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Four Fall Must-Do’s at Disneyland

Fall is officially here, and this Louisiana girl couldn’t be more excited about cooler weather in the near future! A few weeks ago I got to visit Disneyland Resort during spooky season for the very first time. As a Disney fan, I’ve always dreamed about experiencing Haunted Mansion Holiday and grabbing a picture with the Mickey Pumpkin, so this was a fun thing to check off my Disneyland Bucket List! Today I thought it’d be fun to share four must-do Disneyland Resort experiences if you visit during fall. These are experiences that are only available during spooky season, and only at the Happiest Place on Earth. The best part? None of these experiences require a ticket to a special event like Oogie Boogie Bash! Anyone who has a ticket to Disneyland or Disney California Adventure can check these off on their fall trip.   Fall Decor on Main Street U.S.A. If you’ve ever dreamed of visiting Disneyland in Autumn, I’m sure this first item is on your mind. Disneyland (along with the other Disney Parks) is decked out every fall in Halloween decorations until it’s time to celebrate the next season! Before you even walk through the gates, you’re greeted by larger-than-life pumpkins shaped like Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto. Once you’re inside Disneyland, make sure you don’t rush to the castle too quickly. If you do, you’ll miss out on some of the fun details up and down Main Street U.S.A. The shop windows have Halloween banners hanging, there are themed pumpkins, and of course, you have to grab a picture or two with the Mickey Pumpkin! This year while admiring the windows of Main Street U.S.A., I noticed this fun, Elvis-inspired pumpkin with a record player near the music shop. On top of the doorway into the Mad Hatter, you’ll find jack-o-lanterns all wearing fun hats! This theme continues all the way down Main Street U.S.A. where you’ll find Walt & Mickey’s Partners Statue surrounded by pumpkins each carved with a Disney character to represent each land of the Happiest Place on Earth. Since this decor will be removed in just a few weeks with the start of November, it was surreal to finally experience these views in person for the first time ever! Taking Pics with the Mickey Pumpkin This year at Disneyland, PhotoPass photographers still aren’t allowed to touch your phone due to COVID restrictions. What this means is that if you aren’t investing in PhotoPass for your trip, you’ll have to rely on others to grab your Mickey Pumpkin shots while you’re there. I feel like Disneyland did a great job of filtering this process for guests this year, and here’s how it works: Everyone wanting a picture with the Mickey Pumpkin waits in a line to the right of the pumpkin. As you approach the front of the line, a PhotoPass Cast Member asks if you have PhotoPass or not. If you have it, they put you on the side of the pumpkin with a PhotoPass photographer. If you aren’t doing PhotoPass, they line you up on the other side. My friend Adam and I weren’t participating in PhotoPass, but thanks to this system we were able to get our photos taken by the person behind us in line. Since the Mickey Pumpkin has two sides to his face, this method was great for filtering guests ready to grab this photo opportunity! Pro Tip: The sides flip at the end of the day, so if you wanted a photo with the other side of the Mickey Pumpkin too just visit later in the day for your chance.     Monsters After Dark Disney California Adventure is home to Avengers Campus and the popular thrill attraction, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! Did you know this attraction experiences a special spooky overlay during the fall season? Starting on September 3, 2021, every night from 3:00 PM until park close, this attractions transforms into Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark. Guests helps Rocket rescue Groot from the monsters lurking around the Collector’s Fortress. By screaming and waving your hands in the air, you can distract the monsters, giving Rocket the opportunity to grab Groot and get him to safety! I’m a huge Tower of Terror fan, but the energy of this overlay was something else. It’s definitely my favorite version of the attraction at DCA. The theming begins as soon as you enter the building. All of the screens are glitching and there’s even a difference preshow with Rocket than the usual attraction. As you board your vehicle, you’ll starting jamming out to the “Monsters After Dark” soundtrack which really builds the energy. Even without a ticket to Oogie Boogie Bash, on party nights general admission guests can experience this overlay from 3 PM until 6 PM when the party begins! Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark disappears the morning after Halloween, so don’t miss your chance to experience it this season before it’s gone until 2022.    Spooky Season Decor in Radiator Springs Carsland is one of the most immersive lands in any Disney Park, and lucky for guests visiting Disneyland Resort, it’s located at Disney California Adventure Park. The cars of Radiator Springs go all out with decorations for Halloween in their own way, and it’s a sight you don’t want to miss. There are fall and Halloween-themed cars scattered all over the land, fun banners and decor on every building, and even a change in soundtrack for the season for Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree (normally Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree). What I love about these decorations is that it’s clear that the cars did the decorating themselves. Using tires, chains, and traffic cones, they were able to transform their town into something festive for spooky season! Believe it or not, the area is even more exciting at night — so don’t forget to stop by after dark if you can to see it all lit up.    Haunted Mansion Holiday […]

