Travel

Toilets of the World

by Jason Salzenstein
Contributor
Monday Oct 30, 2006
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Each year, Mickey Mouse and the gang of fun-loving characters from Walt Disney World in Orlando break out the candy corn, glowsticks and fireworks for a fun-filled, family-friendly party in the Magic Kingdom. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is only one of three seasonal nighttime fetes thrown within the gates of the Kingdom (you may also attend a Christmas party and a Pirates & Princesses Party), but it’s certainly the most interactive of the three; nearly 1/3 of the attendees are costumed, lending an exceptionally magical feel to Main Street USA and the seven themed lands that surround it.

The event costs $42.95 to attend for adults ($35.95 for 9 and under) - so many wonder why they should not rather pay for a regular full-day admission to the Magic Kingdom; or for those families vacationing with tickets in hand, why they should pay extra for the nighttime event. Here are your answers.

First, the Magic Kingdom never operates at capacity on party nights; they sell out long before the crowds generate significant lines at the park’s major rides. October is also seasonably warm, so even the uber-wet Splash Mountain is a little-wait treat. Not all rides in the Kingdom operate, but the great majority of popular attractions are open - and the wait is usually less than five minutes. Compare that to 50+ minutes to ride the "Big Three" - Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Splash Mountain - during normal operating hours, and you’ll appreciate the difference. Most of the attractions for your youngsters are available with little or no wait as well... so if you’ve the kind of kid who’s impatient to get on Winnie the Pooh, this is the night for you.

Disney also entertains the kids with a number of special events; there are two dance parties in the park (we recommend Stitch’s swingin’ event in Tomorrowland - he is, after all, the hippest of the Disney family), and at various intervals as you walk about, your family can make stops and fill up your Disney-provided trick-or-treat sack with free candy. This ensures not only that your kids will have Halloween candy that’s guaranteed safe, but that they’re on a sugar high well until Midnight, when the event closes.

Two must-see attractions are Mickey’s "Boo To You" parade, which is a completely unique moving party that travels from Frontierland and ultimately wends down Main Street; due to the lower max-attendance policy, you don’t even need to show up to the parade very early. Grab a seat at least five minutes before one of the two showtimes, however - you don’t want to miss the ride of the Headless Horseman, who goes galloping down the route on a huge steed. Then, be sure to congregate for the special "HalloWishes" fireworks show at Cinderella’s Castle; this is a well-themed treat dedicated to (you guessed it) Disney villains.

You can also be entertained by those same characters throughout the night on the steps of the castle, as periodic live shows throughout the night celebrate Halloween as only those (not-so-frightful) baddies can. If the kids want to meet more traditional Disney characters, however, this is an exceptional chance to do so. They’re all in fun costumes too; most of them make scheduled stops in the Kingdom, and as before, the lines for photos and signatures are short.

One special treat for this year is the reopening of the Haunted Mansion, which underwent renovations last quarter. While the prologue and vehicles of the ride have not changed significantly, the majority of the attraction has been spruced and spiced up with eye-popping new effects and a host of new ghosts, ghouls and goblins around most corners. Those aficionados of the original ride will not be disappointed, as the attraction maintains its central character. Call it a "lift" rather than major surgery, and you’ll get the idea.

What differentiates Disney’s "Not-So-Scary" party is not simply that it’s a less frightening option for entertaining the youngsters, but that the Magic Kingdom maintains its welcoming atmosphere for gay and lesbian families. Feel free to stride hand-in-hand with your stroller or child; you won’t be accosted, stared-at or made to feel uncomfortable amidst a party that embraces the spirit of the season in a delightful, open-minded format. You might catch a fright or two... but there’s nothing to fear here.

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Want to see photos from this event? Check out the EDGE photo album online!

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Event dates are Oct. 2, 5, 6, 10, 12, 16, 17, 19, 20, 23, 24, 26, 27, 30 and 31.
Tickets are $42.95 plus tax (ages 10/up) and $35.95 plus tax (ages 3-9) -- with advance-purchase savings of $6 per ticket for dates through Oct. 26 (advance-purchase savings do not apply for Oct. 27, 30 and 31). Note that historically many event nights have sold out in advance -- particularly Friday nights and the last week of October. For ticket information, guests can contact 407/W-DISNEY or visit disneyworld.com/halloween online.

by Morna E. Gregory and Sian James

Merrell, 256 pages, $16.95

Twitter :: JasonSalz

Jason Salzenstein is a writer and editor; design, image, and marketing consultant; and professional shopper. His work has appeared in numerous national and international publications and he has clients around the world. For more information :: www.JasonSalzenstein.com

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