To paraphrase Hamlet, “Why, then, ’tis none to you, for there is nothing either crowded or not crowded, but thinking makes it so. To me it is Magic Kingdom.” In the website’s overall Guide to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, I introduced what to expect from the event in terms of wait times and crowds, but probably didn’t go into enough detail to offer an accurate representation of what you’ll experience should you decide to attend a Party moving forward.
First and foremost, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is not a “low crowd event.” And at times, crowd “feel” will be the same or higher than during the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday during the summer. Above is the scene outside The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh at 8:55pm on Friday August 24th, which was the second Party of the year. This is one of the “recommended” times to be visiting the characters and attractions given the fact that the first Boo-to-You Parade steps off in just 20 minutes and some number of thousands of people are taking up residence in Frontierland, Liberty Square, and Main Street USA to see it.
Likewise, here’s a look at the Trick-or-Treat line at the Carousel of Progress in Tomorrowland at 7:45pm or 45 minutes into the start of the Party, also on the 24th. There’s probably 200 people waiting in line for three to four pieces of candy from one of two bins.
Here’s the line for Lots’o at the same time, which looks to be about 35 groups long, translating to a wait of 60 to 75+ minutes.
That means meeting just one moderate-priority character comprises a fifth of your total Party time.
Pictured isn’t even half of the line for the Seven Dwarfs, who meet inside the Pete’s Silly Sideshow tent during the Halloween Party. This is a 2-ish hour wait.
This is the end of the line for Winnie the Pooh and friends in the pouring rain. Note that the characters or the start of the regular line are not in frame.
I’ll put up a separate post detailing character locations, meet times, and priority, but character meets are easily the biggest time suck of the event. It would behoove you to pick out just one or two priority characters to meet during the Party and be prepared to wait 60 to 90+ minutes for each, even if you get in line at 4pm for Jack and Sally, 5pm for the Dwarfs, or 10:30pm for Moana.
For the most part, wait times for the majority of the attractions remain short for the majority of the Party.
As we learned from the initial Guide, three attractions see minor Halloween overlays during the Party. This is probably both good and bad. Without the overlay, virtually nobody would give riding Mad Tea Party during the Halloween Party a second thought, but the very obvious lighting and music changes attract more people throughout the evening, in turn raising waits for those that are interested.
Say what you will about Gunpowder Pete, but he’s easily tripled waits at Pirates of the Caribbean during the Party.
Here’s a look at posted wait times beginning at noon on the day of the first Halloween Party, Friday August 17th:
Wait times are well below average overall and for the most part, fall even further during the Halloween Party. Even so, low capacity, popular attractions still see appreciable waits and the three attractions with Halloween overlays prove to be more popular. Pirates averages 18 minutes during the Party, while Space Mountain averages 25 minutes. Haunted Mansion also commands longer waits with its spooky theme – its 21-minute average during the Party is actually longer than its average wait during the day. Mad Tea Party is still going to take less than ten minutes most of the night. Just about every other attraction is going to post a wait of 15 minutes or less. Big Thunder, Buzz, Splash, and more never post a wait longer than ten minutes during the Party.
During the first Halloween Party, it didn’t help that Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was down for over an hour. Here’s the 30-minute posted wait for Peter Pan’s Flight at 9:30pm. The actual wait is probably in the vicinity of 20 minutes.
And now, a look at wait times during Friday August 24th, which was the day of the second Halloween Party of the year:
Wait times are a little goofy with lightning closing outdoor attractions, from around 1:15pm to around 3:30pm, which is longer than average. Then you’ve got Big Thunder down for an hour during the Party, in addition to about 75 minutes worth of downtime at Haunted Mansion and about an hour at Space Mountain. That’s obviously disappointing for guests interested in experiencing those attractions during the Party and in turn pushes waits up elsewhere and at those rides once they reopen.
