|Day 3, Sunday, October 20, 2002.
This was a day that we spent at the Magic Kingdom, including a great time at night at Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party.
Nick and I were at the MK by 8:15, and stayed past midnight. Debbie came a little later, and left a little earlier. It was a long, wonderful Magic Kingdom
day, full of fun, new experiences, and nearly perfect weather.
We actually had a 15 minute rain in the afternoon, but it was hardly worth mentioning. It was very humid, which made it seem hot, but nothing like the
summer. I'd happily take this kind of weather on every trip.
||Since we were there for early
opening, Nick and I had very good luck with early morning rides.
We did Astro Orbiter as a walk on, with him going twice in a row (once
was enough for me on this particular type of ride). I remember him
not liking this ride on a previous trip, but now he had grown into it.
On his insistence, we then did TTA. He and Debbie both really like this short little tour (I do to, to be honest).
We then had a very short wait on Space Mountain, I'd say about 20 minutes. We then enjoyed our exhilarating spin around the galaxy (no, wait, that's Astro Orbiter. Oh, well).
We headed over to Splash Mountain, which was a walk on. What a great, warm day for Splash, we had a terrific ride! It was a good day to get nice and wet.
|By now, I believe that the regular
crowd was let in, because we had a long, hot wait to get on Big Thunder.
It was over a half hour, and we were melting. I guess it would have
been worse if we hadn't just gotten off of Splash Mountain.
But, wow, we had a great ride! We were near the front, though not the very front car. Nick was laughing and screaming the whole time, and we really enjoyed ourselves.
Finally, we went on the Haunted Mansion. Shouldn't this be the first ride when you come into MK?
||Ah, but the ride here was wonderful,
no distractions from other guests, and a spooky, fun time. HM is,
still, my favorite ride on property.
I hadn't noticed Madame Leota's tombstone before, I think it may be fairly new. Not everyone gets the inside story, but I think it is a cool little tribute. Nicely done, artistic, and those eyes....
OK, there were almost no distractions from other guests. I would think that if my kid is crying in the queue, I would realize that he's only going to get more scared by the time you hit the stretching room. I think they ducked out, as I didn't notice them in the second queue (after the stretching room). It really
wasn't a big deal to me, they trampled just a bit of the dialog in the stretching room.
|But, I felt sorry for the kid.
Now, HM is not really that scary (Nick was not frightened back at 3 years
old), but I think you have to know your own kid. Anyway, I think
they had the good sense to sneak out after the stretching room.
When we were sitting down after our ride on the HM, I checked my phone, and noticed that I had missed a call from Debbie. I honestly didn't hear it ring, and hope that it didn't bother anyone else. In fact, I had a really hard time trying to reach her outside of the HM. But, through the static we got across the idea that we would meet near Aladdin.
So, we headed over to Aladdin, and rode twice. Everything was working, including the spitting camel
||(I think this depends on the weather,
and today was, again, a great day to get wet). What a terrific ride
this is, especially when it's hot, and you have the camel to avoid (or
not). They now "assign" seats as you are standing in the last part
of the queue, so that you don't scramble for the purple carpet when they
lower the rope. I think this works out better. I think Nick may
have enjoyed it a bit more on the last trip, but it was totally new then,
and had the novelty factor. We both still had a great time here.
We hooked up with Debbie after our second Aladdin ride, near the Aladdin queue.
Nick was character crazy on this trip. Debbie had brought his forgotten autograph book when she came
|from the room. Unfortunately,
Nick and I had already seen Balloo, King Louie, Pluto, Goofy, Daisy, Donald,
Aladdin, Genie, Timon, and Rafiki. We now had to back track to get
autographs and pictures.
Since we had seen a lot of characters at the front gate and around the town square area, Nick wanted to go back up to the front entrance. We decided to stop at Casey's corner for a quick and simple lunch. This was a first time for us, and the food and atmosphere were really quite good. I enjoyed the old fashioned baseball themeing, and the hot dogs and brownies were really very good. We sat outside in the nice, warm sun, and enjoyed the ragtime piano music. Nick went back in after he ate, and sat on the
||bleachers (where he had wanted
to eat), watching baseball cartoons.
