May 2 Update: Updated for 2013.
See my detailed overview of the 2012 event here: http://www.easywdw.com/uncategorized/mickeys-not-so-scary-halloween-party-2013-overview-touring-strategy-character-locations-and-strategy-buying-tickets-more/
What is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party?
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (often abbreviated to MNSSHP) is an after-hours “hard ticket” event held at the Magic Kingdom on select dates during September, October, and the 1st of November. When I say “hard ticket,” I mean that you will need to purchase an additional ticket to attend (prices below). Magic Your Way Tickets, Annual Passes, etc. will not get you into the Party. The Party runs from 7pm through 12am. The Magic Kingdom does not completely close prior to the event. Instead, visitors who have tickets will trade them for a wristband that indicates they are attending the Party. Those without tickets will be asked to leave and there will be attendants checking wristbands throughout the evening, including at each of the ride entrances.
What Dates is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Scheduled in 2013?
Tuesday September 10
Friday September 13
Tuesday September 17
Friday September 20
Tuesday September 24
Friday September 27
Sunday September 29
Thursday October 3
Friday October 4
Sunday October 6
Thursday October 10
Friday October 11
Monday October 14
Thursday October 17
Friday October 18
Sunday October 20
Tuesday October 22
Thursday October 24
Friday October 25
Sunday October 27
Tuesday October 29
Thursday October 31
Friday November 1
What is the Price of a Ticket to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party?
Like most things Disney, the pricing structure is somewhat convoluted. There are advance purchase discounts for some dates, as well as discounts for the military, Disney Vacation Club owners, and Annual Passholders. For the advanced purchase discount, you must purchase tickets by 11:59pm on the night before the Party. All prices include tax. In short, unless you are using the military discount, the tickets will cost between $54-$74 for anyone age ten or older and between $61 and $70 for kids ages three to nine. It just depends on the date and potentially when tickets are purchased.
September 10 to September 27
Advance purchase adult: $62.84
Advance purchase age 3-9: $57.51
Day of event adult: $69.23
Day of event ages 3-9: $63.90
Annual Passholder and DVC Member adult: $59.64
Annual Passholder and DVC Member ages 3-9: $54.32
September 29 to November 1 (excluding Oct 31)
Advance purchase adult: $$66.03
Advance purchase age 3-9: $60.71
Day of event adult: $71.36
Day of event ages 3-9: $66.03
Annual Passholder and DVC Member adult: $61.77
Annual Passholder and DVC Member ages 3-9: 56.45
October 31 (Halloween)
Ages 3-9: $72.42
Blackout dates for passholder discounts
October 4, 11, 18, 25, 27, 29, 31 and November 1
Blackout dates for advance purchase discounts
October 11, 18, 25, 31
What is Included With the Ticket to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party?
The Party includes several features that may appeal to your group. The first is that most of the rides in the Magic Kingdom will be open for the duration of the Party. While the FASTPASS system is not in use, chances are good that the majority of rides will have a wait time of 15 minutes or less, including many that have essentially no wait. Wait times and crowds depend on the date you attend the Party (best dates explained below). Usually Peter Pan’s Flight sees the longest wait times in the 20-minute range for most of the night, thanks to its popularity and low capacity. Haunted Mansion waits can also hit 15 to 20 minutes from 7pm – 1pm.
Second, the crowd level in the last two hours of the Party will be much lower than at any other part of the day, other than perhaps morning Extra Magic Hour. Because the Halloween Party is offered throughout September and October when Magic Kingdom’s operating hours are usually shorter, this will likely be your only opportunity to be in the Magic Kingdom after 10pm, unless you’re visiting on a Saturday or during evening Extra Magic Hours.
Third, there is a special “HalloWishes” fireworks show featuring Disney villains and “Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parade.” The only time you will be able to see these shows is during the Halloween Party. They are not shown during regular hours on any date, including Halloween. HalloWishes is many people’s favorite fireworks show of the entire year, although the Independence Day fireworks are slightly better (in my opinion). Nonetheless, HalloWishes is a more exciting show than Wishes and the Boo-to-You Parade is generally considered to be neater and more fun than the regular Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade, SpectroMagic, or Main Street Electrical Parade.
