SamsDisneyDiary Episode #41 – Hidden Epcot Surpirse, be a Canadian Ranger!

You never know exactly where the clues will be, I found Justin in the hat display.

You never know exactly where the clues will be, I found Justin in the hat display.

When I tell my non-Disney Nerd friends I’m headed back to Walt Disney World, I get the same reaction and puzzled look, again? My answer is always the same, “Yep, again!” I’ve given up trying to convince most of them. It does bother me to know the only experience some of them will have is a single hot summer day in the Magic Kingdom with huge crowds, no Fast Passes, no dining reservations and no pre-planning. Ouch! That’s not Disney World at all! Everyone reading this knows exactly what I mean!

So why go back? No matter how many times you visit, you’ll discover something new. Case in point, after dozens of trips into Epcot’s Canadian pavilion, I discovered something I hadn’t noticed before… At the top of the steps next to the totem pole on the left, you’ll find the Northwest Mercantile, a sleepy little gift shop that’s a little out of the way (a little being at the top of the steps). Inside that small shop you’ll find a hidden adventure that isn’t publicized. You won’t find it on any park map, and you’ll have problems finding references to it on the internet. In fact, you’ll need to ask a cast member or find one of the clues to complete the adventure and become an Honorary Canadian Forest Ranger!

SamsDisneyDiary the Video Episode #41 – Canadian Adventure 

The best of the hidden Canadian secrets required to be an honorary park ranger?  Justin Beaver!

The best of the hidden Canadian secrets required to be an honorary park ranger? Justin Beaver!

You may have noticed some of the clues last time you visited, but just didn’t ask the next question. There is a series of 6 hidden stuffed animals with small Canadian references hidden throughout the store. Best part, they are NEVER in the same place… they are moved by guests and by cast members throughout the day. Can you find all of the animals and name them? The only thing that will give them away is the name tag they are wearing. Look up, look down, look behind things… they are in the store someplace, sometimes in plain sight.

I’ll give you my favorite, but you’ll need to find the others…

Justin Beaver. You’ll need to find them all. Who could the others be? Make that part of your next adventure in Epcot, and maybe a reason to check out a part of the Canadian pavilion that you may not have explored otherwise! Way to go Canada, ah!

Thanks for watching, and I hope to see you at the 2014 Food and Wine Festival!!! Follow me on twitter @SamsDisneyDiary for details!!

Categories: Epcot, Epcot Food and Wine, Hidden Walt Disney World, SamsDisneyDiary, TheDisneyNerdsPodcast, Walt Disney World, World Showcase | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SamsDisneyDiary Episode #40 – It’s almost time, for Food and Wine! Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival 2013 - My Favorite, Lobster Roll and a Samuel Adams

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival 2013 – My Favorite, Lobster Roll and a Samuel Adams

I’ve said it many times, Epcot is my favorite Walt Disney World Park.  In my opinion, Future World and World Showcase provide the perfect blend of edutainment, culture and family fun although I may not have realized it during my first visit as a teenager.  Epcot’s World Showcase also provides the perfect backdrop for special events.  The two most notable, The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival (I covered the 2012 Flower and Garden Festival back in Episode #11), and the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (every Fall) fit perfectly.  And better yet, the festivals provide “another reason” to visit Walt Disney World.  Add to that the emerging “Holidays around the World”, and you have 3 new reasons to visit.  As if I need another reason.

Each Fall Since 1995, Epcot has been host to the International Food & Wine Festival.  Epcot is transformed into a culinary festival with experiences featuring everything from samplings and demonstrations to celebrity book signings and festival themed merchandise.

I could spend all day in the festival center… but the main draw of the food and wine festival are the 30 kiosks surrounding Epcot’s World Showcase Lagoon.  Each features a unique cuisine from around the world, and all are designed to extend and complement the existing World Showcase countries.  Kiosks include countries like: The Caribbean, Argentina, Scandinavia, Poland, Singapore, New Zealand, Belgium, Ireland and Greece just to name a few.  A culinary cornucopia, the Discovery Passport is your guide to all of the flavors of the festival.  Make sure you get the pocket guide in the Festival Center or at most of the kiosks themselves.  The small plates are perfect for a sample of the countries’ cuisine as you stroll around the lagoon.  The only question is, where do you start?

