Sunday, November 1, 2009

Review - Halloween & Trick-Or-Treating At Downtown Disney 2009

A few of days ago we shared our thoughts on how to tackle Downtown Disney's Halloween and Trick-Or-Treat event, based on our 2008 experience (Tip Of The Tail, October 29). Well, we attended last night and it was a LOT of fun...and there were some unexpected (and expected) revelations as well.

For Halloween this year, Chance decided he wanted to be Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates Of The Caribbean. Hope applied the make-up and I must say he looked pretty good!

Interesting tidbit though - earlier in the month when Chance used his Disney Birthday Gift Card at Epcot to buy an elaborate Captain Jack costume, we didn't realize until just a few days ago that Mouse Gears neglected to remove the security ink lock from the back of his costume pants. So we brought the pants and receipt with us to the Disney Quest Store to see if they could release it for us. Well, there was a problem with the ink lock and in the process of removing it, the CMs broke the lock and ink ruined his Jack Sparrow pants! After checking the receipt, they apologized profusely and gave us a refund for the price of the whole costume - almost $70 (the price of the costume took up the whole card when we bought it)! So Chance decided he'd use the refunded card later for something else and walk around wearing the remainder of his Jack Sparrow costume - hat, shirt, vest, gloves, boots, sword, etc. for trick-or-treating (it was HOT that afternoon, so he was just as glad being in shorts).

Katie went back and forth on what she wanted to be - a vampiress, a dark princess, a Disney Channel TV set - and finally settled upon a baseball player. Hope gave her "eye black" to go along with the uniform (dirt rubbed on the pants for effect) and used a baseball glove to receive her candy.

We arrived at Downtown Disney at about 3:30 in the afternoon (trick or treating started at 5pm) and it was NOT crowded at all - there were PLENTY of parking spaces. Because of this pleasant surprise, we decided to grab a late lunch at the new Sweet Tomatoes off of 535 near Downtown (kids in costume ate free on Halloween!) before embarking on our quest. This Sweet Tomatoes, by the way, is one of the best I've been to - they are the biggest and offer an even larger variety of almost everything they serve than most Sweet Tomatoes locations. And by ordering water, the 4 of us ate for about $18...not bad, considering it's an all-you-can-eat buffet (with some very healthy offerings).

After Sweet Tomatoes, we headed back to Downtown Disney. This was at about 4:30, and in just that hour, they closed off the Marketplace parking lot. The Pleasure Island lots were also near capacity so we stuck with the game plan we went over in the Tip Of The Tail article - park at West Side and work our way all the way down to the end of Marketplace and work our way all the way back.

After taking care of the Jack Sparrow pants problem, the kids received a trick-or-treating bag, some candy, and some small Mickey Mouse Club rulers from the table outside of Disney Quest; this is where the adventure began. This is also where we picked up the little 4"x 8" flyer that listed the locations of each "Treat Spot" - there were 20 in all, stretching from Cirque du Soleil all the way down to Rain Forest Cafe and back.

The lines at some were outrageous (especially those in Marketplace), and some were almost non-existent (Cirque du Soleil). And as the night got on, especially after the sun went down, Downtown Disney became a certifiable madhouse. Shoulder-to-shoulder people for much of the way.

The quality of the candy was mixed. Lots of Tootsie rolls, Nerds, Sweet & Sours, and Dumb-Dumb lollipops. A sample-size Hershey's bar was found, as was a couple of Kit-Kats, a Hersey's Kiss, and other Halloween staples. They didn't totally neglect giving our chocolate candy, but it was definitely the minority of what was handed out.

There were a few unadvertised locations handing things out - Magnetron and Ghirardelli (AWWW YEAH). Magnetron were handing out very small magnets and Ghirardelli were handing out 2 pieces of the milk chocolate & caramel squares at the trick-or-treat table. And, of course, they were still handing out their regular free samples inside the store to everyone.

We did not stop to see any of the magic shows, puppet shows or anything of the like - in part because the kids were more interested in trick-or-treating, and in part because there were always huge crowds around each one - so we can't report on the quality of those. But, by the size of the crowds surrounding the shows, they appeared to be doing OK.

Stiltwalkers, musicians and other entertainers lined the walkways and it lent Downtown Disney the kind of festive atmosphere that it used to have back in the day. It was alive, and it was fun. I hope some WDW suits were there to experience what Downtown Disney COULD BE, if they just bring substance back to Pleasure Island and line the whole DTD district with street performers on a permanent basis.

It was about 10pm by the time we finished the whole end-to-end-and-back-again route. All in all, the kids were thrilled with the events of the evening and what they took home (they also received a poster from the Lego store).

We didn't end the night there, though. Since I'm a huge Yankee fan (don't hold that against me!), I wanted to catch a little of game 3 of the Yankees/Phillies World Series. We decided to hit Buffalo Wild Wings, a sports bar/grill in the same complex on 535 as Sweet Tomatoes for a very late bite to eat and to take in some of the game before heading home. After watching a few innings, it was late, and this was how Captain Jack was doing by the end of the night...Downtown Disney had defeated him.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome stories Brian. I just found out about this one and the marathon one you did back in January. I never knew you wrote. Great stuff. I snatched up some of the pics of Katie. I can tell she has a lot of fun.