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Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2013

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2013

Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Florida

I was in the park prior to the first party this year and met with some veteran party goers at the Pecos Bill in Fronteirland. They were having a meal around 6PM to stay hydrated and so they would not need to spend party hours eating dinner. They arrived early, at 4PM when the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party tickets were being accepted. (Officially the party starts at 7PM, but you are able to come into the Magic Kingdom as early as 4PM with the party tickets.) At 7PM At 7PM the Ghost Host announces the beginning of the party and asks the others to leave. Cast members line up to begin a sweep of the park separating those with wrist bands for the party from the non-party participants, leading other day guests without the bands out of the park. By 7PM the family had finished dinner and was ready to line up at the Treat Trail at Splash Mountain to get a good start on filling up their treat bags early. Another good reason for eating dinner earlier, prior to the party start time, is that the special food served only during the party hours is all desserts. You can still purchase food, but it is the regular menu. The line waiting for food at Pecos Bill later, around 9PM, is fairly long and the wait time for the meals was eating away at party goers’ time. My veterans try to do the party different each year. Their main word of advice was to “decide what your priority is, and stick to it”. If you do that, you will be able to accomplish what you want to.

This was my family’s first time to attend this event and we have been very excited about attending for weeks now. There has been much attention to making costumes, and wondering what it was going to be like. We arrived around 4PM. We found the majority of the entrance is set aside for the party goers and they give you the wrist bands, treat bags and maps right away. This was great as then there is no waiting inside the park for the bands. You can start planning your route to maximize your time, or look at how much is going on and wonder how am I ever going to experience ALL of this in five hours? Prioritize. Is it candy, rides, entertainment, photo ops, fireworks, card game, food? What is it that is more important to you/your group? You may need to split up if you have very different objectives for the evening. I was surprised at how quickly the time went by. Our goal was to enjoy every minute, get lots of candy, ride a few things, see the parade, fireworks, Villains’ show, and get photos with characters.

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Walking into Town Square you are put in the Halloween mood right away. Bright yellow, orange and white banners, carved happy jack-o-lanterns, and fall leaves are decorating the building. Pumpkin head scare crows based on some cast member costumes, as well as a photo area with large pumpkins and the Cinderella Castle in the background offers so much for the eye to see.

It was clear to see from the crowd that there were many other party goers there early and many of them were in costumes. I make costumes, so this was very exciting for me to see all the different ones there. (Note: costumes are optional for the party but they do add a fun element to the party for guests of all ages.) Costumes often tend to be hot and in the Florida afternoons, really hot. My party ducked into Fairytale Hall to visit with a couple of princesses, but also to enjoy the air conditioning for a little while. The Princess’ were welcoming, even to those in costume. Some are really good at rolling with the guests in costumes that they run into during an event like this, others, not so readily adaptable, but the photos were fun none the less. Getting photos with Disney characters, especially those who complimented our costumes, was great fun and we were able to visit several of them prior to the party start time. From Fairytale Hall we went further into the new Fantasyland heading over to Gaston’s Tavern for a cool mug of LeFeu’s Brew when we spotted Gaston himself doing a meet and greet outside his tavern.

Meeting and getting photos with Gaston was perhaps the most fun we had all evening. He was very good at being the character and if you ever wondered what Gaston would do if he met Shan Yu(the villain from Disney’s Mulan), then you would have had that opportunity when a guest dressed as a female version of Shan Yu entered the line to get a photo with him. He played off of the random guests in costumes in line: Cinderella, Ursula, Queen of Hearts (male version), German Beer Girl, Shan Yu, even Dipper Pines from Gravity Falls. It was hilarious! The cast member playing Gaston never missed a beat and was in perfect Gaston mode the whole time. Thank you Gaston! We later had photos with the Great Goofini who was also very animated and engaging, despite the fact that he doesn’t speak, and also Donaldo in the Circus Tent in Fantasyland. Jack Skellington and Sally made a rare appearance for meet and greet near Town Hall. Jack Sparrow meet and greet across from The Pirates of the Caribbean is a rare opportunity also. Snow White and all seven Dwarfs were out occasionally near the new Fantasyland. Other traditional characters made some appearances in costumes for the event.