Fourth, there will be more characters out to meet, greet, and take pictures with and mos of them they will be dressed up in their Halloween costumes. The Halloween Party is generally your only opportunity to meet characters like Dr. Facilier and Cruella de Vil. All Seven Dwarfs also make an appearance. In past years, the Princes have met alongside their Princesses in Fairytale Hall.
Fifth, there are several unique shows throughout the evening featuring the characters dancing, singing, and having a good time. The Villains Mix & Mingle and the dance parties in Tomorrowland and at the Diamond Horseshoe in Liberty Square are the most popular.
Sixth, you will be supplied with a trick-or-treat bag which you can use to collect candy from around the Park. You may also bring your own bag to collect candy if you like. The bags Disney supplies are not particularly large, so a custom bag may be the best choice. At the end of the night, it’s not uncommon for cast members to load patrons up with as much candy as their bag will hold.
In essence, you are paying to enjoy the Magic Kingdom with fewer people in the Park. Lines will be short to attractions and there is special entertainment throughout the night, including the spectacular Halloween parade and fireworks shows.
What Does Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Schedule of Events Look Like?
This was the schedule in 2012. The 2013 schedule should be similar or exactly the same.
4:00pm – Guests with a Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party ticket may enter the Magic Kingdom. Disney will officially tell you that the Party starts at 7pm and that’s when guests will be allowed into the Park. However, every year they say this and every year guests may enter the Park beginning at 4pm. It simply would not be feasible for 25,000+ people with tickets to enter the Park exactly at 7pm so Disney lets people in early to help spread out crowds. Get your Party bracelet as soon as possible.
6:15pm – Lines to meet the characters should be ready for entry. You may want to get in line now for a popular character because the lines will be at their longest by 7:30pm.
7:00pm – The Party starts. Guests without a bracelet will be asked to leave.
7:45pm – Villain Mix & Mingle in front of the castle. Classic Disney villains perform and then come down to meet the audience and take photographs. Please note they do not sign autographs due to time constraints and are only out for ten minutes.
8:15pm – Mickey’s Boo to You Halloween Parade. Parade begins in Frontierland, passes by Liberty Square, goes around the central hub in front of the Castle, and heads down Main Street. Plan to wait for the second parade at 10:30pm because it will be much less crowded. Get to your spot at least 30 minutes early for a chance to see the Headless Horseman ride down the street and find good spots for the Parade.
8: 50pm – Villain Mix & Mingle in front of the castle. Classic Disney villains perform and then come down to meet the audience and take photographs. Please note they do not sign autographs due to time constraints and are only out for ten minutes.
9:30pm – Happy HalloWishes Fireworks over Cinderella Castle.
10:05pm – Villain Mix & Mingle in front of the castle. Classic Disney villains perform and then come down to meet the audience and take photographs. Please note they do not sign autographs due to time constraints and are only out for ten minutes.
10:30pm – Mickey’s Boo to You Halloween Parade. Parade begins in Frontierland, passes by Liberty Square, goes around the central hub in front of the Castle, and heads down Main Street. Get to your spot at least 15 minutes early for a chance to see the Headless Horseman ride down the street.
11:15pm – Villain Mix & Mingle in front of the castle. Classic Disney villains perform and then come down to meet the audience and take photographs. Please note they do not sign autographs due to time constraints and are only out for ten minutes.
11:30pm – Character meet and greet lines are scheduled to close. Most characters will continue meeting up to 12am.
12am – Party ends. There will be plenty of buses out front to take visitors back to their resorts.
What Rides and Restaurants Can I Expect to be Open during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party?
