On Monday, Sam let me know she was probably going to the Friday Halloween party at Disney alone thanks to changes in other people's plans.
Monday night, at Bob's nudging, I shopped and found a reasonable flight to get in before the party on Friday and back on Sunday so we could go together.
Instead of having to wait until Thanksgiving to see Sammi, I got to spend one-on-one time with her in one of our very favorites places!
The time between Monday night and Friday was the slowest.E.V.E.R.
Up at 4:00 and arriving in Orlando at 12:00 (that two hour time difference is much better going the other direction...), family friend Bill picked me up from the airport and Sammi met us at Bill and Julie's place an hour later.
I'd bought some temporary face tattoos for us to wear with our Disney shirts as "costumes". They were Day of the Dead skeleton face ones. Between having to pack very light to avoid additional fees on Frontier (only a bag that will fit under the seat is free) and the heat and humidity and high chance of rain, neither of us wanted to mess with anything heavy for costumes.
So after we ate a bite, we started applying them to our faces before heading for the Magic Kingdom. Between Sam's slightly too-far apart eye sockets giving her an over surprised look and my managing to get one tattoo firmly attached to my eyebrow at first (not a good look) we got a terrible case of the giggles. Once we could pull ourselves together and finish, we were out the door and on the way! We arrived around 3:20 and were through the gates by 3:50.
Since we purchased our tickets ahead of time, we could also make three fast-pass reservations between 4 and 7 that afternoon during the "regular" park hours before the official start of the party time. We just made it over to our first one, Big Thunder, with a minute to spare on the allowed time frame. This was on Sam's must-rides since it was down when she and Emily came for her birthday.
in our favorite back-row seat!
Our second Fast-Pass was set up for 4:05 - 5:05, so we went through Adventureland and rode the other must-do for Sam, Pirates of the Caribbean, because it had been closed most of the month of September for refurbishment and she'd missed riding that one as well.
We made it from there to Space Mountain in the last minutes of our FP window and got this shot from the ride. As we were gearing up, I'd told Sam, "Camera's at the next turn, on your right," so she could pose. I then asked, "Is it a little scary I know that?" "Just a bit," she replied.
We headed from Space Mountain back to Haunted Mansion to ride the last of our three reserved rides and then stopped by the Frontierland Pin Store to get the limited edition party pin. If you don't have a party ticket, which gets you a party wristband, Cast Members cannot sell you any party merchandise. Since we were still ahead of the 7:00 party start, there were plenty of people in line who weren't allowed to get things they wanted.
Next, we strolled up Main Street to pick up our party exclusive Sorcerer Card (it's an interactive game we play and collect cards for). (There, too , everyone in line wanted to see what the exclusive card was since they couldn't get that either.)
Some photos of Main Street decked out for Fall:
As the sun was setting behind thick clouds, we grabbed a snack and people watched folks coming through in their costumes before making the rounds again.
This is where we stopped for the first Party exclusive Magic PhotoPass shot of the night. You pose and they add the overlay in after the fact.
Things were so uncrowded that it was taking way less time than I'd allotted for us to do everything we wanted. Our plan was to get over to Splash right as the first parade was getting started (which generally draws away most everyone and, thanks to the parade route, cuts off easy access to that corner during it's run) so we'd have the place to ourselves. But since we were ahead of schedule, we decided to go ahead and see what the wait was like beforehand.
It was a complete walk-on. Empty log except for us!
As we were heading out from Splash, we spotted another PhotoPass photographer posing a group hitchhiking, so we knew this was where we could get the three Haunted Mansion ghosts together. As we were waiting, it started to rain. The last bit of us who were in line took turns holding an umbrella over her head so she could finish before scurrying her gear over to the covered area to wait it out. You can see the rain drops in our shot.
We followed her under the porch area to get our ponchos on and it occurred to me to ask if she knew where we could nab the Poison Apple/Cauldron magic shot. She didn't know, but her manager who had appeared to check that she'd gotten out of the rain said, "Oh, you can do that one right here." He directed her through the settings and we, in our ponchos, posed. But, since it wasn't the ordinary spot to get the overlay, when we looked at them later, it's just us. I've sent in a request to have it added, but the "missing" shot is pretty fun.
Everyone who had staked out a good spot for the first parade for a long time had to have been disappointed. The rain got going just minutes before the planned start of the parade, so it was delayed. It was pouring at that point, so we made our way over to grab a bite of dinner, like everyone else who was trying to stay dry. About 9:30, an hour after the first parade time, it was letting up as we walked down Main Street. Since everyone had abandoned their primo-curb-on-Main-Street spots and it seemed like, to me, the rain was going to pass soon, we curled our ponchos under us and sat down to people watch some more.
Sure enough, about five minutes later, the announcement came on that the parade would be starting in ten minutes. It got rolling down Main Street just before ten.
It seemed like the hour+ rain sent a lot of people home. We walked up a few paces to the perfect spot on Main Street that is at the highest point and waited. Sure enough, an announcement came on that e fireworks show HallowWishes would start in ten minutes! Seriously, without the rain, we'd never have had the patience to get the views we had!
It seemed like the folks who'd gone into the back of the park during the rain had figured out Main Street was hopping again, because as we walked further toward the Castle to see if they'd run the delayed show, everyone had the same idea. This is where we encountered our only real crowds. We wormed our way around to a pretty good angle and just had to peer around a few heads to see everything.
At that point, it was 11:20 and the few times we'd walked by the one ride in the Magic Kingdom I hadn't yet ridden, it was either down or the wait was too long. So after the show, we went to check on the wait. We caught Eeyore in his costume along the way.
The Seven Dwarves Mine Train is a very hard Fast Pass to score, so people wait a long time in line to get to ride it. Sam and Emily waited an hour and a half! But we walked right on this late in the evening. It's a super smooth kiddie coaster through the story.
On our way out, we saw one of the super-sought-after character meet and greets, all seven Dwarves together. You never see them all in one group. The people in that line (already closed off when we came by so no one else could get in line) had waited hours for their turn for a photo with these guys. I just snapped from behind the ropes and saved all that time.
We then walked on Peter Pan, also usually with hours of waits, and as we were leaving, realized that they were running the second round of the parade again, already after midnight, the supposed end of the party. We sat down at the Ice Cream Parlour on Main Street afterwards and watched from afar as the castle show got going again. We got the special sundae in the Poison Apple souvenir cup, too!
A few more photos on the way out of the park:
We got back to Bill and Julie's around 2:00 a.m. and didn't wind down until closer to 3:30, nearing being up 21 hours before collapse. We spend Saturday just hanging out and going out to eat and resting our weary feet.
Set the alarm for 4:40 (2:40 my time) Sunday morning so Sam could drop me off at the airport to get back to Denver. It was very surreal to have a trip that short when we typically spend an entire week at Disney World, not a single night, but it was such a fun time and so good to get to talk non-stop while we caught up on things in person.
Now we have about six weeks to Thanksgiving, and then only another three between that and our week-long Christmas Disney trip!