It’s nearly time for my favorite party – Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party! This family-friendly, after-hours event held at Walt Disney World in the Magic Kingdom is loads of fun.
In addition to trick-or-treating, meet and greets with Disney characters donning Halloween costumes, and entertainment unique to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, many popular Magic Kingdom attractions – including, of course, The Haunted Mansion – are available to experience (but beware of hitchhiking ghosts).
Nightly entertainment features the twice nightly “Mickey’s Boo-To-You Halloween Parade” led by the infamous Headless Horseman, followed by “HalloWishes,” a green and orange fireworks display complete with Disney villains.
I’ve been to this party several times in past years and I must say – it’s a ghoulish good time! Here are my tips to help you get the most out of the experience.
- Plan to attend the party on a weekday to avoid the weekend crowds. Weekends tend to be more crowded with locals attending the parties.
- Purchase your tickets in advance. Even getting them the day before will save you some cash. In previous years many nights have sold out in advance – particularly Friday nights and the last week of October. If you’re set on a particular night, get your tickets as soon as possible.
- If you can, plan to attend on a day that has discount prices. Even if you don’t qualify for the discount, those days historically tend to be less crowded than the other days – that’s why Disney offers discounts on those days.
- Pick up a party guide/map at Guest Services a day or two before you go so that you have time to look at it and make plans for what you want to do at the party. This way you won’t waste precious party time trying to figure out where things are or what to do next. A good strategy is to decide in advance what your must-dos are and plan around those. That way, if you don’t have time to do everything (a very likely scenario) you won’t leave disappointed that you missed something that was important to you.
- On the day that you are planning to go to the party, save your money and don’t go to any of the theme parks. Instead, plan a park-free day and take it easy: sleep in, hang out by the pool, participate in some of the many resort activities that Disney offers, visit other resorts, play miniature golf, go shopping, take a nap. Whatever you do, keep it low-key and get some rest before the party. Partying until midnight makes for a very long day and it doesn’t make sense to waste your money by leaving early because you’re too tired.
- Arrive early. Although the party doesn’t officially begin until 7pm, in years past Disney has allowed party guests to enter the park as early as 4pm. I expect the same will be true this year.
- Plan to be done with dinner before 7pm so that you don’t miss any of the party. It’s hard enough to fit everything in without losing an hour to dinner.
- Characters will be decked out in their favorite costumes, so wear yours too – yes, even adults! I promise, even if you aren’t one to normally dress up on Halloween, wearing a costume will make your evening way more fun! Just be sure that your costume is “family-friendly” and that you don’t have masks or head pieces that may obstruct your vision. Make sure your costume is comfortable enough to spend 5 hours walking around in it. It can be quite hot and humid in Florida, even on an October evening, so keep this in mind when you design your costume. Video of some creative costumes worn at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
- The parade happens twice each night and it’s just the best Disney parade ever – a definite must-see! If you think you’ll only want to see it once, then skip the first parade and use that time to ride the attractions when the lines are shorter (because everyone else is at the parade). Then go to the second parade when it’s much easier to get a viewing spot because many people have left for the evening. Video of September 11, 2012 Mickey’s Boo to You Parade
- Regardless of which parade you go to, you’ll find the least crowded viewing areas in Frontierland and Liberty Square. If you’re lucky, you may even snag a place to sit that is off the ground – a great tip for us 50+ year olds! Make sure you’re in place in time to see the Headless Horseman who rides the parade route just before the parade starts.
- Trick or treating is part of the fun – besides, when else are you going to get “free” candy at the Magic Kingdom? There are several trick or treat stations throughout the park marked with big white balloons, but really, unless you happen to catch one with no line, I wouldn’t take up time going to more than one or two. The candy is the same at all of them. If you wait until later in the evening the lines will go more quickly. I also noticed that the closer it got to midnight, the more generous the Cast Members were with the treats.
- Go to the dance party – it’s a lot of fun and kids love it. Heck, I don’t even dance and I love it! It’s a great way to burn off all those sugar highs before heading back to your room.
- Don’t miss the HalloWishes fireworks show (different from Wishes, the regular nightly Magic Kingdom fireworks show). The best place to watch from is in front of Cinderella Castle. You’ll want to be far enough away to be able to see the fireworks that are shot off around the perimeter. I think a perfect place for viewing is between Main Street USA and the hub. Video of September 11, 2012 Happy HalloWishes Fireworks
- There will be lots of characters to meet, many of whom are rarely seen. Like all the other lines, the lines for characters get shorter as the evening wears on, so if you missed some earlier you might double back to see if you can catch them later.
The party is a special ticket event that lasts from 7pm to 12am. Tickets can be ordered by calling 407-W-DISNEY.
~ Barrie Brewer, Social Media Director