I love holidays at Walt Disney World, they always seem to go the extra mile in making them over-the-top magical. Halloween is no exception, and while you can enjoy the fall décor at the Magic Kingdom any time you visit, to really get to experience the Magic you need to attend one of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties. These parties are held on select nights from mid-August through Halloween, and they require an extra admission ticket specifically for the party. It is not an inexpensive venture to take your family to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, but I think it is well worth the price of admission. My family attended one of the first parties in August and we had a blast! With 5 hours of party time to take in so many special “extra” things, here are 8 tips to make the most of your night:
9. Arrive at 4:00pm
The party officially starts at 7pm, but you can enter the park as early as 4pm with your Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party ticket. That gives you even more value out of the ticket as you are adding 3 more hours to your park time. I would recommend having an easy-going day: Sleep in, maybe have a late breakfast/brunch at your resort (or go to a character breakfast at a resort), enjoy the pool, visit Disney Springs . . . essentially don’t use a park ticket that day and rest up for the party. When you get there at 4:00 you can go ahead and check-in for the party, get your wristband and trick-or-treat bag, and you can even start collecting candy on the path to the right that goes “backstage.” There are some photo ops here too. Then from 4:00-7:00 you can ride attractions that you don’t want to waste your time waiting for during the party. It is a win/win!
8. Save your Trick-or-Treating until the end
During our party some of the longest lines we saw were for the trick-or-treat candy stations. While the temptation is great, try to save those opportunities for later in the night, or during a parade. The lines will be shorter for sure. And, as you get later in the night toward the end of the party the Cast Members will be more generous with the amounts of candy they are giving away.
7. Watch the 2nd Parade
You absolutely MUST see Mickey’s Boo To You Parade. To me it is the highlight of the entire party. In 2019 the parade was lengthened to add some Tomorrowland character floats, and the Bride was added to the Haunted Mansion section. Mickey’s Boo To You Parade is really good enough that you might want to see it twice, but there are so many other Halloween-y things to do at the party. I recommend seeing the second parade. Normally it is a little less crowded and a little easier to find a viewing spot (hint: I like to watch it from Frontierland/Liberty Square).
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6. Prioritize the Characters
During these holiday parties Disney pulls out all of the stops with very special (and rare) character meet & greets. These can have colossal lines though. Some of the featured characters are Moana, all 7 Dwarfs, Jack & Sally, Stitch as Elvis, Princes appearing with Princesses, Grave Diggers, and your favorite characters dressed in their Halloween Costumes (adorable). If you arrived at the party at 4:00 and it is a priority to meet some of the most difficult characters (Moana, Jack & Sally, 7 Dwarfs) you may want to find their meeting location and see if a line is starting to form. Often those lines open up way before the party (only to those with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party wristbands), and many times the characters actually start meeting guests slightly before 7pm. This can be a good strategy if you really must meet a particular character—you’ll still wait quite a while, but it won’t be during actual party time. Another strategy would be to meet the characters during one of the parades when many guests are watching that and aren’t in line. Or, wait until the very end of the party. The line for Moana pre-party was about 90 minutes. When we got in line at around 11:40pm we waited behind 2 families (maybe 8 minutes).
5. Skip Attractions
When you attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party you really want to be there for all of the special Halloween additions: stage shows, dance parties, parades, fireworks, trick-or-treat, limited edition snacks, special characters. All of the things you can’t do during a normal day. Sometimes you’ll find shorter lines for attractions during parties, but not always. And you don’t want to waste your precious 5 hours of party time waiting in line for something you can get a FastPass for on your regular Magic Kingdom day. If you arrive at 4pm you can use those 3 hours before the festivities start at 7pm to fit in some rides, otherwise I say skip them. There are a handful of exceptions to this rule. Disney has given a few of the Magic Kingdom attractions a fun Halloween “overlay” just for the party—and these you don’t want to miss! Pirates of the Caribbean has been invaded by some real live pirates. We loved this attraction as we encountered two of the scurvy dogs in line, and then saw more (who interacted with each boat) as we rode through. Space Mountain adds a new element of thrill with a pitch black ride and features a new soundtrack. And the Mad Tea Party gets in on the fun with spook-tacular lighting and music. These three attractions you want to try to fit in during your party time.
4. Eat Before the Party Starts
Again, you don’t want to waste time eating dinner (even if it is quick service) during those valuable party hours. If you make a dining reservation in the Magic Kingdom I would recommend you make it at 6pm at the latest so you are finished by party start. I prefer to eat quick service in that time between 4pm-7pm—I think we ate around 5:30pm at our party and the crowds were low. A nice, quick meal and then back out for more fun. Besides, you need to save time and room for the special snacks and treats that go on sale once the party begins.
3. Photo Opportunities
During Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party there are a lot of special photo opportunities, including “Magic Shots” using Photo Pass. This is a fun way to commemorate your night at the party. Some of them you can actually do before 7:00pm. As I mentioned, when you enter through the backstage pathway there are several opportunities there with fun party props. On Main Street you can get some magic shots taken before or during the party—you can always request these from your photographer. Once the party starts head over to the Haunted Mansion where there are several exclusive party Magic Shots. One very popular one is the hitchhiking ghosts—you’ll find that one behind the Christmas shop near the gazebo where the Grave Diggers are meeting guests. And the special characters themselves make great photos!
How often do you get an excuse to dress up like your favorite Disney Character? You will see some of the most creative costume at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party. And wearing costumes makes the photos ops in #3 and the character greetings even more fun! Remember that it is HOT in Orlando even in October, and you are walking and maneuvering around a theme park so comfort should be high on your list. You’ll see everything from elaborate costumes to something simple—we chose to be Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby from Ducktales—Daisy Duck LOVED our costumes. Simple colored t-shirts, white shorts, and hats/bow. Be sure to check Disney’s list of rules about what is and is not appropriate to wear or bring to the party.
1. Stake out your spots early
The parade is my number 1 favorite thing about Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, but the fireworks are not far behind. Lots of people agree with me, and these tend to be the two times the party feels most crowded. In 2019 a new fireworks show was introduced, Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular. Unlike the previous Hallowishes, this one relies on projections on the castle and an amazing Jack Skellington on the Cinderella Castle Stage. You will want to be around the hub area to be able to see all of the elements of the show (not too close so you can still see the fireworks). You need to show up no later than 30 minute before they start, and for more crowded parties probably an hour—as soon as the first parade clears out you need to start looking for a good spot. Of course, you can also purchase admission to the reserved viewing area by attending the dessert party within the Halloween Party. The same is true for the parade. Find a spot 45 minutes or more before it starts to be on the front row. Mickey’s Boo To You Party is preceded by the ride of the Headless Horseman, and that is NOT to be missed! Reserved viewing is available for the 2nd parade if you purchase entry into the Cruella’s Halloween Hide-Away party within the party at Tony’s Town Square. If your party feels particularly crowded (and those held on weekends or in October will be crowded) you’ll want to adjust times accordingly and show up earlier if these are a priority for you.
Have you been to a 2019 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party? What are your top tips?