Check out SamsDisneyDiary Episode #40 – The Video Below.

 

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival 2013 - Festival Center

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival 2013 – Festival Center

The Discovery Passport is a pocket guide listing all of the Kiosks along with their menu; a great way to create your must do list.  Each kiosk also has a “stamp”.  The idea is to collect the stamps in the Discovery Passport.  You don’t have to purchase anything to get the stamp, just have your passport ready and ask one of the cast members.  When you get them all, head back to the Festival Center for your “Completer Stamp”.  The Passport also includes the full Eat-to-the-Beat concert line up and highlights of events in the Festival Center.  Looking for items the kids might like?  Look for the try it logo.

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival 2013 - Tasting my way around the World

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival 2013 – Tasting my way around the World

In addition to the Discovery Passport make sure you grab the Event Guide, the map with full event details.   The maps are updated every week and feature the full list of Festival Center events.  Some of the events including: Wine/Beverage Seminars, Culinary Demonstrations, Mixology Seminars, Book Signings, The Chocolate Experience, “Seasons of the Vine”, the Intermission Cage, the Stock Pot Shop and the Art of Food and Wine.   Everything you could possibly think of is listed and available in the Food & Wine Festival Center.

In addition to the Festival Center, you will find event merchandise all around World Showcase, and be sure to look for the Chase Lounge.  In 2013 the Chase Lounge was located in the VIP section of the American Adventure Pavilion.  The Lounge featured lots of places to relax, great views of World Showcase from the top floor of the pavilion, places to charge your devices, free snacks (cookies) and a freestyle Coke machine.

Everyone has their favorite Kiosk.  I have mine, and you will no doubt have yours. For more details on some of the food offerings, check out The Disney Nerds Podcast Show #40 when Jimmy, Ed, Jennifer and I do a walk around World Showcase for the 2013 Food and Wine Festival.  You can find the show on itunes, via stitcher, at thedisneynerds.com and at the official RSS Feed http://thedisneynerdspodcast.podbean.com/feed/

Thanks for watching, and I hope to see you at the 2014 Food and Wine Festival!!! Be sure to listen to the Disney nerds podcast for more details on our October 4th and 5th Epcot Meet-up!   Follow me on twitter @SamsDisneyDiary for details!!

Lots, and Lots, and Lots of Pictures form Epcot International Food and Wine Festival 2013!

Categories: Epcot, Epcot Food and Wine, Food and Wine, Food and WIne Festival, TheDisneyNerdsPodcast, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SamsDisneyDiary Episode #39 – “FIFA World Cup 2014 at Walt Disney World” (June 2014)

World Cup Brackets as seen at the ESPN World Cup "Odyssey Center"

World Cup Brackets as seen at the ESPN World Cup “Odyssey Center”

Are you a FIFA World Cup Fan?  Not sure where to watch the games while visiting Walt Disney World?  Disney has you covered, and covered in a big way!!  Every game will be broadcast in the United States on a Disney owned network (ESPN, ESPN2 & ABC).  Not only does Disney have you covered now, they had you covered during Epcots Flower and Garden Festival this past fall.  Remember the “Soccer Goofy” topiary that premiered at Flower and Garden?  Well, it turns out that topiary is tied directly to the FIFA 2014 World Cup.  While all of the other topiaries have been removed, Soccer Goofy is still in place and is directing guests to the 2014 World Cup Headquarters located at the “Odyssey Center” in Epcot.   The Odyssey Restaurant is the building located on the bridge between Test Track and Mexico, best known for the first-aid / baby care location and restrooms.

SamsDisneyDiary Episode #39… the Blog Continues after the video

World Cup Merchandise Selection at the Odyssey

World Cup Merchandise Selection at the Odyssey

Of course, I had my camera and did my best to capture the ESPN FIFA 2014 World Cup Walt Disney World Headquarters.

