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WDW's "Haunted Hayrides" start rolling through Fort Wilderness tonight

WDW's "Haunted Hayrides" start rolling through Fort Wilderness tonight

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Do you want to see a Disney Dweeb cry? Then show them this sign:

That sign means that they missed out on their chance to go on a one-of-a-kind ride. A spooky trip through the swamps down along Bay Lake. A journey that climaxes with a far-too-close encounter with the Headless Horseman. You know, that ghastly ghoul that menaced poor old Ichabod Crane?

These "Haunted Hayrides" have become a Halloween tradition at the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. And folks who have actually experienced this after-dark excursion through the woods will tell you that it's the scariest thing that they've ever done.

Oh, sure. You can also see the Headless Horseman as part of "Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party" (Which is being held between 7 p.m. and midnight at the Magic Kingdom for at least eight more evenings this month). The Horseman actually leads off the first nightly run of  "Mickey's Boo-to-You Halloween Parade." 

Mind you, if you want an extra-special encounter with Washington Irving's creepy creation, be sure to be in Liberty Square near Sleepy Hollow refreshments at least 10 minutes before the first parade of the night steps off.

Photo by Jeff Lange

There, you'll meet Mr. Knickerbocker, a cadaverous storyteller in tattered colonial garb. He'll then tell the tale of Ichabod Crane, the unfortunate schoolmaster who made the mistake of crossing the path of the Headless Horseman ...

Photo by Jeff Lange

And just as Mr. Knickerbocker is getting to the part where he describes how the giant black stallion came riding up out of the darkness behind poor Ichabod. With a headless man on his back. An undead entity who was clutching a burning jack-o-lantern in his hand ... THERE HE IS !

Photo by Jeff Lange

The horse and his rider then gallop through Liberty Square before riding off toward Frontierland. Anyone who has ever experienced this moment at the Magic Kingdom will tell you that it is a most memorable way to meet the Headless Horseman and his fearsome steed.

Unfortunately, given the size of that performance venue, only a handful of folks actually got to experience this eerie encounter at each year's "Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party." As the rest of us ... What we get to see is something like this ...

Photo by Jeff Lange

Where some random shape moves quickly up Main Street U.S.A. The Headless Horseman goes by so fast, it's hard to tell what just happened. Is that really some guy on the back of a horse clutching a flaming pumpkin that just rode by? Or was it a girl with a glowing gourd on the back of a  really fast-moving pig?

That's why the "Haunted Hayrides" over at Fort Wilderness are so much more fun. You're not shoulder to shoulder with thousands of people. But -- rather -- It's only you and a handful of people in the back of that haywagon. You're moving slowly through the dark forest ...

Photo by Jeff Lange

When -- suddenly -- there he is! The Headless Horseman himself! Riding up out of the darkness to menace you and the dozen or so other people who are in the back of that haywagon.

Photo by Jeff Lange

This experience is rather intense and extremely intimate, folks. Given the limited capacity of these haywagons (More importantly, given that Fort Wilderness will only be sending out six loads of tourists each night) ... Well, you can imagine why it's so difficult to secure tickets to WDW's "Haunted Hayrides."

Add to this that the tickets for this special seasonal event are only sold in one location: The Fort Wilderness Kennels. And then -- to compound the difficulty of securing seats on WDW's "Haunted Hayrides" -- these tickets are only sold on the day of the event. And when they're gone ... They're gone.

That's why -- if you really have your heart set on having a close encounter with the Headless Horsemen -- you should make a point of being at the Fort Wilderness Kennels right at 9 a.m. Just as that office first opens for the day. That's the only way that you can actually guarantee that you'll get a seat on one of  WDW's "Haunted Hayrides" this year.

Speaking of which ... This seasonal event gets underway tonight at 7 p.m. These half-hour hayrides depart from in front of Pioneer Hall, with the last wagon rolling out at 10 p.m.

The price for tickets is $15.00 for adults 10 and up. Children 3 - 10 pay $10 for their seats, while kids under three can ride for free. (Please keep in mind, though, that this experience may be too intense for small children.)

WDW's "Haunted Hayrides" will be presented on October 14,15,17,18,19,21,22,24,26,28,29,30 & 31. For further information on this rather eerie event, feel free to give the folks at the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground a ring at (407) 824-2900.

Jeff Lange is the staff photographer / archivist here at JHM. He recently released his very first DVD, "Jeff Lange's Trick or Treat." Which offers full coverage of last year's "Mickey's Not-so-Scary Halloween Party" at WDW's Magic Kingdom. If you'd like to learn more about this entertaining recording, we suggest that you follow this link.

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  • Considering that the immense popularity of this event has increased the "SOLD OUT" sign too often, one would think that Disney would realize that this is a REAL moneymaker with nominal investment with substantial returns, and increase the visability of this short timeframe venue. On our hayride, of the 36 guests on board, 34 of them raised their hands when asked if they had ridden before. The percentage of those people who were Cast Membersl: ALOT!
    Look at Universals Holloween Horror Nights. A REAL cash cow. But with alot of capital outlay.
    Disney is making this venue harder to get tickets to by taking publicity down off the employee Portal, making tickets only available on the day of, and only running it on weekend nights. Shortsightedness at its best...
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