MICKEY’S NOT-SO-SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY 2018
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 Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.
At the party you will find un-crowded rides, a special parade (shown twice, at 9.15 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 a couple of times in mid-September 2018, and the scoop follows!
(See this for more on logistics–Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party dates, ticket prices, etc.)
WHAT’S NEW FOR 2018 AT MICKEY’S NOT-SO-SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY
The 2018 party pretty much follows the pattern set in 2015 and continued since. The most important change over the period is that the first parade is later. This limits a bit the crowds in the hub during the first part of the party. You will still see crowds everywhere–ride waits are low to very low but the paths are mobbed.
For 2018, three rides have been “plussed.”
The Mad Tea Party has gained a different soundtrack, lights, and spooky smoke effects, greatly increasing its popularity–except with me.
Pirates of the Caribbean has gained some live characters…
…around the theme of finding “Gunpowder Pete.” The overall effect has led to some derision, but for some will give a new reason to pay more attention to scenes that perhaps they have come to take for granted, and for others will be a distraction from the dullness of the new redhead tableau.
Finally, the experience of Space Mountain really changes with a near blackout of the ride.
A big part of the fun of Space Mountain has been not being able to see what comes next–and a refurb a few years ago made the ride even darker (though not everyone is a fan). For the party, we have something different–a near black-out. All lighting effects are turned off, objects formerly lit are now dark, there’s no stars in the sky. All you can see is a few red dots here and there and some distant “EXIT” signs.
The effect is to make Space Mountain much more scary than before–as testified to by the quite louder screams, mostly of joy, you will hear while riding it.
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 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.
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 wears 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.
The most common costumes continue to be princess costumes and pirate costumes, and after that Star Wars costumes.
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 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 off 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…
…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 9.15p 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 three years ago, but there’s still an outdoor Monsters-themed dance party at the thingy between Astro-Orbiter and Space Mountain.
New in 2018 is a Disney Junior dance party in Storybook Circus…
…not much attended, at least during my visit to it.
Something I had not paid enough attention to until recently 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.
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, 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 easier 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.
Some more characters:
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
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 have annoying waits.
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.
It’s quite expensive–for a family of four, more than $300, and even over $400 on many dates. And it’s just a five hour show (7p to midnight)–though Disney unofficially lets you in starting at 4p.
Yet the fireworks are among the best Disney World offers, the parade is a hoot, the rides have short lines…and the costumes are fun!