The Odyssey Restaurant is now the “Odyssey Center”, and it’s been converted to the ESPN FIFA 2014 Brazil World Cup Headquarters.  The Odyssey has been converted into a World Cup Heaven, with multiple HD TVs, a big screen projection, couches, tables, outlets, a bar and snack bar.  The Odyssey is the place to watch World Cup action.   The Odyssey is open for every World Cup match, from June 12th through the final on July 13th.   Check ESPNFC.com for times once the round of 16 starts.   The Odyssey is just the beginning for viewing options.  If you are staying at a Disney resort, you’ll find every game on your in-room TV: ESPN (Channel 19), ESPN2 (Channel 20) and ABC (Channel 8).   You can leverage Disney’s Park internet access and use

The former Odyssey Restaurant has ben converted to the Odyssey Center, the ESPN FIFA WDW Headquarters

WatchESPN.com or download the app, or leverage the good ole AM radio with ESPN Radio 580.   If you’d rather watch with a crowd, you’ll find viewing locations all over Walt Disney World property, check with the front desk of your resort.  Every property has at least one viewing location, most with multiple locations.  In addition, you’ll find viewing locations at select bars and restaurants at Downtown Disney, and ESPN Wild World of Sports.   Looking for merchandise?  You got it, and you’ll find it at select locations including the Odyssey, Mouse Gear, Epcot countries, Pop Century, the All-Star Resorts, Downtown Disney, ESPN Club and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.   You can also test your soccer skills at the Disney soccer experience near Germany in world showcase.

Draft Beer Selection at the Odyssey during FIFA Matches, Samuel Adams Seasonal (Summer), Florida Lager, Racer 5 and Safari Amber

Draft Beer Selection at the Odyssey during FIFA Matches, Samuel Adams Seasonal (Summer), Florida Lager, Racer 5 and Safari Amber

The main attraction is the Odyssey Center in Epcot.  I can’t think of a better place to get out of the heat, grab a snack, and take in some World Cup action.  The snack bar is a little limited with basic snacks such as Mickey Pretzels, popcorn, roasted almonds,  pecans & chips, a sandwich and wrap.  Remember, you can always grab something (Mexico is nearby) and bring it in.  I did find the beer selection interesting, Samuel Adams Seasonal (Summer), Florida Lager, Racer 5 and Safari Amber.    Safari Amber being the “Animal Kingdom” special lager, I’ve never seen it served outside of Animal Kingdom.

Keep in mind that the Odyssey is only open during World Cup matches.  Download the schedule at ESPNFC.com and relax with a lager watching the World Cup right in the middle of Walt Disney World.

Thanks for watching, reading and listening.  Be sure to follow me on twitter @SamsDisneyDiary, Instagram www.instagram.com/SamsDisneyDiary,  www.facebook.com.samsdisneydiary and check out the Disney Nerds Podcast subscribe in your favorite RSS reader here.

Categories: Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

SamsDisneyDiary Episode #38 – “Festival of Fantasy” (May 2014)

“Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” – Walt Disney

That famous quote holds true not only at Disneyland, but at every Disney Park around the globe.   With all of the recent changes in Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom, I was recently able to do something not possible just a few short months ago.  Sure I experienced the all new “Festival of Fantasy Parade” at Magic Kingdom but more interesting, I experienced it with a reserved viewing location via FastPass+.  I love the parade, and I love FastPass+.  Now remember, I’m not Media.  I have no special access.  I’m just a fan like all of you, so my best bet to get a good spot for the parade?  FastPass+

SamsDisneyDiary Episode #38… the Blog Continues after the video

Fire Breathing Dragons in front of Cinderella's Castle.  Perfect!

Fire Breathing Dragons in front of Cinderella’s Castle. Perfect!

Let’s start with FasPass+.  With the new and evolving, advanced attraction reservation system you have the ability to schedule up to 3 FastPass+ attractions per day.  Staying on-site, off-site or as an annual passholder, all qualify for FastPass+, as long as you have a pre-purchased park ticket, register at www.mydisneyexperience.com and start reserving your favorite attraction..   Or in my case, your favorite experience such as Festival of Fantasy.    The system is still in “testing” but getting closer to its final form every day.  Just recently Disney announced the ability to select additional FastPass+ reservations after you have used your three (based on availability)  (By the Way – The original Fast Pass paper tickets have all been retired, you won’t find any in WDW…  you need to head to Disneyland if you want one ;-)

Bell and Beast lead the Festival of Fantasy Parade.

