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August 2023 Inspiring Itinerary: The Perfect Halloween-Themed Vacation, By Land AND By Sea

Disney Halloween Mickey Pumpkin

Holidaze?

You might be wondering if I’m holiday confused, since last month’s Inspiring Itinerary featured Christmas at Disneyland, which comes after Halloween, of course, BUT August is the month when Halloween celebrations begin at Walt Disney World, kicking off almost three months-worth of Spooky additions at the Parks that you don’t want to miss, including everything from themed parties to specialty foods to character costumes and gorgeous autumnal decorations. 

And, it’s not just the Parks that get a Spooky Season makeover; Disney Cruise Line gets in on the Magic, too, and this month’s Inspiring Itinerary gives you an opportunity to experience ALL the Halloween celebrations Orlando and Cape Canaveral have to offer. 

Mickey Jackolantern Wreath

Why Halloween By Land?

If you’ve ever experienced Walt Disney World, and also Universal Studios Orlando, during the Fall Festivities, then you already know what all the fuss is about. Halloween has become a BIG deal; for some, it’s even bigger than Christmas, and although the celebrations throughout the Parks are about equal, Halloween gets a bit more time because of its August kick-off. 

The tremendous growth in Halloween celebrations has been seen and felt in neighborhoods across the country, with larger than life decorations adorning small-town lawns and Trick-or-Treat extravaganzas that shut down traffic on certain streets. And honestly, the craze over Halloween may very well have been because of how much Disney and Universal have grown their Halloween festivities exponentially in recent years, and how much people enjoy being able to celebrate in a big way. 

Halloween at Disney

As mentioned, Halloween celebrations at WDW begin THIS month, with the first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party taking place on August 11th. As always, the Party features favorites such as the Boo to You Halloween Parade and the Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular, among many other special events. At Universal, Halloween Horror Nights begin on September 1st, with their signature super scary haunted houses and immersive experiences. 

Between all the Halloween additions throughout the Orlando Parks, you’re sure to be inspired with a few decorating ideas to bring that BIG Halloween energy back to your own home and neighborhood!

Disney Cruise Halloween

Why Halloween By Sea?

If you’ve been following along, you know that Disney has a number of ways through which they bring their signature Magic out into the world and beyond the Parks, and Disney Cruise Line is one of them! Not only does Disney Cruise Line allow guests to experience Disney Magic in places from the Caribbean to Europe to Antarctica, and so many places in between, but DCL also features special themed sailings for select holidays, including, you guessed it, Halloween! The Halloween on the High Seas cruises include your favorite pals and characters dressed up in their Halloween costumes for Meet and Greets, a special Halloween party on each sailing, added Halloween activities throughout the cruise, and of course, spooky treats to really get into the spirit! 

DCL’s Halloween on the High Seas cruises are super popular, and snagging a stateroom can be a bit “trick-y” (of course, your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor might be able to work some Magic for you). AND, guess what else? This year, our own fabulous Boss Lady, Jamie, and her Sweet Friend, Shannon, of BRB Going to Disney have rooms set aside on one of the Halloween on the High Seas cruises for their annual BRB Cruise! 

Jamie and Shannon

In fact, this month’s Inspiring Itinerary actually includes their upcoming cruise! There are just a few rooms left for you to join them, so read on for everything you can experience for Halloween By Land and By Sea this Fall! Note: because there are specific travel dates involved with joining Jamie and Shannon’s BRB Cruise, the following Itinerary includes dates for traveling, but your favorite LOTMV Travel Advisor can help you figure out what works best for you, whether it’s flip-flopping the land and sea order, or shortening or extending your time on land, or any other changes you might need to make!

Let’s Go!

Disney Springs Fall

Day 1 

Saturday, September 23rd

Arrive at your Deluxe Resort, Disney’s Beach Club (Jamie’s BRB group will receive group rates for Beach and Yacht Club, Caribbean Beach, and Pop Century) and settle in. Depending on the time of your arrival, maybe take a dip in the pool to refresh yourself after your travels, and then head out to Disney Springs to kick off your Fall foray! 

