The reason we had a short morning at MK: Sunday night we attended Mickey’s No So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP), which is a ticketed event that Disney runs from late September through Halloween every year. On party nights, MK closes to guests at 7pm, and only party guests can be in the park, which then stays open until midnight. Party guests can enter the park at 4pm, and are identified by special party wristbands which can be picked up a few places in the park. Which brings us to problem #1 – Aly hates plastic wristbands (just like socks with seams, shirts with tags) and got very upset at the idea of having to wear one. There was much drama, and Aly’s proposed solution was to put on her long-sleeve witch costume, but we discouraged that because it was still quite hot when we arrived at the park just before 6pm.
A helpful cast member saw the drama and offered a “not quite allowed, but we’d do it for your princess” solution – one of the parents could wear two wristbands instead of Aly having to wear her own. This didn’t appeal to Aly either, because she’d have to stay with the parent wearing two wristbands, as they will actually kick you out of the park without a wristband. (Shortly after 7pm, a dad walked by us telling his kids “Sorry, they’re making us leave, maybe we can try again tomorrow.”) She eventually cowboyed-up and put on a loosely-fit wristband because the lure of trick-or-treating was too strong to ignore.
With a bit of time before the party officially kicked off, we hopped on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority (which seems like an awful name, until you consider its prior name: WEDway People Mover) at both Leah and Aly’s request. The girls enjoyed the ride, and the higher vantage point granted us a view of a few character locations and trick-or-treat spots. I also got a few good shots of the sunset over Tomorrowland.
It was nearly 7pm now, so the three girls hopped in line to see Buzz Lightyear/get candy while I headed back to the stroller to get the autograph books. I was distracted, however, by The Lunching Pad and her offering of frozen beverages, so I waited about five minutes in line to get one cherry and one blue raspberry slushy, which I then brought to the girls in line along with the books. When I found them, Aly informed me joyously that we were first in line to see Buzz and he’d be out in a few minutes. Leah had somehow swiped Rachel’s iPhone and made a nice little seat for herself, where she proceeded to place some random phone calls (sorry!), which caused the parents behind us to share that their 2yo daughter makes calls and also purchases things on the App Store, so I’m glad it’s not just us. We waited a few more minutes, but I didn’t care because I had dual slushy (Aly preferred blue, Leah red). We saw Buzz and then hit the first candy station, pleased that they were giving out brand name candy, including candy corn, which all three girls love.
A brief update
Astute readers may have noticed that the pressed penny and pin trading tales seem to have stopped: that is because they mostly have. Aly decided that she didn’t want to trade any of the pins she had left, so unless we were going to buy her more pins (we didn’t), she didn’t want to trade away any pins. The pennies just weren’t mentioned much.
Back to the party
At this point, the sun had gone down, so Aly put on her witch costume and we headed to the next trick-or-treat (henceforth “ToT”) station near Space Mountain. Along the way, there was a character dance party taking place, with Goofy, Donald, and Stitch outfitted in space suits and dancing with people while DisneyPop played. Leah, of course, made me take her there to take in two of her most favorite things: dancing and Disney characters, so I got to dance her with Pluto. Yes, these are things we do for our kids – anyone who knows me knows that I never dance, but for Leah I danced with a cartoon dog wearing a space suit.
From there, we headed to the Tea Cups ride, which I used to love but now the spinning seems to ruin me, so I usually leave it to the girls. Again, for the girls, I rode it on this night – both girls love to spin and get dizzy, so it’s the perfect ride for them. Aly picked out the perfect color teacup and the four of us loaded in, and Leah announced that she wanted to sit by herself like a big girl, instead of on our laps. I spun us at a medium pace and was still punch-drunk for a while after the ride. Aly’s flashing LED-lighted trick-or-treat bag helped me find the stroller after the ride.
Now we’re talking
We moseyed towards the back of the park so Aly and I could ride Haunted Mansion, while Leah opted to take Rachel on it’s a small world again. Haunted Mansion gets a great makeover for the MNSSHP, including a ghost lady telling ghost tales on the mansion’s front lawn, an alternate queue through the cemetery, and fantastic makeup on the cast members. Aly was not spooked at all, despite the obvious spirits present in the photo I took shortly before we boarded our Doom Buggy, which got me a scolding from a scary cast member. We met the other two girls and headed along the trail towards Splash Mountain, just as the party’s unique parade was starting from the back of the park.