Bell and Beast lead the Festival of Fantasy Parade.

Having never experienced Festival of Fantasy, I wanted to be sure to select it as one of my three.  My other option is to line up on Main Street hours before the parade start time, that’s valuable park time in my book.  Location is everything, and the location for the FastPass+ parade viewing is outstanding.  Located directly in front of Cinderella Castle, behind the partner statue…  a perfect backdrop for the beautiful Festival of Fantasy floats.  If you haven’t seen the parade it’s a must do for your next trip.  I would recommend grabbing the FastPass+ for the 3:00 parade, and early FastPass+ for the mine train, and pick your third favorite.  Then after the parade head to a Kiosk for your fourth selection… or head to another park for your fourth selection, lots of options.

Captain Hook , under the Peter Pan Float

Captain Hook , under the Peter Pan Float

So… what about “Festival of Fantasy”, the “ALL NEW” afternoon parade replaced “Celebrate the Magic” as the staple 3:00 parade… but be sure to check the times guide.  During busy weeks the parade runs twice, and the times vary usually 12:30 and 3:30 (i.e. NOT 3:00).  Remember, the times guide is your friend.

I purposely waited a few months before seeing the parade.  Disney literally rolled out the Red Carpet for a media event when the parade premiered, you can see the “red” carpet in lots of internet pictures.  I don’t want to see what Disney can do for the media, I wanted to see what they produce for the average park guest.   And even with a missing float (the Mickey/Minnie hot air balloon did not take part in the parade) the parade is outstanding.

Anna and Elsa, part of the lead float.

Anna and Elsa, part of the lead float.

With over 100 performances and countless Disney Characters, the best part of this parade?  It’s all new!  No recycled floats, none imported from California.. It’s all new and designed to fit Magic Kingdom.  The floats are noticeably bigger and taller than any parade in WDW history.  So tall, being in the first row can be distracting… almost as if the parade was designed for the person standing a few people deep… lots of activity above 6 feet in the air.

The parade is designed to represent the attractions and themes of Walt Disney Worlds Fantasyland, hence “Festival of Fantasy”.   The floats are specifically designed to represent the stories of Fantasyland.  “Tangled”, “Peter Pan”, “Brave”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “Storybook Circus”, “Little Mermaid and lots of Princesses… even a prince and a “Fire Breathing Dragon”

For all of the videos, subscribe to the YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/samsdisneydiary.  Like the show on facebook www.facebook.com/samsdisneydiary, Instagram.com/SamsDisneyDiary follow the blog at www.samsdisneydiary.com follow me on twitter @SamsDisneyDiaryand be sure to subscribe to the Disney Nerds Podcast http://thedisneynerdspodcast.podbean.com/feed/

Categories: 3:00 Parade, Festival of Fantasy, Magic Kingdom, SamsDisneyDiary, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SamsDisneyDiary Episode #37 – “Celebrate the Magic” (February 2014)

Celebrate the Magic Official Logo

Celebrate the Magic Official Logo

Sams Disney Diary 37 Celebrate The Magic (13)Back in Episode #17, I covered one of the final performances of “The Magic, The Memories and You”. The nightly castle projection show premiered as part of the “Let the Memories Begin” marketing campaign in 2011. Just a few months after the retirement of “Let the Memories Begin”, “Celebrate the Magic” picked up the castle projection mapping.

The beauty of “Celebrate the Magic” is the flexibility of the technology. Being able to easily insert and remove clips allows Imagineers to customize the show based on current interests. The popularity of Frozen resulted in the addition of “Let it Go” just a few months after the movie premiered. There was also a new Jungle Book sequence, no doubt tied to the Diamond DVD release of the movie. The show touches numerous Disney properties and ties them together effortlessly.


