We’ve already been getting a lot of questions about the 2023 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This FAQ answers those common inquiries about prices, best & worst crowds, ticket sell-outs, when to visit Magic Kingdom, and much more.
Aside from the two years when it didn’t happen, we’ve attended Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at least once every year since 2008–including over a dozen times in 2019 and twice in 2022! From all of those party nights–and ticket purchases–we’ve learned a lot about how it works, much of which is also covered in our Guide to 2023 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, which also covers whether it’s worth the money, strategy for the event, and questions readers are not asking (yet).
Unsurprisingly, there are a lotof questions about the 2023 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, including from seasoned Walt Disney World veterans. One thing to keep in mind is that what happened in the past isn’t necessary what’ll happen this year. This is generally something to keep in mind with regard to all these answers–they’re all based on a mix of speculation and knowledge of past precedent, with no guarantee that it holds true in the present/future.
In this MNSSHP FAQ, we’ll try to answer the most common reader questions and concerns. We’ll also add to it over time, so if you have questions that are still unanswered after reading this, please feel free to inquire in the comments–we’ll update accordingly!
How quickly will tickets sell out?
No one knows. Period, full stop, whatever.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween is beloved among Walt Disney World fans and it has not been held since 2019. Normally, the reactions to this announcement would be a 50/50 mix of complaints about price increases and excitement about the event returning. This time, I’d estimate that <10% of reactions were complaints of any variety. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and that’s despite this being the largest price increase ever for MNSSHP.
The fact is that there’s a ton of pent-up demand for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party among locals and diehard fans. Add to that uncertainty about the economy and unknowns about the capacity cap, and I’m not even remotely comfortable guessing when tickets will sell out.
Which dates typically sell out first?
Typically, the first and the last night sell out before any other date, followed by other dates during the week of Halloween.
Last year, the party on Halloween night sold out at the beginning of July, approximately 45 days after tickets went on sale. Our expectation is that the first August date and October 28-31, 2023 parties will sell out first this year.
After that, there’s very little consistency. Sometimes one of the Fridays early-on in August goes, other times it’s Fridays in October. Dates coinciding with large group bookings, special events, and conventions also tend to go fast–those are wild cards.
Which are the best nights to attend?
As a general rule, the earlier in the season, the lower the crowd levels. While tourists are eager to celebrate Halloween whenever, this event is also popular with locals. Most (normal) Floridians are not celebrating Halloween in August.
Similarly, weeknights are usually less crowded than weekends. Again, this comes down to locals rather than tourists. Florida residents mostly won’t book weeknights because they have to get up for work and/or school the next morning.
Combining these two principles, Tuesdays in August are a great time to go. Conversely, Fridays in October tend to be worst.
It tends to be overrun with bloggers, vloggers, social media influencers, and the many other Floridians who have to be first to do anything. You might want to avoid those evenings–especially if you don’t want to be in the background of someone’s vlog or live stream. Personally, I would not attend the first night if I did not have to for the sake of “research.” (Honestly, we’re debating whether to do the 4th party instead–there will be a surplus of coverage from night one, and waiting might be more pleasant for us.)
The second party is typically not nearly as bad. The only caveat I’d offer there is that Disney typically uses this as media night, so it can have some of the same problems as the first (on a much smaller scale). The bigger issue is that they often rope off some of the best parade viewing areas.
Still, it’s a Tuesday in mid-August, so it won’t be too bad.
What if all nights sell out?
It stands to reason that if every Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party sells out, they’re all equally crowded, right?
In theory, yes. In actuality, our experience over the years has been that Walt Disney World gradually increases the capacity cap in late September and October. In other words, a “sold out” night in August often is not as bad as a “sold out” night in October.
How bad are crowds at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party?
As noted above, it depends on which day of the week and which month of the event you attend. Another reason why perceptions of crowds varies is because too many Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party guests congregate in a few limited areas of the park.
Between the fireworks and second parade, the Hub can feel downright unsafely congested as people are attempting to leave and arrive simultaneously. Main Street can feel like it’s an 11/10 in terms of crowds, so if you spend a disproportionate amount of the event up there (as we do), you might think MNSSHP is insanely crowded–worse than a normal day.
Meanwhile, over in Fantasyland, Adventureland, and Frontierland, there are often wide open walkways during the exact same parties, at the exact same times. While not as short as After Hours events, wait times for most attractions are under 10 minutes. Guests who use MNSSHP as a way to do rides with minimal waits and steer clear of Main Street might perceive crowds to be around 4/10.
With that said, you should go in with realistic expectations about Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party if you’ve never attended, only done After Hours Boo Bash, or haven’t done MNSSHP since 2016. In the last two years the party ran, its attendance levels absolutely exploded in October.
For those who are unfamiliar with it, Walt Disney World offered the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Pass–essentially an Annual Pass for the Halloween Party–in the last year it was held. This allowed access to 35 nights–every party night in August, September, October, and November except for Halloween itself. All for $299.
This was a last-minute offering, quite literally. It was announced and went on sale the day of the first MNSSHP. We scrambled to get our regular MNSSHP tickets converted to Party Passes that day, and Cast Members at Guest Relations hadn’t even heard of the Party Pass yet.
