Saturday, 19 November 2011

Happy Halloween - with our ghost host

BWHA HA HA HA HA HA........ (insert Disney safe comedic evil laugh here)

I know next to nothing about Halloween. I am completely dependent upon Wikipedia. So I didn't really approach 31 October with any sense of history or warm childhood emotional connection. In fact I didn't really even what was going on until I sat to write this post afterwards.

(And really I think that sums up the whole of quality approach of this blog. Brought to you from my business corporation: Dewey, Cheatem & Howe )

According to wikipedia, Halloween is a combination of pagan, celtic and Christian elements from down through history from ancient Rome. The melting pot of halloween is continually fed including more modern influences such as gothic horror, trick or treating and haunted houses.

Halloween means different things to different people and it pulls in All Hallows Day, Reformation Day, All Saints Day, Celtic Samhain, along with the pagan features.

As it is apparent I could start a religious war on this, I think I will cut my losses now and just say places like Disney with their Christian family values are way comfortable celebrating Halloween because it is so inclusive and almost every feature of the event can be interpreted with either a Christian or pagan perspective. e.g. apparently the carved pumpkins comes from ye olde Christians and All Souls Day - honouring the souls of the recently departed.

So what was my experience of Halloween in Orlando?

First - IT'S HUGE. This thing has to rival Christmas (well - a Christmas in Canberra anyway). Everywhere is decorated, there are special foods, parties, trick or treating, costumes, carved pumpkins. It was in full swing when I arrived and there was no escape.

Disney puts on Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. Selling tickets at $60 a pop, the party runs from 7pm - midnight in the Magic Kingdom.
And it was REALLY GREAT!! I so enjoyed myself, doing stuff I don't normally do and interacting in the park in a different way. Let me take you through my experience of the night.

Front entrance with a hint of autumn coloured banners and pumpkins. I took this shot from Tallahassee (who knows what I was thinking - probably that I didn't want their ugly family dominating my shot)
Follow me after the jump to actually enter the park

I went into the park at 4pm and on entering got my halloween wristband (signifying I was ticketholder and not to kick me out!). I wandered around Main Street and the Castle for a while. Admiring the decorations and they had a FAB brass band out who were really good fun!.

gorgeous fake leaves and plastic mickey pumpkins on every lamp post
More banners and lamp posts but not over the top.
The Ice Cream Parlour is a pretty good display of what things looked like
These chaps were great players - a solid, integrated sound, didn't miss a note, and had entertaining presence to boot. Typical Disney consumate professionals

I then went and checked out the new old Tiki Room ( the tiki tiki tiki tiki tiki room ..... that song has been stuck in my head since 1993).

The tiki drummers are still there - I remember how enchanted I was with all these hidden details on my first visit way back when
Now whenever I see pcitures of this danged bird I automatically start thinking "let's all sing like the birdie sing, tweet tweet tweet ...." and I could stick a BBQ fork in that stuffed chicken

Then it was off to the Crystal Palace for my "all you eat" buffet - words that make my stomache sing!

The Crystal Palace has a 100 Acre Woods theme so it is Winnie the Pooh stuff everywhere.
I offered him my Zoloft but he just sobbed uncontrollably

Tigger giving me bouncing lessons

An easy way to meet the characters, without queuing with hoi polloi
The entrance has a cute garden with these models "planted" in it
In hindsight, I wonder how they keep them from going moldy?
Don't worry - I will cover this restaurant more in 'Food Porn' - but know for now they had the usual buffet and characters going around. For me it was a great way to celebrate my first visit into the Magic Kingdom (on this trip).

Then back out into the crowds and the party is starting to get underway.

They put on little shows at the Castle. These things are extraordinarily lame - the characters come out, prance around, a soundtrack pretends they are talking. And they say the astonishingly awful dialogue. "Everyone knows that with the power of imagination your dreams will come true!" and it goes on and on in that vein.

"You know, Donald's right. This is all phooy! Why do we even bother? We prance around here for ten minutes then have to face the sad realities of life"
I'll let you be the judge

The Disneyphiles watching that video clip will know that the most important aspect of this show is the moving mouths on the characters! I was impressed that this technology has been worked out for all of them, not just the Mouse.

That clip cut off abruptly cause I suddenly felt ill at the breakout of a princess song, and besides I had somewhere important to be and had to move on.

Yep - the Dwarves only come out for photos on paid occassions - learning from Linda Evangelista?

I was fairly near the front of the queue and waited only about 45 mins talking to some lovely ladies from the Netherlands! That wait time is about as good as it gets with the Dwarves and the queue stretched on for about 2 hours behind me.

I am still waiting for the Disney PhotoPass photographs of me actually posing with the dwaves and will post them when they arrive.

Then it was time to do a bit of wandering around and find all the trick or treat candy stations. At park entry everyone was supplied with a candy collecting bag and the stations were scattered throughout the park Cast members were on hand handing out the candy gold.

The Liberty Belle became the "Barrell of Bayou" candy station

Sorry - I had to snap this pretty fast. The enthusiastic queue behind me wasn't waiting! Basically these chicks manned 44 gallon drums handing out the sugary goodness

Here's my stash - and it is positively embarrasingly small compared to most party goers. Where did it go? Posted to a bunch of 16 yr old girls in Sydney. (note the BRANDS - skittles, M&Ms, snickers, Willy Wonka, Crunchie - and yes boxes of sultanas!
The candy was Brand Name !! Wow! Thanks Disney!

Of course I had to go to the Haunted Mansion. In addition to the good fun new interactive queue they had a ghostly Madame Leota sitting out front telling bad ghostly pun jokes.

"Well of course she left Bob the vampire. He was all bite and no bark"
The ride was the standard version but when I came out the other end they had the ghostly carriage set up for photos. Again - sigh - I am still waiting for disney to release my photo.

Ok - so by then it was time for fireworks! YAY! The voiceover and theme music was based on the Disney Villans and they used a lot of autumn colours (red, orange, brown, green) to light the castle and in the fireworks. The voiceover was a bit cheesy and probably pitched at the same audience who watches castle shows. But you can only be happy about fireworks!

Finally the highlight of the night arrived - The Boo to You Parade!

Parades have always been part of the Disney package and over the years they have done some cheap and nasty parades (I'm looking at you DHS Pixar 5,4,3,2,1 Fun parade - oh pleeese?) to the weird (putting all the characters inside snowglobes on floats - and then watching them all steam up and bake in the hot Florida sun) and the AMAZING - like this parade.

Inventive, good fun, catchy back music. A huge selection of characters came out, lots of choreographed moves for them all combined with stops to greet the kiddies. Some of the costumes are fabulous - esp. the special halloween ones like the Ballroom Dancers from the Haunted Mansion and the Gravediggers. One of the highlights is the opening by the Headless Horseman - it is rare to have a horse in a parade and the special effect of being headless works really well. This parade is worth the price of the ticket. Rather than give you spotty photos, here is a link to the parade. For 15 mins, grab a cup of tea and enjoy.

This was almost the end for me. I just had to drop in and show Mickey my costume - but I'll make that the subject of another post about some of the amazing costumes guest make and show off.

The Halloween Party is one of the events that really brings out the Disney Magic Kingdom spirit and it is hard to say anything snarky about it. Especially when I was dressed up too!.

Better than spending halloween at home with these guys

"Skele-gnomes" curtesy of SkyMall Catalog

Bar the you tube video of the parade and SkyMall, everything else is mine.

No comments:

Post a Comment