One other thing of note – wait times during the second Party of the year were actually longer than the first, despite the first Party officially “selling out.” The first Party was not a “real” sell out, at least from the standpoint that the maximum number of tickets were sold. It was more of a marketing ploy to convince people that they need to lock in a specific event date and purchase their tickets. I would guess a lot of people heard about the sell out and instinctively thought, “We better make a decision soon.”
Unfortunately for the sake of predicting how popular a Halloween Party might be, wait times during the event aren’t a reliable indicator of how “crowded” a particular Party date might be. Oftentimes, there’s an inverse relationship as busier, sold out Parties in October see lower wait times than earlier, not-sold-out Parties in August and September. That’s because people visiting closer to Halloween are more likely to dress up and spend their time on the festive aspects of the Party that aren’t tracked by posted attraction wait times. I was mildly amused to see that the guy that writes the “Least Crowded Halloween Party” posts for TouringPlans had never actually been to a Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party before. You wonder how many people took advice based on irrelevant data only to find themselves the proud owners of tickets to the not-so-exclusive Mickey’s Very-Sold-Out Seasonal Event.
So what are our takeaways so far…probably that the Halloween Parties…and the Christmas Parties in November/December, are going to “feel” a lot more crowded than you or I would probably like. And a lot of that is because the regular attractions see such short wait times because so few people are interested in spending 20 minutes to ride it’s a small world when they feel like they’re paying $100/ticket to do something that they can’t do every other afternoon over the course of the year. It only takes 50 people in line to meet a character for the wait to balloon to 30+ minutes.
Amusingly, much of the reason why the wait is so long is because…the wait is so long. Every group that waits in line for three hours to meet Jack & Sally is going to try to get pictures in every conceivable configuration…mom and daughter…just moms…just dads…just blondes…just natural blondes…now everyone with a consonant as the first letter in their name…and because of that, wait times increase even more. That’s why I like some of the roaming characters, like Cruella in Fantasyland and Br’er Bear in Frontierland. You can walk up and pose with them and be on your way in just a minute or two.
While we’re here, I’ll impart a few more things that I experienced during the second Halloween Party that I didn’t pass along in the first couple of recap posts.
This bucket is not exclusive to the Halloween Party, like the highly-sought-after Oogie Boogie.
But it actually functions like a popcorn bucket and lights up, which is nice. It will set you back $15 and should be more readily available beginning in September and continuing into October.
I neglected to mention that “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is playing at Mickey’s PhilharMagic throughout the Party. Because the space doubles as a Trick-or-Treat station, the noise might be a little distracting, but it’s a good way to get off your feet in air-conditioning. I should write my review of the Sleepy Hollow event at Ft. Wilderness, but in short, I’d do it if it sounds like fun.
It’s always fun to happen upon the Cadaver Dans in Frontierland, where they typically sing outside Country Bear Jamboree.
You’ll find them performing at 7pm, 7:45pm, 8:30pm, 9:50pm, and 10:30pm.
It’s always worth stopping by Haunted Mansion during the Halloween Party, here with Butler Broome interacting with guests.
Typically to hilarious results. If you don’t want to stand in the queue and watch, or would like a better glimpse, you can head through the exit and watch in front of the bench.
The lighting package on the graveyard and mansion is neat too.
Here in the late summer, we enjoy some pretty sunsets here in Florida.
You might try to time things at Cinderella Castle a little bit better than I did here.
But if I don’t take a picture of the line for the Monsters Inc. Trick-or-Treat station stretching back past the bridge back into the Hub, who will?
On the other hand, here’s trick-or-treating at Jungle Cruise at 10:17pm, or two minutes after HalloWishes started. There is no limit to the number of times you can walk through the treat lines, so if you see a short one, do your worst.
What a life (with hallowishes finale) pic.twitter.com/mvCU4g6KNr
— josh (@easywdw) August 25, 2018
This time around I enjoyed Happy HalloWishes from The Magic Carpets of Aladdin.
We’re getting dangerously close to September, which means it’s probably about time to wrap Halloween coverage up for the year.
We’ll still cover the Boo-to-You Parade and characters a little more closely before gearing up for the Food and Wine Festival over at Epcot.