Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Tips
Have you never attended Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party? Then I say, “Boo to you!” And then Disney sings it like a million times. Seriously, I went to the event three weeks ago. I STILL have an earworm. It haunts me to the point that I dispute the notion of “not so scary”. Whoops, I’m getting off the subject here, which is the greatest Halloween party in the history of Central Florida. If it’s your first time at the event, you want to do it right. Here are six tips for your first visit to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.
You’re on the Clock
Everyone handles a theme park visit in their own way, which is to say at their own speed. Whether you rush to every attraction or slowly stroll down Main Street, taking in every store along the way, you’re in a slightly different situation with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. You have a limited amount of time to accomplish all your goals for the evening, and many of your desired outcomes are identical to those of guests surrounding you. Everyone wants to see the parades, fireworks, and other festivities exclusive to the event. Everyone tries to enjoy unfettered access to the most popular attractions at Magic Kingdom at a time when crowds are at a minimum. And everyone has a sweet tooth. You’ll all angle for the same candies.
In other words, the instant you enter Magic Kingdom, you’re on the clock. If rushing during your vacation is abnormal, try to push yourself by thinking of the situation in terms of cost effectiveness. Attending the party comes with the slight sticker shock of $72 for adult tickets and $67 for children’s admission. Let’s say that you’re a couple with a single child. You’re paying $211 (plus sales tax) to play in the park from 7 p.m. to midnight. That’s $42.20 per hour for a fun event at Magic Kingdom. Knowing that should cause you to feel like you’re in a bit of a rush. Now, I’m not saying that you should feel so much added pressure that it could deter from your enjoyment. I’m simply stating that dinner and a movie would cost about half of this amount. Get your money’s worth out of it.
Plan around the Events
For the sake of convenience, I’m going to group the Happy HalloWishes Fireworks Show, Boo to You Parade, and Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular as similar events. Each one is a unique and beautiful snowflake, but the overriding point is the same. You’re competing against total strangers for the best viewing spots for these exhibitions. In the back of your mind, you should always have a plan about where you’ll want to go to enjoy the show. You should also have an internal clock about when to arrive to assure yourself a seat.
A golden rule applies here.
Despite the fact that this is a ticketed event with a finite amount of entrants, seating for the shows fills up quickly. Don’t delude yourself into thinking that you’ll stroll up to your spot ten minutes prior to the event and grab a great seat. You won’t. I speak from (painful) experience on this.
A tactic exists that can improve your odds, though. If you’re not attending with a child (or your child is a night owl), you have a better chance at last minute seats for the later show. Should your initial plans fall apart, aim for the second performance. You’ll have more leeway then. Still, showing up at your desired spot at the last minute is a dicey tactic. Also note that HalloWishes occurs only once per evening. Guests who don’t secure a great viewing spot for it are out of luck. At a minimum, plan your schedule around HalloWishes. It’s an unforgettable show that you don’t want to miss.
In my experience, settling down 45 minutes prior to an event is the safest way to guarantee a great viewing spot. Still, a couple of problems exist with this strategy. The most important one is that you’re ceding more than 20 percent of your extra park time in order to enjoy a single parade, 45 minutes of waiting and 20 minutes of the show and the crowded walk afterward. If you’re not into parades or are perfectly satisfied watching it on YouTube, weigh the high opportunity cost against your potential enjoyment of the proceedings.
Secondly, something that’s completely beyond your control is how other guests filter in once your party has claimed a spot. Rude guests could try to bump you out of the way. And I know from experience as a tall person that I frequently receive dirty looks from folks who resent my blocking their view. Anticipate worst case scenarios when you choose your viewing location. Otherwise, you will have wasted valuable park time while still winding up with a lousy view of the showcase.
Strategize about Attractions
Even during a ticketed event like this, Magic Kingdom still has crowds, which means it still has lines. Don’t expect to walk right onto attractions that always have long lines during regular operating hours. The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight maintain wait-times of 30 minutes or more even during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. What you’ll have to determine is whether you prefer riding these attractions a couple of times (at best) or a less crowded one to your heart’s content.
Some of the best Magic Kingdom rides such as Jungle Hunt and Splash Mountain don’t fill up as much during the party. Conversely, Haunted Mansion is disproportionately crowded the entire night. Part of the explanation for its popularity is that they have special picture opportunities. The main reason, of course, is that the party is a celebration of gothic fun. That’s the brick and mortar of Haunted Mansion as an attraction. Most guests attending the event hop in a Doom Buggy at least one during the evening.
What I’d suggest is that you keep your options open during the party. When you walk past an attraction you enjoy and notice few guests in line, jump onboard! When you notice that the attraction you wanted to ride is crowded, move along to something else unless you’re dead set on it. Pro tip: Tomorrowland is a wonderful place to hang out during the evening. The combination of the neon lights and the view of Cinderella Castle is terrific. The dance party also lights up the night in an energizing way. Plus, you can take a spin on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover late in the evening when the crowds are dying down. It’s one of our favorite things to do as midnight approaches.
Don’t Forget about the Characters!
