Friday, October 6, 2017

5 Ways to Maximize your time at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party!

It's "Boo to You" season, and our family is excited about heading back to Walt Disney World Resort for some Fall Fun with Mickey and friends!

Split stay! So two sets of MagicBands. Those rose gold ears though! 

We're looking forward to some new experiences on the trip, like seeing the all new Pandora area at Disney's Animal Kingdom and trying the new character breakfast at Trattoria al Forno that features Ariel, Eric, Rapunzel, and Flynn! We'll also be staying at Art of Animation, that will be a first for our family, and I'm excited to see what the girls think about the The Little Mermaid rooms there, as it will be their first time seeing those!

We will be doing some returning favorites on this trip too though, and one of those is going to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party!

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party


We attended Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party on Halloween Night, in both 2014 and 2015! Last year, we returned to Walt Disney World Resort during the Christmas season so we could try out Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party! (Which is also a great time - check out why we loved that party as well HERE!) Our family LOVES dressing up in costumes, trick or treating in the park, and all things Halloween - so to say we are excited about returning during Halloween time at Disney would be an understatement!

Check out some of our previous Halloween trips on YouTube!

2014 -





2015 -




Ariel was obviously a very important character for us in 2015!

Maximizing our time at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party


This year, we have a plan in place to maximize our time at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party! We are attending the party one night - and here is our plan for having a SPOOKtacular time at the party!

1. We are taking it easy during the day on Party Day!

This one can vary depending on size of your party, ages of the people in your group, how many days you'll be at Walt Disney World Resort, and so on... but we've found for our family in particular, dedicating our party date to the party is what works best for us! We like to take some time to explore our resort, do some shopping at Disney Springs, and have a bite to eat at a character meal. We will not be going into a theme park during the day and instead opting to waiting until party time, so that we can make it as far into the evening as possible!

Historically, guests have been able to enter the parks at 4pm with party tickets, and it sounds like that should be the case this year as well. Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party officially kicks off at 7pm and ends at midnight. And most years, we have been able to make it until the very end of the party - even when the girls were ages 2 & 4 and used to much earlier bedtimes!

Natalie "Letting it Go" before the party in 2014!


This year the girls will be ages 5 and 7 on party night, and we will have a plan in place to meet their current preferences of activities, which leads me to my next point...

2. Have a plan, but be flexible!

We will plan ahead of time by looking up the Mickey's Boo-to-You Parade times (this year will be at 9:15pm and 11:15pm, a bit later than it usually has been), Hallowishes Fireworks (10:15pm), and Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular (8:15pm, 10:45pm, & 12:00am) - to chose the times that I think will be the best for us to try to attend for each event.

Our family likes to go do "an event", something like meeting a character, riding a ride, or seeing one of the party special events, and then going to do some trick or treating. The girls don't eat a ton of candy (and trust me, you can walk away with a TON) - but there is something very special about trick or treating in the middle of Magic Kingdom, so we try to make the most of our experience and fill our bags up throughout the night!

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2014!


3. Meeting Characters

Character meet and greets were a VERY important part of our Disney experience when the girls were extremely small, you could say that our trips basically revolved around meeting the characters when they were preschoolers! Now seeing their favorite characters is still important, but we've found that riding particular rides have started making the list of "must dos" when we visit the theme parks as well! The holiday parties offer the opportunity to meet specific characters that are not available in the parks at other times of year or during regular theme park hours - so if one of these characters is on your "must see" list, then I would make sure to keep that in mind when doing your party planning.

We try to meet 1-2 of the party characters during the party time, to keep our evening balanced doing a variety of activities. This year, I see Moana being very close to the top of the list on our "must see" characters. In previous years, we knew that Tarzan, previously in Adventureland during Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, would be a must see - because my older daughter went through quite a Tarzan phase! If you are able, lining up early before party time is often recommended for "must see" characters and occasionally characters may even start greeting before the official party start time.

Mulan, meet Tarzan. 

I always struggle with where to place waiting for the special characters into our schedule, but I will say that order of importance will differ by family. I know for our family, probably our top event at the party will be Mickey's Boo-to-You Parade, so I will time our character greets to either have us well done with the meet and greet prior to parade start time, or lining up afterwards. Hallowishes Fireworks are also AH-mazing, and the perimeter fireworks that go off during these fireworks are one of my all-time favorite Disney experiences, it is sure to not be missed by us either... which leaves lining up early party time, trying to squeeze meeting a character in between the parade and fireworks (which would not be optimal for us), or waiting until the end. This decision I will likely make on the fly, whether we chose beginning or end of the party based on crowd levels and dispositions of our party that day... however what I tend to do is ask the kids what their one or two MUST SEE characters are for the evening and plan around those!

