Things to do in theme parks without being in a queue – ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE

Last of my Universal blogs on this and I think I’m going to surprise myself at what there is to do here without queuing.

I love IOA and I’m so looking forward to going this trip as my last one we didn’t get a chance to do it all properly.  I didn’t even get on Dudley Do Rights!!

The themeing in all the lands here is incredible and you can spend ages just looking at stuff – and taking photos, there are so many great photo opportunities if you’re an Instagram user.

Seuss Landing is fab and it really is like walking into a Seuss book. The Cat in the Hat ride is so much fun and I’ve rarely seen a queue for it – although I would imagine during the summer there would be some. There’s a great interactive playground for little ones here based on ‘If I Ran the Zoo’ and there are splash bits so expect to get a little wet. And keep an eye out for character meets throughout the day as well.

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There are 2 great shows here as that are often overlooked as is the area that they’re in.

The Lost Continent does seem to get a bit ‘lost’ with all the more well known ‘lands’ in IOA. But here you will find the awesome stunts and special effects show ‘Eighth Voyage of Sinbad’ as well as the walk through action show ‘Poseidons Fury’. There’s some really interesting stalls in this area as well so it’s a unique place to do a bit of shopping. You can find the Mystic Fountain here too, don’t tell the kids but he does talk to you so tell them it’s a wishing fountain and watch them jump when it starts to strike up a conversation with them. There are so many little things in this almost hidden area you can do, you can pick a pearl and have your fortune read – these are an extra charge.

IOA is of course where the first part of Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened and it’s here you will find Hogsmeade and Hogwarts.  Of course the rides always have a queue but just like Diagon Alley there is plenty to do.

You have more interactive windows for your wands and another Ollivanders not to mention the interesting but odd ‘Frog Choir’ and the TriWizard Spirit Rally.

Ladies make sure you have a wee here in Hogsmeade, you might just find yourself joined by Moaning Myrtle!! This is one of my favourite things here.

Jurassic Park has plenty to do as well as the River Adventure. There’s a great kids play area ‘Camp Jurassic’ with an active volcano for little ones to explore and it’s just as much fun for big ones. Discovery Centre is a real fun and interactive game area where you can learn all about dinosaurs and mixing your DNA with one. You also get to see and handle dino eggs and if you’re lucky you might see one hatch and be able to name it.

You can also have your photo taken with a T-Rex

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There’s various side show games for an extra charge and a climbing wall.

Toon Lagoon is one of my favourite themed lands here the shops are fab especially Betty Boops which smells amazing.

There’s lots of water fun here and splash zones are not just found in the kids area they are all over so be warned!!

The jokers among you should head down the small trail to the right of kids playland ‘Me Ship The Olive’ it’s packed with gags such as a miniature ‘school’ of Fish. A must for Dads I think! The ship itself is a three storey watery play area which is perfect for squirting people on the Popeye ride below it.

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You can meet vintage cartoon characters here which is always good fun.

Marvel Super Hero Island is a must for boys of all ages and has some awesome features that not a lot of people are aware of. Keep an eye out for anything that looks like a giant speaker they are communication ports that have special messages from the heroes and villains in the area.

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The heroes meet periodically throughout the day and appear on their bikes which is a fun thing to watch.  Here you will also find a huge games arcade – all at an extra cost.

So you see so much to do here to keep you amused without queuing not to mention all the incredible shopping – of which there is a lot at Universal. Make sure you look in the shop just to the right as you exit IOA that is usually selling off season stock and you may find some stuff at lower prices.

Massive thanks to Jolie for some of these little things I didn’t know about. If you have any others yourself then please let me know.

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Things to do in theme parks without queuing – UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

With it being the home of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal is now a lot busier than it has been in previous years and is giving Disney a run for its money as a resort in itself.

Although Universal does have a large amount of very popular rides and is popular with the thrill seekers – although it does actually only have 3 rollercoasters – there is almost another whole parks worth of non-ride stuff to do there.

Turning right as you go into the park and into Hollywood you’re sure to bump into Characters as you work your way down the street you’ll find all sorts from Scooby and Shaggy to The Flintstones.  There’s live music here as well from the studio Brass Band and I’m sure I remember them playing the Simpsons theme.

