Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party | 2023

Always a favorite, the beloved Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is back again for 2023!!! The Halloween fun at Walt Disney World starts in just 3(!) short months, and while it’s not imperative that you buy tickets immediately, it’s a great idea to start planning your trip. Check out our favorite “Not So Scary” tips and tricks so that you’re prepared for all the thrills and chills that the Magic Kingdom has to offer. (updated May 10, 2023)

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2023

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MICKEY’S NOT SO SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is a hard ticket event that runs on select nights from August 11 – November 1, 2023, and guests can enter the park as early as 4pm! There’s something for everyone, with 38 available dates and pre-tax ticket prices ranging from $109 to $199 (depending on the date). Tickets are on sale now!

August: 11, 15, 18, 22, 25, 29

September: 1, 4, 8, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 26, 28, 29

October: 1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27, 29, 31

November: 1

2023 NOT SO SCARY MILITARY TICKETS??

Will there be military tickets for Not So Scary this year?? Typically, military discounts are offered for hard ticket events at Walt Disney World, but the announcement often comes later than the official event announcement.

In a surprising move, WDW is offering military discounts for most nights of the party this year (everything except for Halloween). However, they’re nowhere near the discounts available in the past. In order to take advantage of these discounts, which are only available to active, reserve, retired, and 100% disabled (with DAVPRM code) military members, the ID holder/spouse must purchase tickets in person at Shades of Green or via email at tickets@shadesofgreenresort.zendesk.com. All tickets purchased at Shades of Green, whether they’re party tickets, Military Salute tickets, Stars and Stripes tickets, or MYW tickets, are tax-free. And now for the pricing; like regular party tickets, pricing is dependent on the party date:

Adult $105/Child (3-9) $95: 8/15, 8/18, 8/22, 8/25, 8/29

Adult $115/Child (3-9) $105: 9/1, 9/4, 9/8, 9/10, 9/12, 9/15, 9/17

Adult $144/Child (3-9) $134: 8/11, 9/19, 9/22, 9/24, 9/26, 9/28, 9/29

Adult $164/Child (3-9) $154: 10/3, 10/5, 10/9, 10/10, 10/12, 10/15, 10/17, 10/19, 10/22, 10/24, 10/26

Adult $184/ Child (3-9) $174: 10/6, 10/13, 10/20, 10/27

Adult $193/ Child (3-9) $183: 10/29, 11/1

MICKEY’S NOT SO SCARY OFFERINGS

The fan-favorite fireworks and the “Boo to You” parade will both be back! This definitely isn’t the scaled-back Disney After Hours BOO BASH of the pandemic, but rather the full Mickey’s Not So Scary of previous years. There will be:

  • The Boo to You parade features villains, ghouls, and other characters and happens twice per night! The Headless Horseman will be kicking off the parade, but will Maleficent take to the streets again??
  • Character sightings around the park
  • Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular with everyone’s three favorite witches!
  • The Not-So-Spooky Spectacular fireworks hosted by Jack Skellington
  • Performances by the Cadaver Dans Barbershop Quartet in Frontierland
  • Treat stops with lots of candy!
  • Costumes are allowed for all guests
  • Over 20 attractions, including a Halloween twist at Mad Tea Party, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, and Space Mountain. Plus, TRON Lightcycle / Run will be available with virtual queue access.
  • Guests can enter the park as early as 4pm and DO NOT NEED a separate Disney park reservation

Will you be attending MNSSHP this year? We try to go to MNSSHP every year for one of the early September parties, and we’re hoping to continue that tradition again this year!

Disney Very Merriest After Hours | Magic Kingdom

Following the announcement of the Disney After Hours BOO BASH for this fall, it came as no surprise that Disney is opting for an After Hours event for the Christmas season as well. The Disney Very Merriest After Hours party is a replacement for the usual Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party that we’ve come to know and love. This 4-hour event runs from 9pm-1am on select November/December evenings and also allows for admission into Magic Kingdom as early as 7pm. Updated 9/13/21 with Very Merriest Military Discount info.

VERY MERRIEST Offerings

Unlike the BOO BASH After Hours event running this fall with no parade and fireworks, VERY MERRIEST After Hours WILL have Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade and Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks show. It appears that while BOO BASH is much more like the Villains After Hours that was offered in 2019, VERY MERRIEST will be closer to the regular Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – just with fewer hours and no character meet and greets.

  • Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade
    • No details yet as to if this will be running 2x per night like at MVMCP or just once
  • Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks
    • You’ll also be able to enjoy the brand-new fireworks spectacular, Disney Enchantment (part of WDW’s 50th Anniversary celebration), if you’re in Magic Kingdom before the park closes to day guests.
  • Holiday attraction overlays – yep, Jingle Cruise will be back this year!!!
  • Character sightings around the park (not traditional meet and greets)
  • Reindeer Wranglers performances in Frontierland
  • Club Tinsel Dance Party
  • Unlimited (select) snacks like ice cream novelties, popcorn, seasonal treats, and select beverages – just like at the other After Hours events
  • Holiday magic shots from DisneyPhotoPass
  • LOW WAIT TIMES at over 20 attractions

Once Upon a Christmastime Parade Very Merriest

2021 Disney Very Merriest After Hours Dates/Prices

Very Merriest After Hours will take place on select nights from November 8 – December 21, from 9pm – 1am. Like the other “After Hours” events, this one will take place after the park closes to day guests and does not require the park to close early – a common complaint of MVMCP during the busy holiday season. Tickets go on sale on 8/17/21 for resort guests (including the Swan/Dolphin and Shades of Green) and on 8/20/21 for the general public.

Very Merriest dates and prices are finally out, so without further ado, here are all the details. Prices for November dates range from $169-$209 + tax, and December dates are $209-$249 + tax. Annual Passholders and DVC Members can save $10 per ticket for early November dates. Tickets go on sale online, or call 407-939-4240 on August 20, though guests of select WDW hotels can book on August 17.

November: 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 28, 30

December: 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, 19, 21

There’s been no mention of military pricing yet but I’ll update again if/when that info is released. BREAKING NEWS — there IS a military discount available for Disney Very Merriest After Hours!! Tickets are non-refundable and sold on a first-come, first-serve basis only through Shades of Green. Prices are as follows, including tax:

November 8, 12, 14, 19: $183.75

November 9, 11, 16, 18: $164.50

November 21, 23, December 3, 10, 17: $222.75

November 28, 30, December 2, 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16: $203.25

December 19, 21: No military discount

Santa in the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade Very Merriest

Will you be attending the new Disney VERY MERRIEST After Hours this year? While I’m totally bummed not to have the Christmas party back in its full form, I’m hoping that we get the chance to check this one out!

Best Magic Kingdom Snacks

Walt Disney World is FULL of amazing snacks ranging from savory to super sweet.  We had so much fun compiling our list of faves throughout the resort that we’re going to take it a step further and go park by park. Magic Kingdom has some of the best and most inventive snacks in all of Walt Disney World, so that’s where we’re starting with the best Magic Kingdom snacks!  We skipped over the basic churro (since they’re so much better at Disneyland!), Mickey pretzel, and turkey leg options because there are so many other delicious choices. **updated 5/25/2021 – Disney Dining Plan is not currently available so disregard those references for now**

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POPCORN

best magic kingdom snacks popcorn

Okay, so yes, Popcorn is a pretty basic snack, BUT at Disney World, you can get popcorn in refillable souvenir buckets, which definitely ups the fun factor.  The refillable popcorn buckets range in price from $10 to over $20 depending on the character and how exclusive it is, and there really is a popcorn bucket for everyone.  In the past, they’ve had everything from Mickey to Cinderella’s Coach (not technically a character!) to the little green alien from Toy Story.  Refills are $1.75, and you can fill them up throughout all of the parks.

