First, behold the awesome adorableness that is my friends Chris & Christie dressed as little Carl & Ellie from UP:
Behold the adorableness. I said, BEHOLD IT!
(I love this picture, graininess and all. These two are just so fun to photograph.)
Oh, and Christie made that big Adventure Book hollow so just could use it as a purse. How genius is that?! She also made custom bottle cap pins that say "CNC Pop" for their initials. LOVE.
Now, when you're used to convention-quality costumes, MNSSHP is definitely a bit of a let down. Ninety percent of what you see is straight off the shelves at Party City - and I was mildly horrified to see more than a few "sexy" costumes on young girls, and at least one guy in a giant foam Beer costume. (That disapproval I'm feeling means I'm getting old, doesn't it? Pretty soon I'll be shaking a cane through the window and yelling at imaginary kids to get off my lawn. Heh.)
Still, that just makes the occasional homemade costume so much more special - and especially ones with a twist:
See what I did there? :)
Feast your eyes on this, Dizgeeks: it's a Dole Whip gal - holding a Dole Whip. WOOT! It was so dark when I took this you couldn't see the stripes in her hat, so I was delighted later on to see that it matched her shirt. (And yes, that's a real Dole Whip - we caught her right outside the window.)
I also spotted a hipster Snow White:
Believe it or not, I even found an adorable girl Figment! Here she is with John:
It'd been a few years since our last Halloween party, and I have to say I was disappointed by some of the changes. [PREPARE FOR THE JEN RANT.] To keep my negativity manageable, though, I will sprinkle fun parade photos throughout:
First and foremost, it felt a lot more crowded than our previous years, so I can only guess they've increased the numbers of tickets they sell. It used to be these special parties had attendance caps that kept the park relatively crowd-free, but Friday night felt as crowded as any peak season day. The extra crowds mean you just can't do as much as you'd like, and with only five hours to see it all that adds a lot of extra pressure/stress. I felt like I'd run a marathon by the end of the night, and we barely managed 15 minutes to see the new Fantasyland area!
Next they shrunk the candy bags by half (that little bag Figment up there is holding) and were surprisingly stingy with the candy. I know it seems silly to complain about candy, of all things, but I remember being so delighted by the CMs shoveling out treats with both hands in our prior years. Now they carefully give out 4 or 5 pieces at a time, tops. (And they gave out boxes of raisins, y'all. NOT COOL.) With the extra crowds, that means you could wait ten minutes in line for a few Tootsie Rolls and a lollipop, which really doesn't feel worth it. (Yeah, I just dissed Tootsie Rolls. Sorry.)
We didn't have a spare second to go on any rides, but for those who did, not all the rides were open. Jungle Cruise was blocked off completely with these big black light Tiki heads:
Like I said, the five hours you get in the park really zips by, so if you want to get candy and see the parade, stage show, and fireworks then odds are you won't get to go on any rides at all. Photos with characters eat up your precious time, too; we tried queuing up for a pic with the Seven Dwarfs, but after ten minutes only two families had gone through - and there were at least 20 more people in front of us in line. Rather than spend our precious last hour in line, we gave up and left.
The Halloween fireworks are Ok; the soundtrack is all classic Disney tunes reworked into bubblegum pop versions, so it's lacking the grandeur shows like Wishes have. The ending is pretty spectacular, though, so at least they nailed the finale.
The stage show is also Ok. Nothing spectacular, but it's always fun seeing the villains come out and boogie:
The best thing by far at MNSSHP is the parade, and I tell everyone to see it at least once in their lifetime. (The parade runs twice at each Party, and I always try to see both.) It's the only place you'll see the Headless Horseman galloping out on a midnight black steed, or the ghostly ballroom dancers, or the graveyard caretaker walking his big
Sorry for the blur.
In fact, it's the whole Haunted Mansion section of the parade that makes it so amazing. After the caretaker comes my personal favorite: the Mansion butlers who draw sparks on the road with their shovels:
After the butlers come the gorgeous and ghoulish ballroom dancers, who stagger and loll their way through a jerky waltz:
Lastly, the three famous hitch-hiking ghosts move with animatronic perfection, to the point it's hard to believe they're actually live actors:
The back of their float is even prettier than the front:
So, to wrap up my not-so-little rant: I don't think I'll go back to MNSSHP next year. When you consider that a full day's ticket only costs about $15 more, I just don't think these 5 hours and the parade (which hasn't changed in years) are worth the expense. Disney keeps chipping away at the little things - like the free photo they used to include with your ticket - and raising the prices, so until they introduce something more I think I'll just stick with the Christmas Party each year.
I can't wait to head back to the Kingdom later, though, to see more of the new Fantasyland area. (Nice video tour at that link.) The few minutes we managed to get over there were awesome:
I am definitely coming back here with the tripod.
The new Be Our Guest restaurant closed before we could see it, but we did race into Gaston's Tavern to try the new "LaFou's Brew," Disney's version of Butterbeer.
The brew mostly tastes like an apple juice slushie, although I'm sure there's probably some other fruit juices mixed in, too. The foam on top tastes like a creamy Passion Fruit sorbet, and isn't quite as sweet. I liked it really well mixed in with the apple slush, but our friend Chris made a face and said the foam tasted like soap. Ha!
I'll leave you with my favorite castle shot of the night:
Hope you enjoyed!
UPDATE: A reader asked me to post that last castle shot over on DeviantArt so she could buy a print of it. (And if you ever want to make my head swell, that's how!) So in case anyone else would like a copy, you can see all the different sizes available here!