Mickey Cinnabon

Almost all the bake shops, including Disney’s Candy Cauldron & Goofy’s Candy Co., Gideon’s Bakehouse, The Ganachery, and many more, feature pumpkin and apple flavors in festive and spooky designs. Even some of the bars and restaurants offer themed drinks and dishes, including Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, Morimoto Asia and Paddlefish, plus others, with more joining in the fun each year.

And of course, many stores with apparel, accessories, and/or home decor, including the World of Disney Store, carry special seasonal merchandise, most of which is newly designed each year, so be sure to check out all the latest offerings!

Halloween Merch

Even if you tasted your way through many of the sweet treats, you’ll need some sustenance after your travels and before your first day at the parks, and with the plethora of restaurants at Disney Springs, you’re sure to find your favorite type of cuisine for a delicious dinner (though reservations at most restaurants are strongly encouraged; your LOTMV Travel Agent can help you navigate the Disney dining experience). 

Tomorrow is going to be a great, big MAGICAL and SPOOKTACULAR day, so be sure to get your rest after traveling!

Cinderella Castle with Harvest Wreath

Day 2 

Sunday, September 24th

There’s nothing like starting your Disney Park days with a view of Cinderella’s Castle and a jaunt down Main Street, U.S.A., which is why I usually opt for my first park day to be at Magic Kingdom, especially during the Fall season, when there are so many decorative touches to take in throughout the park. 

Depending on your interests, you can take in the festive decorations as you make your way from ride to ride, or you can prioritize seeing characters dressed in their fall attire at parades and Meet and Greets (times are listed on the My Disney Experience App daily). Be sure to plan a ride through the Haunted Mansion, though, as Spooky Season wouldn’t be complete without one!

Halloween Mickey Balloons

Of course, Fall themed treats and merch are available at the shops throughout Magic Kingdom as well, so if you didn’t fulfill your shopping fix at Disney Springs, there are plenty of opportunities to find whatever you’re looking for!

Also, be sure to have a dinner reservation to refuel after a park day(ask your LOTMV TA for recommendations and help booking if you need!), since you’ll be staying straight through to enjoy Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party! Is there a better way to kick off your first day in the Parks? I don’t think so…

Mickey Halloween Parade

You’ll need to show your special event ticket in order to stay in Magic Kingdom once the Party officially starts at 7pm. Once it begins, you’ll see characters dressed up in their Halloween costumes, be able to Trick-or-Treat throughout the park, and see special attractions such as the Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular, Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parade, and Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular Fireworks show, among many other event-specific festivities. You can even dress up in your own costume for the occasion (though you must follow a few guidelines from Disney, which can be found here).

Hocus Pocus Spelltacular

And of course, because of the limited number of tickets available for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, wait times for rides and attractions are traditionally lower than they would be during the day, so don’t miss your chance to get on some of your favorite rides faster than usual before you head back to your resort for the night!

Hollywood Tower of Terror

Day 3

Monday, September 25th

Today you’ll be splitting your time between Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom to make sure you have time in each Park before you depart for your cruise. If you and your family are huge Star Wars fans, and you’re hoping to ride Rise of the Resistance, prioritize that and start your day in Galaxy’s Edge; if you’re not a huge Star Wars fan, you can make your way through the park meeting characters and watching shows, while taking in some fall decorations along the way.

Jamie at Hollywood Studios

One of the perks of visiting Galaxy’s Edge as an enthusiastic Star Wars fan is that you can *sort of* dress the part a bit more than you can for other themes throughout the parks, which is extra fun around Halloween. Though Disney strictly enforces its costume rules, and does not allow guests over 14 to dress up in costume, it is acceptable to wear traditional clothing styled in a certain way (commonly known as bounding) to show your enthusiasm for Star Wars. For example, dressing in muted colors and adding accessories like vests and belts can create a costume-y effect without being an actual costume (just don’t saunter in as Chewbaca, covered head to toe in hair, or head to toe in anything else for that matter, and you should be good. But again, refer to the costume guidelines here before solidifying your choices for attire). 

