Update: Added the Villains Mix and Mingle video in the appropriate location, or it’s available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08q86sX5Ics&feature=youtu.be. Not my finest work, but it will give you an idea about what to expect.
We’ll return to this year’s iteration of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Walt Disney World Resort. I have been struggling internally with how much I want to rehash from 2011′s look along with my “Is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Worth the Cost?” posts. The “Worth the Cost” post includes pricing information and a more general overview of the event. Since it’s been about a year for most of us, and possibly longer, I’m going to do a fair bit of rehashing the basic idea of how to go about your Halloween Party evening and what to expect. But for the sake of brevity, I’ll start out by listing what’s changed since last year, and you can be on your way if that’s all you’re wondering about. The good news is that this year’s pictures should be improved(?) and I recorded the Boo to You Parade, Villains Dance Mix and Mingle, and HalloWishes, so we have those to peruse as well. And in a separate post, I have some other Magic Kingdom updates and some nice looking(?) nighttime photos inside the Park.
What’s Changed in 2012? Not a whole lot.
- Phineas and Ferb replace Duffy at Town Square Courtyard, which used to be called Tour Guide Gardens. This is right inside the main entrance on the left side in between City Hall and Chamber of Commerce.
They were meeting in the same outfits as they do at Hollywood Studios with a different backdrop. Unfortunately they weren’t set up in time for me to snap a picture. I know, great start! Lines should be relatively short throughout the evening, although the location is in the front of Magic Kingdom, it isn’t particularly obvious because the characters are so far back. Unless you “need” the background, meeting them at Hollywood Studios is probably a better use of your time, since so much Party-specific stuff is going on.
- Don’t worry Japan, Duffy is still at the Party. He meets at the Liberty Square Riverboat dock in his Halloween outfit. You’re better off meeting him at Epcot in his gazebo because lines are shorter and he’s in his same outfit through the end of October.
- Cinderella’s Carriage is not present due to construction in Fantasyland.
- Disney printed an exclusive Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom Halloween Party card, which was available at the Firehouse on Main Street for free to Party ticket holders.
You just need your Party ticket and wristband.
- The Tikis were up at the Jungle Cruise treat location. They were added later last year.
- Prince Philip and Princess Aurora greeted guests near Prince Regal Carousel.
- Donald and Daisy greet guests across from The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in Fantasyland.
- Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, and Tigger greet guests together at Pooh’s permanent Meet and Greet location in Fantasyland.
- The Fantasyland Station behind Casey Jr. in Storybook Circus is a treat location.
- The path that connects Storybook Circus and Tomorrowland is a new treat trail. That’s Barnstormer to our right and Casey Jr. and the rest of Storybook Circus behind us.
The difference between a treat “trail” and a treat “location’ is that the trail includes three separate “locations,” so you can stock up. At this trail in particular, you can really fill your bag because few people head this way and the cast members will just be happy to see you.
And it’s convenient if you want to walk between Storybook Circus and Fantasyland anyway. I didn’t even have a bag out and they were trying to shovel candy towards the general vicinity of my body.
During the Parade, the dancing pirates/wenches were replaced by this all-male flag corps. And during the Fireworks, I believe Maleficent’s part was replaced by a wolf.
- Barbossa sits on the Pirate Jack float instead of walking alongside. There are probably other subtle Parade changes that I won’t go into.
Buying Your Ticket
In most cases, the easiest and cheapest way to purchase Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween tickets is to purchase them online in advance and print the tickets at home. Called “Disney eTicket,” you’ll print a paper ticket that you bring directly to the Magic Kingdom turnstile that they scan. This year, I was able to print my tickets using my Annual Pass discount. Last year, Passholders had to bring a voucher to a Will Call location to pick up the physical ticket, but it seems like Disney has moved away from that.
Because I was interested in whether it was still possible, I went to the All-Star Movies Concierge desk to exchange the paper ticket for the smaller Key to the World size plastic ticket (both pictured above). The first cast member said it wasn’t possible and conferred with a second and third cast member, who also said it wasn’t possible. I asked if a manager was around. He came out after a minute or two and also said it wasn’t possible. I told them it was and they went to work on their computer. After a few minutes of fiddling, out came my new plastic card. The only benefits are that you can use the card to collect a FASTPASS or two before the Party starts (FASTPASS isn’t offered during the Party) and it might look better in a scrapbook or something. If you have an Annual Pass or other valid ticket, you can go through the regular turnstiles and double up on FASTPASSes (collect one set with Party ticket and one set with Annual Pass, for example) Otherwise, all you need is the paper ticket.
