I've always loved Halloween, but hadn't really been able to celebrate since I was a kid. Until I started going to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World. Disney giving me the excuse to celebrate my favorite holiday? I'm in!! I've attended over 10 MNSSHPs, and I feel it's always worth it! Here are some of the reasons I have to keep going to the party, and a few tips for those who aren't quite as MNSSHP obsessed as me. 😉
The party is officially from 7pm to midnight on select dates in September and October. I recommend having a light day before the party so that you can stay through midnight. You are paying extra for the party, so you don't want to leave early! Maybe go to Disney Springs (which looks fantastic now with all the additions!), look around some of the resorts, or use this as a pool day at your resort. Then, you can head over to Magic Kingdom nice and rested! Even though the party starts at 7, they will start letting you into the Magic Kingdom with your MNSSHP ticket at 4pm. This is another reason to have a non-park day on the day of your party. You can get one less day on your park ticket, and still spend 8 hours in the Magic Kingdom with your party ticket! I recommend getting to the park no later than [5:30] or 6. If you wait until 7, like everyone else, it's a nightmare entering the park, getting your wristband, and walking down Main Street, while regular park guests are being ushered out of the park. Since only a few of the quick service places are open, I recommend eating before the party. Besides, you don't want to waste precious party time stopping to eat!
Once the party begins, the atmosphere of the park instantly changes. The buildings along Town Square and Main Street are lit spooky colors. There are fun Halloween projections along Main Street and elsewhere in the park, such as spider webs on Space Mountain. There's even projections on the ground!
There are special pins and shirts that you can only buy during the party, so make sure you pick these up before leaving. The Emporium on Main Street puts some of the merchandise, such as the shirts and the main pin, out before the party starts, but you need your wristband to buy them. I really love the shirt this year (I also bought the pin with the same logo), but if you read Tanya's Disneyland Halloween Party report, you'll see they use the same logo this year! So much for exclusive. 😉 There are several other places to buy merchandise in the park, but the store in Frontierland is the only place to find all the pins. This year, there's also a special poison apple mug that is highly coveted!
The two big draws of the party are the amazing Boo to You Parade and Hallowishes fireworks. In my opinion, they are some the best parade and fireworks that Disney puts on, so you don't want to miss them! The Boo To You Parade takes place twice during the party. If you want an easier chance to find good spots for the parade, wait until the 2nd parade. If you have the time, watch both, because you will want to, trust me. Make sure you get your spot early, so you can watch the Headless Horseman ride before the parade starts! Once the parade starts, you will get the fun music in your head for days (The Boo To You music is my ringtone during the fall!) The parade has all the characters you love dressed up for Halloween, and sections for the Haunted Mansion, Villains, Pirates (complete with Jack Sparrow waving from above), and even Wreck it Ralph and Goofy on candy floats.
I had to share video of THE best part of the parade, which is the Haunted Mansion grave diggers, who drag their shovels on the ground. Explaining doesn't really get across how cool it is, you have to see it to believe it! This video was taken this year in Liberty Square.
Hallowishes is at 10pm this year, and make sure you get in a spot where you can see the castle, since they project a lot of fun things onto the castle. The music is fantastic, and the show ends with a 180 degree fireworks show. Words don't do it justice, it's amazing, and not to be missed!
New this year is a FANTASTIC new castle show (which replaces the Villains Mix & Mingle), the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular. It is by far the best castle show I've ever seen at Walt Disney World. It stars the Sanderson Sisters and some of Disney's best villains, including Maleficent, Hades, Oogie Boogie, Dr. Facilier, Evil Queen, Jafar, Cruella, Captain Hook and Lady Tremaine. There's music from both Hocus Pocus and the other villains. The performers are fantastic (it's entirely performed live) and perfectly cast (you'll think you're actually watching the actresses from the movie!) This show is very popular, so get there EARLY if you want to get up close, or try to stand further back so you can see the whole stage. There are 4 shows, and the last show is actually at midnight, when the party closes! This is the least crowded show, but still don't expect to walk up last minute. This show has joined the parade and fireworks as a can't miss!
The show is so good, it even has it's own line of merchandise! The shirt sold out so quickly during the first party that now they even sell them on non party nights. They also sell a magic band with this art work!
My favorite part of the party is the characters! Characters that you can normally find at the park, such as Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Donald, and the Winnie the Pooh gang, are dressed up in Halloween costumes. Then there are the characters that you can only meet at the party, such as the Seven Dwarfes together, Jack Skellington & Sally, Jack Sparrow, Tarzan with Jane & Terk, and a whole bunch of villains. If you want to meet popular characters like Jack & Sally or the Seven Dwarfs, I recommend getting in line before the party starts. This year, we got in line for the dwarfs before 6pm, an hour before the party started, and there was already quite a line. The dwarfs start meeting around [6:50], and Jack & Sally start meeting at [6:15]! I passed by the Jack & Sally line about an hour into the party, and their line was already 3 hours long! You do not want to waste the whole night in a line, so be sure to get there early! Sadly this year, a lot of the characters meeting are also found during normal park hours, so I would recommend concentrating on the special party characters/costumes instead. This is the second straight year the princesses are meeting WITHOUT their princes, for example, so stick to meeting the princesses another time.
Characters in special costumes:
Some of the Villains at the party:
Characters special to the party:
There's also a dance party in Tomorrowland with the Monsters Inc characters, including Boo, which is one of the cutest characters! If you are lucky, you can meet the characters, but it's hard meeting characters at dance parties since they are there to, well, dance.
Is it strange that I wrote this much about the Halloween party, and didn't mention trick or treating? When you enter the party, they give you a Halloween bag for your candy, which usually promotes the latest Disney movie or DVD (this year's bag has Aladdin and Good Dinosaur on it.) There are trick or treat stops throughout the park. The lines can get crazy long for the trick or treat stops, so I recommend waiting until late in the party to get some candy. Not only will the lines be short, but they will give you a lot more candy! You can go through the trick or treat stops as often as you want.
During the party, rides are usually a walk on. I usually skip rides during a hard ticket party, since I want to spend as much time as I can doing the things you can only find during the Halloween party, since you can go on rides anytime. But, if you want to go on rides, you won't find shorter lines than you will during the party.
There's one ride you HAVE to visit during the party, even if you don't ride it, The Haunted Mansion! It's even more fun and spooky during the party! The building is lit up, has fog around it, and the cast members are even spookier than normal! There's also a ghost outside telling stories, and she's hilarious to listen to.
There are also several Photopass magic shots that you can only find at the party. By the hearse in front of the Haunted Mansion, they add in a ghost in front of the hearse. Over in Frontierland, where Woody & Jessie normally meet, they will add in hitchhiking ghosts to the picture. There's also a poison apple magic shot, which you can sometimes find in this same area. I also noticed photopass photographers were walking down the Boo To You Parade route before the parade started and asking if people wanted this shot. You can see these MNSSHP magic shots on my Photopass Magic Shots post (scroll down to the special event magic shots).
There is a pumpkin photo spot in town square throughout the Halloween season, but it's extra spooky during the party! A Photopass photographer is usually here until 1am (I got this shot at [12:50]a.)
And finally, these pumpkins are also always there while leaving the Magic Kingdom, but they are so fun to see when leaving after the party!
Heather is an annual passholder that loves coming up with excuses to take a trip to the World. Follow her adventures at Disney on twitter , instagram, and facebook. Visit her website, I Love Characters, to see pictures of the over 240 characters she's met at Disney World and Disneyland.