By guest blogger Ashley Nichols of Theme Park Foodie
Halloween season in Central Florida is a wonderful time for families to visit the area’s theme parks! Both the Magic Kingdom® Park and SeaWorld Orlando offer family-friendly trick-or-treating events for all ages, and plenty of candy is to be had at both! Through experimentation and observation, we’ve discovered a number of tips to maximize the trick-or-treating candy count from Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and SeaWorld Orlando’s Spooktacular!
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
Because Mickey’s is a ticketed event, the candy is plentiful! Although most candy locations give a general mix of candy (including everything from chocolate bars to lollipops and everything in between), some locations give specialty items! Our favorite candy spot was Pinocchio’s Village Haus, where staff members were handing out handfuls of caramel apple-filled hard candies that melt in your mouth. YUM!
Buy the souvenir bag
Although you will be given a free promotional candy bag upon entry, if you trick-or-treat well, you will fill this bag QUICKLY! The souvenir bag is the same size of a reusable grocery bag and features a cute illustration of many favorite Disney characters celebrating Halloween 2012.
Although this is not likely an official rule of the park, we ran a small, unscientific test and visited a few candy spots sporting the souvenir bag and then again, with the free promotional bag. Each time we attempted this, we received at least one or two more pieces of candy using the souvenir bag. We’re guessing that this is more an issue of available space than merchandise promotion, but we felt very accomplished sorting through our piles of candy at the end of the night!
Trick or Treat Strategically
In some locations, you can stand back and observe the staff members handing out candy before getting in line. This strategy served to be *very* successful when we gave it a try! One candy spot, located at the Jungle Cruise® Attraction, was staffed by a staff member who would scoop up two huge handfuls of candy for each guest who came his way. We were lucky enough to stop by when he was handing out candy (instead of the other location’s option, raisins), and I’m fairly certain that he singlehandedly doubled my candy count.
Find the short lines
The great thing about trick or treating in the theme parks is that you can visit the same spot again and again and again! When we had a few extra minutes, we found the shortest line we could and just kept getting back in line; within three minutes we had gone through six or seven times! The cast members didn’t seem to mind that we kept coming back, and by our fifth run through one of them greeted us with “hey, it’s our regulars!” Again, because MNSSHP is a paid event, you can have pretty high expectations of the amount of candy you should receive. Do not be shy about repeat trick or treating!
Some candy-giving “locations” are actually pathways with multiple stops along the way. Going through these pathways is a great way to get a fair amount of candy in a short amount of time. It should be noted that the cast members here only gave two to five pieces of candy a piece, but there were at least four stops at each of the pathways we visited. The two candy pathways we found were located at the back path from Tomorrowland® Area to the Storybook Circus and the Splash Mountain® Attraction Queue area.
We went to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party on a very rainy night, so this tip might not always hold true, but it’s worth sharing. We found that in the last hour of the party (11 p.m. – 12 p.m.), we received much more candy than we had during the earlier hours of the party (four to five pieces per stop instead of one to two). The lines were also shorter, making the previous tip easier to accomplish!
Following these tips, this was the candy haul for ONE (including about 30 boxes of raisins):
Spooktacular is SeaWorld Orlando’s Halloween Celebration, and it’s free with admission! This is a great bargain for trick-or-treat seekers, but this also means less candy. The folks at SeaWorld aren’t stingy by any means, but don’t expect to take home a car-full of treats. Regardless, we highly recommend Spooktacular; it is one of our favorite theme park holiday celebrations!
Send in the kids!
Our candy tips are based on observation, some science and a whole lot of jealousy. Though it may not be a written rule, children consistently received more candy than grownups. For those without little ones to tote around, this meant a smaller return on candy. What a bummer! Crafty parents caught on to this pretty quickly and would send their child up with two bags – one being the parent’s. We don’t necessarily RECOMMEND this, because that’s probably gaming the system, but we CAN say that this method seemed effective. At the very least, mom and dad, let your little one carry their own trick-or-treat bag.
“Trick or Treat!”
SeaWorld’s team members were cracking me up when we stopped by Spooktacular. Though they wouldn’t pull this trick with adults, they often would look at children and say something along the lines of “what are the magic words?” When they finally coaxed a weak “trick or treat?” out of the kids, they would reward them with extra pieces of candy. Turns out this works for grownups, too. Try saying “TRICK OR TREAT” really enthusiastically; you’ll likely receive a few extra pieces of candy.
Lines don’t matter!
The lines for SeaWorld candy booths can get very long, but do not be discouraged; they move very quickly. We never waited in line for more than a minute and were rewarded with one or two pieces of candy at each stop. Many busy stops are also set up with two candy givers, so when lines are non-existent or very low, you might be able to stop at both candy givers, resulting in double the candy.
Visit EVERY Candy Stop
At SeaWorld, each candy stop only offers ONE type of candy. This means that in order to get a good selection of treats, you’ll need to make your way around the Spooktacular trail (which winds through the pathway around Bayside Stadium and through Shamu’s Happy Harbor). Never fear: The candy is worth the travel! Some of Spooktacular’s candy offerings include Airheads, M&Ms, Junior Mints, Twizzlers, Starbursts, Jelly Belly, Smarties and Choco Rocks… and raisins.
BONUS TIP: Visit every candy stop more than once. Sometimes the candy offered at each stop changes throughout the day based on demand and availability!
BONUS BONUS TIP: We’ve also found that saying “Wow, these are my favorite!” occasionally results in additional candy.
Using these tips, this was the candy take for one person:
And overall, here was a two-person haul from trick or treating at both events:
I think we did pretty well! Best of luck with your theme park trick-or-treating adventures. If these tips work for you (or don’t!) we’d love to hear from you; comment below or send us at tweet at @ThemeParkFoodie. Happy Halloween!
Ashley Nichols is the editor of Theme Park Foodie, a blog that highlights dining and cuisine opportunities at theme parks throughout the United States with a focus on Central Florida. TPF, an UrbanSpoon featured blog, features content on Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens and more! Join the theme park food conversation on Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Facebook.