For an additional fee and assuming your Party date is far enough in the future, you may also opt to have the plastic tickets you see above mailed to your address. Standard Domestic USPS (7 to 14 days) is $5, Fedex Domestic Standard (up to 7 days) is $15, and International Fedex (up to 12 days) is $25.
Tickets can also be purchased in advance or on the day of the Party (pending availability) at any guest services window. If you’re going to a Party in September or during the first three weeks in October then there is little risk of the Party selling out. Because almost all of the activities are outside, you may want to wait until you see a more definitive weather report before committing to a date. The Parade can theoretically be cancelled due to inclement weather and it’s unlikely many of the characters will appear in the rain. While tickets are officially “non-refundable,” you should be able to switch Party dates if need arises. Your chances of getting a full refund are probably lower. Consider purchasing tickets soon if you’re planning to go to the October 26, 28, 30, or 31 because they are likely to sell out.
Getting and Staying In
As always, you can use your Mickey’s Party ticket to enter Magic Kingdom beginning at 4pm. Often, cast members, especially on the phone, will insist that the Party ticket is valid only after 7pm. This is simply misinformation. It would be a clustercuss if 15,000 people were waiting outside the Magic Kingdom at 7pm. The staggered entrance means no delays to enter.
Disney will set up additional bag checks down here outside the gate on the right side. They can get backed up after 5:30pm as more and more people arrive by Disney resort bus.
If you see a big crowd, consider heading over to the regular bag check. This picture was taken about a minute after the one above.
More and more turnstiles will convert from “Guest Entrances” to “Event Entrances” down to the right.
The further down to the left you go (away from the event bag check), the fewer people you’ll see.
Sorry about my misshapen hand. It is Halloween after all. Once you pass through the turnstiles, a cast member will affix a wristband to your wrist. This signifies you belong. As you proceed under the Train Station, you’ll be handed a treat bag, a Party map, and a coupon for $1 off sunscreen. If you’re inside before 4pm and don’t want to travel all the way to the front, you can pick up your wristband near Pirates of the Caribbean and Stitch’s Great Escape.
Without a wristband, you’ll be motioned toward the exit beginning at 7pm. Announcements are made over the intercom reminding guests that Magic Kingdom closes promptly at 7pm. Unlike a normal day, you won’t be able to enter stores without a wristband or get in line for food. If you have children and aren’t planning to attend the Party, you may want to exit around 6:30pm. Party-specific characters begin coming out as early as 6:45pm and it can be difficult to explain to a child why they can’t meet the characters. There are no exceptions to the wristband rule, so you’ll either need to purchase tickets or deal with a distraught child (or adult for that matter). Disney also begins announcing around 6:30pm that people without Party tickets are required to leave at 7pm and you’ll see more and more cast members around ready to send those without wristbands to the exit. It is somewhat unpleasant. Otherwise, Party dates are great during regular hours because so many people avoid them because of the 7pm close and lack of evening entertainment.
Major Components of the Party
Characters – Characters, some rarer than others, will be on hand to meet and greet. Some are in Party-exclusive costumes.
Villains Dance Mix & Mingle – Performed four times each evening at the Castle Forecourt Stage, this 10 minute show features many of Disney’s most popular villains. After the show, the villains come down to take pictures with guests for about 15 minutes. Due to time constraints, they don’t sign autographs.
Rides – All major attractions and some minor attractions will be open during the Party, many of which will have short or nonexistent waits for much of the night.
Parade – The Boo to You Halloween Parade runs twice nightly, at 8:15pm and 10:30pm. Unlike Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, which runs during regular theme park hours around Christmas, the Boo to You Parade is only available during the Party. It features many rare characters you won’t see at any other time, including numerous villains and Haunted Mansion inspired floats and characters. And the headless horeseman.
