The spooky season is well underway (at least at Walt Disney World!) and that means it’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party time.
We were there for the first 2 parties of 2022 and plan to be there again for the first 2 parties of 2023, and we wanted to share our thoughts on whether we think it is worth it or not, plus go over a touring strategy for the evening.
Let’s dive into our 2023 Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party review & strategy…
Before we dive into our full review, let’s go over a little bit about what exactly Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (or, MNSSHP for short) even is.
If you are familiar with the parties, feel free to skip down, but if you are new to Walt Disney World planning (or if you’ve only been going for a couple of years), I’d recommend that you keep reading to get caught up to speed.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a special event that is held at Magic Kingdom in the late summer through mid-fall. Lots of people (including us!) are really, really excited about this year.
That’s because although MNSSHP has been around for a long time, like many other things around the world, it was on hiatus for a few years.
To be fair, Disney did try to bring some Halloween back to the parks last year in the form of an After Hours event called Boo Bash.
And like the thousands of other Halloween hopefuls (Boo Bash sold out FAST!) we checked it out. Twice, in fact.
Insert the “womp womp” sound here because as MNSSHP vets we thought that Boo Bash After Hours was worse than the Wish dot com version of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. To be totally fair, that was partially our fault for having the wrong expectations. But we don’t think we were the only ones last year who thought that, even with Boo Bash, it did not feel very much like Halloween at Disney World at all.
But we don’t have to worry about *any* of that right now because Disney has brought back the far superior Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party for 2022.
There are 37 parties from mid-August through October 31:
- August 12, 16, 19, 23, 26, 30
- September 2, 5, 9, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27, 29, 30
- October 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31
Now for the (kind of) tough part: the price.
This party isn’t cheap. And, tickets are a lot more expensive than what we saw back in 2019 (the last year the parties were held), so brace yourself.
Ticket prices for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party range from $109-$199 (plus tax) for adults and $99-$189 (plus tax) for children. Expect the prices to be in that higher range during more popular times of the season. You can buy them online directly from Disney.
Ouch, right? That high price is why we wanted to write this review. If you are a family of 4, you could easily spend $400 to $800 on tickets for this 1 event.
The good thing is that ticket does get you up-to 8 hours of park time, exclusive entertainment, fun fireworks, grave diggers going wild with shovels in a parade, plus tons of characters. So, there’s lots of potential there for some good old-fashioned fun. And, spoiler alert, we do think it is worth it – if you plan ahead.
Quick note: We go into a lot more depth on party details in our Complete Guide to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, so make sure you check that out for info on where to get your wristbands, how to purchase tickets, where to find all the characters, + more.
Is the Halloween Party Worth it?
If you are looking for something extra to do, or something special to add on to your vacation, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party definitely fits into the category of “things we think are worth the extra expense”.
Just make sure everyone in your group is down to party, though. The event goes late, and if you stay until the end, you likely won’t get back to your room until well after midnight.
Some kids (and adults!) will do fine with that late hour, some toddlers are happy to sleep in a stroller, but if you have little ones that struggle with late nights, maybe save the party for a future trip.
MNSSHP Entertainment and Activities Reviews
There are plenty of things to keep you busy during the party, and it is impossible to do it all.
To help you figure out your plan, we’ve grouped the items below to indicate where we think you should focus your time:
- Not to be missed
- Do only if you have the time
- Consider skipping if running out of time
Not to be missed
Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular! (Cinderella Castle stage): Stage show featuring the mischievous Sanderson Sisters from Disney’s “Hocus Pocus” who return to the mortal world for one night during the Halloween season. The nice thing about this show is that you can wait and do it at midnight as the party is ending.
- August and September: 8:35pm, 10:45pm, 12am
- October: 7:40pm, 8:35pm, 10:45pm, 12am
Mickey’s Boo to You Parade (starts in Frontierland and ends at the front of the park): One of the best parades (if not THE best parade) at Walt Disney World. Incredibly fun with catchy music, grave diggers who spark the ground with their shovels, and an intro by the Headless Horseman. If it is raining, this parade can be cancelled OR pieces can be taken out. But, when the weather is good – you can’t beat it. The 2nd parade tends to have lighter crowds.
- 9:15 p.m. and 11:15 p.m.
Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular fireworks show (over Cinderella Castle): Fireworks show narrated by Jack Skellington. Definitely one of the “not to miss” things of the evening; these fireworks and projections do not disappoint.