A word about the Photo Pass photographers at the character photo spots, they will wait for you, or a cast member to take a photo of your group with your own camera/phone, then take more photos and hand you a card with which you can later go online and purchase a print, or a download, or other products with the number on the back of the card. Just in case you lose things like that, take a quick photo of the number with your phone or camera and then you can still retrieve the photos later. Use the same card your whole trip, which makes it easier to retrieve all the photos of your group in one place.

The Sorcerers’ of the Magic Kingdom card game was giving out a special edition card for the event which features The Haunted Mansion. Unfortunately, they ran out of the special edition cards for the event at the Liberty Square location, but it was still available at the firehouse if you could get there before the park closed. So we had extra walking to the front of the park near the end of the evening to retrieve the card. There was a long line there when we came in at 4PM so we had opted to go to the other location to pick it up. Throughout the evening I only saw a few groups actually playing the game during the party.

In the last half hour of regular park hours the “Ghost Host” for the evening is heard throughout the park. He warns those without bands that they will be sent out and welcomes those to the park who have been invited to the party. This event is a special ticket and is often sold out prior to the event. The crowds are limited, so even a sold out night still affords you great accessibility to the things you choose to do.

We came out of Space Mountain just in time to see the Monstrous Scream-O-Ween Ball getting started. A quick run through the candy station there reaped a bag of Monster gummy candy, and then over to the Ball we could see Sully was leading the dance party along with the monster with the sock on his back…yes the sock was there! Everyone was rocking away to the music. Back in Fronteirland they were dancing at Woody’s Happy Harvest Roundup in The Diamond Horseshoe in Liberty Square. We did some rides in Tomorrowland and visited the Monster’s Laugh Floor to see if anything different happened in that show with so many in costumes. It was the regular show, oddly managing to avoid people in costume. There is a Treat Trail running from Space Mountain to the new Fantasyland that we walked down. Here the cast members try to give extra big handfuls of candy to each person coming by.

At 9:15 is Celebrate the Magic, which is the time Disney turns the Cinderella Castle into a back drop of color and lights. The Happy HalloWishes fireworks show was at 9:30PM. We watched it from Fronteirland and it was spectacular, another great fireworks performance for Disney. There are special lighting effects on the castle and down Main Street throughout the evening, changing everything into a variety of colors. The Castle is occasionally dark purple, with just the lights in the windows on. There are also special lighting on Big Thunder Mountain, other Fronteirland shops and attractions, and The Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. Cast Members inside some of the attractions also have a special look about them. Pirates have scars on their faces and The Haunted Mansion cast have a little more of a dead-pan look than normal.

Two Trick-or-Treat Trails and 9 Candy stops throughout the park have different candy and afford you the opportunity to fill up your treat bags with all you care to. Find the ones that have the treats you most enjoy. Not all treat trails are equal in the amount of treats given. Also, in The Enchanted Tiki Room they give out bags of Craisins for a healthier alternative. If you would like different options you can turn in your candy at Guest Relations in Town Hall for alternative treats. For instance if you have a peanut allergy you can trade candy in for other treats that contain no peanuts or trace of peanuts. You can also get gluten free alternatives if you like. Most people leaving the park, I noticed, were each carrying two full treat bags. When at the party, just look for the giant inflated jack-o-lanterns to light the way to the candy. I appreciated the enthusiasm of the cast members and the hard work it took to keep grabbing handfuls of candy to put in the bags non-stop. I also appreciated hearing guests wishing the cast a Happy Halloween and saying thank you at the candy stops.

