Fall is one of the best times of year to visit Walt Disney World. Although this is truly just my opinion, I don’t really feel like this is debatable. The weather starts to cool down (just a little),the crowds start to dwindle, the fall décor is out and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party arrives! This is our favorite fall tradition and we go every year. This was our fifth year for attending the party and we wanted to share what you can expect and tips for making the most of your time.
With this being a hard ticket event, meaning that you have to purchase a separate, Halloween ticket to get in, a lot of people tend to ask if it’s worth it. Obviously, as we have been going for years, we do believe that it is very well worth it. There are special character meets you won’t normally find, the Hallowishes fireworks show, and our absolute favorite, the Boo to You Parade, as well as lot of other entertainment options, exclusive merchandise and snack offerings throughout the park. There’s so much to see and do during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party that it’s hard to fit it all in before the clocks strikes midnight!
Although not heavily advertised, the MNSSHP ticket will get you in as early as 4 p.m. Since you don’t need to get a park ticket to get into Magic Kingdom if you have the Halloween Party ticket, today is a good day to visit a water park, spend the morning at Disney Springs, resort hop or (especially) if you have small children, just hang at your resort for the first half of the day, as this can end up being a pretty late night for party goers.
If you are already in Magic Kingdom for the day, make sure you get your party wristband before the party starts. There are stations throughout the park where you can get your wristband so be sure to have your ticket ready. The cast members do a really good job of “sweeping” the park at 7p.m. to make sure that only Halloween Party attendees are the only ones left at the park when the party officially begins. If you get in line to meet a character with a really long queue and forget to get your wristband beforehand, it’s possible that you may be booted from the line in order to get your wristband, so just be sure to do that before you commit to any of the party offerings!
Speaking of special Character meet lines, these are some of the best(and longest!) you will see all year. This is where you can meet Jack Skellington and Sally(this year in Liberty Square, starting at 5 p.m.), the Seven Dwarves(The Big Top at 6:15p.m.) and Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore in their Halloween Costumes(at the regular Pooh meeting place at 7 p.m.) While these are the most popular characters to meet during the party, you can also meet others like Abu, Jack Sparrow, the Queen of Hearts and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. The best way to tackle the meet and greets is to come up with a game plan beforehand. You can spend a lot of time in these lines. The characters take a lot of breaks(or sometimes fewer but longer breaks), some of the guests spend a LOT of time interacting with the characters(especially with Jack and Sally) and inclement weather can delay the start of the meet and greet. We met Jack and Sally last year and waited in line for around 2 hours. This year we chose Pooh and Friends and lined up before they arrived and ended up waiting a little over an hour. You can easily meet Pooh, the Seven Dwarves and the Queen of Hearts all in one night due to their proximity to each other if you plan it out right. There are lots of other meet and greets available throughout the party, just be sure to look for them!
We find this portion of the party more a prioritizing thing than a planning thing because it is hard to say how long each character line will take, if they will be on time, breaks, etc. so choose the most important characters and see them first!
Ok, so onto the entertainment! While there is trick or treating here, we don’t recommend wasting much (if any) time doing this. We always stop at a station or two just so G can get her “trick or treating on Main Street” experience but aside from that, the lines are just too long and I mean come on, its candy and you can get that anywhere. These stations are pretty well lit and are also marked on the map so they’re pretty easy to locate. Be sure to maximize your time if you do plan to trick or treat and plan your route to avoid wasting foot traffic.
There are two Boo To You parade times, one at 8:30 p.m. and one at 11:15 p.m. This steps off in Frontierland but regardless of where you view it, you will want to make sure you find a spot about 30 minutes beforehand. We love seeing this from Main Street, which is also the most crowded, but you can find the parade route on the map to see which location works best for you. This is a great time to find your spot and enjoy one of the Halloween treats offered at the party. We loved the pumpkin spice cupcake this year, which we actually got during dinner at Be Our Guest, but we were told it’s the same that they served at Gaston’s Tavern. And the candy corn ice cream got rave reviews and although it was on our list, we just didn’t have enough time or appetite to try it!
The first parade is always more crowded, but we love it so much we usually try to watch both. While that may seem like a lot of time between finding a spot to sit and actually watching the parade, remember this is central Florida. It can sporadically rain at any time and it’s not just “rain”. It can be monsoon, flash flood-like rain that can force you out of the parks or worse yet, heavy storms that will actually cause the second (or even first) parade to be cancelled. While I hate to even throw that idea out into the universe, unfortunately it is a sad reality that we encountered a few years ago. It was heartbreaking. For me anyway. So bear that in mind. We love planning to watch both parades just in case one gets cancelled, or if we miss something during one of the viewings, we don’t feel like we’ve missed out on anything!
Up next- Celebrate The Magic is fun to watch in preparation for the Happy Hallowishes fireworks and starts at 10:00p.m. which is followed directly by the fireworks at 10:15 p.m. This can get crazy crowded but if you move a little further into Main Street and not so close to the castle, you can actually get much better views. Trying to be directly in front of Cinderella Castle will require you to find a seat as early as an hour before Celebrate the Magic begins, which we think is just a waste of precious party time. But for some families, this might be a great time to relax and recharge for the rest of the night.
The fireworks are one of the best fireworks shows you will ever see and it is a 360 degree fireworks show, so there will be fireworks all around you. So beautiful! These photos do the show no justice whatsoever-for the best photos of these, you will definitely want to grab a spot early and use a tripod!
The Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular, which is held on the Cinderella Castle stage, can be viewed at 8:00PM, 9:15PM, 10:40PM and midnight. So if you do decide to camp out in front of the castle to watch Hallowishes, you will catch a showing of this during that time. This show was new to the party last year and we love it; but that being said, Hocus Pocus was a staple of my childhood Disney Channel viewing and the Sanderson sisters hold a (kind of) special place in my heart. They are joined by other Disney villians including Oogie Boogie, Maleficent and others. There’s a great light show put on throughout Main Street and on the castle, so even if you can’t get close, it’s fun to watch.
While this has just been a basic outline of what you can do while at the party, there are many other options too! There is a Dance Party in Tomorrowland with characters from Monsters Inc, which we have attended in the past, and can be fun for little ones. There is special merchandise throughout the park that is available including t-shirts, trading pins and magic bands. If you love Sorcerer’s of The Magic Kingdom like we do, you can get a special card exclusive to the party. Beware though, the lines for this can be very long.
Dress up! While not everyone dresses up for the party, it’s a fun way to celebrate the party and I’d say about 75% of people typically dress up. Make sure to follow Disney’s new guidelines for dressing up.
Have a plan. The party can seem pretty hectic once you start to map out the night. Having a plan beforehand will help you maximize your time.
Eat before the party starts. We usually like to eat dinner around 4:30ish so we don’t spend party time in the restaurant and can enjoy the entertainment and treats available during that time.
Tuesday is the least busy day for the party and the earlier in September, the lower the crowds. If you can swing it, this is definitely the time to go!
Stay late! If you can manage, the party only gets better the later you stay. The crowds die down and you won’t be dealing with the crowds heading to the parking lots, the buses and will have a better view of the last bits of entertainment of the night.
If there is one ride that you ride during the party, make sure it is The Haunted Mansion. Not only are the cast members dressed a little extra spooky for this night but Lady Carlotta appears outside the castle and she is hilarious.