Packing for Disney in Winter

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If you’re visiting Walt Disney World or Disneyland during the Christmas or winter season (pretty much November through February), what you will need to think about packing will be different than visits throughout the rest of the year. I was reminded of this today when I was checking out the long term weather forecast for Walt Disney World, and noticed a low of 39 degrees tomorrow. While low temperatures this low are the exception and not the rule, the weather can get cold on both coasts, and ever since being caught off-guard by below-freezing temperatures a couple of years ago at Walt Disney World in December, I’ve been very cognizant of the weather forecast.

The difficulty of packing for Walt Disney World or Disneyland this time of year is the large variances in the weather. You could experience four seasons of weather during your trip…in a single day. Most people aren’t going to want to carry the luggage that would be required to pack for every weather scenario, making what to bring a tough question. This post will cover a few things you should take on any winter trip to the Disney Parks, plus some additional items to consider when the weather is expected to be unseasonably cold.

Note that this list only covers items you’ll want to pack specifically during the winter months. For our full all-seasons packing recommendations, check out our Unique Disney Packing List post, which contains a lot of innovative and cool things for your trip that you otherwise might not have considered. Now, let’s check out what you should pack for Disney during those winter months… (more…)

Visiting Disney World in December 2014

December at Walt Disney World is all about Christmas. It’s everywhere, with decorations, entertainment, merchandise, food, and more. However, celebrating Christmas isn’t the only good reason to visit during December. Early December is also a good time to visit thanks to weather that is typically good (albeit cold at times), with relatively low crowds. All bets are off come the week leading up to Christmas through the remainder of December, when Walt Disney World becomes insanely busy, making it one of the worst times of the year to visit unless you know what you’re doing.

If you’ve already read our November at Walt Disney World post, you know some of the upsides of visiting Walt Disney World this time of year. The big difference between November and December in terms of events is that all of the Christmas offerings are in full swing by December, and that weather can be cooler (or downright cold) and the last two weeks of December are insanely busy.

In terms of crowds, one of the worst kept secrets is that the first two weeks of December are two of the slowest of the year. Well, this used to be the case. The “secret” has gotten out, not just thanks to savvy locals and Disney Vacation Members, but also due to Disney itself offering more discounts to lure people and groups down at this time of year. The result is that the beginning of December is still a good month to visit for low crowds (check out our When To Visit Walt Disney World post for the best and worst months of the year), but it’s not as good as it used to be. This is especially true if you happen to be at the same resort or park as the Pop Warner and National Cheer & Dance Championship attendees. This year, the event is December 6 – 13, 2014; we’d highly recommend not staying at the All Star Resorts during this time (an even better option is to visit prior to them arriving or after they leave). (more…)

Tips for Buying Discount Disney World Tickets

Money-saving Tips for Buying Discount Walt Disney World Tickets (from authorized sellers!)

Walt Disney World offers a wide array of tickets. These tickets are expensive, but luckily, if you shop right, you can find good discounts on Disney tickets to save money. When it comes to a Disney vacation, the tickets are likely going to be your second-most expensive expenditure after your hotel room and perhaps airfare. For some people, they might actually be the most costly portion of the trip! Disney raises its ticket prices about once or twice per year with the last increase occurring in February 2014, so it’s best to buy your tickets as early as possible, before your trip.

Given their cost, and the myriad of different ticket options, it’s important to know as much as you can about the different types of tickets, and what your family will probably need. Purchasing Walt Disney World tickets can be overwhelming, as there are many different choices and add-ons. If you’re willing to do a little homework, all of the options are a good thing, as you can buy exactly what you need and not waste money on unnecessary extras.

In this article we sort through the different options and give you recommendations on what types of tickets are best for you, plus where you can save money on Walt Disney World tickets. (If you’ve come looking for info on discount Disneyland tickets, you’ve come to the wrong place–but we do have an article on that, too.)

If all you’re looking for is where to safely buy cheap, legitimate Walt Disney World tickets from an authorized reseller and don’t need to read this entire article, click here.

Ready to get started? Here are our tips and tricks for saving money on 2014 Disney World tickets! (more…)

Ultimate 2014 Disney World Christmas Guide

Christmas and the holiday season at Walt Disney World is a very special time of year. This 2014 Ultimate Guide will give you tips about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Candlelight Processional, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, and everything else Walt Disney World has to offer at Christmas!

We’ll include some of our tips and tricks for best-experiencing the Walt Disney World at Christmas-time, and we hope this thorough guide will prove helpful for everyone from first-time guests to yearly visitors. This isn’t merely the Disney-marketing copy you’ll find on every other site offering the same generic information about Christmas at Walt Disney World. Much like Captain EO, these tips are here to change the world. Or, at least, the way you experience the World at Christmas!

When To Visit



If you’re visiting Walt Disney World at “Christmas,” the first thing you’ll need to figure out is when you want to visit. There are quotes (they would be air quotes, but science has yet to invent a way to type those) around Christmas back there because the holiday season at Walt Disney World, much like the holiday season at your local mall, actually begins in early November and doesn’t conclude until after Christmas, in January.

