Por Georgina Cruz
For AL DIA TODAY
Florida overflows with fantasy –and phantoms – each fall! The festivities of Halloween, when ghosts, witches and goblins go bump in the night, often start in September and go full speed ahead in October at the great theme parks in Orlando and in other popular destinations throughout the state. Some festivities and events are family-friendly and others are only for adults –and make that intrepid adults in some cases! Here are some Halloween parties this season. For additional information, visit the events’ websites.
• Lake Buena Vista – Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party takes place at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World on select nights from Aug. 16 to Nov. 1. This fun party is ideal for families. Family members can come in costume –during a recent one, there were princesses, pirates, The Incredibles, and other characters galore. And all –whether in costume or not—can go trick or treating at various locations in the park where cast members dispense chocolates and other candies to one and all. The Magic Kingdom is dressed up with whimsical pumpkins and other decorations as well as special lighting effects for the event. The party is a ticketed event in the evening and highlights include Disney characters in their own Halloween costumes, a special parade with a headless horseman and the dancing ghost bride from the park’s The Haunted Mansion, dance parties and other entertainment. Very impressive is the new “Disney’s Not So Spooky Spectacular” that lights the night sky, according to a Disney spokesman “in a spellbinding display playing across the heavens.” The host of the spectacle, Jack Skellington from Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” spins a not-so-scary tale about how anything can happen on Halloween night and Jack’s ghost dog, Zero, brings everyone along on a trick-or-treating adventure where four friends – Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck – find themselves drawn into a haunted house. Encounters with dancing skeletons, waltzing ghosts and wickedly troublemaking Disney villains make for a hair-raising adventure. It all comes to life with state-of-the-art projection effects, lasers, lighting and dazzling fireworks. And of course, the park’s classic Haunted House is open (among many other attractions) to welcome foolish mortals. Info: www.disneyworld.com.
• Orlando – Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando are presented on select nights from Sept. 6 to Nov. 2, and they are considered one of the biggest Halloween celebrations in the world. The theme this year is “Stranger Things.” There is a variety of haunted houses for the intrepid as well as five “scare zones” as well as scary characters strolling about and other street experiences. Universal warns that the event may be too intense for small children and does not recommend it for kids younger than 13. Masks and costumes are not allowed. Admission is via separate ticket and there is a variety of passes and packages available. Info: www.halloweenhorrornights.com.
Also, in Orlando, but this one a family-friendly party is SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular presented on weekends from Sept. 21 to Oct. 27. The event is a fantasy themed to the sea and children can trick or treat among mermaids, octopus, sea witches and other fanciful characters. Children may wear costumes and dance along with an ice witch, fish characters and more. The party, that also presents characters from “Sesame Street” like the Cookie Monster and the Count, is included in the cost of admission to the park. Info: www.seaworldorlando.com.
• Tampa – During select nights this fall, from Sept. 20 to Nov. 2, Busch Gardens Tampa presents “Howl-O-Scream 2019” with surprises and terrors in the park’s 300 acres. A party for adults who are not afraid of anything, it features hundreds of creatures and goblins on the streets, a scary live show and roller coasters in the dark of night. There is a variety of tickets and offers available. Costumes are not permitted. “Howl-O-Scream” is for adults as the event is intense. Info: www.HowlOScream.com.
• Winter Haven – “Brick-or-Treat” in LEGOLAND Florida is another family-friendly event for Halloween that is offered each Saturday and Sunday in October. The party offers treats, LEGO activities, what is billed as the biggest pumpkin in the world and other activities and entertainment themed to Halloween. The festivities are included in regular admission to the park. Info: www.legoland.com.
• Halloween at sea from Florida – If you prefer to enjoy Halloween festivities at sea, Disney Cruise Line presents “Halloween On The High Seas” on voyages during September and October. The cruises feature parties themed to Halloween, special entertainment, activities and decorations including “The Pumpkin Tree” that magically transforms as if by magic during the voyage. Info: www.disneycruise.com.