MICKEY ICE CREAM BAR

best magic kingdom snacks mickey ice cream bar

Another somewhat basic treat, the Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar, can be found throughout the Walt Disney World area, but there’s just something about enjoying one on a hot day at the Magic Kingdom- and let’s face it, most days at MK are hot! For $5.75, or a snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan, you can enjoy the cold, chocolatey deliciousness of a Mickey ice cream bar.  We love to have one while watching the castle show or after taking a ride on Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain as we walk along the Rivers of America.

CORN DOG NUGGETS

best magic kingdom snacks corn dog nuggets

CURRENTLY CLOSED At Casey’s Corner, you can get Corn Dog Nuggets with a side of cheese sauce (for an extra $1).  The corn dog nuggets are perfectly crispy, and the cheese is hot and gooey, and it’s a nice change of pace from the hot dog options at Casey’s. It technically comes as a meal with fries or apple slices, but you can order the nuggets on their own and save a few dollars- we love to split an order and enjoy them on the hub grass.

PINEAPPLE UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE WITH DOLE WHIP

best magic kingdom snacks dole whip upside down cake

Dole whips and dole whip floats are a popular snack around Disney World, but did you know that you can get Pineapple Upside Down Cake with Dole Whip at Aloha Isle?? The pineapple upside-down cake is soft and packed full of pineapple deliciousness (and a hidden cherry!) and then is topped with pineapple (or vanilla or twist) dole whip making for a not-too-sweet treat! At $6.99, this makes excellent use of a snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan.

KAKAMORA FLOAT

Also available at Aloha Isle, the Kakamora Float is a must order on EVERY trip for us! This Moana-inspired treat pairs Coconut Soft Serve on top of Pineapple Juice + Blue Curaçao Syrup and garnished with a Chocolate Kakamora Cake Pop. It’s like two treats in one!! Make sure to mobile order this one next time you visit the Magic Kingdom!

LOADED BUFFALO CHICKEN TOTS

Top disney snacks buffalo chicken tots

Make sure to stop by The Friar’s Nook in Fantasyland for this delicious treat. While the Loaded Buffalo Chicken Tots are not technically a snack, they’re totally splittable and work well as a snack for our family.  For just under $10, you get a generous portion of crispy tots, topped with buffalo chicken, blue cheese dressing, and celery – or you can get it in a Mickey Souvenir Hat Bowl for $18.  It’s a great snack to split, plus the seating area is shaded, so it’s a perfect place to escape the afternoon sun or thunderstorms. Mobile Ordering is now available at The Friar’s Nook and is definitely the way to go.

FRESH FRUIT WAFFLE SANDWICH (AKA NUTELLA WAFFLE)

nutella waffle from Sleepy Hollow in front of Cinderella Castle

OMG, this one is a cult favorite! It’s a fresh and delicious waffle topped with chocolate hazelnut spread (AKA Nutella) and fresh fruit! The Fresh Fruit Waffle Sandwich is only available as a breakfast item. So if you really want to get one of these, and I HIGHLY recommend that you do, make sure to stop by Sleepy Hollow in Liberty Square before 11am. Mobile Order is now available at Sleepy Hollow, and we always recommend going that route rather than waiting in line! We often get a couple of these delicious treats to split as a breakfast snack!

STARBUCKS

best magic kingdom snacks starbucks day

So I know that you can get Starbucks at home, but there’s something magical about getting it in the Most Magical Place on Earth. As you make your way down Main Street towards Cinderella Castle, pop into the Main Street Bakery to get your morning caffeine fix. We love to start our day with an iced coffee or swing by for a drink and head to the hub grass in the afternoon- hub grass and chill, anyone?? Prices are a bit higher than our Starbucks at home, but you can use a Disney Dining Plan snack credit for just about any drink (in any size!).

CHESHIRE CAT TAIL

Top disney snacks cheshire cat tail

At the Cheshire Café, you can get a Cheshire Cat Tail- a delicious chocolate-filled, braided pastry topped with chocolate chips and pink & purple frosting drizzle. The Cheshire Cafe, right across from Mad Tea Party, is super small but does have a limited seating area. We typically pick up our treats and just enjoy them as we’re walking around or waiting in our next line. At $5.49, the Cheshire Cat Tail is a great choice for a snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan! The Lunching Pad also has Cheshire Cat Tails, and you can mobile order.

STARBUCKS AT NIGHT

best magic kingdom snacks starbucks night

Clearly, we’re addicted to caffeine, but you really can’t beat a hot cup of coffee (or likely a latte in my case!) while you’re watching Happily Ever After. We usually stake out a fireworks spot well before the show and then send one person to the Main Street Bakery to pick up our Starbucks drinks. Most drinks (in most sizes) count as one-snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan, so if you’re using it– go ahead and get a fancy drink!

PLAZA ICE CREAM PARLOR CONES

best magic kingdom snacks plaza ice cream

CURRENTLY CLOSED We always wrap up our Magic Kingdom days with a Double-scooped Ice Cream Cone from the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor. It’s a tradition that we started on our first married trip to Disneyland, and one that we look forward to on every Disney trip now. If you ask nicely, they’ll even put the chocolate Mickey ears that normally go on a kids’ scoop on your cone!

With so many delicious treats to try, where will you start? What’s your favorite Magic Kingdom treat??

Disney After Hours Boo Bash | Magic Kingdom

As part of Disney’s Halfway to Halloween celebration happening right now, they announced the Disney After Hours BOO BASH for this fall. While this comes as a huge blow to those waiting for a return of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, it makes sense considering that the things that make MNSSHP special (fireworks, parades, character meet and greets) are not running right now and potentially will not return by late August when the Halloween party traditionally starts. (updated June 2, 2021)

Disney After Hours Boo Bash 2021 Halloween Party

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BOO BASH Offerings

While there won’t be the traditional fireworks and Boo to You parade that we’ve all come to know and love, the Disney After Hours BOO BASH is still shaping up to be a fun event. Reminiscent of Villains After Hours that was offered in 2019, there will be:

  • Halloween-themed cavalcades
    • Mickey’s Happy Halloween Cavalcade: Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, and pals all dressed in their Halloween costumes
    • Disney Villain Halloween Cavalcade: Gaston, Dr Facilier, the Queen of Hearts, and Jafar
    • Jack’s Nightmare Cavalcade: Jack Skellington plus Sally and Oogie Boogie
    • And most importantly, Maleficent will take to the streets again!!!
  • Character sightings around the park (not traditional meet and greets)
  • Performances by the Cadaver Dans
  • Unlimited (select) snacks like ice cream novelties, popcorn, and select beverages – just like at the other After Hours events
  • Treat stops with lots of candy
  • Costumes are allowed for all guests
  • LOW WAIT TIMES at over 20 attractions

Boo Bash Halloween Party 2021

2021 Disney After Hours BOO BASH Dates/Prices

BOO BASH will take place on select nights from August 10 – October 31, from 9pm – midnight (the August parties are from 930pm-1230am). Like the other “After Hours” events, this one will take place after the park closes to day guests and does not require the park to close early – a common complaint of MNSSHP. Specific dates and prices have not been officially announced yet, but I will update this post as soon as they are – including if military pricing is available. Tickets go on sale next month, so I’m expecting that information to be out shortly.

