Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party returns to Magic Kingdom beginning in August 2022. This post takes a sneak peak at the entertainment lineup and dates for the hard ticket event, plus our commentary, including why Walt Disney World is retiring After Hours Boo Bash and bring back the fan favorite MNSSHP. (Updated April 29, 2022.)
This announcement of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party’s triumphant return occurred as part of the Disney Parks “Halfway to Halloween” wicked celebration that features special announcements, a few “shriek peeks,” recipes for dreadfully delicious dishes from the parks, not-so-spooky tips, and about a million notifications on my phone during the live tweeting of a Hocus Pocus virtual watch party.
Before we dig into the details, let’s start with the basics. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party will be held on select nights in Magic Kingdom from mid-August through the end of October 2022. This is the first time that fan-favorite MNSSHP will be held since 2019. Here’s the full text of the announcement from Walt Disney World, followed by our commentary…
This fall, ghosts and ghouls of all ages are invited to don their favorite costumes and celebrate all things haunted during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Taking place on 37 select nights August 12, 2022 through October 31, 2022, this special event haunts Magic Kingdom after normal park operating hours from 7 p.m. to midnight.
As a part of this limited-capacity event, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party attendees will encounter event-exclusive entertainment, notorious Disney villains, frightfully delicious menu items and more!
Here’s some of what’s in store at the 2022 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party:
The Headless Horseman will ride his ghostly steed down Main Street, U.S.A. as a prelude to Mickey’s Boo-To-You Halloween Parade, which features floats filled with Disney Characters dressed in their Halloween best, Disney villains and the Haunted Mansion graveyard diggers.
Collect a bag full of candy as you roam the trick-or-treat trails in search of some of your favorite sweets from Mars Wrigley brands. (Special allergy-friendly options are available, too.)
Join the Sanderson Sisters during the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular stage show at Cinderella Castle as they call upon their frightening colleagues to conjure the ultimate “Hocus Pocus” Party Potion.
Celebrate the season alongside favorite Disney characters as they take over the park for their favorite party of the year.
Overlays themed for the occasion will return to several popular Magic Kingdom attractions: Space Mountain, Mad Tea Party, Pirates of the Caribbean and Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor.
Boogie down at the Disney Junior Jam at Storybook Circus—featuring some favorite friends from Disney Junior shows. It’s perfect for young partygoers.
The Pumpkin King himself, Jack Skellington, will host “Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular.” This can’t-miss nighttime extravaganza features projections, special effects and lighting mixed with fireworks, music and Disney characters.
Discover sweet and savory menu items inspired by fall flavors and the Halloween season.
New additions to commemorate the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary, the World’s Most Magical Celebration include:
New 3D photo backdrops throughout Magic Kingdom that you can step-into for a picture-perfect three-dimensional photo effect.
A reusable treat bag that you can fill with candy and take home—featuring a design inspired by Halloween and the 50th Anniversary celebration
A commemorative print to take home—a keepsake themed to Halloween and the 50th Anniversary celebration
Tickets for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party may be purchased online or by calling 407-939-4240 beginning May 18, 2022. Guests of all Walt Disney World resorts and other select hotels (see below) can begin purchasing tickets as early as May 12, 2022. Ticket prices will range from $109 – $199. The event dates are:
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will take place from 7:00 PM to midnight. Ticket holders will be admitted to Magic Kingdom park as early as 4:00 PM on the valid date of their ticket–giving them even more time to enjoy park favorites before the event begins! These date-specific event tickets do not require an additional day theme park ticket or theme park reservation.
Below is date-by-date pricing, along with other additional details about the 2022 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party that Walt Disney World has released since we first published this:
Discounts – Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members can save $10 per ticket to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, valid for select event nights.
Purchase Tickets Soon – Guests of select hotels at the Walt Disney World Resort can begin purchasing Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party tickets as early as May 12, 2022. The advance purchase window is available to guests of ALL Disney-owned resort hotels, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin (including Swan Reserve), as well as Shades of Green at Walt Disney World Resort. All other guests may purchase tickets beginning on May 18, 2022.
We wrote that MNSSHP FAQ in response to the most common questions in the comments to this post. If you have a question, there’s a strong probability that FAQ answers it.
So there you have it: the full Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party returns for 2022, with pretty much all of the entertainment from the last time it ran in 2019.
Despite featuring a parade, stage show, and event-exclusive fireworks, the 2022 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party will have a starting price that’s $20 lower than Disney After Hours Boo Bash. Does this all sound a little too good to be true? Wondering what gives? Here’s our best effort at an explanation…
As for why Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is returning, there are several reasons. One is undoubtedly guest satisfaction. Although there have been complaints about it in more recent years (we’ll get to those below), MNSSHP is a fan favorite. Bringing it back is a huge win for Walt Disney World at a time when the place could really use a W.
For its part, Boo Bash was reasonably well-received by those who attended, but also garnered a lot of criticism. For one, there was the threshold matter of cost, as it was priced as an After Hours event ($129 to $199). For another, Boo Bash was a non-starter for many parents with small children due to its later hours and shorter runtime.
Despite the lower ticket price and added entertainment, I pretty am confident that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is more lucrative for Disney than the After Hours events. You may think that’s some “fuzzy math” on my part, but it’s pretty easily explained.
In the past, Walt Disney World has capped capacity at a significantly lower level for the After Hours events than for the Halloween and Christmas parties. We’re talking less than half. Part of this is that there’s more to absorb crowds during MNSSHP–everything from entertainment to attraction overlays.
