W.T.D.W. – The Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom

DSC01025Welcome, foolish mortals, to WHAT TO DO WEDNESDAY. Oh how I have been waiting so patiently!! Ever since summer, when I began WHAT TO DO WEDNESDAY, I have been dying (get it?!) to write about The Haunted Mansion. One of my (and hubby’s) absolute all-time WDW favorites – this attraction has it all. It’s spooky, it’s humorous, it’s classic, it’s SO much fun!! I decided to save it for Halloween, and I am very, very glad it’s finally here!

Located in Liberty Square this delightful family fun attraction has been around since the Magic Kingdom opened in October of 1971. It has been refurbished with some minor updates inside, and a new interactive queue has been recently added outside, but for the most part it is still the same as the day it opened.

While in the queue you can take two paths: interactive or regular standby. The last time hubs and I were there, the interactive queue was a bit longer, so we skipped it. However, if you have kiddos, or you just want some extra fun – don’t pass it by! It’s worth a few more minutes. Last week, when I talked to you all about Muppet Vision 3D, I mentioned my friend Patrick. Allow me to properly introduce him to you: Patrick, or Pa-track as I sometimes call him, is one of my most fabulous friends. We met when working together on the Disney College Program in 2005. Patrick is the only one of my CP (College Program) friends who lives in proximity to me. The rest of my dear friends are scattered across the country. Patrick is in love with The Muppets, soccer, photography, movies, museums, and he is a complete goofball who always makes me smile. Meet Patrick:

Haunted Mansion1Like I said, Pat is a goofball, he has personality. He obviously enjoyed the interactive queue at The Haunted Mansion. When looking through photos from my brother’s last visit to The Haunted Mansion, I noticed something interesting – Pat and my brother’s girlfriend Cindy have strikingly similar ideas. Pat and Cindy, while they have met, do not really know each other, and did not visit the interactive queue together. Behold:

Haunted MansionMy favorite part of this is the look on the little boys face as he watches Pat act like a goober at the organ. But isn’t it funny how similar the pictures are?? I think the above collages provide plenty of evidence as to why you should check out the interactive queue.

At the end of the queue (interactive and regular standby) you will notice a graveyard on your left. Be sure to read the tombstones – they have enjoyable inscriptions. And you just might notice an odd thing or two happen…

Haunted Mansion TombstoneOnce you enter the mansion, you and a small group of others will be guided into an octagonal portrait gallery. Here you first meet your host, “your ghost host.” He talks about the portraits in the room, which begin to stretch, and reveals how each person met their demise. Before long you proceed to the ride portion of the attraction, where you get to tour the mansion.

HM PaintingYou tour the haunted mansion in black vehicle that seats two people called a “Doom Buggy.” Guided by your “ghost host,” your tour of the mansion takes you through several rooms where a variety of spiritual occurrences can be seen. In the ballroom there are ghosts waltzing to an organ tune around a decadent dinner table. The hallway displays paintings with shifty eyes and knocking doors. Madam Leona is in her crystal ball while invisible spirits from the beyond sound musical instruments. The bride’s beating heart thumps ominously as portraits suggest the fate of her beloved. No haunted tour would be complete before a spin through the graveyard. The Haunted Mansions’ graveyard has plenty of ghosts popping out from out of nowhere and singing busts serenade you in barbershop style. And of course, as you head to exit you should watch for hitchhiking ghosts. This attraction is spilling over with details – sights and sounds, and now matter how many times you visit you always notice new things.

Haunted Mansion with CarriageThe Haunted Mansion has 999 happy haunts, but there’s room for 1,000…

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!

Halloween MKBoo to you! I am really excited to share a little of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party with you today. I love Halloween and this special event is packed full of entertainment that makes it a spectacular time for all.

DSC_0007Starting in September, Magic Kingdom undergoes a transformation where pumpkins, scarecrows, and festive banners deck the entrance and Main Street, U.S.A. for all guests to enjoy. On select nights, Magic Kingdom hosts Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party from 7:00 PM to midnight. The party is a special ticketed event, requiring a separate ticket for admission. Even though Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party begins in mid-September, I couldn’t bring myself to talk about it until October when Halloween is closer. (It’s like seeing Christmas decorations before November has even started… Ugh.)

DSC00335So what happens between 7:00 PM at 12:00 AM that makes Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party so awesome? The sun sets, Magic Kingdom comes a’glow, and guests will find lots of extra, elaborate Halloween themed entertainment. Organized events and random touches come together to bring Halloween magic to guests.

