With All Hallows’ Eve right around the corner, it was high time I posted about our experience at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party this year.
There’s A LOT going on at this event. We’ve been multiple times and I still haven’t done it all. So I’ll share my thoughts on what I can from experience and try to hit the highlights of all that’s offered. There’s so much to talk about at MNSSHP it can be a little overwhelming. So I’m going to break it down into a few key categories.
2022 marks the first time that Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party has been in Disney World since 2019! You know, the before-covid times. (We don’t talk about Bruno the After Hours Boo Bash.)
Price With ticket prices ranging from $109 to $199, this year’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is officially the most expensive one yet. The cost will depend on when you go. The closer you get to Halloween night, the more expensive the tickets become. Weeknight party dates in August will always be your cheaper ticket options. This year our trip was in September so we had all of the heat and humidity of August without the ticket cost of October. But hey, it didn’t rain on party night!
Hours The party takes over the entire Magic Kingdom park after it closes to non-ticketed guests. The party hours are 7:00 PM to 12:00 AM, but party guests can check in as early as 4:00 PM. When you check in, you’ll get a wristband, trick-or-treat bag and a brochure/map of all the special MNSSHP activities and attractions. The park officially closes to non-event guests at 6:00 PM and cast members will start ushering guests out of the park if they don’t have an event wristband. The last stage show is at midnight and the official end of the party, but you can hang around and shop for a bit before the park completely shuts down for the night.
It’s what we’re all here for right? Just me…? Anyway, there are tons of Halloween snacks and sweets in the Magic Kingdom this time of year, but there are extra special spooky food and drink items that you’ll only find at the Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. I failed to sample them all this year but, I guess now I have a goal for next year.
If you don’t want to make a meal out of spooky snack options the Halloween party offers dining reservation packages at two restaurants: Be Our Guest and Cinderella’s Royal Table. Please note that these dining experiences are separately priced and are not included in the ticket price for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
There’s another separately priced dining option offered during the party — the Not-So-Spooky Spectacular Dessert Party. The experience is just like the usual Magic Kingdom Fireworks Dessert Parties, but with festive food options. There are two party options — Plaza Garden Viewing and Tomorrowland Terrace. The former checks in earlier and comes with a spot in the reserved viewing area in the plaza garden area and the for the latter you stay seated on the Tomorrowland Terrace during the fireworks show. The Terrace viewing option is more expensive at $114 for guests ages 10 and older; $69 for guests ages 3 to 9, while the Plaza Garden option is $99 for guests ages 10 and older; $59 for guests ages 3 to 9. Personally I prefer the Plaza Garden option because you have a more direct view of the castle and fireworks, while the Tomorrowland Terrace has a more offset view.
The main attractions are, of course, the Boo-to-You Halloween Parade, Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular, and Not-So-Spooky Spectacular fireworks show.
I think my personal favorite is the parade. It’s the only time you’ll see the Headless Horseman riding through the park. Plus this year’s new addition, Max Goof dressed as Powerline hosting a pre-parade dance party down Main Street. This one really appealed to the 90’s kid in me. Ooh and the grave diggers from the Haunted Mansion! There’s clearly a lot I love about this parade. It begins in Frontierland and runs twice during the party at 9:15 PM and 11:15 PM. Max Goof only shows up on Main Street though shortly after the Headless Horseman kicks off the parade.
The Villain Spelltacular stage show, led by the Sanderson Sisters, is an excellent opportunity to see Disney villains that you don’t see often in the parks. The show lasts about 20 minutes and there are typically three show times, (8:35 PM, 10:45 PM, midnight) with an additional fourth show time option during October party dates (7:40 PM, 8:35 PM, 10:45 PM, midnight).
The Not-So-Spooky Spectacular fireworks show is incredible and narrated by an amazing state of the art Jack Skellington puppet. The show follows Mickey and friends on a spooky trick-or-treating experience inspired by The Nightmare Before Christmas. The fireworks show is scheduled for 10:15 but be sure to check ahead of time since this is a once-a-night event.
They don’t get top billing like the Sanderson Sisters, but the Dapper transform into the Cadaver Dans Barbershop Quartet for MNSSHP. They perform multiple times throughout the night in Frontierland. Their jokes don’t get any better as the Cadaver Dans but definitely worth stopping for a few minutes to give them a listen.