The following is a list of rides and counter services that should be open during the Party:
Main Street USA:
Main Street Sweets -
Pirates of the Caribbean
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Aloha Isle – Dole Whips, Ice Cream
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn
Turkey Leg Cart
Golden Oak Outpost
Frontierland Churro Cart
The Haunted Mansion
Sleepy Hollow Refreshments
Enchanted Tales with Belle
Pete’s Silly Sideshow
Peter Pan’s Flight
Prince Charming Regal Carousel
Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
it’s a small world
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Mad Tea Party
Journey of the Little Mermaid
Storybook Treats – Ice Cream, Milkshakes, Drinks
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Monsters Inc. Laughing Floor – Last show begins at 10pm
Stitch’s Great Escape
Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café – Great Variety of Meals
The Lunching Pad – Turkey Legs, Pretzels, Chips, Drinks
As you can see, the great majority of rides are open. The ones that may not be include: Jungle Cruise and Enchanted Tiki Room in Adventureland; Walt Disney World Railroad, Country Bear Jamboree, and Tom Sawyer Island in Frontierland; Liberty Square Riverboat and Hall of Presidents in Liberty Square; Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress; all rides in Fantasyland are expected to be open.
What Characters Can I Epxect to See?
See this post for character locations and pictures from 2012: http://www.easywdw.com/uncategorized/2012-mickeys-not-so-scary-halloween-party-disney-world-character-locations-strategy-pictures-videos-and-fluff/. 2013 will be added when it becomes available.
Do Adults Without Kids Attend the Party? Is It Still Fun?
Absolutely. There will be thousands of people in attendance without kids. Don’t be shy about getting in line to meet the characters, collecting signatures, or taking pictures.
Do People Actually Wear Costumes to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party? I Don’t Want to Stand Out.
Yes, the majority of people who attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party wear something special. It’s certainly not required that you go all out, but dressing up in a costume is half the fun of Halloween. If you don’t want to deal with packing a costume or don’t want to spend the money/time, you might consider a Halloween themed t-shirt, funny hat, or some other accessory to add a little sizzle to your outfit. It’s also just fine if you don’t want to do anything special. There will be thousands of people in regular clothes as well.
What are the Costume Rules? Can I Dress Up Like Mickey? Can I Bring My Gun?
Disney allows you dress up like a Disney character, but only if you don’t pretend to be the “real” character, signing autographs and posing for pictures. If you do that, it’s likely that you will be asked to stop and then be asked to leave if you don’t stop. You’re also welcome to dress up as a non-Disney character if you like. You’ll see plenty of Harry Potter and Penguins of Madagascar characters too.
Plastic swords, weapons made from foam, futuristic plastic guns, and similar items are usually allowed as an accessory to your costume. After all, Disney sells many similar items in its gift shops all over Disney property. I can’t guarantee that your item won’t be confiscated, but as long as you’re not threatening people with it or causing damage, you shouldn’t run into any problems. Be smart and use common sense. If the police would stop you on the streets for carrying your costume accessory in the open, you probably want to leave it at home.
Make Sure Your Costume is Florida Friendly
Keep in mind that the average high temperature throughout September is 89 degrees and the average low is around 74 degrees. In October, the average high is 84 degrees and the average low is 68 degrees. The costume you usually wear at night in Wisconsin on Halloween night may need some modifications to be ready for the heat and humidity. Masks are not recommended, especially if they don’t offer a lot of ventilation.
What Time Can I Enter the Park with a Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Ticket?
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets will gain you admittance into the Magic Kingdom beginning at 4pm. You may also use a day on your Magic Your Way Ticket, your Annual Pass, or another ticket form to enter the Park for the whole day if you like. Some people forgo the Park Hopper upgrade and purchase the Halloween Party ticket instead. This way, on the day of the Party they can spend most of the day at another Park and “hop” over to the Magic Kingdom at 4pm without needing to use a Park Hopper ticket.
What are the Best Nights to Attend the Halloween Party?
Let’s first start with the most crowded. As you get closer to October 31st, the Halloween Party will become more and more crowded as people are naturally more in the mood for Halloween as the actual date draws near. October 25th, 28th, and 31st will likely all sell out at some point. Halloween usually sells out by the beginning of June and the other most popular dates will follow. Disney is also expecting October 11th and 18th to be busier than usual. Thus, no advance purchase discount is available. Despite more people attending the Party, it’s still very possible to have a great time. It just means that you’ll want to adhere more closely to the “time maximization” tips below.