Here you also find Terminator 3-D it’s part 3-D film and part live action and is based on the Cyberdyne company from the films – mostly from Terminator 2. It’s really action packed and runs periodically throughout the day and being as it’s in a pretty large theatre I’ve never seen a queue for it.

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Also in this area is the Horror Make-Up Show which shows clips of horror movies to show us how they have scared us through the years and then show how the make up is done. It’s fun and interactive but not recommended for under 12s. Again there’s rarely a queue and an entertaining way to spend 20 minutes.

There are plenty of play areas for the young ones to keep them amused in KidZone and a whole area dedicated to a huge adventure playground based on Curious George.  There’s an indoor play area aimed at the really young called ‘Barney’s Backyard’ and also a Barney live show.  Not to mention Fievels Playland with it’s little water slide that Amelia loved and we couldn’t get her off!!

Also here you have Animal Actors on location a live show with real performing animals in which some of the children in the audience are invited up to help with. I’ve rarely seen queues for this and had no idea this even existed until my last trip – we didn’t get a chance to do it them but this time it’s high on our list!

Springfield has loads just to look at while you’re walking around – that’s the great thing about Universal everything is so immersive in a totally different way to Disney. There are so many photo ops in Springfield and a lot of side show carnival games (for an extra charge) but plenty to do if you don’t want to queue for the ride there. Even wandering into Moes for a Duff Beer or a Flamin Moe.

Men in Black is right at the back of the park and since Diagon Alley opened and the Simpsons next to it I’ve rarely seen a queue.

There are lots and lots of photo ops around Universal Studios, so do look out for them. Namely the huge shark from Jaws and the Knight Bus from Harry Potter.

Diagon Alley is always going to be relatively busy but again like Springfield there’s loads to do if you don’t want to queue for the ride. The shops are an experience in themselves and it’s just like being on a film set with loads of places to investigate. Purchase one of the interactive wands and follow the map through casting spells a big hit with kids and adults. There’s entertainment here as well with a re-telling of Beedle the Bard with puppets and songstress Celestina Warbeck.  Don’t forget to change your dollars for wizarding notes at the Money Exchange there’s even a goblin host there.

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Heading back towards the entrance to the park takes you through New York where you will find the infamous Blues Brothers show which is definitely not to be missed.  There’s also a climbing wall (for an extra charge) and if you look you *may* find the entrance to ‘The Blind Pig’ from Fantastic Beasts and where to find them.

You can easily spend a day just walking round Universal Studios, remember the idea behind it is to ‘ride the movies’ so it is set up to look like a movie set so there’s loads to investigate.

What are your favourite non ride things to do? Have I missed anything important?

Things to do in Theme Parks without being in a queue – HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

The last in my little series of non queuing things in the Disney parks takes us to Hollywood Studios – the home of Star Wars!

This is currently one of the smaller parks – although not for long and to be honest there isn’t as much to do as there is around the rest of Walt Disney World.

Much like Magic Kingdom the main strip of Hollywood Boulevard as you walk in has it’s own citizens who show up to do shoots and castings and are absolutely hilarious!! I’ve seen so many videos on YouTube of this lady Dorma and she is absolutely brilliant! So make sure you hang about to see them you won’t be disappointed 🙂

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There are loads of cool things happening here as you just walk around particularly for the Star Wars fan, the march of the First Order is an incredible thing to see with all the Storm Troopers marching through the crowd.

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More Star Wars stuff is the Jedi Training which is fun to watch and you also have the Launch Bay now with props and stories from the making of the Star Wars movies. I love learning all about that sort of thing and seeing movie props so this is on my list to do this trip. There’s a 10 minute show all about it as well.

Although the queue for Indiana Jones can look big the theatre seats 2000 people so as long as you’re there about 5 minutes before it starts you’re likely to get in without having to queue for it – although obviously at peak times the theatre may be full. I’ve never had a problem getting in when I’ve been and turned up late.

Muppet Vision rarely has a queue and is a good fun attraction, it has a really awesome pre show so you don’t even realise if you are waiting a little while for the main attraction. With all the work going on at Hollywood Studios and with The Great Movie ride closing I would imagine that some of the ‘less popular’ rides will be getting a little busier as there are less things to do whilst all the building is going on.

There are a few shows at Hollywood Studios that run throughout the day, Beauty and The Beast is brilliant and there is a new ‘Music of Pixar’ show with characters in it as well. Some of these people will queue for but again the theatres are pretty big so they do let a fair few in.

