Halloween now places a close second to Christmas when it comes to holiday consumer merchandising. Theme parks across the land are cashing in as they create spectacularly spooky special events for this All Hallows Eve and the weeks leading up to it. Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World hosts one of the best Halloween holiday bashes around, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Here are some tips for your family to enjoy this fright night to the max!
To Boo or Not to Boo at Disney’s Halloween Scene
Last year my family visited Cedar Point in Ohio during Halloweekends, and were a little freaked out by how truly creepy and ghoulish it was. We aren’t anti-Halloween folks, really. The kids dress up and we take them Trick-or-Treating, and hit our share of “Fall Festivals”, “Corn Mazes”, and “Trunk-or-Treat” church events. However, we are turned off by the truly “haunted” stuff, and do our best to avoid anything that leans toward the “evil” side of the holiday, if you know what I mean.
However, pumpkins, bonfires, fun costumes and candy are fair game! Cedar Point, which is an awesome park for rides and attractions that rattle your bones and scare you out of your seat anyway, was really a bit TOO ghoulish for our, um, blood, even though we had a blast while there.
So, though my family considers itself a certified Disney Freak Family, some may even say “certifiable”, we were a little bit hesitant about attending Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Yes, the name itself gives hope that you won’t find the stuff of which nightmares are made therein, but you just never know, do you?
I have to be honest… we saw some really spooky stuff there! I feel the need to warn you about these seven types of scary spooks you might encounter (and toss in some helpful TIPS as well) so you and your tots won’t be frightened (or frustrated) out of your Frozen frock! TAKE HEED!
TOP 7 Scary Spooks at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
1. The Disney Character Wannabe
Did I really need to see that lady dressed like Elsa from Frozen? And that big, hairy guy with her, too, in the same costume?
TIP: I understand that your childhood dream was to be a Character at Walt Disney World, ma’am, but seriously? Okay, okay, this IS the ONLY time during the year when adults are allowed to come to the Park dressed in full costume, so go ahead and take advantage of it! Your eyes may burn at some of these frightful sights, but I promise it’s a lot of fun. You’ll see everything from stunningly designed t-shirts bought from Etsy.com to full-on family themes – The Incredibles, the Fab Five, and more obscure costumes, like Mr. Toad, of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride fame. Trust me, you’ll regret it if you don’t dress up!
2. The OVER-dressed Disney Costume Kid
Mom and Dad, was it really smart to dress Little Johnny in that full faux fur Monsters, Inc. Sulley costume – in September, in Florida?
TIP: It’s still 90 degrees and humid most of the time in the sub-tropical state, so use some sense when you’re coming up with costume ideas! At the very least, toss in a change of clothes for the kiddos.
3. The Candy-Crazed Kiddo
Yes, there are about 13 Trick-or-Treating stations giving out over 245 tons of candy throughout the Park during the event. Yes, they will give you a small bag to collect some. Yes, many people BTOB – bring their own bags. BIG bags. And they make it their goal to get as much “FREE” candy as their little fingers can grab.
TIP: You just paid $68 or more to get into this special hard-ticketed event. Use your time wisely. Have your photo taken with some of the rarely-seen characters that come out for this event, or enjoy the many special entertaining shows such as the NEW “Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular” (7:45 pm, 8:55 pm, and 10 pm), the awesome “Boo To You Parade” (8:15 pm and 10:30 pm), and the spectacular “Happy Hallowishes” fireworks show (9:30 pm)– it is a MUST-DO! The candy they give out is not special Disney candy, it is the same stuff you can buy at the drug store half price the day after Halloween. However, if collecting candy is important to your child, at least you can rest knowing that the Magic Kingdom is a safe place to take them Trick-or-Treating.
BONUS TIP: Eat a good dinner before you come, or if you have been in the Park all day, make a reservation for an early dinner before the festivities begin at 7 pm. There will not be as many dining establishments open during the event, or some will only offer limited service. Also, this will keep your kids from getting sick on too much candy.
BONUS BONUS TIP: Instead of eating all the candy, do yourself a favor and enjoy some of the special Disney Treats that are available only during this special event – such as flavored popcorn, ice creams, “poison” apples, specially-decorated cupcakes, etc…
4. The Frightening Foto Freak
You know, the ones who live to have their photos taken with every Disney Character so they can post their pics all over Instagram with clever little hashtags? They’ll be out in full force because the Disney Characters are SO AMAZING at this event!
