Walt Disney World has introduced the new Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Pass, allowing access to unlimited special event nights for $299 plus tax. Well, technically “only” 35 nights–but this allows Party Passholders to attend every party night in August, September, October, and November except for October 31, 2019.
We bought the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Pass, as it makes complete sense for us. We always do the first party “for the sake of research” and usually one more Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in late September or early October “for fun” when the weather improves. This year, we were going to attend three parties thanks to visits from family. Even if we do only one additional night, we come out ahead.
In this post, we’ll breakdown the math on the Party Pass, whether it might make sense for you or if you should just do Olive Garden’s Never Ending Pasta Pass, what it could mean for MNSSHP crowds, and how likely Walt Disney World is to offer something similar for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party…
For starters, you can purchase the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Pass by calling the Disney Reservation Center at 407-939-4295 or visiting any Walt Disney World Theme Park Ticket Window. We did this on Friday, and fearing lines at Magic Kingdom, we did it from the air-conditioned comfort of the Guest Relations building at Disney Springs.
Unlike other Walt Disney World Annual Passes, the Party Pass does not include parking, nor does it include admission to Magic Kingdom on party nights in the morning. With the Party Pass, you can enter Magic Kingdom beginning at 4 p.m. on Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party nights, or 2 p.m. if you’re a Disney Vacation Club member.
The Cast Member who helped us had not yet heard of the Party Pass, but it was still a painless process. She was able to apply the cost of the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets we had already purchased towards the $313 after tax cost of the Party Pass. It took a total of ~10 minutes.
We didn’t receive any physical card (we asked and they said they could put it on ticket stock, but it’d be a generic design; nothing special for it), but the Party Pass appeared immediately under ‘tickets’ in My Disney Experience. After that, we went directly to Magic Kingdom, arriving at 2:30 p.m. and being able to enter immediately via the special event entrance. It all went flawlessly for us (and our friends who likewise purchased the Party Pass reported the same results).
As for whether the Party Pass is right for you, that really depends upon how many nights of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party you want to attend, and in which month. The breakeven point is around 3-4 parties, depending upon when you’d buy tickets. You’ll want to do the math for your dates.
Another thing to consider here is that, irrespective of Halloween offerings, this Party Pass effectively doubles as a ‘low lines for rides’ pass. Aside from the attractions with overlays (most notably, Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain), wait times are significantly lower during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party than normal nights. For some people, there will be value in leveraging this pass to experience Magic Kingdom attractions with ‘After Hours’ level wait times.
We were advised that there are limited quantities of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Pass available to purchase, which I originally took to actually mean: “quantities are limited…to as many people as want to buy the pass.” However, upon asking around a bit, I now have reason to believe there actually is a limit on how many will be sold, and it’s fairly low as compared to the nightly attendance cap at the parties.
On this note, I also would not except an ‘unlimited’ Party Pass for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. There are fewer of these parties plus hotel occupancy is higher in November and December, than it is for September and October. Plus, there’s a good chance this fiscal quarter isn’t shaping up too well, and Disney wants to bolster Parks & Resorts revenue numbers.
Of course, as with so many things Disney-related, this is subject to change. It’s possible Disney could see attendance patterns or guest spending at the event, decide the numbers are not satisfactory, and sell more passes for Halloween–or Party Passes for MVMCP.
We were also advised that the Party Pass will count against the attendance cap for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Frankly, I’m not sure how that could conceivably work, as Disney wouldn’t know in advance how many Party Passholders are attending. More likely, I think that’s probably a way of saying, “we’re so far from selling out so many nights that this pass isn’t going to put us in ‘danger’ of exceeding the cap.”
Irrespective of that, we’d expect the Party Pass to have a pretty negligible impact. The Party Pass has not yet sold out, but assuming that it does and that half of all passholders were to attend on any given night (which is probably way too high), that would still only amount to less than 3% of the total attendance at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. In the meantime, Party Passholders would’ve accounted for ~1% of attendance on the first night.
The bigger issue with regard to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party crowds is that the attendance cap has been increased pretty significantly over the course of the last few years. Despite some efforts to redistribute attendance throughout Magic Kingdom via the attraction overlays, most MNSSHP guests are still congregating to limited areas of the park.
In other words, even if actual attendance on a party night is roughly half of what it is on a normal day, the “feels like” crowds during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party can be considerably worse in some areas, like Main Street, because most guests are not in line for rides. (Remember: wait times, attendance, and crowds are all different, and shouldn’t be used synonymously.)
Speculating a bit here, we suspect that the motivation for selling the Party Pass is not (primarily) to cram more people into Magic Kingdom on Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party nights. Rather, it’s to help with lagging attendance at the late August and September parties, which are likely seeing slower ticket sales than normal.
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).
In addition to fears of Star Wars-induced crowds, consumer confidence took an unexpected drop in August, and the travel industry at large has been starting to experience a slowdown in spending. Add to that growing fears about a looming recession and other recently-released ticket products suggesting that Disney might just have a “pricing issue” (which the company has denied), and it seems like ~$100/night special event tickets potentially aren’t selling like hotcakes.
Now, this isn’t to say that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party will feel like a ghost town come October. Even if Walt Disney World has trouble selling out this year’s events, the attendance cap is still higher than it was a few years ago–and the attraction overlays are not pulling sufficient numbers to justify the higher cap.
However, we are expecting the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party dates the last week of August and first two weeks of September (at the very least) to have significantly lower attendance than their counterparts last year. “Feels like” crowds will still be high on Main Street and in the lines for rare characters, but the rest of Magic Kingdom should both feel less crowded and have wait times reflecting said lower crowds.
We’ll be tracking Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in late August and early September to see if these predictions play out as we anticipate, or if something else happens. (Now that we have the Party Pass, might as well go as much as we can to get our money’s worth!) We’ll also be watching how regular party ticket sales shape up for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. While such a pass still seems highly unlikely for Christmas, that too could change if ticket sales are low. Stay tuned!
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What do you think of the Party Pass? Will you purchase it? As a one-time party guest, does it irritate you that this is offered, and could lead to larger crowds? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? 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!