Despite the pleas and rumors from fans, a sequel has not been announced for the popular Halloween movie, Disney’s “Hocus Pocus.” However, if your broomstick can get you to Orlando, you can see the Sanderson Sisters in all their glory in a new stage show at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom this Halloween season.
“Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular” debuted last week at the first Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, where the show is performed exclusively four times during each party night. (See details about the Halloween party, including dates and prices, on our AllEars.Net resource page.)
“In ‘Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular,’ the mischievous Sanderson Sisters from Disney’s ‘Hocus Pocus’ return to the mortal world for one night during the Halloween season,” wrote Shawn Slater, communications manager for Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts, Creative Entertainment, on the Disney Parks Blog. “With only a few hours to run amuck, the three sisters decide to use their magic to throw the best evil Halloween party this side of the graveyard!”
My family and I got to see “Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular” on Friday, and we really enjoyed it even though we hadn’t seen the movie (gasp!), which came out in 1993. The choreography, upbeat music, projections on the castle and inclusion of some familiar villains from other Disney stories makes this production appealing to all partygoers. And it just might inspire you to watch the fan-favorite flick, as it did us. (Hocus Pocus will be on ABC Family during the 2015 13 Nights of Halloween celebration on Oct. 19, 20, 24, 25, 27, 29, 30 and 31.)
Afterward, we could appreciate the details that were translated from the screen to the stage, such as the significance of the candle. Lighting it awakens the Sanderson Sisters — Winifred, Mary and Sarah — in the movie after 300 years. That scene is replayed in the stage show with various candles that are lit on stage and in projections on the castle. The set also includes the wrought-iron gate from the cemetery that figures prominently in the movie and the bubbling cauldron used to concoct spells.
Walt Disney World’s Sanderson Sisters truly look like they could have stepped out of the movie, and their mannerisms match, as well. The trio replicates scenes of hypnotizing children and then attempting to put a spell on the audience with the help of other Disney villains. The show builds toward the finale, “I Put A Spell On You,” with all the characters, fireworks and then farewells.
“Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular” is longer than the show it replaces, “Villains Mix and Mingle,” at almost 22 minutes. It does not offer the audience the opportunity to meet the villains as its predecessor did, although I’m sure fans would enjoy that experience.
On Friday, I spoke with Denise Case, show director for Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts, Creative Entertainment, about the new production.
Question: Why “Hocus Pocus”?
Case: Because we love, love, love the Sanderson Sisters. They were originated by Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker. It’s a funny Halloween film. It’s become a real fan favorite for this time of the year. ABC Family shows it every year. … So we felt like the Sanderson Sisters were perfect for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
Q: How do you think a younger audience that maybe hasn’t seen “Hocus Pocus” will relate to the show?
Case: I think younger audiences will like it because of the comedy — the sisters are very funny. And they know the villains from some of their favorite movies. Dr. Facilier, obviously, from “The Princess and The Frog” and Oogie Boogie from “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” Jafar, Cruella de Vil. I think it really does have something for everyone, even if you’re not a “Hocus Pocus” fan.
Q: What did it take to get “Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular” on the stage? When did you start developing the show?
Case: We really started wrapping our hands around the high concept for the show at the beginning of this year, and we’ve been working on it very diligently ever since. It was a huge team effort.
Q: What is your favorite part of the show?
Case: My favorite part of the show has got to be the Sanderson Sisters’ entrance and the top of “I Put a Spell On You” just because of the audience reaction. The audiences are reacting as we hoped they would, so every time that happens, I just get really excited.
Q: I know this is only the second night that “Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular” has been performed, but what has the feedback been so far?
Case: Knock wood, it’s been really great. Guests seem to love it. The thing that I think makes me the happiest is that a lot of guests are telling us that they are seeing the Sanderson Sisters as they wanted to see them. I think we are fulfilling their excitement about the sisters and that makes me really happy because that was really important to us. We wanted to give fans and guests what they wanted.
Q: What time do you recommend guests see the show? (It plays at 8, 9:20 and 10:40 p.m. and midnight on the Castle Forecourt Stage.)
Case: Later in the evening — the 10:40 or midnight show — are best [if you want a less-crowded experience]. If you have little ones who can stay up late, I think the midnight show is a bunch of fun!
Can’t make it to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party? We have a video of the full “Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular” show for you to watch:
Finally, one last note from me: On the first night of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, the Magic Kingdom offered a T-shirt with an image from the new show. It sold out that night, though a cast member told me it would be restocked and partygoers could bring proof they had attended a party (wristband, receipt, ID) and they would be allowed to purchase the T-shirt.
Also, Sept 21 through 27, DisneyStore.com will sell T-shirts that depict each of the Sanderson Sisters’ outfits plus another T-shirt with the logo for the Sanderson Sisters Witch Museum.
DISCLAIMER: I was a guest of Walt Disney World at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. This did not affect my story; my opinions are my own.