If you’re looking for the lowest crowds and easiest opportunity to see the headlining attractions during the Party, Tuesdays are the least crowded days. Locals are unlikely to visit on a weeknight because kids have school the following day. Sundays are also recommended if you can’t get to a Tuesday night. Friday nights are more crowded because local Floridians will have an easier time visiting with their kids. More people are also winding down their trip and save the Party for the end of their vacation. You also want to book the date furthest away from Halloween as possible. It’s natural for people to want to go to the Halloween Party near Halloween, which is why the final dates are so much more popular than dates in September and why they’re more expensive. If you’re going in September, you don’t have much to worry about no matter which date you select. On the other hand, there’s certainly something to say for booking the actual night of Halloween, October 31st. If you would like to attend that Party, you will want to purchase tickets as soon as possible. Be aware that although it will be a lot of fun, the 31st will be the busiest night of the year for the Halloween Party.
Generally speaking, I don’t recommend attending the Party on the day you arrive in Orlando. Chances are, you’ll be tired and stressed out over travel plans and won’t enjoy the Party as much as you would later in your vacation. Personally, I like to attend the Party on one of the last days of my vacation, after I’ve had a chance to visit the Magic Kingdom during the day. This way, I know which rides I want to ride again and which characters I still need to see. It’s also an extra-special way to end the trip on an especially high note.
When Should I Purchase Tickets to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party?
I recommend waiting to purchase tickets until you see a definitive weather report. Weather is a major factor in how much fun Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party will be for your group. Nothing puts a damper on the mood like flash thunderstorms, heavy rain, or extreme heat. Remember, you get the same ticket discount the day before the start of the event that you would get three months before the event. You shouldn’t have much trouble switching Party dates well ahead of the actual Party date, but the tickets are officially non-refundable. You may have success getting a refund, but it’s more likely to happen when it’s further away from the actual Party date. Generally speaking, it’s much easier to switch dates than it is to get a full refund once tickets are purchased.
Disney does not cancel Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party due to weather, though some people have reported they were able to get tickets for another Party on nights with extremely bad weather. If you would be devastated to not get tickets to your desired Party date, you will want to purchase tickets as soon as possible. There is always the possibility that a date will sell out, especially near the end of October. If there are two or three Parties scheduled during your vacation, it is highly unlikely that all dates will sell out before you are able to purchase tickets, unless those two dates are at the end of October. If you’re going to one of the last five Party dates in October or November 1st, you will want to purchase tickets as soon as possible or you risk finding the Party sold out.
Is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Worth the Cost of the Ticket?
If you’ve read my Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Review, you would know that while I endorse it, I’m not overly optimistic in recommending the Christmas Party to everyone. This is because there are a lot of other Christmas events going on throughout Disney World and the fact that the two most integral parts of the evening, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmastime Parade and Holiday Wishes, can be seen “for free” during regular hours at the end of December. The cost is also becoming prohibitive at the same time Disney removes some of the more fun Party events.
Let me first say that like the Christmas Party, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is not an essential component of a Disney World vacation. You can and will have a delightful vacation regardless of whether you attend the Party or not. In fact, since Disney canceled the Pirate and Princess Party, anyone traveling from January to the middle of September will not have an opportunity to attend either the Christmas or Halloween Parties. On the one hand, that makes September and October travel special, but it also means the great majority of people enjoy Disney World without attending an after-hours hard ticket event like this. That being said, I like the Halloween Party more than the Christmas Party for the following reasons:
1. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is the only opportunity to see HalloWishes and the Boo-to-You Halloween Parade. Both are much more fun than the parades and fireworks during regular hours, in most people’s opinions.
2. While there are numerous Christmas events throughout Disney World, Halloween is not represented in a similar vein. You probably won’t notice any differences at Epcot, Hollywood Studios, or Animal Kingdom. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is really your only opportunity to get in the “Halloween spirit” during your Disney World vacation.
3. Dressing up in costume with other visitors and the Disney characters is a lot of fun. You will see a lot of people in amazing costumes that rival the quality of Disney’s own characters.
4. Trick or treating is more fun than collecting cocoa and cookies during the Christmas Party. You can come home with a sizable stash of candy if you bring your own bag.