Boo Bash dates and prices were released this morning, so without further ado, here are all the details. August and September dates start at $129-139 plus tax, October nights are $159-169 plus tax, and Halloween is a whopping $199 plus tax. Annual Passholders and DVC Members can save $10 per ticket in August and September. Tickets go on sale online, or call 407-939-4240 on June 15, though guests of select WDW hotels can book on June 8.

August: 10, 17, 20, 24, 27, 31

September: 3, 7, 10, 14, 17, 21, 24

October: 5, 8, 12, 15, 19, 22, 24, 26, 29, 31

There’s been no mention of military pricing yet but I’ll update again if/when that info is released.

Will you be attending the new Disney After Hours BOO BASH this year? While I’m totally bummed not to have the Halloween party back in its full glory, I am definitely looking forward to checking this event out!

Maleficent at Night Disney Halloween 2021

I think the thing I’m most excited to find out is will Maleficent once again take to the streets at night as part of a cavalcade, just as she did during Villains After Hours! Luckily, this question has been answered, and she WILL be breathing her fire down Main Street once again!!

Tony’s Town Square | Magic Kingdom

One of the oldest restaurants at Magic Kingdom, Tony’s Town Square, is located near the train station on Main Street. This turn-of-the-century trattoria features hearty Italian meals and a cute Lady and the Tramp theme. Tony's Town Square pin image

While I remember visiting as a teen, we haven’t been in 20 years, mostly due to the subpar reviews I’ve seen online and the fact that there are plenty of other places to eat at Magic Kingdom. But, the current COVID situation prompted us to finally give Tony’s a try. The main factor going for it – it’s the only table service restaurant in Magic Kingdom with outdoor seating – an absolute must for our family right now.

three teen boys sitting on terrace of restaurant on Main Street

I made a 2pm reservation so that we would get a break from the heat/humidity and our masks at the hottest part of the day. We arrived about 15 minutes early and completed mobile check-in from the My Disney Experience app. After we were all checked in I went up to the podium and requested a table outside on the terrace, and since no one was actually sitting out there (which I found shocking!), I was told it would be no problem. Five minutes later we were seated outside by ourselves in the fresh air.

Disney QR code dinner menu

Rather than using traditional menus, or disposable paper menus, you’re given a piece of paper with a QR code so that you can pull the menu up on your phone. We had several phones at our table so it was no problem to bring up the menus on all of them and share, but I could see it being an issue if you only had one phone- or even worse, no phone! I’m sure that they have traditional menus available just in case that type of situation arises.

Bread Service at Tony's Town Square

Every meal at Tony’s starts with bread service, and oh my gosh was it delicious!! The kids devoured the bread and wanted to ask for more but I opted to skip another round of bread so that they would eat their lunches.

smiling girl leaning on ledge of terrace on Main Street

Ellie had fun posing for pictures while we waited for our food. I think she really appreciated the break in the shade and the chance to be mask free for a while.

girl waving at character cavalcade Main Street Magic Kingdom

One of the best things about dining on the terrace at Tony’s Town Square is that you can watch the character cavalcades and the Main Street Marching Band coming down Main Street periodically. Plus, it’s a great spot for people-watching in general as you can watch people enter and leave the park.

Happy family around dinner table

Like all Disney restaurants, Tony’s Town Square is operating at reduced capacity. Inside the restaurant, it looked to be about half full, outside on the terrace it was just us and another party of two which was maybe 15 to 20% capacity.

Teen boy with pepperoni pizza and Mickey shirt

And now, for the food! Not surprisingly, Nick ordered the pepperoni pizza.

Disney pepperoni pizza

But surprisingly, it was actually pretty good. Overall we are not huge fans of theme park pizza, but this one seemed like decent quality and Nick gobbled it up.

Disney spaghetti and meatballs

Been ordered the spaghetti and meatballs – from the adult menu – and it was delicious. Lexie ordered the spaghetti and meatballs from the kids’ menu, but it didn’t come with very much sauce, so definitely ask for extra if your kiddo likes a lot of sauce.

girl eating pizza outdoors

As usual, Ellie ordered the kids pepperoni pizza and she enjoyed it, she gave me a bite of the crust and I thought it was good for theme park pizza.

Smiling teen with scampi pasta

Chris was more adventurous with his menu choice, and ordered the Scampi Pasta (shrimp & mussels in an herb butter sauce) which he said was absolutely delicious!

Disney tiramisu

And you can’t eat it in Italian restaurant without getting dessert but our table was split on what to order so we ended up with a few choices. First up, the tiramisu that Nick ordered and said was delicious – I didn’t even get a bite.

smiling girl with ice cream covered in Mickey sprinkles

One of the options with the kids meals at Tony’s is a cute little ice cream sundae with Mickey sprinkles. I love when dessert is included in Disney kids meals because it’s one less treat I have to pay extra for

Cannoli at Tony's Town Square

We also ordered the cannoli – sidenote, did you know that the plural is actually cannoli and the singular is cannolo?

Terrace on Main Street Magic Kingdom with smiling girl

Overall, we really enjoyed Tony’s Town Square. I wouldn’t say it’s the best food we’ve ever eaten, nor would it be my first choice table service restaurant in Magic Kingdom once this is all over, but everyone enjoyed the meal. The fact that we were able to dine outdoors and still stay in Magic Kingdom is definitely the biggest pro right now. With the limited park hours all around Walt Disney World, gone are the days where I’m willing to head to a resort in the middle of the day for a break since it eats up so much of the available park time. I’ve always felt that dining options are somewhat limited at Magic Kingdom – especially now since not everything is open – but Tony’s Town Square is somewhere that I would definitely go back to again, even once every where is open and things are back to normal.

Silly girl posing for the camera

TIPS FOR DINING AT TONY’S TOWN SQUARE

  • Reservations are required- you can make them online through My Disney Experience 60 days prior to arrival
  • Dining reservations will require valid theme park admission AND a theme park reservation
  • Located on Main Street at Magic Kingdom
  • If you’re interested in dining on the terrace, you can request outdoor seating at the podium after completing mobile check-in.

Magic Kingdom in Our Current COVID World- Is the Magic Still There?

Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom reopened on July 11, 2020, following a nearly four-month closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We were there on Reopening Day, and after mulling my thoughts about it for almost a month, I’m ready to share!

Magic Kingdom Reopening Day

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This summer we were originally planning to go on an extensive seven-week road trip of the Eastern US and Canada, but that obviously got canceled due to COVID. When Walt Disney World announced their reopening plans I quickly made hotel reservations “just in case” we decided to go and then as soon as they were released, I secured park reservations. Honestly, I went back-and-forth on the decision until a couple of days before we drove to Florida. Ultimately, I decided to go knowing that we would leave WDW if at any time I didn’t feel comfortable with the situation.

Rather than stay on site (super expensive with so many kids!!), we stayed at the nearby Marriott Harbour Lake, in a 2-bedroom villa with a full kitchen. This set-up gave us way more room to spread out as well as a kitchen where we *could have* cooked meals. We actually ate most meals in our villa, but we splurged and enjoyed take-out most days- it was a vacation after all!