Fireworks – Happy HalloWishes, with its villain’s theme, is one of Disney’s best and most popular fireworks shows. Shown once at 9:30pm.
Dance Parties – Each Party features two dance parties. At the Diamond Horseshoe in Frontierland, you’ll find Bullseye, Woody, and Jesse hosting a western style hoedown . In Tomorrowland, Goofy, Pluto, Stitch, Chip, and Dale join Party goers.
Candy – What’s Halloween without trick or treating? Cast members with barrels of candy can be found all around Magic Kingdom. Disney provides bags or you may bring/buy your own (or both).
Merchandise – There isn’t a ton of event specific merchandise, but you’ll find a few pins and the yearly edition of the t-shirt.
Characters are a big part of the Halloween Party experience. Unfortunately, there aren’t nearly enough of them out and about and lines are going to run 20+ minutes for virtually all characters all night. In addition, your only opportunity to get a picture with the villains is immediately after one of their Mix and Mingle shows and they only appear for 10 to 15 minutes. If you want to meet several of the “High Priority” characters, you’re going to need to do some prioritization. I’ll explain below how to meet the characters with the shortest waits possible and when possible, where to meet them outside the Party with shorter waits.
Main Street USA
Town Square Theater:
Main Street Theater is your opportunity to meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse in one line or Cinderella/Prince, Snow White/Prince, and Rapunzel/Flynn in the other.
Cinderella/Prince, Snow White/Prince, and Rapunzel/Flynn – High Priority:
Outside of the Party, it isn’t possible to meet Flynn and seeing the Princesses along with their Princes outside of certain Character Meals is rare.
Expect 45 to 90 minute waits from 7:30pm – 10pm. If you’re not interested in the Seven Dwarfs, I recommend getting in line here around 6:40pm for the 7pm Meet.
I went full creepo and got pictures with each. Looks like Flynn could use some eyework.
Ask Flynn what’s inside his satchel.
Prince asked me to do one of his “regal poses.” I opted to grope myself instead.
Wearing a costume is half the fun of the Party. I wear this $30 Cookie Monster hat: http://www.buycostumes.com/Sesame-Street-Cookie-Monster-Adult-Headpiece/60338/ProductDetail.aspx and get a lot of fun comments. I’d say 50% or more are in some sort of costume. You certainly don’t have to go all out (though you certainly should!), but it’s fun to do a little something. Just keep in mind that it’s still hot in Florida. This was a “cool” night and the temperature was still 80 degrees at 11pm. Wearing this hat is sort of like wearing a tuxedo.
Otherwise, they’re a lot of fun. Disney did a better job policing this Meet this year. Last year, they were letting in everyone right up until 7pm, so a lot of people without Party tickets were able to get in line, causing waits to be longer for those who purchased Party tickets. This year, they used the FASTPASS line for those who wanted to wait for the 7pm Meet and used the other side for those who wanted to meet just the Princesses without the Princes. Then they closed down the standby line around 6:40pm. I arrived at 6:35pm and was third in line. Then I was back out front at 7:05pm. It ended up being a 25 minute wait, but it was only two minutes of “precious” Party time. Be in line around 6:30pm, at 8:15pm, or after 11pm to find shorter waits.
Mickey and Minnie Mouse – Moderate Priority:
Mickey and Minnie were in their orange and purple outfits. For better pictures of just the characters, see Mickey Hunter’s post here: http://unofficialdisneycharacterhuntingguide.blogspot.com/2012/09/mickeys-not-so-scary-halloween-party.html. Meet them after 9pm if possible, preferably not immediately after the Parade or Fireworks unless you’re among the first people to enter the Theater. Since they’re just inside the entrance, cast members point families in this direction as they enter Magic Kingdom.
Phineas and Ferb – Low Priority:
Phineas and Ferb are located in between City Hall and Chamber of Commerce. They have a different backdrop, but their outfits are the same as the Hollywood Studios meet, which is unfortunate. You’d think they could roll out Perry or something a little more interesting. Waits were usually short because this isn’t as obvious of a location as one might assume. I’d visit them in the Studios if the backdrop isn’t important. Otherwise, get in line when it isn’t recommended that you be elsewhere. They may not begin appearing until 7:30pm.
