and discover hidden gems all throughout the land. Thank you to my friend, Renee from Tale of One Mom’s Mess for alerting me to this one!

6. Learn the Language. On Batuu, they speak a little bit of a different language, but don’t worry you’ll catch on quickly.  Here are a few phrases to get you started: “Bright Suns” = Good Morning | “Rising Moons” = Good Evening  | “Til the Spire” = Goodbye

What about for the little ones? At first sight, it doesn’t appear as though there’s a lot for little ones to do on Batuu. There are no rides for guests under 38 inches currently. And some of the other main attractions are Oga’s Cantina and building a lightsaber which are not particularly toddler/preschooler friendly. My little one is two had an amazing time still! She enjoyed being a Padawan, exploring the land and meeting new friends. And you can use the Rider Swap to have those tall enough to ride take turns riding Smuggler’s Run without having to wait twice so don’t forget to use that! 

Galaxy's Edge Batuu HollyWood Studios Walt Disney World
Galaxy's Edge Batuu HollyWood Studios Walt Disney World
Galaxy's Edge Batuu HollyWood Studios Walt Disney World
Galaxy's Edge Batuu HollyWood Studios Walt Disney World

To get Elodie’s Princess Leia tutu outfit, click here (affiliate link).

What do you think? What are you most excited about? What are your tips for visiting Batuu? Leave your tips and thoughts in a comment below!

A Magical Morning at Magic Kingdom in Memory of Violet

A Magical Morning at Magic Kingdom in Memory of Violet

In Memory of Baby Violet.

Violet had beautiful eyes and she lit up a room as you can see from her photo. She passed away recently after complications related to CHD and Charge Syndrome.

This Disney loving family wanted a memorial session in their happy place in honor of Violet and I had the honor of celebrating her life with them.

If you’d like to do something in honor of Violet, please consider supporting What the CHD, a group that Violet’s mom helped found.

Magic Kingdom Disney Photographer

Magic Kingdom Disney Photographer

When Disney cast members saw that this family was honoring Violet, they orchestrated some special moments with real pixie dust, Peter Pan and The Fairy Godmother.  While I wish that no family knew this pain, Disney always seems to find a way to make families feel full of love and hope in hard moments.  It’s one of the reasons I love Disney World so much.  Magic amongst moments that feel so difficult really does help make it feel more manageable.

Magic Kingdom Disney Photographer Magic Kingdom Disney Photographer Magic Kingdom Disney Photographer Magic Kingdom Disney Photographer Magic Kingdom Disney PhotographerMagic Kingdom Disney Photographer

Magic Kingdom Disney Photographer Magic Kingdom Disney Photographer Magic Kingdom Disney Photographer Magic Kingdom Disney Photographer Magic Kingdom Disney Photographer Magic Kingdom Disney Photographer Magic Kingdom Disney Photographer

Magic Kingdom Disney Photographer

I can only imagine how difficult this is for this family.  I hope that I was able to capture this moment well for them and I wish all the best for this absolutely amazing family.

Thank you for allowing me the honor of being there with your family.

New Experience at Animal Kingdom: Animation Experience

New Experience at Animal Kingdom: Animation Experience

There’s a new experience at Animal Kingdom that just started two days ago! It’s called the Animation Experience and it’s located in the Conservation Station.

Yup, that’s right! The train to the Conservation Station where you can pet the animals, see the vet area and experience a few other things is open again and it has a new feature: you can learn to draw some of your favorite Disney animals!

The Animation Experience Conservation Station Animal Kingdom Walt Disney World

We were able to check out this area again last night and draw our own Timon. What I really loved about this is that they were, of course, very child friendly. There are picnic style tables with crayons in the back and a matching coloring page for kids. Or they can sit with the family and draw with a pencil. Elodie chose to do a mix of the two (and of course some running around, because she’s a toddler haha). I was actually impressed at how family friendly this experience was as I thought it would be more geared toward adults and my husband would be out petting the animals with Elodie while I got some mom quiet time – which would also be a nice option!

The Animation Experience Conservation Station Animal Kingdom Walt Disney World The Animation Experience Conservation Station Animal Kingdom Walt Disney World

 

They run the Animation Experience at specific times, currently it’s around every 45 minutes from 10 AM to 4:45 PM as listed in the picture below. You can get a FastPass+ for it if it’s available although I’ve noticed they’ve been not too available yet. Yesterday, it wasn’t needed but I’m not sure if it would be worth usually getting one – it will probably depend on how popular this gets as there is only enough room as the seats allow. If you definitely want a good seat, it would probably be worth trying to get one. Otherwise, I’d probably opt for the longer wait rides like Flight of Passage and Kilimanjaro Safari!

The Animation Experience Conservation Station Animal Kingdom Walt Disney World

Overall, I loved this opportunity to learn how to draw Timon from one of my favorite movies of all time, Lion King. And I loved that it was a nice, relaxing, cool (love anything with AC in the summer) activity for the whole family!

Tell me… will you be checking out The Animation Experience at the Animal Kingdom? Are you excited that The Conservation Station and the train are open again?

Father Daughter Photo Session in Club Cool, Epcot

Father Daughter Photo Session in Club Cool, Epcot

If you’ve been to Epcot in Walt Disney World, you’ve probably stopped in at Club Cool, a Coca Cola store and soda sample spot. At Club Cool, you can taste “flavors around the world” for free as well as buy Coca Cola merchandise and coke slushies. With Epcot’s renovations scheduled later this year, Club Cool may be changing so we wanted to document one of our favorite spots before it does.

Club Cool Coca Cola Epcot Orlando Disney Photographer

Club Cool Coca Cola Epcot Orlando Disney Photographer

My husband has always loved Club Cool and loves popping in there for a quick, sweet taste. So I did a Father’s Day photo session here at Club Cool with my husband and daughter for the “Best Pop Ever.”

If you’ve tried all of these flavors before, you’ll know all about the “Beverly Face” so be sure to check out Elodie’s Beverly Face! Haha

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This Alice dress is from Amazon (affiliate link): https://amzn.to/2IpKlaS