It’s that time of year again where the pumpkin Mickeys are lining Main Street and adults and kids alike are showing up to the Magic Kingdom in costume. As other parts of the country start to cool off and it’s obvious that the beginning of fall is in the air, fall is happening in the Magic Kingdom too, just without the nice drop in daytime temps!
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party started back up this weekend with a sold-out party and the earliest start date in history! Even though mid-August doesn’t scream Halloween (our kids haven’t even gone back to school yet!), the Halloween parties are starting earlier and earlier every year, allowing more people to attend and more to experience the magic of the Magic Kingdom decked out in its fall finest!
The Halloween Party has become a tradition for our family over the past few years and even though there aren’t many changes from year to year, we still find ourselves booking a quick weekend trip so that we can attend a party!
One of our favorite aspects of the party is that it’s okay (and even encouraged) for everyone to dress up. Because we’re talking about Florida at the tail-end of summer, that means it’s still HOT and humid almost every day, so our costumes are always lightweight and breathable to make sure that everyone is comfortable. My absolute favorite costume that we ever did was the year that we all dressed up as characters from Peter Pan!
Though the party is technically from 7pm-midnight, you can get in at 4pm (and new this year, DVC members can get in at 2pm!) and enjoy the Magic Kingdom for a few hours before the party officially starts. Since we don’t do a big Disney trip where we go to all 4 parks every year, we make sure to arrive by 330pm so that we don’t waste any time in the park at all!
With the ages of our kids and the fact that some years the parties are our only time in the parks, our priority on party nights is going on as many rides as possible. The Jungle Cruise is usually one of our earlier stops so that we can ride while it’s still light out- and this year it’s not open during MNSSHP so make sure to ride between 4-7pm if you’re interested in riding!
As day turns to night and the spooky fun officially starts, we always make sure to pick up our trick-or-treat bags even though we don’t typically start trick-or-treating until the lines have died down a bit.
One of the nicest things about trick-or-treating in the Magic Kingdom is that you can go through each line as many times as you’d like. One year, we got stuck in a torrential downpour and the kids went through the Pirates trick-or-treat line repeatedly for about half an hour and they ended up with TONS of candy. We always bring big reusable bags to dump their smaller bags of candy into so that they don’t get stuck carrying around really full and heavy bags.
And then it’s always back to the rides. Because the party starts so late in the day (and runs late!) we make sure to sleep in that morning and have a relaxing day so that everyone is able to stay awake for the whole party.
Hallowishes, the fireworks show during MNSSHP cannot be missed! This extra-spooky fireworks extravaganza happens once each night at 1015pm. The best place to watch the show is from the hub where you have a clear view of the castle projections, but some years we watch from wherever we happen to be in the park– Storybook Circus has a surprisingly good view of the fireworks even though you can’t see the projections.
Of course, for the kids, the highlight of the event is the trick-or-treating and they get tons of candy! We’ve found that the more they interact with the Cast Members, the more candy they end up with.
We usually end up with 15-20 pounds of candy by the end of the night and we typically take it home to pass out on Halloween! Our kids definitely don’t need to eat that much candy and it means we don’t have to spend more money buying candy after we’ve paid for party tickets.
After the fireworks and trick-or-treating, we finish up our night going on as many rides as possible. We’ve watched the Boo to You! parade before and while it is a great parade, we don’t like to give up ride time to watch it (we do the opposite at the Christmas party though). However, if you want to watch the parade, stick around for the second run and it’s considerably less crowded, especially if you watch from Frontierland. We also watch the midnight showing of the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular for the same reason.
We always finish every Magic Kingdom night (whether its a party night or just a night in the park) with ice cream from the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor and we eat it while watching the hordes of people leave the park.
And once everyone is gone, we’re able to enjoy those empty Main Street and Cinderella Castle views!!
We make sure to get pictures with (almost) every PhotoPass photographer on our way down Main Street.
The kids love doing all of the special PhotoPass Magic Shots that are offered during the parties but we save them until the very end of the night so that we don’t have to wait in long lines.
All of the pumpkins, especially the Mickey ones, are one of the things that keep us coming back year after year. I wish I could get one of the Mickey pumpkin wreaths for our front door!! We typically attend a September party and it’s a great way to get in the fall mood!
Since we go into the park before the party officially starts, we aren’t able to get the Magic Shots on the way in, but the photographers in front of the Train Station hang out there until well after the party is over.
The spooky Train Station at the end of the night, or technically, really early in the morning!
Our family takes a very different approach to MNSSHP than most people, in part because we have such a large family and tickets to Walt Disney World are expensive no matter what you’re doing. We can’t afford to do a big Disney World trip every year (even though we’d love to!) so some years going to the parties is our only time at the Magic Kingdom for the year, especially since a party ticket is cheaper than a one-day park ticket (assuming you go to one of the earlier parties). Because of that, our kids would rather spend their time going on rides than doing character meet and greets and other party specific activities. For us, it’s a great way to spend 8+ hours in the Magic Kingdom and enjoy some special Halloween fun, but the rides are definitely the focus.
We keep going to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party year after year because it is an excellent value for our family. We get to enjoy a fun-filled night at the Magic Kingdom for less than a one-day ticket and it’s a great way for us to kick off the fall season. We always go to a party in early September (I draw the line at celebrating Halloween in August!) because tickets are cheaper than closer to Halloween. MNSSHP is the highlight of our fall activities for our crew and now that we’ve gone the past few years, it has been cemented in our “family tradition” lineup.
For those of you that are locals or that are adding a party to your regular WDW trip, I can definitely see the appeal of the Halloween party exclusive activities. The Boo to You! parade is great and really shouldn’t be missed if it’s your first time at MNSSHP. The character meet and greets are fantastic as well, but the lines are long! Get in line for your top pick early (like in the 4-7p window) so that you don’t use up as much official party time in line. There are fun dance parties throughout the park where you can dance the night away with characters but they will not stop and pose for pictures. And of course, loading up on Halloween candy is great fun whether you’re at your first party or twentieth!!
Things to Remember for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
- Dress up! Whether you wear a festive shirt, disbound, or wear a full costume, part of the fun of the party is seeing all of the cool costumes that people come up with. Plus, it’s the only time that adults are allowed to wear costumes in the park so definitely take advantage!
- The party officially runs from 7pm-midnight and those are the hours for character meet and greets and all of the extra party magic, but you can get into the park at 4pm with a party ticket (or 2pm this year if you’re a DVC member). We plan a relaxing morning/afternoon and get to the park just before 4pm and stay until well after closing in order to maximize our time at the Magic Kingdom.
- Bring something to empty your little treat bags into so that you can get more candy!
- Buy your ticket in advance because the parties do sell out– especially weekends and the closer you get to Halloween.
- Tickets are $75-$125 depending on which night you choose (earlier in the season is cheaper than later) and there are discounts for military, AP, and DVC for some of the Aug/Sept parties so double check discounts before you purchase your tickets!
- Keep an eye on the weather! MNSSHP runs during peak hurricane season and the party has been canceled due to weather before- we actually had to postpone our trip a week due to Hurricane Irma last year. That being said, Disney World is one of the safest places to ride out a hurricane because it’s so far inland, so while you do need to be weather-aware, there’s no reason to avoid going during hurricane season.
Have you ever been to MNSSHP?? Are you going this year??