12 Fall/Winter MUSTS at Disney World

I'm convinced that Walt Disney World is at its finest during the holiday season (which starts in August for Disney). Whereas it is magical at all times, the holidays add a bit of extra sparkle (quite literally) to the memories made in the parks and resorts. 

I interned at Walt Disney World last fall (see my posts about the beginning, my role, and my reflections) and made it my mission to emerge myself in all of the festive activities. It was the best time of my life. Sometimes I cry thinking about it. 

In addition to experiencing the holidays as a guest, I worked in Magic Kingdom and got to experience many of the festive moments at Disney in a unique way. I saw them decorating Magic Kingdom for Christmas in one night. I memorized the parades. I gathered as many tips and tricks as I could, and now I'm going to share them with you!

In case you are planning a trip to Disney this fall/winter, next fall/winter, or only in your daydreams (no shame), I've compiled a list of 12 things you simply cannot miss at Disney this season of the year. If you're not planning a trip, perhaps this post will change your mind. Either way, enjoy the pics and my obsession with Disney.

I'm splitting these tips into two posts, because however much I love Christmas, let's finish Halloween first. 

1. Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP)

If you only remember one thing from this post, remember this: MNSSHP is the best time to be in Magic Kingdom. THE BEST. 

Yes, the ticket costs extra money, but it is totally worth it. I worked the party countless times for over two months and still paid twice to go as a guest. It is my favorite time in the parks for five reasons: 

A. You can dress up. 

This is the only time you will be able to dress up in full costumes at Disney. And let's be honest, Disney is the ideal playing ground for wearing costumes. This fact alone made the party so much fun! I loved seeing what every other guest wore to the party. Some people really go for it, and it's very inspiring. (Warning: don't impersonate any character or you will be asked to leave the park. I almost had to leave twice because people were trying to take pictures with me.)

B. You get candy. 

I promise that Disney will one-up your childhood trick-or-treating experience. They give out the good stuff. There are also exclusive treats that you can purchase, like the candy corn cone pictured below. One trick that I learned was to have one person wait in line to meet a character while the other person snags some candy in one of the many candy spots throughout the park. Double tasking at its finest. 

3. Exclusive characters. 

Speaking of character meet and greats, MNSSHP has exclusive characters who only meet during the parties. If you like meeting characters, MNSSHP is the place for you! Just be warned, the lines for the characters can get long. I'd recommend getting in line for the most popular ones (like Jack Skellington) before the party begins if you're already in the park. Some of them start meeting before the party begins. If you only have party tickets, then head straight over to the character who you want to meet the most. 

I met the Seven Dwarfs, Wizard Mickey, Alice in Wonderland characters, Jafar, and Jack Sparrow. My favorite was definitely Jack Sparrow. It was so different than any other character interaction that I've had before. The dwarfs were also worth the wait.

4. The atmosphere. 

Since the party is a separate, ticketed event, all non-party goers must leave. This reduces the crowds in Magic Kingdom and leaves only those who are ready to party. Most of the attractions are open, and the wait times are reduced, although you will still have to wait some for the bigger attractions.

The park plays different music. It has new stations for candy, characters, and shows. The life of the park lifts up and becomes, in my opinion, even more playful and fun. It's difficult to describe, so you'll just have to go to a party and find out.

5. Boo to You. 

This is hands down the best parade at Disney World. And I'm an expert on Disney World parades. From my work location, I was able to watch all of the parades on a very regular basis. The Boo to You parade has incredibly catchy music (it's in my head all year long), fun character interactions, and unique floats that will certainly make you smile. I was so sad that I couldn't go to a MNSSHP this year that every time I saw anything about Boo to You I would start crying. I'm not joking. 

I would recommend that you watch the second parade. There are two showings, and the second is typically less crowded. I also would advise you not to watch the parade on Main Street as it gets crowded quickly and it is hard to make it back into the other areas of the park after the parade. I always like watching the parades in Frontierland. the very beginning of the route. Then I know exactly when it will reach me and I will be able to go explore other areas of the park while others are still waiting for the parade.

If you can't tell, I could talk about MNSSHP all day long, but that's not the only thing happening at Disney during the fall...

2. Food and Wine

If you think that Disney is all kids stuff and make-believe, you've obviously never been to Epcot, especially during Food and Wine. Food and Wine is the grown up party of Disney. Epcot's World Showcase, a mini presentation of 11 different countries, transforms into a festival of food and drink and entertainment. 35 food stalls serve tastes of various ethnic and exotic foods and drinks to sample. (Check out this year's selection here.)

This chocolate pudding from the Ireland food stall was my favorite! It was my first thing to try and my last thing to enjoy throughout the festival.

I love Food and Wine because it forces me to go slowly and enjoy conversations, flavors, and sunsets (because sunsets at Epcot at the best.). Plus, I love trying new things, and Food and Wine gives me a way to sample many different foods without having to buy a whole meal.

The best way to do Food and Wine is to go with friends. Sharing is caring at Food and Wine, because then you can try a dozen different things for only a few dollars each. Don't let this deceive you, though; buying food and especially drinks will add up, so watch your budget.

Lastly, if you think that you're going to be creative and get punny shirts about Food and Wine, think again. I counted 212 different matching Food and Wine pun shirts one day. 212! Etsy shops are getting rich off of this.

3. Dapper Day

The last pre-Christmas thing that I want to talk about is Dapper Day. This one is harder to do for everyone because it is only on two days in the fall and two days in the spring. This year it will be on November 17-18. Dapper Day is organized by an outside organization which seeks to bring back the charm of retro fashion by organizing two days where their members (and others who'd like to join) dress up in vintage fashion to go the the parks.

My experience with Dapper Day was a joy! Although it was a very crowded day (it was also Mickey's birthday), the crowds were polite and polished. I loved dressing up with my friends and enjoying a grand day at the parks. If you are at Disney during Dapper Day, I highly recommend that you adorn something sophisticated and stroll about with the hundreds of other dapper folks. If you're looking for something special to wear, I'd suggest checking out The Dress Shop. It's a line of Disney dresses inspired by characters and attractions. I wore the Cinderella inspired dress, and it is my favorite dress ever!

I was also able to go to the Epcot day of Dapper Day with great friends! I adorned a simple yet classic button up dress with pearls. 

If this post doesn't make you want to pack up your bags (and your wigs) and head to Disney World right now, I don't know what will! I hope that I provided some useful information for y'all to save for later. And any time y'all have questions about Disney World, I'm more than happy to try and answer them! 

Have a magical day, and keep your eyes open for Part II of this post after Halloween!

Princess Hannah

P.S. The post was not sponsored in any way. I'm basically just an unpaid advocate for all things Disney. But, hey, if they wanted to sponsor me, I wouldn't argue :) Just pay me in Mickey Waffles.


  1. Disney <333 I love it at all times of year, but yes, the holidays are the best!! (And agreed, EPCOT sunsets are the best sunset ;) )

    1. Thank you for reading!

      Aren't they? I had a whole album on my phone with mostly Epcot sunsets!

  2. I'm personally a big fan of graceineverything blog. Thanks for sharing this post.
    clipping path

  3. Oh my goodness, how this makes me miss Disney!