Our 2021 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party guide offers tips & info for the Magic Kingdom special event in August, September, and October at Walt Disney World. We have event dates, a plan of attack, rumored MNSSHP dates, what’s new, and more! (Updated March 26, 2021.)
For those unfamiliar with it, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) is a special event that occurs after Magic Kingdom closes for the day. It is separately ticketed, meaning you have to pay extra for the party if you’re already in the park as a day guest and want to stay through MNSSHP.
Disney cancelled Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party last year due to physical distancing requirements, capacity constraints, and in an effort to avoid events or entertainment that would cause congestion. Walt Disney World is already relaxing rules and upping attendance limits, so it’s highly likely the fall event will occur as normal. Moreover, Universal Orlando has already announced that its Halloween Horror Nights event will return in 2021. While Disney is more cautious, they will almost certainly follow suit and bring back their lucrative Halloween parties…
One of the more common questions since the start of 2021 has been when Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets will go on sale? This makes sense, they normally go on sale this time of year. From a historical perspective, tickets have been released between mid-January and mid-March in each of the last 5 years.
It’s already late March 2021 and tickets for the 2021 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party are “still” not on sale yet. In our view, this is unsurprising, as a lot is still up in the air. Past precedent is almost meaningless this year, as these are unprecedented times. To that point, we would not be surprised if tickets for this year’s event don’t go on sale until June or July 2021–it’s going to be much later than normal.
As for when the 2021 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party will start, that’s a bit of a wildcard for the exact same reasons. In recent years–including last year before the cancellation–it has begun in mid-August. However, we are skeptical that Walt Disney World will begin the event as early in 2021.
There are a couple logistical reasons for this. The first is that there’s a good chance August and September 2021 will be low points in terms of attendance for Walt Disney World, coming after a lot of pent-up demand and revenge travel is exhausted over the spring and summer, but before crowds start to show up in full force beginning October 1, 2021 for the start of the World’s Most Magical Celebration for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary.
Second, because Walt Disney World likely will not make a definitive decision about the fate of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and what its entertainment lineup will entail until later than normal. Typically, plans for the party are set in motion at the beginning of the year, with preparations accelerating over the summer.
In 2021, Walt Disney World has largely been in “wait and see” mode, treading water until real world circumstances improve. This is already starting to happen, with the federal government predicting that things will be largely back to normal by the Fourth of July. That’s probably a conservative timeline, with a lot of normalcy possible by around Memorial Day. If that’s how things play out, Disney will likely begin preparations in earnest for the 2021 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party a bit later than normal. That alone may preclude mid-August event dates.
With all of that said, our prediction is that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party will start on or around September 2, 2021 and continue several nights per week until November 1, 2021. It can occur on back to back evenings, but is usually every other day–and seldom on Saturdays. (Last year, dates would’ve been August 13, 18, 21, 25 and 28; September 1, 4, 7, 11, 13, 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, 27 and 29; October 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31; November 1.)
Prices will likely range from $90 to $150 depending upon the date; tickets have skyrocketed in the last several years. If you want to be notified when 2021 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party dates are released or tickets go on sale, you can subscribe to our free email newsletter for instant alerts. For now, here’s everything you need to know about MNSSHP…
The big thing to know is that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party wreaks havoc on Magic Kingdom’s calendar and crowds during the fall. More special events make non-party nights in Magic Kingdom even more crowded, and the last couple of years, MNSSHP nights themselves have been packed. We covered this in our Is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Too Crowded? post.
Suffice to say, you might want to hold off on purchasing them until reports start to emerge about crowds for the 2021 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. There was a lot of backlash about crowds, and Walt Disney World might surprise everyone by lowering the attendance cap as a result. Essentially, if your dates do sell out between when tickets go on sale and this fall, you probably don’t want to attend those nights anyway due to crowds.
In the meantime, here’s everything else you need to know about the 2021 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party…
Our tips and tricks for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) are based on our experiences attending the party every year for the last decade. The last year the event was held, we attended over 10 times thanks to the Unlimited Halloween Party Admission with the Not So Scary Pass!
You can read about our experience the first night in our Review & Photos: Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Report. We also have a look at all of the new food items in our Halloween Snack & Dessert Food Guide to Magic Kingdom.
Let’s start with a brief summary of what was new during the most recent Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party season, just in case you don’t read our MNSSHP report above…
As for the enhancements to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, the first is a replacement for Happy HalloWishes: the new “Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular.” The new fireworks feature projections, pyro, and Jack Skellington from Nightmare Before Christmas as host.
Jack’s ghost dog, Zero, flies off to start this trick-or-treating adventure, where four friends – Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy – find themselves drawn into a mysterious haunted house. The journey takes them from one room of the house to another, encountering dancing skeletons, waltzing ghosts, and a series of troublemaking Disney villains.
There are also 30+ PhotoPass opportunities throughout Magic Kingdom during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, including returning favorites and a few new offerings. Many of these are cheesy and goofy (lowercase g), but they’re still a ton of fun and most will give you a good laugh, at the very least.
