Did you know that one of the top things guests notice about Disney are its cast members? Despite the rides and fan’s favorite Disney princesses, Disney really excels at creating the perfect ambiance and friendly atmosphere that tops any other experience. These people help transform Magic Kingdom into a Halloween party and help discover hidden treasure chests throughout Adventureland. They’re your key to unlocking all that Magic Kingdom has hidden.
This is A Cast Member’s Guide to Magic Kingdom Part 3: Lagniappe. You’ll find that this guide will probably have most of the juicy meat in it’s contents. It’ll help transform your typical Disney family vacation into something worth remembering. For Part 1, click here for A Cast Member’s Guide to Magic Kingdom Part 1: Rides and Part 2, click here for A Cast Member’s Guide to Magic Kingdom: Part 2: Entertainment.
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Did you remember in Part 1 how I mentioned you could receive a free fast pass for Pirates of the Caribbean? Get ready to open the treasure chest for you’re about to go on a pirate adventure. Disney has set out five various treasures that you can scout around for. This works very similar to Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom in a sense of you have to basically follow a map given to you to uncover the secrets of the treasure hidden. And at the end of each mission (which usually takes about 20 minutes each), you can receive a free collectable card.
Captain Jack Sparrow will even hand you a rare 6th card signed if you manage to collect the first five as well.So how do you collect the free fast pass? Supposedly after the second mission, you will receive it then. If you are unable to get a FP+ to Pirates of the Caribbean ride, you can expect to wait about 40 minutes, which is the same amount of time it will generally take to finish the two quests. I think this fantastic of Disney.
Why wait in a line when you can practically just run around finding treasure? Surprisingly not a lot of people even know this exist! Everyone that I know who has tried this free complimentary game has only amazing things to say. So next time you are in Magic Kingdom and feeling like trying out to be a pirate for one day, this is the way to go.
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Game
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is gaining a little bit more momentum over the past few years. While it may just be strictly annual pass holders and cast members playing the game, you will at least find one person playing the game at any portal.The point of the game is a villain is taking over the lands of Magic Kingdom (Main Street, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, and Adventure Land). You are tasked to go to various portals throughout each land to find out which villain is responsible and defeat them. Along the way you’ll collect various trading cards, which you use to go to complete each of the portals.
When you initially start at the Fire Station on Main Street, Merlin from Sword in the Stone will assist in training you and then tell you where your mission begins. You don’t really have much of a choice for which land you start at or the next one you will go to next so it makes planning your day a little bit hard.My suggestion is starting on your first day and play only when it works out with your FP+ because this game can get long. You also get a free pack of cards each day you return playing the game so it helps to grow your collection at the beginning of your stay.
If you happen to be attending one of the holiday parties (Halloween or Christmas), be sure to also stop by the Fire Station to get an exclusive Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card as well. Even if it isn’t your favorite, I reckon you can probably trade with other people playing the game.This game is completely complimentary as well. If you decide to try to play the game and you discover it’s not fitting your family’s needs, you haven’t lost any money!
Florida is famous for the bipolar weather. It won’t be uncommon for it to rain in the afternoon for a brief hour and a half. All of your FP+ you carefully planned are now ruined because the outside attractions are closed! Just kidding. Well, not about the rain. What does happen when it rains during one of your FP+? Disney actually will turn your FP+ into an (almost) all experience pass.
An (almost) all experience pass means you have one choice of any ride or attraction at any time that is convenient for you. The reason I kept putting “almost” before “all” is because it does not apply to Peter Pan’s Flight or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train unless that is the FP+ that was canceled due to rain. This could be really useful if you couldn’t get a time slot for your favorite attraction.
All you do is go to the FP+ line of your desired ride and place your ticket or magic band to the touch point! No need to make your selections on My Disney Experience App or anything.
PS: Be careful. Normally for Fast Passes, you can go 5 minutes before. If you have an all experience pass, FP+ selection, and are trying to use your FP+ selection 5 minutes before, it will use your all experience pass instead.
It’s not just rain either, folks. Temperatures get intensely hot. I actually had a friend pass out while watching “Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire” because of how hot it was. Disney has an excellent emergency training and can get you taken care of as quickly as possible. However, there is also a way to prevent this. Drink water.
Personally, I hate paying for water. Especially expensive water. When I can get water for 30 cents in Morocco, why should I pay $2 for a tinier plastic bottle? I don’t. Some people don’t know that you can walk up to a counter that has a soda fountain and ask for a “cup” of water. Include the word “cup” or “free”. Otherwise they might hand you that Dasani bottle.