Hollywood Studios is a fun park to just wander about it and is great for shopping some of the best shopping in the whole of the resort is in this park!! I love movie memorabilia and there is a great shop for that here!

 

Things to do in Theme Parks without being in a queue – EPCOT

Epcot is probably my favourite park and it has more to do between fast passes than any of the other parks in my opinion.

All the pavilions in Future world have loads of things going on all the time that don’t require you to queue, there’s plenty of interactive exhibits and playgrounds for little ones that can keep you occupied for hours – there’s so much at Epcot that I doubt I’ll ever have seen all of it.

Journey Into Your Imagination with Figment is a cool little fun ride with Eric Idle and Figment the dragon, it rarely draws a crowd as it’s on the tame end of the ride scale but it’s fun and passes the time.  You’ll also find Imageworks here an interactive play area where you use movement and image to create cool things like music.

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In the Land pavilion you will find a little movie theatre with ‘The Circle of Life’ show featuring everyone’s favourite duo from the Lion King – Timon and Pumbaa. It teaches kids in a fun way all about the issues we’re currently facing with our eco system and how it can affect us all and what we can do to help. It’s only a 15 minute show but it’s a good way to wait out your Soarin’ or Living with the Land fastpass.

The Seas pavilion is where you find the Finding Nemo ride but it does also house a huge aquarium that you can easily spend an hour or so investigating, there’s Manatees, jellyfish and all manner of marine life with interactive learning throughout. You can see Stingrays in Mr Rays Lagoon and there’s a shark themed playhouse as well.

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There’s a lot of work going on in the Innoventions pavilion which I always remember as being like a hands on science type exhibit, currently it houses Colortopia which explains all about how colour affects our lives and how different colours can even affect our moods. There’s loads of interactive colouring things in here and there’s even an app exclusively for it.

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The Disney and Pixar short film festival is a great (and air conditioned) 18 minute 3D showcase of some of Pixars best short films.

Then of course you have the World Showcase where you can walk around 11 different countries with no queues (except for Frozen Ever After in Norway). You can take a leisurely stroll around the countries taking in the atmosphere and looking at the replicas of the iconic buildings like Eiffel Tower, Tower of Pisa and St Marks Square.  Each one of these countries has loads to explore, it’s own native entertainment and food stalls as well as large shopping areas that are so much fun to walk around. There’s characters dotted around too and although you may queue a little while for them they’re not always too long.

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Make the most of your Memory Maker if you have it – currently free on all 7, 14 and 21 day tickets purchased in the UK. There will be photographers in each of the countries so you can feel like you’ve been on a cruise around the world and visited everywhere. It’s a great place for photos, we loved the waterfall in Norway..

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Don’t forget to sign up for Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure and interactive game that takes you on missions in the pavilions to follow clues to defeat evil Dr Doofenschmirtz and free Perry the Platypus. It works a little like a scavenger hunt and is a fun way to see the showcase.

Don’t forget to stop by Club Cool as well where you can try all different flavours of Coca Cola from around the world, including the Beverly which is definitely an acquired taste.

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Epcot is a great place to just pass the time having a drink and enjoying the entertainment, although there are some great rides here Epcot is a park you can enjoy without going on any of them.

Things to do in theme parks without being in a queue! ANIMAL KINGDOM

You should already have read my tips on Magic Kingdom and what to do while you’re waiting for ride times or if you just don’t want to queue for rides so here is part 2 ANIMAL KINGDOM and this park has LOADS to do without queuing for ages.

Of course a big part of Animal Kingdom is the animals and looking at those as you walk around is a great way to pass some time. There’s different trails in each of the ‘lands’ where you can find animals from each of those countries.

There’s also Rafikis planet watch which I’ve never seen busy but I love as there’s a petting zoo with goats 🙂 Anything that includes touching and petting animals is a win with me. The Train to get there and back is pretty fun as well. Plus there’s characters there, we met Chip and Dale and Rafiki when we went and it’s super quiet.

The Tree of Life is an incredible thing to look about and spotting all the different carvings as you get close to it is fun. It looks different from every angle as well so you never get bored of looking at it 🙂 It also lights up at night which is an amazing thing to see.