There’s also the reality that there are usually far more MNSSHP nights. In an average recent year, there have been around 33-36 Halloween Parties. For 2022, that number is a record 37 event dates.
After Hours usually has far fewer dates per “season,” which is reflective of lower demand. To that point, Disney After Hours Boo Bash had only 23 nights last fall.
Some quick back-of-the-envelope math should thus make pretty clear that Disney After Hours Boo Bash will generate far less revenue for Walt Disney World than Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Even assuming higher costs for the latter (due to labor for more entertainment), After Hours is still significantly less profitable. It’s not even close.
It should go without saying, but cost to the consumer is not the only relevant factor in revenue and profits. If it were, Club 33 memberships and VIP tours would be more lucrative than single day tickets for Walt Disney World. In reality, the latter is significant and the former are a drop in the bucket.
If all of this is true, why did Walt Disney World hold Boo Bash last year instead of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party? While the assumption was that it was because of health safety protocol and modifications, that’s not fully accurate. While it is true that entertainment had not (and still has not) fully returned, Walt Disney World could’ve put on a parade, stage show, and fireworks by last October–they did for the Christmas After Hours event!
The real, primary issue was the World’s Most Magical Celebration. Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration kicked off last year on October 1 and much of that centered around Magic Kingdom, which also hosts these Halloween events.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party requires closing Magic Kingdom at 7 pm on 3-4 nights per week. Even in a normal year, this creates a logistical nightmare. That early closing is enough to push crowds away from Magic Kingdom on those dates–and to Magic Kingdom on non-party nights. Suffice to say, that event artificially manipulates attendance patterns to an extreme and almost unmanageable degree.
In fact, our October Crowd Calendar for Walt Disney World explains why you should do your daytime Magic Kingdom visit on a party night even though you’ll have significantly fewer hours in the park. It’s because the crowds are super low on party days but crushing on non-party nights.
When Boo Bash was announced last spring, Walt Disney World was internally forecasting massive crowds, attendance, and occupancy numbers for the 50th kick-off. That’s why there were no resort discounts released for fall, and Disney After Hours Boo Bash did not run at all from September 24 to October 4.
The expectation was that normal park hours needed to be much longer due to attendance projections during the kick-off week of Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, and throughout last October. Walt Disney World leadership was operating under the (pretty safe, at the time) assumption that many fans were planning homecoming trips, and the parks would be inundated with people.
Then Delta happened–and I don’t mean the one-time official airline of Walt Disney World. That variant coupled with reinstated mask rules resulted in a veritable tsunami of cancellations.
August through October ended up being blissfully uncrowded. The start of Walt Disney World’s much-hyped 50th Anniversary was downright anticlimactic. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party could have occurred without wreaking havoc on operational logistics or crowd dynamics. Of course, we only know that now with the benefit of hindsight. No one thought that’s how things would play out last spring.
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 Boo Bash, or haven’t done MNSSHP since 2016. In the last two years the party ran, its attendance levels absolutely exploded in October. See “Is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Too Crowded?” for a look at what we mean.
If past precedent is any indication, attendance caps for hard ticket events only increase and never decrease. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party have gotten progressively busier over the years (save for the off-season or anomalies like hurricane-induced cancellations). That’ll undoubtedly be true once again in 2022.
Higher crowds than Disney After Hours Boo Bash is not the only downside of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Due to the earlier start time of the latter, there’s suddenly a paywall around fireworks, other entertainment, and evenings in general at Magic Kingdom several nights per week.
From the perspective of a non-attendee, which you almost certainly would be some other day during your trip, Boo Bash is inarguably the better option. On Disney After Hours Boo Bash evenings, Magic Kingdom would have normal fireworks and nighttime entertainment for day guests, the park would close at 9 pm, and it wouldn’t screw with crowd distribution over the course of the entire week.
On a MNSSHP night, there would be no Disney Enchantment fireworks or nighttime entertainment for day guests and the park would close at 7 pm. Because of that earlier closing time and the lack of fireworks, it would push crowds to non-party nights, making them miserable. One of those scenarios is objectively better for Walt Disney World guests who choose not to pay upcharge prices.
Despite knowing all of that, we nevertheless welcome back Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party with open arms. Don’t misconstrue us pointing out the negatives (everything has ’em) with criticizing this decision. WE ARE VERY HAPPY. You can plan around MNSSHP with a little effort and it will not negatively impact your Walt Disney World vacation.
There are other ways to outsmart the crowds aside from After Hours events. (In fact, MNSSHP creates a crowd dynamic that works well for planners with Park Hopper tickets). By contrast, the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party experience is irreplaceable. Everything in life involves trade-offs, and the ones here to get MNSSHP back are well worth it.
Ultimately, we’re incredibly excited about this news that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is returning for 2022. Like so many Walt Disney World fans, attending MNSSHP was a fall tradition for us, and we really missed the event the last two years. We also missed all of its entertainment (well, Boo to You and Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular, at least) and it’ll be great to see that again.
If you’re already planning ahead and thinking about when to do the 2022 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, your best bet from a low crowds perspective is attending on a Tuesday night. If you’re a local with even more flexible dates, attending one of the earlier events in August through mid-September (but not the very first night–that’s the “blogger bash” that’s attended by sites like this, vloggers, influencers, and every other diehard local who wants to be first, which is why it’s more expensive than the following nights) is your best bet for avoiding the crowds.
What are your thoughts about all of this? Excited that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 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? If you’ve done both, which did you prefer: Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Disney After Hours Boo Bash? 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!