TIP: Bring your camera – and use Disney’s PhotoPass Service for perfect pics, or purchase the Memory Maker package to take full advantage. Then, map out your plan. If you get there early (highly recommended!) then line up early for those characters who tend to have the longest lines that night – Jack Skellington, the Seven Dwarfs, Mickey and Minnie in their special costumes, and more. Or, come well-rested and plan to stay late, because the lines get much shorter (by about half) after the second parade ends. Also, the decorations are beautiful, so there are many photo ops that don’t include characters that you’ll want to take advantage of as well.
5. The Dastardly Dance Maniacs
These guys – they bring the party with them! They line up at every little street party, every character dance party, and they boogie oogie oogie til they just can’t boogie no more! Some of them even have the moves memorized!
TIP: Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it! Put on your boogie shoes and join the fun! There are several opportunities to “Celebrate the Magic” with some of your favorite Disney Characters throughout the Park at special dance parties. Check the guide for locations, characters, and times. NEW this year is the “Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular” which takes place at the Castle Forecourt Stage. It features the wild and wicked Sanderson Sisters of “Hocus Pocus” fame, along with Dr. Facilier, Ooogie Boogie, Maleficent and others. They’ve been known to come down and dance along with the crowd at shows in the past.
6. The Killer Chiller Thriller-Seekers
You know those guys, the nerdy types that know all the fascinating facts about every ride and attraction out there? Like how many miles per hour Space Mountain flies, and how many inversions and corkscrews it takes to get the most “G’s” out of this ride…whatever. Yeah…they’ll be out in full force….why? Well, because they know this next tip…
TIP: The lines for most of the attractions are much shorter during MNSSHP because there is so much going on! It’s a fabulous time to get your tummy rocked on all the “Mountains” (Space, Thunder, and Splash), or to ride those attractions that you’d normally have to wait forever to do, such as Peter Pan’s Flight and it’s a small world. Remember, FASTPASS + is NOT available during this event, but you won’t miss it.
7. The Ticked-Off No-Ticket Tourist
This poor, unfortunate soul didn’t plan, and gets the biggest fright of all – finding out they have to leave the Park at 7 pm, without seeing the Main Street Electrical Parade, and without seeing Wishes Fireworks Spectacular, all because they neglected to pre-purchase a ticket for MNSSHP, a “hard ticketed event” (a special event that requires you to buy an extra ticket for admittance).
TIP: Never take a Disney Vacation without planning ahead! MNSSHP takes place on 25 nights this year, in September, October, and one night in November. If you do not have a ticket, you will have to leave the Park at 7 pm. Guests with tickets to the event will be distinguished by the special wrist bands they have to wear.
BONUS TIP: If you have purchased a ticket to the event, which begins at 7 pm, you will actually be able to enter the Park at 4 pm. Disney doesn’t officially advertise this, but it’s true! So, instead of burning one of your Magic Your Way Park Tickets that day, may I recommend you just sleep in that morning so you’ll be rested and able to enjoy the 8 hours of fun that night!
BONUS BONUS TIP: If you have a Park Hopper Ticket, and do not plan to attend MNSSHP, it’s actually a great day to visit the Magic Kingdom, since many avoid the Park during the early part of the day due to limited hours. So, enjoy a light-crowd day at the Magic Kingdom, and hop on over to one of the other Disney Parks that evening!
The Frightening Conclusion
All in all, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is lots of un-frightening fun for the whole family. There were a couple of things that used to give my boys a little extra scare when they were younger, like the Headless Horseman, who makes his magnificent appearance as Grand Master of the “Boo To You Parade” (it’s truly thrilling!) and the “Grave Diggers” in the parade are a little ghoulish for the young ones. However, most folks will tell you these are two of their favorite things of the night. So go, but make sure you don’t pick up any “Hitchhiking Ghosts” on your way home!
Purchase your tickets to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in advance! They have been known to sell out on the most popular nights. The most crowded times to attend are on the weekends and the nights closest to Halloween in October. Your family can enjoy this event on the following dates in 2015 at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World:
September: 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, 27
October: 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31