Tremaines – Low Priority:
The Tremaines are a riot and meet in the Hub Area in front of the Castle. I’ve been accused of being bitter before and I’ll tell you why. I’ve auditioned seven times now for the role of Drizella, turned down each time. I’m not sure how much more rejection I can take.
Lines aren’t abhorrent, but that’s the line on the left and the characters are out of sight. Expect to wait 15 to 20 minutes and potentially longer if they take a break in the middle. They’re a low priority partly because they hold regular Meet and Greets at Magic Kingdom behind the Castle.
Gaston – Moderate Priority:
Best Buy Geek Squad by day, Gaston by night.
I have him as a moderate priority because it isn’t possible to meet him elsewhere at the moment, though he’s expected to greet outside his Tavern in Enchanted Forest once it opens. The line begins on the Adventureland side of the Hub. Expect to wait 15 minutes or so.
Lotso and Jafar – Moderate Priority:
Lotso and Jafar switch off in front of Crystal Palace Restaurant.
This is Lotso in another location last year. He really is the cutest thing ever, despite being mean, and he no longer holds normal Meet and Greets. Expect lines to be on the short side (10 to 20 minutes), but because neither character greets normally, you may want to prioritize them.
Villains – High Priority:
After one of four Villains Mix and Mingle shows, the Villains (Frollo, Queen of Hearts, Captain Hook, Cruella, Dr. Facillier, Evil Queen and Maleficent) come down the walkways to take pictures with guests for ten to fifteen minutes.
Maleficent is the most popular. Look for her to come down on your left (her right) and stand on the walkway. She takes as many pictures as possible and doesn’t do much “interacting” or signing. She is above you after all. Lines for the other characters are shorter, but you’re only going to have time to take pictures with two or three villains each show, so you’ll have to return more than once to get pictures with them all. They also appear in the Parade.
Jane, Tarzan, and Turk – Moderate Priority:
Jane, Tarzan, and Turk greet guests in Ariel’s usual location. This is just across the bridge over to Adventureland on the right side.
You’ll usually get two of the three characters – Turk and one of the face characters, but all three were out for the final set of the night. Expect waits in the 15 to 20 minute range. They aren’t as popular as Ariel and Prince Eric, but you’ll virtually never find Tarzan or Jane in the Parks and Turk is rare now too.
Tinker Bell and Periwinkle – Low Priority:
Tinker Bell and Periwinkle greet guests in their usual location at Tinker Bell’s Nook. Both characters now dress in winter-type apparel and the Nook is redecorated. They meet during regular hours, so most people won’t want to spend time in line. The picture above is at the end of the night around 11:30pm when lines have eased up. Either visit during the day or after 11pm to find shorter waits. Because they continue greeting continuously, it’s easier to meet them.
Jack Sparrow – High Priority:
Jack greets guests against a wall in between Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean on the left side as you walk from Jungle Cruise to Pirates. His lines are long because he interacts well with guests and is quite popular. He’s a high priority, both because of his popularity and the fact that he isn’t normally available for pictures and autographs. He does appear daily at Magic Kingdom for his stage show, however.
Abu/Aladdin and Jasmine/Genie – Moderate Priority:
Abu/Aladdin and Jasmine/Genie visit in their usual location at Agrabah Market, near Sunshine Tree Terrace and Aladdin’s Magical Carpets. You’ll get one set of characters each time you get in line.
Here’s a blurry shot of Jasmine and Genie from last year. You’ll need to get in line (at least) two times to meet both sets of characters. Jasmine and Aladdin greet together daily in Epcot and here at the Market, but Abu and Genie are much rarer.
Duffy the Disney Bear – Low Low Priority:
Duffy greets guests in his Pumpkin outfit at the Liberty Square Riverboat dock. Lines are usually short – 10 to 15 minutes. You can meet him on the way to Mexico over at Epcot in the same outfit through Halloween and it would be wiser to meet him there instead of taking time during the Party.
Liberty Square Riverboat is a pretty backdrop though.
Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen – Low Priority:
Tiana and Naveen meet in their usual gazebo in Liberty Square, behind the Christmas Shop. Lines are short to moderate, but most people will want to visit them during the afternoon of a regular day, when both will be present in the same outfits.