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All throughout the park you have the Wilderness Explorers which is based on the movie ‘UP’ and a trail through the park learning about all the difference species as you go, you’re given a guide book to fill up and get a sticker at each stop and a little prize at the end if you’ve completed it all 🙂

There is entertainment literally on every corner in AK, different music from each corner of the world it represents and there’s drums and other instruments that look like part of the scenery that you can play yourself.  From what I’ve seen of Pandora there is a lot of that in there.

Queues for some of the shows here can be long although the theatres do seat 1000 per show so you may be lucky enough to get in without a fastpass or spending an hour queuing when the park is quieter.

Flights of Wonder is a great way to pass some time, it’s a live animal show with some of the parks native birds including macaws and hawks. In true Disney style it has music in it and is loads of fun for those of you who aren’t afraid of birds!!

DinoLand USA has loads to do for the little ones with a big dino themed adventure playground in ‘The Boneyard’ and of course the strangeness that is Chester and Hesters Dino-Rama! with a few rides and some side show games you would find at a fairground – these are an additional cost though.

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As with all the parks there’s characters all over as well and ad-hoc entertainment throughout the day.

Let me know if there’s anything you like doing in Animal Kingdom while you’re waiting for rides 🙂

Things to do in theme parks without being in a queue! MAGIC KINGDOM

Can this be true, there are things you can do in the theme-parks without being stuck in a queue for hours? Things you can do without having to plan your fast-passes a month in advance?

It is true!

Disney isn’t all about the big rides there’s so much fun to be had and so many classic attractions that you can experience without spending 4 hours in a queue.

Most first timers will go to the most popular things which is a shame as there is so much more Disney has to offer and you can spend your day doing so many of these if you know what they are!

There’s loads of things at Disney that I have yet to do and this trip I’m planning on doing them all.

So what can you do in the parks with little or no queue at all?

Lets start, as always, with MAGIC KINGDOM..

Starting at the entrance on Main Street and going clockwise around the park..

Sorcerers of The Magic Kingdom (which you can find more about in this blog Free things to do at Disney – Surely that can’t be true? ) this is something you can do all over the parks with portals in most lands so a good way to pass some time and something fun for the gamers (and non gamers) in the family, plus you get FREE game cards each day and there isn’t much that’s free in Disney!!

Main Street houses different shows throughout the day with the Citizens of Main Street and the much loved Dapper Dans as well as the Move it Shake it dance party and the many different shows on the castle stage.

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There’s even a Barbers in Main Street where little ones can have their first hair cut (so can the big ones) and with a sprinkle of Fairy Dust…

Adventureland has the classic Enchanted Tiki Room (which I’ve not done yet! :0) an indoor animatronic musical revue, you also have Swiss Family Treehouse a walk-through actual tree house based on the Swiss Family Robinson movies. There’s a variation on Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom here too, the pirate themed A Pirates Adventure helping Jack Sparrow fight off his foes and find treasure around the land with a magic talisman and a pirate map. There’s more Pirate themed fun with Jacks Tutorial teaching kids (and adults) how to swash-buckle.

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Moving into Frontierland you’ve got the magical Country Bear Jamboree another musical animatronic revue and one of my favourites.

Tom Sawyer island is rarely busy, you take  a raft over to an island playground with caves and mazes. A great place to people watch and have a picnic 🙂

Liberty Square has it’s riverboat (another attraction I’ve yet to try) which takes you over Americas rivers in a nice calm boat ride on an authentic paddle steamer. Here is also the home of the Hall of Presidents one of the most famous yet quietest rides at Disney. With a 2 part show all about the American Constitution featuring audio-animatronic’s of all of the US presidents, it might be a little boring for kids but it is really educational and I think a must-do.

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There’s a new show in Liberty Square too, Moments in History with the Muppets featuring Kermit and co telling stories of great American events in a way that only the Muppets can!

Fantasyland has loads to look at I could spend ages just walking around and taking it all in. Mickey’s Philharmagic is a fab show that I’ve never seen a big queue for. It’s a 3D journey through the music of Disney movies with Donald as your hapless guide. It’s one of my must do things in MK I love it 🙂

Storybook Circus has a fun splash station for little ones themed like the Casey Jnr from Dumbo and entertainment throughout the day from The Royal Majesty Makers who do regal routines and watch out for ad hoc musical performances as well.

