Interested in celebrating Halloween in Disney World? I recently did, and, while I may not have the inside scoop on all of the benefits of spending Halloween in Disney World (we were there at the end of September, not actually on Halloween), we did recently go to the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in the Magic Kingdom.
So, here’s what I know about Halloween in Disney World:
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Tickets:
The price of the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets varies by date and whether they’re purchased early or at the gate. In 2011, the cheapest tickets (pre-purchased) were $51.07 for children and $57.46 for adults during the month of September, and went up to $55.33 for children and $60.66 for adults in the month of October. Purchasing at the gate (day of the party) will cost you more, and being a DVC (Disney’s Vacation Club) member or being an annual passholder will net you a discount.
In 2011, the tickets went on sale on the first of May, and the dates of the parties are usually released around the same time.
The MNSSHP is what is called a hard ticket event- which means that you can’t get into the party with your normal park tickets- you must buy the specific event’s tickets to attend. Even if you choose not to attend the party, it’s a good idea to check for the dates of the party, because the Magic Kingdom will close to normal guests early on those dates.
If you do plan to attend the Disney World Halloween party, I highly recommend ordering your tickets as soon as you know the dates that you’ll be there- particularly if you’re going very close to or on Halloween. Also, be aware that locals will be more likely to be attending during a weekend, which will drive party attendance higher. Mid-week in September will be the easiest time to get tickets, but even so, plan ahead.
What Happens at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party?
Halloween in Disney World is always festive, but the actual party is even better. There are a lot of activities going on, and, even better, LOTS of atmosphere.
While the actual list of activities may change from year to year, I can’t imagine that they’ll change much. At the MNSSHP that we attended in the Magic Kingdom in September of 2011, we had:
Trick or Treating- While Disney encourages kids of all ages to participate, I didn’t notice any adults or older kids trick-or-treating. To be fair, the actual passing out of candy wasn’t all that noticeable to me anyway, as I was absorbed in all of the atmosphere.
Dance Parties- Themed dance parties take place all across the Magic Kingdom. In 2011 there was at least one Villain’s dance party, and I assume those are yearly, as well as other character dance parties.
Character Meet ‘n Greets- True, these take place even during normal park hours, but you’re much less likely to have to wait a long time at a hard ticket event like the Halloween Party in the Magic Kingdom at Disney World. This, of course, depends on how big the crowd is and what the crowd demographic is, but in general, hard ticket events mean lower crowd density and the majority are attending all of the special events rather than trying to do things that they can do during normal park hours.
Boo To You Parade- Disney World’s Halloween Parade is a pretty special event. It has its own parade music, its own floats, and its own special atmosphere. More below.
HalloWishes- Disney World’s Halloween fireworks show is called HalloWishes. Like the parade mentioned above, it has its own music and fireworks show, and they do some really funky things to the castle during the show that didn’t happen the last time I watched the usual Wishes fireworks. More below.
Atmosfear- The absolute best thing about Halloween in Disney World is the atmosphere. Seriously. As far as parties go, I like the Christmas party much better, but the Christmas party doesn’t have… Oh wait, I’ll tell you below.
Our Experience With Halloween In Disney World:
AKA, what we thought of the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
I’m going to go in chronological order of my memories here. It’s just easier for me that way.
First things first. As we were about to exit our hotel room at All Star Sports Resort, we peeked out the window and noticed no fewer than 3 families in costume. A whole swarm was leaving the resort at the same time that we did, which was our first clue that the crowds might not be as light as our last hard ticket event had been.
So we made our way towards the Ticket and Transportation Center (or is it Transportation and Ticket Center?), the gateway to the Magic Kingdom. The first hint of Halloween was this:
I know, cool, right? It wasn’t there the day before (the pumpkins, of course- the Magic Kingdom sign is always there except during alien invasions). BTW- if you can’t see all of both pumpkins, click the picture to enlarge.
So, we parked and hopped on the ferry. Interestingly, we were waiting right next to this family, who also seemed to pop up all night long, and even got a nod from Jack Sparrow himself during the parade.
Taking the ferry was kind of awesome, because apparently most of Disney World’s guests had no idea that there was a party going on that night. As we waited for the ferry to pull in, and as the crowds leaving the Magic Kingdom filtered past, our entire group was started at in a “What the **** are all those people doing heading towards the Magic Kingdom? Don’t they know it’s closed? And why are they all dressed up as pirates?” (not everyone was dressed up as pirates, but that did seem to be the costume du jour- not everyone was dressed up either, but about 1/4 to 1/3 of the crowd was, and that’s a lot!)
Apparently, not everyone is as obsessed with planning as I am. The entire first hour I heard “What’s going on? Is something happening? Is the park still open?” over and over…
So, on the ferry, as we approached the Magic Kingdom, we got our first taste of the atmosphere… the haunting strains of the Haunted Mansion sifted through the speaker system. YESSSSS….
