Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Recap
We attended the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World on October 6, 2015. This post features photos and thoughts on the party this year, including crowds, characters, new offerings, and random tips. We’ll have a few “reports” from our recent Walt Disney World trip in the coming weeks, with this being the first.
Before we get to our report on this year’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, pictured above are our costumes for this year. These are Disney Yukata, which are casual kimonos often worn in the summer to keep cool (one of our main “rules” in our Disney Halloween Costume Tips post). We purchased ours at Tokyo Disneyland during Tanabata Days, as having kimonos with Mickey & Minnie, Cinderella Castle, Mount Prometheus, and various Disney attractions on them seemed pretty cool.
Unfortunately, my kimono seems to resemble pajamas and/or a dress…or so snarky folks on the internet said. Not our most ambitious costume effort ever for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, but fairly unique and practical given the weather. After the mistake of wearing a Beast costume a few years back, I’ve tried to focus more on being comfortable than having a killer costume–so many others do costumes so much better.
Alright, now let’s start with a look at the party itself…
We started back in Storybook Circus at around 6:45 pm, getting in line to meet Minnie, Donald, and Daisy. If you’ve read our Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Tips post, you know this is not recommended, as these aren’t “high demand” characters. However, we’ve done this party numerous times in the last several years, and there weren’t really many characters we wanted to meet this year.
I have no idea what is going on in this photo, and I think that’s part of the fun. You know you had a good time at a meet & greet when you have a few “what the heck?!” photos. It means the characters weren’t just static photo props.
From there we headed over to Haunted Mansion to get some photos and see the always fun Lady Renata, and briefly enjoying the ambiance of the area, which is heightened for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, with fog and various lighting effects. We don’t usually do rides during the Halloween Party, but spending time outside of Haunted Mansion is always a must (enter through the exit if you don’t plan on riding).
At this point, it was decision time. The first parade wasn’t starting for almost 45 minutes, which meant it wasn’t getting to Main Street for much longer than that, but we had been hearing reports of insanely busy Halloween Parties, so we decided to err on the side of caution. We scoped out a few potential spots on Main Street, ultimately opting for a location in Town Square.
Then we waited…and waited…and waited some more. To make matters worse, we could have snatched the same spots we got 30 minutes later than we did. Despite this being an October party, it did not seem exceptionally crowded to us–certainly not even close to as bad as reports from prior parties this year. We always try to do weeknight parties (as those are the best days to go to avoid crowds), but usually in September, so I was a little concerned. Turns out that it was probably one of the less-busy parties we’ve attended in the last 3-4 years.
On the plus side, we picked spots right next to Chris Evans, and he was gracious-enough to take a photo with us and share some of his thoughts on politics, espionage, Donald Trump, the trials & tribulations of being a super soldier, and camera settings for photographing the ballroom dancers in the Boo to You Parade. Turns out Mr. Evans is a big fan of the parade. He seemed to be a good sport about the fact that Walt Disney World hadn’t given him VIP seating and he had to stand among the unwashed masses like us, calling it his “patriotic duty” or something like that.
The Boo to You Parade was awesome as always, and this spot in Town Square was solid for being better lighting while retaining the excellent ambiance of Main Street. This parade remains my white whale for photography, so take my opinion with a grain of salt, but I think I’d go as far as to call this the second best spot for the parade.
When it comes to the Headless Horseman, catching someone else’s flash doesn’t hurt. I ran upstairs in the train station to snap this one, and then ran down…
…for this one. This shot illustrates why this Town Square location is nice for photos. This is a tough parade to shoot, but the lighting here makes it a lot easier.
Boo to You is one of those things that I hope is not outright replaced at any time in the near future. I think the parade has aged incredibly well, and while I’d love to see a new float added here or there, this is Walt Disney World parade-perfection, and I don’t see it having the same problems aging poorly (I’m looking at you, Main Street Electrical Parade) as other parades. We always make sure to see it twice each time we go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and it was as good as ever, with one minor exception…
Okay, controversial opinion time. This year, there is no graveyard caretaker and his dog in the Haunted Mansion unit of the Boo to You Parade. The internal reason for this that I’ve heard from those in the know is that it’s out of respect to the dog who previously “played” the part, and passed away prior to the start of this year’s parties. I know that here in America we respect canine life more than human life, but this is ridiculous. This is a lame excuse to not hire a performer to play the caretaker, or to find another dog.