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Tomorrowland has quite a lot to do Carousel of Progress is one of the original rides in MK and has been open since 1975! It’s been updated a few times but it still has that nostalgic charm taking you on a journey of technology, you also have Stitch’s Great Escape which rarely has queues and of course the best thing in Tomorrowland the People Mover or Tomorrowland Transit Authority.

Monsters Inc laugh floor is a great show really interactive and funny and with hardly any queues. Don’t miss the Incredibles Super Dance Party either.

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As well as all this you have shopping, dining and characters all over the parks to keep you entertained.

So you see you can quite easily fill a day with things you don’t have to stand in line for for hours and hours 🙂

If you have any other ideas of things to do then let me know 🙂

Cheap, Reliable transport from I-Drive to Disney and Universal

One of the main things I get asked about is how to get to the parks when you’re not driving and although you do have the I-Ride, Taxis and Uber yesterday I discovered another way which is not only cost effective but from a very reliable and well known supplier in Orlando. Plus it’s easy!

Some hotels in Orlando do offer free shuttle buses to the parks and some offer these at an additional cost but most of these only run a few times a day and will collect from several different locations so you could be going all around the houses before you get to the theme parks.

Yesterday I found out that Florida Dolphin Tours do something called the ‘THEME PARK EXPRESS’.

It leaves from Pointe Orlando which is incredibly central and a really popular location for those staying on I-Drive.

The Theme Park Express services Disney and Universal and runs every hour to Disney and every 30 minutes to Universal.

The Disney bus is direct and takes you straight to Epcot transportation center. It runs from 8am-11am and return times start from 6pm until 1 hour after the latest park closing.

Universal has a few stops at I-Drive 360, Pirates Town and then takes you to the Universal Resort Bus Loop. This service starts at 7:45- 11am and then return times from 6pm until 30 minutes after latest park closing.

You can purchase a combo ticket giving you access to both the buses for 3,5,7 or 14 days.

Prices for these are really reasonable 3 Days for $25, 5 days is $35, 7 is $49 and 14 days $90.

Not only that they are using Citysightseeing open top buses to do it so it’s also a really great way to see some of what Orlando has to offer whilst on your way to the parks!!

You can book it here Theme Park Express

Halloween Horror Nights or Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween – Which is the one for you?

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Orlando during their Halloween celebrations then you may just be able to attend one of the special Halloween events that start from the end of August this year – they do like to drag it out!!

Although Seaworld and Busch Gardens do have their own events the most popular ones and the ones most people are aware of are Universals Halloween Horror Nights and Disney’s Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween. These events are so worth going to if they’re on and give you a different way of seeing the parks but which one is the best one for you? If you can it’s worth going to both as they’re so different but if you can only visit one then hopefully this handy little guide will give you some information that may help you make up your mind… or make you save harder so you can do both!!

WHEN IS IT?

Mickeys Not So Scary (MNSSHP) starts really early this year and runs on selected dates from August-November

  • August 25 and 29
  • September 1, 7, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 26 and 29
  • October 1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27, 29 and 31
  • November 1

Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) runs from September-November

  • September 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24, 29, 30
  • October 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31
  • November 3, 4

WHERE IS IT?

MNSSHP is at Disneys Magic Kingdom

Halloween Horror Nights is at Universal Studios.

IS IT ON ALL DAY?

No these are both evening events and the parks will close early to accommodate them so do bear that in mind if you don’t have tickets to the parks for the day.

MNSSHP starts officially at 7pm although they have historically let guests into the park from 4pm and it finishes at around midnight. If you have a normal Disney ticket that allows you in the park in the day you are able to get in earlier and stay in for the event. When the event starts you will find cast members scanning tickets and giving out wristbands to those who have tickets for the event.

HHN starts at at 7pm also and gates open half hour before it starts and finishes around 1am.  If you have a day ticket for the parks as well as the HHN tickets then you will be able to stay in the park when it closes for the event. They have ‘holding’ areas for those with tickets which put you in prime position for some of the scare houses as soon as they open.

WHAT HAPPENS AT THESE EVENTS?

Both of these events are obviously Halloween themed so you do expect a certain amount of scariness.

MNSSHP is on the milder side of scares and is family friendly, HHN is more macabre with scare actors and scare houses based on horror movies.

Both parks are decorated for the occasion and each event will have exclusive merchandise and food as well.