Mickey’s Boo to You! Parade was available at two times in the evening, 8:15 and 10:30PM. The first was very well attended so we chose to watch the second one hoping for better viewing. The parade is preceded by Ichabod Crane (the Headless Horseman) riding in on his horse, headless, holding a jack-o-lantern. We were thrilled to see him ride out, as he was not able to earlier in the evening due to a light rain that was falling. It was too dark to get a good photo which made it even more enjoyable to watch. We loved the parade. The parade was entertaining and creative. The dancing characters from Pirates and the Haunted Mansion dancers and Gravediggers were outstanding. The floats were unique, and the parade cast members who occasionally came through handing out more candy to the children in the front were a big hit. Many of the most popular rides were represented by their characters/float. It ended with Goofy on a float for Goofy’s Candy Company and cast members handing out even more candy! When the parade ended we were able to walk right up to the castle stage area just in time to see the Disney Villain’s Dance Mix and Mingle begin. Their show was fun and then they came down into the crowd for pictures and to greet their fans. Disney Villains are very popular, that is undeniable. Another neat feature near the castle is the Mickey face jack-o-lanterns that light the castle forecourt also twinkle to resemble the lighting you would get from real candles, just another Disney detail that makes their events so special.

There was very little wait time, if any, for many of the rides. This is so enticing if you have favorite rides, and it could be worth the admission ticket for you to have this unusual experience for 5 hours. Again, it is in what you set as your priority.

The special food available for the party included: Spiced Pumpkin Waffle Sundaes at Sleepy Hollow, which I noticed had a steady line throughout the evening. Gaston’s Tavern had Ghost Cupcakes, Storybook Treats had Candy Corn Soft Serve Ice Cream, and Sweet Treats on Main Street served up specialty cupcakes and cookies. The popcorn carts had hitchhiking Ghost popcorn buckets. You can eat that candy at your resort later; go ahead and try one of the specialty themed treats for the night.

Merchandising was not asleep for this not so frightful night. The shops were ready with special party t-shirts, light up pumpkin baskets and bags, and of course, collector pins. We were happy to see there were Party collector pins featuring Chip and Dale, Mickey, and a few other pins for the serious pin trader/collector in your group.

It was our first time, and we had a blast, but we in no way were able to “do” everything. This was due in part because we were enjoying every little feature that makes it such a special evening that we were sometimes sidetracked. We are not regretting any of it; we are just planning on going again! Things we really enjoyed were the music that played throughout the park all evening, the special lighting effects, the banners, the fog in many areas, seeing Pirates of the Caribbean “on fire”, seeing special characters that are rarely or never seen outside of this event, the great candy, the outstanding cast members, the special themed treats, walking onto rides, oh so much fun in five hours. It is a really fun event for the whole family. Seeing families dressed up together in costumes and having a great time trick or treating in the Magic Kingdom was something you don’t see at any other event.

Tips: arrive early to maximize your time in the park; eat dinner before the party begins; set your priorities for the night; keep your eyes open to see all the details that were put into the evening by Disney; have fun!

The party runs from 7PM to 12AM. All are welcome to come in costumes “that are not obstructive, or offensive.” If you wear a mask, it must be one you can clearly see out of. You need to be able to move on your own. 2013 Party Dates with tickets still available at this time:

September 29; October 3,4,6,10,11,14,17,18,20,22,24,25,27,29,31; November 1

Prices vary depending on the night, with Halloween night the highest. Check for reduced rates on some evenings. The event program can be downloaded from the Disney website.

 

 

 

About Cassie

Cassie L. I am a lifelong Disney fan. I attended Walt Disney World in 1971, and was there during the opening week of EPCOT, and have visited the Disney Parks for than 30 times. I have had the privilege of visiting Disneyland as a child, and then again with my children. My family recently moved from the northeastern United States to the Walt Disney World area. I now have cast members in my family and enjoy hearing the magical stories at the end of a shift. I love visiting all of the parks and getting to try more Disney food and being able to share it with you to help you plan your own magical day at Disney.