Honestly, I can’t believe I had to even preface the previous paragraph with “controversial opinion time.” The only reason I did was because a friend expressed similar sentiment on Twitter, and was criticized for a lack of compassion. How about some “compassion” for the guests paying $60-70/person for the party, 99.99% (probably a low estimate) of whom have no idea that the actor-dog who previously played the part passed away? Should entertainment quality for tens of thousands of paying guests really be sacrificed to pay tribute to a dog?
We all love Walt Disney World, but let’s be reasonable: this is nothing more than a calculated business decision. It’s one less performer to pay that guests may not notice, with a superficially benevolent justification as to why it’s being done. The problem is that it doesn’t hold up to any kind of scrutiny, and is inconsistent with past precedent.
This certainly isn’t how Disney “honored” Michael Jackson (Captain EO was brought back to pay tribute), Robin Williams (the Genie remained prominent in Aladdin the Musical), or that friend of Gaston (continues doing in-park meet & greets) when each of them passed, because that style of honoring them wasn’t the best business move. If this were truly about honoring the dog, why not have the new dog wear a ribbon on its collar to pay tribute?
After the first parade, it was time for the always-enjoyable HalloWishes fireworks. It was crazy to see just how many people left the Halloween Party after the first parade, and there was a ton of empty space back in Town Square where we watched the fireworks (towards the hub was more crowded, I heard). I get that a lot of kids can’t last until midnight, but if I were paying $200+ for a family of 4 to attend the party, I’d want to make darn sure the kids were rested and could last more than 2.5 hours of the party. To each their own, I guess. I also don’t light my cigars with $100 bills (only fifties).
Following the fireworks, we normally would have thought about getting a spot for the second parade, but our good friend Chris Evans swooped in like a true hero, and agreed to save our spot while we got more character photos. Sarah claims this wasn’t actually Chris Evans, but instead our friend Mark Willard, but I watch 3 hours of TMZ per day. I think I know what Chris Evans looks like. (Although that might explain why the autograph on my forehead simply said “Mark,” but I thought it was some sort of getting into character bit, like Tom Jane getting ready for Homeless Dad.)
In any case, we raced back to Fantasyland, where Pooh and Friends were meeting in Halloween costumes. We’ve done this meet and greet a few times, but not for several years, and not since they started meeting together. The line was flying, and we were pretty shocked by this. Then, we got to the front and realized it was because they would only take one photo, of your entire group.
I’m all for speeding up high-demand meet & greets, but we would have gladly waited twice as long if it meant having a bit of an actual experience at the meet & greet. There has to be a happy medium between a 5-minute encounter with multiple cameras and phones, and standing in front of the characters without any interaction as if they are a background prop before quickly being pushed through. I’m hoping this isn’t the norm at this spot, or at least isn’t the norm when there are little kids who start interacting with the characters (the groups in front of us that we observed were all teens and adults). For us, it was fine because all we really wanted was an updated photo.
Following this, we went to Mickey’s Meet & Greet in Town Square. We’ve done this several times in this location, but somehow, not since they started doing it with talking Mickey. The technology for this isn’t totally there, but this still sort of blew my mind. The interactions were sufficiently fluid for it to be believable for kids young-enough to think Mickey is real in the first place, and it was flat out cool.
This is probably old news for most of you (and I’m still not quite sure how we’ve managed to miss it), but we were both very impressed. In watching the reactions of both kids and adults, it seemed to me like this is one of those experiences that alone probably makes the trip worth it for a lot of families. I’m not a parent, so I cannot even fathom the idea of my kid having a conversation with Mickey Mouse, but I’m betting it would be one of those ‘fighting to hold back the tears’ moments. As for us, Mickey greeted us with konnichiwa and told us he had a place out in Toontown when we told him where we lived, both of which were good situational engagements, I thought.
We’ll cover the new Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular and my overall feelings about the party on page 2…
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We have BOG reservations on a MNSSHP night and we are getting conflicting information. Our reservations are at 6:40pm. Will we be able to keep our reservations and be escorted out? Or will they not honor our reservations because we are not staying for the party? TIA!
Love the report my daughter and I went on the same night and had a ball. Hocus pocus was a personal favorite as my daughter grew up watching and loving it she actually saw the original book of spells when she was younger at MGM and cried when she saw it at that time, its not there anymore so seeing the show brought back a lot of wonderful memories. We also had the pictures taken at the Haunted Mansion with the ghost on the carriage as well as the portraits that change you to a ghost amazing. It was our first time going to the party. Went on your recommendation so thank you gave my daughter and I some wonderful memories as well as being able to dress as our favorite Disney characters Tinkerbell and Peter Pan
I have been a fan of this website for quite some time now but have never left a comment. If ever you are doing something deemed “not fun” I’d have to say you do it for the enjoyment of your readers. And for that I’d have to say thanks!