MNSSHP is definitely more on the fun and less on the scary. A lot of the regular daily Disney things are given a Halloween makeover so you have different parades and fireworks as well as exclusive shows including one based on ‘Hocus Pocus’ and a villain show too.

Regular characters are dressed in their best Halloween outfits and rare characters and villains are around the park to meet you all including the ever popular Jack Skellington and all of the Seven Dwarfs. It’s also a chance to meet the Princesses with their Princes.

Also included in the admission ticket is a trick or treat bag which you can fill up with candy at all the treat locations around the park and you can go to these as many times as you like!! That is a lot of candy!! Allergens? Then don’t worry they cater for that too, you just tell them as you go in and you’re given a different colored bag and there are treats just for you!!

HHN on the other hand is there to scare you!!

The main attraction at this event are the many scare houses based on horror movies and TV Shows (past themes have been The Exorcist, Krampus, American Horror Story…) Each one of these transports you into the movie so you feel like it’s all happening around you, they use clever special effects, animatronics and real scare actors to completely immerse you into the experience. This is Universal, it’s not a ‘normal’ haunted house attraction.

Also around the park are various ‘scare zones’ again themed on popular horror shows and movies with scare actors walking around completely in character chasing you.

Please note these actors are NOT allowed to touch you so if you’re worried about that – as I was – then you don’t need to be!!

Sound a bit too intense for you? Then don’t worry there are various ‘safe’ zones around the park so you can take a break and there is also a really fun show based on Bill and Ted which changes every year to include things that are relevant in pop culture.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

MNSSHP prices start at $74 – $115 depending on what evening you go. Halloween night itself is the most expensive time to go. These are one night tickets and will not allow you into the park before the event starts.

THESE TICKETS ARE ONLY AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE FROM DISNEY DIRECTLY

HHN prices start at $70 – $81 again depending on when you go.  These are one night tickets and will not allow you into the park before the event starts.

HHN also have Frequent Fear Passes available these are great value and allow you unlimited access to select nights while the event is on. These are great if you’re there for 14 days and can be purchased from most ticket resellers for around £105.

Tickets for these events do sell out on certain dates so it is recommended that you purchase them before travel to avoid being disappointed if you can’t get in.

CAN I DRESS UP?

You can for MNSSHP although there are guidelines to follow which you can find here.

You are not allowed to dress up for HHN

WILL THE RIDES BE OPEN?

Yes. Rides are open for both events but not all of them. Check the websites for up to date info on what you will be able to go on. MNSSHP has info now but HHN is not available just yet.

Halloween Horror Nights Here and MNSSHP Here

CAN I SKIP THE LINES?

Disney FastPass+ is not available during MNSSHP, however because of all the other events going on not many people do ride so it is a fab time to get on some as you’re walking around the parks. Remember though you can do these on a normal day in the park so make the most of the exclusive events and not so much the rides, you don’t want to miss out on something you only have one chance to experience.

You can purchase Express Passes for the houses for HHN, these are in addition to the event ticket and are only available through Universal directly. I’ve searched for some prices but I can’t find any at the moment!!

WHO CAN GO?

Both events are open to anyone although HHN do advise that it may not be suitable for anyone under the age of 13.  I have a 10 year old who is desperate to go so it does all depend on what scares your child.

I’ve had a look at some vloggers online and picked 2 of the best ones to give you a bit of a more visual idea of what you can expect from both events.

If you have any questions at all then please let me know 🙂

Halloween Horror Nights

Halloween Horror Nights House

Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween

 

Free things to do at Disney – Surely that can’t be true?

We all know how expensive it is to go on a Disney holiday but did you know that there are some pretty cool things you can do at the parks that don’t cost you any extra and might give you some extra souvenirs as well.

We all know about the badges you can get if you’re celebrating literally ANYTHING!! (you can pick these up from Guest Services…) but did you know that there are in park games you can play as well that will come with collectable cards and maps among other things.

If you’re lucky enough to be a frequent visitor to Disney then you might already know about these but some of them I’ve only just found out about so chances are there will be some people who don’t know so for those of you who go a lot then maybe I’ve given you something new to try!!

I know I’ll be doing some of these when I go this year!

MAGIC KINGDOM has Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom which is an interactive scavenger hunt game you play around the park using cards to cast spells to defeat the villians around the park.