We did a little bit of shopping on Main Street. We actually found a belt in one of the shops on Main Street, but the size was considerably too small. There were no suspenders to be found. So, I continued to hitch my pants up every few yards.
Debbie spent some time in the crystal shop, and found some nice Mickey jewelry, picking up some Austrian crystal rings and earrings.
Nick and I left her fooling around in the crystal shop, and finished trekking up to the town square. The decorations were in keeping with the season, with
|harvest leaves and pumpkins (quite
a contrast to the Christmas decorations there on our last trip).
And there were a lot of characters.
Nick managed to get pictures and autographs from Hook, Smee, the White Rabbit, Daisy (we were the last ones), Jasmine, and Genie (we were the last ones again). We went out in front of the train station (on the front gate side) to get Donald.
We staked out seats outside of the train station, looking down on the town square, and waited for the parade. These were great seats, but we waited a long time. But, it was a hot day, and I guess that the rest didn't kill us. While Debbie watched our seats, Nick and I went down to the Main Street vendors and got us all some popcorn and pop.
||This was our
first time seeing the Share A Dream Come True parade, and it is a very
good parade. The snow globe idea is clever, and well executed.
The floats are elaborate, the costuming and choreography are good.
There is a great snow globe dedicated to Mickey, and another to Pinochio.
There is a neat globe of Cinderella and Prince Charming, and a wonderful
snow globe (my favorite) dedicated to the villains. The finale,
which is a globe that seems to be dedicated to the parks, is terrific.
After the parade, we took the Disneyland Railroad around to Toontown Fair. Naturally, the train and the queue to get on were packed, but it was still fun.
|There was a character bonanza right
next to the Toon Town Fair station. There was the cat from Pinocchio,
the penguin from Mary Poppins, Wendel from the country bears, Gipetto, Rafiki,
the raccoon from Pocohontas, King Louie, and more, all hamming it up, signing
autographs and posing for pictures. Nick had a blast.
There were characters *EVERYWHERE* this trip. I think they are emphasizing the characters again, and it was a great trip to be collecting autographs, regardless of our bad luck with the book later.
We went through Mickey's house, and got a photo with Mickey at the judges tents in the back. This place is a fun little trip into the old fashioned cartoon world that started it all.
||We also got pictures and autographs
of Goofy and Max by the Barnstormer. After this, we had a short, sweet
flight on the Barnstormer. It's one of the shortest rides there is,
but it is fast and fun.
I also shot a couple of pictures of the Toontown Fair before we walked over to the Pirates of The Caribbean.
On the way to Pirates, we stopped by Snow White, which was a completely empty walk on. I like how classic this fun little ride is.
I did stop to take a couple of pictures of Snow White's glass carriage, which was already parked behind the castle, awaiting tonight's festivities. I'm glad that I did, as we didn't make it back to this courtyard during the party.
|Well, as I may have mentioned already,
Nick had intended to bring his Halloween costume with him, and we had
an elaborate little plan on how he was going to keep it in his locker,
and where and how he was going to change. But, the costume got completely
forgotten at home. So, a little shopping at the Pirate's shop near
POC late in the afternoon created a last minute Pirate's costume.
It worked out perfectly well, with an earring, eye patch, new Pirate's T
shirt, and bandana making a very believable and comfortable costume.
We had a quick, fun ride on the Pirates Of The Caribbean. I guess this ride will always define classic Disney rides for me, since it was brand new on my second trip to Disneyland as a child. Still, the PC
||corrections seem a little like
spray paint on a masterpiece to me. But, we have already had that
At this point the only unpleasant, or at least frustrating, part of the day happened. The pass off from the regular day to the evening party just seemed to be very confusing.
We had read that we should go to the Adventureland verandah for the AP event, which would keep us from having to exit the park, and come back in for the party. But, a CM at the verandah told us that this AP event had been moved to the Columbia Harbor House. In trying to approach the Harbor House, however, we were told that we needed to head for the
|front of the castle, and use our
tickets to pick up wristbands for the evening. Noone in the castle
area seemed to know what was going on, but we eventually found someone
in a special event orange shirt who was able to help us.
