Review: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2016
By Dave Shute
MICKEY’S NOT-SO-SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY 2016
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (“MNSSHP”) is a special, separately ticketed party that happens on certain nights every September, October and some years even early November at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.
At the party you will find un-crowded rides, a special parade (shown twice, at 8.30 and 11.15p), special fireworks at 10.15p, a Hocus Pocus show, trick-or-treating, a dance party…and a ton of guests in costumes!
I had a chance to see it again in early September 2016, and the scoop follows!
(See this for more on logistics–Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party dates, ticket prices, etc.)
NOT MUCH NEW FOR 2016 AT MICKEY’S NOT-SO-SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY
The 2016 party pretty much follows the 2015 version, continuing the changes we saw last year. The most important of those was that the parades and fireworks are more spread out, and later.
This isn’t really thinning crowds in front of the Castle, mainly because the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular (photo above, and also at the top of the page), with its showtimes my date of 9.15p, 10.40p and midnight, is packing them in. (Later 2016 party dates will add a fourth show at 7.45 or 8p.) There’s more on this show later in this review.
The best approach to the Party remains the same–see rides until the fireworks and watch the second parade rather than the first–but, because of the 9.15 Hocus Pocus, it may be hard to get to the hub after riding rides to see the 10p Celebrate the Magic and 10.15p HalloWishes from there.
Frankly, much as it pains me to suggest this, the hub congestion is not worth seeing Celebrate the Magic. And while HalloWishes, like all Magic Kingdom fireworks shows, is best seen from between the Castle and the Main Street railroad station, it does work really well from elsewhere in the park, because of things that happen in the finale that I’m not gonna spoil here.
So do rides until ten, find a good nearby fireworks spot, then see the characters and go trick or treating, see the 11.15p parade, and see the midnight Hocus Pocus show. A late night, but one that avoids the congestion around the Castle hub and Main Street.
COSTUMES AT MICKEY’S NOT-SO-SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY
Costumes are not required, and not everyone wear them. But even after the increased security that began in December 2015, they are still allowed at the party.
Above is the official Disney lingo (click it to enlarge it)–this came with my ticket, and as you can tell, no design professional saw this letter.
The most common costumes I saw in my September 2016 visit to MNSSHP were, as usual, princess costumes and pirate costumes, and after that Star Wars costumes. Lots of Princess Leia hair!
And this group in Tomorrowland proved a Disney princess theme was not required!
THE PARADE, FIREWORKS, DANCE PARTY, HOCUS POCUS SHOW AND TRICK-OR-TREATS AT MICKEY’S NOT-SO-SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY
Besides most rides being open to short (or shorter) waits, MNSSHP has a special set of Halloween-themed activities (see above–click them to enlarge it).
For example, the parade–Mickey’s Boo-to-You Parade–is seen only at MNSSHP.
It begins with a surprise–pay attention when the Cast members start to rope of the crosswalks (dampness on the streets may eliminate this first surprise).
It then shifts to with ducks and mice…
…then some pirates…
The gravedigger dance.
Soon comes candy…
…then the parade goes back to scary, ending with Disney villains!
There’s two showings of the parade, at 8.30p and 11.15p, with spectacular Halloween-themed fireworks between at 10.15p.
While the fireworks are best seen from in front of the Castle with the Main Street train station behind you, this will lead you into a wildly crowded section of the park.
Because of their spectacular finale the fireworks can be seen from elsewhere in the park–you’ll miss a little but gain a lot of comfort from avoiding the mobs in front of the Castle.
The Liberty Square and Cosmic Rays dance parties left last year, but there’s still an outdoor Monsters-themed dance party at the thingy between Astro-Orbiter and Space Mountain.
The Hocus Pocus show is quite popular. The three sisters from the movie return…
…and call on hordes of Disney villains to help them stay.
The show includes strong songs and dances, the fun characters, and some spectacular effects. Those familiar with the movie need not get close to the stage (thought it can’t hurt), but if you haven’t seen it, the characters of the three sisters are much more apparent if you are closer to the stage. This is pretty easy at the midnight show, not so easy at the earlier shows.
Character meet-n-greets are all over the place–with both common and unusual characters…
…and there’s also a ton of trick or treat locations, marked by lighted columns…both of which raise an issue.
STRATEGY AND RIDES AT MICKEY’S NOT-SO-SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY
All the major rides are open, and many minor rides as well. Most have very short waits–e.g. 10 minutes for Space Mountain. In our visit, only Peter Pan and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train had annoying waits.
The trick-or-treat spots and character greetings, on the other hand, have pretty long lines.
So the best approach is to skip the character greetings and trick-or-treats–or delay them until after the fireworks–and spend the first part of the evening on rides.
Do rides until just before the 10.15p fireworks show and watch it.
Some families will be worn out by now. If yours has energy left, keep going with with more rides, or trick-or-treating or character meets! Then see the second (11.15p) parade and the midnight Hocus Pocus show.
It’s quite expensive–more than $200, and even over $300 on some dates for a family of four. And it’s just a five hour show (7p to midnight)–though Disney unofficially lets you in starting at 4p.
Yet the fireworks are the best Disney World offers, the parade is a hoot, the rides have short lines…and the costumes are fun!