Throughout the Magic Kingdom, there were signs of the season. Golden leaves, Mickey Mouse Pumpkins, and all manner of orange banners. There are a few times a year when special events occur at the park, and October is home to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. The park closes to regular patrons at 7:00 PM a few nights a week, and partygoers can wander the park in full costume (the only time adults are allowed to do this) until midnight. They have a special parade, Hocus Pocus-themed stage show, and candy stations for trick-or-treaters. Samantha and I were very excited to attend, and did so on the evening of Thursday, October 15th.
After a bit of rest from the day’s visit to Hollywood Studios, I changed into my costume. After waffling between my Fix-It Felix costume and Marty McFly, I opted for Marty. It’s my favorite costume, and one that I’ve become known for at DragonCon and among my friends. I had brought the whole outfit, which included several props. At the last minute, I opted to leave the vintage JVC camcorder at the resort…I didn’t want anything to happen to it and I had no place to put it when we went on rides. I took a ‘Save the Clock Tower’ flyer instead, hoping it would jog the memory of anyone that couldn’t quite place my outfit…since it looks very much like normal street clothes. Sam wore a pink dress and her wedding shoes, becoming a makeshift ballerina. We boarded the bus to the Magic Kingdom with a family from North Carolina, which included a hippie & a butterfly.
By the time we arrived, the party was in full swing. We were given trick-or-treat bags upon entry and a map showing where the various candy stations were around the park. Many of the buildings were doused in black light or off-green color; Cinderella’s Castle was a lovely dark purple when we arrived at the park’s center. We made our first stop at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique to find a dress for Avery, Sam’s almost-six-year-old niece. The shop is entirely princess themed, with dedicated sections for nearly every Disney Princess. They also have a little ‘beauty salon’ area where little girls can get a makeover to look like their favorite princess; I was skeptical at first (shades of beauty pageants) but it’s rather well done and all the girls I saw around the park that had been through were on cloud 9. The shop has a little back area for photos, which also includes a display that put Samantha on that same cloud 9: it’s an area replicating Cinderella’s dress being put together. The cast members were only too happy to let Samantha step into the area to have her picture taken. One of the cast members casually referred to me as Marty, which made me very pleased, too.
As we continued to wander, we encountered the Sword in the Stone…which I was unable to extract. One of the rides we’d missed on our first time through was Peter Pan — it’s a classic and always has a long line. Since we’d heard great things about the queue itself, we decided to give it a go during the party. It was lovely; the line weaves through the Darling residence and is partially interactive. You can interact with shadows on the wall and then you’re sprinkled with fairy dust before you board your own two-person ship for a trip through the story of Peter Pan. The ride itself was like I remembered it in my youth, but that made it no less a delight. As we exited the ride, I saw someone dressed as 2015 Marty. I shouted to him that I loved his costume, but he didn’t even turn around as he muttered a ‘thanks’. I admit I was a bit crestfallen.
Another ride we had skipped due to the wait was the Astro Orbiter, the spinning rocket ship ride atop Tomorrowland. Once again, the wait wasn’t too bad during the party, so we gave it a spin (ha). What we hadn’t counted on is the fact that the little rocket ships weren’t designed for two normal size adults! We made it work, though; it was a cozy ride high above the park, with lovely views of Space Mountain and the castle. When that was over, it was almost time for fireworks. We watched them from Gaston’s Tavern, enjoying the synchronized audio/light show that goes along with it. As soon as it wrapped, we headed over to the Haunted Mansion. It seemed appropriate to ride it again during the Halloween Party, and I am so glad that we did. When we arrived, the line was LOONG — but it moved swiftly. Out on the lawn in front of the Mansion sat a cast member, dressed in her ghostly best & holding a parasol, lightly heckling people in line in a lovely Southern accent.
“Did you come all this way just to see me? Oh you’re a peach!”
“Are you on the phone? Who are you talking to? Are you telling them about me? That’s so sweet.”
“We have 999 ghosts here, but room for one more. You better hold onto that man, lady! He’s got more muscles than a seafood buffet! Mmm!”
And so on. She was the highlight of the night, for sure. If I could do it all over again, I would’ve just parked outside the mansion and listened to her talk to the other guests. After the ride, we headed to Liberty Square to prepare for the parade. In a fortuitous coincidence, we ended up standing right next to the family we’d talked to on the bus from Wilderness Lodge. One of their kids was fast asleep, and the other was weighing the benefits of staying for the parade vs. joining her sibling in slumberland. The parents were great, talking to us about their experiences at the park in the past. The parade start was signaled by the Headless Horseman riding down the street at a trot, which was spooky in the best way. Our Carolinian friends told us that he originally came TEARING down the street, a la Sleepy Hollow, but one year the horse lost his footing at one of the corners and the rider came toppling to the pavement. Since then, the ride became slower. The parade itself was fantastic; all of the characters were in costume, and there was section dedicated to the Haunted Mansion that was very well designed. There are grave diggers that perform a synchronized dance with shovels, scraping the pavement to emit sparks, and ghostly dancers that spin, occasionally screaming towards the crowd in time with the music. The final float was full of classic Disney villains, as this is considered “their night.”
As we headed back towards the front of the park, we stopped to watch the Hocus Pocus stage show at the foot of the castle. It was here that I was recognized by a couple dressed as Carl and Ellie from ‘Up’. They were really excited about my costume and took my photo. It was a great emotional bump as the show got started. It lasted about 20 minutes, and like everything else at the park was rather enjoyable…for being a musical. We got back to our hotel at around 1:00 AM. Again, the idea of taking a rest day was brought up…which sounded like a lovely idea as we both fell fast asleep.