5. The Parties in September and many nights in October are lightly attended. The Party is a great time to ride your favorites or those you may have missed during your trip. It’s also a fantastic time to meet the characters, take pictures, and get autographs.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is worth the cost of the tickets as long as it doesn’t cause you to make sacrifices in other areas of your life or trip. If you can afford the tickets, it will likely be one of the highlights of your trip, especially if you dress up in a costume and take full advantage of the five hours. The parade and fireworks are worth the price of admission and you’ll have a great opportunity to ride the headlining rides and meet the popular characters with minimal waits.
Other Ways to Spend That $60 Per Person
For a family of four, tickets to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party cost about $260 with tax. In many cases, that’s more than it would cost to add another day and night to your trip at a Disney Value or Moderate resort. Remember, the cost to add additional days on a Magic Your Way ticket is only about $10 per day after the third day and the cost to add an additional night at the resort is between $90-$120 at Value resorts and $160-$200 at the Moderates, depending on timing. For the same cost as the Party, you could feasibly spend an entire extra day and night at Disney World. The Party also costs more than adding the Park Hopper or Water Parks & More upgrades.
How to Maximize Your Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Ticket Experience
- Check the daily weather report for the expected temperature and chance of rain. Bring a poncho if you don’t want your costume to get wet from the rain or Splash Mountain. Depending on your costume, you may want to have shorts on underneath your outfit. This way, you can change if the costume is too hot.
- Make sure you take enough of a break in the afternoon so that you are ready to take advantage of the full five hours. Plan to stay until 12am because crowds will be the lightest from 11pm-12am. The best time to arrive is between 4:00pm-5:30pm. Get your Party wristband as soon as possible.
- Eat dinner before the start of the Party. Eating a counter service meal during the Party is a waste of time. Both Pecos Bill and Cosmic Ray’s will be busy throughout the evening. Consider getting a quick snack at one of the other food carts or rummage through your trick or treat bag.
- Get in line for the Seven Dwarfs at 8:05pm if you want to get pictures with them. This is about 10 minutes before the first Parade starts and it will cut off traffic to the Big Thunder/Splash Mountain area where the characters meet. Their line will be over an hour long for most of the Party. Jack Sparrow and the Princesses at Town Square also see long waits. If you’re interested in one of them, get in line no later than 6:30pm. The villains that come down for pictures after the Mix and Mingle show are only out for about ten minutes. You’ll need to attend multiple shows to get pictures with more than two.
- There are two parades each evening – one at 8:15pm and one at 10:30pm; attend the second because it is always significantly less crowded than the first. If you’d like to see the Parade twice, see it in Frontierland at 8:15pm and on Main Street at 10:30pm. Arrive at least 30 minutes early for the first Parade and 15 minutes early for the second Parade.
- Lines to most rides will be short all night, even during a sold-out Party. Save Fantasyland for the very end of the night because all rides will have extremely short lines and will most likely be “walk-ons.” Peter Pan’s Flight is the exception, where lines can be 20+ minutes most of the night.
- Do everything you can to stay through 12am. Crowds only get smaller after HalloWishes at 9:30pm. Lines to the characters are much shorter after 10:30pm.
Should I Go (Conclusion)?
Mickey’s Halloween Party can be an excellent way to ride the headlining rides and meet a lot of Disney characters in a short period of time, provided you visit during a recommended date. The Boo-to-You Parade and HalloWishes fireworks are spectacular in their own right. If you enjoy visiting with the characters and you’re planning to dress up in a Halloween costume, the Halloween Party may make a lot of sense, provided you have the budget that allows for the cost of the tickets. Be aware that the last few Party dates and Friday night Parties are generally crowded. If you follow the advice above and tour efficiently then you shouldn’t run into many major problems. However, be aware that lines at peak times can be very long, including waits of more than an hour to see the Disney princesses or Seven Dwards. Overall, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is a lot of fun. It’s a unique opportunity to dress up in costume, tour the Magic Kingdom with potentially light crowds, and see two amazing shows. I would strongly recommend putting it under consideration.