We knew this would be a good time to hit Splash Mountain, as much of the crowd would be sucked toward the parade route. We stopped for five minutes or so along the path to watch the parade, before Aly (who was on my shoulders at the time) announced she had to pee “really bad” – I almost threw her into the parade getting her off my shoulders.
But that full bladder worked out to be a good thing
I remembered that there are bathrooms near Splash, so we headed there and steered Aly into the ladies room. As we were waiting for her to return, we saw a line of people in a place where there is usually nothing, so we asked a nearby cast member what was going on at that spot. She told us that the seven dwarves would be there shortly for pictures, which is quite rare. Aly loves Snow White and the dwarves, particularly Dopey and Grumpy. In fact, on last year’s trip, the souvenir she picked for herself was a figure set of the dwarves. Rachel hopped in line with Leah while I waited for Aly to come out of the bathroom, then hurried back over to the stroller to get the camera (I had dropped all my gear to ride Splash).
The dwarves were great – not one of them blinked in any of the pictures I took! See those mini wheelbarrows of gems? A group just ahead of us had a little girl of 3 or so that yanked one of the glued gems off the pile and started eating it, but their party was so busy getting situated around the dwarves that no one took it away from her. I imagine their pictures will be quite entertaining. I was taking iPhone video in my left hand while shooting SLR pictures with my right hand, while Aly was giggling and having a great time between Grumpy and Dopey. I also asked one of the cast members if Jafar was making an appearance at MNSSHP, because Aly really wanted to meet him. She said we could find him in front of the castle, so Aly was excited that we’d be able to find him later.
(also covered on Day Three, but worth retelling here) On one of our trips a few years ago, Aly really wanted to ride Splash Mountain, but when we measured her up, she was a bit short. She was disappointed and a cast member spotted that, came over to us and gave her a special card that would let her ride without waiting in line. Our next trip after that, she was tall enough, but not brave enough, so this night at MNSSHP would be her first ride.
We literally walked onto the ride, asking for the back of the boat so we wouldn’t get quite as wet. As we went down the first little hill, Aly yelled “You lied to me! This IS a roller coaster!” This blatant overreaction caused the couple in the row in front of us to chuckle, and I explained to Aly that this was indeed kind of like a roller coaster, but not as jerky (her main complaint about Big Thunder Mountain) and with the bonus of getting wet (she’s like most kids that way). I promised to hold her tight and make sure she’d be okay. She calmed down a bit, and enjoyed the Brer animals in the first few scenes.
Then we went down the first big hill, which has an extra whoop-de-do in the middle, and when we got to the bottom, she was furious and panicky, telling me she had to get off the ride, and trying to hit me. While trying not to patronize her while simultaneously chuckling, I promised she would like it by the end and if not, I’d buy her something like a DS game. She paused for a minute and said “It’ll take more than that.” I broke up laughing and smothered her underneath me as we went down the next big hill, which had her laughing by the time we splashed. On the truly big hill at the end of the ride, she hid under my arm again but was dying of laughter by about halfway down the hill, and stated at the bottom that it was awesome.
Her biggest disappointment on Splash Mountain was when we went to look at the picture of us taken on the big hill, she couldn’t see herself buried beside me. While we were on the ride, Leah was playing in the nearby Laughing Place playground, making friends with another little girl. Aly joined her for a few minutes when we rejoined them. At that point, the line for the dwarves had at least quadrupled, and the end of the parade had released tons of people into the Splash line as well.
I haven’t mentioned food in a while
It was almost 9:30 at this point, way past Leah’s bedtime, and she was a bit spaced out. I was hot and thirsty, so we grabbed a Sprite (which I put in my pocket) and a frozen strawberry bar and sat down for a few minutes to cool off and hydrate. Meanwhile, Rachel and Aly headed over to Agrabah and got in line to see Aladdin and Abu (there are many rare characters at the MNSSHP), which made Leah go crazy at the sight of a human-sized monkey. Around this time, the special party version of the fireworks show started, and I wondered how Leah would take the loud boom of fireworks in her overtired state.
