By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.



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Review: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2016



By Dave Shute

Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2016 from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

MICKEY’S NOT-SO-SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY 2016

Review ~ The 2016 Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party from yourfirstvisit.netMickey’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.

Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2015 from yourfirstvisit.net

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.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2015 from yourfirstvisit.net

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.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) from yourfirstvisit.ne (9)

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.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Costume Guidelines

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.

Guest Costumes Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2015 from yourfirstvisit.net

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!

Guest Costumes Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2015 from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

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

Map Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2016 Page 1 from yourfirstvisit.net

Map Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2016 Page 2 from yourfirstvisit.net

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).

Boo to You Parade at Mickey's Not-So-Scary-Halloween Party from yourfirstvisit.net (2) (800x525)

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).

Boo to You Parade at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party from yourfirstvisit.net

It then shifts to with ducks and mice…

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) from yourfirstvisit.ne (8)

…then some pirates…

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) from yourfirstvisit.ne (7)

…more pirates…

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party from yourfirstvisit.net
…but then shortly shifts to my favorite part, Haunted-Mansion themed dancing gravediggers and ghouls.

Boo to You Parade at Mickey's Not-So-Scary-Halloween Party from yourfirstvisit.net (8) (450x800)

More ghouls.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) from yourfirstvisit.ne (6)

The gravedigger dance.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) from yourfirstvisit.ne (5)

Soon comes candy…

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) from yourfirstvisit.ne (4)

…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.

HalloWishes Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2015 from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

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.

HalloWishes Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2015 from yourfirstvisit.net (3)

 

Dance Party Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2015 from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

Dance Party Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2015 from yourfirstvisit.net

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.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) from yourfirstvisit.ne (3)The Hocus Pocus show is quite popular.  The three sisters from the movie return…

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) from yourfirstvisit.ne (2)

…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.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) from yourfirstvisit.ne

Character meet-n-greets are all over the place–with both common and unusual characters…

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) from yourfirstvisit.net

…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

Wait Times Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2015 from yourfirstvisit.net

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.

Characters Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2015 from yourfirstvisit.net

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.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party from yourfirstvisit.net (2)
I struggle with whether or not this party is worth the money for first-time family visitors who may never return.

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!

Magic Kingdom 2014 Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party from yourfirstvisit.net

My overall take is that for first-timers this time and money is better spent elsewhere, but that’s a really close call, and for sure I’d recommend it to returning visitors!
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7 comments

1 Jade { 09.05.16 at 7:14 pm }

I am planning on going to MNSSHP. Do I need to visit Magic Kingdom that day to go to the party? Or could I visit another park and then come back to MK for the party? I’d like to “double dip” if possible.

2 Dave { 09.06.16 at 12:22 pm }

Jade, your MNSSHP tickets are completely separate from any other regular tix you may have, so using your regular tickets you can go anywhere that day.

3 Monica { 09.08.16 at 2:13 pm }

I suggest doing a non-park activity and then entering MK at 4pm (with your MNSSHP ticket). This year we will play mini golf, walk around Disney Springs, have lunch and then head back to the hotel to get ready for the party and head to MK. We did this last year and had a lot more stamina to stay until the end of the party. This is probably even more relevant if you have young children – I think you will enjoy the experience a lot more!

4 Lisa { 09.09.16 at 11:04 pm }

We have tickets to go beginning of Oct with our 6 and 8 year old. Would you say that it was a 50/50 split with children dressed up. I wouldn’t want them going and being the only two not dressed up, but I also don’t have to travel space for costumes if I can avoid them.

5 Dave { 09.10.16 at 9:42 am }

Lisa, less than 50% of the kids have costumes. Maybe a round a quarter? There will be more in October, but still <50%.

6 jen { 09.10.16 at 11:28 pm }

Can you tell me who is available for meet and greets.. Maleficent??

7 Dave { 09.12.16 at 9:56 am }

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