Photos & Recap: Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
It’s always interesting to see the mass exodus of people following the first Boo to You Parade, and then again following HalloWishes. I understand that a lot of kids can’t last until midnight, but if I were paying $300+ for a family of 4 to attend the party, I’d be pretty distraught if we had to leave halfway through the event because the kids were tired or on the cusp of a meltdown. I realize parents have no good choice in that situation, and this coupled with my cheapness is one of the “scariest” things about parenthood, for me.
As half the crowd is leaving, we normally go to stake out our spot for the second Boo to You Parade. However, we’d seen barely any of the atmosphere of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party beyond Main Street and the Haunted Mansion. We hadn’t even stepped foot in Adventureland or Frontierland!
So, that was on the agenda instead. I love the fog on the Rivers of America, and there’s also moody lighting on the facades of the Frontierland buildings, too. After Main Street, I’d say Frontierland is my favorite land during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Adventure is…different. I’ve grown to like the radio station that plays pop music during the event, and the atmosphere around Pirates of the Caribbean is always cool, too.
For the first time in what seems like several parties, I actually caught a performance of the Cadaver Dans. Throughout the night, they perform some awesome melodies (including “Ghost Riders In The Sky”, “Grim Grinning Ghosts”, and “The Oogie Boogie Song”), and engage in fun banter with guests.
If it weren’t for wanting photos from a particular vantage on Main Street, I think I’d revise my strategy for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party to shoot the second parade from in Frontierland. It’s obviously less busy and crowded back here, so there’s that.
A bigger deal is that instead of the Zootopia Party Patrol, you get the Cadaver Dans! While families might prefer the former, old fogies like me who miss the ‘classic’ atmosphere on Main Street pre-parade strongly dislike the dance groups.
This also made for a convenient time to grab some of the Haunted Mansion snacks from Aloha Isle, which was selling two varieties. I would’ve bought all of them if they were all sold there, but party time is already too limited, and running to Tomorrowland and Storybook Circus to get the remaining ones seemed like a bit much. If they were free Christmas cookies, maybe, but not for overpriced Haunted Mansion desserts.
Next up was the second running of the Boo to You Parade, from our normal viewing spot at the end of Main Street. Photos:
As much as I would’ve enjoyed staying back in Frontierland where there were no crowds, the ominous lighting on the buildings and Cinderella Castle towering in the background makes this area totally worth it for me.
If only they’d move the Cadaver Dans up here and the Zootopia thing somewhere else…
We made a point to end our night with Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular. After seeing this show for a couple of years ago without having seen the movie, we purchased the DVD, which is perpetually a bestseller on Amazon during the Halloween season, and now watch it regularly in the lead-up to Halloween.
The cult popularity of the movie (which seems to grow by the year), no doubt feeds into the show’s ongoing popularity.
It also doesn’t hurt that Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular is just flat-out awesome. From the production value to the script to the caliber of the performers, the show is top notch.
It also has one of those qualities about it that’s difficult to articulate, but just makes it really enjoyable to watch. A mix of charm and mild edge, both of which are undoubtedly carried by the three main characters.
The nefarious vibe of the background performers and other Disney villains is countered perfectly by the comedic stylings of the Sanderson sisters. It feels like there are things this show gets away with that wouldn’t otherwise be “okay” in a Magic Kingdom show, but are fine because there’s a certain charm and odd breed of humor to it. I’m not entirely sure…like I said, it’s tough to articulate.
I wouldn’t call the show risque, or anything remotely close to it, but it pushes the envelope in Magic Kingdom a tad. The Sanderson sisters are the unequivocal highlight of the show, and the chemistry they have is incredible. If anything, I’d like to see them ad lib and push the envelope just a tad more with some topical jokes scattered into the mix.
The segments within the show are so good, too. Dr. Facilier lip syncs–probably out of necessity since the character’s voice is so distinct–but his mannerisms are nonetheless mesmerizing. The Oogie Boogie segment reminds me ever-so-slightly of Oogie Boogie’s Freaky Funhouse at the one-off Villains Unleashed event, except much, much tamer.
Even though the Villains Unleashed event was a disaster in many ways, I’d sure love to see Walt Disney World try something like it again. I thought Oogie’s show in that was pretty good, and even a toned down version would be cool.
Hocus Pocus started at midnight, which effectively extended the party by 20 minutes. This is a nice way to “extend” Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, if you need a way to justify the ever-rising cost of the event to yourself.
Even with this extra time, there’s so much we didn’t have a chance to do: PhotoPass exclusive special shots, other desserts, dance parties, and wandering the east side of the park. Granted, we could’ve done a lot of this had we skipped one of the parades or Hocus Pocus shows, but given that those are among our favorite pieces of Walt Disney World entertainment, that wasn’t going to happen.
As always, we lingered for as long as possible post-closing. For me, this is as much a chance to capture photos with unique lighting as it is a chance to embrace the eerie party ambiance. I love the background music, fog effects, lighting, and just how dramatically different of a vibe Magic Kingdom takes on.
This is one thing I feel Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party does even better, but MNSSHP is still no slouch. The best time to enjoy this atmosphere is after the park closes, when it’s devoid of other guests and particularly spooky.
Overall, we are both had a great time at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party this year. Even as Annual Passholders, the party is worth it to us…every single year. The ambiance, fireworks, and parade alone have justified the cost for us, with everything else being icing on the cake. I do question the decision to change next to nothing for 2017, which is the second consecutive year of no changes (well, aside from the price!) to MNSSHP after the big addition of Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular in 2015.