Minnie Halloween

Before you head out of Hollywood Studios, treat yourself to one of the most festive Fall attractions at Hollywood Studios: the character meal experience at Hollywood and Vine, Minnie’s Seasonal Dining. Besides tucking in to some of the best food in the park, you are also visited by the most classic of pals, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Pluto, and if you’re lucky, Donald and Daisy sometimes make an appearance, too. Be sure to grab a reservation as early as possible for this one, especially during the Fall season.

Giraffe at Animal Kingdom

Once you’re finished with your early-afternoon meal, head over to Animal Kingdom for a wild evening with the animals of the Park. With the temperatures getting cooler the later into fall that you travel, the chances of seeing more animals throughout the park get greater as the animals don’t hide away from the heat in the shade or water as much, and visiting later in the day as the sun goes down helps as well. 

Mickey and Minnie at AK

Another perk of visiting Animal Kingdom later in the day is the way Pandora literally lights up as it gets dark. Just like in the movie, the flora and fauna of Pandora emit a Magical glow at night, making it a truly spectacular experience at any time of year. Of course, while you’re there, try to get on (in my opinion) the Greatest Ride of All Time: Flight of Passage; though riding may take a bit of advance planning, such as a Lightning Lane purchase, your LOTMV TA can let you know exactly what you need to do for the best chances of scoring a ride!

Pandora at Night

Depending on your energy level once you’re through all the rides and attractions you want to get to this time around at Animal Kingdom, you can head back to your own Resort for dinner, or you can swing by Animal Kingdom Lodge for late dinner at Sanaa (though as always, whichever you choose, be sure to have reservations ahead of time, especially for Sanaa).

Hogwarts Castle

Day 4

Tuesday, September 26th

Harry Potter Day! If you’ve been waiting for the arrival of your letter of acceptance to Hogwarts  (as I have for most of my life), today is your day! While there aren’t usually added spooky elements to the Harry Potter Worlds, the general atmosphere evoked by the books and movies (on which the worlds are based), that cloudy, moody air of London and the English countryside, with witches and wizards mingling about with Muggles, definitely feels most fitting during the Fall season. Just be sure to arrange for transportation from Beach Club Resort to Universal Studios, since there is no provided transportation between the separately owned and operated theme parks. 

Hogwarts Express

The two Worlds of Harry Potter, Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, are each found in a different Universal Park: Universal Studios, and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, respectively. In order to get from one Harry Potter World to the other, you get to ride on the Hogwarts Express, which is a super fun ride in itself. Since you are visiting two different parks in one day, you do need a specific type of ticket; it is possible to visit the worlds on different days, and spend a full day in each park, but then you miss out on the Hogwarts Express ride, and personally I prefer to make a day just for all things Harry Potter (your LOTMV Travel Agent can help you decide which option is best for you, and set you up with the type of tickets that best suit your needs). 

Hagrid's Hut

Both Harry Potter Worlds boast incredible immersive ride experiences, and the Islands of Adventure side also includes the new ride, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. Before your day is done, you’ll head over to the Leaky Cauldron or the Three Broomsticks for a traditional British meal, and don’t forget to stop for a Butterbeer after dinner!

Universal Studios Fall Decor

Day 5

Wednesday, September 27th

Today you’ll be headed back to Universal Studios (so be sure to arrange for transportation, or ask your LOTMV TA to help), and with both Harry Potter Worlds under your belt, today is all about experiencing the other attractions throughout Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, including all of the seasonal touches for Fall, and if you dare, Halloween Horror Nights at the end of your day. 

