Mid-Autumn is, in my opinion, the best time of year to go to Disney World. The crowds are low thanks to school being in session. The oppressive Orlando heat has tapered a bit, and even the frequent rains seem to let up as the calendar year wanes.
And at this magical time of year, Disney offers numerous special, seasonal events to add some sparkle to your vacation – including my favorite event of all—Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
In this review, I’ll explain what you can expect to see and do at this party, discuss the idea of coming to the party in your favorite costume, and provide you with tips to be able to experience all the magic that this very unique event provides guests.
Should I attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party?
Short answer – yes. Yes you should.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is truly an experience that park guests of all ages will enjoy. On certain nights from August 25th to November 1st, the Magic Kingdom is transformed into a spooky wonderland.
Unlike the Halloween extravaganzas at other popular theme parks, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is exactly what it says on the label: not so scary. So if having ghoulish nightmare creatures chase you around the park and jump-scare you all night isn’t your cup of tea, this party might be the perfect fit. And even if you do enjoy the more fear-based style of Halloween theme park party, I still advise checking this one out. It’s well worth your time.
What happens at the party?
What doesn’t happen!
You get to dress up! This is the only time adults are allowed to wear costumes in the Magic Kingdom. Guidelines are enforced, so make sure you study up on and adhere to the rules, but once you do, express yourself! I dressed as Tigger, complete with ears and a tail, and I think the Winnie the Pooh characters really liked my look. It’s common for adults to dress up at this party, so don’t be shy!
Trick or treating. This, in my opinion, is really more for the kids – but they’ll give out candy to adults too. Here’s a pointer: If you’re without children and you want to trick or treat, wait until the end of the night when the kids have mostly gone to bed. You’ll wait in shorter lines and the cast members will give you more candy. Got an allergy in your party? No problem! Any treat location can give you a special allergy bag, and as you go around the park you’ll trick or treat for tokens instead of candy. At the end of your night, exchange your tokens for allergy-friendly candy.
Other specialty snacks! Trick or treating isn’t for me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love delicious treats! My favorite is the pumpkin flavored Mickey waffle, and my fellow party-goer loved the four Haunted Mansion themed tarts scattered around the park (half the fun is finding them!) each of which features a different flavor filling and a different chocolate portrait on top. Other favorite novelties include candy corn flavored ice cream (I thought this just tasted like vanilla), Halloween themed cupcakes, and the old childhood favorite, worms in dirt!
Character meet-and-greets are a lot of people’s favorite part of the party, to judge by the copious lines they rack up – and there are some pretty fantastic characters out! Jack Skellington and Sally are favorites, as are the Seven Dwarves (you meet them in a mine!) New on the roster this year was Moana. For any of those characters, expect a wait of several hours, so line up early. I recommend choosing the character you want to see most and lining up first thing. Other characters on the meet-and-greet roster include Jack Sparrow, Lotso Huggin’ Bear, and Cruella deVil. Other characters who are more commonly available, such as Mickey Mouse and the Winnie the Pooh Crew will be out and about too – but you’ll see them decked out in full costume!
Entertainment. Opinions differ on this, but to me, the showstopper of the night is the Boo to You parade. It runs twice during each party, but a word of caution – it will be canceled in inclement weather. I advise seeing the first parade, even though the crowd is bigger, because if you hold out for the second one and then it gets rained out…well, that’s the literal definition of raining on your parade, isn’t it?
Other entertainment highlights: The Hocus Pocus Spelltacular, featuring villains from all your favorite Disney hits. This is a high point of the evening and definitely is not to be missed. It runs several times throughout the night – make sure to consult the entertainment schedule when you arrive at the park. I attended the midnight show, for two reasons: number one, the crowd has died down by then, and number two, everything else at the park shuts down at midnight. If you’re not as much of a night owl as I am, fear not – there are plenty of early runs of this show.
The Happy Hallowishes firework show is the third piece of entertainment you need to know about. I gave this one a pass because the regular Magic Kingdom fireworks are so good anyway, and it gave me the opportunity to go on Space Mountain. Speaking of which…
RIDES ARE OPEN. I realize this might not be as big a deal to everyone else, but we love rides and hate lines. Tons of your favorite attractions across the park are running during the party, and while you can’t book Fastpasses, you aren’t going to need them. Between the reduced crowd at the park and the fact that everyone’s doing things like standing in line to meet characters, if rides are your thing, you’re going to pack them in during this party.
Need some fun Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party costume ideas? How about a witch, a ghoul, or a zombie? Just make sure it’s family-friendly–this is a kid’s theme park after all!