We speculated that the Party Pass was a last ditch effort to buoy ticket sales for August and September, which were likely slower than normal due to fans avoiding those months for fear of huge crowds around the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. (It’s a distant memory now, but remember that?)
Here’s our commentary from that time: “Since Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was announced, we’ve been trying to allay fears that this September at Walt Disney World is unlikely to be chaotic. It’s still school season, storm season, and the heart of what’s typically off-season in Florida. Nevertheless, we’ve heard from many readers who have debated canceling their planned trips (or have canceled).”
With pent-up demand still going strong, it’s incredibly unlikely that the Party Pass will be sold right away (or at all). With that said, we’ve included the above quotes because it offers a potentially interesting parallel to present day–expectations for sky-high demand that slam into hard economic realities.
Even with the “r word” being thrown around more by analysts, I’m highly skeptical that the Party Pass will return. Even though the season started out slow, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party was absolutely slammed by October of that year.
When should we do our Magic Kingdom day if we are NOT attending MNSSHP?
Magic Kingdom is leastbusy on days with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in the evening and more busy on days that MNSSHP isn’t happening. This is because the Halloween Party is separately-ticketed, which causes Magic Kingdom to close early on MNSSHP nights. Many day guests avoid Magic Kingdom on party dates because the park hours are shorter and fireworks are not shown to regular guests. This results in significantly lighter crowds before the party.
These same guests then flock to non-party days in Magic Kingdom. Even though the park has longer hours on these days, you will get less done than you could before 4 pm on a party day. So long as you’re comfortable missing the fireworks (Disney Enchantment is nothing special) or are fine watching from a resort restaurant or the TTC, we highly recommend doing your days in Magic Kingdom on party dates.
Conversely, we strongly recommend avoiding Saturdays in Magic Kingdom, which will likely have 10/10 crowd levels. Also steer clear of any days that are in between two or more Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party nights. This is less important in August and September when attendance levels are lower, but is critical in October. It’s possible Disney Park Pass reservations will help normalize attendance to some degree, but don’t count on it.
If you have a Park Hopper ticket, we’d strongly recommend visiting Magic Kingdom during the day on Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party nights, and then bouncing to another park at around 4 pm. Animal Kingdom will always be your best option for lower-crowd evenings during the fall. If, for some reason, Fantasmic still hasn’t returned, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be another great option.
If you don’t have a Park Hopper ticket…we’d strongly recommend upgrading to one. As far as splurges go, this is a valuable one to have during party season.
What happens with Extended Evening Hours?
Extended Evening Hours typically occur at Magic Kingdom on Wednesday, which is not a party night. It’s always possible that Walt Disney World will move those hours to Disney’s Hollywood Studios during party season, but we doubt it.
Are Disney Park Pass reservations required?
Does Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party include unlimited ice cream, popcorn, soda and other refreshments?
That’s a feature of the After Hours events. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party offers unlimited trick or treating, and there will also be special food & beverage available for purchase.
Why are tickets cheaper than last year’s Disney After Hours Boo Bash?
As intimated above, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is fundamentally different than the After Hours events. The heart of the After Hours events is low crowds and short lines at attractions, with entertainment being the icing on the cake. By contrast, the heart of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is the entertainment, and short lines for rides are the icing.
More to the point, the attendance cap is significantly higher for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. We’re talking around double the number of guests. With a lower guest limit comes higher prices–with a higher limit, lower prices.
Why are tickets more expensive than previous Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party years?
The last year tickets were sold for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (the cancelled 2020 event), tickets started at $85 for weeknights in August and early September, which was “only” an increase of $6 as compared to the previous year. That was the smallest increase in a while.
Comparatively, this is the largest increase since we’ve been tracking prices. Granted, it’s over the course of two years instead of one, but it’s still a sizable jump.
As for why, presumably because they can. Prices will continue increasing until demand drops. The cost of visiting Walt Disney World has skyrocketed in the last two years, just like most domestic travel destinations. So long as there’s pent-up demand and plenty of people to pay these higher prices, it’ll continue.
Will Walt Disney World bring back other After Hours events?
We are surprised that they haven’t brought back the other events already. If you told me at the beginning of this calendar year that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party would return in mid-August, I would’ve guessed that, at minimum, Villains After Hours would return before it.
So the answer here is “I don’t know.” Disney is leaving money on the table by not bringing back other After Hours events, and the only explanation I can come up with is that staffing still isn’t where it needs to be for those events. I truly do not know, though.
What does this mean for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party?
My guess would be that it’s coming back.
The only thing that could throw a monkey wrench in that is attendance projections for November and December, which are historically much busier months than August and September. Consequently, it’s possible Walt Disney World leadership won’t want to close at 7 pm several nights per week because of the crowd disruptions it’ll cause.
Still, it’s hard to imagine bringing back MNSSHP but not Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. The opening of TRON Lightcycle Run is another wild card, and it looks increasingly likely to debut this year–potentially during the holiday season around when Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opened a few years ago. In other words, the return of MVMCP is no sure thing at this point, but “leans likely.”
Have any questions about the 2023 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party that this FAQ did not answer? Other thoughts or points to address? Excited that MNSSHP is returning this year? Will your family be buying or sitting this Halloween event out? Do you agree or disagree with our perspective on this? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!