Before leaving North Carolina, I explained to the kids that this trip was going to be VERY different from our usual visits to Disney since entertainment would be limited, I didn’t feel comfortable dining indoors, and everyone would need to wear a mask at all times. With cases rising in Florida and me getting more nervous as the trip got closer, we all agreed that we would give it a try and at a minimum, even if we just hung out at the hotel all day, it would be a change of scenery from our house.

Walt Disney World Where Dreams Come True Sign

I cannot begin to explain how exciting it was to drive under the Walt Disney World sign again. As an out-of-state passholder,  I obviously do not go as often as locals, but just driving under the sign feels like coming home again- and it was even more exciting following such a lengthy closure.

Magic Kingdom parking booth

On re-opening day, Magic Kingdom opened at 9am and we were in the line to get into the parking lot at around 815am. In the past couple of years, Main Street opened about an hour before the park officially opened, but that is not happening right now – hopefully, we get back to that soon. Parking was super easy- they’re alternating spaces in order to allow for distancing when you get out of your car. I hope that idea sticks around long-term because it was nice having room to get out of the car and get the stroller set up without worrying about hitting another car.

New temperature screening signage at Transportation and Ticket Center WDW

When you arrive at the Transportation and Ticket Center, new signage directs you to the temperature screening area.

Boy getting infrared temperature scan at Disney

The temperature screening is quick and painless- they use an infrared forehead thermometer and it took maybe five seconds per person- including the time to walk through the tent! The line moved quicker than I was expecting though I could see it getting bogged down a bit as capacity increases.

Masked girl getting infrared temperature scan at Disney

The girl doing ours was so sweet and explained the whole process to Ellie before she did it – even though Ellie wasn’t the least bit concerned. And yes, we still bring a double stroller even though Ellie is 6 and she’s the only one that can ride in it. The extra seat is great for carrying all of our stuff- like Clorox wipes and my camera gear!

Physically distanced monorail line at TTC

Once you are through the temperature screening and bag check, you can choose between the ferry boat and the monorail to get to Magic Kingdom. We are big monorail fans so we went with that, even though the line looked longer. The monorail queue had clear lines marking where exactly you were supposed to stand to maintain their physical distancing requirements and the area surrounding the railing was blocked off as well to ensure that there was enough distance between parties in the two lines heading up to the monorail platform.

Masked family riding monorail

Once you get to the front of the monorail line, your party is assigned a number for a corresponding section on the monorail and while we were there, only one party was assigned per side of the cabin. – there’s a vinyl divider in the middle of the monorail cabin creating two sides. Masks are required on the monorail, just like in the rest of the areas of the resort.

Magic Kingdom train station with CM cleaning railings

We made it through the tapstyles – which are no longer requiring a fingerprint scan – and headed into the park. Cast members were seen out and about sanitizing railings and that continued throughout our day at the Most Magical Place on Earth.

Pooh and Friends Character Cavalcade

Characters are not at the usual meet and greet locations, but cute character cavalcades are running throughout the parks all day long. There are no posted times for these but when you hear music keep your eyes open because one will probably be coming your way soon. The character cavalcades (with the exception of the one carrying Pooh & Friends) all start in Frontierland by Splash Mountain and make their way to the hub and then down Main Street on the usual parade route.

Main Street Bakery Starbucks line and coffee + castle

Just like any day at Magic Kingdom, our first stop was the Main Street Bakery for a quick caffeine fix. The line was physically distanced, and running down the block, but it moved quickly and in an orderly fashion. There’s a CM posted of the door keeping an eye on everything and assisting with the flow of the line.

Excited girl running to Cinderella Castle

After we got our coffee, we headed down Main Street amidst light crowds and made our way to Cinderella Castle. Ellie was so excited to be “home“ she ran up the walkway towards the castle.

Selfies with masks at Cinderella Castle

It’s not a proper return to Cinderella Castle if you don’t take a few selfies!!

Masked family at Cinderella Castle

I know there has been a lot of debate about mask-wearing and if it’s still worth it to take pictures in the parks – or to have PhotoPass. For our family, it’s still important to have those pictures because it is an accurate representation of going to the parks during the COVID-19 pandemic. While I hope masks are not required forever, and it’s definitely not my preference, I still want to be able to look back on this time and have accurate pictures of what we went through.

NEW Mickey and Friends Cavalcade at Magic Kingdom + Castle

The Mickey and Friends Cavalcade is a fun one and Mickey and Minnie are still wearing their 90th birthday outfits. I was so happy to see my fave mouse again!

Masked girl in line at Space Mountain

While I stayed in the hub area and took pictures of Cinderella Castle, the kids made their way to Space Mountain – and Ellie was finally tall enough to ride!!

Masked kids riding Space Mountain

Masks are required on the rides and I don’t see that rule going away anytime soon. It honestly didn’t seem to bother the kids at all – their masks stayed on fine on every ride that we went on all day.

Dole Whip at Aloha Isle Refreshments

We don’t usually get dole whip in Magic Kingdom (we usually get it from the Pineapple Lanai at the Polynesian) but it sounded like a refreshing treat on a hot day. Mobile Order was the only way to order food so make sure that you have the My Disney Experience app set up with a payment method ahead of time.

New plastic dividers on Jungle Cruise boats

Jungle Cruise added plastic dividers on the benches in order to ensure that parties were separated from one another and they are not letting anyone sit in the center section. As could be expected, boats have way fewer people than normal, but with the limited capacity in the parks, wait times are still relatively short. We’ve always requested a seat towards the front where it is easier to hear the Jungle Cruise Skipper, and depending on the skipper that you get that is even more important with the current mask policy.

Masked girl using personal fan to stay cool at WDW

As a rule, we don’t visit Walt Disney World in the summer because it is ridiculously hot and humid. We have been in June and it was miserable, so if you would’ve told me a year ago that I would be visiting in July, I would have laughed at you. Seriously though, these personal fans were an absolute lifesaver and probably the item that I would recommend as most important for visiting the parks.

Physical distancing markers in the Pirates of the Caribbean queue

All of the ride queues are supporting these fancy new “please wait here“ markers to maintain physical distancing throughout the queue. Even with the switchbacks, we felt that the Pirates of the Caribbean line was adequately spaced and moved smoothly.

Mother and child in masks on Big Thunder

Row 15 for life!! The speed of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a great way to cool off on a hot day!

Tangled Toilets in Fantasyland of Magic Kingdom

The Tangled Toilets are one of my favorite areas in the park and I have never seen this area completely empty during the day.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train queue with plexiglass dividers

Next up we visited Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Plexiglass was added in the queue in order to minimize contact between people in the switchbacks in addition to the “please wait here” markers.

Disposable mask on girl

Ellie made the switch to a disposable mask before we rode and said it was much easier to breathe and wasn’t quite as hot. I definitely think disposable masks are the way to go if you’re doing the park on a hot and humid day.

Family in masks on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Like other rides, masks are required on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train- and if you take yours off during the ride, you will not be able to get your PhotoPass picture. An empty row is left between parties so the ride is definitely not running at full capacity. When we exited the ride they announced that there would be a brief delay to sanitize the cars – I’ve heard this happens roughly every two hours.

