I am a party of the Disney Parks Moms Panel, but this post was not sponsored or influenced in any way. I bought my own park tickets and paid my way to the Most Magical Place on Earth!
Don’t forget your death certificate! If you would love for a ghost to follow you home, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is the place for you. My favorite Magic Kingdom party, MNSSHP boasts spell-tacular stage shows, incredible fireworks, trick or treating, rare character greetings, and an opportunity to show off your Halloween Costume to the Mouse himself! I’m detailing 13 (ooooh, that lucky Halloween number!) Top Tips that you need to know before you attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Don’t forget to buy tickets in advance, because this scary good time sells out!
1. Arrive Early, Stay Late
Your best bet for a less-crowded party is to go “early” in the season. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties are available in September as well as very late August. It is a bit hotter, but the crowds are smaller. The party starts at 7pm, with entry available to Party ticket holders in the late afternoon, so make the most of your day and enter the park when you see those Cast Members waiting just past the touchpoints (veer to the right) in festive garb and handing out wristbands. Seasonal parties can go late into the evening, so take a nap and stay up past midnight! Pro tip: The park empties out a bit after the “first” parade ends due to families with small children heading back to the Resorts to sleep.
2. Go on a Week Day
You can also try a weekday party for a less-crowded park, especially if you have an Annual Pass, as discounts sometimes fall on these dates. I attended in October 2016 on a Wednesday and a Thursday night, to festive but smaller crowds.
3. Pick Up a Party Guide
The yearly party guides can be found just as you enter the park as well as through the “party entrance” which is just to the right of the Town Square Theatre (don’t head down main street). If you are already in the park around 6pm, when the party guests are entering and being ushered through the party entrance, make your way back to the front of Magic Kingdom and follow the Cast Members dressed in their Halloween Party Costumes. The guide will show all Trick or Treat locations, Entertainment options, merchandise locations with special items, and amazing treats that can only be purchased during party nights.
4. Grab some Spooky Desserts
Speaking of those special treats, my favorites come from Gaston’s Tavern, where I’ve found specialty cupcakes for both Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party and the Very Merry Christmas Party. It’s worth stopping into the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor to see if they have Halloween Ice Cream sandwiches for purchase, too!
5. Don’t Bring a Treat Bag
Don’t bother packing your trick or treat bags. Save that valuable suitcase space and use the nice treat bags you’ll get when you check into the party. Each guest (even the little ones) will get a trick or treat bag to stuff with candy, including those with food allergies (see Top Tip #13 below). The bags typically are promoting one of your favorite Disney films, so nerd out and sport the nice handled bags.
6. Don’t Waste Time at Table Service Dinner
I get it. Sometimes there’s only ONE CHANCE to get into Be Our Guest, and it’s during the party. Last year, we came up against that decision, and since both of my besties were with me, we decided to make a pit stop into Beast Castle for a coveted position at a ballroom table. Though the meal was AMAZING, delicious, and we got to see The Beast during the Halloween Party, we lost a good bit of party time. My friends and I ended up buying another party ticket so we could watch the fireworks, see more characters and dance along to the Monsters Inc. Dance Party. Instead of opting for a Table Service Dinner during the Party, grab quick service dinner at 6pm or before, or eat at your Walt Disney World Resort hotel room.
7. Watch for the Headless Horseman
Make sure you have your parade spot marked out 15 minutes early, as the Headless Horseman will make his ride BEFORE the parade starts. There is no fanfare, no music. Only the Cast Members making sure the way is clear, so be sure to keep your ear to the ground for the clopping of horse hooves down the street. Holding aloft his gleaming pumpkin, Headless will start in Frontierland, making his way to the front of the park…
8. Choose a Parade Viewing Time
As luck would have it, Mickey’s Boo to You Halloween Party runs twice a night during Halloween Parties. Typically both 8:30pm and 11:15pm see the parade running from Frontierland towards the train station at Main Street, U.S.A. (yes, that is backwards from a typical WDW parade direction), so plan your party wisely and choose a time that’s best for you. I love to stand at the flagpole or on Main Street for a wonderful vantage point of the parade festivities. You can also stand on the Center Cinderella Hub and look down into Liberty Square for another fabulous viewing point.
