The leaves are turning, the air is getting crisp, and the smell of fall is in the air. Halloween is coming to kick off the holiday season, and you’re ready to celebrate. If you’re looking for a unique way to revel I suggest checking out Disney’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP). The party is available in Disney World on select nights starting in August and runs through Halloween, and there’s a similar Halloween party, the Oogie Boogie Bash, in Disneyland in California. We all know Disney has a way of bringing the kid out of everyone, so why not take advantage of the chance to dress up as a Disney Princess (or villain, if you prefer) and eat all the candy you can see? I don’t see a valid reason not to, so sit back, relax, and let me tell you about my experience at the party this year.
This special ticketed event at the Magic Kingdom, meaning your regular park ticket will not grant you access to MNSSHP, is capacity controlled, so make sure to purchase your tickets as soon as you can. We purchased our tickets in late August for our trip in mid-October and had no problem with availability, we did, however, find out that our select night was sold out by the day of the event. You should also know that ticket prices change based on the proximity to Halloween, with Halloween day being the most expensive of all the party days. There is a discount for pre-purchasing your tickets rather than at the gate.
While you can easily spend all day at the park, if you have a regular park ticket, we decided to take it easy during the morning and head to the park as soon as we were able to. Mind you, we had two small children with us (2 years old and 3 months old at the time), so there was no way our children would have lasted in the park all day and night – nor could we with two kids under 3. The party doesn’t start until 7 pm, but if you’re attending MNSSHP they begin letting you into the Magic Kingdom at 4 pm. There is a special entrance for party guests and you will get a festive paper wristband to identify you as a ticket holder, honestly, you can just follow the costumes if you have trouble finding where to go. Once you enter, MNSSHP guests are lead away from Main Street to get their starter bag of candy (which included a full size snickers!) and sets the tone for the sorta-spooky night ahead of you. You are encouraged to wear costumes to the party, with a few restrictions, but keep in mind that you’re still in Florida an likely will be greeted by 80 degree weather, even after the sun goes down.
If you’re a party guest who arrives at 4 pm you are welcome to take advantage of your 3 hours in the park prior to the start of the party. During this time you can ride all the rides, shop, meet characters, or have an early dinner at one of the table service restaurants. The downside to getting in at 4 pm is that you can’t get a fast past for the most popular rides. I’ll be honest with you, I have been to Disney World annually for the past three years, and have been multiple times prior and STILL have never been on Peter Pan’s Flight. I was hoping this time would be my opportunity, but as of the time of writing this I have still not gone. As I mentioned earlier, the night we went ended up being sold out, so the waits, while significantly shorter than most other times, were still over 30 minutes, and with two small children it wasn’t short enough to take advantage of.
One thing that makes the party so great is that you get a chance to meet characters you don’t always get to see. Some of these special appearances include: Jack Skellington, Sally, the Red Queen, and Mickey and Minnie in their Halloween garb. There are also dance parties for younger children to get to party with characters from Monsters Inc. and The Decendants -- they even give out candy too. Our selling point was getting to see Moana, who is one of our son’s favorite characters, and who isn’t a mainstay at the parks. I suggest finding the lines for these very special character sightings so you can knock that out before everyone else gets in line to see them. The other option is to get in line during one of the parades or shows, but I’ll get to that later. We got in line at the Enchanted Tiki Room to meet Moana at 6 pm, and she was already greeting visitors; and although we were in line early, we still had an hour wait to see her.
Not only do they have special character greetings, there are also special touches at some of the park’s staple attractions. Pirates of the Caribbean has real pirates interacting with you, Space Mountain is completely in the dark, and the Haunted Mansion has a ghostly comedy show going on outside. You also have the chance to see Jack Skelington and the Sanderson sisters in the two shows at Cinderella Castle. The new show for the year is a show that projects some of the classic Disney villains onto the castle while setting off fireworks to spooky music. This show only happens once in the night, so make sure you are in front of the castle, or on Main Street around that time. The Sanderson sisters, however, have multiple shows during the night and you can tell the adults are enjoying them more than the kids (although Freeform and Disney + are making Hocus Pocus more accessible to younger generations).
If you have ever been to the Magic Kingdom you know that parades are a major part of your day in the park, and MNSSHP knows the way to your parade-loving heart. There are two parades, one around 9 pm, and another just before the party ends near midnight. So what makes MNSSHP’s parade different than something you’ve already seen? Let me count the ways! Gravediggers who light up the street with their shovels, Maleficent, a floating ghost bride, a headless horseman, and so much more! While you can miss the parades if you prefer to ride rides or meet characters while many people are elsewhere, I suggest catching at least one. We decided to skip the first parade to take advantage of other activities and went to the final showing, and actually were able to get a front row seat by setting up shop before the final Sanderson sisters show.
Rides and parades aren’t the only special things you can find at the party, if you love eating, this party is for you too! We decided to have dinner at Ray’s Starlight Café where there was a burger I had been eyeing. Everyone who knows me well knows I love burgers and I love cheese (and now you know too), but one of my favorite cheeses is brie. Ray’s had a special burger, the Lotso Burger, that was topped with a brie fondue, strawberry bacon jam, and finished with a crispy onion ring. I’d like to say this burger was good, but to be honest, it was sooo much better than I expected – truthfully, I wish I had one right now. There were also sweet treats, some available all day, and others just for the hours of the party. There was a special cheesecake, an individual spooky wedding cake, cake push pops of Jack Skellington and Sally, and the Amuck, Amuck, Amuck cupcake. We shared the cupcake between three of us, two of us being sweets lovers, and it was so big we threw a quarter of it away! It truly hurt my soul to do so, but it didn’t make sense to carry it for another few hours before we headed home.
I know I told you about the candy starter pack you get when entering the park, but that is by no means the only candy you will find. Around the park there are candy stations handing out a handful of candy per person per visit; and you can visit each station as many times as you’d like. We opted to wait until the end of the night to get our candy, and I’m sure glad we did. As the night gets closer to closing time the cast members get very liberal with their portion sizes. We had three candy bags and filled them all up. We had so much candy that we ate some the remainder of our trip, had some the two weeks leading up to Halloween, AND gave the rest away on Halloween night! There were good selections, too, including M&M’s, Skittles, Snickers, Milky Way, and more. If you haven’t tried the new hazelnut M&M’s yet I suggest you try them soon. I wouldn’t have bought them on my own, but now that I had my “free” taste at MNSSHP I may have to purchase some.
Before we left for Florida we did weeks of research on this year’s party and all it had to offer. Each year is a little different, so we wanted to be sure we were prepared. We found the menus and schedules online, and mapped out our plan on how to optimize our time. I thought 4 pm to midnight would be a long time, but to be honest, midnight arrived before I realized. If you want candy make sure you don’t wait until the last minute. We tried to do one last round after the final parade and all the stations shut down at the strike of midnight – how Cinderella of them. All in all we had a great time, and although there were some areas and rides that were dark and could have been a bit spooky for young children, it was very family friendly and I plan to attend again with the kids in a few years. So if you have been looking for a family focused Halloween party make your way to the Magic Kingdom to join in the festivities of next year’s party!