Girl in mask on carousel at Magic Kingdom

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel is one of Ellie‘s favorite rides, so of course, we had to go on it- the fact that there was literally no line was just an added bonus. The rows of horses are marked with a number that is assigned to your party at the front of the line. No longer is there a mad dash to your favorite horse, you can only pick from the ones in your assigned row.

Sword in the Stone

I still let the kids try their hand at the sword in the stone, but their hands were properly sanitized afterward. Cinderella‘s ugly stepsisters were greeting/harassing guests from the back of the castle and it was absolutely hilarious. We probably stood there for about 15 minutes listening to them interact with the (minimal) crowd and this character interaction is one that I hope sticks around for a long time.

Backside of Cinderella Castle

Check out those cute kids and the back of Cinderella Castle! I love all of the gold accents on this side and the new paint job made them really pop! We walked through the castle and back down Main Street to Tony’s Town Square for an early afternoon lunch.

Enjoying pizza outdoors at Tony's Town Square

Tony’s is is the only table service restaurant at Magic Kingdom that has outdoor seating. At this point, I’m not comfortable taking masks off and dining indoors, so all of our meals on this trip were either outdoors or in our villa. We had never eaten at Tony’s before but were pleasantly surprised – make sure to check out the full review of Tony’s Town Square!

Smiling girl on the terrace of Tony's Town Square

One of the best things about sitting on the terrace at Tony’s Town Square is that you can watch all of the entertainment going down Main Street from the character cavalcades to the main street marching band.

New character interactions at Magic Kingdom

After a (spoiler alert!) delicious lunch, we walked over to the train station to check out the characters on the second floor. Oh my gosh, these characters were probably the highlight of my day! We’ve never been big on character meet and greets – the kids always preferred to use their time on rides instead of waiting in lines to awkwardly meet characters. So unless we just happened upon a character, it was it an exclusive meet and greet at an event, or it was character dining, we usually skipped meeting the characters.

COVID character interactions at Magic Kingdom

However, the interaction with the characters at Magic Kingdom right now far exceeded my expectations. Pluto played this game of blowing kisses and catching them with Ellie for a solid five minutes before Mickey jumped in on the fun and tried to steal Ellie‘s kisses. She thought it was hilarious and her laughter was infectious, passing to others as they were walking by. I would go out of my way for this type of interaction if it continues when things are back to normal.

Family in masks at Cinderella Castle Magic Kingdom

As we made our way back into the heart of the park, we stopped for a quick photo in front of the castle. Never in my life have I seen Magic Kingdom this empty during the day.

Empty Haunted Mansion and Memento Mori

As is a common occurrence in the late afternoon of a summer day in Florida, gray clouds rolled in and gave way to periods of heavy rain, which quickly cleared out the park.

Teen boy in front of Haunted Mansion WDW

We rode Haunted Mansion a couple of times in the afternoon – the dark and air-conditioning were a welcome break from the weather. Masks are obviously required, and while we kept ours on, I cannot guarantee that others did the same . . .

Thumbs up from girl in mask with personal fan

During the breaks in the rain, the humidity was HIGH so our portable fans were on in full force. I honestly don’t know why we ever went to the park without them and we won’t be making that mistake again!

Empty Frontierland at Magic Kingdom

This is Frontierland over an hour before park closing. While the pictures I’ve seen more recently definitely have more people in them, I think that the last couple of hours before closing are still the least crowded of the day at every park (except for EPCOT). Most people are getting to the park first thing in the morning and because ride lines are so short, they’re able to accomplish everything that they want by afternoon and the parks are clearing out several hours before closing. The late afternoon thunderstorms are helping clear out the parks, too.

Physical distancing at Country Bear Jamboree

Country Bear Jamboree has the physical distancing thing down. Before you even enter the theater the entire process is explained – there is enough room for parties of four to sit between the “not available” markers and every other row is closed. We split into two groups since there are more than four people in our family and it worked out fine. The staggering of groups also allowed for an unobstructed view and it was the most pleasant viewing of CBJ I’ve had in years!

Teens watching Hall of Presidents

Hall of Presidents is one of our favorite attractions and we see it nearly every time we’re in the park. I didn’t know until this trip that the last showing is actually at park close so catching that last show is a great way to ensure you’re in the park past closing time if you’re hoping to leave after the crowds or get empty park photos.

Hall of Presidents at Magic Kingdom

The 7pm showing turned out to be a private affair for our group.

Physical distancing at Hall of Presidents

Like Country Bear Jamboree, Hall of Presidents has seating for parties of four in the same every other row format, and space is marked off to ensure that people are physically distanced.

Family in masks at Cinderella Castle + cloudy sky

After coming out of Hall of Presidents, we took our time walking back to Cinderella Castle and had it all to ourselves for a while. I noticed other people coming through the castle from Fantasyland (I assume from the last dinner seating at Be Our Guest) until close to 8pm.

Partners statue and Cinderella Castle at sunset

Seeing the park devoid of guests as the sun was setting was a surreal experience. We’ve been in the park countless times as the last guests, but that’s always been in darkness, in the wee hours of the morning, not at 830pm as the sun was setting.

Smiling girl with Chip & Dale statue + Cinderella Castle

We stopped for a quick picture of Ellie with the Chip & Dale statues in the hub. Sidenote: she calls them Woodnut and Chuck and I have NO CLUE why or where it came from, but it’s the cutest thing. After one of the big kids corrected her, I had to assure her that their real names are Woodnut and Chuck but they go by Chip & Dale in the parks!

Family in masks on an empty Main Street

Smiling faces on an empty Main Street– and yes, they really are smiling behind their masks because they successfully made it ALL DAY wearing masks in the heat and humidity of Florida in July. We didn’t think the masks were thaaaat bad – I mean, Florida in July is already pretty gross – but we discovered that disposable masks were much cooler than the variety of cloth/reusable ones that we brought.

Also, the kids said that it was worth it to put up with the masks/heat for Magic Kingdom but they vetoed our EPCOT day later in the week because they “didn’t think it was worth it to deal with masks just for EPCOT” (and my kids love EPCOT). I’m guessing the difference in the number of rides between MK and EPCOT was the driving factor in that decision.

Empty Main Street just after sunset

Goodnight, Magic Kingdom – Reopening Day was one for the record books. It was such a surreal experience to be back at Magic Kingdom, deep within the Disney bubble, while the rest of the world was in the midst of a pandemic. Even with all the masks, distancing requirements, and handwashing/sanitizer, visiting Magic Kingdom was easily the most normal thing our family has done in the past four months… and yet, it still felt completely weird.

Ultimately, we had a fantastic day. Lines were short, crowds were non-existent, the new character interactions were fabulous, but the whole being at Disney and immersed in magic thing is tough to reconcile with the fact that we’re in the middle of a global health crisis and things most definitely are not normal. I never felt unsafe while we were at Disney (and if I had we would have left immediately), and while the magic is still there, the magic is different.

On one hand, I can say, without a doubt that I am glad we made the drive to Florida and went to Reopening Day at Magic Kingdom. The experience is one that I will never forget and we made great memories. Even though Disney has taken lemons and made lemonade with the whole situation and the magic is definitely there, there is still something missing. My die-hard ride kids probably didn’t miss the parades, the shows, or even the fireworks, but I did. Part of the magic of Disney is from all of those extra experiences so even though the park was less crowded and wait times were low, it wasn’t the full experience.

Magic Kingdom train station at dusk

Should You Visit Disney World Right Now?