One of the justifications Disney uses for the ticket prices for the party is the presence of rare characters. During Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, you can interact with the unofficial star of the show, Jack Skellington, plus his beloved, Sally. You can find them hanging out at Liberty Square. You can also listen to the terrible tales of Lady Carlotta at The Haunted Mansion. Spoiler: Everyone she knew died horribly…but in a funny way
Other Disney characters you can meet and greet during the event include:
- Mickey Mouse and Tinker Bell (Main Street)
- Abu, Aladdin, the Genie, Jafar, and Princess Jasmine
- Captain Jack Sparrow
- Jane, Tarzan, and Terk (Adventureland)
- Alice in Wonderland, The Mad Hatter, The Queen of Hearts, and The White Rabbit
- Belle and Gaston
- Eeyore, Piglet, Pooh, and Tigger
- Princess Tiana
- Rapunzel (Fantasyland)
- Cruella De Vil
- Daisy and Donald Duck
- Minnie Mouse
- The Seven Dwarfs (Storybook Circus)
- Buzz Lightyear and Lotso (Tomorrowland)
You can also dance with Boo, George Sanderson, Needleman, Mike, and Sulley at The Monstrous Dance Party in Tomorrowland. As you can see, you can do nothing but take pictures for five hours if that’s your preference. Kenny the Pirate, the best web site for Disney character information, has compiled this detailed list. You can use it as your guide map for the party.
Dress Your Best
During most of the year, the closest you can get to wearing a Disney costume is via DisneyBounding. During Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, the rules change. The Walt Disney Company relaxes their restrictions on guest attire, enabling you to dress up like your favorite character…as long as you follow their guidelines. To have the best possible time, you’re going to want to dress up.
Now, before you say that you’re not a fan of wearing a costume, let me state that I’m right there with you. My wife is a huge fan of cosplay. She was the only person at our screening of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World who had a star purse and Ramona Flower in her hair. She’s someone who plans our Disney trips around her DisneyBound options for the day (she ALWAYS wear Stitch colors on her birthday, as an example). Getting in character enhances her enjoyment of a day at Disney World.
I’m someone who has never dressed up for anything in my life. When we went to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in September, I didn’t even consider wearing a costume. Can you guess which one of us felt out of place and underdressed all night? The vibe at this ticketed event is that clothes make the man. Everyone who goes will feel a bit of peer pressure to wear a Halloween costume. I didn’t, and this led to the following discussion during the evening among the six people in my party:
Me: What percentage of people would you say are dressed up?
Others: Do you mean totally in costume?
Me: They don’t have to be Storm Troopers in full battle armor or anything. I’m asking what percentage of people would you say are playing along with the theme?
Others: What would you guess?
Me: I don’t know. 40 percent?
Others: NO! Look around. More than half the people here are at least partially in costumes. Some of them are more subtle than others, but you’re definitely in the minority for not dressing up.
Me (in a slightly defensive posture): Yes, I think you’re right. I should have dressed up.
I don’t even OWN anything I could use to dress up as a costume, but I felt left out during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween. The energy at the park is so powerful that it made me want to join in on the festivities, which is wholly out of character for me. If you’re a self-respecting Disney lover or simply someone with a great costume idea, don’t hold back at the event. Wear whatever makes you happy. The only caveat is that you will be walking around a lot since it’s, you know, Magic Kingdom. Don’t wear high heels or uncomfortable dress shoes. Your comfort is more important than the authenticity of your costume.
GET SOME CANDY!!!
Now is when we discuss the most important aspect of this ticketed event. Society has this weird, terrible rule that once puberty approaches, kids become too old to go Trick or Treating. I have no idea who came up with that, but A) I hate them and B) I’m pretty sure they’re not a dentist.
The beauty of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween is that Disney lets you pretend like you’re a kid again for the evening. Alas, you’re probably out of practice with your Trick or Treating. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind because honestly, THIS is the most crucial tip of the article. If you’re not leaving with enough candy that you’re guiltily considering getting a gym membership, you’re doing it wrong.
The same rules apply from childhood. The most important one is that your haul is only as big as your container. Remember those little Jack O Lanterns that you had as a kid? Remember how you eventually ditched them for giant sacks and other candy storage options? You upgraded because you got smarter as you got older. Nothing’s changed over the years.
Disney will try to persuade you to take their candy bag. It’s nice and all, but it’d barely hold a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Aim higher, my friends. You want ALL the candy. That’s going to take a bit more strategy.
What you should do is combine your love of shopping with your love of eating. I’m confident that I have everyone’s attention now. Early in the evening, take the opportunity to do some specialty shopping. Disney offers exclusive merchandise during the event. If you don’t want any of it, buy some then sell it on eBay later for a profit. Or give it to me. The point is that you want one of those giant Disney shopping bags. In the process of getting one, you can also acquire quality merchandise that you won’t find outside of the Halloween party. What’s not to love about that?
Once you have your big bag that can hold a seemingly endless supply of candy, you know what to do. I’ll offer one final suggestion on this point. Don’t weigh yourself down with candy earlier in the evening. You’ll only want to get enough that you always have a snack while you wait for the parades and shows. Don’t load up your Disney bag until you’re about an hour away from leaving.
At this point, hit EVERYTHING. If you see a sign for free candy, that person is your new best friend. Shoot them your brightest smile. Cast members are notoriously more generous with the portions when the park is about the close. Earlier in the evening, they’re more worried about portions. As closing time approaches, any remaining candy is work they have to perform after the park closes. Do them a solid by begging for candy. (Do you see how easy it is to justify your candy addiction during the party?)
Follow these tips, and I guarantee that you’ll have the time of your life at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Then again, the event is so entertaining that even if you do everything wrong, you’ll still have a blast.