spreadsheets and suitcases

organization + travel = family fun

Disney World October 2015 Trip Report Part 6: Disney Springs and MNSSHP

on January 12, 2016

After several consecutive days of early wakeups to hit the Parks, sleeping in on this day was lovely.  I drifted awake at around 9:30am and was immediately excited for the Halloween Party that evening.  We had a long list of things to do before then, so I got everybody into their bathing suits, and we went down to the Big Blue Pool again, with a load of laundry.  DD wanted to keep sleeping, so she stayed in the room with strict instructions to be ready to walk out the door by 11:45am.  The water was a little chilly in the pool!  I guess because it was so early in the day.  But we had a lot of fun in the main pool, and especially in the splash area 🙂

big blue pool2

The day was getting warmer, and I could have stayed longer, but realized we would be cutting it close to make it to our lunch reservation, so we grabbed our laundry and hustled back to the room.  I was intent on taking quick showers and leaving, as we had only nibbled some things in the room for breakfast and we were all hungry.  Guess who wasn’t even close to being ready, despite the fact that it was 11:30 by this point?  If you guessed “the traveling party’s only teenager,” you were right.  Well, we got out the door by 12p anyway, with me annoyed that we might be late for lunch.  The restaurant wouldn’t be busy- it was just transport time I was worried about, because we needed to get to Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney), eat, shop, get back to the room, get ready for the Party, and be at the Magic Kingdom by 4p at the latest.

What followed was a timing disaster.  We arrived at the bus stop to find a Disney Springs bus pulling away.  We waited 10 minutes for another one, and it was a combined Typhoon Lagoon/Disney Springs one, so we had to wait while the bus made its way to the water park, picked up exactly 1 family, and then finally we got to Disney Springs at 12:40p.  Speedwalked to our lunch reservation at 12:35p, which was of course quite far from where the bus let us off.

I’ll allow this: the food at Paradiso 37 was delicious all around.  I had the skirt steak, which is a cut not easily found in any Hawaii market, much to my dismay since it is my favorite.  Anyway, this one was juicy and flavorful, and DD still talks about the ribs she had. And I was right- the restaurant was not busy.  But boy was it SLOW.  So slow in fact, that as soon as DD and I finished eating, we made a quick plan to meet DH and DS at Goofy’s Candy Company after they paid for lunch when they were done eating, then sprinted out of there to go to World of Disney and Once Upon a Toy to spend some souvenir money we’d been saving up.

I was specifically looking for a “My 1st trip to Walt Disney World” shirt for DS.  I had bought one for DD way back when, and wanted one for him.  I had looked for it in the Parks shops, and didn’t see any.  I called the Disney Merchandise line, who told me that Once Upon a Toy carried it, but they weren’t sure it was in stock.  Well, after picking up a bunch of cute things in World of Disney, we buzzed over to check on the shirt.  And…struck out.  Dejected, we jogged (yes, jogged, it was getting so late) to Goofy’s to meet the boys, and passed a Lefty’s kiosk along the way, where I allowed DD to stop my jog and convince me to buy her a left-handed pen for school.  She is a lefty, obviously, and $11 later, she had a new pen.  Met up at Goofy’s, where we each grabbed a bag and went to town on the bulk candy bins.  I thought about making a comment re: the fact that we’d be getting a bunch of Halloween candy in a few hours, but….vacation.

Back to the bus stop, where we saw a Pop Century Resort bus coming in, and no Art of Animation bus in sight, so we hopped on!  The 2 resorts are literally back to back, connected by a bridge.  We got to Pop, rolled through the lobby and pool area, and made a beeline to the bridge and over to AoA.  It took the same amount of time to get to the room.  Time to get ready for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party!

But first, knowing when to admit defeat on the timing I called for a cab to take us to the Magic Kingdom.  Not taking chances with the bus for a hard-ticket event.

Anyway, we showered again (all that running around had made us sweaty!), and got dressed for the Party.  We “DisneyBounded” as characters from Finding Nemo: I was Dory, DD was Nemo, DS was Bruce, and DH was Mr. Ray, complete with the cape I had made him.  I let them know that I only expected them to be fully costumed for 1 official picture in front of the Castle, then they could shed layers/accessories however they saw fit.