I stood there for basically forever and they never stood up!
The Seven Dwarfs – Highest Priority:
The Seven Dwarfs are the most coveted picture at the Halloween Party. They greet near the exit to Splash Mountain, where Jessie and Woody Pride normally meet. Lines begin to form at 5:30pm and waits of 60 to 90 minutes are common come 7pm and especially after 9pm. If you don’t want to spend Party time in line, you want to be here around 6pm. Earlier just means fewer people will be in front of you. The second best time to get in line is around 8pm, which is during the first Boo to You Parade. The Parade cuts off this part of Frontierland from the rest of the Park, so no one can cross over for about 30 minutes. If you arrive around 8pm, you’ll find the shortest wait possible. It’s obviously a great shot, but you’re looking at considerable waits outside of the recommended visit times.
Aurora and Prince Philip – Low Moderate:
They meet together behind Prince Regal Royal Carousel.
Aurora is extremely easy to see in Magic Kingdom and relatively easy to meet in the France Pavilion at Epcot as well, but Prince Philip doesn’t normally greet guests. Lines seemed short most of the night since this location isn’t as obvious as one might expect and most people in Fantasyland are intent on riding rides or seeking out more popular characters.
Suzy and Perla – Lowest Priority:
Two of Cinderella’s mice are out and about in the same vicinity as Aurora and Philip behind the Carousel. They spend most of their time dancing and posing for pictures. No rush to get back here because lines are among the shortest you’ll find, if there even is one.
Daisy and Donald – Moderate Priority:
Your character experts, Kenny and his brother greeting Donald and Daisy across from The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
Out along the busy path that connects Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, expect lines to be much longer than they would be if they greeted in another location. The costumes are fun, but the background is a red wall and both characters are relatively easy to find in the theme parks in other garb.
Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger, Piglet – High Priority:
Eeyore, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, and Piglet meet together at their now-permanent Meet and Greet location next to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
They are commonly found (mostly) naked around the various theme parks, but seeing all four together is rare.
And they’re a lot of fun in costume. Because of their location near one of the more popular rides, expect lines to be 30 to 60 minutes after 7pm most nights. They appear on the half hour, so 7:30pm, 8pm, 8:30pm, etc. and stay for 20 minutes. Then they take a break and come back. So you’ll likely have to wait through at least one break.
Alice and Mad Hatter – Low Priority:
Alice and Mad Hatter greet near Mad Tea Party in Fantasyland on the Tomorrowland side. Lines are relatively short for them and they may appear together or separately. Alice is easy enough to see in the United Kingdom Pavilion as well as here, but Mad Hatter doesn’t normally do Meet and Greets. You should be able to find them with a reasonable wait most any time.
Merida – Low Priority:
Merida meets in the same location as usual in Fairytale Garden. Because you can meet her wearing the same outfit any day of the week, most people will want to do that instead of taking time during the Party. She is an option during the Party though – expect to wait 20 to 40 minutes and note that she no longer appears with the bears.
Buzz Lightyear – Low Priority:
Buzz greets in his usual outfit in his usual location in Tomorrowland, in between Space Ranger Spin and Carousel of Progress. Expect waits to be moderate, so you’re better off visiting him during regular hours or in conjunction with Woody over at Hollywood Studios.
Meeting characters is the biggest time sucker at the Party, by far, especially if you want to meet several of the Highest and Moderate Priority characters. At the end, I’ll list some ideas on how I recommend going about your night, but it’s going to take some planning if you want to meet the Princesses, Dwarfs, Jack Sparrow, and a combination of the other characters.
There are two dance parties. The idea here is to give kids an opportunity to interact with the characters informally and without waits. The characters don’t sign and don’t pose with guests for more than a moment.
Woody’s Happy Harvest Roundup:
This is located at Diamond Horseshoe in Liberty Square, near Liberty Tree Tavern.
Here, you’ll find a mix of Woody, Jessie, or Bullseye dancing with a Disney DJ on stage spinning tunes. It’s a lot of fun and rarely busy. It goes straight through 12am without interruption, so it’s a nice thing to do after 11:30pm when a lot of the character lines are closed or the characters have disappeared. You may well have the place to yourself. Avoid right after the Parade passes through Frontierland if possible because people follow others inside and crowds are larger (like they are now).
