The Mouse can do Halloween.
For years, my family has been partial to SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular. The candy was abundant, the activities were fun, and the price of an annual pass was affordable.
Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights was way too scary for our little ones, and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party seemed too inconvenient and frankly, at $52 for admission, not worth the extra money.
Boy, were we wrong.
First of all, the ticket is $27 less than a single-day admission to the Magic Kingdom. But you get lots of extra benefits, including all-you-can-eat candy (a bonus for the kids) and virtually no lines for the most popular rides.
We walked on to Peter Pan’s Flight last night, an attraction where lines routinely run 45 minutes. Likewise, we didn’t have to wait for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh or Cinderella’s Golden Carousel, two other popular rides.
Around every corner, we found cast members offering handfuls of candy.
The entire park is “Halloweened” out in orange and red lights (true to its name, not too scary) and there’s a fireworks display, which, unfortunately, we had to miss since I had to get on a plane the next morning. Will my kids ever forgive me for depriving them of the pyrotechnics?
We also caught the “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade, which starts around 8 p.m. and features Disney characters and the stars of the Haunted Mansion attraction. My kids loved Jack Sparrow’s pirate float, since they’re big fans of the Pirates movies.
There are plenty of other opportunities to see characters up close without much of a wait, another noteworthy contrast to the average day at the park. We saw only one or two lines where costumed kids were waiting to have their pictures taken with Goofy or Mickey.
The Halloween party ticket runs from 7 p.m. until midnight. The park closes early to regular guests.
If you’re going to be in Orlando in October, which is the lowest point of low season, I recommend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. I think the only way they could make it any better is if they included it in the price of general admission. (Yeah, like that will ever happen.)
I think one day when the kids are old enough, we’ll try to hit all three — Disney, SeaWorld and Universal — on the same weekend and publish a side-by-side comparison.
Not sure if I can handle that much candy. But a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do.
(Photo: photog_friend/Flickr Creative Commons)