Beetlejuice

The incredible amount of set up and artistry that goes into creating the Halloween Horror Night events throughout the parks doesn’t just disappear during the day, so be sure to check out all of the elements you’re about to see done up in the dark (so you can be better prepared for what might scare you later, or if you’re opting out of the super scary event, take the time today to appreciate the Halloween decor that somehow becomes much less scary in the light of day). You can even take a back-stage tour of the Haunted Houses, during which all of the lights will be turned on to remove the scare-factor. 

Halloween Horror Cupcakes

You’ll also want to make time for some classic rides and attractions, such as the E.T. Adventure (E.T. the movie is always a classic I watch every Halloween season, even though it’s not technically a Halloween movie, to me it feels like one), anything in the Jurassic Park section, and if you have little kids with you, plan to spend some time in Seuss Landing!

Before Halloween Horror Night begins, head over to City Walk for dinner at one of the fantastic restaurants there, such as The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar or Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. (which I’m partial to because I love the theming). 

Universal Halloween Decor

Once you’re done with dinner, you’ll be able to enter the Halloween Horror Night Event for the evening beginning at 6:30pm. If you enjoy horror movies, and enjoy the thrill of fright, you will love this intensely scary event. However, if feeling scared is not your cup of tea, feel free to take in some of the seasonal treats available at the shops throughout City Walk for the evening instead. Also, it’s definitely worth noting that this event is not recommended for children under 13, and no masks or costumes are allowed to be worn by attendees of any age.

EPCOT Food and Wine Festival

Day 6

Thursday, September 28th

There is way more to Disney in the Fall besides decorations and seasonal merchandise; arguably the best part of all for some could be the International Food and Wine Festival at EPCOT. The festival, running this year from July 27th – November 18th, showcases an array of cuisines and beverages from over 25 Global Marketplaces throughout the park. Occasionally, some of the Marketplaces may feature some seasonal dishes with pumpkin or apple ingredients, but it’s more like a fun bonus when you find one, since most of the focus is on traditional dishes from different cultures. 

Figment Food and Wine

The best way to get the most out of experiencing the Food and Wine Festival is to split a dish and a drink from each Marketplace (or as many as you can fit), so you get to taste more of the unique offerings. Just be sure to stay extra hydrated (especially if you’re sampling the alcoholic beverages), refilling your water bottle as often as possible to combat the heat and dehydration.

Of course, EPCOT is home to some of the best rides throughout the parks as well, like Frozen Ever After, Soarin’, and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, so definitely plan in some time to get on whatever rides you want to experience (and since most of the rides aren’t too crazy at EPCOT, they pair fairly well with food, but if you want to ride Mission: Space, especially on the Mars side, maybe get on that one before the start of your culinary exploration). 

EPCOT Wine Chart

Tonight will officially begin your BRB Adventure, with a Happy Hour meet up where you can get to know some of the other Disney enthusiasts you’ll be cruising with for the next few days! Although the location of the meet up is TBD as of now, once you secure your spot on the cruise, you’ll receive all the insider information as soon as it’s released from Jamie!

And if you’d rather wait until the cruise to meet everyone, or if you really want to prioritize a certain place for dinner in EPCOT, the Happy Hour is totally optional with no pressure either way!

Disney Wish

Day 7

Friday, September 29th 

Today ends your Halloween celebration on land and begins your Halloween on the High Seas Adventure! Bid Farewell for now to your Beach Club Resort as you and your fellow Disney Enthusiasts and Fabulous Followers head out to Port Canaveral, where your magnificent Disney Cruise Ship, The Wish, awaits! There’s nothing quite like the excitement of boarding a cruise ship, especially while enthusiastic Cast Members wave you Bon Voyage, and then as soon as you get on the ship, Cruise Cast Members greet you by name! 