Our favorites are Headless Horseman in front of the Main Street Train Station and the variety of ‘magic shot’ options at and around Haunted Mansion. (Let us know if you’re interested in a post that covers all of the special PhotoPass opportunities during MNSSHP!)
There are also several attractions across the park receive special enhancements just for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party…
Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor – When you follow the treat trail into the Monster World at Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, you’ll interact in all-new ways with the comic cast of monsters, as they learn about the curious Human World holiday we call Halloween.
Mad Tea Party – The teacups will take you for a colorful ride with new lighting and effects providing a different nighttime atmosphere.
Pirates of the Caribbean – New pirates will invade the attraction, interacting with sailing guests who will join the search for “Gunpowder Pete” who is a live actor in the ride.
Space Mountain – Rocket ships will hurtle through deep space as a new soundtrack and special effects transform the adventure.
It’s a savvy move on Walt Disney World’s part to increase the number of attraction overlays. Recent Halloween Parties have been consistently overcrowded, especially on Main Street and at character meet & greets. The attraction overlays are a good way to help absorb and redistribute some crowds, easing congestion elsewhere and (hopefully) improving the experience at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.
The final new piece of entertainment is the Disney DescenDANCE Party at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. This is being offered to roughly coincide with the release of “Descendents 3.” You can join Mal and the VKs to save everyone in the kingdom by dancing the night away, naturally.
Next, the all-new Cruella’s Halloween Hide-a-Way at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant, which is ironically fitting in Walt Disney World’s Lady and the Tramp-themed restaurant. Cruella’s Halloween Hide-a-Way will feature themed background music and decor, all you can eat food & drinks (including alcohol), a reserved viewing area for Mickey’s Boo-To-You Halloween Parade, and a chance to mingle with Cruella de Vil.
Cruella’s Halloween Hide-a-Way at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant begins at 9:30 p.m. and runs until 12:30 a.m. (after the party ends) and will basically function as a ‘Club Level’ party lounge you can pop into and out of at your leisure for a per person cost of $99 plus tax.
Normally, we do not recommend these upcharges-within-upcharges. First of all, because they put the total event cost at or above $200 per person, which is obviously a lot. Second, because they distract from what’s already a busy night and jam-packed itinerary. (On the flip side, the reserved seating area is a big asset.)
So you can prepare for the Halloween Party now, here is our analysis based upon the last several years to help you determine whether this expensive hard ticket event is worth it to you, and if so, what your “Plan of Attack” should be to efficiently conquer the various offerings. Between this party and Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, plus improving weather, the fall months at Walt Disney World are one of our favorite times of year to visit!
Also note that this guide covers Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, not Mickey’s Halloween Party (now Oogie Boogie Bash) at Disneyland Resort. For info about the latter, read our comprehensive Guide to Halloween Time at Disneyland!
Should You Attend?
So at $80 a pop (and up!) for tickets to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, you might be trying to determine, “is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party worth the money?”
Our opinion on this question has changed over the years. It used to be an unequivocal yes. Then, as prices for the event nearly doubled, it became “yes if you want to splurge.” Now, with prices up and Walt Disney World having raised the attendance cap, it’s harder and harder to justify.
We still love the event. We don’t love the crowds or prices, but we go anyway. Probably in part because of nostalgia and in part because we have a good time enjoying the experience at a more relaxed pace. We don’t follow our own itinerary in this post since we’ve seen/done 75% of these things in previous years, so the stakes aren’t as high for us, so to speak. It’s simply a fun, albeit overpriced event.
If you can approach it from the perspective of not having to accomplish it all and being willing to overpay a bit for a truly fun and spooky evening in Magic Kingdom, we say go for it. Just don’t expect to leave thinking, “that was really worth the money.” At this point, it’s hard to come to that conclusion.
Another question we often receive is whether we prefer the Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. We are total suckers for Christmas, so we can’t answer that without bias. With that said, we prefer the Christmas Party, but probably two-thirds of people we know prefer the Halloween Party. Your mileage may vary.
Aside from the higher price, the biggest difference between the two parties is that the Halloween Party offers more special entertainment and character meet & greets. Personally, I enjoy the Christmas Party more, but I think it’s undeniable that there’s more to do at the Halloween Party.
There’s a lot of special entertainment including one of Disney’s best parades and a great fireworks show, a great ambiance to the party including special decorations and lighting, lots of unique character meet & greets, and even seeing other guests in Halloween costumes makes for a fun experience.
If you do decide to do the Halloween Party, make sure to buy your tickets in advance, and use any available discounts (Disney Vacation Club member, Annual Passholder, etc.). Tickets are more expensive on the day of the party, and several nights each year sell out completely. It’s wise to purchase party tickets early if you know you’re going. It would stink to wait until the last minute and have your dates sell out.
