For 34 spooktacular nights each year, at sunset, Disney’s Magic Kingdom (Orlando, FL) hosts Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Clad in my Disneybounding Belle costume, complete with wig, crown and a Beauty and the Beast-inspired handbag, I joined the festivities on a hot summer night.
Here’s what you need to know:
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party runs 7pm to midnight on select nights from August 17 through October 31. The event is fabulous, but not a good choice for first-time visitors to the Magic Kingdom (there’s simply an overwhelming number of Halloween special events going on if you’ve never experienced the classic rides the park offers). It is, however, a great treat for returning visitors and those who celebrate all things Halloween.
Tickets for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party start at $75 for adults, if purchased in advance, and $70 for children ages three to nine. Prices at the gate, if available, are about $10 more. Here are all upcoming dates.
The Boo-To-You Halloween Parade—held at 9:15pm and once more at 11:15pm—starts off with the Headless Horseman galloping down the parade route. It’s an absolute must-see. I recommend you watch the first parade, as inclement weather could result in a cancellation of the later one.
At 10:15pm, make sure to be inside the hub in front of Cinderella’s castle for Happy HalloWishes, a fireworks extravaganza that will leave you wanting more. There is, however, only one show per night, so don’t miss it!
Last but certainly not least, you must see the Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular held on the castle forecourt stage. Winifred, Mary and Sarah of Hocus Pocus fame are joined in their mischief by Disney villains Dr. Facilier, Oogie Boogie and Maleficent. You can be sure that the Sanderson Sisters, in honor of the 25th anniversary of the flick Hocus Pocus, will put a spell on you. The show is staged at 8:30pm, 10:45pm, with the last show being held at midnight.
Every year, rarely seen characters are out for a meet-and-greet during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Jack and Sally of Nightmare Before Christmas fame and Snow White’s Seven Dwarfs are among the most popular; their meet-and-greet locations draw long lines. Iconic Disney characters such as Mickey and Minnie meet guests in their very own Halloween costumes. Check your events map for all character appearances, and pick those that are most important to you.
If you want to see Lady Carlotta, one of the 999 happy ghosts of the Haunted Mansion, go and join the queue for the Haunted Mansion ride. Carlotta interacts with you on the lawn of the mansion before you reach the ride’s entrance. Waiting in line has never been funnier.
Show me the candy:
Your events map shows all the trick-or-treating stations where cast members hand out candy generously throughout the night. Disney distributes over 240 tons of candy annually, and guests can return to over a dozen stations as many times as they wish.
Guests with food allergies can obtain a special teal-colored treat bag, teal being the official color of food allergy awareness. Instead of candy, cast members will give these trick-or-treaters a teal token at each treat station that can be redeemed for special treats. The teal bags are available at any trick-or-treat location and at the allergy-friendly centers located at Town Square Theater and at the Liberty Square ticket office. The teal tokens can also be redeemed at both of these stations.
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom fans should make sure to pick up this year’s special edition game card at the firehouse on Main Street after 4pm.
In Frontierland, the Cadaver Dans Barbershop Quartet will entertain you with tunes such as “Ghost Riders In The Sky,” “The Oogie Boogie Song” and “Grim Grinning Ghosts.” Also in Frontierland, prospector Cactus-Flower Cate rounds up young ones for a costume parade several times per night. The reward, you guessed it, is candy!
New this year is the Storybook Circus Disney Junior Jam. The dance party takes place from 7pm through closing at Storybook Circus and features Disney Junior characters, including Doc McStuffins and Timon from The Lion Guard. Another dance party, meanwhile, is going full swing in Tomorrowland. All night long you can join Mike Wazoski and Sulley for a Monstrous Scream-O-Ween-Ball.
This year the Mad Tea Party ride has a new eerie glow at night, and Space Mountain’s soundtrack has a new seasonal riff. Most exciting, though, is the fact that you can interact with live pirates inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Seeing is believing. It’s a good change, but I think more live actors would benefit the attraction.
Party attire dos and don’ts:
Remember that, even in October, it’s still hot in Florida, with temperatures reaching into the upper 80s and low 90s. Consider a more practical Disneybounding outfit or bring a set of clothes to change into for your little ones. Most of all, stay hydrated and consider bringing a stroller for the 3-6 crowd.
Disney has quite a lot of rules regarding what not to wear and what not to bring to the parks. Find out more here. This being said, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is the perfect time to give your creativity free reign. Here are a few of my favorite costumes:
And another group:
Good to know:
Be sure to arrive at the park by 4pm because, even though it’s not officially stated, Disney will admit guests with a ticket for the party at that time. You’ll be fitted with a special wristband, and a costumed cast member will hand you your trick-or-treating bag. The bag is small, so bring a backpack and regularly empty your bounty into it. Early entry into the park is a great way to experience your favorite rides and get an early dinner before the party starts.
In addition to the wristband identifying you as a party guest and the bag for your goodies, cast members also have event maps. Take one and study it if you haven’t done so prior to arriving at the park. The map is usually available online once the first party takes place. The map lists all events such as shows, trick-or-treat locations, dance parties, the not-to-be-missed parade, and where to meet characters.
Where to stay:
A 10-minute walk or a few minutes on the Monorail gets you from Disney’s Contemporary Resort to the Magic Kingdom. Rooms at this deluxe resort start at $410 per night. Rooms at the Mardi Gras-inspired, moderate, Port Orleans French Quarter Resort start at $206 per night. My recommendation for a value resort is Disney’s Pop Century Resort. Rooms at the completely renovated hotel start at $116 per night.
For more on Disney, sign up for Liliane’s newsletter here. For all there is to see and do at Walt Disney World, check out “The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids” by Bob Sehlinger and Liliane Opsomer, with Len Testa.