Here are the big events that happen during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party:

Trick or Treating throughout Magic Kingdom – When you’re a kid you look forward to trick-or-treating for all of October. When you’re an adult, you delight in handing out candy to kids, but secretly I think we all just wish we could get out a pumpkin bucket or pillowcase and go around our neighborhoods to get free candy for ourselves. And of course, at Mickey’s Not Scary Halloween Party – you can! Kids and adults alike, costume or not, can go to several different locations throughout Magic Kingdom to trick-or-treat. Cast members are generous in the candy-giving, and you’ll be thrilled to leave Magic Kingdom with plenty of sweet treats in your bag.

DSC00430Disney Villains Dance Mix and Mingle – As you may expect, you can find villains a plenty during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. During the Villains Mix and Mingle, the villains kick off the festivities in front of the castle, then venture out to greet the guests. It’s a fantastic opportunity to visit with some of your favorite not-so-nice characters that aren’t always available for autographs and photos.

DSC00404 Halloween EeyoreDSC00411Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parade – Personally, this is my favorite part of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. The parade kicks off with the Headless Horseman riding down Main Street, U.S.A. on his beautiful, black stallion holding a lit jack-o-lantern. Swiftly following is a parade of Halloween floats and beloved Disney characters, many who are sporting costumes themselves. Goofy, assisted by Pluto brings the candy fun to the parade in a big way. The beloved spooky attraction The Haunted Mansion has its own segment in the parade as well. The Graveyard Caretaker leads the way with his faithful hound, followed by grave diggers dragging shovels that send sparks flying, dancing ghouls, and a float sporting the three Hitchhiking Ghosts.


DSC00426DSC_0089Happy HalloWishes – Centered over Cinderella Castle, which glows in Halloween colors, you will find this end of the evening firework spectacular. The Disney Villains are the star of the show, sending up a colorful variety fireworks to a medley of the villain’s musical themes.

Main Street, U.S.A. Entertainment – Roaming Main Street, U.S.A. guests can find a barbershop quartet of dead cowboys. They hold no shortage of barbershop tunes, puns, and jokes.

All of that alone makes for a marvelous night. But for me, it’s the small extra touches that fall into 5 categories really make Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party great:

DSC_00121. Costumes – Adults and kids alike come to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in costume. In fact, I was really surprised at the number of costumes we saw the night we went. People dressed to the nines. Many of the guests who weren’t wearing costumes were still wearing Halloween themed colors or t-shirts. I didn’t come prepared with a costume, but I scored a fun Mickey’s Not So Scary shirt from The Emporium that made me festive. I will note that Disney asks guests to make sure their costumes are tasteful. Most people seemed to comply without any problem.

HalloweenNot So Scary2. Decor – The extra decor goes a long way into making the night special. It creates a remarkable air of festivity. Everywhere you look there are pumpkins, cast members in special Halloween themed dress, ghosts, and Halloween colors.

3. Extras – Naturally spooky areas or attractions such as The Haunted Mansion are dressed up. Cast members at The Haunted Mansion are spooky enough on any normal day, but during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party you’ll find them looking extra gruesome, covered in spider webs. We also found Madam Leona sitting on the lawn, entertaining guests as they entered. We went back to The Haunted Mansion an extra time just to see her again.

DSC_0072DSC_00754. Characters – Keep your eyes open, you tend to find extra characters available for meet and greet during Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party. This little boy to the left had a rare photo-op with all seven dwarfs.

5. Attractions at Night – During the party you get to visit some of your favorite attractions in the dark. Some have an entirely different feel when you visit them after the sun goes down. I highly recommend heading to Frontierland to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain in the dark. Pirates of the Caribbean, though not outside is also great attraction to see during your Halloween-time Magic Kingdom visit.

Whew. That’s a lot to share! Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is a jam-packed special event and we had a marvelous time when we went. Though it is costly (averaging around $60 per person), I feel you really get a lot for your money. Anyone else who has visited Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party have an opinion on price/value of the ticket?

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your time at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party:

  • Be well rested! As you can see, there is a lot to do and the party runs until midnight. Even adults can be completely wiped out at the end. Take time to rest, maybe even take a nap before attending the party.
  • Eat dinner early! With so much happening during this special event, you want to make sure you have plenty of time to experience all of it. Not only does eating dinner during the party limit your time to trick or treat or visit attractions, a late-running dinner reservation may mean you miss part (or all!) or the parade or fireworks show.
  • Be festive! As I mentioned, many people dress up in a costume or Halloween decor. It really makes the event more merry.
  • Be informed! It may seem like a silly reminder, but it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the night. Keep your eye on the time and make sure you know what events are happening when and where, so you don’t miss anything you want to see.
Specially themed Halloween treats

Specially themed Halloween treats!

Not So Scary