Stitch’s Club 626:
The Dance Party in Tomorrowland is more common. It’s a cheap way to entertain a lot of people.
Here, you’ll find a mix of Goofy, Pluto, Stitch, Chip, and Dale. Usually three characters are out at a time, as pictured. This is another good one to do around 11:30pm when most characters have left or their lines are closed. It’s also much less crowded during the first Boo to You Parade.
Villains Mix and Mingle
The Villains Mix and Mingle is an absolute must see. If you’ve seen Hyperspace Hoopla, you know what to expect. The ten-or-so minute show features our favorites villains “getting down” to a choreographed soundtrack complete with backup dancers, pyro, smoke, and lighting effects. It’s scheduled four times on the Castle Forecourt stage in front of Cinderella Castle – 7:45pm, 8:50pm, 10:05pm, and 11:15pm. I recommend the 7:45pm show before scooting over to Frontierland to get in line for the Dwarfs, but none of the shows should feel claustrophobic. And if it’s getting crowded close to the Castle or you can’t see over someone’s head, move a ways back behind the crowd. You’ll still be able to see because the stage is elevated.
The first Mix and Mingle of 2012.
Boo to You Parade:
The Boo to You Parade is my favorite of all the Disney World Parades and the Halloween Party is your only opportunity to see it. It features a terrific Haunted Mansion section, not to mention the villains, hyenas, and pirates sections. Oh, and the headless horseman. One of the most basic pieces of advice I can give you is to see the 10:30pm Parade. It is far less crowded than the first and it shouldn’t be difficult to find a viewing spot on Main Street about 20 minutes before the Parade steps off in Frontierland.
This is 7:27pm and people are already lining Main Street. While the Parade steps off at 8:15pm, it won’t turn the corner on Main Street until about 8:35pm, so these people will be here for about an hour and a half.
Frontierland is the least crowded place to see the Parade. I’m near Diamond Horseshoe, closer to Liberty Square here where I found a spot.
One of the highlights is of course the Headless Horseman.
And if you didn’t know better, you’d think he was really headless.
And now looking down Main Street USA at 10:11pm, there are plenty of spots for the 10:30pm Parade.
In both directions. This was a lightly attended Party, as most in September will be. As we inch closer to Halloween, it will only be necessary to arrive earlier because so many more people will be vying for position.
Here’s a video of the Boo to You Parade I took from Main Street. I’ve never shot a Parade before, but I think it came out okay. And some pictures from the first Parade in Frontierland:
A few of them were from a video, so they’re a little on the blurry side, but it should give you an idea about what to expect. I don’t care much for any of the daytime parades, but Boo to You is in a completely different league. It really is a lot of fun.
Happy HalloWishes is the big fireworks spectacular, shown once at 9:30pm. It’s one of Disney’s best, and though it probably doesn’t compete with the July 4th or New Year’s Eve shows, it’s considerably better than Wishes and (arguably) Holiday Wishes. I recommend finding a spot somewhere between Casey’s Corner and the Hub area. There’s usually plenty of room on Main Street to see the Fireworks and there really isn’t any reason to watch the show from elsewhere.
I’ve never shot fireworks from inside one of the Parks either.
I don’t prioritize the rides during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party because crowds are so low during the day that you should be able to get just about anything you want to do done. That said, even during sold out Parties, waits at most attractions will still be incredibly short and there’s no FASTPASS to worry about so lines are constantly moving. You can still run into waits at the usual suspects before 10pm, but after that, all attractions should be virtually “walk-ons.” Some examples:
Same with Splash Mountain.
At 9:10pm and it continued to be virtually a walk-on all night.
At 9:50pm, there are exactly four people on Dumbo.
10 minutes at Space, 5 minutes at Buzz.
After 11pm, you’d be hard pressed to find someone that’s even trying to get in line.
This is certainly one of the least crowded Parties of the year, but ride wait times don’t increase that much during the busier Parties. Expect higher waits at Peter Pan’s Flight and Winnie the Pooh in particular, but most other attractions should have waits that are easily less than 15 minutes, and often just as long as it takes to walk the queue and board the ride vehicle.