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The History of Magic Kingdom’s Nighttime Spectaculars

Have you ever heard of the phrase “rope drop to fireworks?” When someone says this, they are referring to how long they plan to stay at Magic Kingdom — from rope drop at park opening to the fireworks show at park close. After all, no Disney day is complete without watching fireworks light up the night sky at Disney! We’ve received a lot of recent news about fireworks shows and nighttime spectaculars at Walt Disney World over the past few weeks, so I thought it would be fun to take a trip through the history of Magic Kingdom’s fireworks shows.   Fantasy in the Sky (1971-2003) Fantasy in the Sky was a fireworks show that was originally created for Disneyland back in 1956. Being Disneyland’s first-ever fireworks show, it only makes sense that its legacy would live on with the same title for the east coast park when Walt Disney World opened in 1971. The original Magic Kingdom version of this show was about five minutes long, short and sweet. It featured classic Disney songs like “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” “A Dream is a Wish Your Hear Makes,” and “Mickey Mouse March” — just to name a few. For the 25th anniversary, Magic Kingdom’s version of Fantasy in the Sky featured “When You Wish Upon A Star” at the beginning and “Remember the Magic” as the encore. After the anniversary celebration ended, the music went back to its original score until the show saw a change in music in 1999. From 1999 until its farewell in 2003, Fantasy in the Sky featured songs related to the attractions and some of the company’s most popular films at the time, Aladdin and The Little Mermaid.  Fantasy in the Sky has a special New Years Version that takes place on New Year’s Eve at Magic Kingdom! (With the exception of last year due to COVID-19.) <span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>  Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams (2003-2017) On October 9, 2003, Magic Kingdom’s second fireworks show made its debut. Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams was designed by Steve Davison, Lead Creative Executive of Parades and Spectaculars at Walt Disney Creative Entertainment. This show was hosted by Jiminy Cricket and the Blue Fairy from Pinnochio. Guests would watch Tinker Bell fly, over 650 fireworks take off, and a special “wishing star” firework that would appear several times throughout the show. Several versions of this show were created over its almost 15-year run including Happy HalloWishes: A Grim Grinning Ghost Spooktacular in the Sky, Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season, Disney’s Celebrate America, Magic, Music, and Mayhem, Summer Nightastic!, and Fantasy in the Sky: New Year’s Eve Countdown. Both HalloWishes and Holiday Wishes would take place during the holidays’ special ticketed events until 2018. Wishes became a staple of ending a day at the Magic Kingdom, so when its farewell finally happened on May 11, 2017, there was a live stream from the Disney Parks Blog, Farewell Wishes merchandise for sale, and thousands of Disney fans still singing its praises years later.   Happily Ever After (2017-Present) Magic Kingdom’s newest nighttime spectacular is the most magical one yet. From its debut on May 12, 2017, it has left guests feeling mesmerized and inspired all at once. From the powerful soundtrack and stunning projections to the breathtaking display of fireworks lighting up the sky, this is a nighttime spectacular that every Disney fan needs to experience in person. The show’s main theme song shares the same title — “Happily Ever After” and it’s sung by Jordan Fischer & Angie Keilhauer. Happily Ever After covers seven segments through popular Disney songs and corresponding scenes from the films projected on the castle. The featured segments are Wish, Adventure, Friendship, Love, Adversity, Heroes Fight Back, and Peace Restored. March 12, 2021 made one year since any guests have experienced this show in person. On July 1, 2021, Happily Ever After will light up Magic Kingdom’s night sky once again!   What’s Next? Since Disney’s recent announcement about “Disney Enchantment” debuting for the 50th-anniversary celebration, there has been a lot of worry among Disney fans that this is the end for Happily Ever After. While we don’t have a confirmed “yes” or “no” just yet, I ask you to keep the following factors in mind before panicking: With past nighttime spectacular closing dates (Wishes and Illuminations) we were given advanced notice and Farewell merchandise available for purchase. (We aren’t to this point just yet, so stay calm!) When Disneyland celebrated its 60th Anniversary back in 2015, there was a special fireworks show created for the event called Disneyland Forever. Once the event ended, Disneyland went back to its previous nighttime spectacular, which just happened to be Fantasy in the Sky! Magic Kingdom’s other two nighttime spectaculars lasted in the parks for well over a decade. (Fantasy in the Sky lasted for over three decades!) Happily Ever After has only been around for four years, and we lost one to the global pandemic. I’m going to go ahead and assume they’re going to want to get their longevity out of this spectacular as well! While I don’t have any idea what’s actually going down and I don’t speak for the company, I just thought I’d share that food for thought based on the park’s firework history! I’m personally very excited for a new nighttime spectacular for the 18-month anniversary celebration. This will be Magic Kingdom’s first nighttime show with projections stretched all the way to Main Street U.S.A. You can read all about the 50th anniversary announcements from earlier this week here! It’s hard to believe that Magic Kingdom turns 50 in less than 100 days. Year after year and night after night, guests gather under the stars to experience fireworks, powerful soundtracks, and a certain kind of magic you’ll only find there. Even after five decades, fireworks on Main Street U.S.A. is still the best way to end a Disney day. Which Magic Kingdom nighttime spectacular is […]