Unfortunately, the taxi couldn’t pick us up at our building (I was starting to really dislike The Little Mermaid), so we had to walk to the lobby anyway.  I finished my makeup in the cab.  Seriously.  BUT!  It only took 8 minutes to get to MK from AoA in the cab!  We entered the Park by 4:05p, only 5 minutes behind schedule.  Score!

They give you treat bags as part of the Party, and a special wristband to wear.  We collected those and headed straight up the stairs to the train station, for we had something excellent as the first item on our agenda….FP+ for 7 Dwarfs Mine Train!  We took the Walt Disney World Railroad around to Fantasyland to avoid the Main Street crowds, rest our feet for a few minutes, and because…trains!

After another successful trip to the mines, we stayed in Fantasyland to hop on some more rides.  In quick succession, we rode Winnie the Pooh, the Carrousel, and Goofy’s Barnstormer.

This was the perfect light for our group picture, so we walked to the front of the Castle and found a PhotoPass line, and got a wonderful shot of us in our costumes!  Which you won’t see here because I don’t like to put clear pictures of my children’s faces on the internet, if you haven’t figured that  out yet!

Wanting to make sure we had enough light for one of the Magic Shots outside the Haunted Mansion too, we walked through Adventureland, where we had our Party wristbands checked for the first of many times that night, and went toward Liberty Square.  And ran into a queue forming for the Old Hag from Snow White.  I couldn’t pass it up, so I sent my family to the Mansion, and let them know I’d be waiting for them at the exit.


She reached those hideous hands out towards my face very slowly right before we took the picture.  It was great!

After my creepy encounter with the Hag, I walked around the corner towards the Mansion.  This ghost, named Cassandra,  was sitting on a bench in the graveyard, taunting passersby.  She was excellent, too.


Blurry pic…ghosts, amirite?


The timing was finally starting to go my way, since I entered the line to get a Magic Shot in front of the always horseless, but usually also driverless carriage, and only had to let 2 parties go ahead of me before my family exited the Haunted Mansion and was able to join me in line to get a picture much like this:


Not my family.  Check out those epic Mickey shorts on the guy exiting the ride in the background, though.  See how close the exit is to the Magic Shot area?

Pleased that I had achieved 2 of my major goals for the Party (meeting an unusual character, and getting a Mansion Magic Shot), I decided we needed to Trick-or-Treat!  We made our way down to a Trick-or-Treat Trail at the Liberty Square Riverboat dock.  We spotted more Trails, which were easily identifiable from afar with large inflatable Mickey head pumpkins, in Frontierland, so headed there next.  After getting lots of candy, we decided to walk over to Fantasyland, specifically Pinocchio Village Haus, for some dinner.  It was quite pleasant in there, with a very short line, and a tasty flatbread for DH and DD, plus some mac & cheese for DS, and a chicken Caesar salad for me.  We made sure to get a seat that looked over the It’s a Small World ride….which led to that being our next attraction.  We tried desperately to pull the Sword from the Stone…


Not this time, DD.  But one day…

…and figured out a game plan.  We absolutely needed to see the Boo to You Parade, which had 1 of its 2 scheduled performances starting soon, and also the Hocus Pocus Spelltacular stage show at the Castle, which also had various performances during the evening, and Happy HalloWishes fireworks, which DS had been looking forward to for months.  DD wanted to find a seat and watch the Parade now.  I knew that the first showing was the most crowded, and voted to do more Party-exclusive stuff now, while most people were at the Parade, and then watch the Spelltacular, fireworks, and then the late Parade.  Being the mom, we went with my plan, which went almost perfectly.  You’ll see what I mean in a bit.

