Why, yes, this is a post about Halloween. And yes, you are correct, today would make it nearly a month, another major trip, and additional holiday past due. Life has been extra special wacky lately and so it just is what it is, y'all. I've basically been falling asleep on unfolded piles of laundry every night for weeks.
But let us move on to happier things...
Thanks to the generosity of grandparents, our crew (9 of us total, with a crazy fun ratio of 2 adults per child) was able to visit Disney World AT HALLOWEEN! (insert happy Mickey Mouse "hot diggety dog" dance) We started out spending Halloween day at Animal Kingdom, in which my girlies were fabulously matchy matchy in their cheetah attire. It was fun being in the park where so many people were dressed in costumes.
Mama's Bag of Magic
So thanks to countless pins and the advice from our incredible Disney Travel Planner, I carried a backpack each day well-stocked with various treats and surprises to extract good vibes from the girls just when we needed it the most. Stickers, LaLaLoopsy mini doll set, activity books, Disney suckers, glow sticks...pretty much every single thing came from Dollar Tree or from the Halloween aisle at Target. I cannot tell you how many storms of drama we averted by asking if they wanted a treat out of Mama's bag, so it was very good advice. The grandparents would also surprise them with a treat each morning (like Minnie outfits for their American Girl dolls, cute little clips for their Magic Bands, Minnie Mouse pens, etc.). So basically we completely spoiled them rotten...but hey, it's Disney, right?
Magic Bands are still in testing phase with Disney parks. To be honest, we were surprised that a party our size was selected to get them. They work by connecting your band to your Disney app, which is also connected to everything from Fast Passes to your character meal reservations to your room entry, to your photopass to your credit card to make easy purchases in the parks. We signed up for all of those save the credit card/purchasing option, for obvious reasons. We were skeptical because a) we have 3 small kids and just knew that one of the girls would lose their band and then what would we do?!, b) we were nervous about the girls' bands being able to make purchases, and c) we thought they might be glitchy and mess us up on Fast Passes. The verdict? Nobody lost their band, we were able to customize them so that none of us had purchasing power, and nothing crazy happened with Fast Passes even once, and we hit our limit of 3 each day.
Sassafras and Pearl began to refer to using our magic bands as "paying the bill." It was pretty to hear them calling out to each other to "pay the bill" for anything from opening our room door to swiping for a fast pass on the Tower of Terror.
One cool and special adventure for this trip was their start out in the world of pin trading. Gotta be honest...I really didn't look into the whole pin thing because it seemed like just.one.more.thing. Hey, so it turns out to be awesome and I highly recommend it for anybody traveling to Disney with kiddos of, well, I guess any age. The way it works (although I'm fairly certain all peoples of the universe knew about pin trading before I did) is, you get a pin lanyard (or folio or album or box...but let's not get crazy), buy a few pins to get them started, and henceforth and evermore they can approach any Disney cast member with pins and ask to trade. Buy cheap, trade up = magical.
The thing about the pin trading was that it provided a perfect distraction for Sassafras and Pearl just at the moments we needed it the most. We attacked all five parks with a vengeance every day, and lots of walking plus no naps and sporadic meal times meant that sometimes things got desperate. When we sensed a meltdown approaching, we would just gently suggest they go trade a pin. Worked every single time.
Also, thanks to the pins and Mama's Bag of Magic, they always felt like they were getting something new. Never once did they ask for a souvenir. It was a pleasant surprise.
Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
We spent Halloween night at the Magic Kingdom. It was very crowded but well worth the extra expense to get into the event. The girls transformed into Ariel, Jasmine, and Minnie Mouse before taking off on several trick or treat trails scattered throughout the park. Because it was a closed, ticketed event, the lines were very short, and they got in a few rounds of their favorites on an extra special night. There were character dance parties everywhere, at which one of my eldest's wildest dreams came true: dancing with Jessie from Toy Story!
After that came the coolest parade you'll ever see...complete with dancing zombies from Haunted Mansion and tap-dancing grave diggers doing a parade number with sparking shovels. Okay, so that may have been a teensy bit scary, but very soon after Goofy's float trolled through and sprayed us all with happy candy air.
This post doesn't even scrape the tip of all the Great Fun that was Halloween 2013 for our crew. Striking fun poses on the rides, hitting up over the top fun character meals, and what Sweet Love thought about it all just might be another story for another day.
Basically, this holiday will probably never be this awesome ever again. We may as well not even try. All future Halloweens-dead to us.