What do I need to do to attend the party?
You need to buy a ticket. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a separate ticketed event, meaning your regular Magic Kingdom admission won’t be enough. On party nights, the park closes for regular admission guests at 7 PM and only those with party admission are allowed to stay.
Ticket prices vary by night. There are also, predictably, different rates for adults and children. Expect to pay $70-85 per adult, with outlying prices for extremely popular party days (like actual Halloween night). Children pay $5 less than the adult price on any given day.
Pick your party day, and be mindful of what your family is doing the rest of the day. If you have young children or prefer a more leisurely adventure, I don’t recommend trying to do the party on a day you’re already planning to be in the parks.
Take the morning and sleep in, relax at your resort, watch Hocus Pocus with your kids, and then head over to the Magic Kingdom at about 4 PM. Although the party doesn’t begin until 7, guests can begin checking in at 4 and can obtain party wristbands that will signal to cast members that you’ve paid to attend the party.
You’ll also get a complimentary trick or treat bag. It’s not very large, so if your primary reason for attending the party is to trick or treat and amass candy, you may want to bring your own bags – that’s allowed. Personally, I think the provided bag is fine, since there’s so much else to do.
By arriving at 4 instead of waiting until the party proper kicks off at 7, you take advantage of a couple of things:
-You can get in line early for character meet-and-greets. Some of these characters are so popular that if you wait until 7 to line up, you’ll miss the bulk of the Halloween party. By showing up early, you can position yourself near the front of the line and be done with your photo op early in the night.
-Fastpasses are available until 7. My advice is to use these hours to book three of them and get on some rides. Even if you’re not all about the rides the way I am, it makes sense to get some riding done before the main party starts. Then you’ll be able to attend the shows and fireworks without worrying about missing out on Space Mountain.
-Go look for the specialty foods. They should be available early in the day, and you can grab a snack while you wait for things to get going.
Is the Party too Expensive?
The great thing is that, on most days, it actually costs less than a day pass to the Magic Kingdom! So if you want to see the party but are concerned about fitting it into your Disney budget, simply choose one of the less pricey days. Then replace one of the park days you were planning on for your vacation with the Halloween party. You’re getting 8 hours in the park – from 4 PM until midnight – and an experience you just can’t get any other time, so it’s definitely a fair swap.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Tips
Consider the following when planning your Halloween party experience:
Dress comfortably. Sure, it’s fun to wear an elaborate costume, but you’re still hanging out in an Orlando theme park for several hours. Even if your Rapunzel costume is on point, wear sneakers, not heels.
Take pictures. There are tons of additional photospots during the party, all highlighted on the park map you can get at the entrance. Stop by and record your memories!
Ride the Haunted Mansion. Even if you don’t really care about rides or have been on this attraction dozens of times, the Haunted Mansion during the Halloween party is extra special. I won’t spoil it for you – see for yourself.
Watch the parade from Frontierland. Look, this is going to fly in the face of advice you’ll get everywhere else, because parades are gorgeous coming down Main Street, but the crowds are lighter in Frontierland, so that’s my pick. You’ll also be a lot closer to the start point of the parade, meaning it will end earlier for you and you can go get in line for a character or ride while the crowds on Main Street are still watching the end of the parade.
If you’re a high-octane park guest like me, go ahead and book your Halloween party on a day you’re going to be in the parks anyway. My preference is to make this a park hopper day – start out with a mellow morning in the Animal Kingdom looking at the wildlife and seeing the Lion King show, grab lunch, then head over to the Magic Kingdom around 2 or 3.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Remember that every food service location in Disney World will give you a cup of water at no charge. The last thing cast members want is a bunch of dehydrated guests, so don’t be shy about requesting a drink. Remember that this is Disney World, and everybody wants you to feel great and have a good time.
Go to Tomorrowland after dark. I love Tomorrowland at night, and the Halloween party is a great opportunity to see it all lit up. Swing by the dance party stage and look for Lotso Huggin’ Bear from Toy Story 3, and then get in line (or, more likely, no line!) for Space Mountain or the Astro Orbiter. As the night winds down, early birds will start to leave the park, and lots of the crowd will gravitate toward the stage shows and fireworks, so the lines are apt to be minimal.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is an absolute gem of an experience, not to be missed by fans of Disney magic, Mickey Mouse, Halloween, or having a good time generally. I award this experience five out of five stars. I’m so glad I made the decision to attend, and I hope your Halloween is as magical as mine was!
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