Right off the bat, I’ll lay my cards on the table. I love Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party – There, I said it…I’m biased on this particular topic. Now, if you’re unconvinced by my personal endorsement, I suppose we can delve into the reasons why it has quickly become one of the most popular yearly events at Walt Disney World.
With a total of 34 parties in 2018 (2 more than last year), the demand for tickets has been growing steadily. I suppose we should also rip the band-aid off quickly that, yes, it is an extra ticket to add on to your vacation…And yes, tickets range in price from $75 to $125 USD for an adult, depending on the night (kids 3-9 are $5 less than an adult ticket). But despite the price, there’s a whole host of reasons why it’s totally worth the extra cost.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is a limited ticket event, which means that the Magic Kingdom closes early and everyone who has a ticket gets a wristband to enter. Tickets are limited each evening, so you’re dealing with a smaller crowd-size, which can mean better wait times for rides.
The party officially kicks off at 7:00pm, but guests with a party ticket can enter the Magic Kingdom aas early as 4:00pm. If you’re looking to save a bit of money, you can choose to forego buying park tickets for that day, (spend most of the day in Disney Springs) and then head to the park in the late afternoon! Last year, Disney started experimenting with closing the park early to non-party guests for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. It must have gone well, because this year, the Magic Kingdom will close to non-party guests starting at 6:00pm, which gives you a solid hour before the party starts to get on rides ahead of the crowd.
What Halloween would be complete without a little trick-or-treating? When you first enter the party, you’ll receive a small bag with some starter candy inside. Throughout the park, there are at least a dozen other trick-or-treat locations where you can walk through and receive a happy handful of candy. While we wouldn’t recommend spending your entire evening collecting candy (Disney’s candy bags are fairly small anyway), it’s definitely worth it if you see a quick line. Plus, it adds to the whole Halloween experience
Apart from the free candy, there are a few specialty party snacks that are available to purchase throughout the park. These can change from year to year, so we’ll definitely update our list once the 2018 snack roster has been announced.
Last year’s snacks included a Jack Skellington Dessert, Pumpkin Cheesecake Domes, Candy Corn Soft-Serve Ice Cream and 4 different Haunted Mansion Portrait Desserts (like the one above). These treats are in the $4 – $6 USD range, but they’re delicious and so unique that you should at least be trying one or two during the party.
On top of the specialty snacks, there are a few other classic gems with Halloween twists, like a Mickey Cinnamon Roll with Halloween Icing drizzled on top, found at the Main Street Bakery. Other quick service locations around the park have included tasty treats like Pumpkin Ice Cream, Worms ‘n’ dirt and even Pumpkin Mickey Waffles!! And you thought the trick or treat candy was enticing enough…
The best part about preparing for Halloween is deciding what costumes you’re going to wear. At Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, you are also encouraged to dress up as your favourite characters or creatures. Keeping in mind that the party is about fun and being not-so-scary, picking costumes can be a blast. However, unless you’re driving down to Florida, you’ll have to make some extra room in your luggage for a costume that can survive a trip through baggage handling at the airport – or you can bring some quick-fixing supplies to do any last-minute repairs.
There are guidelines for what kids and adults can wear as costumes, as Disney doesn’t want anything offensive or dangerous. You can find all of their guidelines here
But in general, adults can’t wear masks or any costume that drags on the ground (so no full-length Cinderella gowns). They also recommend avoiding costumes with lots of layers as they may be subject to additional security screening. Lauren and I will always recommend something that isn’t too cumbersome and is fairly lightweight, since it can still be quite hot during the parties, depending on the days you’re attending, and there’s nothing worse than being a sweaty Disney character (no matter how awesome you look).
In addition to seeing at least half the guests around you in costume, there are a few Disney characters that you can only meet during the parties. Some are so popular, that they even start meet and greets before the party officially opens (though you still need a party wristband).
While the characters can change, there have been a number of consistent offerings over the past few years. Jack Skellington and Sally are perennial favourites, followed closely by Snow White and all Seven Dwarfs (in the same photo…with you…it’s pretty incredible).
Other favourites include The Queen of Hearts with Alice, Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum (all together), Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and Tigger (all together and wearing Halloween costumes), Cruella De Vil, Lotso and more! On the non-villain side, Moana has been an incredibly popular addition to the character lineup at the party.
If you’re looking to take photos, I would always recommend getting to the party early and trying to get your must-do photo-ops early in the evening so you don’t miss out on anything else.