Here is the Video Edition of SamsDisneyDiary Episode #37

Sams Disney Diary 37 Celebrate The Magic (5)Not only does the show get a seasonal touch, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Christmas, etc…(Check out SamsDisneyDiary Episode #23 for the Christmas Show 2012) the ability to change a clip just about any time has the potential to lead to a new experience on your next trip. Frozen wasn’t even in theaters during my last trip, and now it has the longest section of the show. The show starts and ends with the “Celebrate the Magic” and a Walt Disney cameo. Tinker Bell introduces the show and transforms the castle into a paper canvas, where we see a young Walt Disney sketching Mickey Mouse as “Steamboat Willie”. The song then leads a kaleidoscope of Mickey, Donald and Goofy with short clips of various Disney characters and a nod to World of Color and Fantasia. Tinker Bell spreads some pixie dust on a paint brush that in turn leads us into each show section. These are the sections that can be easily swapped, allowing the show to be longer, shorter or have more content.

In February 2014, the sections looked like this:

  • Alice in Wonderland; Casey Jr; Dumbo; Wreck it Ralph
  • Lion King; Tarzan
  • Jungle Book
  • Lady & The Tramp; Princess Melody, Tangled
  • Buzz Light-Year; Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Frozen
I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a Mouse

I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a Mouse

All followed by the closing melody of “Celebrate the Magic” with various iconic Disney characters and the closing cameo of Walt with the famous, “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a Mouse”; A wonderful quote, but one we all know started with a man, not a mouse.
The show runs twice a night, check the Times Guide. The first show will be after the first parade, just before Wishes. The best part of “Celebrate the Magic” is the fireworks start just 5 minutes after it finishes. The best place to see the details is the hub area. Yes, I know it’s crowded! If you time it just after the parade, you can stand in the parade route for both “Celebrate the Magic” and Wishes. There is typically a second showing after Wishes, before the second parade. Be sure to check the Times Guide! Disney also talks about the “Glow with the Show” ears and “Celebrate the Magic”. During my trip in February 2014, there were no “Glow with the Show” hats to be found or seen. Not sure what happened there? Anyone know?

For all of the videos, subscribe to the YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/samsdisneydiary. Like the show on facebook http://www.facebook.com/samsdisneydiary, Instagram.com/SamsDisneyDiary follow the blog at http://www.samsdisneydiary.com follow me on twitter @SamsDisneyDiary
And check out the Disney Nerds Podcast at http://www.TheDisneyNerds.com

Categories: Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SamsDisneyDiary Episode #36 – Holiday Wishes (Main Street & Bay Lake Tower)

Holiday Wishes 2013, From Main Street Holiday Wishes 2013, From Main Street[/caption]

Sam’s Disney Diary has always been my way of capturing memories and sharing my latest Disney related experience.  As mentioned in my last episode, I covered Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in detail last year, Episode #22.  I may have followed that episode up with a look at Holiday Wishes, the nightly fireworks spectacular offered during Mickey’s Christmas Party.  That said, I had the opportunity to attend the 2013 Christmas Party and follow that up by experiencing Holiday Wishes from the “Top of the World Lounge”.  “Top of the World Lounge” is the full service bar located at the top of the Contemporary’s Bay Lake Tower.

Bay Lake Tower, the DVC extension to the Contemporary Resort, is open to guests staying at the resort and DVC members staying on property.  To gain access, you’ll need to have your current room key or Magic Band and valid DVC membership card with valid ID.

Holiday Wishes 2013, From Bay Lake Tower

Holiday Wishes 2013, fireworks all the way around!

Evening fireworks music is always pumped in offering the same sound as the Magic Kingdom, with a view high above the Magic Kingdom.   It’s a few floors higher than the California Grill and offers a different angle.  You can also see Illuminations over at Epcot, but that sound is not provided.  Viewing the fireworks is unique.  The castle is visible, but you won’t be able to tell what is being projected.  Seeing just how far behind the castle the fireworks actually are is remarkable.  When you’re on Main Street, they appear to be directly behind the castle.

To get the best of both views (Main Street USA and Top of the World), I edited together both.  This episode of SamsDisneyDiary is my tribute to Holiday Wishes 2013.

For all of the videos, subscribe to the YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/samsdisneydiary.  Like the show on facebook www.facebook.com/samsdisneydiary, follow the blog at www.samsdisneydiary.com and follow me on twitter @SamsDisneyDiary

Categories: Christmas, Disney, Fireworks, Holiday Wishes, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, Walt Disney World, Wishes | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SamsDisneyDiary Episode #35 – Celebrate the Magic at MVMCP 2013

A look down main street USA during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party 2013, it's snowing on MainStreet!

