Being from Michigan I don’t have the luxury of going to Walt Disney World every day (but, hey, I’ll keep dreaming!), so we sometimes have to be a little strategic with our trips to get the most out of them.
I have a bucket list of Walt Disney World events I would like to experience and one of the main ones was Mickey’s-Not-So-Scary-Halloween-Party (MNSSHP). The way a recent fall trip lined up, we would have to go on Halloween night.
We thought about skipping (for a hot minute), but bit-the-bullet, and went for it!
Let me say, MNSSHP did not disappoint. From the costumes to the candy and everything in between, it was totally worth the price of admission. Here are my top six reasons why you don’t want to miss MNSSHP:
1. Crowds weren’t too bad!
My first reason for why you shouldn’t miss the party is actually a clarification. One of the things we’ve heard regarding Disney special events is they sell too many tickets for each night, making it way too crowded. Worried, we toyed with the idea of going on October 30th, because Halloween night typically sells out. We didn’t, however, want to risk a delayed flight causing us to miss the party as we flew in on the 30th.
On Halloween, we entered the Magic Kingdom at 4pm, which was the earliest you were able to get in with your MNSSHP ticket. The Magic Kingdom itself closed at 6pm for regular daily guests and many were still enjoying the park as we entered. At 6pm, the regular day guests were funneled out at different check-points throughout the park.
If you didn’t have a MNSSHP bracelet ticket on, your magical day at the parks was over. As we got closer to party time, the crowds began to thin and as the party started it felt like a light crowd day at the parks. Statistically speaking, I don’t have facts to back up that statement, but when I can move my double stroller down Main Street USA and not clip anyone in the heels, I’d say the crowd level isn’t bad.
Overall the crowds on Halloween night were definitely manageable. The earlier nights of the party were even better (hello, August!), I’m sure, but the 31st was the only date that truly worked for us to go. It was either Halloween Night MNSSHP or no party. We picked PARTY!
2. Expedited Ride Time
At different intervals, specifically, at 7pm (when the party official started), 9 pm and 10pm hit, we noticed the crowds seemed to thin. At 7pm, the trick-or-treating started and guests lined up for those hot spots as they opened. The lines for trick-or-treating seemed long at that time (although the were definitely moving), so we decided to hop on some rides. Dumbo had a five-minute wait, which in reality ended up being a two-minute wait.
We even got some candy as we walked towards the ride. We got the best of both worlds: a ride and candy! My son liked to call it a bonus trick-or-treat station! Later, at 9pm, I was even able to walk right onto Splash Mountain (yay!) and my husband made it onto Big Thunder Mountain with no wait at all either. By 10pm, after the first parade had wrapped up, lines were pretty much obsolete for some of the big rides.
3. Costumes and Rare Characters
Being able to see Mickey and Minnie in their Halloween costumes is cool, especially if you are a big fan of getting character pictures. On top of the regular gang being all decked out for Halloween, rare characters also make appearances for a meet-and-greet. If you have a character you are trying to meet, it is not a bad plan to get in line early. There are some characters, like the Seven Drawfs, who are extremely popular. With two littles already at their normal ‘bedtime’ at MNSSHP start, standing in line for a few hours sounded like a recipe for disaster. We did, however, met Tarzan and Jane right when the clock struck 7pm!
Beyond the Halloween characters or unique characters, some of the best costumes of the evening were guest’s costumes. Of the most memorable were people dressed up like characters from Inside Out, Beauty and the Beast and, my favorite, characters from the Haunted Mason ride (think of the ‘waiting room’ that you enter before getting into your Doom Buggy.) Not to toot our own horn but we did make a pretty impressive gang from Wreck-It Ralph. We definitely had the littlest “Wreck-It Ralph’ in the Magic Kingdom!
4. The MNSSHP parade is amazing!
I love a Disney parade as much as the next person, but the Halloween parade really stood out as spectacular.
