There are over one dozen different PhotoPass Magic Shots in Magic Kingdom at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and regular hours for all Walt Disney World guests. In this post, we share our results (good, bad & ugly), locations for the photos, tips & tricks for avoiding lines, and other commentary. (Updated August 12, 2023.)
This post is coming by popular request from readers of our Guide to the 2023 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Back when we had the Party Pass, we did every single Magic Shot over the course of different MNSSHP nights, knocking them out when convenient with the intention of sharing them back then. Readers asked to see our photos and recommendations, hence this post.
I’ll level with you: there’s no way we would’ve tried to do every PhotoPass Magic Shot in a single night of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party but for that reader feedback. It’s typically not a good idea for a few reasons, so we’re absolutely not recommending that you follow our approach. However, we are incredibly glad we did and, frankly, grateful for your feedback…
Normally, our first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party of the year would prioritize meet & greets and entertainment. In particular, we’d arrive early for the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular, Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular Fireworks, and Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parades (both of them). Camping out early for all of that entertainment consumes most of MNSSHP.
Last year, we eschewed our usual approach for a couple of reasons. First, we attended roughly one-dozen parties in 2019 and I still have thousands (literally) of unedited parade photos from that. Second, all of the reader requests. It was clear from feedback that a lot of people care about PhotoPass Magic Shots, which makes sense, as they’re fun keepsakes. Consequently, we spent much of the night racing around getting PhotoPass Magic Shots and other photos.
For this year’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, I was flying solo. Despite this, I still raced around and “collected” the new-for-2023 PhotoPass Magic Shots. So the bad news is that you get a bunch of photos of just me, which I don’t think anyone wants.
Even worse news: the ‘feels like’ temperatures were triple digits throughout the event and I had been in Magic Kingdom since 7 am, so I somehow manage to look even more disheveled and utterly exhausted than normal.
On a positive note, pretty much everyone at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party was in the same boat. As a result, the PhotoPass lines were far shorter than normal since most normal people don’t want photos of them looking ravaged by the Florida heat and humidity.
On another positive note (for all of us), multiple PhotoPass photographers managed to take out-of-focus photos, so you can ascertain just how drained I look and feel. But the point is to illustrate what the Magic Shots will look like, so you know which ones to request. Mission accomplished on that front!
On a final positive note, there are PhotoPass photographers at all of the special photo frames that were introduced last year for the 50th Anniversary. Previously, you had to take your own photos, and without fill flash, the lighting from above and below was really harsh (see our photo above from last year). This year, the PhotoPass shots are pretty much perfect at all of these frames, waits are minimal, and no one will be in the background. We highly recommend doing these!
Anyway, let’s get down to business and share each PhotoPass Magic Shot for the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. We’ll start with the official name of the Magic Shot, followed by Disney’s official description and location, and conclude with pertinent commentary by us…
Here’s Huey, Dewey and Louie wearing their Halloween costumes from “Trick or Treat,” the 1952 animated short from Walt Disney.
It’s Donald’s nephews in their Halloween best! This Magic Shot is available Available through October 31, 2023 with most photographers located on Main Street, U.S.A. — exclusively during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
The Huey, Dewey and Louie Magic Shot is available both after dark (as is the case with most of these) and during the daytime hours (not the case with many others). I found that several photographers up and down Main Street had this Magic Shot option–probably more than any other photo on this list.
Somehow, the above two Magic Shots are the ones that turned out best. Why am I dancing (yes, that’s what that’s supposed to be) in the photo above? Don’t ask me; I have no clue.
Chase these Lonesome Ghosts in this Magic Shot! Available Available through October 31, 2023 with photographers located just past Casey’s Corner at the top of Main Street, U.S.A. — exclusively during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
I really, really appreciate this deep cut, which is from the 1937 cartoon “Lonesome Ghosts,” released only a few days after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. If you haven’t seen it, definitely fix that. Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy run a ghost exterminating agency–Mickey’s ghost-hunting weapon of choice is a shotgun!
A pixie-perfect autumn look! This Magic Shot is available Available through October 31, 2023 with most photographers located on Main Street, U.S.A.
Disney’s example image of this is from Town Square, which turned out much better than my attempts on Main Street. Two of my three shots were badly out of focus, and in the other, I looked like I’d just seen a ghost. I would’ve tried again (and might still), but the lines were longer in Town Square.
Take a bite of this Magic Shot! Available Available through October 31, 2023 with most photographers not located in character locations — exclusively during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
Disney indicates this Magic Shot is widely available, but this is the only time I got it.
Float into the Halloween season with this Magic Shot! Available Available through October 31 with most photographers located on Main Street, U.S.A.
Another one where the focus is on Cinderella Castle instead of me, but that’s fine. I must reiterate once again that the feels like temperature was still triple-digits when I took this late in the evening. For being in the heat all day while carrying around 25 pounds of camera gear, it’s really a miracle I’m not more sweat-drenched!