It’s Snowing on Main Street (During Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party)

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party is an annual hard ticketed event at Walt Disney Worlds Magic Kingdom.  I covered the party in detail last year in Episode #22, including Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade.  So rather than cover the event again, I thought I’d cover what’s new for 2013.  A few of the events I covered over in the wdwfanzone include:  Cinderella’s Holiday Wish, The Brand New “Jingle Cruise”, and even a look at the “Glow with the Show” Mickey Ears over at the Osborne Lights.   As always, you can get all of my videos including the WDWFanZone at www.youtube.com/SamsDisneyDiary.

Walt Disney Worlds Magic Kingdom Advertising Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

The Entrance to Walt Disney Worlds Magic Kingdom Advertising Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Back in Episode #17 I covered the last “The Magic, The Memories & You”.  That show marked the premiere of the nightly Cinderella Castle projection show.  A projection show that completely engulfed the castle, transforming it into just about anything the Imagineers could think of.  New for the Christmas Party in 2013 is “Celebrate the Magic”.  Seen once a night at 9:15pm, just before the 9:30 Holiday Wishes, “Celebrate the Magic” transforms Cinderella Castle into a canvas of all-inspiring holiday magic.

This episode of SamsDisneyDiary was filmed on the first night of the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2013. 

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2013 Map and Guide.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party Map 2013

Guide to Treats, Merchandise, Food/Beverage and Entertainment

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party Map 2013

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Map 2013

For all of the videos, subscribe to the YouTube channel at ww.youtube.com/samsdisneydiary.  Like the show on facebook www.facebook.com/samsdisneydiary, follow the blog at www.samsdisneydiary.com and follow me on twitter @SamsDisneyDiary

Categories: Celebrate the Magic, Christmas, Disney, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, SamsDisneyDiary, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

SamsDisneyDiary Episode #34 – Happy HalloWishes

HalloWishes Lights up the night time sky at Mickey's No-So-Scary Halloween Party

HalloWishes Lights up the night time sky at Mickey’s No-So-Scary Halloween Party

Continuing the Halloween theme of Episode #32 & Episode #33, this episode is dedicated to “Happy HalloWishes”.  As with all entertainment included with Mickey’s “Not-So-Scary” Halloween Party, Happy HalloWishes can only be experienced as part of the party.  As you would expect, Happy HallowWishes is the night time fireworks spectacular.  Presented high about Cinderella’s Castle, the night sky is lit up in a fantastic fireworks display.  Featuring special voice appearances by your favorite Disney villains, HalloWishes is sure to please.  HalloWishes also features the perimeter fireworks allowing parts of the show to happen all around you.  The perimeter fireworks are typically included with special parties and events and are not part of standard Wishes.  If you haven’t seen them, be sure to put them on your list.

Sams Disney Diary Episode #34 Happy HalloWishes

HalloWishes Lights up the night time sky at Mickey's No-So-Scary Halloween Party

HalloWishes Lights up the night time sky at Mickey’s No-So-Scary Halloween Party

Some quick tips:  Unlike the “Boo-to-you” Parade and “Villain’s Dance Mix & Mingle”, HalloWishes is only shown once per night, typically 9:30 (between the two parades).  As always, check the schedule.  You can view the fireworks all around the Magic Kingdom, but having the castle in view adds to the experience as the castle lighting is coordinated with the fireworks.  Personally, I like the view left of the castle near Casey’s, under the tree in front of the fence.  That’s where the video was shot.  Most of the large fireworks are left of the castle, so you’re right in front.   You can also see the fireworks on Main Street or the Hub.    Always check your schedule; it’s so important to get one BEFORE the party.   If you have little ones, the first parade is 8:15, Mix and Mingle 8:50, fireworks 9:30.  It’s possible to stay in the same spot for all three, maybe see the parade and Mix & Mingle from the Hub, and then move towards Casey’s for the fireworks.   Then there’s Trick or Treat until they fall asleep in the stroller (Been there, done that).  Or maybe get a quick ride on Peter Pan or Winnie the Pooh to keep them engaged… Lines will be 5-10 minutes.