If the sole or primary demographic of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party were first-timers who will only ever do the event once, I can sort of understand maintaining the status quo, at least when it comes to Boo to You. However, I suspect the party gets a lot of locals and repeat visitors, and it strikes me as odd that more doesn’t change on an annual basis. After the debut of Happily Ever After this year, I was cautiously optimistic that we’d get an enhanced HalloWishes fireworks show utilizing more projection technology, but that didn’t happen. Even swapping out some of the characters for rare ones would be a nice gesture. As exceptional as Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is, it feels a tad lazy that something so expensive changes so little from year to year.
Oh, and we ended the night by seeing an owl. Watching Mike Wazowski interview(?) him was the perfect ending to a great night.
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Have you attended the 2017 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World? What did you think? Thoughts on the Boo to You Parade, HalloWishes Fireworks, Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular, or any other entertainment? Any other tips, likes or dislikes? If you have any questions or thoughts to share, please post them in the comments. We love hearing from readers!
Where is the candy trail near main street? Do they give candy out as early as 4? Thanks!
In the words (kinda) of one of the all time great attractions… they should move that Zootopia thing to Pittsburgh! 🙂
We missed the party as we had planned to go on one of our last nights but Irma intervened & we hadn’t bought tickets yet so couldn’t swap.
Ah well – next time…
I like the simple Scrooge McDuck costume idea. I was hoping you would report back that there are classic rare characters that show up to the party such as Country Bears, Splash Mountain characters, Horace and Clarabelle, or Robin Hood characters. Oh well I am still looking forward to the party.
We’re going on Halloween! I am positive we won’t get to half the stuff that smart people like yourselves get to do earlier in the year, I am sure it will be nuts. I can’t wait!
Another parenting tip. Since I’m assuming you’ll be in the parks regularly, don’t buy a budget price stroller. Splurge on a good quality one. We like the ones that have an interchangeable bassinet and regular seat that can be faced towards us or towards the front and has a full recline for a sleeping child. Having them facing you can help prevent them being overwhelmed by everything the could see facing forward. We haven’t ever left early due to a fussy child, just sometimes found a less stimulating spot to hang out at while she calms down and make sure we pack pjs to change her into once she get sleepy. She sleeps fine in the stroller. While we finish out the night. Also, invest in those battery powered LED lights on a wire. We wrap them around the stroller at night.
What kind of camera do you use? Your photos are phenomenal!
I was at the party the same night. From your write up I was like 10 minutes behind you for most of the night. I told my sister if she ever wanted to see me again I had melted into the pavement & she could come visit the puddle. Way too hot for a crazy costume. I also got to see the owl, definitely an extra experience. Boo to You really is the best parade, the song just stays with you. Glad you enjoyed yourselves! I know I did!
THAT OWL THOUGH. What a crazy shot!
Which lens did you use for the images in this post? We are leaving in 12 days and I can’t narrow them down 🙁 (also I have read your in depth gear post but that just makes me want to take even more hahahah)
Hey Tom – My wife and I ran into you at Epcot on 9/5. We both really enjoy reading your blog and it was nice to meet you in person! We also went to the Halloween party this year, so great to see your content. Glad you made it out of the hurricane safe.
We were there in Sept 7th. It was a wonderful night.
Seeing an owl that wasn’t placed by any imagineer is simply amazing.
What a great find and shot!
Halloween candy for hurricane preparedness is no joke. I went through Wilma in 2005, which hit October 24th. We had already bought big bags of candy to hand out on Halloween. We ate it all post hurricane when we were running low on food and no stores were open because we were all without electricity so long. Most of the cities around us literally cancelled Halloween that year. It was too dangerous for anybody to be out.
Re: the parenthood thing, we have a 1 year old, were “older” parents, so I was initially disappointed in how much we’d need to change our style for the parks. It really hasn’t mattered… it’s really cool to bring your kid to the park and enjoy it in a whole new way. Someday we’ll get back to the late nights closing down the park and Halloween parties, but for now we’re getting plenty of early mornings!
We attended the one on Tuesday, 9/12. I assume that a lot of people were still not able to get into Orlando after Irma to start their vacations, because what we experienced on Tuesday and Wednesday was absolutely surreal. We attend MNSSHP every year, and we have never been to one this lightly populated! We were able to easily get curbside seats along Main Street ten minutes before the parade. All of the attractions were walk-on, including Peter Pan and Seven Dwarves Mine Train. The popular character greetings still had significant wait times, but they were more like 30-45 minutes rather than the typical two hours. We found the parks in general to be almost abandoned on Wednesday as well, and we attended a DVC event at Animal Kingdom Wednesday night. By the end of the night, we almost had Pandora to ourselves. Flight of Passage was walk-on for the last two hours of the event! After midnight, we really felt like we were in a bio-luminescent rain forest on another planet as we wandered around with almost no other people in sight! I will probably never experience WDW that empty again!
Sounds perfect, I wish I could have been there
We were at the party on the 12th as well. It was great! No crowds at all. We also attended the one on the 1st of September, which seemed pretty uncrowded at the time, but in retrospect was much more crowded, even with rain for most of the evening. It was pretty magical to get to experience the park with so few people.
Great recap. We attended the first party on 8/25 and had a great time. It rained just before the second parade and I made a D Land mistake by thinking the second parade started in Town Square rather than Frontierland. Rather than wait 20 minutes in the rain we left before the second parade. Are you planning on going to Mickeys Halloween Party this year?