Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party: A Spooky Review

by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 5/17/2007

Photo illustrating Walt Disney World - Making Magic

Halloween is a time for ghosts and ghouls, scary stories and trick or treat, so perhaps it's no wonder that it's also the subject of a special ticketed after hours party at the Magic Kingdom.

Held on selected nights in September and October and one night in November, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, often seen abbreviated down to MNSSHP, takes place from 7:00 pm until midnight. But what can you expect from the party and is it worth attending?

Candy Apple Anyone? photo
Candy Apple Anyone?

Part of the Pumpkin Scarecrow decoration on Main Street during Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom

Those were just some of the questions I was asking a year ago, as we prepared for our first trip to the Walt Disney World resort over Halloween. When we were booking our flights, it was noticeably cheaper if we traveled in early November, as opposed to late October, which gave me a dilemma. I was keen to try out the Halloween Party, but was it worth the extra money that the flights would cost us?

If I'm honest, it wasn't something that I thought about for a long time. Part of the reason I love going back to Disney is that at certain times of the year, there are extra events that make your stay more magical, like the Flower and Garden Festival in the spring, all the holiday events between Thanksgiving and the New Year and the Food and Wine Festival and the Halloween Party in the fall. Of those, the only one we hadn't experienced was the Halloween Party and in my book, you should give all of them a try at least once.

That decision made, I read with interest various comments on the party and comparisons to the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, which we had been to a number of times. All I can say is I'm glad those debates took place after we'd ordered our tickets, as most people came out very strongly in favor of the Christmas Party. It did make me wonder whether we'd be disappointed and if we'd get our money's worth out of our tickets.

Well, on both counts, I'm pleased to report that we had nothing to worry about. We loved every moment of the Halloween Party and were immediately into the "spirit" of things when we got off the monorail and saw the displays of pumpkins outside the gates. What I wasn't expecting were the inflatables everywhere, obviously put up in time for the Party each night, with giant pumpkins and ghosts, a larger than life Timon and Pumbaa in Adventureland and a giant Stitch in Tomorrowland.

Lighting was also cleverly used to create some wonderful effects, with Main Street lit up in a series of bright colors, an eerie green to be seen in some parts of the park, and the Castle enjoying its own Halloween light show, including images of ghosts, ghouls and the Big Bad Wolf at points throughout the night.

As well as being able to enjoy all the attractions that you'd see during the day, there are plenty of other things going on all evening. Let's face it, Halloween wouldn't be the same without Trick or Treat and there are plenty of places throughout the park to add to your candy loot as the night goes on, without even having to threaten anyone with a trick first!

If you or your family are character fans and enjoy collecting autographs and photos of them, the Halloween Party will be an absolute gold mine for you. Not only are there lots of characters out and about, you'll see a new side to many of them. During the night we were there, we found Eeyore dressed as a mummy and Pooh Bear as a bee. It makes for plenty of unique photo opportunities. And speaking of unique, this has to be the only time we've ever come across Snow White and all seven of her dwarfs, so keep your eyes peeled for the character meeting areas. They're well worth exploring.

Tip: Extra Party Time
When attending Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, the ticket states the party starts at 7:00 pm. However, they will usually let you through the gate at 4:00 pm. That's an extra THREE hours! We make dinner reservations at Liberty Tree and it doesn't eat into our party time. - tip contributed by Sherry
related tip

related tip Save This Tip

The real highlights of the Halloween Party, just like the Christmas one, are the parade and the fireworks. Taking them in order, the parade is something not to be missed, especially if you're a fan of the villains, as you'll see more of them in this parade than in any other. We loved some of the unusual additions, such as the gravediggers with their spectacular display of sparks from their shovels on the ground. Once again, you'll see your favorite characters all dressed in their Halloween finery and when else are you going to find a Headless Horseman clattering through the streets of the Magic Kingdom, leading the way for the parade to follow? That sight on its own is priceless. I'd heard that he moved quickly, but even I was surprised by how fast he flew past us.

In between the early and late parades is the nightly firework display, but this is no ordinary version of Wishes, this is Hallo-Wishes, again full of all the Disney villains you could ever think of and each with their own set of amazing fireworks and lighting displays on the castle. Whatever you do, don't miss Hallo-Wishes, it's worth the price of your admission on its own and is truly spectacular. In our book, it was far superior to the daily version of Wishes we're all used to.

One thing many people worry about is whether they should come in costume or not. The simple advice is it's best to do whatever you're comfortable with. We saw a lot of people, both adults and children, dressed up, but we saw just as many who weren't. You'll certainly get a lot more attention from the Cast Members if you do come in costume, so if you're shy and the extra attention doesn't appeal, you might be best coming in costume as ... yourself!

Another thing that concerns people is whether the party has the potential to frighten young children. Of course, there's always that chance, but Disney does a great job of sticking to the name of the Party – after all it is Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.