Jamie at The Rose

Once everyone is settled on board, you’ll be invited to meet up with anyone sailing with your BRB Cruise Group, which may include some new faces, in addition to those you may have already met at the meet and greet last night. Celebrate your first day on board in style with a Private BRB Cruise Cocktail Hour Party! Your ticket to this event will get you Disney-quality food, a goodie bag, and time to celebrate your Disney Enthusiasm among friends! Afterwards, you’ll head off to dinner with your new Sweet BRB Friends!

Jamie and Cinderella

Day 8

Saturday, September 30th 

Today’s port of call will be in Nassau! Located within the archipelago of the Bahamas, Nassau is one of the most beautiful and beloved Caribbean islands. There are a plethora of activities waiting for you in Nassau, from the picturesque beaches to an excursion to the Blue Lagoon to a day pass at The Atlantis; or, if you want more time to explore the ship (and especially if you’ve already been to Nassau), you are more than welcome to stay onboard for the day (with the bonus of the ship being much less crowded). Although excursions require planning ahead, your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor can help guide you through the process!

DCL Halloween Chandelier

Once you’re back on the ship (or even if you never left), get ready for some “frightfully fun entertainment” with your favorite characters in their best Halloween costumes, and Halloween activities and treats to keep you in the Halloween spirit (Mickey’s Mouse-querade Party varies by night by sailing, so check which night it will be held once you board). 

Minnie at Castaway Cay

Day 9

Sunday, October 1st

Today is its own special treat: a visit to Disney’s own island, Castaway Cay! Here you can do ALL the things, or nothing at all but sit on the beach! There are water sports, water slides and kiddie water play areas, plus bike riding and the Castaway 5k, and of course there is no shortage of beach space, where you can sit and relax for the day with your new Sweet Friends!

Mickey DCL Halloween Party

Depending on the schedule of the sailing, Mickey’s Mouse-querade will have either been last night, or will be tonight, so make sure you have your costume planned and ready for the Spooktacular Celebration!

Jamie and The Wish

Day 10

Monday, October 2nd

Unfortunately, The Wish will bring you back into Port Canaveral this morning to disembark. The last day of any vacation is always the saddest and most difficult, especially when you have to get up early to disembark from a ship. But even though all good things must come to an end, at least you’ll have a bunch of new Sweet Friends who share the same Disney Enthusiasm as you, and who you hopefully already have some future Park plans with! 

Wish at Night

Ready to Plan?

If you are ready to plan The Perfect Halloween-Themed Vacation, By Land AND By Sea, and get cruising with Jamie and Shannon on this year’s BRB Cruise, contact your Love of the Magic Travel Agent today, or email hello@LOTMV.com.  And of course, whether you want to celebrate Halloween on Land or on the Sea, or even if you want your Halloween Vacation to be somewhere totally different, your LOTMV Travel Advisor will work with you to create the unique experience you’re looking for. 

Looking for more of our Inspiring Itinerary series?

You can find links to all of 2022’s Inspiring Itineraries in this Blog: A Year of Inspired Travel: 2022’s Inspiring Itineraries, Month by Month

Just like last year, a new Inspiring Itinerary will come out each month!

So far, we have:

January 2023: The Perfect Themed Vacation, by Land and by Sea

February 2023: The Perfect Romantic Escape to Jamaica

March 2023: The Perfect Foodie-Inspired Vacation to Portugal

April 2023: The Perfect Parisian Vacation: Paris and Disneyland Paris

May 2023: The Perfect California Road Trip

June 2023: The Perfect Alaskan Adventure By Land

July 2023: The Perfect Holiday Vacation to the California Theme Parks

And don’t forget to check out our Friday Blog Series: Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s, where our favorite Travel Planning Aficionado shares her wealth of knowledge and experiences about traveling the world! You can find links to all of Jamie’s 2022 Travel Tips at this Blog: Jamie’s 2022 Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s: A Recap

Ready to plan The Perfect Halloween-Themed Vacation, By Land and By Sea? Contact your Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor today or email hello@LOTMV.com 

The Perfect Halloween Vacation By Land and By Sea

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