Love reading this website!
I see what you mean about the “white whale” – I just went through my photos of the parade. I took a bunch and I’d say I have 0 “good”, 2-3 “okay”, and a whole bunch of “garbage”.
Also, how have you not seen Hocus Pocus?! I think we’re about the same age, and basically everyone that I went to college with, most of my friends my age all LOVE it! I’m talking statuses about it on Facebook, switching profile pictures, etc. It blows my mind that you have never seen it! That’s a travesty that needs to be corrected!
When I first saw the talking Mickey about a year ago it totally blew my mind…I felt like a 5 year old myself! I loved it, he interacted so well with the family with kids in front of us, he performed a magic trick, and then they all pretended to fly around the room. It was magical. And I hadn’t heard about it before we went, I just thought it was going to be the same “regular” Mickey, and then we get in there and he’s talking and blinking and I was blown away!!
We were in Disney at the same time. I’m so sad I didn’t get to meet you guys! Love your blog.
We attended our first Not So Scary party on the same night you were there. We had a wonderful experience. My husband and I enjoyed the trick or treating. Our children (ages 12 and 9) were interested in the rides. We did one meet and greet-the evil witch from Snow White. We loved the parade-my favorites were the Headless Horseman and grave diggers. We enjoyed the atmosphere and riding whatever we wanted with relatively short lines. We would definitely attend the party again!
Don’t listen to the naysayers, when I saw the picture of you and Sarah in you kimonos my first thought was “Oooo, I wish we had thought to dress in something cute AND cool for MNSSHP.” Never once thought it looked like a dress or PJ’s. Thanks for sharing your review!
Haha, well, thank you for your vote of confidence! They definitely were VERY practical outfits for the Halloween Party!
Before you give the Britney Vote of Confidence too much credence, you should probably know my shoe of choice at Disney are my tie dye style off-brand crocs (fashion is for those not brave enough to look truly ridiculous in the name of comfort 😉 But in this case the non Croc wearing part of me was on board too, so I still say your good.
Looks like I should have waiting a week for our trip! We went to the party on the 1st and it seemed extra crowded. We got our parade spot early and just settled for a bad view of the fireworks (we were seeing it the next night from Cali Grill anyway). The Hocus Pocus show was crowded too, but that actually made me really happy. I’m so glad it is doing so well (for the reason you mentioned, everything doesn’t have to be Frozen!), and it really is an awesome show.
We did spend a lot of time wandering and soaking in the atmosphere. I think that was my favorite part, especially since crowds don’t bother me while I’m wandering. It was fun to see all the costumes around us.
We have tickets for October 31, this will be our first MNSSHP. I am excited and nervous, not sure if it was a crazy idea to go on Halloween. Oh well, we were there this 4th of July ( used your advice for that trip too) and was not nearly as bad as we expected. Certainly appreciate your report on this year as well as the previous reports you have done for MNSSHP. I was looking forward to seeing the grave digger’s dog, may the previous canine RIP. Thank you for the report and you and Sarah looked great.
A sold out party is a sold out party. Same number of people for a sold out date in September (which happened multiple times) as a sold out party on Halloween. Only difference is that the weather should be nicer on Halloween.
Now, this isn’t to say sold out parties aren’t quite busy, but they are nowhere near July 4th levels…
Good review. We attended on 10/4 and had a better than expected time. I was a bit nervous after the September posted reviews. This was our third party in four years. My only disappointment was the fireworks viewing. We have always (party or not) watched the fireworks on the Tomorrowland bridge. We were told this year that we could not – if in front of the castle, you had to be in the hub. I don’t like being packed in like that!
Why wouldn’t they let you watch from the bridge? That’s really odd. In any case, farther down Main Street is a perfect view of the show without all of the crowds. Not sure why everyone always crowds the hub.
During our visit to the Halloween Party last fall, we watched the fireworks show from the bridge to Tomorrowland. A CM came through and told us that we would not be able to see the fireworks from the bridge. It was not that we couldn’t watch from there. She said the best viewpoint was from the hub. Maybe they are just trying to push people to a better viewing location.