OK, having obtained our wrist bands, our goal was now to get back to the Harbor House. But, there was a rope going into Liberty Square, and the CM tried to direct us back to Fantasyland. I had to get a little pushy, explaining that we were heading for the AP event, and he let us in. In hindsight, we would have been allowed to stay in Fantasyland until MNSSHP started, and that wouldn't have been such a bad thing.
||Anyway, things were smooth after
that. Columbia had some free popcorn, free drinks, and candy.
There were a few characters in Halloween costumes wandering around upstairs.
Overall, it was nice, but staying in Fantasyland may have been just as
Ah, but then the party really began. There was trick or treat candy in several places through the MK, flying pumpkins, giant green Mickey balls, and lots of special decorations.
Then there was the parade. Wow. This was the best of the new (for us) parades this trip. It is very, very cool. It starts with the Headless Horseman galloping down Main Street.
|Then there is Pooh and the gang,
scaring themselves silly. Debbie got a big kick out of the Pooh
costumes and the trick or treat trees.
Then, there is an entire segment dedicated to the Haunted Mansion. An HM float,including the hitchhiking ghosts, choreographed grave diggers, and lots of otherspooky touches. Chip and Dale were in ghost costumes on the front of the float. There were dancers from the ballroom in the street. And the float had an HM facade, and Grim Grinning Ghosts playing. Did I mention that the HM is my favorite ride on property?
There was also a very neat segment dedicated to Snow White's evil witch. This had a neat witch's cauldron, great lighting effects, and some well chosen music.
||There was a nice tribute to Cruella
DeVille, complete with live Dalmatians.
I also very much enjoyed the Hades float, and the young lady who was really vamping up the part of Megara. The giant Hades and the giant serpents added a great deal to this float, as did Pain and Panic working the street. This may have been Nick's favorite part of this parade.
Near the finale, there was Goofy calling a spooky square dance, a hay ride float with a host of characters, and a final float with Mickey and Minnie waving from a second story barn window.
This was a great, great parade, and I may see if I can post a video segment of it.
|In one of those bits of traveler's
luck, we sat on the street at a blocked off entrance during the first
viewing of the parade. When I tried to stand, my legs were completely
asleep. I stumbled, and must have pulled a muscle, because I was sore
and limping for about three days afterwards.
We did see the parade twice, but missed the fireworks, because we happened to be eating at Pecos Bill's at the time. Such is life.
The Haunted Mansion was our first ride, though I don't recall if it was before or after the first viewing of the parade. This was extra cool, as they have special lights on the outside of the mansion, and a special, thick fog being spread around. There also was extra
||ghoulish makeup on the Haunted
Mansion CM's, and they were working their parts quite a bit more
than normal. Overall, it was a little edgier, and a huge amount of
The ride itself was perfect. It is always better at night, and this night had an extra kick to it. I got the missing dialog in the stretching room that I had missed on our first ride of the day. Every one of the guests seemed to be deeply into the HM tonight.
Debbie and Nick rode together, and I was by myself.
The HM was not a walk on, but just about everything else was tonight. This was the first night we had really done an E ticket type event, and it was fun zooming through the attractions, without having to wait or do Fast Pass.
|We stopped in the Diamond Horseshoe
after the HM (and some trick or treating). We had never been in the
Diamond Horseshoe before, and this was a pleasant surprise. Tonight,
the Daper Dans were replaced by the Cadaver Dans, and everything had a bit
of a Halloween flair. There were ghost stories and songs, including
audience participation for Ghost Riders in The Sky (this was a blast). There
was also a magic show, with one particularly amazing card trick, and a
very funny magician. We'll have to stop back by the Golden Horseshoe
on some normal evening, but I don't know if they'll top their special Halloween
We had dinner at Pecos Bill’s, and had a perfectly fine meal of hamburgers and hot dogs. Unfortunately, our timing was imperfect, as we could hear the fireworks over our heads as we sat inside. We should have been more careful about when we ate.
||We took a ride on BTMR. I
really do like Big Thunder at night. You can count on either stars
or mist, and each adds a dimension to the ride. This was kind of a
misty night, in keeping with the Halloween atmosphere. Nick and I
were in the very front car, which is more fun visually, but gets less motion.
We had to both agree that it was a great ride, though.
After this, we went ahead and rode Splash Mountain. It was a walk on, and the CMs actually let us stay on for a second trip! This was a blast.
