The first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party has come and gone with the “new” monorail hours. For past coverage on the “state of the monorail,” see these editions: Magic Kingdom Evening Extra Magic Hours; Epcot; Night of Joy.
The Express Monorail (Magic Kingdom to Ticket/Transportation Center in a loop) will run for one hour after regular theme park close, which is 8pm. The Resort Monorail (Magic Kingdom to Contemporary Resort to Ticket/Transportation Center to Polynesian Resort to Grand Floridian to Magic Kingdom in a loop) runs through 10:30pm, which is one hour after the HalloWishes fireworks show.
And the bus stops during regular theme park hours will be a variation of this, depending on time of day:
Once 10:30pm hits and the Resort Monorail shuts down, Disney will begin running a bus to the Contemporary Resort/Wilderness Lodge and the Polynesian Resort/Grand Floridian Resort. Note the new signs at Gate 1 and 2 below.
There are signs posted outside the Monorail:
The shut down Monorail lines at 12:05am.
The Grand Floridian/Polynesian Boat Dock during the day:
And at 12:05am:
The Wilderness Lodge/Ft. Wilderness Campsite Dock during the day:
And at 12:05am:
The Ticket/Transportation Dock during the day:
And at 12:05am:
The Effect On Guests Parking At The Ticket/Transportation Center That Are Not Staying For The Party
Since you’ll be beckoned to leave well before the Express Monorail stops operating at 8pm, you should have no trouble taking the Express Monorail to the Magic Kingdom in short order. Waits were nominal from 6pm to 8pm. Not a lot of people are in the Magic Kingdom on a Mickey’s Party night in the first place and most of the people inside the Park at 6pm will be staying for the Party. If you exit Magic Kingdom after the Express Monorail shuts down, it’s relatively easy to catch the Resort Monorail (which runs until 10:30pm) or ferry boat (which runs until after 1am) over to the Ticket/Transportation Center.
The Effect On The Ticket/Transportation Center
The lack of bus transportation to the Ticket/Transportation Center at the end of the night was a significant inconvenience and caused major backups at the ferry dock. This last picture above shows the line for the Ferry at 12:10am. If you had gotten in the back of this line, you’d be looking at a 45-60 minute wait to get back to the Ticket/Transportation Center, plus time to wait for the tram back to your car, and then the time it takes to find your car, for a grand total of about 75 minutes. It would certainly be long enough to damper the fun time you had just experienced at the event.
If you want to mitigate this, you would need to avoid the two mass exoduses from the Magic Kingdom during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. People leave in droves after the HalloWishes fireworks, which would be from 9:45pm – 10:15pm. Luckily, the Resort Monorail is still operating at this time, which helps lower waits at the ferry docks and the Resort Monorail. The second mass exodus is at the end of the night, from 11:45pm – 12:30am. Since the monorail isn’t operating, the only (obvious) way to get back to the Ticket/Transportation Center is to get in this line and take the ferry. To avoid that wait, you would need to exit the Magic Kingdom by 11:30pm. Most of the people in the Magic Kingdom at 11pm will be sticking around until 12am. 11pm – 11:30pm is your window to get out to the ferry. Unfortunately, this is also the best time to get in a character line or an attraction queue.
You have a couple of options to lower wait times back to the Ticket/Transportation Center if you’re planning to park your own car and stay through the end of the Party. First, you could take the boat or bus to the Polynesian Resort and walk to the Ticket/Transportation Center from there. It’s only a 5-8 minute walk. I’ll add some pictures and a walk through in the near future. The bus to the Polynesian/Grand Floridian wasn’t particularly full and Disney runs a lot of them to help decrease waits and frustration. Second, you could valet park at the Contemporary or Polynesian Resort and either walk/bus to the Contemporary or bus/boat over to the Polynesian at the end of the Party. That would also cut down on wait times. I can’t officially condone parking at either resort in the general use lot because it’s “not allowed.” The goal is to avoid the line to the ferry from 11:45pm – 12:45am. You could also park at Pop Century and hop on the bus after the Party for that matter. I’m just saying.
The Effect On Guests Staying At A Monorail Resort
The good news, I suppose, is the fact that Disney will get you back to your resort during a Mickey’s Party should you be out late at one of the other Deluxe resorts. If you’re visiting another resort after 10:30pm, there’s going to be additional hassle in getting back. For example, if you had a reservation for Narcoossee’s at Grand Floridian at 8:50pm, your meal may very well go past 10:30pm. Should that occur and you were staying at the Polynesian, you would board a bus that would first take you to Magic Kingdom and then back to the Polynesian. Should you be staying at the Contemporary, you would need to board a bus at the Grand Floridian that would take you to the Magic Kingdom and then disembark the bus to either walk or take a different bus to the Contemporary. Alternatively, you could grab a taxi ride that would run about $10 with tip. While we can agree this would be more hassle than the monorail, it isn’t necessarily the end of the world. I think if most people “freaking out” over the reduction in monorail service were to realistically look at their plans, they would realize that they:
- A. Aren’t actually staying at a Monorail Deluxe. Yes, we all dream of staying there and that dream may be a little less dream-y with the current reduction in hours, but we both know you and I are staying at Pop.
- B. Don’t actually have a lot of plans that would put them at another Monorail Deluxe after 10:30pm on a Mickey’s Party night.
For those staying at a Monorail Deluxe and taking part in Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, it does mean a bus ride or boat ride rather than a monorail ride after 10:30pm. Also not the end of the world by any stretch of the imagination, but it is what it is. A lot of people with kids do end up leaving the Party before 10:30pm, even if they have the intention of staying later. Those people would have the opportunity to ride the monorail. In the grand scheme of things, the number of people staying at a Monorail Deluxe, attending Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and staying past 10:30pm is minute (pronounced mahy-noot here).
So What Does It Mean?
As I alluded to earlier, it is what it is. The Express Monorail runs until 8pm. The Resort Monorail to 10:30pm. After that, bus transportation is available to all resorts and boat transportation is available at the resort launches and over to the Ticket and Transportation Center. Those parking at the Ticket/Transportation Center and staying until the end of the Party are going to find the longest waits and most hassle trying to get home. Plan accordingly.