By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2018, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here.



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



Category — 4. Halloween at Disney World

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

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!

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

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September 28, 2017   6 Comments

October 2017 at Walt Disney World

OVERVIEW: OCTOBER 2017 AT DISNEY WORLD

This page reviews October 2017 Walt Disney World crowds, prices, deals and discounts, weather, and operating hours; adds a few other notes; and ends with week by week summaries.

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.

[Read more →]

March 25, 2017   34 Comments

September 2017 at Walt Disney World

OVERVIEW: SEPTEMBER 2017 AT DISNEY WORLD

This page reviews September 2017 Walt Disney World crowds, prices, deals and discounts, weather, and operating hours; adds a few other notes; and ends with week by week summaries.

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.

[Read more →]

February 15, 2017   12 Comments

Halloween 2017 at Walt Disney World

DISNEY WORLD’S SPECIAL HALLOWEEN PARTY

Halloween 2017 at Disney World from yourfirstvisit.netWhile Halloween itself is October 31st of course, Walt Disney World provides a special Halloween celebration at the Magic Kingdom many evenings in 2017 from late August until the first of November.

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 2017 offerings.

And you can find a review of the 2017 MNSSHP party here.

 

MORE ON MICKEY’S NOT-SO-SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY IN 2017

[Read more →]

February 13, 2017   23 Comments

A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis: Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians and author of Jim’s Gems in The easy Guide, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on yourfirstvisit.net.

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.

jim-korkis-on-the-history-of-the-halloween-party-from-yourfirstvisit-net

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.

*  *  *  *  *

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.
The 2017 easy Guide

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

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October 14, 2016   No Comments

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

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!
The 2017 easy Guide

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

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September 5, 2016   7 Comments