Flaming Pumpkin. Walt Disney World has carved up this Flaming Pumpkin Magic Shot just for you! Available through October 31 exclusively during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Most photographers located in the Cinderella Castle hub area are able to take this, but not those on Main Street proper.
If you go to the photographers in front of the Partners statue, this will likely be your longest PhotoPass line of the night. Opt for the ones near the 50th Anniversary statues on the perimeter for shorter lines.
Oogie Boogie. Well, well, well — what have we here? This Oogie Boogie Magic Shot is available through October 31 exclusively during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Most photographers facing Cinderella Castle can capture this, including the one near Sleepy Hollow.
We ended up with several of this shot, as it ends up being one of the more common Magic Shots of MNSSHP.
Mickey Mouse Jack-o’-lantern prop. It’s really not-so-scary! This Mickey Mouse Jack-o’-Lantern prop is available through October 31 exclusively during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. This is only at the photographer located near the flagpole in the center of Town Square.
Technically a prop shot rather than a Magic Shot, and the line for this can be really long as this is the photo spot on Main Street. Get this right before or after the parade or fireworks for minimal wait.
Hitchhiking Ghosts. Any volunteers for this Hitchhiking Ghosts Magic Shot? Available through October 31 exclusively during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. PhotoPass photographer is in Liberty Square near Hall of Presidents.
There are two lines here, one for this and one for the Headless Horseman. Which is which can be confusing, but this should be the line closer to the building.
A similar shot is actually available during the daytime to all Magic Kingdom guests right between Haunted Mansion and the hearse parked in front of it. You can either take this after exiting the attraction, or enter through the exit.
However, since you’re simply a normal day guest, you’ll only be entitled to one-third of the Hitchhiking Ghosts. Gotta spend the big bucks if you want the full trio. (That, or we only received one by mistake.)
Headless Horseman. All the way from Sleepy Hollow comes the Headless Horseman! This Magic Shot is available through October 31 exclusively during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. This PhotoPass photographer is also near Hall of Presidents.
This first appeared in our My Disney Experience accounts without the Headless Horseman overlay, and it looked like we were terrified of the Ticket Office sign in Liberty Square. I really wish I would’ve saved that image, as it was hilarious and would’ve made for great “caption this” fodder.
Skeleton Dance. Dance with some spooky skeletons in this Magic Shot! Available through October 31 exclusively during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Photographers along Main Street, U.S.A. can capture this.
Now you know what we look like when we dance. “Not great” might be what you’re thinking…in which case, it’s a good thing you can’t see the outtakes. This is the best version of us dancing.
In general, I’m not wild about this Magic Shot. The idea is neat, but the vintage filter is really heavy-handed and the resulting quality is low. Could also use more skeletons.
Spooky Vintage. A frightfully delightful Magic Shot available through October 31 with photographers up and down on Main Street USA.
Pro tip: figure out in advance what the difference is between a deviously scheming and a praying pose. For two things that are very different, the poses are surprisingly similar. We ended up with several photos that looked a bit too much like a 2Pac album cover (dorky remix).
Mickey Mouse Jack-o’-lantern. Boo to you! This Mickey Mouse Jack-o’-lantern Magic Shot is available through October 31 in the Cinderella Castle hub area, as well as with the photographer near the flagpole in the center of Town Square.
This one sorta weirds me out for some reason.
Autumn Leaves. FALLing for this Magic Shot! Available through October 31 on the bridges leading from Cinderella Castle into Fantasyland, Liberty Square, Adventureland, or Tomorrowland.
Sarah got this Magic Shot alone because I’ve tried to do the confetti shot like a dozen times and there has yet to be one that doesn’t look absolutely absurd. Didn’t even bother trying my hand at this one.
Haunted Mansion Caretaker Lantern. You’ll need this Caretaker Lantern to find all those happy haunts who’ve materialized at the Haunted Mansion! Available through October 31 exclusively during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. The photographer is located near the entrance of the Haunted Mansion.
This one is really tough to get right. A good PhotoPass photographer will coach you to move the the lantern so that it properly illuminates your face. Just remember that this is the primary source of light (no fill flash), so you want it lined up with your faces to avoid unflattering shadows.
Now, let’s turn to the PhotoPass Magic Shots that we haven’t yet captured…
It’s Halloween Town’s favorite trick-or-treaters! This Magic Shot is available with the photographer stationed on Tomorrowland Bridge — exclusively during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
Walt Disney World doesn’t list this one as being new for 2023, but I don’t recall seeing it last year or in any (recent) previous years. Maybe we just missed it, or perhaps it’s one being brought back after a bit of a hiatus? Regardless, this is a good photo location.
Conjure up some Halloween magic with this Cauldron Magic Shot! Available near the gardens in front of Casey’s Corner and The Plaza Restaurant. Available exclusively during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
This is not us. Our version of this shot hasn’t appeared in My Disney Experience (yet?).
Happy Halloween! This colorful Mickey Mouse photo is available through October 31 in Tomorrowland near Carousel of Progress — exclusively during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
Also not us. We’re suckers for these bokeh Mickey Mouse shots, but missed both of the shots in Tomorrowland due to weather/timing.