- 10:15 p.m.
Characters: There are TONS of characters, and you can’t meet them all. BUT, we definitely think that if characters are your thing, you should pick at least a couple to see. A great strategy is to catch one of the characters you can meet before the party even starts.
- Most start meeting at 7 p.m. – midnight, but there are a few exceptions:
- Jack and Sally: Characters begin meeting at 4:30 (can line up as early as 4:00)
- Pooh & Friends: begin meeting around 6:30 (we suggest you line up by 5:30)
- Minnie, Donald, and Daisy: begin meeting around 6:30 (we suggest you line up by 5:30)
- Elvis/Rock ‘n’ Roll Stitch: begins meeting around 6:30 (we suggest you line up by 6:00)
Party Exclusive Magic Shots and & Step In Photo Frames (3D Photo-Ops): PhotoPass photographers are EVERYWHERE on party nights, and if you have Memory Maker (or you are planning on purchasing the 1-day option), we think you should definitely try to get at least a few pictures and Magic Shots to remember your evening.
- Most are 7 p.m. – midnight (there are a few 3D Photo-Ops out all day, but they may not have a PhotoPass photographer there until the party starts)
Attractions with special Halloween overlays: Not all of the overlays are created equal. BUT, we definitely think you should check out Space Mountain. That total darkness is wickedly scary. And, Pirates of the Caribbean is kind of fun with the “real” pirates. The other 2 aren’t must-dos, but if you are nearby, they are a fun addition to your evening.
- Space Mountain: typically around 6:00 p.m. – midnight
- Mad Tea Party: 7 p.m. – midnight
- Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor: 7 p.m. – midnight
- Pirates of the Caribbean: 7 p.m. – midnight
Haunted Mansion: The Haunted Mansion doesn’t have a special overlay for the night, BUT, they do put characters in the queue (typically outside near the graveyard) and the Cast Members get even MORE in on the action with special make-up. Plus, you can usually find a PhotoPass photographer taking pics and Magic Shots nearby. Oh, and did we mention the fog? They go all-in on the creepy fog for party nights.
- Times: 7 p.m. – midnight
Fun to do if you have the time
Cadaver Dans Barbershop Quartet (Frontierland balcony by Country Bear Jamboree): The Dapper Dans transform into the Cadaver Dans and perform their haunting tunes 5 times per night. Now, please don’t come at me about how this is a MUST do and it is a shame if you miss it. We love the Cadaver Dans. And, you’ll likely have a chance to see them as you’re walking back through Frontierland. We just don’t think you should spend 45 minutes waiting for a show. Catch them if you can, but if you can’t – we promise it will be ok.
- 7 p.m., 7:45 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9:50 p.m., and 10:30 p.m.
Monstrous Scream-O-Ween Ball Dance Party (Rockettower Plaza Stage in Tomorrowland): A returning dance party featuring Monsters, Inc. characters like George Sanderson, Mike Wazowski and Sulley. Dance parties are really popular with little kids because you can get up, move around, and there are NO lines. You just get to – dance! If you are with someone that is of the age to enjoy the dance parties, this might be a “must do” for you. Otherwise, it is okay if you skip it.
- 7 p.m. – midnight
Disney Junior Jam Dance Party (Storybook Circus): Yes, another dance party. This one features Disney Junior characters, including Vampirina, Fancy Nancy, Timon, and Doc McStuffins. The same thing that we said about the Monstrous Scream-O-Ween can be said about this party. The one exception is that this dance party is covered, so if weather is an issue, this is a fun place to take the kids to stay out of the elements.
- 7 p.m. – midnight
Trick-or-Treating: What would Halloween be without trick-or-treating? Here’s the thing: If you have little kids, they are very likely going to want to go hit up the trick-or-treat stations. So if you know you will have to do a few to keep everyone happy, be smart about it. Try to push it later into the evening (so you don’t have to carry a bag of candy around) and, if you want to knock out 2 things – opt for a stop like Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor where you can grab candy, and catch a bit of the show while standing in line. Need a bonus reason for saving the trick-or-treating until later? Cast Members are way more likely to hand out more candy at the end of the evening than at the beginning.
- 7 p.m. – midnight for most stations (there is 1 station as you enter that opens at 4 p.m.)