Maybe it was the fact that it was actually Halloween when we were in the Magic Kingdom; maybe it was the fact that a headless horseman galloped past us down the streets of Frontierland. Maybe it was just a little ‘Disney Magic’!
Whatever it was, we bought into it and soaked up the not-so-spooky night.
My favorite parts were the ‘gravediggers’ and 99 (ish) happy haunts from the Haunted Mansion. It was as though a real-life version of the Haunted Mansion ride was dancing down the streets of the Magic Kingdom. We even saw some of our doppelgängers in the parade: Vanellope and Ralph!
Seeing as how we were all dressed as characters from Wreck-It Ralph and Wreck-It Ralph 2 is about to hit the movie theaters, we had a feeling we would be seeing some look-a-likes.
There was only one King Candy in all of the Magic Kingdom that night though…
The parade ran twice at the party, but we caught the first one as we didn’t anticipate staying super late Which DID happen by the way. It was past 11:30pm before we left the park. I guess time flies when you are in Disney?!). We camped out in front of the outside of the Country Bear Jamboree show and had a decent view of all the characters and parade floats.
If we had been kidless, we might have even found spots for the second show and continued to enjoy the other festivities during the first parade run. Doing a quick visual sweep, the crowds lined up for the party seemed the same for both the first and second parade. The parade definitely drew a big crowd.
5. Special Fireworks Show
Most people love a good firework show and the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World always delivers.
The firework show, Happy HalloWishes: A Grim Grinning Ghosts’ Spook-tacular in the Sky, was a Halloween themed event featuring ‘spooky’ Disney music. We were able to catch the view from the walking path across from Tom Sawyer’s island as the fireworks highlighted Cinderella’s castle in the background.
We could have had a better vantage point and heard the music a little better had we been closer to the castle, but we enjoyed not having to spend precious park time camping out.
6. You Get to Trick-or-Treat through the Magic Kingdom!
I mean if this doesn’t sell you, I don’t know what will!
Of course, if you don’t like candy or feeling like you’re 8 again, I guess this might not persuade you.
My four-year old’s favorite part was definitely trick-or-treating at the various candy hot spots (which were highlighted by the MNSSHP guide map and by gigantic blow-up pillars. If you missed them, you might have had blinders on). The best part was as the night came to a close, cast members were dumping heaping piles of candy into our bags.
We definitely didn’t need all the candy, and we wouldn’t have gone to the party if this was the only ‘feature’, but my son was so excited for all of it.
If you do have allergies though, Disney had a separate special treat available. Good to know they are accommodating for guests so everyone can enjoy the party!
There are other awesome bonuses included in the party, such as several Sanderson sisters performances featuring some prime Disney villains (appropriately named the Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular), special features added to a few rides (including a ‘live character’ during Pirates of the Caribbean and some yummy special event food.
The special Halloween themed event foods were fun looking, but honestly, after all the candy we were eating the thought of piling on more sweets sounded like a straight shot to sugar overload town.
There were also a few ‘dance parties’ happening. One with Mike and Sully from Monster’s Inc in Tomorrowland and the other with Disney favorites in Storybook Circus. We spent too much time doing the above listed items and balancing two kiddos to be able to check out everything that the party offered. In hindsight, this is a good thing, as we have an excuse to go back!
One thing that we ended up doing that just happened to work well with our schedule that day, was eating a meal before the party officially started. This is highly recommended as you get full bellies before the party started. Full bellies help fend off crabbiness and act as a buffer for all the sugar that will be consumed.
We ended up at Pescos Bills as it is vegetarian and vegan-friendly, with special thanks to the toppings bar. It helped hold us off for most of the night until we had to make a pit stop at Cosmic Ray’s for a second dinner at 11:30pm (midnight snack?) before we left the park that night (which also has an amazing toppings bar).
If you’re wondering if the boys were tired staying out that late: they both passed out in the stroller while we were standing in line for Cosmic Ray’s. One second our oldest was talking about french fries, the next he was snoring. MNSSHP until you drop!