It was a womp, womp moment when Disney announced Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party was going to go on hiatus for 2020 due to the pandemic. Really, who was surprised when you think about it. It is after all, 2020.
But, don’t sulk. There’s still enough fall magic at Magic Kingdom to bring some sense of normalcy to the season…without the big crowds we’d normally see this time of year, so YAY? This at least holds mostly true for weekdays in the early part of the week. We’re hearing Fridays and weekends are getting super busy, so heads up if you decide to go.
Disney invited us on opening day of the fall festivities to give you a glimpse of what to expect if you go.
Let’s first focus in on what’s NEW for this year!
For the first time, ALL guests will be allowed to dress up in costume during normal operating hours through October 31, 2020 as long as you are wearing your approved face covering. So that long standing family tradition of a family themed costume can go on this year, it’ll just be a little different wearing a mask, but we know you can get creative with it!
We spotted some creative costumes on day one, like these ladies who kept their hand painted costume masks tied to their waists and approved face coverings on their face:
If the parades and character meet and greets are a family favorite, Disney is finding other ways to safely allow guests to catch the eye of their favorites!
In the place of a parade, you’ll find character cavalcades routinely making their way through the park and Main Street U.S.A.. Keep your ears open for the sudden change in music–it’s the cue to let you know the ‘mini parade’ is coming!
There are three different cavalcades you’ll spot on a pretty regular basis throughout the day. There are not set times as not to encourage crowds, so keep your ‘ears peeled’.
For Halloween/Fall, you’ll see Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and friends on their trolley dressed in their Halloween best. There’s a float featuring your favorite Villains like Maleficent, Gaston, and Jafar.
And of course, our favorite…the float with our pals Mickey and Minnie dancing to the ‘Boo to You’ song!
The festive treats are another family favorite of ours and this year, there are some new additions to the line up like the Haunted Mansion Hitchhiker popcorn bucket, sipper, and donut holders.
It may be fall in Florida, but it still feels like summer which is why a frozen treat is the way to go! Disney’s foodie blog post shares it best, so here’s how they break it down the flavors of our favorites:
- Pumpkin Spiced Waffle Sundae (Available at Sleepy Hollow) –Pumpkin spice-flavored waffled topped with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, caramel drizzle, and sprinkles
- Pumpkin Spice Milkshake (Available at Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies) – Topped with whipped cream, caramel drizzle, sprinkles, and a Mickey-shaped marshmallow straw
- Headless Horseman Rides Again (Available at Sunshine Tree Terrace) – Strawberry DOLE® Whip with Fanta Strawberry and a Headless Horseman Novelty Straw
- Poor Unfortunate Souls Float (Available at Storybook Treats) – Cream cheese soft-serve, black raspberry syrup, and Coke
If you need something more on the salty side, the Mickey Monster Mash burger from Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe is a must-try or on the lighter side…snag one of the cute themed popcorn buckets!
We do this every year because they are great to decorate your home for the holiday after the parks! There’s a Mickey pumpkin bucket, Oogie Boogie bucket, and of course the Hitchhiker Ghost bucket–this one is available at the Liberty Square Popcorn Cart while the others can be picked up at popcorn carts throughout the park.
Speaking of cool things to bring home…we want to mention merchandise because there’s a great deal going on right now for Florida residents. Through October 29th, residents get a 20% discount on select merchandise Mondays through Thursdays. It’s worth a weekday visit not only for the discount, but mostly because crowds tend to be a bit lower during the week. We’ve been back multiple times since the parks re-opened and have found that weekdays are best if you can swing it!
Back to the merchandise…there are some awesome NEW buys this year including new Disney princess dresses with more shimmer and bling. There’s even a light up tutu little ones will adore!
We also love the Haunted Mansion inspired dog outfits, Disney Villains Clue game (because board games are huge in 2020, right!?!), the light up Mickey trick or treat bag, apparel, coffee mugs and more!
Since we brought up the topic of discounts on select merchandise, let’s talk about the Florida Resident ticket deals. Disney has a few options– there are 3-Day and 4-Day Flex tickets for as low as $49 per day. Keep in mind, the tickets are only valid through November 20, 2020 and then again from November 29-December 18, 2020. This is a great option if you also want to experience the reimagined Christmas holiday celebrations being unveiled in early November.
Click here to learn more about those Florida Resident ticket deals. Remember, in addition to the ticket you’ll also need to book a reservation for the park you’d like to attend through Disney’s park reservation system.
While things are different when you visit the parks, it’s actually really nice to be back. Capacity is no where near what it was pre-pandemic on weekdays and in our experience, all of the guests are very respectful of following the mask mandate.
If you’re wondering what it’s like to wear a face mask all day in the Florida heat, it’s not as bad as you’d think. Reality is…it’s hot no matter what. There are designated Relaxation Zones where you can sit and remove your mask and you can obviously remove it if you need to eat or drink, you just have to remain stationary or find a seat somewhere.
Overall, it’s been a good experience for us…with and without the kids. You can absolutely focus your visit on rides and experiences that are outdoors only and if you’d like to stay the night and want to avoid elevators, Disney resorts like the Fort Wilderness cabins or Coronado Springs both have rooms you can access from outdoors only. The cabins are even more ideal since you can simply drive up to your cabin and check-in and open the door via the My Disney Experience app…which we highly recommend downloading before you go so you can plan your trip.
If you decide to make it a multi-day trip, we also recommend heading over to EPCOT for the Taste of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. We’ve got a full write up of what to expect here!
And, if you go to Hollywood Studios, definitely experience the new Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway ride! If you’re lucky enough to get a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance over at Galaxy’s Edge…it’s AWESOME!