Sunday, November 23, 2014

What I haven’t Done: Halloween in WDW

By Ryan Reed

Obviously I am obsessed with Walt Disney World – it’s what has driven me to blog about it on a continual basis.  You know something is a passion of yours when you can’t keep your feelings inside and need to share them with whomever will listen.  I’ve vacationed in my favorite place in the world over twenty times and each time I leave I want to go back more than the previous time.  It’s a sickness (but in a good way).  Having said all that, I have barely scraped the surface on what this amazing place has to offer.  I like to consider myself a Disney aficionado but that certainly doesn’t mean I’ve done everything.  In fact, what I haven’t done has driven me to become infatuated with this place.  I want to know more and more about it and I look forward to experiencing something new each time I visit.  When I started to blog I only focused about things I’ve done myself; I felt like I wanted to share my feelings on what I know I love.  But now I think it’s time for a little self-deprecation and admit to things I haven’t done (and probably should’ve done by now!) and share why I can’t wait for my next opportunity to experience them.  I really hope to hear from some of you who have done what I haven’t in each one of these posts! Continue after the page break for more...

In this segment, the first of many, I want to focus on something I’ve missed out on my entire life and plan on experiencing soon (hopefully next year!).  It’s my favorite time of year in my favorite place in the world: Fall, or more specifically, Halloween in Walt Disney World.


I know, I know, the timing of this post is a little late but who is upset about extending Halloween just a little bit longer?  I’m specifically talking about Halloween because Autumn is way too broad of a time period; that includes a few other things I haven’t done that need posts specifically for themselves.  Anyway, back to Halloween!  This time of year has such an awesome vibe as it is.  I mean, it’s so much fun up here in Upstate New York, it has to be incredible in Disney World.  I love the spooky decorations, the scary movies, and (obviously) the food that comes with the season.  So lets take a look at some of the offerings Disney has for its guests during the Halloween season that I have, painfully, never experienced.


Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

This is obvious.  How can you be in Walt Disney World during this time and not take advantage of this??  Just reading about it sounds like an amazing time.  I’ve only heard great things from friends of mine who go every single year.  So you apparently you dress up (typically as your favorite Disney character) and go trick or treating around a beautifully decorated Magic Kingdom while eating Reese Cups? TAKE MY MONEY, I’M IN!  The best place in the world throws a ridiculous Halloween party every year and I haven’t experienced it yet.  I should be ashamed of myself; believe, I am. 


The Entertainment

This is one parade I’ll set aside time for.

From what I understand, the entertainment is only Halloween themed during nights of Mickey’s Not So Scary but that doesn’t mean I can’t look forward to it.  I’m not usually a big parade guy but Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” looks way too cool.  Headlined by the Headless Horseman and appearances by your favorite Disney characters in costumes of their own make this one unique parade.  Not to mention the gravediggers making their way from my favorite attraction: the Haunted Mansion.  This is one parade I will gladly wait for in order to get a good spot and enjoy every second of it.  Oh, I have heard part of the “Boo-to-You” song and already can’t get it out of my head.

Wishes is amazing every single night of the year and I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying it on multiple occasions.  What makes this sounds even better is the takeover by Disney Villains and an eerily lit Cinderella’s Castle.  Disney doesn’t just throw things together; this spooky nighttime event has the makings of something incredible. 

As Usual, the Theming and Ambiance

Mickey enjoying his own not-so-scary party.

As I’ve mentioned above, I love this time of year.  There’s something about the spookiness and general vibe about this holiday.  I’ve also talked about, on a few occasions, how much I adore the Disney theming.  The thought of having these two things combined and having Disney decorate the Magic Kingdom in Halloween fashion makes me giddy.  I’ve only seen pictures, but the pumpkins, the spooky yet fun spirited decorations, and the attractions now decked out in Halloween garb make this a must do at some point. 


I love the Halloween decorations with a Disney twist.

This must look so cool as you approach the Magic Kingdom on the Monorail.

The Haunted Mansion some how manages to get even better during Halloween.

The Food!

A Halloween inspired treat on Main Street USA.

Now, let’s be honest with ourselves: we get just as excited for the food as anything else in Walt Disney World.  In the spirit of Halloween, Disney offers some specialty treats that cater to your sweet tooth more than anything else.  I’m not one to rave sweets (unless it’s a Reese Cup) but some of these offerings look incredible. 



Halloween themed Candy Apples.



The Candy Apples in Disney are out of this world.  I had my first one back when I participated in the Disney College Program and since then they have been my favorite guilty pleasure to enjoy while vacationing there.  It’s the perfect mixture of sweet (and sometimes salty), crunchy, chocolate, and caramel to create this ooey-gooey mess.  Take that and turn it into a Mickey Jack-O Lantern and you’re talking the perfect treat. 


I’m now craving a visit to Epcot and a Disney cupcake.

I’ve always been in awe of the detail Disney puts into its attractions, themed buildings, and hotels.  The way they obsess over the most minute information and the way they cleverly pay homage to their history make this place special.  I look for this detail every single time I’m down there.  What I didn’t realize, however, is I was constantly overlooking something they pour detail (and sugar) in on a daily basis: their cupcakes.  I mean, look at these things!  You can find these specialty cupcakes year round and some exhibit great detail.  They certainly don’t scale back the detail when it comes to their Halloween inspired cupcakes either. 

This could be the first time I wouldn’t be disappointed by Candy Corn.

How great is this?

I’m sure I’ve missed some pretty great parts of the Disney/Halloween experience but these are a few specific things that get me excited.  As I mentioned, I have a few more posts in mind that touch on Disney experiences I haven’t had and cannot wait to cross off my bucket list.  In the mean time, I’d love to hear from some of you that have been lucky enough to visit during the Halloween season.  Leave me your thoughts, experiences, and opinions in the comment section below!


Ryan Reed is from Upstate New York and grew up in a suburb just west of Rochester.  He graduated from the College at Brockport with a Bachelors of Science in Philosophy; he also plans to go back to school to acquire his MBA within the next couple of years.  For hobbies, Ryan spends his time staying active and just recently ran the 2014 Boiler Maker 15K for the first time.  Also, he is a die-hard Buffalo Bills fan who thinks every year is “our year”.  Basketball is, without a doubt, his favorite sport and shares the same interest with his father.  They both bond over being Boston Celtics fans and regularly make trips to the New England area to watch them play.  Ryan’s interest in craft beer is shared amongst his friends and girlfriend; they enjoy touring, learning, and experiencing everything brewers have to offer.  His ties to Walt Disney World started before he even was a year old.  As a child, his family took him back year after year and has continued to go back almost yearly.  At first, his love for Disney World was due to the attractions that he had never experienced elsewhere.  Then he began to be intrigued with how the parks, rides, and restaurants came to be – the sheer size of what they were able to build fascinated him.  In his sophomore year of college Ryan took part in the Disney College Program.  He worked at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on Fantasmic! as well as Rock N’ Roller Coaster.  This experience allowed him to see a whole new side of Disney and gained an appreciation for what they do more than ever before.  Now Ryan looks for any information he can to understand the history of Disney World and how it came to be.  He has witnessed Disney go through a lot of changes but his interests and appreciation for the parks evolved along with it.  His favorite ride is the Haunted Mansion but a close second is Tower of Terror.  Epcot has become his favorite park; there are so many different things to experience – each visit seems like a new adventure.  His favorite time at Disney is dusk; each park transforms into something completely different once the sun sets.  His favorite Disney movie is Toy Story and favorite Disney character is Tigger.  Ryan’s articles will discuss tips about Disney World, some “best of” pieces, as well as history of both the parks and resorts.


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