If you don’t have little ones, or your little ones are night owls, do Trick or Treat, characters & attractions first.   Then find a spot for HalloWishes at 9:30, Villains Mix & Mingle at 10:05, and the second parade at 10:30.  The second parade is key; it will be MUCH less crowded.  You can also catch the last Mix and Mingle at 11:15pm…  I’ve found that the villains stick around a little longer after that last show.

HalloWishes Lights up the night time sky at Mickey's No-So-Scary Halloween Party

HalloWishes Lights up the night time sky at Mickey’s No-So-Scary Halloween Party

Ready to Capture Happy HalloWishes

Ready to Capture Happy HalloWishes

Take some time to do a little planning.  One last thing…what about dinner?  With your Halloween party ticket you can enter the Magic Kingdom as early as 4:00pm even though the party doesn’t start until 7.   A dining reservation for 4:15-4:45 works perfect.  Dinner is done and out of the way before the party starts.  If there is a specific character you want to meet, head to that queue first and get it over right at 7.  Make sure you’re in the right line, and if it’s too long… come back at the end of the party.  You don’t want to spend the first hour of the party in line.

For all of the videos subscribe to the YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/samsdisneydiary.  Like the show on facebook www.facebook.com/samsdisneydiary, follow the blog at www.samsdisneydiary.com and follow me on twitter @SamsDisneyDiary

Categories: Disney, HalloWishes, Magic Kingdom, Mickey's Not-so-scary Halloween Party, SamsDisneyDiary, Walt Disney World, Wishes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SamsDisneyDiary Episode #33 – Villains Mix and Mingle

Villains on Stage

Disney Villains take center stage during Villains Mix and Mingle

Special entertainment is a big part of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.  Special event entertainment like “Mickey’s Boo to You Halloween Parade” (the feature of SDD Episode #32) and Villains Mix and Mingle (a party exclusive castle stage show) can only be seen by attending the Mickey’s Not-So- Scary Halloween Party.  For the Villains Mix and Mingle, your favorite Disney villains perform a short Halloween themed stage show (on the castle stage), and after each performance are available for a special meet and greet.

Sam’s Disney Diary Video Episode #33 – Villains Mix and Mingle

Be sure to check the schedule for show times.  The last Mix and Mingle of the day tends to have the lowest crowds.   The crowds thin significantly after the second parade and fireworks.  If you’re looking for a perfect picture with your favorite Disney villain, this is the place to be and is another reason to attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

This episode of SamsDisneyDiary features the Villains Mix and Mingle.  For all of the videos, subscribe to the YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/samsdisneydiary.  Like the show on facebook www.facebook.com/samsdisneydiary, follow the blog at www.samsdisneydiary.com and follow me on twitter @SamsDisneyDiary

Categories: Disney, Magic Kingdom, Mickey's Not-so-scary Halloween Party, SamsDisneyDiary, Villains Mix and Mingle, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

SamsDisneyDiary Episode #32 – Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Main Street USA ready for Halloween

Main Street USA ready for Halloween

Every fall the Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom is transformed into the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.  Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is a hard ticketed event held select nights from 7pm till midnight.   The Not So Scary part means it’s friendly to children of all ages; the hard ticketed part means you’ll need a special ticket to attend.

On those select nights in September and October (possibly November 1st / 2nd), the Magic Kingdom is transformed into Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.  Guests are encouraged to dress up in your favorite costume and trick-or-treat throughout the Magic Kingdom.

Check out the Video Blog Below, and keep reading for more details.

Party Balloons line Main Street USA ready for Mickey's No-So-Scary Halloween Party

Party Balloons line Main Street USA ready for Mickey’s No-So-Scary Halloween Party

The party starts at 7:00pm, but your event ticket, purchased separately, will get you into the Magic Kingdom as early as 4:00pm.  It’s possible to enjoy a full day at the Magic Kingdom without using a standard ticket, or a day off of your Park Hopper.  The event does sell out, so make sure you get your tickets ahead of time.  Don’t count on availability the day of the event.  When you enter the park, you’ll get your event wristband.  If you don’t have a wristband, you won’t be able to participate in the evening’s activities.

