We’ll take a moment to enjoy my favorite parade of the year in Mickey’s Boo to You! Halloween Parade, which is exclusive to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.
The Parade steps off in Frontierland at 9:15pm and 11:15pm on Halloween Party nights.
The iconic Headless Horseman leads the way.
Conventional wisdom follows that the second Parade is significantly less crowded than the first. While this is still true, it’s not nearly as true as it would have been five or more years ago.
In addition to “literally” every single “guide” that you read on the event telling you to go to the second Parade, it even says as much on the Party map that just about everyone will pick up to begin their night.
Frontierland, in particular, remains the least crowded area of the Parade route, but my personal preference is to watch on Main Street. The further you get away from the Castle, the fewer people that you’ll see. Don’t be afraid to turn the corner, either. I rolled up to this spot in front of Town Square Theater at 9:14pm and the Headless Horseman arrived just a minute after. You’ll notice that on the right, in front of the Confectionery, there’s only about one or two rows of people waiting and many of them are sitting, which means the view from behind them would be very good if you stand. Again, the above is from the first, “more crowded” Parade. The second Parade crowd down here would be even more sparse.
This is the second Parade during the second Party of the year and you can see how many more people there are waiting along Main Street. The closer you get to the Castle, the more people you’ll see.
The Hub area in front of Cinderella Castle isn’t as crowded of a spot as you might expect during the second Parade. During the first, there will be more people around with the 8:30pm Hocus Pocus show on the stage in front of the Castle and the 10:15pm Not So Spooky Fireworks. People tend to camp out for all three beginning as early as 7pm.
Frontierland remains your best bet, particularly closer to Diamond Horseshoe than Pecos Bill. The area on the Big Thunder Mountain side, across from the stores and restaurants etc., is typically less popular. Frontierland’s “feel” works a lot better during the spooky Halloween Party than the festive Christmas Party. It’s a lot darker back there and the dark reds and yellows enhance much of the Parade experience.
The quality of your viewing location will ultimately come down to how early you’re prepared to secure it and then some amount of luck that nobody particularly annoying scoots in at the last possible moment. You’ll typically want to make sure there’s little room between the members of your group. Sitting next to a trash can is also a good tactic as the trash cans rarely film Parades or careen their heads out into the street for a better view, in turn reducing the quality of yours.
For the second Parade, I’d fill in on Main Street before 10:45pm if you can spare the time. That’s about 20 minutes after the Fireworks end. If you’re arriving later, then securing a spot further down the street or potentially in front of Town Square Theater or the Train Station is a better bet.
With the timing of the Fireworks and Parade, there won’t be much of an opportunity to do other Party things in between the two shows. If you’re planning on seeing the Fireworks on Main Street and then the Parade in Frontierland, you’d have enough time to potentially do one or two rides. For example, you could watch the Fireworks from 10:15pm to 10:25pm, ride Pirates of the Caribbean from 10:30pm to 10:55pm, and then find Parade spots at 11pm. But even then, your viewing location choices will be much more limited than if you found spots closer to 10:30pm. Typically, I watch the Fireworks on Main Street and then fill in for the Parade further away from the Castle immediately after. On Main Street, you’re looking at an hour wait for the bulk of the Parade to arrive if you find your spot around 10:35pm. The Headless Horseman will arrive around 11:16pm, but the first Parade float won’t follow until about 25 minutes later.
On the second Party night of the year, I took this picture at 9:16pm.
And this picture, at the arrival of the rest of the Parade, at 9:39pm. That’s 23 minutes later or 24 minutes after the Parade officially “started.” The Parade is then about 15 minutes long. So if you find a spot for the second Parade at 10:45pm on Main Street, you’re looking at a 30 minute wait for the Horseman, then 25 more minutes for the rest of the Parade, and then 15 minutes to watch the show. That means you’ll need to invest a little over an hour to watch the Parade. Once it ends, you’ll likely want to head to the 12am Hocus Pocus show, which I review and offer viewing tips for in this post. The Parade ends on Main Street right around midnight or about 45 minutes after it steps off in Frontierland. Most people will dedicate the last 2+ hours to seeing the three shows – the Fireworks at 10:15pm, followed by the 11:15pm Parade, and then the 12am Hocus Pocus. That gives you just about three hours to do everything else, which I detail as part of my overall guide to the event.
One other potential benefit of seeing the Parade on Main Street is the Party Patrol led by Nick and Judy from Zootopia. It’s your only opportunity to see the duo during the Halloween Party as they invite the kids to come dance with them in the street.
They appear a couple of minutes after the Headless Horseman rides by and should serve to entertain until Boo to You Proper arrives.
But seeing the Parade is worth the time investment. Above is a video.
And here are some pictures:
Hopefully by following a couple easy tips, your overall experience will be a breeze.