Halloween is right around the corner, the time of year when witches and ghosts and all manner of scary characters come out to play. When my oldest nephew was not quite four, he decided he wanted to be Emperor Zurg from Toy Story 2 for Halloween. We were rather surprised by his choice, considering he seemed rather frightened of Zurg at the time, but I guess the idea of impersonating a scary character made him feel less afraid.
There are always those for whom villains hold a more powerful appeal than heroes, so here are four things to do in Walt Disney World if you love Disney villains.
Fantasmic! is the evening show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It starts by showcasing the power of Mickey’s dreams, but when the villains arrive, it turns into a nightmare. If you have a favorite villain, there’s a good chance you’ll spot him or her in this show. Monstro, Governor Ratcliffe, the Evil Queen (from Snow White), Ursula, Cruella de Vil, Scar, Frollo, Jafar, Maleficent, and Hades all make an appearance.
Unlike the evening shows at Magic Kingdom and Epcot (Wishes and IllumiNations, respectively), which can be viewed from many locations throughout the parks, Fantasmic! is performed in an amphitheater. The downside of this is that you have to arrive rather early to get a seat (30-90 minutes, depending on how busy it is). That, combined with the presence of so many villains, makes this show less toddler-friendly than the other evening shows, but it might be just right for older kids and adults who like a little more drama mixed in with their happily-ever-after.
2. “Villains: Movie Characters You Love to Hate” Exhibit at the American Film Institute Showcase
I have to admit, I had no idea this even existed until I searched the Disney website for information on the villains shop in Hollywood Studios (which, by the way, was called Villains in Vogue and is now a Vinylmation store). I’ve taken the Studio Backlot Tour at Hollywood Studios many times, but it’s been a few years, so I didn’t realize that what you walk through at the end is considered the “American Film Institute Showcase.” The current exhibit is all about villains, and the Disney website promises “actual costumes, props and other memorabilia from 50 unforgettable evil-doers who have left their mark on the silver screen—and our cinematic nightmares.” (“Cinematic nightmares” . . . I love the dramatic phrasing they use.)
3. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
Not surprisingly, the Halloween party at Magic Kingdom is a great opportunity to see and interact with Disney Villains. There’s the “Villains Mix and Mingle” show in front of the castle, where you can see Dr. Falicier from The Princess and the Frog, Maleficent, the Queen of Hearts, Jafar, Frollo, Captain Hook, the Evil Queen, and Cruella de Vil. After the show, there’s a brief meet-and-greet where you can get a photo with your favorite villain.
4. Kingdom Keepers Quest
I’m a big fan of the Kingdom Keepers book series by Ridley Pearson. It’s set in Walt Disney World, where the Disney Villains have banded together to become the “Overtakers” — trying to take over the Parks and maybe even the world! While everyone can (and should!) read the books, the Kingdom Keepers Quest is designed for fifth through ninth grade English or literature classes who have read the book series. (It’s about the only thing that makes me I wish I were a fifth through ninth grader again!) If you’re a teacher or youth group leader, check it out at the Disney Youth website.
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This is one set of activities that you really can’t do all in one day, because Fantasmic! and the Halloween party are both evening events. If you are able to do the Kingdom Keepers Quest, you’d be looking at one day in Magic Kingdom for the Quest and the Halloween party, and one day in Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic! and the exhibit. Perhaps a villain-themed weekend?
So which villain do you secretly (or not-so-secretly) cheer for?