Madame Renata and Madame Carlotta
Speaking of characters you can only see at the party, on the yard in front of the Haunted Mansion, you’re likely to see Madame Renata or her sister Madame Carlotta traipsing about. Both are nieces of the infamous Master Gracey and count themselves as some of the 999 happy haunts inside the mansion. Sometimes accompanied by their ghoulishly hilarious butler Broome, these ladies are incredibly fun to see and interact with as they recount their dead funny tales of life and death.
Make sure to say hello after dark as the fog pours over the lawn, helping to add to their ghostly natural blue hue…if you don’t say hello, they’re not afraid to call you out for only taking photos (though they love to show off for the cameras).
Equally fun (in a ghoulish sort of way), are the Cadaver Dans – dearly departed versions of their Dapper Dan brothers. You may just be able to spot what led to their individual demises, but suffice it to say, they’ve been dead for a while. That won’t stop them from keeping the music going, however, because even though they’re deceased, they still manage to knock out those dulcet 4-part harmonies.
Their repertoire includes songs with a Halloween feel and even a catchy Haunted Mansion theme as well. When you see a crowd forming in the middle of the street in and around Frontierland or Main Street, chances are good that the Cadaver Dans are performing. Make sure to stop by for at least a few tunes in the early evening
Okay, we’re really getting into the showstopper territory now. The Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular runs three times a night for most parties and it’s absolutely a must-do. Fans of the film from the 90’s are about to have a nostalgia overload and anyone who hasn’t seen the movie will catch up quickly (though you really should make a point of seeing it beforehand…it’s worth it!). Not only do the Sanderson Sisters host this event (just keep your children close), but they’re planning on throwing one heck of a party.
Music, Dancing and a terrifyingly tremendous number of villains make this show one of the highlights of the party for sure – Where else can you see the great Oogie Boogie breaking out some of his incredible dance moves? I think it’s best to make sure you see one of the first two showings, because chances are good that you may want to see the last show once more to end your night off.
Another highlight of the evening is the Boo-To-You Parade. Running twice throughout the night, you’ll see some of your favourite characters in Halloween costumes, as well as a ton of other ghoulish characters from all over Disney’s wealth of spookiness. A quick warning that after five minutes of the parade, you may as well join in the singing of the Boo-To-You soundtrack, because that song is going to be with you for the rest of the evening – and quite possibly until the end of your trip. It’s so catchy and it gets you in the spirit instantly.
Of course, nothing gets you in the spirit for the parade quite like the Headless Horseman, who kicks off the festivities. It’s really the best and most iconic way to start a Halloween parade and the hush that falls on the crowd as the horse’s hooves can be heard clopping from a distance add an eerie feeling to the air.
Some of my favourite characters in the parade come straight out of the Haunted Mansion. The butlers dragging their shovels along the pavement creating sparks, the ghostly ballroom dancers and of course, the hitchhiking ghosts are just a few of the reasons why Lauren and I would consistently see this parade twice!
The pinnacle of the night typically runs shortly after 10pm and it’s what makes the party worth the price of admission. The Happy Hallowishes Fireworks Spectacular fills the night sky with unique and unforgettable Halloween fireworks. A modern take on classic Disney villain songs fill the soundtrack and set the stage for the projections and fireworks display before you. It’s fun, it’s exciting and it’s the one event in the night where you have to make sure you stake out a good vantage point.
You definitely don’t want to be caught on the East and West outskirts of the Cinderella Castle hub (or worse…stuck in Adventureland), because a central viewpoint caps off this great evening of Halloween fun. Catch the Hocus Pocus show about a half-hour before the fireworks and you’re probably already in a good position to stake out your spot for the fireworks shortly after. I can’t stress enough that you don’t want to miss this (no matter how short the line for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is).
There are honestly a lot of other factors that go into making this event so great. The party-specific merchandise (like pins, shirts and more) make for great souvenirs to remember your evening, though you can usually pick them up on either the way in or the way out without too much difficulty.
There’s also the often-overlooked impact of the decorations around the Magic Kingdom. Some are subtle and others are not, but the decorations make the Halloween party really feel like Halloween, even if you’re in the middle of August. The background music is also unique to the party, adding a touch of subtle Halloween that you may not even be aware of – just one more little detail that really makes the party come to life. As someone who really enjoys Halloween and all of the fun that comes with it, I can say confidently that Disney sure knows how to throw one incredible Halloween party.
Whether it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event for you, or you make it an annual must-do, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is something I recommend for everyone. Life-long memories are made at the party…not to mention one enormous sugar crash-induced sleep that night – the perfect end to a perfect night.