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Halloween Thrills at Orlando Theme Parks

There is plenty of festive Halloween fun to be found in Central Florida.   Some of these festivities start as early as August (I know crazy to think about Halloween in August but they do it).  Orlando’s 3 main Theme Parks each have their own spin the the holiday and there is something for everyone in the family. For the Preschoolers 
Sea World’s Halloween Spooktacular.  This year it runs weekends  September 21 – October 27.   The event is just on weekends but it is also a free event which is nice.   There is a trick or treat trail where everyone can get their fill of sweet treats.   They also have some dance parties with characters and games.  The event is during the day from 11 am – 7pm so perfect for the little ones that do not stay up late.   There also isn’t anything too scary or creepy to freak out the little ones.  Sea World also recently added Sesame Street Land which will have a Halloween Parade.   I attended the Spookacular last weekend and I will say the drawback to a free event is you get bigger crowds but it is nice not to have to spend more money to enjoy the fun of trick or treating and characters out in costumes.  Sesame Street Land is really cute and does make you feel like you are walking down the street we all grew up with.   I was so happy to get to experience it with my nephews and ride some of the rides with them (most do require you to be with a child to ride)
Even though the Spooktacular event is only on weekends you will still find decorations and holiday touches in the shows during the weekdays.

Know before you go – 
#1 – It is free but that also might mean it is more crowded.
#2 – All guests are welcome to dress up in costumes, although only those 12 and younger are allowed to wear masks. Guests who are ages 13 and older may not wear masks or hoods in the park, and all costumes are subject to the normal dress code for the park. In addition, face painting is not permitted on any guests unless it is done by park artists.
#3 – Keep in mind that while dressing in costumes is fun it is still Florida during the day so most likely will be hot so choose costumes accordingly.
#4 – The treat trail runs along the very right side of the park as you enter, closest to Sesame  Street Land so it will get very crowded just after the Halloween Parade.   I visited while the parade was going on and that seemed to be the best time.
#5 – If you are looking for a quieter spot with some shade to take a break from the Halloween fun I recommend going up to Shamu Stadium (as long as there isn’t a show going on) there was plenty of open space and shade and bathrooms with no crowds.
#6 – You can bring your own trick or treat bag but the park does also sell some as well.

Fun for the Whole Family
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in Disney’s Magic Kingdom.   This is a separate ticket event so you do need to shell out some extra bucks to get to attend this one (tickets start at $105 per person and go higher for more popular dates).  It is offered select nights August 16 – November 1 so it is the longest running of any of the Halloween events.  The number of tickets sold is also limited so in theory it shouldn’t feel overly crowded.  There is trick or treating, a parade, and special fireworks and shows, along with characters in costumes.  Most of the attractions are also open during the party.
This event runs 7pm – Midnight which is why it doesn’t always work best for the little ones.  Like Sea World everyone can dress in costumes but there are some rules.  Mickey’s Not So Scary does cover the whole park so not just a section like Sea World’s.

Know before you go – 
#1 – The party doesn’t start until 7 pm however you can enter Magic Kingdom with just your party ticket beginning at 4 pm.  That means if you do not have a park hopper during your vacation this could be one day you get to go to 2 parks in one day or if you want to buy one less day on your park ticket you could do that as long as you are OK not going to a park until 4 om that day.
#2 – Disney does have some more costume rules than Sea World so be sure to check those out.   Don’t forget to keep the Florida weather in mind that even though this one is at night it really won’t be cold.
#3 – If there are 2 parades scheduled plan to go to the second one for smaller crowds.
#4 – Save your trick or treating until later so you are not lugging around a bag of candy all night.
#5 – Take it easy during the day and maybe even take a nap so you can enjoy the party all the way until Midnight
#6 – Disney does give out candy bags for free.

Brave Adults and Older Kids
 Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights.  This runs September 6 – November 2.  Separate tickets are required and start at $67.99 per person.   The event runs either 6:30 pm – 1:00 am or 6:30 pm – 2:00 am depending on dates.   This one actually comes with a warning that might be too intense for young children and not recommended for anyone younger than 13.  I admit I am a big chicken and that is why I haven’t done this one yet. This event takes place in Universal Studios only (not Islands of Adventure).  There are 10 haunted houses along with a few regular attractions open during the party.  Unlike the other 2 Halloween events you are not allowed to dress in costume for this one.

Know before you go – 
#1 – Download the app for Halloween Horror nights as it will show you wait times and a few other things.
#2 – If you have a regular park ticket along with your Horror night ticket you are able to stay in the park and wait in the Stay and Scream area while the park changes over for the party.  This will save you a lot of time.  Another way to save time is stay onsite at one of the Universal resorts since there is a dedicated entrance for resort guests.  If you do not have either of these options you will want to arrive at the park at least an hour before the event as the line and security to get in can take awhile.
#3 – There are add on options that add extra chills such as a Horror Nights Express Pass which lets you skip the regular line for the houses once and rides.   There is also an RIP tour that will take you on a guided VIP tour of everything.
#4 – Start in the back of the park for the best chance of getting to see the most in one night.  If you really want to be sure you see it all you might need to plan for 2 nights and you can save money buying a multi-night ticket.
#5 – Know the rules like no food, drinks, recording, flash photography, flashlights, laser pens, or ecvs are allowed in any of the haunted houses.
#6 – This one is more my personal tip to you – Don’t go alone!   This just seems too scary to do without a buddy along.

I know it might be too late to still plan for one of these events this year but this will give you a pretty good idea for next year.