You sign up for this free at the Fire House as you come into the park and you’re given instructions, maps and some free spell cards as well as your portal key which activates the ‘portals’ around the park to help you on your mission. There are actually 70 cards to collect and each person can have 1 set per day so even if your whole family isn’t playing they can scan their tickets and get the extra cards for you.

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There are several missions to complete and once you have completed one you’ll be told how to move onto the next and if you complete all you get to defeat Hades and then you can collect an extra set of cards so make sure you do that if you do get to do them all.

It’s a different way to see the park and it will give you some free keepsakes with the cards so it’s definitely worth a go. If you meet other gamers on your way round you may be able to trade cards with them as well 🙂

TOP TIP – Your portal key has a chip in which will save your progress so you don’t have to complete all the tasks in one day if you have more than one day in the park, this also allows you to get more cards to help on your mission. Each mission can take up to 30 minutes and it can take 5 hours to do all of them so it might be wise to spread them across a few days.

ANIMAL KINGDOM has Wilderness Explorers which is based on UP, this one we’ve done and it’s so much fun. We didn’t get to finish it so we’ll do the whole one this time.

It’s really good fun, you sign up at HQ near the entrance of the park – you can’t miss it – and are given a Wilderness Explorers handbook – bit like what you used to get at guides and brownies – and it shows you what badges you can get and gives you tasks to complete and questions you need to find the answers to.

You get given stickers – there are 30 to collect – and you get a special one at the end if you complete it all.

All the locations are shown on the park maps but you can spot them easily around the park by looking for these:

wilderness4

I really enjoyed doing this and it’s educational for kids as well, you learn all sorts of things about the animals and nature at Animal Kingdom. I’m intrigued to see what we can learn in Pandora!

EPCOT has 2 things you can do for free!! 2!!

You have the Kidcot fun stops all around the world showcase for the younger ones in the family. You’re given a free cardboard Duffy the Bear that you can colour in a section of at each of the stops around the world showcase. The cast member in each country will tell stories of where they’re from and give Duffy a stamp from that country.

We also did this last trip and the kids really enjoyed it. It’s a good way to have a little break as well walking round Epcot can be quite exhausting all the kidcot areas are air conditioned.

The areas are again all on the maps and are really easy to find.

For older children and those you can’t get away from their phones you have Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure based on Agent P from Phineas and Ferb. It’s a similar idea to Sorcerers in that it’s a scavenger hunt but with this one you’re given a FONE (Field Operative Notification Equipment) or you can connect with your own smart phone. You get clues via text that direct you to places in the world showcase to solve clues. There are several different missions in the showcase and each one can take up to 40 minutes to complete. Like Sorcerers it’s a really good way to see the park and being that the showcase is so big it will no doubt direct you to places you may not have seen if you were walking around on your own.

Sadly Hollywood Studios doesn’t have anything like this currently but what with Disney adding new things all the time who knows what may be there when Star Wars Land opens in a few years.

I love these little extra things that add to the magic, not only do they allow you to have a new experience when you’ve been to the parks before they also give you some really cool keepsakes you can take home with you.  And lets face it any souvenirs that are free are a good thing!!

Harry Potter event at Universal!

Having been to Orlando several times it’s always nice to find some different things to do when I’m there and try and experience the parks in a different way.

We all know about the Halloween and Christmas events that are much publicised and written about but did you know that there is something else happening at the start of September for all you Harry Potter fans….

Orlando Informer is hosting a meet up at Universal this September 2-3 which looks so much fun!!

I’ve been watching a lot of vlogs lately and one of the vloggers posted about this so I did a little bit of investigating!

It’s a separate ticketed event much like the Halloween Horror Nights but a little less big!!

You get to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter after hours which is amazing in itself!! It’s always so busy so there so seeing it when there’s actually room to wander about slowly and seeing the dragon breathe fire at night is one of those memorable experiences you’ll never forget!!

Both sides of the Wizarding World are open for it as well as some of the other rides in the Studios park and the Hogwarts express too. There’s food and unlimited butterbeer included as well!! That’s where I’ll get my moneys worth!!

It runs from 8pm-1:30am and you do need to register to get tickets but it looks soooo cool!! It is quite pricey at $154 so about £120 but if you’re there and it’s on and you can afford it then why not?!!

Full info and tickets can be found here https://meetup.orlandoinformer.com/