9. Watch the Hocus Pocus Villain Spell-tacular and Happy Hallowishes Fireworks
If you check the times closely in the Party Guide, you’ll see that the Hocus Pocus Villain Spell-tacular runs 2-3 times a night. Choose a time that works best for your family, and gather around the Cinderella Forecourt Stage for the largest collection of villains ever! You’ll see Oogie Boogie sing and dance, hear from Maleficent, Captain Hook and of course, The Sanderson Sisters. The music will have you jumping up and down! The Happy Hallowishes Fireworks Spectacular only has one show a night, so be sure to show up for those 10:15pm (check times each year) fireworks, because they are unlike any other show that Disney offers. For amazing seats, gather near the green spaces near the Central Hub to have fireworks wrapping around you in glowing splendor!
10. Dress up! (Allow for Hot Weather)
One of the reasons Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is so dear to me is because adults can dress up in costumes, too! You can cosplay your little heart out, so don your best costume (no masks, trailing fabric or weapons allowed) and have fun! I saw a Briar Rose that looked like she stepped out of the movie, and this super fun Attraction Wait Time Card costume that we talked to while in line for Magician Mickey. Remember, this is not Michigan. It is not cold in Florida. Even in late October, it can be very hot, so keep your costume cool, lightweight and breathable. Don’t let your kids walk around in a furry Sully costume, or they will bake!
11. Line Up for Characters
Tons of specialty, rarely seen characters can show up for MNSSHP, so gather your autograph books, cameras and Memory Maker entitlements. I waited nearly 45 minutes to see Hatter and Alice (Queen of Heart and the Tweedles had their own line), because aside from breakfast at 1900 Park Fare, you never get to meet him anymore! We also saw Jack Sparrow, Aladdin/Jasmine/Genie, Jack Skellington and Sally, The Seven Dwarfs (lines in Storybook Circus can start as early as 5pm!), and more. Check your My Disney Experience App for insight, and read up on the web for what other characters guests have spotted at the party.
Disney’s Trick or Treat stations at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party will be marked on the Party Guide, but can also be seen throughout the park by guests. Promptly at the party’s start (typically 7pm as of 2017), the inflatables will rise and light up, directing folks to the treat lines (they typically use closed attraction queues to direct traffic. Do not over estimate these lines. They are some of the FASTEST moving lines IN THE WORLD. We never stood in line for a treat station for more than 3 minutes. Most treat lines were a walk up and exit, especially as it gets later in the party.
Walk up with your bag ready, and Cast Members will dump a handful of candy in! The candy is the same at each location, but if you have a sweet tooth, walk around and fill ‘er up! If you have food allergies, please see Top Tip #13 below… trick or treating is for you, too!
13. Don’t Worry About Food Allergies
Walt Disney World Resort is one of the most wonderful places a person with food allergies can visit. From the special diets hotline to the wonderfully trained Chefs at each restaurant, guests with any kind of preparation or allergy can feel comfortable ordering and consuming a meal. Trick or Treating at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party shouldn’t be any different, so in 2016, Walt Disney World Resort added a special system to the treat stations for guests with food allergies.
When you gain entrance to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and pick up your Trick or Treat bag, ask a Cast Member for an Allergy Friendly Bag, which will be teal in color. This will help all treat station Cast Members see you coming, and they will have allergy tokens (also teal!) to give you instead of handfuls of pre-prepared candy. Collect these tokens at all of the treat stations in your bag while you enjoy the party!
When you’re ready to redeem your treat tokens, take them to the Town Square Theatre (where you would normally visit with Tinkerbell or Magician Mickey) and you’ll find the front desk littered with lovely Teal Pumpkins and a Cast Member waiting to help you redeem your tokens. There is a menu on the desk detailing the allergy-friendly treats, free of the 8 major allergens and produced in facilities free of such. There are even non-food crafts for selection like pumpkin faces and more!
Do you have your tickets for the party yet? Keep your eyes peeled wider than Madame Leota’s for Annual Passholder discounts, sale dates, yearly additions and more. Get your costume ready, because Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is a frightfully good time!