Most places will only hand you a small cup. If I get a small cup, I ask for two. You can ask for as much as you need. If the place only has one size of drink that they offer, you are in luck because you get the big glass as well! Disney does the free water to help keep their guest hydrated.
There is also various water fountains around the park to help fill up your personal water bottle or to quickly refresh yourself.
You can all rest knowing it isn’t tap water either. Though you could get free tap water from a sink if you wanted.
Holidays at Disney -Tips from a Former Cast Member
Magic Kingdom is host to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party during the respective holiday times. Be sure to double check park hours for Magic Kingdom if you come between late August – December. On days that there is a party, Magic Kingdom will close early (about 7 pm) for those who have purchased a separate ticket for the corresponding event.
Expect the nights that do not have parties to be extremely packed especially in October. A lot of guests are usually unaware of the parties affecting the park hours, so they try to take advantage of Magic Kingdom being open until Midnight. It is also the only time you can see “Happily Ever After” as there will be exclusive holiday entertainment on the party nights.
Usually the events cost around $70 per person. The party will officially start at 7 pm but you are allowed to enter three hours beforehand and there are numerous of things you can do for each party.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
This is by far one of my favorite events that Disney puts on every year. Why? You can wear your own personal costume! There are other reasons as well, but Disney for the rest of the year only allows children under the age of 13 to dress up as their favorite character. Now it’s your turn to have that fun. Imagine taking a picture with your favorite character dressed up! I’ve seen so many families enter the park in amazing costumes, such as the Incredibles and Inside Out. I online imagine photographs from this event being treasured for years to come in line.
You aren’t the only one getting into costume though. The whole kingdom is preparing for this special occasion. Winnie the Pooh and his friends are all getting ready for trick-or-treating down in the Hundred Acre Woods. Why not join them and be the Christopher Robin they’ve been looking for? Or Minnie, Daisy, and Donald are wondering all who they could be for Halloween in Storybook Circus. Maybe you can suggest being a pumpkin, witch, or even a medieval princess? Just watch out during the night because you’ll never be too sure who’s lurking around giving apples or being a snake charmer.
This night offers plenty of opportunities to meet many hard-to-meet characters. Jack & Sally and the Seven Dwarfs usually have a very long line. I recommend getting into one of those lines as soon as you have checked into the party and received your wonderful wristbands. Lately Disney has even started doing meet-and-greets earlier for those popular characters to allow more guests to say hi.
Entertainment at Halloween Party
The exclusive entertainment offerings are usually the reason why you go to these parties. They cannot be seen at any other time besides from videos submitted to YouTube or equivalent. “Hallowishes” is the main event of the night. It replaces “Happily Ever After” and starts promptly at 10:15 pm. There is no other party event going on and you will not be meeting a character for the next fifteen minutes. So unless you like to ride some roller coasters, your best bet is to find a great spot for this special holiday fireworks. Haunted Mansion’s infamous host extends the invite to the spooky spectacle to you and other villainous friends. The highlight of the show is the 180-degree fireworks taking over the sky. Stand in the middle of the castle hub if possible for the best possible views.
Boo-to-You Halloween Parade is my favorite parade that the Magic Kingdom has to offer and fortunately run two times (one before and one after fireworks). The early one will normally be incredibly crowded. It can be perfectly timed to catch Hallowishes directly afterwards, which makes it especially popular. The Headless Horseman will mark the beginning of the parade, galloping through the streets with a jack-o-lantern in hand. All of your favorite Disney characters are dressed in masquerade style, Disney villains will show off that it’s good to be bad, and Vanellope Von Schweetz will give you a sugar rush!
This parade has it all and even has a stunning Haunted Mansion float. I attend both and like to get a spot on Main Street. Usually there’s a small mini parade after the headless horseman and before the parade just on that part of the route as well making the waiting a lot more fun.
Magic Kingdom’s newest Halloween show has been a hit. “Hocus Pocus Spelltacular” is inspired from the same popular Halloween movie by the same movie. The Sanderson Sisters are back from the grave and are trying to create on heck of a night before ‘All Hallows Eve’ is up. It does the movie justice and is great to see how the Disney villains welcome the new witches in town. They have multiple shows throughout the night and times differ depending on how close you are to actual Halloween day. I would try to go to one before Boo-To-You or after Hallowishes as you will be right by in the area and can catch usually all three shows very easily.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Disney is known for its Unforgettable Christmas Celebration on TV when you wake up Christmas Day. Thousands of people tune in to watch their favorite beloved characters parade in the streets to celebrate any kid’s favorite time of the year. You are now invited to join Mickey and all his friends in a magical holiday celebration rather than watching from your living room. If you thought Disney did a great job transforming the atmosphere to create a ‘spootacular’ theme, the cast members do a complete 180 turning it into Christmas within just a few days.