Would we go back to the Halloween Party again? Without question. It was far better than we'd ever expected it to be and if someone asked me (go on ask me!) which I prefer between the Halloween and Christmas Party, I'd be very hard pressed to choose, although I suspect the Halloween Party may just get the edge for its use of lighting to create atmosphere, villains, and characters you don't usually see. If you buy tickets for it, I doubt you'll come away disappointed.

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party photo
Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Happy HalloWishes fireworks spectacular during Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom

About the Author:
Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!

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Reader Comments:

Just some things that this first time party go'er observed!!!

We left the house around 2pm, had to turn around twice and go back to the house because of forgetting things!!

Stopped at Mickey-D's for a late lunch

Arrived at the Disney parking area around 3:30pm. Now here is something that has NEVER happened to us and we have lived here and visited Disney ALL of our lives.

We parked in the Sleepy parking area. RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE TICKET THINGY!!!! Didn't have to take a tram, just walked right there!! The parking lot was empty!! Things started off just WONDERFUL!!!

We went straight to Will Call and picked up the kids tickets that I had ordered over the phone. NO LINE!!!!! Walked right up to the window!!

Then to decide if we want to take the Monorail OR the Ferry. Ferry it was. So we get down to the Ferry waiting area and only had to wait about 5 mins for the Ferry to come. So we boarded the Ferry with about 30 other people!!! Can you believe it!!!! ABOUT 30 OTHER PEOPLE!!!

Now we arrive at the entrance and walk right up to the security let me look through your stuff area. NO LINE!!!!
We now go through the turnstyle thingy ( Which I THOUGHT they would make us wait seeing that it was 10 till 4, NOPE, go right on through!!!)
We are then given our bracelets, (Purplish Pink) I asked about the bags and was told that they haven't been given to them to give out yet but that once the party started we could get them anywhere. (Which was true, they were all over the place)

We picked up our map for the night and then off went went to enjoy the night!!! If you are celebrating something, no worries, we saw at least 7 CM's walking around with baskets of pins handing them out. Seeing that the next day (today) would be DH and I's 1st wedding anniversary my DD11 asked one of the CM's for 2 of them!! (We also got more candy because of the pins!!)

We noticed a Photopass person and asked to have our pictures taken, (Kids were dressed up like Pirates) once the picture was taken I asked for the Halloween card. I was told that those aren't given to them until the party started but that we could go to the Expedition Hall and pick one up. So back to the entrance we went to get this card (40% off). We get there and are told the same thing, "Not until the party starts", but was told to go ahead and use the normal card until we get the Halloween card and just to enter in BOTH codes when we view online and we would get the 40% off on both cards!!! OK, I'm happy and off we went!!

The kids wanted to hit the rides, so off we went. OMG!!! We walked onto EVERY SINGLE ride!!!! I have NEVER seen Disney this empty and it was only 4:30pm!!! I expected this once the party started but not before!!

So we rode all of the rides we wanted to (some two and three times) and even missed the 1st Parade because of this.

Once 7pm hit, MAN I have never seen so many CM's out and about. They just came out of the woodwork!!! EVERYONE was checked for braclets and those that didn't have them were hearded toward the entrance. They had CM's at every knock and cranny making sure those non-braclet wearing people didn't get away!!

As soon as it was 7pm we went straight to one of the only three places that were selling the Limited Editions of the Halloween Pins (at least that was what we were told). Loaded up on those and some Pirate Mickey Ears for all of us, well three of us, DH just HAD to have the Jack Skeleton one. (We would need them for our three cruises on the Dream)

Now the kids wanted to hit tomorrowland and that's where we went. Once again even after the party started, we walked onto every ride.

Started to get hungry and went to Cosmic Rays. Only 2 of the Bays were open, so if we had our heart set on anything from the sandwich/soup one, we were out of luck. So we all just got burgers. ( I don't know if they will have this Bay closed for every party, but it was closed for ours)

We then started to hunt for a place to watch the fireworks that were to start in about 10 mins. NOW we see ALL of the tons of people. We decided that they ALL must have been watching the 1st parade and we just didn't see them!!

Ok, Here is my tip of the day. If smoking offends you, do NOT read!!!
The center of the world was standing room only and packed!! I wanted a cig (I just ate) and told my family lets go by where we went to the Dessert Party at to the smoking area and we could see the fireworks there. So off we went. OMG!!!!! It was perfect!!! I got to smoke and there was only about 20 other people there sitting at the tables, standing up and sitting on the stairs. We had the BEST view of the fireworks!!! Now we couldn't see the show that was going on during the fireworks but we could hear everything that was said!!

After the fireworks we went back to tomorrowland so the kids (and DH and I) could hit those Trick or Treats areas!!! We got so involved with the rides, the FREE face painting and the treats, that we missed the last parade. :( (We will just have to go again to see it!!:rolleyessmiley for :)

Once we realized that we had missed the parade we decided to go and hit Splash and Thunder Mountains again. Well we walked right into the starting of the Villian show. WOW!!! That was just AWESOME!!!! It is a MUST see!!!