To finally answer the question that everyone has been asking, in my opinion, it depends . . .

  • If you’re a local, an annual passholder, someone who goes to WDW often, and you don’t mind that it won’t be the full Disney experience, then yes, this is a great time to go. Crowds are low- I imagine the last time they were this low was right after 9/11, wait times are short, and there are some fun new character interactions/parades.
  • If you’re planning your first trip, this will be more of a once-in-a-lifetime trip, or the extras are super important to your family, wait until at least 2021 to go. A Disney trip can be super expensive, and right now discounts are limited, there is no dining plan (the restaurants aren’t even all open!), and you have to wear a mask in the heat – it is not that same trip that you could have taken a year ago or even six months ago. Honestly, WDW will still be around in 2021, plus it will be the 50th Anniversary of Magic Kingdom, and hopefully, things will be a heck of a lot better COVID-wise.
  • I get that not everyone is comfortable with traveling right now, and I strongly believe in the idea of doing what works for you/your family, no judgment needed. I felt comfortable with the 8-hour drive to Florida because I was driving and could completely control all of our stops- we drove through Chick-fil-A and ate in the car, and stopped at a gas station once to use the bathroom (fully masked and appropriately hand-sanitized). Personally, I’m not at the point where I would feel comfortable flying or doing a longer road trip and stopping at attractions/restaurants on the way.
  • It should go without saying, but just in case, if you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 or have COVID-like symptoms, please stay home and quarantine.

So, have you been back to Walt Disney World?? Do you have a trip coming up soon or are you planning on waiting until 2021 (or later!) to visit?? Share your plans in the comments!

Disney World Height Requirements

While most rides at Walt Disney World are available to everyone, there are a few at each park with a minimum height requirement in order to ensure the safety of all guests. These restrictions are not in place to negatively affect your trip but rather to make sure that everyone stays safe. Even if your child isn’t tall enough to ride EVERYTHING in the parks, there is still plenty to do– and it just means you’ll have to come back again! ???? Over the years, our kids have gone from “too short” to “tall enough” and each time they’re able to ride something new, it’s magical! Ellie just made it over the 40″ mark for our big trip last summer and was SO. EXCITED. to finally go on the bigger rides! Unless it’s listed below, you can safely assume that the ride has no height restrictions in place– and if you sign up for our email list, you’ll get a free printable version of the Disney World height requirements!!

WDW Height Requirements Pin

Magic Kingdom Height Requirements

Barnstormer 35″: This stunt plane (kids) roller coaster flies over Fantasyland and is the perfect first rollercoaster experience for preschoolers. NOTE: This ride has a single lap bar that will only pull down as far as the biggest person.

Magic Kingdom Height Restrictions Big Thunder Mountain

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad 40″: The Wildest Ride in the Wilderness is a runaway mine train with high speeds and narrowly escapes falling boulders and exploding dynamite. Some parts of this ride are in the dark, and it can be scary for some younger kids- ours have all LOVED it! NOTE: This ride has a single lap bar that will only pull down as far as the biggest person, and there are some instances of airtime, so hang on to your kiddo if the bar isn’t down far enough!

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train 38″: Like Big Thunder, this ride is also a mine train, but much smoother and not as intense. There’s also a great view of Fantasyland and Cinderella Castle as you’re headed down the mountain. NOTE: This ride has individual lap bars, so your kiddo will be nice and snug!

Space Mountain 44″: Take a ride through outer space on this thrilling ride in the dark. Some kids may be frightened by the dark and seemingly high-speed, but this one is actually slower than the Monorail- it just doesn’t feel like it! NOTE: This ride has individual lap bars, and riders sit by themselves.

Splash Mountain 40″: This is not your typical log ride! Join Br’er Rabbit as he looks for his “laughing place” and float past 100+ audio-animatronics before plunging nearly 50 feet into a briar patch. NOTE: You WILL get wet!! Typically, the left side of the last row stays the driest, though.

Tomorrowland Speedway Height Requirements Magic Kingdom

Tomorrowland Speedway 32″ (54″ to drive alone): At Disney World, the kids are able to get behind the wheel and drive a race car along a miniature motorway. With a working steering wheel and gas pedal, they’re in control (provided they’re 54″ and can drive alone) as they navigate the course.

TRON Lightcycle / Run 48″: With the highest height requirement in the park, TRON Lightcycle / Run takes you on a exhilarating journey across a world with no horizons.

EPCOT Height Requirements

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind 42″: The newest ride at EPCOT, Guardians of the Galaxy packs in the thrills as you take off on an intergalactic chase through space and time.

Mission Space Height Restriction EPCOT

Mission: SPACE 40″ GREEN and 44″ ORANGE: With two missions to choose from, there’s something for everyone on this space exploration simulator! The Orange Mission is a journey to Mars and uses a centrifuge to simulate the speed and G-forces of space travel. The Green Mission orbits the Earth and is family-friendly- since it does not spin, it is much less likely to cause motion sickness.

Soarin’ Around the World 40″: Here you can see the wonders of the world while flying high in this aerial adventure. Everything from the IMAX screen to the smells to the score is phenomenal on this one! NOTE: There is a second loop for the seatbelt to go through if your child’s head is not above the red arrows on the seat.

Test Track 40″: You get to design your own virtual concept car while you’re waiting to board in both the regular and Genie+ lines, and then take it for a drive on the test track. This high-speed adventure (it’s the fastest ride at WDW, after all!) is a can’t miss attraction, and our kids LOVED it as soon as they were tall enough to ride! NOTE: The ride vehicle seats six, so if your party is larger than that, you’ll get split up.

Animal Kingdom Height Requirements

Flight of Passage Height Requirement Animal Kingdom

Avatar Flight of Passage 44″: This incredibly immersive simulator allows you to board a banshee and fly over Pandora, and it’s kind of like a combination of Soarin’ and Star Tours times 1000. Flight of Passage is still one of the most popular rides at WDW and often has a standby wait time of several hours, so definitely try to get Genie+ for this one! NOTE: There’s a test seat before you enter the line, so if you’re unsure of the seat (it’s like riding a motorcycle), you can try it out ahead of time!

DINOSAUR 40″: If you’ve been to Disneyland before, this ride is like Indiana Jones with dinosaurs- in fact, it even uses the same ride vehicles! Along with 11 of your closest friends, you board a Time Rover and embark on a thrilling journey through the late Cretaceous period. There are dinosaurs, meteors, and lots of loud sounds in the dark, so it can definitely be a scary one for kids. NOTE: The Time Rovers feature individual seatbelts, so little ones are buckled in tightly.

WDW Height Requirement Expedition Everest Animal Kingdom

Expedition Everest 44″: This train goes to the top of Mount Everest before encountering a broken track and plummeting BACKWARDS into darkness. While in the dark, you encounter the Yeti several times before escaping the mountain and arriving safely back in the Tibetan village. NOTE: This high-speed coaster has fast drops, goes backward, is partially in the dark, and features the Yeti (who is known to scare small children). It does have individual lap bars, so you’re held in nice and tight.

Kali River Rapids Height Restriction Animal Kingdom

Kali River Rapids 38″: Embark on a whitewater adventure through the Asian jungle where you will almost certainly get wet– and maybe soaked- as you travel through rapids and down a waterfall! The rafts on this water ride seat 12, so if your party is smaller than that, you’ll be grouped with other families. NOTE: Kids between 38-42″ are given a wristband at the entrance to the line because they need to sit in a modified seat with a safety bar. Not every raft has the modified seats but those that do, have two seats with a safety bar so that you can ride with two kids that are between 38-42″.

