Something I’ve always wanted to do is a Disney party – either Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Considering that we booked our honeymoon just in time to catch fall in New England, this meant we hit Disney at the perfect time to make the Halloween party (MNSSHP) at Magic Kingdom.
We’ve visited Disneyland Paris around autumn before and loved the decorations there, and Florida was just the same. It looked absolutely gorgeous with pumpkins galore, turning leaves, and more. So we made Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party part of our Disney honeymoon bucketlist and bought our tickets as soon as we could.
Since mentioning Walt Disney World’s Halloween party to several people since arriving back home, it’s become apparent that not everyone knows what it is – I know we can’t all spend our lives thinking about Disney!
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is a special ticketed event at the Magic Kingdom which allows ticket holders to enter the park after it’s closed to access fun and exclusive activities such as unlimited trick or treating, rare character meet and greets, ride overlays, a special Boo To You Halloween parade, the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular castle show, and a special HalloWishes fireworks showing. The party runs from mid-late August to Halloween.
I have a lot of thoughts on this year’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party – some excellent, some good, and some not-so-good, sadly! I’ll split it down into some subheadings to make it easier, but here’s how our experience of the night went:
One big benefit of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is that ticket holders for the event can get into the Magic Kingdom before the event actually starts. This year, the park closes at 6pm, the party starts at 7pm, but ticket holders are generally allowed in from around 4pm. Days that have Halloween parties tend to be quieter in the Magic Kingdom in general because of the early closing time, so people prefer to spend their day elsewhere, which means that you can get in at 4pm simply with your Halloween party ticket and enjoy a quieter park up until the party begins at 7pm.
While this is awesome for some, such as people who have bought a limited amount of day tickets – ie. 4 days of tickets for a week long trip in Disney – it’s not such a perk for us. Why? Tickets are sold differently in the UK to the way they’re sold in the US. Generally in the US, people have to pay more to buy a hopper pass (this allows you to “jump” between parks in one day) or to get multi-day tickets. In the UK, we’re offered a 1 day ticket, 7 day ticket or 14 day ticket, and usually the 14 day ticket is the same price as the 7 day! We stayed in Disney only 9 nights but had a 14 day ticket for this reason. As such, it meant that we didn’t need the Halloween party ticket to get us into the park earlier, but it would be a big benefit if you hadn’t bought a regular park ticket for that day.
See more of our Disney honeymoon posts here:
A huge advantage of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party events in the past has been how quiet the Magic Kingdom is during the party. We’ve wanted to go for a while, and our past research showed that the quietness of the event meant you could get on even hard-to-get-fastpass-for rides in a matter of minutes, you could trick or treat to your heart’s content, and you could see the park without it being crowded.
Our 2018 experience was not like this at all. And it seems others have had the same experience too – in fact, several of our favourite vloggers mentioned that tickets had been way oversold this year to MNSSHP. We noticed that park actually seemed busier during the party than it had done on any other of our days in Magic Kingdom that trip. It should have been quieter and seemed quieter, thanks to all the additional activities sucking up guests such as character meets and trick or treating, but instead, people were crowding the walkways and queues were crazy. It didn’t feel exclusive and was such a shame. The queues were even long for the exclusive party snacks, which meant we didn’t try a single one of these.
We’d hoped to fit in some of the rides that normally had long queues during the day such as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, but the queue was longer than it had been during our whole trip for this! Instead, we literally only rode It’s A Small World and Voyage of the Little Mermaid – both rides that had been walk-ons for us on other days. We’d expected to be able to ride at least 5 or 6 rides, including Pirates of the Caribbean with the overlay…read on.
The rides with special Halloween overlays were Space Mountain (completely in the dark), Mad Tea Party (special lighting effects) and Pirates of the Caribbean (live action characters in the ride). The only one we were interested in was Pirates, so after we’d got some trick or treating under our belts, we headed there, hoping it would have quietened down during the night as it was getting later. Sadly, it was super busy, queuing way out the door with a 40 minute wait time according to the signs – it must have been long though based on the queue! We really wanted to make the fireworks though and this was cutting it fine if the queue really was 40 minutes, so we had to skip it.
The other ride overlays had similar wait times, so sadly, we didn’t experience a single one of these and can’t comment on them – I’ve heard Pirates is amazing though!
Trick or treating was pretty high on my priority list because…free candy! Well, yes, we’d paid for it with our tickets, but I’d seen the hauls of American candy people had returned home with – I wanted to try some of my own too!
The Trick or Treating was awesome – we went to around 6 or 7 stations, a couple of the quieter ones we did twice, and came home with enough candy to share with friends and family still (because we were too full on the Dining Plan to eat it while we were there!). The queues for this were, like everything else, pretty long though. Vlogs I’ve watched from previous years showed people walking in, getting candy, and walking out. Most queues were 10 minutes for Trick or Treating, and we waited in the Liberty Square one for nearly 25 minutes after joining the queue, getting around a corner and realising it was much longer than we thought – as did everyone else!
The haul of candy was wonderful and we had a really mixed bag of treats. The cast members are generally pretty generous with their handfuls too, so you come away with plenty.
These weren’t high on our priority list at all, which is just as well as we wouldn’t have had a chance to do them anyway!
This is where the party really shone for me. I’d been feeling really stressed by the crowds and had just about reached breaking point by the time it reached parade time, and luckily this managed to break my stress cycle so we could continue with the party – I think otherwise we might have left! The Boo To You parade was wonderful, with the Headless Horseman, Gravediggers, Haunted Mansion ghosts and more. The music most definitely gets stuck in your head, but we really enjoyed it. We managed to get a good view in Frontierland on the steps of the Diamond Horseshoe which gave us a slightly elevated position and a way to see slightly round the corner too, plus it wasn’t as crowded as being directly on the street.
For the HalloWishes fireworks, we got ourselves about halfway down Main Street USA, found a good place, and stuck with it! We were there about 15 minutes early and luckily this part wasn’t too crowded! We had a good view and I really enjoyed these fireworks. We even managed to get some Photopass snaps in costume while we were watching too!
Okay, so this has sounded pretty negative, I must admit! But in reality, my main gripe was simply how oversold the party was – I felt stressed at the amount of people in the park and in the queues, and it felt like everyone was fighting to try to do everything when you could barely do anything. I knew before we attended that we wouldn’t be able to do everything, of course, but I had really expected to be able to do more, so I was disappointed that it was so busy. All we managed was:
Considering that we arrived at 6pm and left around 11.30pm, that’s not a lot really! We’d also deliberately picked a mid-week day to visit (Tuesday) in early September as we’d heard these were the quietest. Our time was really eaten up in the Trick or Treating queues and simply trying to get around a busy park. I know we could have managed our time better by doing other things first and Trick or Treating later, but we went with what our priorities were in the end.
But good things! There were many good things!!
Being able to experience Magic Kingdom in a totally different way with spooky lighting, decor and atmosphere was amazing; being able to dress up and see everyone else’s costumes; the parade and fireworks; the Trick or Treating; seeing the “Cadaver Dans”, the Headless Horseman and the Gravediggers.
Would I do it again? Unless Disney admitted they’d oversold the event this year and sold less tickets in future, I would be reluctant to pay the same amount. But I would LOVE to do it again in a quieter park so I could experience more and really absorb the Disney Halloween atmosphere that I loved so much. There’s a LOT of work put into these parties, and it’s a shame it ended up being so crazy!
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