Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Debuts
This past Friday, Magic Kingdom closed earlier than you’d typically expect for an early August night, but you can probably guess why. Yes, on August 11th, the 2023 version of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party debuted. Here’s what you missed if you weren’t there.
Disney Throws an Early August Halloween Party
Fans of Halloween have relished the recent spooky theme park arms race between Universal Studios and Walt Disney World. The competing theme parks have tried to outdo one another for Halloween supremacy, even though they’re not competing for the same target audience.
Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) promotes adult terror via its Houses and Scare Zones, while Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) identifies its vibe with its name. Disney promotes silly Halloween hijinks rather than pure terror. Also, it starts earlier than HHN, which won’t begin until September 1st. During that three-week head start, we learn about all that Disney has to offer this Halloween season.
For 2023, Disney has emphasized live experiences, including pop-up bands and dances. Historically, MNSSHP has always hosted a couple of these activities, but we’ve definitely got new and better ones this year.
The most exciting of them is the pirate band performing pop-up shows at Adventureland near Pirates of the Caribbean. You can watch a taste of it here:
Cast members have sat in this area and sang sea shanties here before. We’ve never had this at the MNSSHP, though. It’s a clever way to entertain guests while avoiding bottlenecks in other areas of the park.
The only drawback is that Disney didn’t have live cast members performing at Pirates of the Caribbean on this night. Hopefully, that bit of fun returns as we get closer to Halloween.
Main Street Is the Place to Be
Disney’s strategy of even crowd distribution is kind of an impossible ask. That’s because we all know that Cinderella Castle and Main Street, U.S.A. are always the places to be.
This year, Powerline Max returns to perform before the Boo to You Parade arrives at Main Street, U.S.A. The parade starts with the Headless Horseman, but then Max Goof appears in his Powerline rock star costume and puts on a show. You can watch a bit of it here:
You can contrast that to last year’s performance, which didn’t include audience participation.
Disney doesn’t often invite the crowd to mesh with the cast members, especially not the ones in costumes. So, this is unique. As for the Boo to You Parade, it’s different this year! Disney has updated several of the sections with new scenes and show elements.
For starters, Minnie Mouse and her friends, Daisy Duck and Clarabelle Cow, cosplay as the Sanderson Sisters during this event. They take center stage on a new float.
We’ve also got dancing scarecrows now instead of the jean-shorts-clad Frontierland dancers from previous years. Disney has also removed the Tomorrowland section with Buzz Lightyear and The Incredibles. Its replacement is an extended Villains scene at the parade’s end.
The most noteworthy part of this sequence involves the addition of Ursula and her evil eel duo, Flotsam and Jetsam. Also, Horace and Jasper are now driving Cruella through the parade route. Other new characters include Gaston, Gideon and Honest John, and the evil stepsisters.
Disney has performed a substantial overhaul of the beloved parade, and you can watch the whole thing here:
Here’s What You Need to Know about the Party
The MNSSHP park map shows Trick or Treat Trails in all the familiar locations. My go-to spot is Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, but other show-based attraction buildings like Country Bear Jamboree work well. People don’t tend to think of them for whatever reason.
You’ll also find exclusive novelty drinks and snacks as part of the proceedings. Some of the new favorites include Jack and Sally Cake Pops ($5.75 each) and the Hades Dole Whip ($6.79). However, the hottest item is the Nightmare Before Christmas Popcorn Bucket. It’s $28 and comes filled with popcorn.
As for the shows, the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular returns. Lines started forming for this one before the park had technically closed for regular guests. That tells you everything you need to know about its popularity.
Similarly, Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular Halloween Fireworks is telling the same story as last year. But the music and visuals are phenomenal, so who cares?!
As usual, the first Halloween party sold out. However, the spacing at the parks worked well enough that only a few instances of overcrowding occurred. Based on the above, you can likely guess which ones and adjust your itinerary accordingly.
The other thing you should know is that Disney offered a surprise op, one that’s fun AND thematic. You can take a picture against the backdrop of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. It’s one of Disney’s best photo ops in recent memory and well worth your time!
Overall, the 2023 edition of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party undeniably qualifies as the best one since 2019 and one of the best ever. Disney has added a few new tricks, but the treats remain as great as ever.
As an FYI, nearly half the dates have sold out. So, you should book soon if you haven’t yet.