Hollywood Studios Height Requirements

Alien Swirling Saucers 32″: This spinning adventure features the aliens from Toy Story along with some pretty groovy music.

Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run 38″: Guests have the opportunity to fly the Millenium Falcon on a thrilling smuggling mission.

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Height Restriction Hollywood Studios

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith 48″: Board a limo with Aerosmith and race through the dark streets of Los Angeles on this high-speed coaster. This is the only ride at WDW with inversions (and boasts the highest height requirement in the parks) and also features state-of-the-art sound with Aerosmith songs playing loudly. NOTE: This one has shoulder restraints due to the inversions (2 loops and a corkscrew).

Slinky Dog Dash 38″: This family-friendly coaster is another great option for your kiddo’s first roller coaster experience. Hop aboard Slinky Dog and enjoy the twists and turns (as well as a few great hills!) in Andy’s backyard. NOTE: Slinky Dog Dash has individual lap bars, so kids should feel secure with how far it comes down.

Star Tours- The Adventure Continues 40″: Embark on a mission aboard a Starspeeder 1000 on this 3D simulator ride. This intergalactic adventure features your favorite Star Wars characters, as well as a unique story every time you ride (up to the 54 possible combinations)! NOTE: Like most simulators, this one has individual seatbelts. If motion sickness is an issue for your family, ask to sit in the front row.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance 40″: Join the Resistance in an epic battle against the First Order on the newest ride at Hollywood Studios.

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 40″: Venture back in time to Halloween 1939 and take a trip up (and down!) the Hollywood Tower Hotel elevator. Unlike a typical drop zone ride, this one drops you, then sends you back up, and you continue dropping and rising before plummeting to the ground. NOTE: This ride has individual seat belts, but due to the dropping nature, you still float out of your seat a bit.

Tips for Dealing with WDW Height Requirements

  • Most rides in the parks are designed for the whole family to enjoy, but there are a select few in each park with a height requirement to ensure guest safety.
  • If your little one is close to a cut-off (35, 38, 40, 44, 48 inches), practice how to stand up straight before your trip. They have to actually bump their head on the measuring guide or obviously be taller than it, but we’ve found that some kids duck to fit under the guide and end up looking shorter than they actually are- and missing out on the ride.
  • Rider Switch is an option at every ride with a height restriction, so make sure to utilize it if you have little ones. To take advantage of Rider Switch, the whole family goes up to the Cast Member at the ride entrance and asks for a Rider Switch (or Child Swap) pass. Parent 1 and the big kids (or just Parent 1!) then proceed through the line (Genie+ line if you have a Lightning Lane) while Parent 2 waits with the little kids. After Parent 1 rides, Parent 2 can enter using the Genie+ line (or sometimes the ride exit) with up to two additional guests and ride while Parent 1 hangs out with the little ones. This allows both adults to enjoy the attraction, and the big kids may even get to ride twice!
  • If your kiddos aren’t quite tall enough to ride everything on this visit, it just means it’s time to start planning the next trip for when they’re a bit taller. Our kids love getting measured to see if they are tall enough for the next height milestone, and it gives them something to look forward to between trips. Plus, it’s a good way to convince them to eat their veggies– since we all know that’s what makes you tall enough for the rides at Disney World!!!

Have you used Rider Switch before?? Do you have any tips for dealing with the height requirements at Disney World??

More About Visiting WDW:

Disney Bucket List

DISNEY PARKS

  1. Walt Disney World
  2. Disneyland
  3. Disneyland Paris
  4. Shanghai Disneyland
  5. Tokyo Disney
  6. Hong Kong Disneyland
  7. Go on a Disney Cruise

MAGIC KINGDOM

  1. Attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (and here are some Tips and Tricks!)
  2. Attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (and here are some Tips and Tricks!)
  3. Do the “Keys to the Kingdom” Tour
  4. Watch the Festival of Fantasy Parade from the VIP area
  5. Do a fireworks dessert party
  6. Stay for the Kiss Goodnight at the Magic Kingdom
  7. See the hidden Mickey on Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid (can only be seen at noon on 11/18, Mickey’s birthday)
  8. Be “That Guy” at the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
  9. Be the Beast in Enchanted Tales with Belle
  10. Watch sunrise in the Magic Kingdom
  11. Attend Villains After Hours
  12. Go on a ride with a character

EPCOT

  1. Attend the Flower and Garden Festival
  2. Attend the Food and Wine Festival
  3. Attend the Festival of the Arts
  4. Attend the Festival of the Holidays
  5. Drink around the world– all in one day!
  6. Pick a pearl in Japan
  7. Do the “Behind the Seeds Tour”
  8. See the Candlelight Processional

Candlelight Processional at EPCOT with Neil Patrick Harris NPH

ANIMAL KINGDOM

  1. Find DiVine in Animal Kingdom and watch her perform
  2. Become a Wilderness Explorer
  3. Do the “Caring for Giants” Tour

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

  1. See Toy Story Land
  2. Get a family picture on Tower of Terror
  3. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
  4. Pilot the Millenium Falcon

DISNEY WATER PARKS

  1. Take surfing lessons at Typhoon Lagoon
  2. Spend the day at Blizzard Beach

DISNEY RESORTS

  1. Stay at Disney’s Aulani
  2. Stay at all of the WDW Deluxe Resorts
  3. Stay in the Disneyland Dream Suite or Cinderella Castle Suite
  4. Make s’mores with Chip and Dale at the Campfire Sing-A-Long at Fort Wilderness
  5. Go to the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue at Fort Wilderness
  6. See the Christmas Lights at Fort Wilderness
  7. Ride the Surrey bikes on the Boardwalk
  8. Take a boat cruise during the fireworks
  9. Watch the Electrical Water Pageant

DISNEY DINING

  1. Eat at every table-service restaurant at Disney World
  2. Eat at EVERY restaurant at Disney World– the Golden Spoon!
  3. Eat in Cinderella Castle (Cinderella’s Royal Table)
  4. Do the Rio Grande Nacho Challenge at Pecos Bills (no longer offered)

MISCELLANEOUS DISNEY FUN

  1. Become DVC Members
  2. Attend a DVC Moonlight Magic event
  3. Do a VIP Tour
  4. Do an adults-only trip
  5. Go on a trip with a friend
  6. Do Disney ALONE!
  7. Stay from rope drop to extra magic hours close
  8. 4 parks in one day
  9. Visit the Walt Disney Family Museum

What’s on your Disney Bucket List??

Can't Miss things to do at Disney Parks

Our Night at Villains After Hours (And More Importantly, Is it Worth It?)

New for this summer, Disney added the Villains After Hours hard ticket event. Like the other After Hours events, this one takes place, you guessed it(!), after hours! Once the park closes down for the night, those with an event ticket get to stick around for three hours of extra ride time, free treats, and in the case of the Villains After Hours, some exclusive entertainment.

Villains After Hours pin image

With ticket prices nearing $150/person including tax, the question that everyone has been asking is whether or not the Villains After Hours event is worth the price, especially when compared with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. I’ll walk you through our night at Magic Kingdom and share our thoughts at the end! We already had a trip to Orlando planned for this summer but for the first time, we weren’t planning to go to any Disney parks. As soon as this event was announced, we knew we had to add it to our schedule and get a bit of time in our fave park!

