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Julia’s Best Week Ever, September 8, 2016: Farewell Summer, Howdy Fall!

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Even though school started a couple weeks ago here, I still think of Labor Day weekend as the end of summer. As it is also the wedding anniversary for me and my husband, we tend to make some sort of celebration happen over Labor Day weekend. This year, with some DVC points left to burn, we looked for availability and found a couple nights at the Villas at Wilderness Lodge. This would be our first time staying there, but the location was ideal, as we already had tickets for the first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party of 2016. The night before these amazing events, we had a brush with Hurricane Hermine, however. In fact, it was a little close for comfort.


When they're talking about where a tornado may be, it is not a good feeling to say "I can see my house from here."
When they’re talking about where a tornado may be, it is not a good feeling to say “I can see my house from here.”

We camped out in our closet wearing our hard hats for about 20 minutes while the area of disturbance (and one tornado) passed by. Our neighborhood was fine, and the property damage to the communities to our east and west was minimal, all things considered. The next day dawned with gray skies and rain blowing through, but with a clear forecast for the evening. After work, we headed over to Wilderness Lodge to check in.


Although we’ve been in the building before to eat and to see the holiday decorations, we had never been farther than the lobby. Like Animal Kingdom Lodge’s main lobby at Jambo House, this kind of lobby has a huge wow factor, where you walk in and just look up in awe.


What’s neat is that in addition to the huge awe factor, there’s also many little hidden details. My favorite were the animals located under the stone surface of the check-in desk. It is easy for an adult to miss them at their height, but if you’re a kid (or a very short adult), they are right there.


Dani did a wonderful Best Week Ever about Wilderness Lodge and its amenities, so for more about the resort, make sure to check it out.

We found our room (a two-bedroom unit), and did a quick look around before getting into our costumes for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.









Originally, I had a much more complex vision for our costumes with an abundance of feathers. With a light drizzle still falling, we skipped most of the feathers and went with a simplified version of our costumes.


The costumes were surprisingly successful and brought a lot of joy to people who saw them.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party was tremendous fun, and worth the price of admission. By far, our favorite part of it was the Boo To You parade. We picked our spots early, as crowds were pretty thick even in Frontierland. One benefit is we had a quick couple songs sung to us by the Cadaver Dans to help pass the tiem.


If you like to see characters, this is the perfect parade. Every time you turn around, there’s characters. Princesses, Villains, Clarabelle Cow. There’s also Hitchhiking Ghosts, Grave Diggers, Pirates, and more.


At the end, the Sugar Rush floats had this amazing smell of candy that came with the floats.


Between trick or treating, the parade, and the fireworks, we really had an amazing night. By the time we took the boat back to Wilderness Lodge, our daughter was practically sleepwalking to the room.

The next morning, I got up early to swing by the house and give our kitty his insulin shot. By the time I got back, everyone was up and we headed to Roaring Fork to pick up breakfast to take to the room. We went with pretty standard stuff, avoiding the “Labor Day” specials.

2016-09-03-08-13-26I’m assuming they’re made with actual labor. (On a more serious note, thank you so much to all the hard-working Cast Members working late nights for the Halloween parties and working over this holiday weekend. You all were awesome, including a special shout out to Nikki the lifeguard.)

Because we were a short bus or boat ride from the Magic Kingdom, we decided to spend the morning there before the predicted afternoon rain. One ride our daughter has never been on before is Pirates of the Caribbean. Since she was able to handle the Frozen Ever After ride, we figured we’d give Pirates a shot.


End result, she loved everything but the drop. She’s terrified of going backwards in the Haunted Mansion and not thrilled about the drop in Pirates, so we promised her that for the next while, we would not make her do both rides in a single day. Still, she says she’s willing to go on both of them again…but only sometimes.

As the rain rolled in, we headed back to the resort for lunch, a nap, and some pool time. The plan for the evening was to see the Main Street Electrical Parade one more time before it is retired. We settled down in the same place as the previous night and I went on a food run to Pecos Bill’s. Time flew by, and soon the parade was rolling along.


One of the two earliest memories I have of Walt Disney World is seeing the Main Street Electrical Parade–more specifically, being terrified by it because this giant bug was coming RIGHT AT ME. To assist in that nostalgic trip down phobia lane, I got to get up close and personal one more time with one of the giant bugs. Good times.

After the parade, we headed for the exit and onto the boat for the trip back to Wilderness Lodge. The timing was perfect, as we got on board right as Wishes was starting. Yes, we had an accidental Wishes cruise.



When we got back to the room, I had a wonderful surprise waiting for me–an anniversary present from my husband. It’s an incredibly fluffy and personalized bathrobe and a collapsible picnic basket. Very cool stuff.


And my husband even made sure the card would tie in with this article. How’s that for awesome?


And with that, summer has come to a close and the amazing fall season begins around Walt Disney World. Well, maybe one more summer treat…


No matter what the reason and no matter what the season, no matter where you are near or far–take some time to make this week your Best Week Ever!



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Julia Mascardo

Former writer, editor, and social media manager of TouringPlans. Embarking on new adventures with husband, kid, and cats.

4 thoughts on “Julia’s Best Week Ever, September 8, 2016: Farewell Summer, Howdy Fall!

  • Congratulations! It was our 27th wedding anniversary yesterday and we are on holiday here in Orlando (with 2 adult daughters 23 and 21 – and a boyfriend). We stayed in a 2 villa DVC at the Beach Club for one night over the Labour Day weekend. We are not DVC members but there are websites where you can rent the points from DVC members which makes it a lot cheaper than booking through WDW. We are going to the Magic Kingdom today. We have managed to book a dessert meal there tonight and won’t be going until later this morning. It’s more than my life’s worth to try and get the younger ones out of bed early – when we first got here – due to jet lag – we were up and out really really early but as we start our third week here I have given up trying to get them up early! After all its their holiday too! I have just gone with getting fast passes instead! Reading the following blog I realise that we will never be the “first family” but never mind.

  • It’s amazing to see how awesome simple costumes can be! This made me smile, it’s so cute and clever 🙂 I cannot imagine living so close to Disney as you do. We are trying to take a family vacation in May but coming from Amsterdam that is not so easy. I was sad to read that the MSE-parade would be discontinued by that time. Now my husband and kids won’t get a chance to see it and it is one of my favorite things, so magical! Thanks for the great article and happy anniversary!

  • Love your costumes (perfect combo of clever and comfy) and that you brought Duffy along on the trip. Happy anniversary!

  • Happy Anniversary!!! And this two bedroom suite looks amazing!! If only I was a DVC member!! 🙂

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