Even at Party favorite Haunted Mansion, the only people in sight are trying to photograph it on a camera phone.
I ended up getting some nighttime shots that I was pretty happy with, but we’ll return in a separate post to check them out.
The following attractions aren’t operating:
- Walt Disney World Railroad
- Enchanted Tiki Room
- Jungle Cruise
- Hall of Presidents
- Liberty Square Riverboat
- Tom Sawyer Island
- Country Bear Jamboree (refurbishment)
If you’re interested in these attractions, visit them before 7pm or on another day. None have waits, outside of Jungle Cruise which you can FASTPASS.
Trick or Treating
Trick or Treating is a major component of the Party, but it’s honestly the one I’m least enthusiastic about. Color me bitter (DISBOARDS!), but I can buy two pounds of my favorite candy at the store for a few dollars and don’t care to wait ten minutes for a “fun size” Snickers. That said, I’ll highlight the various trick or treat locations and point out where you’ll find the shortest lines. The candy was good again this year. I always forget to take a picture of the bin, but I saw Snickers, Twix, Goofy’s Candy Company lollipops, licorice, and the like. They also had buckets and buckets of Peeps. I don’t think you’ll be unhappy with the selection or quality. For shorter lines, begin trick or treating after 11pm when lines are much shorter. You can virtually walk up to any of the trick or treat locations and the cast members should load you up. You can use the bag Disney provides or use your own. Or you can use their bag, empty it into a huge duffel bag, and continue filling it up. There’s no limit.
Beginning in Tomorrowland, the first location you’ll find is at Carousel of Progress.
Where you’ll continue down past where Buzz Lightyear meets. Lines were pretty long here most of the day, though you can see they’ve eased here since it’s after 11pm.
Another is located past the entrance to Tomorrowland Indy Speedway.
Which is Cars-themed. Lines seemed longer here than any of the other locations.
Close to the end of the night, there’s far fewer people in line.
The Storybook Circus Train Station is another stop.
You simply circle around and come back up to the top. Because it’s out of the way, waits were minimal all night.
This is one of two “Candy Trails,” which include three individual treat stations. Lines are nonexistent because it isn’t obvious and few people travel back here.
Taking a page out of Enchanted Tales with Belle,we have cardboard cutout decorations.
Otherwise you just continue walking through.
Until you end up at Space Mountain.
Pinocchio Village Haus is another. It wasn’t particularly busy most of the night.
Another location near the bathrooms next to Peter Pan’s Flight.
My favorite is Louis Gator’s Barrel of Bayou Goodies.
The entrance is down to the left of the entrance to Liberty Square Riverboat. Lines were relatively short and it’s fun to walk by the boat.
The second trail is Br’re Rabbit’s Laughin’ Place Candy Patch. Sorry the picture is so bad. You’ll walk around the extended queue at Splash collecting candy. Lines were pretty short most of the night since it’s a bit out of the way. As it cools down, fewer people will be headed back to Splash and you’ll pick up candy from three locations.
And finally, the entrance to Jungle Cruise is another. It looks like I’m missing a picture of another in Adventureland near Pirates of the Caribbean.
My recommendation is to hold off on most of your trick or treating until after the second Parade when lines will be much shorter. You can hit three or more treat locations in less time than it would take to wait in line earlier in the evening. And unless you’re hellbent on trick or treating inside Magic Kingdom, your time may be better spent elsewhere. I do recommend the candy trail in Storybook Circus and the Louis Gator’s in Liberty Square.
This year’s shirt looks like this. For adults, it looked like it came in gray and orange.
In kids’ sizes, Orange and Purple.
Haunted Mansion and PhotoPass Opportunities:
Archival footage and commentary: Madame Carlotta and Rinotta appear on a bench on the Haunted Mansion lawn. Apparently they are two of the ghosts in the attraction. I have no idea why they don’t do traditional meet and greets. They’re hilarious, extremely well cast, and look amazing. Otherwise, you have to position yourself in front of them to get a picture or get a picture in front of the haunted carriage. There was basically no wait for the carriage and you could walk up and interact with Carlotta or Rinotta pretty easily. When they switch off to go backstage, they take the arm of a lucky gentleman in the crowd.