More rides and more treats and then it was time to leave. :(

Here is a list of things that I thought you should know:

We didn't get alot of candy even though we hit every place. They only gave out 3 pieces from each station. We did have a couple CM's give us extra because of our Anniversary. Now you ARE allowed to go through the candy stations more then once and my kids did just that!!! We still only filled the little bags that they gave us about half full.

No candy at the exit of Disney like I have read. Now we did close the park and they might have been doing it before midnight.

Those of you going as pirates, you will NOT be alone!!! We seen more pirates and the AIW crew then anything!!

We also seen more people IN costumes then without!!!

Dance Parties - We went by a couple of them and they had very few people in there, so we didn't stop. Very loud and looked like fun but kids didn't want to stop.

Character lines!!! OMG!! THAT is where ALL of the people were!! The girls got one picture taken with the Mad Hatter (the old one, not the Johnny Depp one) on the Alice and Mad Hatter's Treat Trail. We waited maybe 5 mins!! There was less people at the free face painting lines then in the Character lines.

We had ALOT of fun and did more in these 8 hours then we have ever done on a full day at the park!!

We WILL be making this a yearly to-do!!!! I will post some pictures as soon as DH gets them uploaded!!!

     TracyKim on September 19, 2010 @ 10:44 am
WOW! Sounds like a great time! We are doing MNSSHP on October 19th for the first time!!! I can't wait! smiley for :D

     DSNYD on September 19, 2010 @ 11:08 am
Awesome report Tracy! Lots of great tips and advice as well. Thanks for posting this!

     lukeandbrookesmom on September 19, 2010 @ 11:12 am
Glad it wasn't crowded. Sorry you missed both parades though.

     disneydreamer33 on September 19, 2010 @ 11:22 am
Glad you had a great time! :wave:

     Colexis Mom on September 19, 2010 @ 11:57 am
Thanks for your review of the party! We'll be going on October 7 so I'm very excited to hear all about this year's parties! I'm sorry you missed both parades - that's one of my favorite things about MNSSHP!

     kmurburg on September 19, 2010 @ 2:23 pm
Glad you had a great night!smiley for :D

     home4us123 on September 19, 2010 @ 2:34 pm
Thanks for the info! We are going on the 12th and the kids are so excited.
What were the spots that had the Halloween pins?

     omd on September 19, 2010 @ 2:47 pm
Sounds like a great evening! Thanks for sharing all your tips.

     DrDolphin on September 19, 2010 @ 3:30 pm
Makes me even more excited for the 7th!!

     buckinghammr on September 19, 2010 @ 3:42 pm
Thanks everyone!!! It was REALLY ALOT of fun!!!

As far as the pins the three places noted on the map (and per a CM at a non-noted place) are as follows:

Frontierland Trading Post
The Heritage House

We went to the Frontierland store to get our pins and MAN they have ALOT to choose from. DH and DD's ended up getting about 6 different designs. ALL Limited Edition ones.

Now we didn't go and check out and see if the CM was correct and the map was correct. We didn't go into any other gift shops after the party started. So hopefully someone else can report if the Limited Edition pins were sold any other places!!

Oh yea, one other thing. When you got off the Haunted Mansion ride, they were all set up for the "Magic" shot with the ghost. Once again, NO LINES!!!

     TracyKim on September 19, 2010 @ 4:10 pm
Awesome thanks for sharing, sounds like you had an awesome party. Congrats.

     Pinkyt177 on September 19, 2010 @ 4:29 pm
Cool-thanks for sharing. This was always been out favorite time to go.

     bwheat2004 on September 19, 2010 @ 4:43 pm
Geez, louise!! That sounds like one heck of an evening! So glad you had fun -- and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!

     MelissaSue on September 19, 2010 @ 6:46 pm
Thanks so much for sharing that information. This will be our first party, we go on Halloween night. We are soooo very excited!!!!!!!!:p

     cdnmickeyfan on September 19, 2010 @ 6:59 pm
Sounds like a great evening.

     magic mickey on September 19, 2010 @ 9:10 pm
sounds like you had a great time at the party

     bsblady01 on September 19, 2010 @ 9:12 pm
So glad you had such a fun night! :wave:

     Luvsun on September 19, 2010 @ 9:19 pm
smiley for :thanks: for the review and info on MNSSHP, Tracy! Can't wait for the pictures!

     Cam22 on September 19, 2010 @ 10:14 pm
Great report! Thanks for all the info!

     ilovedisney247 on September 19, 2010 @ 10:30 pm
Sounds like a fun evening!! Thanks so much for tips and info.

     travismom on September 20, 2010 @ 12:36 am
Thanks for sharing about your experience, I am getting super excited for Oct 26! I am sure it will be more crowded the closer it gets to Halloween but stil I bet it will be so fun! smiley for :) Happy Anniversary! smiley for :)

     Kristy Lee on September 20, 2010 @ 1:01 am
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Updated 5/17/2007 - Article #277 

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