As for what you should do during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, here’s our guide to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party…
The first important tip is to pick the best day on your trip for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Some nights are busier than others, and that post covers our tips for choosing the least-crowded dates. Disney prices these parties based on historical demand, so going on the cheapest party night you can is generally the best idea from both the perspective of saving money and avoiding crowds. Win-win!
In recent years, MNSSHP attendance has been, generally speaking, dramatically higher than previously. Many of the events–especially dates in October–sold out. That could totally change for 2021, but we suspect it’ll again be a busy year barring a downturn in Walt Disney World attendance for whatever reason.
The second most important tip is to arrive early to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. The Party officially starts at 7 p.m., which is when all of the entertainment actually begins, but guests can enter with their Halloween Party tickets as early as 4 p.m. This is not something Walt Disney World advertises, but it absolutely is true, and you will see plenty of other guests arriving at 4 p.m., and Cast Members in their Halloween outfits at the turnstiles.
This earlier entry offers you potential savings to offset the cost of your tickets. Before we were Annual Passholders, we’d plan on doing Disney Springs or a water park the morning we went to the Halloween Party, which allowed us to purchase 1-day less on our park tickets. We highly recommend that you do the same! In other words, if you normally would buy a 5-day ticket for your trip, buy a 4-day ticket and do something besides one of the 4 theme parks before 4 p.m.
The additional day you’re not purchasing would have only added on $10-30 in cost to your total package, so we’re not talking a substantial amount here, but it makes the Halloween Party more economical. To save even more money on multi-day Walt Disney World tickets, we recommend buying from an authorized ticket broker selling cheaper tickets than you can buy directly from Disney.
Read our Tips for Buying Discount Walt Disney World Tickets Guide for more information about saving money on park tickets. You can’t buy Halloween Party tickets from these authorized ticket sellers, but the amount you save on your regular park tickets plus the savings on that extra day you’re not purchasing will help offset the added cost of the party tickets.
The next biggest tip is to wear a costume! Although Disney has had some tweaks to its security policy over the last few years, costumes are allowed for all guests.
Here’s Disney’s official word on costumes: “while costumed attire may be worn, guests ages 14 and older are strongly discouraged from wearing layered costumes or costume props that surround the entire body as they may be subject to additional security screening. Additionally, costumes may not contain any weapons that resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon.”
At least half of the Guests who attend the party wear costumes, and it’s a lot more fun if you do. You’re spending a fair chunk of change to attend one of these parties, make sure you get as much value for your money as possible by wearing a costume.
You don’t need to buy some expensive costume from the store–make one at home from items you buy at a thrift shop. Sarah and I attended Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party as the following: astronauts; an elf and princess; and “Cute Minnie” and a Toy Story Alien, among other things. Most of the time, our costumes are pretty lame as compared to other guests, but we still have a lot of fun!
For costumes, go inexpensive, simple, and most importantly…LIGHTWEIGHT. We have a Guide to Halloween Costumes for the Disney Parks that covers the nuts and bolts. Suffice to say, we have worn heavier costumes, and let me tell you what a mistake that was. It may be cooler at nighttime in the fall, but it’s still Florida, and it’s still humid and hot.
A final tip is to pass on the Disney’s Not So Spooky Spectacular Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace. This is comparable to the regular fireworks dessert party, except with Halloween-decorated desserts. It costs $84 per adult ($50 for kids ages 3-9) on top of the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party ticket. So, if you’ve been thinking that the Halloween party is just too darn cheap, this option is for you!
There is not a reserved viewing area for the Boo to You Parade from Town Square, and the lack of this is a big deal. For most Halloween Parties, reserved viewing for Disney’s Not So Spooky Spectacular is totally unnecessary. It is nice for the Boo to You Parade, though. Plus, the reserved viewing area is not a good spot for viewing the fireworks (for the best spots, check out our Magic Kingdom Fireworks Viewing Locations Guide).
Beyond being a waste of money, the dessert party is a waste of time. There are just too many other great things to do at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (it’s unlikely you can do all of the regular entertainment in a single night) to justify attending a dessert party. It’s just not worth taking the time from the regular awesome entertainment of the Halloween party to do this. Plus, the idea of another upcharge event within an upcharge event just makes us cringe.
With that said, let’s start to get into the details of arriving at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party with a plan-of-attack for what you should do. We have a step-by-step Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Itinerary on Page 2.
Arrive at 4 p.m., grab an event map for a refresher as to what is located where and entertainment showtimes, eat and do an attraction or two before 6:00 pm. Once 6 pm hits, it’s time to get ready to party, and time to initiate your Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party attack-plan to do and see as much as you can.
If at all possible, find a way to avoid trick or treating or save it until the end of the night. It is a major time drain, and you could buy a bag of candy yourself for like $3. It may be difficult to convince kids not to trick or treat, but if you can, find a way. There is so much entertainment during the Halloween Party that you won’t get everything done even if you don’t trick or treat and don’t do any attractions.
From here, we will start with our plan of attack to efficiently accomplish as much as possible during MNSSHP on PAGE 2.