Trick-or-Treating Trick-or-treating is ongoing from 7:00 PM to Midnight. While trick-or-treating is a cornerstone of the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party theme, it’s also a kind of a waste of time unless you’ve got young kids that really want to do it. You’re not getting amazing candy, just the same mini-size stuff you get at Target. So I’d say just make a couple of stops later in the evening and focus on other things.
Characters There are a lot of special characters out for the party, like Jack and Sally, Stitch as Elvis, and Pooh & Friends. Good news is that you can meet some of them before the party even starts.
Rides These parties draw a big crowd but with all off the additional entertainment options it can be a good time to go ride some rides — especially ones that get a special Halloween treatment for the party. At the Mad Tea Party, the teacups get spooky lights and music. Pirates of the Caribbean has special characters in the queue and on the ride. Space Mountain turns into Deep Space Mountain and runs completely dark. My favorite is The Haunted Mansion — it gets the best treatment though with spooky lights and mist, and special ghostly characters.
Dance Parties There are three Halloween dance – the Monstrous Scream-O-Ween Ball in Tomorrowland, Storybook Circus Disney Junior Jam, and new this year the Disney Zom-Beatz Bash at Cosmic Ray’s. The dance parties for mainly for the kids, but anyone can join in if they want to bust a move. They all run from 7:00 PM to midnight so you can stop in anytime between activities.
The Merch There’s always special Not-So-Scary merchandise that is only available to party guests. It varies from year to year but there’s almost always party specific earbands, collector pins and various shirts. Cast members start putting out the party merch between 6:00 PM when the park closes to guests without party tickets and 7:00 PM when the party officially kicks off. The more popular items sometimes sell out early so it’s a good idea to make a pass through the Emporium when the party starts and grab whatever you’ve got your heart set on.
If you purchased Photo Pass there are several opportunities for special magic shots you’ll only have the opportunity to get during the Not-So-Spooky Halloween party.
Costumes This event is one of the few times that adults are allowed to wear full costumes into the parks. There are rules though. Just remember that it will still be super hot so plan your costumes accordingly. I’ve done the party with a costume and without a costume and honestly I think I prefer no costume. I’d say that it’s about a 50-50 split between full costumes and no costumes for adults. Just about everyone is festive in some way, be it full costumes, seasonal shirts, or just Halloween earbands and light-up necklaces. To each their own — be festive your way.
As with most Disney World experiences, there’s really no way to do it all. So make your life easier and know your priorities before you go. Are you more interested in the special snacks and beverages or are parades and stage shows your jam? Are you here for the dance parties and ride overlays or is camping out the perfect spot for fireworks more important to you? Trust me, you’ll have a much better time if you just plan of a few ‘must do’ experiences and then just go with the flow of the evening.
My priorities for this trip were the fireworks, parade and the villains stage show. I really wanted to focus on taking some high quality photos. (Photography pun intended.) So caught the first stage show and then did the desert party with reserved plaza garden viewing for the fireworks. The downside to this choice was that we were already waiting in the viewing area when the parade made it’s first run of the night. We could partially see and hear it, but I definitely couldn’t take any good photos or truly enjoy the parade. After the fireworks I wandered down Main Street and picked my spot to wait for the second run of the parade. Then suddenly it was midnight, the party was over and the park was closing.
I absolutely love the Boo-to-You Parade but I did miss seeing some of my other favorites like the Haunted Mansion overlay and the Cadaver Dans… and the snacks. So those will probably be my priorities next year. We planned on checking in before 7:00 PM but were delayed so that’s part of why we missed out on a few things but still got to enjoy the things we agreed were priorities. But yeah, check in early if you can.
Final Thoughts Some quick tips from personal experience:
Pick your priorities – don’t try to do it all. Check in early, it’s worth it. Unless you’ve got little kids that insist on trick-or-treating, skip it for one of the special party snacks. Don’t overdo it on costumes or you’ll just roast in the Florida heat. Trust me, it’s easier to enjoy the party in a lightweight costume or just a festive t-shirt.
Each time I’ve been to MNSSHP has been a different experience, but always a good time. Honestly I think I like it more than the Christmas party. If you’ve got the extra time and budget to make this experience part of your trip I definitely recommend it!