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!
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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!
Why did you have a photo of Osbourne Lights? Are they really bringing them back?! That would make me and millions of people happy! They could put them in so many places so easily. AND they can put up the The Lights of Winter arches in Epcot too
Will these overlays be available on non Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party nights?
Reynolds donated their display to Conner Prairie so it will be no more. At least no more for free. 🙁 I live about 2 miles away and am so sad.
SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!!! I’ve read your blog for YEARS and never realized that you have Hoosier roots. We live down the street from the Reynolds lights and drive past and through them a gazillion times every Christmas season! We are going to WDW this December in honor of the Fishers High School marching band’s upcoming performance at MK! Go Tigers!
Went to college in Indiana and lived there for several years afterwards. Have a good trip this December!
The new Christmas additions sound like a lot of fun to me!! Christmas is my favorite, and we really wanted to go in December this year but since we are going with our entire family (22 people), we had to schedule the trip for January 2nd due to schedule conflicts. Do you know when they take down all the Christmas decorations? I’m hoping they may still be up, but I know it’s a long shot. 🙁 Thanks!!
This isn’t the right place to ask this, but I’m gonna see if I get a reply anyway. With the new attraction photo/video thing from Tower of Terror, how will Memory Maker work if the person that is assigned Memory Maker doesn’t ride the attraction? ie. My husband, my dad, and I will be taking our first trip to Disney World. I know that my husband and dad will love Tower of Terror, however, I’m pretty sure I would have a heart attack and die if I even attempted this ride. I wouldn’t make it past the queue. I’m assigned Memory Maker, but would still love to have the photo of my husband and dad. Will it still show up in our Memory Maker photos without me?
Will I have to assign and re-assign Memory Maker for each ride that may have an attraction photo that I won’t be on? Can you even do that once pictures have started to be taken?
Everybody on your family and friends group will be able to use your Memory Maker Package without you scanning your Magic Band. Just make sure they are on your My Disney.
I realize it was probably a stupid question, but I just wanted to make sure! Thank you for letting me know. =o]
As a fail-safe for any linking issues, you could always just give your MagicBand to hubby to take on Tot.
Sorry if someone has answered this before, but for the Christmas Party, do all/most of the quick service dining locations remain open? And, i assume you can’t FastPass rides during the Party?
this was not my experience a few years ago at a halloween party, get your food before the park closes if you want something, otherwise options are limited, unless you want all sugary snacks. savory options are severely lacking at both parties. and correct, no fastpasses.
The Laugh Floor has been one of my favorite attractions at MK for some time. I agree with you that the content in the recent year or so has been getting more repetitive and less funny. (At first, I thought it might’ve been because I was seeing it more and more, but upon further reflection and discussion with other Disney fans, I don’t think that’s the full reason!)
Looking forward to a new holiday overlay. I hope the Space Mountain one is worth it. We thought the Villains overlay for the Villains After Hours party was awful.
Does anyone know how far in advance tickets usually sell out for the Christmas party? We are going at Thanksgiving which already tends to have a high attendance rate? Thanks!
Even with the increased ticket prices and crowds, we still love the Halloween party and its a yearly tradition. Boo to You Parade and character greets are worth it. I love most of the units in the Boo to You Parade especially Frontierland unit since most of my favorite characters are in one unit (Country Bears, Brers, Chip and Dale). I was 100% fine with parade prior to Goofy being bumped in favor of Wreck-it-Ralph. I am afraid with the addition of the Tomorrowland unit, which beloved unit or characters will get axed so Disney can keep shoehorning Incredibles and Toy Story characters everywhere. Although I welcome the new Halloween fireworks show, I will miss the Ghost Host as the narrator.
I like the Christmas party additions. I look forward to watching the fireworks show or hearing the soundtrack on YouTube since I wont be able to attend the party this Christmas season. Similar to the new Christmas fireworks, I wish Happily Ever After can be enjoyed “across the park” rather than Main Street only. I like Disneyland firework shows can be enjoyed in front of Small World or in Frontierland.
I think the Speedway and Laugh Floor additions sound great, and the teacups with different music sounds ok, but the Space Mountain one seems off to me — Christmas in space? Not feeling it.
Meanwhile over at Disneyland, it sounds like this Christmas is getting pretty much exactly the same overlays/shows as the last couple seasons.
Are all the rides open during the parties? We’re going to the Halloween party for the first time this September and are hoping to be able to walk on some of them.
The last and only time I attended the Halloween party was in 2004 it cost 31.95 per adult plus park admission. I made a Minnie Mouse costume it came out pretty good! You could just go on any ride all night long no waiting. But we never found any candy!
I had done a Christmas party with my parents and siblings in 2004 and don’t remember crowds being much of an issue but my husband and I attended our first Christmas party together two holiday’s ago and the crowds were a bit much. We felt it was a one and done type thing for us. On our honeymoon in May (height of this year’s love bug plague- drat!) we attended an After Hours event at Hollywood as that was the only park that fit into our schedule and we loved it. I’m leaning more towards the After Hours events (going to Villain’s next Thursday after driving with my brother from MA to FL- he’s “going to Batu” as they say, as a new CM!) but oddly the overlays, particularly Tomorrowland Speedway have me itching to try out the Christmas party again!
Has anyone noticed that the Buzz Float used to be the Capt. Jack Float? Pirates being another group that may or may not fit into the Christmas theme ….
I wish that Disney could find someway to take some of those Osborne Lights and decorate the Park … the trees throughout the park and edges of the buildings could use some lights – nothing extravagant, just brighten up the dark places a bit. It’s not like they don’t take a little time with the castle ….
I heard this week that Disney gave the lights back to the Osbourne family this year. My husband and I managed to see them on our first trip together in 2014, but sadly that will apparently be the only time.
Going in November. The Space Mountain addition sounds cool. However, it doesn’t matter how many lights you add to the Speedway , it is a waste of space. It should be taken down to make room for an attraction or attractions more befitting of Disney. Can’t believe we wasted a fast pass on it last year.
The last MNSSHP my family attended was in 2017, and it was so crowded we became gridlocked multiple times throughout the night. We said, “NEVER AGAIN.” Now, just two short years later and due in large part to this article, I might have to eat those words.
This is exciting! Do you think it is safe to assume that the Christmas overlays and fireworks will be available to all park guests during Christmas week? Or is this for the parties ONLY?
This is my question too! Space Mountain Christmas sounds like so much fun!
I am assuming (and hoping ) that these overlays will be up Christmas week since other party entertainment happens during Christmas week.
“In my dream scenario, this is like a drive-through version of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, albeit scaled back considerably.”
In my dream scenario, this is like a drive-through version of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, *but not* scaled back considerably. 😀
These sound like nice additions to both parties. I’m not sure Id’ drop the $$ they are asking these days, but it would help.
I’d agree with you that the HM segment of the Boo to You parade is the strongest – the gravediggers + hitchhiking ghosts (though impossible for me to photograph) are awesome . And the last time we were there, they still had the undertaker + dog.