Peanut Adventures, Issue 23 (NOT SO SCARY 2018)
*WDW invited us to visit MNSSHP gratis. We received a gift bag with free brownies. All opinions here are my own.*
Yup. Celebrating Halloween in August over here. FIGHT ME. And since the celebrating starts so early at Disney, so does our planning. D is obsessed with Black Panther (it might have even surpassed Guardians of the Galaxy for her at this point), so I wasn't at all surprised when she started asking for a Shuri costume.
I was worried since D hates sitting still for me to do hair and such, but when it's something she WANTS?? The soul of patience. She let me tug and pull and pin and spray her hair; she held very still for all the dots (ok... almost all of them... there might be one wonky one under her right eye). She even kept her hair up the whole night and let me reapply a couple of dots that wore off.
The secret is out about Jack and Sally starting early and having to get in line for them WAY ahead of time; by the time we arrived at 4 (an hour ahead of their start time) the line was already to the bridge. So.. for the first time ever at a party... we found ourselves not locked into a line and with literal hours to kill until we had to do anything. Huh. So we ate a leisurely meal at Harbor House and got to visit with our friend Krystal for a few minutes.
The #1 (new) thing on our to do list was to visit the Pirates of the Caribbean ride to experience the special live pirates they've integrated into the ride and line queue exclusively during Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Parties. I'd heard stories of the line reaching 90 minutes on the first night, so we ended up just camping out outside of the attraction entrance, keeping an eye on the wait time so we could hop into the line at the best possible time or even early if the line was starting to back up. Of course, it started raining while we waited, because it's not a Disney party if it doesn't RAIN ON US at some point.
As it turned out, there wasn't a big influx of people trying to get into the line (which hovered between 5 and 10 minutes while we watched). We got into the queue right at 7 (official party start time), and though there was definitely a reasonable crowd of people doing the same, it didn't result in us waiting more than maybe 5 minutes. Of course, our time in line was actually longer than that, because D ran into some pirates in line that she had to chat up.
For the record, you don't HAVE to stop in the queue to talk to the Pirates, that was just my kid. Tons of people went past us in line while D tried continuously to feed this imprisoned pirate a chocolate bar.
There were more Pirates later in the queue, and another Pirate in the ride itself standing on a bridge, chatting at you as you pass.
"Mommy... tonight's a Halloween Party." Yup. "We're staying." Yup. "THAT MEANS HOCUS POCUS SHOW RIGHT???" YUP. "YESSSSSSSSS!!!!!"
We got out of the ride by 7:25, so Mellie and I went to go hold down a spot for the first Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular at 8:45 while Ian, Amanda, and D went exploring. People were already waiting for that show, but we got a decent enough spot in the middle behind just one other family. I'd say the space around the castle stage had probably filled up pretty much by 8, though. D and company saw the Cadaver Dans for the first time
And took a spin on Thunder Mountain.
Back to the castle stage, where we were joined by two of D's honorary big sisters for a family reunion that made my hurt burst at the seams.
Just FYI, if you go to parties later in the season, there will be 4 HOPOs instead of 3 (since it gets darker earlier), but these early parties only have 3. The show is still a massive favorite with our family and 100% unmissable at any party.
BTW- nighttime holiday parties continue to be THE hardest to shoot. Should I revisit the DSLR series with some nighttime party photography tips? I just might... stay tuned...
Hocus Pocus ends just a few minutes before the first Boo To You Parade steps off in Frontierland. Follow up our favorite show with our favorite parade? NO BRAINER.
We even had a few extra minutes for D to "dance" with Junie before the Zoo Crew arrived.
I have to say, I hadn't anticipated the incredibly enthusiastic reception D's costume would get from all the adult women we ran into at the party. Representation matters <3, and Shuri is such an amazing character for D to have as a role model.
Y'all know Ian and I sang and danced the Boo To You song through the whole parade. They've made a couple changes this year: Rapunzel & Flynn are in the opening walking crew, the Pirate ship is now part of the Pirates of the Caribbean Unit, while the Neverland crew is on foot save for Tink who gets to ride on her giant treasure chest float.
After the first parade, we yet again found ourselves in the unusual (for us) position of being without an agenda. So I figured we'd do something new (for us): visit some characters in Storybook Circus. I was hoping we'd be able to get through the massive crowds in front of the castle before Hallowishes started so we wouldn't get caught up in all that. Imagine our surprise when we got to the hub and... it really wasn't all that crowded. In past years, we've barely been able to find a spot for the fireworks, and usually it's obstructed by trees. But we managed to get a spot with plenty of space to spare, so we ended up staying in the hub for our second favorite Disney fireworks (nothing tops the 4th of July for us).
The photo may be blurry, but the view couldn't have been better. We hoofed it over to Storybook Circus after Hallowishes, which was also surprisingly not too crowded. They've moved the Dwarfs inside Storybook Circus, put the Disney Junior Dance Party under the tent, and separated Minnie into her own line independent of Donald and Daisy. We decided to visit Minnie and bring her some spooky treats.
Minnie LOVED D's costume, and tried to get her to do the Wakanda Forever pose for a photo. "I'm sorry I don't pose in pubic!" My kid broke Minnie. And everybody around us. I've heard D's "I don't pose" schtick before, but the timing and Minnie's dramatic reaction had us all in tears.
We had to motor back to catch the second Boo To You Parade (yes. I watch both. It's my favorite. Don't judge me). In another "well that's out of the normal" for a Halloween party experience, the second parade was considerably more crowded than the first. I've NEVER seen that.
We even had a few spare moments to give some hugs and treats to our friend, Cat.
I just love the Sugar Rush unit. Anybody else READY for Wreck it Ralph 2? So. Ready.
D was starting to flag by the end of the parade, so despite her protests and requests to go try to catch the last Hocus Pocus, we decided to call it a night. Of course, she was asleep before we were out of the parking lot.
Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party has always been our favorite separately ticketed Disney event, and this year is no exception. If you haven't been yet, this year seems like a great year with, at least for August 31st, pretty reasonable crowd levels (knowing it will get more popular the closer we got to the Holiday).