First things first, get an event guide!  It’s your map, it’s your times guide.  It’s everything you need to plan your night.  You may even be able to get your map a day or two before the party.  Ask at Guest Relations.  Guests are encouraged to wear Halloween costumes, and boy, do they!  You’ll see some of the most elaborate costumes I’ve seen outside of official Disney Costumes.  A costume is NOT a requirement, but does help with the Halloween spirit.

Candy at a distribution station during Mickey's Not So Scary

Candy at a distribution station during Mickey’s Not So Scary

The Halloween party is all about treats and special entertainment!    Both the treats and the special entertainment are only available during the Halloween Party!!  Sure, the ride lines will be shorter than normal, but where else can you see the Boo-to-You Halloween Parade and Happy HalloWishes!

There are 9 trick-or-treat locations around the Magic Kingdom.  You’ll get a trick or treat bag, or can bring your own; all of the stations have different candy.  And this is the good stuff!

  • Adventureland:  Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room and Pirates of the Caribbean queue
  • Liberty Square: Liberty Square Riverboat
  • Fantasyland: Peter Pan’s Flight queue, Pinocchio Village Haus, Storybook Circus (Near Pete’s Silly Sideshow)
  • Tomorrowland:  Tomorrowland Speedway, Space Mountain & Stitch’s Great Escape!

And 2 trick-or-treat trails with multiple treat stations

  • Frontierland: Near Splash Mountain queue
  • Tomorrowland: Enter near Space Mountain and exit at Storybook Circus
Peter Pan getting ready to ride his Flight.

Peter Pan getting ready to ride his Flight.

Does it get any better than free candy in the Magic Kingdom?  (OK the candy isn’t free; you paid to attend the party didn’t you?)  The candy and the spectacular entertainment can only be experienced during the Halloween party.

Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade will have you singing, “Boo to You and You and You and You and You…. Happy Halloween” for the rest of the night and next morning.  Happy HalloWishes adds a wonderful Halloween twist and full circle fireworks to Wishes.  New for 2013, the Celebrate the Magic castle show adds a Halloween twist and Character Dance Parties rock Tomorrowland and Liberty Square.  The Monstrous Scream-O-Ween Ball takes over the Rockettower Plaza Stage replacing the “Rock-It Out…Stitch’s Club 626” Dance Party (2012), while Woody’s Happy Harvest Roundup returns again in 2013 at the Diamond Horseshoe.

Boo-To-You Halloween Parade is only available during Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Boo-To-You Halloween Parade is only available during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

The Villains’ Dance Mix & Mingle returns adding some advanced elements combining parts of the Celebrate the Magic castle transformation with the Villain’s Castle Stage Show, which is a nice touch.  If you’re looking for character meet and greets, you’ll find plenty, including the classic characters in their Halloween costumes.  Stick around after the Villain’s Mix and Mingle Stage Show for meet and greet opportunities with the classic Disney villains.  Check the

Cinderella's Castle during Hallow-Wishes

Cinderella’s Castle during Hallow-Wishes

event map for the location and times of special character appearances, including Jack and Sally (Nightmare Before Christmas) new for 2013.

Of course, there is special merchandise available during the party, including a special Sorceress of the Magic Kingdom Halloween Party card available only during the party.  A welcome addition for 2013 is the limited time food and beverage selections, including:  Spiced Pumpkin Waffle Sundae at Sleepy Hollow, Ghost Cupcakes at Gaston’s, Candy Corn Soft Serve at Storybook Treats themed Specialty Cupcakes and Cookies at Sweet Treats on Main Street and Hitchhiking Ghost Popcorn Buckets at the Popcorn Carts.

I hope you enjoyed this episode of SamsDisneyDiary, check out the video channel at www.youtube.com/SamsDisneyDiary and like the show on www.facebook.com/SamsDisneyDiary and follow me on twitter @SamsDisneyDiary

Categories: Magic Kingdom, Mickey's Not-so-scary Halloween Party, SamsDisneyDiary, Walt Disney World, Wishes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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