New Ride Overlays for Christmas & Halloween at Disney World!

Walt Disney World has announced holiday attraction overlays for Halloween and Christmas at Magic Kingdom, along with new fireworks, and parade floats in Boo to You. While normally we’d just toss these into the updates section of our Guide to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Guide to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (actually, we already did for the latter), we thought these might warrant a full post.

Let’s start with today’s announcement, which is the news that for the first time ever during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, four Magic Kingdom attractions are receiving special enhancements just for the holidays. First, when you get behind the wheel on the Tomorrowland Speedway, you’ll find yourself cruising a festive freeway filled with thousands of lights and decorations. If that (gorgeous) concept art above is accurate, this means Christmas trees.

Next, the crew at Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor is putting some “Ha Ha Ha” in their “Ho Ho Ho,” with a new show for everyone visiting the Monster World during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Rounding out the Totally Tinsel Tomorrowland Trio (my term, not Disney’s), Space Mountain will be filled with dazzling holiday lighting and high-energy Christmas music. Finally, Mad Tea Party in Fantasyland becomes a wild and wacky Christmas party, as you spin your teacups to one of four new holiday combos of lights and music…

Continuing with the attraction overlays but jumping to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, this year Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor will also be added to the lineup of last year’s attractions (joining Mad Tea Party, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Space Mountain). Guests will follow the treat trail into the Monster World at Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor and interact in all-new ways with the comic cast of monsters, as they learn about the curious Human World holiday we call Halloween.

The Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor overlays are interesting and seem likely they’ll likely be accomplished entirely via the screens in the theater. That makes it simple to switch over from the regular daytime version to the seasonal version on evenings when the Halloween and Christmas parties start.

Our guess is that the substance of the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor overlay will be some goofy holiday attire on the monsters, wintery backdrops, and Christmas-centric jokes and puns.

To us, this sounds about perfect and should breathe some new life into the interactive show, which is starting to show its age (and seems more repetitive and formulaic of late than it used to be–but perhaps we’ve just had poor luck the last year or so). Hopefully, it’ll be a solid addition.

Normally, I’m not exactly what you’d call an enthusiast of Tomorrowland Speedway, but I’m really excited for its Christmas overlay.

In fact, I’m so hyped that I had to take a step back (not literally, I couldn’t reach the keyboard if I did) before typing this out. I didn’t want that enthusiasm and my wishful thinking to get the best of me.

In my dream scenario, this is like a drive-through version of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, albeit scaled back considerably. Canopies of lights overhead, spinning globes, giant trees, and of course, Baby Sinclair. My mind instantly started racing, and one of my least favorite attractions became one of my theoretical favorites.

As a kid–and heck, even as an adult–I loved driving around neighborhoods that really got into Christmas lights. Back in Indiana, we often visited Reynolds Farm Equipment Christmas Light Show to see their decked-out tractors, mowers, and other very Indiana displays.

In reality, I’m guessing the Tomorrowland Speedway holiday overlay will be a couple dozen illuminated Christmas trees and various other decorative items, plus music that it’ll be difficult to hear over the loud sputtering of the car motors. That’s still pretty cool and I’m really looking forward to it, but I’m keeping my expectations in check. It probably won’t be super elaborate. Nevertheless, I don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. I’m excited and optimistic for the Tomorrowland Speedway Christmas overlay!

It’s a savvy move on Walt Disney World’s part to increase the number of attraction overlays for these hard ticket seasonal parties. For the past two years, the Halloween and Christmas Parties have been overcrowded, especially on Main Street and at character meet & greets.

In these areas of Magic Kingdom, the park can feel like it’s a 10/10 in terms of crowds. Between the fireworks and second parade, the Hub can feel downright unsafely congested as people are attempting to leave and arrive simultaneously. Meanwhile, over in Tomorrowland, Adventureland, and Frontierland, it’s a veritable ghost town with walkways so empty you can dance with Country Bears or do attractions as walk-ons.

The issue at the parties isn’t so much that attendance is too high (although I have no doubts that the cap has been increased by tens of thousands of guests in the last few years), it’s crowd density in certain areas of Magic Kingdom. As a disproportionate amount of the entertainment–and best photo ops–are on Main Street, that’s always the most crowded area of the park.

The attraction overlays are a good way to help redistribute crowds, drawing people deeper into Magic Kingdom. In so doing, that should ease congestion, and hopefully improving the guest experience. Or, Walt Disney World will use the overlays as a justification for further increasing the attendance cap!

Continuing with new Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, the latest announcement concerns additions coming to Boo to You! First, a new Tomorrowland unit brings the Incredibles and designer extraordinaire Edna Mode to the parade, followed by Buzz Lightyear and Alien explorers discovering crystalline treasures on the surface of a planetary playset float.

Additionally, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in all-new Halloween costumes as they trick-or-treat down Main Street, U.S.A. Representing Liberty Square, the Haunted Mansion unit features Hitchhiking Ghosts and a new addition, the spectral Bride, who glides among the waltzing spirits.

I’ve seen some criticism about the Tomorrowland stuff not having anything to do with Halloween, but the same could be said for other units in the parade, including my beloved Frontierland unit that features the Country Bears.

I’m fine with a loose approach to parade themes, and think Boo to You works even with some shoehorned content because the majority is solid Halloween content. (This also helps with pacing, I think.)

With that said, nothing about the Tomorrowland concept art really has me excited, but I’m not against it either, as it sounds like this is a pure addition in terms of floats (presumably, the number of performers in the entire parade won’t change, so there will be a reallocation there).

The thing I’m most excited about here is the Bride joining the Haunted Mansion unit. That’s already the best section of the parade (perhaps of any parade), and it could be getting stronger. Now we just need a return of the Caretaker and his dog!

Next, we have a replacement for Happy HalloWishes: the new “Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular.” The new fireworks will feature projections, lasers, lighting, and fireworks that come together to tell a not-so-scary story about how anything can happen on Halloween night.

Serving as host is Jack Skellington from Nightmare Before Christmas, and his ghost dog, Zero, will fly off to start this trick-or-treating adventure. From there, four friends — Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy — find themselves drawn into a mysterious haunted house. The journey takes them from one room of the house to another, encountering dancing skeletons, waltzing ghosts, and a series of troublemaking Disney villains. Sounds promising.

Bouncing back to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, there’s also the brand new “Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks” show, which debuts this year. Walt Disney World previously announced that Minnie Mouse will be the host of this new nighttime spectacular. Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks will celebrate the magic of Christmas with medleys of beloved holiday songs, from “Joy to the World” and “Deck the Halls” to “Up on the House Top” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.”

The music in Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks will evoke heartfelt moments of home and family, as well as the festive fun of the season before an incredible finale you won’t want to miss. Walt Disney World is also advertising that the new fireworks “can be enjoyed across the park!” This fits with the whole ‘redistribution of crowds’ angle for the attraction overlays.

Overall, this news has me more enthusiastic about Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party this year. We encountered heavy crowds at all of the parties we attended last year, which definitely left a sour taste in my mouth. This helps wash that away…at least a bit. I’m still apprehensive about the attendance caps being too high at these events, and think they’re difficult to justify in terms of value for money. Nevertheless, we’ll be purchasing tickets to attend both thanks to these new offerings, so I guess Walt Disney World’s “strategy” has worked on at least someone!

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

Your Thoughts

What do you think of these Halloween and Christmas Party additions? Excited for them, or are they not enough to convince you to drop $$$ on event tickets? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

27 Responses to “New Ride Overlays for Christmas & Halloween at Disney World!”
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