This is one of I think(?) three special PhotoPass “opportunities.” They take your picture and add the horses.
Another bad picture, but off in the distance I believe is another PhotoPass opportunity. This is in Liberty Square with Columbia Harbour House to the left and Liberty Square Market to the right. I am not sure what the effect is – PhotoPass is kind of my weakness. Someone can correct, you know I love it! And there should be a third near Pirates of the Caribbean.
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Card:
Disney is offering an exclusive Halloween Party Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card. It’s available at the Firehouse on the left side of Main Street just after passing City Hall.
My thinking is they’ll figure out a better way to do it. For the first Party, everyone lined up in one line that splintered off at the end. Some people wanted a full pack of cards, while others only wanted the Halloween card. You show them your ticket and wristband, they punch your ticket, and hand you the card.
This is what it looks like. They are selling for $100+ on eBay, which seems a little silly. It wouldn’t surprise me to see some poacher offering people money to buy their cards or go pick one up. I gave mine away, which seems shortsighted now!
That just about concludes our coverage of the first Halloween Party.
Is It Worth It?
In one word: Yes. You:
- Get five to eight hours in the Magic Kingdom.
- Get to see the Boo to You Parade, one of Disney’s best, featuring characters you’ll never see anywhere else. The Parade is only available during the Halloween Party.
- Get to enjoy one of Disney’s best fireworks shows, which clocks in at over ten minutes and features a fun villain theme.
- Get virtually unlimited access to the major attractions with short to nonexistent waits.
- Get Meet and Greet opportunities with some of the rarest Disney characters, including several interactions that may “make” the trip for a youngster. Don’t be surprised if Junior is still bragging about that high five from Jack Sparrow months from now.
- Get to watch the Villains dance on stage and then pose for photos immediately afterward.
- Get to experience ambiance unlike any other event, Disney or otherwise.
Mickey’s Halloween Party may have its flaws. I would love to see more characters out and about, especially considering Disney has them on hand at the Party. I mean, how awesome would it be to have a picture with the hyenas? What about the caretaker and his mutt, the grave diggers, the skeletons, or the ghosts? Why aren’t Christopher Robin and Kanga meeting guests outside Winnie the Pooh? Why isn’t Alice riding Mad Tea Party all night (okay, maybe she would need some downtime, but it does load slow, maybe get an ice skater)? Just these sorts of things that seem like such a missed opportunity, especially when it takes an hour each to meet the Dwarfs, Jack Sparrow, or Rapunzel. 99%+ of the people attending Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party are never going to see any of this advice or any of the advice elsewhere in books or on the internet, yet they are expected to be able to wade through the evening’s events. Perhaps that’s why there isn’t more to do – people would just explode from the sheer number of character interaction opportunities. WELL LET THEM EXPLODE! I’d love to see more characters and considering the cost of the ticket, they should be able to offer them.
Despite long waits for certain characters, the evening still packs a lot of fun. If you can swing the cost and make the most of the events, I highly recommend it.
How I Would Plan My Evening
- 6:40pm – Get in line for Princesses in Town Square Theater or Jack Sparrow in Adventureland
- 7:10pm – Get in line for Gaston and/or Tremaines
- 7:45pm – Watch Villains Mix and Mingle. After the show, hurry to the left walkway for a picture with Maleficent. Get pictures with other villains. Frollo and Cruella see shorter lines
- 8:10pm – Get in line for Dwarfs in Frontierland
- 8:45pm – Ride Big Thunder or Splash Mountain if desired
- 9:15pm – Find a viewing location near Casey’s Corner for HalloWishes at 9:30pm
- 9:45pm – Get in line for Phineas and Ferb
- 10pm – Grab a snack at Casey’s Corner
- 10:15pm or earlier – Find a viewing location for the Parade
- 11:15pm – Trick or Treat, get in line for an additional character, ride rides, or what have you
Time really does move that fast. Alternatively, you can focus on the rides. I’d just save Fantasyland for after 10pm. If you’re not interested in the big name characters, it will free up time for other characters/rides/trick or treating. But there isn’t a better way to handle the Princesses/Sparrow and Dwarfs.
If you have specific touring questions, feel free to post a thread in the website’s Park Touring Forum.