Consider skipping if running out of time
ZOM-BEATZ-BASH Dance Party (Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café in Tomorrowland): A NEW dance party that features Zombie and Cheerleaders with music inspired by the Zombies original movie. This one may appeal a bit more to older kids – and, like the Disney Junior Dance Party, it is also covered, so if you need a place to get out of the rain, this is a good option. Plus, you can go grab something cold to drink or a snack to eat at the counter if you are thirsty or hungry. But aside from using it as a place to shelter from bad weather, it really isn’t worth a special trip to see it.
- 7 p.m. – midnight
All other attractions: We don’t think you should waste precious party time on attractions you can ride during the daytime hours, UNLESS this is your only Magic Kingdom time. The exception to this are the attractions with special overlays (see above), Haunted Mansion, AND the TTA PeopleMover. There is something extra magical about the PeopleMover on a party night!
- All other attractions will run continuously until midnight
Touring Plan Strategy for MNSSHP
Here’s how we plan our perfect Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party night:
3:30 p.m. or earlier – Arrive to Magic Kingdom
- The goal is to be at the front of the pack heading to meet Jack and Sally. If you plan to enter the park on your party ticket (and you won’t already be inside or hopping to Magic Kingdom), we recommend arriving at around 3:30 p.m. Once you get your wristband, head directly to Town Square Theater and jump in line. If you are already in the park, go to one of the wristband stations and get your wristband right at 4:00 p.m.
4:00 p.m. – Jump in line for Jack and Sally
- The line here moves painfully slow, so the closer you are to the front, the less you’ll have to wait. The good news is that it is indoors, so you aren’t standing in the sun.
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. – Meet Jack and Sally
- Hopefully you’ll luck out and be able to meet Jack and Sally in that first hour. But, even if it takes until 6:30 p.m., you still haven’t missed any of the “official” party time.
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – Get in line for 1 more of the characters that start meeting early
- We recommend Pooh and Friends because it isn’t super common to get to take pics with all 4 together, but you could also do Daisy, Donald, and Minnie, or Elvis Stitch.
- You can also grab a quick meal during this time if characters aren’t your thing – just don’t waste a bunch of time eating.
7:00 p.m – 8:30 p.m. – Enjoy the party exclusive things
- Visit more characters, catch the Cadaver Dans, go to a dance party or 2, trick-or-treat, or snag party exclusive merchandise. You could also visit Monsters Inc. and Pirates of the Caribbean but wait until after it gets dark for Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, PeopleMover, Mad Tea Party and PhotoPass and MagicShots (they look better in the dark).
8:30ish p.m. – 9:30ish p.m. – Possibly watch the 1st parade
- If the weather looks like rain for later in the evening or if you want to watch it twice, start thinking about grabbing a spot for the parade. If you can find a spot along Main Street near the hub, you can see the 8:35 p.m. Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular, the 9:15 p.m. Boo to You Parade, and the 10:15 p.m. Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular fireworks all from the same spot. Even if you are further back from the castle for the stage show, you can still hear and see a lot, and you can get up closer for the last show of the evening if you miss anything.
- If the weather looks great, consider skipping the first parade (the 2nd parade will be less crowded) and do other party exclusive things like checking out and riding Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain (the outside lighting is fun), taking a tour of Tomorrowland on the PeopleMover, spinning to the holiday tunes on Mad Tea Party, and PhotoPass and MagicShots
- You could also use this time for more characters and trick-or-treating.
10:00 p.m. Snag a spot for the fireworks.
- Depending on whether you watched the first parade or not, you may already have a spot. Otherwise, try to snag one no later than about 15 minutes before the show.
10:15 p.m. Watch the Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular fireworks
10:30ish – 11:50 p.m. – Get the last must-dos out of the way (and catch the 2nd parade if you didn’t already see it)
- Do the things that are better in the dark like ride Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain (the outside lighting is fun), PeopleMover, Mad Tea Party and PhotoPass and MagicShots
- If there are any characters you still want to meet, make sure you are in line by 11:00 p.m. as some lines will close early
- If you didn’t watch the 1st parade, make sure you snag a spot for the 2nd one by about 11:00 p.m. Frontierland will be less busy.
12:00 a.m. – Watch the final Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular
- Wrap up the evening with the final Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular and make your exit.
VIDEO: 7 things you HAVE to do at MNSSHP
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