While you may not deck out yourself looking like a piñata, that doesn’t mean you can’t break out your tacky Christmas sweaters. Minnie, Donald, and Daisy have already got theirs on and want you to join in on the fun. Donald Duck has even dragged out his uncle, Scrooge McDuck, to help celebrate the season. He won’t be the only rare character you see around the park however. Princes will be escorting their princesses to make sure that nobody is alone for the holidays. This is your perfect chance to see Burt with Mary Poppins, Prince Philip with Princess Aurora, or even Rapunzel with Flynn Rider. Everyone is down at the Magic Kingdom celebrating.
By far my favorite thing about the party is the free sweets. Sure you can trick or treat at the Not-So-Scary Halloween party, but lines usually get incredibly long wasting valuable time. At Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, a lot of the cookie and hot cocoa stands are prepared for the masses. It makes it picking up a delicious snicker doodle cookie a breeze to get to the next event or character meet-and-greet. My tummy is rumbling already thinking about the delectable treats. Each stand provides different snacks too so be sure to check out each place to see what they have.
Entertainment at Christmas Party
Just like Halloween, Christmas has been updating its entertainment. A brand new show, “Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration”, has been one of the most interesting shows seen on a Disney castle forefront stage. The show features a very modern take featuring the Kristen Bell song “Text Me Merry Christmas”. All of your beloved characters take a try at being the typical Millennial. While it’s slightly cringing, it’s relevant for Christmases around the world today, and you’ll probably be chuckling a bit at how much we’ve changed.
The new show doesn’t just cater to the newer generation though. Clarabelle rides in on her lovely sleigh making you realize she’s the Mariah Carey you’ve always wanted. The “Diva of Dairy” steals the show with her rendition of “All I Want For Christmas is You”. It really cements Disney into the modern age, in my opinion. The last surprise of the show is Donald’s two best friends, Jose and Panchito. Together they are the Three Caballeros. They help wish you a Merry Christmas with “Feliz Navidad”.
Surprisingly, this show is everything I wanted for Disney. It’s worth the see at least once. It would be hard to not be in the Christmas Spirit after watching it. It’s a fusion of your childhood with the modern day delights, full of laughter and jolly.
“Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas Time” Parade is another sight to be seen. It’s actually the longest parade on Walt Disney World Property. Snoap (soap snow) will flutter down the streets of Main Street USA creating the white Christmas you dreamed of as a kid. The parade will slightly change every year, creating a unique experience every time you see it. There are two viewings of the parade, one before and one after the Holiday Wishes. The one before will be heavily crowded whereas the 11 o’clock will have a lot fewer people.
Holiday fireworks are a normal occurrence for Disney. Christmas is no different, gifting you a chance to see 180-degree perimeter fireworks. The sky will dance and sing Christmas accompanied by various projections on the Castle. I would’ve said this would be the firework show to see before “Happily Ever After” came out. It’ll be interesting to see how they compare to each other side by side. The castle will transform into Santa’s toyshop or a delicious gingerbread house you strived to craft each year.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party actually offers two more additional shows than Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. The first one will light up the castle as Elsa freezes the Magic Kingdom over, signaling the beginning of the Christmas Party. It’s a beautiful ice palace to behold. Fortunately, you do not need a ticket to the party to witness the frozen castle or the show. It will happen almost daily depending on weather.
The last Disney Christmas show is one a lot of people miss. It’s found on the Tomorrowland stage in-between Space Mountain and Carrousel of Progress. It basically focuses on Stitch trying to learn the true meaning of Christmas. It follows your friendly neighborhood space ranger as he protects the galaxy and Christmas from Zurg. Mike Wasowski jumps in and tries to tell his horrible jokes with the classic Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. It’s really cute for the younger ones, and the crowds will reflect that. I love that you don’t need to fight for a space or a good view.
Magic Kingdom has various of things to make your vacation incredibly special. It really helps to do planning and research before going to the parks to make a truly magical vacation.
Do you have any other tips that works well for your family?