You’re hands clasp the salty railing as you peer out towards the horizon only to see darkness. The moon casts an eerie glow upon the sea as the sounds of waves lap against the hull as the ship cuts through the black of night. Suddenly, a creepy sea captain beckons you to listen to the ghostly maritime tales of the restless spirits that haunt the seas. Goosebumps plague your whole body and just when you think you can’t take anymore, Mickey jumps out dressed like a vampire and the real party begins. No, you are not lost at sea, you are celebrating at sea! Sailing away, only to embark on a spooky adventure filled with costume parties and festive activities. This is no ordinary Halloween. This, my friends, is how Disney does Halloween on the High Seas.
At a Glance...
Yo Ho and Away We Go:
So, you probably want to know when Disney Cruise Line starts their Halloween festivities. I mean, you can’t celebrate if you are not on board, right? Luckily, Disney Cruise Line does Halloween on the High Seas on all four ships: The Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream, and Disney Fantasy. Sail dates usually start in early September and run until the end of October. Dates vary depending on ship, sailing destination and duration.
Here are the sail dates for 2017 Halloween on the High Seas:
Disney Magic September 27, 2017 – October 28, 2017
Disney Wonder September 15, 2017 – October 27, 2017
Disney Dream September 4, 2017 – October 30, 2017
Disney Fantasy September 2, 2017 – October 28, 2017
Keep the Cost in Check: Best Time to Book
Depending on cruise’s sailing location, prices can be very reasonable (for Disney) during the Halloween on High Seas celebration. Just coming off the summer rush, this time of year tends to be a bit slower and weather can be a bit less predictable. For instance, we sailed during Hurricane Matthew, but Disney Cruise Line handled it amazing and we weren’t affected at all! Actually we had amazing weather. That being said, prices do fluctuate and there are better times to buy than others. When the new schedules are released and also approximately one year before the sailing date are the two peak times when booking a Disney Cruise. That’s just when people tend to book more, so prices go up. So try to book just short of a year or even better, last minute as your schedule affords for some really great deals.
As a frequent traveler, I’m always advising others to pack light. However, if you are going on a themed Disney Cruise, you can take me and that advice and throw it out to sea. There are so many events and parties during Halloween on the High Seas that you require frequent wardrobe changes. Okay, they don’t REQUIRE it, but it is fun to participate. So, here is what you’ll need if you’re all in:
One night of the cruise is dedicated to Halloween and there a several parties and photo ops all over the ship.
Every Disney Cruise, no matter the theme, has a pirate party night. Now, you don’t have to pack your own costumes, as the ship does provide Mickey pirate bandanas, but people go all out on these cruises and you’ll want to step it up.
Even on themed cruises there will be a traditional Formal and Semi-Formal night. There is something classic about seeing everyone dressed up for the evening.
Themed Door Magnets:
Disney Cruisers love decorating their doors with magnets. Most doors were decorated for Halloween, so you’ll want your door to look spooktacular too!
It may be Halloween on the High Seas, but you are still cruising and exploring ports, so you will need all your regular cruising attire on top of your themed-wear.
There is so much to do on Disney Cruise anyway that it is hard to do everything, but throw in all the exciting Halloween activities and you won’t need a costume to feel like a Zombie. You want to do it all, burning the candle both ends! Disney does everything topnotch and how Disney Cruise Line does Halloween on High Seas is no exception! It is frightfully fun and I’m going to show you why.
The Halloween Tree, standing tall in main atrium with its bare, winding branches creeping out as if they could reach out and grab you. Keep your eyes peeled, because throughout your sailing the tree transforms as more and more glowing jack-o-lanterns hang from its branches.
Throughout the spooky vessel, touches of Halloween can be found everywhere. From the bat behind the bar to the smiling jack-o-lanterns and spider webs that cover the portholes.
There are even spooky treats, like spider cake! YUM!
Mickey’s Mouse-querade Party
It is time to get dressed-up, get in the spirit and get your monster mash on. Honestly, after a long day at port it was hard to motivate ourselves to put on costumes, but I’m glad we did it, because it was a lot of fun.
It starts in the main atrium. The music is pumping and the cruise entertainment crew keeps the energy up while kids can trick-or-treat, play some games and take really cute photo ops with mama and daddy!
Daddy and FireCracker participated in a daddy/daughter costume dash, where the dad had to find pieces to complete various costume looks on their daughters. They actually won the first round.
Finally, there is the big dance party. All the characters are dressed in their Halloween attire and come out to put on a show before dancing the night away with your kids.
After dinner, put the kids in the kids’ club and head over to the adults-only Halloween party and costume contest. Teens even get their own late night Halloween Party in the teen club! Who says the kids have to have all the fun?
The Halloween fun continues throughout your time on the ship with various festive activities going on all over the ship. Keep an eye on your daily itinerary, delivered to your cabin nightly. All the happenings, from Halloween crafts to games and shows will be on the schedule.
Sing & Scream:
Tim Burton’s, The Nightmare Before Christmas is shown during the sailing of Halloween on the High Seas, but in a special way. You don’t have to just watch the movie, you get to participate in this interactive movie experience and then afterwards you get to meet Jack and Sally! Unfortunately for us, the various times this activity took place we could not attend! I’m so bummed to have missed Jack and Sally on the ship. At least we’ve caught them at Disneyland during Halloween, which you can read more about, HERE.
Haunted Stories of the Sea:
This is where my intro will make more sense. Late at night on the lido deck, gather around the virtual campfire displayed on the funnel vision (outdoor movie screen, located by the Mickey pool) to hear scary stories told by an old sea captain. I love all things scary, but I was prepared for the stories to be rather mild, being that this was a Disney Cruise. However, I was pleasantly surprised see that the stories were quite spooky. This was made even spookier as you gaze out at the dark sea. I felt it was a very balanced activity, scary enough that even my tween nephew enjoyed it, but fun enough that it wasn’t too scary for my little kids either, but then again they have me for a mama aka lover off all things Halloween. Let’s just say my kids have seen worse.
That’s A Wrap!
If you love Halloween, if you love Disney, if you have kids, and even if you don’t have kids, I am pretty confident you will love how Disney does Halloween on the High Seas. Like everything Disney does, every detail is well thought out and for the time you are away sailing you are transported into a Halloween fantasy world. As someone who likes to stretch the scares all month long, this will definitely be a new tradition in my family. Happy Halloween!
Have you ever been on a themed cruise? Did you like it?
For more family fun Halloween ideas, you should check out some my other posts:
Best Halloween Events for Families, HERE.
Terror in Oaks at Vail Lake, HERE.
Halloween at Disneyland, HERE.
Halloween at SeaWorld, HERE.
HotMama’s Favorite Halloween Cocktails and Mocktails, HERE.