As it turns out, the reason it was so uncrowded, in part, is that our second ride was right at the start of the second parade. But, when we got off, we caught most of the parade from the Frontierland side. We
|had seen the entire parade the
first time, sitting right in front of the castle. So, this was a
different vantage point, and it is a terrific parade. We did miss
the Headless Horseman this time, though.
Nick was getting quite a bit of candy for trick and treat, but I wasn’t getting much. What do you mean, grown up? Who says? And somebody must have been eating out of my bag, because there was nothing there by the end of the night.
We did the complimentary photo, which was set up by POC. We just had Nick in the picture, in his last minute Halloween costume. It took several weeks for them to mail it to us, but it turned out to be a very nice picture. It did take a while to wait through the line, though.
||There was some good music in Adventureland
while we were waiting in the queue for Nick to get his picture taken.
We relaxed briefly on the bench listening to it after his photo was taken.
Shortly, a storyteller began on the same little Aventureland stage.
But, she was actually a bit difficult to follow, so we headed off to Tomorrowland.
Over in Tomorrowland, there was some great music on the Tomorrowland stage. It was accompanied by some interesting giant cloth ghosts on air blowers, and a very energetic DJ.
Space Mountain was a walk on. Nick said something as we were getting off about being disappointed about not riding in front, and they reloaded us, and let us ride again!
|Just like BTMR, it seems like the
trade off is that the rear car is a faster physical ride, but the front
car is better visually. I also think that Space Mountain is a little
better at night, as I think the building leaks a little sunlight during the
day. It seems a little darker at night, enhancing the experience.
Nick and I then did Autotopia, while Debbie listened to the music over on the stage. I hope that Nick doesn’t actually drive like this in a few years.
Nick then went on the Astro Orbiter, while I sat with Debbie and listened to the great music. Nick did miss a chance to get an autograph from Stitch, who popped out down near the stage.
||All of the Magic Kingdom had special
decorations, like giant blowup figures perched atop the buildings.
There were also special sound effects and Haunted Mansion music, especially
as you approached Main Street. It was a cool eerie feeling.
Main Street had some very cool multicolored lighting effects, including projected witches flying around on the frond of the buildings. There were definitely some special Halloween things to see and hear tonight.
This brings me to the big question of whether MNSSHP was worth the roughly $100 we paid (for the three of us). I still have some mixed emotions, although this was a lot of fun. You can certainly do plenty of rides at other times by taking advantage of
|Early Openings and Fast Pass.
But, the lines were awfully short that night. The candy was pretty so-so,
but the parade was terrific, and the special show at the Diamond Horseshoe
was wonderful. The decorations were great, and, most importantly,
the Haunted Mansion was enhanced. I really wanted to do the fortune
teller over near Liberty Square, but this was one thing for which the lines
were substantial. I also did enjoy seeing both kids and adults goofing
around in costumes.
OK, overall, the total experience was really enjoyable. So, I think the answer is that it was worth the 100 bucks. In fact, I wouldn’t mind doing another October trip, and including MNSSHP in our plans.
||The bus service back to OKW was
once again terrific. It was definitely hot and crowded, with everyone
leaving MNSSHP at about the same time. But, the driver was really
entertaining, and was tossing out WDW trivia that even I didn’t know.
My leg was really bothering me by the end of the night.
We cooked ourselves a frozen pizza back in the room. This full kitchen stuff is really nice.
I also like dumping the pictures to the laptop every night, as it gives me practically unlimited room for stills. I think I got about 800 still photos this trip. A hard drive will hold a lot.
|I was experimenting quite a bit
with the backlight setting on the Sony for night time events, parades, and
so fourth. It does seem to help quite a bit. I hate
the idea of using external video lighting or flash photography. Ironically, I did pull some stills from the parade using my video tape and flash moments
provided by other people.
The backlighting does help, though. Depending on the situation, I would even fall back to the infrared setting on the Sony. Of course, this results in completely false color.
||I also liked quickly typing my
notes into the computer at night, as opposed to jotting notes on my yellow
pad. Still, I get very few completely reports done while still on
the trip--I mostly just get my notes done.
We were all really late getting to bed, myself a little later for playing on the computer.
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