This post offers our guide to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties at Walt Disney World, tips for making the most of the party nights, which will occur in August, September, and October 2018. (Last updated June 22, 2018 with new attraction overlay details.)
Our tips and tricks for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) are based on our experiences attending the party every year before that for the last decade, and we last updated this post when the 2018 Halloween Party dates were released and tickets went on sale. Those dates are as follows: August 17, 24, 28, 31; September 3, 7, 9, 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 28, 30; October 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 25, 26, 28, 30, and 31. Prices start at $75, with some dates over $100 per person.
Please note that some specific details for the 2018 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties are not yet available, but 95% of this information will be accurate for this year’s parties. We’ll offer more thoughts on pricing and cover whether we think the Halloween Party is still worth the money later in the post. First, let’s detail some of the other changes to the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party…
June 22, 2018 Update: Via the Disney Parks Blog, Walt Disney World announced today three attraction overlays coming to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party for 2018:
Mad Tea Party – The teacups will take you for a colorful ride with new lighting and effects providing a different nighttime atmosphere. Depending on the color of your costume, you too could transform under the new dancing lights. (Okay, calling this an “overlay” is probably a huge stretch.)
Pirates of the Caribbean – New pirates will invade the attraction, interacting with sailing guests who will join the search for “Gunpowder Pete.” Since this is a party-only addition, we’re guessing this will be accomplished entirely via projections and audio. Still, could be a neat addition. (Or a total disaster–time will tell.)
Space Mountain – Rocket ships will hurtle through deep space as a new soundtrack and special effects transform the adventure. This sounds sorta like Ghost Galaxy-lite, the campy overlay Disneyland receives during Halloween. As with Pirates of the Caribbean, this could be a fun seasonal variant with cool new effects and projections, or just the same experience but with different music. We shall see.
Beyond those three attractions, the biggest ‘difference’ for 2018 is that there are more Halloween Party nights than ever before: 34 parties. This is up from 32 parties last year, which was up from 29 parties the year before–every year for the past 4 years, there has been a record number of parties. This is not necessarily good news. While it gives you more choices in terms of when to attend, it’s a bummer for guests who aren’t attending the party, because it means the Magic Kingdom closes at 7 p.m. several nights per week to guests who haven’t not purchased tickets for the Halloween Party.
So you can prepare for the Halloween Party now, here is our analysis based upon the last several years (we go to it yearly) 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!
Note that this guide covers Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, not Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland. For info about the latter, read our comprehensive Guide to Halloween Time at Disneyland!
Should You Attend?
So at over $70 a pop 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 it?” Our opinion, as Disney-biased tourists, is that it is worth the price at least once if you can afford the splurge (and, ideally, if you can go to one of the cheaper September nights). We do not recommend the $100+ Halloween night party. It’s simply too much money and more crowded–you’re better off attending a less expensive party earlier in the week and doing (free) trick or treating at a resort hotel on Halloween night.
Once you’ve experienced the party once (it doesn’t change much year-to-year), you might determine that it’s simply too expensive to experience again. For a one time event, it’s worth it if your budget allows. In our updated Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Tips post, we do not make the same claim about the Christmas Party, which is more expensive for most dates.
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.
If you’re still not convinced one way or the other as to whether it’s “worth it” for you, read our review at the end of the post…
There isn’t really much new. All major entertainment from prior years returned to the first party, with a few minor tweaks. There are some new snacks, new photo ops, and a Moana meet & greet, but otherwise, it’s all pretty much the same at this year’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.
Last year, not much was new, either. There were some minor changes, though. For instance, the ‘Creepa Crew’ that performed on Main Street prior to the Boo To You Parade last year has been replaced by the ‘Zootopia Party Patrol’, which is still the same type of high-energy entertainment, except now with Judy and Nick, too.
In the Boo To You Parade, there were minor differences. Exact same floats, just with re-arranged characters. New projected lighting effects and pyro were added to Hocus Pocus Villains Spelltacular (the big recent addition that we love), but this was not a major change. Besides maybe changing up some candy brands…that’s about it. We attended the party last year, and wrote about the experience in our Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Recap, if you’re interested in reading or seeing more.
Returning is the HalloWishes dessert party that’s comparable to the regular Wishes dessert party, except with Halloween-decorated desserts. It costs $79 per adult ($47 for kids ages 3-9) on top of the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party ticket. The price has increased by $10 over last year, and there is not a reserved viewing area for the Boo to You Parade from Town Square. So, if you’ve been thinking that the Halloween party is just too darn cheap, this option is for you!
It is too expensive for us, so we have not–and will not–do the dessert party. 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), and 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.
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!
Note that last year, MNSSHP attendance was, generally speaking, lower than in past years. This was the second consecutive year of lower crowd levels, and is undoubtedly tied to the dramatic spike in party ticket prices. Many of the events–even dates in October–didn’t even sell out. That could totally change for 2018, but we suspect it won’t given that Disney didn’t budget on prices (and actually increased them again).
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 Downtown Disney 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! Well…hopefully. Thankfully, costumes will be allowed for all guests despite Disney’s latest security policy update.
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.” Phew!
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.
While you will see a lot of guests in complex and really creative costumes, unless you have a specific costume in mind that you really want to make, simpler and lighter is better as far as costumes go.
Arrive at 4 p.m., grab an event map for a refresher (see above) 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.