Category — 4. Halloween at Disney World
OVERVIEW: OCTOBER 2017 AT DISNEY WORLD
Later October has some of the best times of the year to visit Disney World, with nice weather, low crowds, low prices, and fun special events.
The first half of the month is not so good, as
- The first week is still in the peak of the hurricane season
- Both the first and second week see extra crowds from fall breaks, and
- The second week sees higher prices from Columbus Day.
March 25, 2017 11 Comments
OVERVIEW: SEPTEMBER 2017 AT DISNEY WORLD
September combines low crowds with low prices, and typically also has OK room rates and free dining deals as well.
This makes it a great month for returning visitors.
But it has lousy weather, combining continuing summer heat and humidity with the peak of the hurricane season, making me not so keen on the month for first time visitors who may never return.
February 15, 2017 8 Comments
DISNEY WORLD’S SPECIAL HALLOWEEN PARTY
This celebration is called “Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party,” or “MNSSHP” for short.
At the party, many of the Magic Kingdom’s rides are open, and trick or treating, special events, and different parades and fireworks are offered.
The official Disney World page for this event can be found here.
Click the images below for the 2016 offerings.
And you can find a review of the 2016 MNSSHP party here.
MORE ON MICKEY’S NOT-SO-SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY IN 2017
February 13, 2017 12 Comments
THE HISTORY OF THE MAGIC KINGDOM HALLOWEEN PARTY
By Jim Korkis
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween did not exist when the Magic Kingdom opened but two highly popular events inspired its creation.
The very first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party was held on December 16, 1983 for one night only but then expanded to two nights in 1989, then three nights in 1990 and its popularity continued to increase so that today, it runs for multiple weeks.
This separate hard ticketed event offered to a limited number of guests after the Magic Kingdom closed for the night was a great guest satisfier with new things added to it each year.
Halloween Horror Nights began at Universal Studios Florida in 1991 for three nights and was instantly popular so that today, it also runs for multiple weeks. Designed as the ultimate in an interactive scary experience, it sparked the creation of similar events at amusement venues not only in Central Florida but also in Southern California.
The Disney Company decided that perhaps a family friendly alternative celebration to the Universal event along the same lines as the MVMCP might appeal to people. Those holiday offerings were generating tens of thousands of additional sales from theme park guests and local residents.
WDW has previously experimented with some small Halloween themed promotions as early as 1972 but most often in the individual resorts. In 1975 to help attract locals and guests to the new Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village, the Village Halloween Party was introduced where children (encouraged to attend in costume) could go with their parents trick-or-treating at the various stores and restaurants.
Another experiment was the one night separate ticketed Halloween Hysteria event at the Magic Kingdom held after operating hours in 1979. It wasn’t until October 31, 1995 that the first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party debuted. Like the first year of MVMCP, it was held for only one night to determine if there was any interest. The cost was $16.95.
By October 1997, it increased to two nights and in 1999 increased again to three nights. Two years later in 2001, it grew to five nights and two years after that in 2003 to ten nights. By 2005, it was boosted to fifteen nights and in 2016 there were twenty-nine nights. Just like MVMCP, new offerings were introduced each year.
Depending upon which night an adult attends, today, it can cost between seventy-two dollars and more to over a hundred dollars on Halloween night.
There are many reasons for the popularity of the event. First, it provides a safer and more magical environment for young children to go trick-or-treating for quality candy than visiting their local neighborhoods. Second, the limited number of people in the park provides easier access to favorite attractions.
Finally, during the event, the Magic Kingdom provides some unique experiences that don’t exist normally from a special “Mickey’s Boo To You” parade to eerie projections on the castle and unique stage shows in addition to Disney character dance parties.
Since 2005, the event includes an exclusive fireworks show titled Happy HalloWishes: A Grim Grinning Ghosts’ Spooktacular in the Sky with Halloween themed music. In addition, several limited edition merchandise from pins to ornaments to apparel are sold.
Of course, one of the key components is the opportunity to get free candy at a variety of locations. In 2016, roughly 285 tons of candy will be handed out during all the parties including 40 different kinds of brand-name candies, including Snickers, Milky Way, Butterfingers, M&Ms and Kit Kats as well as other offerings. Allergen free candy is also available so that children with allergies can still participate.
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Thanks, Jim! For 2016 party dates see this, and for a review of the 2016 Mickey’s Not-so-Scary Halloween Party, see this! And come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!
In the meantime, check out his books, including Secret Stories of Walt Disney World: Things You Never You Never Knew, which reprints much material first written for this site, and The Vault of Walt: Volume 4, and his contributions to The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit, all published by Theme Park Press.
October 14, 2016 No Comments
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!
September 5, 2016 7 Comments
While new 2016 complexity makes price comparisons to 2015 a little complicated (the link also includes exact prices by date), especially for the Halloween Party, by comparing like months (e.g all parties in September 2016 vs. all parties in September 2015), I get the following:
- September MNSSHP: up around 10%
- October MNSSHP except Halloween night: up around 10%
- Halloween night MNSSHP: up around 20%
- November MVMCP: up around 20%
- December MVMCP: up around 25%
(All these are calculated by comparing the weighted average prices for all parties during the period in 2016 vs all parties in the same period in 2015. I did the math for both adult and child tickets, and for each of advance purchase and day of event tickets. The price increases by month across all four of these categories were about the same.)
These Halloween and Christmas party price increases continue the trend of very aggressive price increases that began with the release of 2016 resort prices last summer.
In my itineraries, I’ve viewed the Halloween party as optional and the Christmas party as essential.
The price increase reinforces my Halloween take, and makes me a little skeptical about the Christmas party. I’ll be rebuilding my basic December itineraries in the next few weeks (after Disney publishes its operating schedule for then).
I will be testing the practicality of sending people to the cheapest dates, and also have an idea or two about reducing other costs (no lighty hats for you!) to help with affordability. I’ll go through all that and will make the final call in a couple of weeks. …
May 8, 2016 No Comments