I shouldn’t have worried – she immediately fell in love with them, alternating shouts of “Oh no!” (which means oh yes) and “Hi!” to the fireworks in the sky. On several occasions, fireworks appeared all around us, instead of just over the castle, and she continually did the “more” sign with her hands to try and make more fireworks. She’s still talking about it I think. While we were watching the explosions, I opened the Sprite, which promptly blew up all over us, and Leah didn’t even complain.
While we were in line, Aladdin and Abu were replaced by Jasmine and Genie, so those are the characters that we ended up meeting. Leah again hugged both of them (the fireworks had ended, otherwise, she would have chosen to stick with watching fireworks I’m sure), and Jasmine spent several minutes telling Aly about playing “character tag” with any characters that Jasmine might know as we wandered around the parks.
It was 10pm when we finished with the Agrabah characters, and everyone was hot and thirsty (even those of us who had just consumed Sprite and strawberry bar). Thankfully, Aloha Isle was nearby and had a much shorter line than the other day. We got a couple more Dole Whip floats and sat at some nearby tables to eat them. Leah was 80% vegetable at this point, so we decided to start heading towards the castle to and make our way out.
As we entered the plaza in front of the castle (searching for Jafar), we saw Cinderella’s stepsisters and stepmother. We’ve seen them in the past, and they’re hilarious, so we got in line. About ten seconds later, we saw Jafar a short ways off, so we left that line and headed over to see the large evildoer. Leah did not hug Jafar, but she did high-five him while he stroked his beard.
Cinderella’s Stepsisters, Take 2
We hopped back in line for the stepsisters, where we then spotted Gaston walking nearby, so we jumped out of line again and Aly went over to meet the strapping hunter. As she walked up to him, a teen girl tried to jump in front of her, and Gaston said “No, this lady is first, and she’s lucky that she’s the first to see me.” He was hilariously arrogant and conceited, but he kept paying Aly compliments, as you can see by her near-blushing in the pictures. She kept talking to him for perhaps another minute or two after I stopped taking pictures, and when she came back over to us, she rolled her eyes and said “He just kept talking about his eggs over and over” (a reference to the eggs he eats to get strong in the movie). It was a riot.
Stepsisters, Take 3
Back in line again, we got up to the stepfamily shortly. As usual, they were a riot of cynicism and sarcasm, mocking Ariel’s singing voice and other things about the princesses. Aly loved her visit with them.
Despite the fact that it was now 10:30, we decided that we had to head back over to Tomorrowland and get some cream cheese pretzels from The Lunching Pad. So we walked another 1/2 mile there and back, and then had to stop at some bathrooms before heading all the way out of the park. The second parade of the night was about to start, which we figured would make for an easy exit.
While Leah and I waited outside the bathrooms, Cinderella’s stepfamily and Gaston walked right by us on their way off-stage, and Gaston said to Leah “I was just talking to your pretty sister” which was a big hit when I relayed it to Aly a few minutes later. Rachel and Aly came out and as we were explaining the bonus character sightings that had just happened, Jafar came along the same path with his character handler, who was telling him when to duck so he didn’t take his out his character head. Apparently, Jafar doesn’t listen very well (a common trait among evildoers), because he kept ducking and then standing at the wrong times, and nearly beheaded himself right in front of us.
Now a different kind of eating
As we walked behind the gathered crowd along main street, a little boy of perhaps 4 popped out in front of us and then jumped back behind his dad, promptly tilting his head sideways and biting his dad hard on the hindquarters, causing his dad to jump and yelp. The things you see in crowds…
We hopped on a crowded monorail car, with a girl of 3 seated across from us who cried the whole ride, clearly overtired and overstimulated. Leah was very concerned about her, and kept looking at us asking “Baby?” to see if the baby was okay. Her concern was adorable. We walked the long distance to our car and I told Aly she’d had to be extra quiet in the car, because I was tired from pushing the stroller so far, and Mommy had carried Leah so far. Aly responded by saying “I don’t feel like I’ve walked very much to get to the car”, which of course she hadn’t, since she’d been in a stroller the whole time. Leah did fall asleep in the car at 11:05 as we pulled out of the MK parking lot, and Aly proceeded to again question us about villains in Disney movies.
The Halloween party is the one occasion where adult guests are allowed to wear costumes, and we saw some funny ones throughout the night. Ketchup bottles, boxes of Nerds (the candy), a family of Dalmations, etc.