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“Disney Enchantment,” “Harmonious,” and more debut on October 1 at Walt Disney World Resort

October 1, 2021, will be here before we know it, which means “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” countdown is on! Walt Disney World Resort turns fifty this year and Disney Parks Blog just dropped some exciting news around the 18-month celebration. Disney Enchantment Magic Kingdom Park will offer a new nighttime spectacular, “Disney Enchantment,” along with the start of the celebration on October 1, 2021. This new nighttime spectacular was created  just for “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” and is said to take guests on a journey filled with adventure, wonder, and empowerment! “Disney Enchantment” will feature enhanced lighting, showstopping fireworks, special music, and, for the first time in Magic Kingdom Park, immersive projection effects that extend from Cinderella Castle all the way to Main Street U.S.A.    Harmonious The long-awaited EPCOT nighttime spectacular “Harmonious” will also debut on Walt Disney World’s anniversary this year, October 1, 2021. (Fun Fact: Both Magic Kingdom and EPCOT share the same anniversary, just 11 years apart — so on this day next year it will be EPCOT’s 40th anniversary!) “Harmonious” is said to be one of the largest nighttime spectaculars ever created for a Disney park. Guests will gather around World Showcase Lagoon to experience this grand, powerful tribute to the stories and songs that unite us. “Harmonious” incorporates pyrotechnics, choreographed moving fountains, lighting, and more new technical magic. You’ll travel the globe through new interpretations of classic Disney songs like you’ve never heard them before! These songs have been reimagined in more than a dozen languages, thanks to a diverse group of 240 artist from around the world.   Disney KiteTails DIsney’s Animal Kingdom will be getting some new daytime entertainment for the 50th anniversary celebration, too! “Disney KiteTails” will bring the Discovery River Amphitheater to life several times daily starting on October 1, 2021. Performers in this production will fly vibrant and larger-than-life kites and windcatchers in a truly unique Disney experience. Some of these elaborate three-dimensional kites will stretch up to 30 feet long, and will depict Disney animal friends like Simba, Baloo, Zazu, and King Louie. Match these vibrant kites with some of your favorite Disney songs and you’re in for an exciting new Disney’s Animal Kingdom experience!   Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcade As you know, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse are your hosts for “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” and they will be sporting new EARidescent fashions for the 50th anniversary. As pictured above, it’s clear that everyone in the crew will be experiencing an EASidescent upgrade — including Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Chip ‘n’ Dale, Goofy, and Pluto. These new outfits will debut on October 1, 2021, along with a new daily experience, the “Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcade.”   Disney Fab 50 Mickey and friends — Let’s call them “The EARidescent Eight” (You heard it here first!) — will also be featured on special golden character sculptures at Magic Kingdom Park. Starting October 1, 2021, there will be 50 characters in total, and the series of sculptures will be displayed across all four theme parks. For now, we’re waiting to find out which other characters will be included in the Fab 50 — but I have a feeling an update will be coming soon! I can’t wait to see how all fifty of these new sculptures will be infused into the four theme parks.   “Walt Disney World: A Portrait of the First Half Century” It’s no secret that I love Disney coffee table books, so y’all already know I’m snagging this in the fall! “Walt Disney World: A Portrait of the First Half Century”  will be available for purchase beginning September 28, 2021 at Walt Disney World, shopDisney.com, and anywhere books are sold. This book will give readers an insider’s look into the history and evolution of Walt Disney World, and it’s written by Kevin Kern, Tim O’Day, and Steven Vagnini. There will be even more special books publishing this year for the 50th anniversary, so click here to get more information on that! “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” is almost here and it’s clear that it’s going to be a magical time for guests and cast memebers alike. We will see the grand opening of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT, EARidescent decor all across the resort, and all four parks transforming into Beacons of Magic at night. Walt Disney World cast members will be wearing new EARidescent nametags designed especially for the celebration, and they are looking forward to the start of the celebration! There’s still plenty more excitement to be revealed over the next few months, so keep checking back here for more updates. Are you visiting Walt Disney World for the 50th Anniversary?

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