Veterans know that the week leading up to Christmas and the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve are terrible times to travel if you dislike crowds. The idea that anyone should avoid these times at all costs, however, is actually a misconception that has been perpetuated for years and has just become repeated so often that it’s accepted. Both of these weeks can be great times to go, but only if they closely match your personality and touring style. If you don’t like being in dense crowds, these times of year are probably out. If you can’t get up really early and take a long midday break, these times of year are also probably out.

No matter when you go, you will also want to remember to pack for the season. Check out our Winter Packing Tips for Disney post for more insight on what to take on your trip. Just because it’s Florida doesn’t mean it won’t be cold!

Now, let’s take a look at all of the Christmas offerings at Walt Disney World for the 2014 season, plus how and when to best see it all… (more…)

Haunted Halloween at Hong Kong Disneyland

Hong Kong Disneyland is the only Disney theme park in the world to have Halloween entertainment that is actually scary and targeted at teens and adults, as opposed to the other parks’ Halloween offerings, which are tame and focus more on costumes and candy than scaring guests. Since first hearing about the intense nature of Hong Kong Disneyland’s “Haunted Halloween” a few years ago, it has been something I have wanted to experience. This year, I got the opportunity to experience it, attending the first weekend of Haunted Halloween.

Unlike the other parks, which begin celebrating Halloween shortly after the Fourth of July, Hong Kong Disneyland starts the first week of October. Its Haunted Halloween offerings occur only on weekends, but are included in the price of normal theme park admission. Haunted Halloween coincides with the debut of Disney Paint the Night Parade this year, and the new parade has stolen a lot of the limelight from Halloween. As a result, there’s no Halloween parade this year, and the decorations on Main Street, which would normally be Halloween-themed, are instead promoting the new nighttime parade.

If you look at the lineup in this post and compare it to previous years, you can see a definite decrease in the Halloween offerings at Hong Kong Disneyland. This isn’t just the case this year, as it appears less and less has been done for each of the last few years. Now, some might say this is Hong Kong Disneyland making cuts, but I think it has more to do with the fact that a few years ago Hong Kong Disneyland was a bit sparse, so the extravagant Halloween entertainment was necessary. Now that the park has grown substantially in the past few years, some justifiable cuts have occurred.

Still, I found Haunted Halloween to be no slouch, with two haunted house-like walk-through attractions in Graves Academy and Revenge of the Headless Horseman, a 20 minute show called “Horrors of the Amazon,” Autumn Festival games in Grizzly Gulch, Halloween meet & greets, and more. The highlights for most guests are clearly the haunted houses, with everything else playing second fiddle. Mystic Manor is also especially popular at Halloween, much like Haunted Mansion in the US sees a slight spike in popularity. While Haunted Halloween at Hong Kong Disneyland might be leaner than it used to be, it’s still a pretty awesome event.

In this post, we will discuss each of the Halloween offerings for Hong Kong Disneyland’s Haunted Halloween, offer our tips, and share some photos from the festivities…



For starters, if you’re visiting for a weekend night during Haunted Halloween at Hong Kong Disneyland, you might consider wearing a costume. As is the case with the US parks, Hong Kong Disneyland encourages guests to wear costumes for Halloween, inviting guests to “explore your dark side.” There are rules for the costumes, but these appear very lax, with signs (see photo below) informing guests that they couldn’t bring wagons or brooms into the houses. Meaning, wagons, swords, brooms, etc., are all allowed, but just not for costumes. (And you know if it’s on a sign, it’s because there has been an issue before. Perhaps a guest reflexively hit an actor in a house with a broom…or wagon?)  (more…)

Halloween at Tokyo DisneySea

Disney’s Halloween is a big deal at Tokyo Disneyland in September and October, but there’s arguably more to experience at Tokyo DisneySea. This post covers our tips for Halloween at Tokyo DisneySea, and how to enjoy the seasonal entertainment and the general ambiance of the park during the fall festivities.

To start, although both parks generally celebrate “Disney’s Halloween,” the tone of each park’s Halloween entertainment is dramatically different. Tokyo Disneyland has everything you’d expect out of a Disney castle park for its Halloween entertainment: there’s a parade, decorations, and fireworks (among other things). In general, it leans heavily on the Disney characters for a cheerful Halloween carnival.

Tokyo DisneySea does not go the “scary” route for Halloween (like Hong Kong Disneyland or Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights), but it definitely has a more adult feel, much like the park itself. The Disney characters still play their part, too, but the entertainment feels decidedly more refined, and works on both an adult level and a child level. Disney does this masterfully in all of its best entertainment (and I’m not just talking theme parks) so to see it in the Tokyo DisneySea shows was pretty cool.

This post covers my thoughts on these pieces of Halloween entertainment at Tokyo DisneySea, plus lots of photos from the “Disney’s Halloween 2014″ event. Although this information is specific to my 2014 visit, Tokyo DisneySea presents its Halloween entertainment every year (although specific offerings do change yearly), so this should be useful for future years. Just don’t expect to see exactly what’s pictured here if you visit in 2015, 2016, or beyond.

All entertainment for Disney’s Halloween at Tokyo DisneySea that’s discussed here is included in regular park admission, and at just under $60 for a 1-day Tokyo DisneySea ticket, a full day of both normal attractions and the Halloween stuff at Tokyo DisneySea is actually cheaper than the hard ticket Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World!

Enough chatter–let’s take a look at what’s happening at Tokyo DisneySea for Halloween! (more…)