Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
#MNSSHP - Is it worth it?
Want to visit the Magic Kingdom with little to no wait times on all the major attractions? If you are willing to stay up a little late, the holiday parties at Magic Kingdom may be a great option! Disney does two big seasonal events at Magic Kingdom every year. In the fall they host Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, and winter is the time for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. These events run 2 or 3 nights per week for a few months. These parties require a special ticket and officially run from 7pm- midnight, but party guest are allowed to enter the parks at 4pm. You are given a wristband when you enter the park, and starting a little before 7pm cast members politely escort guests out who are not wearing wristbands so that only party attendees are there after 7. Many people choose to skip Magic Kingdom on a party day because of the early closure, so this means the park is already at a lighter crowd level when you arrive at 4. Disney only sells a limited number of tickets for the parties - so that means lines are short and crowds are minimal throughout the night. A very magical way to tour the happiest place on Earth.
We just attended MNSSHP and now I'm already trying to figure out a way to attend the Christmas Party! Why is it worth buying a ticket to one of these special events? The time you have is "more valuable" than regular time in the parks because you can do so many more things with less people in the park! Because the party ticket was our park ticket for the day, this was a good day to sleep late, and to do some things that don't require a park admission. Some people may want to go to Disney Springs, or just sleep and swim! We decided to book a last minute late breakfast Cape May Cafe (Beach Club Resort) with Minnie and Friends, take a surrey ride round the Boardwalk and go for a swim in the resort pool.
Since you can enter the parks before the party starts, you can book FastPasses from 4pm-7pm just like you normally would with a park ticket. We scored FastPasses for Big Thunder Mountain and 7 Dwarves Mine Train (the one ride that still has real line during party hours). While you cannot book FastPasses during the party, you don't need them - we got to ride everything we wanted several times with virtually no wait! Most attractions posted 5-10 minute standby times, and that was really just the length of time to weave our way through the queue maze leading to the ride.
What happens at the party?
- Trick or treating
- Special desserts are sold
- Characters are dressed for Halloween
- Special characters appear - Including Jack & Sally Skellington!
- A special Boo-to-You parade
- The Hocus Pocus show
- The HalloWishes fireworks and light show
- Perhaps most importantly, short wait times for rides over the park!
Picking a date
The party starts in August and runs through the first week of November. The dates closest to Halloween are the most expensive, and they do sell out. We went October 1st and a cast member told us the party was not sold out, however, it was very hot and perhaps later in the month even Orlando would be a little cooler. We also decided to attend the Sunday night party instead of Friday because I have heard Fridays are generally more crowded as more locals are willing to stay out late on a Friday night rather than a Tuesday or Sunday.
My kids loved wearing costumes to the park, and seeing some of the really elaborate costumes added another layer of "magic". My daughter will firmly tell you that we rode 7 Dwarves Mine Train with Snow White and Grumpy - their costumes were that good!
My Tip: Pick up some glow necklaces/toys for your kids at the Dollar Store, and maybe bring a Trick-or-Treat bag as the ones they give out are small.
There are lots of special character photo ops if that is something you love - we chose to skip the lines, peek at the characters and continue on our way to the next attraction. The one character my daughter really wanted to meet was Jack Skellington, but when we went to line up around 5pm we were told it would be a 2 hour wait - total bummer. But then the characters were taking a break, and they walked right by - Jack said hi to my daughters, and that was good enough for us!
My tip: If you want to see characters you really need to prioritize 1 and line up right at 4:30 when the lines start. This year the lines were the worst for Jack & Sally, The 7 Dwarves and Moana.
I am usually the person who would say "run to Space Mountain when the parade starts!" But in this case, its a must see.
Things we loved:
- Very cool music and costumes ("Boo to You" stays in your head!)
- The Villains float - think Cruella, Jafar, Malificent, Ursula
- The Grave Diggers- they make sparks with their shovels on the pavement, so cool!
People do line the parade route early to see this, and we ate dinner later so we couldn't snag a prime spot. I would advise you to definitely stake out your spot and have at least one person in your group hold it for you. If you go inside the middle of the "hub" facing the castle you will have a great view of the parade, as well as the HalloWishes fireworks which start 30 minutes after the parade ends. My daughter and husband even squeezed in an additional ride on Space Mountain between the parade and HalloWishes! My tip: You have to hustle to make it back before they dim all the park lights for HalloWishes!
Another fantastic pyrotechnical display from the experts at Disney. The ghosts from the Haunted Mansion host this magical show that brings together music, voices of Disney villains, projections on the castle, and of course, awesome fireworks. This is an epic show for anyone who loves fireworks. I do have a warning here: If you have smaller kiddos that are sensitive to the noise of LOUD fireworks you won't want to stand in the hub, but further back on Main Street - not the best view of the projections, but better than your child screaming in terror! This is, after all, the "not so scary party". There was a little one very upset near us and I can imagine if mine were a little younger it could have been them:(
Bottom line: Totally worth it, and a very unique way to experience the Magic Kingdom.