I decided an ice cream was in order, so we found a special Party-only flavor I had read about: Candy Corn softserve.  It was pretty good.  Next, I wanted some more characters!  We got away from the Parade route and into Adventureland, where a Cast Member was innocently wandering around a greeting area behind the Aladdin ride.  Sensing that we were about to be first line for cool character, I approached to ask him who it was going to be, and he quickly left before I could say a word.  I decided to start a line right then and there anyway, because the Party Guide said that there would be a character greeting at this location starting in 15 minutes.  Other guests soon got in line behind us, and the Cast Member came back, saying that he couldn’t confirm who was coming, and he couldn’t make an official line until they told him so in his earpiece thingy.  We were content to wait, since I figured it would be the Genie or Abu.  Our wait was made pleasant by the music of the first Boo to You Parade passing by on the other side of the building.  Finally, we were officially in line, and who should come out but Jasmine AND Genie!  I was quite pleased.

We walked on down Adventureland and also encountered a line for Terkana, better known as Terk, from Tarzan.  Love her!  Picture achieved.  I heard rumors that Jane (also from Tarzan) was around somewhere, but I was the only one who wanted a pic, so we decided against the rumored 30-minute line.

The Parade was over, and most non-Party people had cleared out of the Park.  It was still pretty crowded, though.  We did more trick-or-treating, building up our snack reserves, since we’d be in 1 spot for a while now: at a good spot for a showing of the Hocus Pocus Spelltacular, followed by HalloWishes fireworks show.  Castle-bound, we then had a seat and people-watched until the Sanderson Sisters made their appearance on the stage and the 9:20pm Hocus Pocus Spelltacular began.

Wow, this show, which was new for the 2015 Party, was GREAT!  It was cast perfectly, and all 3 Sisters were strong singers.  Plus, Ooogie Boogie did a little,..well, boogie!  He danced!  Plus, we saw Dr. Facilier and a whole bunch of other Villains.  The kids really liked the show.  I loved it, of course.  Now, both DH and I needed a bathroom stops, and there was about 20 minutes before HalloWishes began, so we left DD in charge of DS (who was in the stroller, thankfully, his little legs recharging themselves), and went off to the nearest bathrooms at the entrance to Tomorrowland.  When we were done, we took advantage of being alone for a few minutes, got some popcorn from a cart for the kids, and strolled hand-in-hand as we made our way back to them.

There is only one showing of HalloWishes on Party nights, so the Castle had gotten way more crowded at this point.  We really had to work to get back to the kids, who were at our spot pretty close to the Castle stage.  Finally, right at 10pm, it was time for Happy HalloWishes!  Soooooooo great!  Music: on point.  We stayed put as a mass Park exodus began around us.  Most were leaving, but DS had gotten a second wind from the awesome fireworks and demanded more rides.  Yes, sir!

We had time for 1 or maybe 2 rides before the second Boo to You Parade would be passing by the area we wanted to sit in, near the Hall of Presidents.  We did It’s a Small World, walking on, and then saw that Peter’s Pan’s Flight was a 25-minute wait.  It would be close, but we could probably make it.  And here’s where we encountered a snag.  Remember I said my plan almost worked perfectly? Disney enhanced the standby queue, adding all sorts of fun effects you could use when the line was very slow.  But now people were holding up the line to use them!  Huge gaps in the line.  It was 10:55pm and we weren’t on the ride yet, with the parade starting at 11:15pm.  DD got stressed about missing the Parade (remember, she had gone along with my plan to wait for the second showing, so this was our last chance for it!), so we allowed her to leave the Peter Pan line and go get a spot by the Hall so she wouldn’t miss anything.  We’d just join her when done with the ride.

After a few loud, “please keep the line moving!”s, we finally got on and flew over London and Neverland.  We grabbed the stroller and flew toward DD’s parade spot.  DH, DS and I only missed one part of the parade- when this guy goes riding by before the floats:


So cool.


DD saw him, though!  This is a great parade with festive floats and catchy music.


Another stock photo.


And, DS fell asleep in the stroller during the Parade.  He was pooped!  The Party ends at midnight, and by this time it was 11:40 or so.  The Park was dead, and we were close behind.  I walked out as slowly as possible, wanting to make the most of every moment.  I did some shopping on Main Street, and was able to find a Halloween party antenna topper, so I was happy with that as a souvenir.  No Party magnets were available, or I would have gotten that. I had achieved my Party goals!  We were able to get a seat on the bus, yay, and dropped off to sleep immediately back in the room.  Next day: more Disney fun!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: