Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tip Of The Tail - Halloween & Trick-Or-Treating at Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney can be a great (and free) option for those who are looking for a quality place to take their kids trick-or-treating. We did this last year and Chance and Katie (the Jedi and Purple Cheetah(?) pictured above) had a lot of fun and made out like bandits with candy.

There are a few things to keep in mind, however:

Arrive early...very early
First, consider that Halloween is on a Saturday night, and most Saturday nights at Downtown Disney are relatively crowded and the parking difficult to find as it is, so you have that working against you.

Second, it's Halloween and everything is free (no parking fees, no entrance fees, no hard ticket needed, etc.). So while Downtown Disney is popular for local families to begin with, it becomes even more popular this particular evening. The Halloween events (trick-or-treating, street performers, magic shows, etc.) begin at 5 pm, so arrive much earlier than that - I suggest at least a couple hours early.

Park at the West Side
Yes, most of the trick-or-treating locations and Halloween performances are in the Marketplace, but forget about parking there - it will most likely be a futile effort and a waste of time (and may be completely roped off from entry, in fact). Try parking at the West Side, over by Disney Quest and Cirque du Soleil. Yes, you're further away from most of the action, but not ALL of the action is over at Marketplace. There were several locations at West Side last year for trick-or-treating, so that shouldn't be missed anyway. The benefits to this plan are that you'll have a much easier time parking (meaning a quicker start to the festivities and your evening), you won't neglect the offerings in the West Side and Pleasure Island (which you'll hit as you walk through on your way to Marketplace), and it will enable you to simply save time and frustration.

Some locations have multiple lines...then hit the lines multiple times
Make sure to read the handouts/posters regarding which stores and locations actually have trick-or-treat lines; not every store does. Last year, there were lines at World of Disney, Once Upon A Toy, Disney's Pin Traders, Mickey's Pantry and a few others. So check out your options before wasting time visiting all the stores thinking there may be treats when in reality some aren't participating.

As in the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, each line will hand out multiple pieces of candy to the kids, but due to the limited number of participating stores they have throughout, the kids may want to line up again at some of the same lines again. Nowhere did Disney say this is not allowed, and the CM's see so many different kids in costumes they'd never know anyway (and it would be impossible to enforce). So don't be afraid to go back to a line the kids have already been through in order to fill up their bags a little more.

Also, some stores like World of Disney, usually have multiple lines...some at the entrances, and some deeper in the store that might not be easily seen or known to even be there! Those lines are usually the shortest!

Don't forget Ghirardelli
The incredible Ghirardelli chocolate shop always hands out free chocolate squares to whoever enters the store anyway, but they do even a little more during Halloween. They usually have one or two additional employees outside the store with baskets of chocolate squares, handing them out to trick-or-treaters. Now who wouldn't want some Ghirardelli squares as part of their Halloween goody bag?

We'll be there on Saturday, and it should be a lot of fun. So, until you...and you...

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