You can get into the Magic Kingdom at 7pm with your VAH ticket.

Running nearly every Thursday night at Magic Kingdom this summer, the VAH event is technically from 10pm-1am but with your event ticket, you can actually get in at 7pm. We arrived right around 645pm and they were already letting people through the turnstiles to get their party wristband.

Big Thunder Mountain at Magic Kingdom

We headed straight for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad since it didn’t have a very long wait. If you plan ahead (we did not this time), you can make FP+ selections during the 7pm-10pm window which should help you get on a few extra rides!

Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom

As the sun was setting, we made our way over to the Haunted Mansion for a spin on a doom buggy. Surprisingly, there’s no overlays or villainous extras at the HM during the event so we wanted to do it before the After Hours fun officially started.

Look of amazement during Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom

Unlike the Halloween Party with its own fireworks show, the After Hours events start after the park closes on a regular night- so you can watch Happily Ever After! Rather than stake out a spot on Main Street like we typically do, we caught the fireworks from Fantasyland after riding “it’s a small world” and Peter Pan. From here, you can see the big bursts behind the Fantasyland buildings as well as the ones that go off right by the castle- so literally something to see in every direction! And bonus, it’s not very crowded at all!

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

After the fireworks and a ride on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, it was time for the event to start!

Disney Villains After Hours

At 10pm, the cast members start aggressively checking guests for their party wristband and informing those without wristbands that the park is closed and they need to head towards Main Street. It didn’t take long before the park crowds were noticeably lighter.

Unlimited Mickey premium ice cream bars and ice cream sandwiches during After Hours events

Since the Villains After Hours ticket includes unlimited (select) snacks and drinks, we made sure to take advantage! Starting at 10pm, carts were located throughout the park with Mickey Premium Ice Cream bars, Mickey Ice Cream Sandwiches, and strawberry popsicles, as well as bottled sodas and water.

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel

After our snack break, we took a spin on the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel- still one of Ellie’s favorite rides- and absolutely no line!

Taking a nap on the TTA People Mover

And then made our way into Tomorrowland. During Villains After Hours, Space Mountain has a villainous overlay similar to the one from the Halloween party last year- all of the lights are turned off and there’s a new spooky soundtrack with sound clips from various villains. Since Ellie isn’t quite tall enough to ride, we headed to the People Mover while Jake took the rest of the kids on Space Mountain.

Clearly, Ellie was tired and she passed out on our first loop. Thankfully, when there’s no line, the CMs will typically let you stay on the ride as long as you want so we did three loops while we waited for the rest of the crew. We were hoping that the line for Space Mountain would be short since it was during the stage show, but it was still close to 40 minutes. I’ve heard that if you wait until even later in the event that it’s not quite as bad though.

Popcorn is one of the unlimited snacks during VAH

The kids picked up some popcorn (also a free snack!) after their ride through space and it was the perfect late night snack!

Free Mickey Ice Cream bars in front of Cinderella Castle

We stopped for another round of Mickey ice cream bars and a quick PhotoPass picture on our way into the hub at around midnight. Unfortunately, at this point of the evening, the ice cream bars were fairly melty and didn’t last long after this picture was taken. I’m not sure if it was the ridiculously hot night or the fact that they were serving them out of ice bowls, but they were definitely not frozen treats.

Pirates of the Caribbean also had a villainous overlay so of course, we had to check that one out! Like the Halloween party overlay, there were two pirates in the queue interacting with guests and Captain Barbossa on a bridge in the ride. The addition of Captain Barbossa worked better than the Not So Scary version, so hopefully, they continue this one in the fall.

The DJ kept the party hopping during VAH

The party DJ did a great job pumping up the crowd and played some great music while we waited for the final showing of Villains Unite the Night, the all-new, event exclusive stage show.

Villains Unite the Night stage show

With Hades and Meg headlining Villains Unite the Night and appearances from Jafar, The Queen, Dr. Facilier and Maleficent, the show is a must-do! The show runs at 11pm, 12am, and 1am- and yes, you read that right, the last show is when the event ends, so if you stick around for that one you won’t miss out on any ride time.

stage show during VAH

While Villains Unite the Night is not a fireworks show, there are still a few bursts so be prepared if you have kiddos that are afraid of fireworks.

Maleficent breathing fire at night on Main Street in front of Cinderella Castle

This right here is the ENTIRE reason I bought tickets to this event! Ok, maybe not the entire reason, but a huge part of it! For the first time ever, the Maleficent float from the Festival of Fantasy parade is roaming the streets of Magic Kingdom. Now, she doesn’t technically “roam” but rather follows the parade route. At 104opm and 1145pm she goes from Frontierland to the Hub (and back) but at 120am, she makes her way from Frontierland all the way down Main Street! It was such a cool experience to see her breathing fire at night and a great way to push guests out of the park.

Cinderella Castle at the end of an empty Main Street

An empty Main Street at the end of the night. Late at night, after all the crowds have gone home is one one of my absolute favorite times to be in Magic Kingdom.

Our Final Thoughts on Villains After Hours

While we had a fun evening, it’s so hard to answer the question “Is it worth it?” because that’s totally subjective. For roughly $145 you get: three hours of open park time, three hours after the park closes, unlimited (select) snacks, event exclusive entertainment. If you compare that to the Halloween party that you can attend for as low as $79 (in August and September) and you get: three hours of open park time, five hours of party time, trick or treating, party exclusive entertainment including a fireworks show, full parade, and stage show, it’s hard to see how it’s a good value.

For our family, it was a great way to spend an evening in our favorite WDW park and we certainly enjoyed the night but it was REALLY expensive for all seven of us to attend. In the future, I would go again without the kids (even though they had no problems staying up that late- and after her People Mover nap Ellie stayed awake until we got back to the hotel at 3am) because it would help to keep the cost down a bit. If you have little ones that won’t stay awake through the event then it’s definitely not worth the ticket price to bring the whole family.

There were event exclusive snacks available for purchase (some are also available at Not So Scary) and we didn’t try any of them. We figured that for the price, we would just stick to the free snacks and that worked out perfectly. We also made sure to eat dinner before we arrived so that we didn’t waste any of our limited park time on meals. There’s also VAH merchandise available but surprisingly, no event pin!

In order to maximize your time in the park, make sure to arrive before 7pm to take advantage of a few hours in the park before the event officially starts. If you plan to watch the last showing of Villains Unite the Night at 1am, then you can catch Maleficent as she makes it to Main Street at about 135am. There were people taking pictures and hanging out on Main Street until right around 2am. If you stay that late, busses are the only transportation option as the monorail and ferry boats are done running for the night at that point– and if you stay super late, you’ll probably end up with a private bus… not that we would know anything about that…

Last bus of the night at VAH

Villains After Hours Ticket Info

  • The event runs June: 6, 13, 20, 27  July: 1, 11, 18, 25  August: 1, 8 2019
  • Advance purchase tickets are $139+tax for all ages and $144 on the day of the event. If you’re an annual passholder or DVC, advance purchase tickets are $109+tax
  • You can either purchase tickets directly from Disney online or at any ticket window.
  • Military tickets are available from Shades of Green for $142 including tax
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