4. Get our costume on to get our party on!

Our family LOVES to dress up in costumes? Did I mention that?? I know some families do not dress up at all or go with Halloween t-shirts, you will see the full range of clothing on Halloween party nights... for our family, being able to dress up and fully immerse ourselves in the experience is a bit part of the fun! I mean, when else am I going to be able to run around Walt Disney World in a green wig?

Wearing a green wig inside Cinderella's Royal Table, ya'll!


In 2014, it was our first Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween experience, and my husband & I dressed as Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head. I couldn't quite talk the kids into doing the full matching thing... so we had an Elsa and Mulan that year trick-or-treating with us!

Then in 2015, we return on Halloween night to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween as Anger and Disgust from Inside Out, which had recently been released! Again, I couldn't quite get the kids to buy in on family costumes - though I got OH-SO-CLOSE.... they went trick-or-treating as Anna and Elsa. (Oh Frozen, you did have a stronghold on our house for quite some time...)

As Disgust and Anger in 2015!


THIS year... 2017. I've done it! We will be in a full family themed costumes! Inspired by Star Wars, which my girls have taken a liking to (yes, we are DEFINITELY counting down the days until the new Galaxy's Edge area opens at Disney's Hollywood Studios!!) we will be attending Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party as Han Solo, Princess Leia, Rey, and BB-8! (Insert squealing... lots and lots of squealing!) Stay tuned for pictures, because I think they will be classics!

BB-Natalie!


5. Take time out to have a treat

What's a Halloween party without a treat?! And Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party will have plenty of treats this year! I'm looking forward to trying the Pumpkin Cheesecake Dome from Main Street Bakery or Gaston's Tavern...

Photo Courtesy: Disney Parks

... these delightfully spooky Haunted Mansion desserts at one of four locations throughout Magic Kingdom, I'm aiming for the Oreo filled one from Aloha Isle or raspberry filled one from Auntie Gravity's Galactic Goodies...

Photo Courtesy: Disney Parks

... and some Candy Corn ice cream that can also be found at Auntie Gravity's Galactic Goodies! YUM!

Photo Courtesy: Disney Parks

Boo to you, and you, and you... Happy Halloween!

So that is our family's plan to maximize our time at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and have a SPOOKtacular time at the most magical place on Earth! I'm looking forward to sharing our experience on YouTube after we return, and Disney vlogs will run in sequence until the end of the trip!

After all of the vlogs have been uploaded, check back here for a playlist to view them all at one time!



** We received complimentary tickets to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Wellie Wishers: Garden Fun App + Giveaway!

Thank you to Mattel for sending us this app to test out and share with our viewers!


Wellie Wishers: Garden Fun


Our family is excited to share our thoughts on an all new kid's app from American Girl developed by XCube, "Wellie Wishers: Garden Fun"! It releases on October 4, 2017 and is available through the app store for iOS and Android. This new interactive game lets you go into the world of the Wellie Wishers and play games in the garden!



The app was designed with ages 6 through 8 in mind, and my girls had a great time testing it out! Natalie is 5 years old (soon to be 6 in November!) and Isabella is 7 years old, and the Wellie Wishers have been a big hit in our household since they were first introduced! We own all five dolls - Willa, Ashlyn, Camille, Kendall, and Emerson, and the girls enjoy changing their outfits, putting on plays on the stage, and having tea parties with their dolls. 




Now, in the new Wellie Wisher: Garden Fun app, the fun can be on the go with us! And they can change the outfits on the Wellie Wishers, take care of Carrot the pet rabbit, have a tea party, and complete hidden treasure games that are interwoven with fun storylines within the app. 

Isabella's favorite part of the app was the "Find Hidden Treasures" search and find games, and collecting the acorns to unlock new areas and animals. Natalie loved the personalization and playing dress-up in the app, she especially enjoyed putting different costumes on the characters. 




The app is free to download with in-app purchases available. There were occasional ads that popped up during game play for other American Girl apps, and these could be clicked down by hitting an "X" button in the corner. The full play pack to unlock all of the games and features is $9.99, and you can also purchase just portions of the dress-up packs or search and find games for prices as low as $2.99.



This app will be great for our upcoming travels and the girls really loved how interactive it was, especially since we have read all of the Wellie Wisher books and many elements from the storylines in the books were seen in the app as well.

Check out our video review of Wellie Wishers: Garden Fun!



Look in the app store on your mobile phone or iPad, and the Wellie Wishers: Garden Fun app is available for download now!

Enter to win a Wellie Wisher


To celebrate this new app being released, I've partnered with Mattel to bring you a fun GIVEAWAY! Enter below to win a Wellie Wisher doll chosen at random. One winner will receive a Wellie Wisher doll! 


If you've been loving the Wellie Wishers as much as we do, this app is sure to be a hit in your household as well!



** This post was done in collaboration with Mattel/American Girl, some items were received complimentary for purposes of testing. All opinions are my own.