Glowing like a jack-o’-lantern! This photo is available through October 31 in Tomorrowland near Carousel of Progress — exclusively during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
Again, not us. Really disappointed we missed out on these Tomorrowland shots–I’m guessing the lines wouldn’t be too bad on a normal night given the tucked away location. These just didn’t work out for us due to our timing and the rain.
This pumpkins Magic Shot is available through October 31 near the gardens in front of Casey’s Corner and The Plaza Restaurant.
This is a simulated version of the physical pumpkins at the Town Square end of Main Street that typically have a long line. While we strongly prefer the actual props, it requires a lot of luck to get a good image there, as guests often stand directly behind the pumpkins.
What a glittering assemblage! This Magic Shot is available through October 31 at the Cinderella Castle walls near Pinocchio Village Haus — exclusively during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
This is actually an update of a Maleficent Magic Shot from a few years ago. Here’s the one we got then:
The photographer is located behind the Cinderella Castle walls, which can be a bit tricky to find.
The clean background makes it low-risk and an almost guaranteed keeper. The PhotoPass photographer who captured our photos here was phenomenal. We highly recommend this one!
Finally, a few tips & tricks for taking advantage of PhotoPass Magic Shots during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. First, do as many of these during daylight hours as possible. This is especially true for the images that are not exclusive to MNSSHP, which means you’ll be able to capture them between 4 pm and 6 pm while Magic Kingdom is still open to regular guests.
Second, for the Magic Shots you get at night, try to find PhotoPass photographers with tripods. Sometimes, this won’t be possible–Cast Members taking photos in certain locations simply won’t have tripods. But in areas like Main Street, both types of photographers are present, so choose the ones with tripods.
The reason for these first two recommendations is the same: increasing your likelihood of quality photos. Photos taken at night are likely to have more digital noise or darker backgrounds, and that’s doubly true when the photographers are shooting handheld. Flash can illuminate foreground subjects (that’s you!) but it’s not a fix for the entire scene. The more natural light, the higher quality the photo.
On a somewhat related note, expect a “keeper rate” on photos of no more than 75%. The exact percentage really depends upon a combination of luck and your standards for a “good” photo. For us, it’s probably closer to 50%, but I have the curse of knowledge.
Common problems include poor composition, incorrect settings, and awkward subject expressions. On occasion, photos simply won’t be linked to your account at all, or Magic Shots won’t properly process. Oddly tilted photos, aggressive zoom, washed out faces, blurriness, underexposed scenes, and excessive noise all can occur.
This isn’t to disparage PhotoPass Cast Members. Many are exceptional, working the role because they’re interested in photography. Others are simply assigned the position, handed equipment, and given quick training. Walt Disney World considers both types to be “professional” photographers, which is technically true in the sense that they are paid for taking photos. However, the results produced by the former will typically be vastly superior to those of the latter. Good cameras don’t take good photos–good photographers do.
Consequently, we recommend stopping to take more photos than you plan on “needing” or wanting with the expectation that some percentage of them will be duds. Although your Magic Shots might not appear until the next day, you can check My Disney Experience throughout the party to see your other photos. The quality of those should give you an idea of whether you need to take more.
On that note, mentioning to the PhotoPass photographer that you’re interested in Magic Shots is a good idea. If they only take one, ask if they have any others–or specific shots that you think they might have based on the listed locations above. Sometimes, Cast Members “get in a groove” with a particular Magic Shot, and that becomes their go-to despite having other options available. If you inquire about others, they’ll often be happy to take those, too.
Our last recommendation would be to budget your time accordingly in light of the above. One PhotoPass line that’s notoriously long is the location directly in front of Partners, which can have a ‘wait time’ of 20-30 minutes. In our view, that spot simply is not worth it given the time cost and downside v. upside. Typically, the photographers on Main Street have significantly shorter lines and produce capture comparable images.
We’d also recommend strategically choosing your times to get these Magic Shots. If you’re primarily interested in photos of your children, head to one of the photographers on Main Street shortly before the Boo to You Parade while someone in your party holds down viewing spots. Similarly, the pumpkin location in Town Square is open until right before the parade and fireworks, and often has no line then (versus lengthy lines at all other times) because it’s confusing to access with all of the ropes around this area.
Perhaps the best tip of all is that you can extend your evening at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party with Magic Shots. We always recommend doing this with the midnight viewing of Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular, which concludes after the event ends. Well, PhotoPass photographers are also out after the party is officially over. In fact, some of these photos were taken between 12:30 and 1 am. This amounts to a triple bonus, as you’ll extend the event, have shorter lines for the Magic Shots, and fewer people in the background. Just don’t wait until the absolute last minute for a must-have photo, as these lines are cut off at inconsistent times.
Have you gotten any of these PhotoPass Magic Shots during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party? Have any favorites from past or present special events? Tips and tricks of your own to add when it comes to PhotoPass or taking photos during MNSSHP? Agree or disagree with our advice and recommendations? 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!