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.



yourfirstvisit.net—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor



Review: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2017



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 2017

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–like 2017– even early November at 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 late September 2017, 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 2017 AT MICKEY’S NOT-SO-SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY

The 2017 party pretty much follows the pattern set in 2015 and continued last year. The most important change from 2015 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 8.15p, 10.45p and midnight, is packing them in. (Later 2017 party dates have it at 7.40p, 8.35p, 10.45p, and midnight.) 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.

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

But because of the crowds remaining after the 9.15 parade, it may be hard to get to the hub to see the fireworks from there. 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 just before 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). Note that these guidelines are solely for the Halloween Party.  “Regular” attendance is subject to different rules, basically ruling out costumes for those 14 and older.

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

The most common costumes continue to be princess costumes and pirate costumes, and after that Star Wars costumes. Lots of Princess Leia hair, and more Rey than last year.  I also saw more Wilderness Explorers in 2017 than I’d noticed before.

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

 

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).

Then a bunch of characters stroll by.

It then shifts to 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 8.15p 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 two years ago but there’s still an outdoor Monsters-themed dance party at the thingy between Astro-Orbiter and Space Mountain.

Something I had not paid enough attention to until 2017 was fun audience interaction with characters from the Haunted Mansion.

It’s just outside the exit, so see it after your required Halloween visit to the ride.

You’ll also find lots of Halloween-themed merchandise.  Some is specific to the party (and may be sold out–see your brochure for locations) and the rest is generally available–including, somewhat jarringly, in the Christmas shop.

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.

Get your trick-or-treat bag on the pathway that begins at the left of Town Square…

…and your first handful of candy, too.

But both the characters and trick-or-treating 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. Typically, 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 especially the character greetings, on the other hand, have pretty long lines, and the hub is packed all evening.

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.

Now try 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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2 comments

1 Lisa { 10.05.17 at 2:23 pm }

Thanks for the review and your info! We are headed down in two weeks to hit the 10/20 party and I am a bit anxious of the crowds, have they been unbearable?
We will have out 2 (though he will be 3 in Nov), 6 & 9 year old and will try to make the best of it with the advice you have given, though past 10 we may be done. Is the monster dance party crowded, or is there a better time to attend it? My boys are huge Mike and Sully fans so if we do anything that will be it!
BTW – We are using Kelly for this quick trip, and the hotel only trip we are doing in May next year. She is great! Thank you for recommending her!

2 Dave { 10.06.17 at 8:41 am }

Lisa the way the party works is that Main Street and the castle hub are mobbed til after the fireworks, as people wait for the Hocus Pocus show, first parade and fireworks.

The character meets are mobbed, and the trick or treat lines can look bad although they move fast and there’s usually another one right around the corner.

However, because so few total people are in the park, and so many of those are on Main Street or in the hub, ride waits except for 7 Dwarfs and Peter Pan are shockingly low.

I’ve only glanced into the dance party typically once a night and usually later, but it has never appeared wildly crowded to me…

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