Upon exiting the ferry and approaching the actual entrance of the Magic Kingdom, we noticed the party cast member’s most awesome uniforms. I’m not certain why I don’t have any pictures of them, but I’m going to assume that it was my impatient husband that prevented my taking the time to snap a few shots. There were also some cool pumpkin statues, but they were there for the whole season and not just the party.
Periodically throughout the entire halloween party, the Haunted Mansion music would blare through the speakers. So. Awesome. I got giddy every time I heard it. I wish they’d do that during normal park hours.
Another awesome thing that we noticed throughout the party was fog. Yes, fog. Lots of fog, mostly around Liberty Square near the Mansion, but not limited to the mansion.
Lots of costumes too. Mostly teenagers and little kids, but quite a few adults were in costumes too. We saw at least two of these guys:
That right there was worth the price of admission. Oh yeah.
So, we decided to make a circuit around the park to soak up the atmosphere. The place was packed. I mean, PACKED. As in, we paid almost $60 each to get in, yet only rode 3 rides ALL NIGHT packed. But then we saw this:
So cool! These projections were all over the place that night, but always where you’re not looking if you’re rushing from place to place. I mean, you can only see this if you’re coming from Fantasyland to Tomorroland, and there was one on the grass by the pond near Crystal Palace Buffet, and a few others that I can’t remember where.
We headed up through Fantasyland and I noticed the first of these:
There were actually quite a few throughout the park, but since this is the first one that I saw, it was the only one to get me really excited. Yes, I’m easy to entertain. Why do you ask?
It’s just a sheath that they slipped over a light, but it was only there during the party, and that makes it awesome.
About the time we reached Liberty Square, the parade route was already packed out. And, since I knew I had to get pictures to post here, we staked out a spot. Not that it did me much good, only about 3 pictures turned out clear at all.
What I think of the Boo To You parade: It’s cute. I love the music. The floats? Meh. It’s really not that impressive in my opinion, and while I would recommend not missing this parade if you attend the party, I wouldn’t attend the party just to see the parade.
I forgot how much I liked the “It’s Good To Be Bad” part of the parade. And, actually, those floats are cooler than I remembered…
You should have seen the wait for the Haunted Mansion immediately after the parade.
By the way, the Haunted Mansion totally looked awesome during the party.
Plus the fog was extra thick around the cemetary and the pet cemetary.
They also had a Southern Belle type ghost sitting on a rocking chair out front, close enough to the line that she could interact with guests as they waited. Unfortunately, though she was glowing, none of my pictures turned out and I can only tell who it is based on the context of where the picture is in my files.
So, after wandering around a bit, and probably going on only one ride, it was time to find a spot for the HalloWishes fireworks. Somehow we ended up in the Rose Garden in front of Cinderella Castle (surprisingly, the least crowded area that we found was the Rose Garden- who knew?). A really nice lady offered us the two chairs that her friends had vacated, which was amazing- we got to SIT and still see the fireworks clearly!
The Good: Visually stunning and they did some really cool things with the Castle as part of the show.
The Bad: The music that the fireworks are set to is a bunch of modernized pop-ified versions of classic Disney villain songs. Really? The new versions sucked, and we both would have enjoyed the whole show MUCH more if they had simply blended the classic actually-from-the-movies versions of the songs instead. The music that they used was the musical equivalent of the third straight to video sequels. Blech! Totally spoiled the fireworks, which was about half of what we paid to get in to see.
You see what I mean about bad music? I have to admit though, that the HalloWishes is visually the single most spectacular fireworks show that I’ve seen at Disney World. (emphasis on seen and visually)
So, after wandering around a bit more, taking a few pictures (there were some great photo ops during the party- particularly in front of Pirates of the Caribbean), and, maybe, riding one or two rides, we decided to head out. At the park exit, we noticed a few awesome things. For one, when you heard thunder and lightning crash, the clocks (I believe one on Town Hall, and one on the train station) would flash and shake. For two, there was a series of small jackolanterns above the arch that spelled out Happy Halloween. I did take a picture, but it didn’t really turn out. Take my word for it, it was cute.
Then as we left we noticed a bunch of people running around and posing. Lo and behold! This:
So cool! Unfortunately, you can’t see the scale of this thing, but it was, oh, about 5′ tall. No joke.
So, would I recommend going to spend Halloween in Disney World? Yes. It was definitely over crowded, the fireworks music was lame, and you get less out of it than you get out of the Christmas party. But. It’s really pretty stinkin’ cool. I like the Boo To You music, you get free candy, and the fog and Haunted Mansion music piped everywhere is great. And better than that, there’s just this high energy vibe that you get from everyone else that I’ve never seen at the parks before. Everyone is excited, they’re running around, they’re laughing, they’re dressed up, and they’re fizzing like Pop Rocks. And that’s pretty hard to beat.
(Caveat- Your Milage May Vary)
So, did I miss anything? Anything that you’d like to add about Halloween in Disney World or the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party?