Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party has made its return to Magic Kingdom after a 2 year hiatus, and Walt Disney World diehards are responding by buying tickets. More dates are sold out at this point in the season than any past year we can recall, and that trend is likely to continue through October 2022.
This is quite the reversal from the last year the event was held. It now seems like an eternity ago, but back in 2019, Walt Disney World offered the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Pass. This was essentially an Annual Pass for the Halloween Party that allowed access to 35 nights–every party night in August, September, October, and November except for Halloween itself for $299.
This was literally a last-minute offering. It was announced and went on sale the day of the first MNSSHP, as Walt Disney World scrambled to buoy ticket sales for August and September. Again, it now seems like ancient history, but that was the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and many people steered clear of the parks (both in Florida and California) during that land’s opening months out of fears that it would be chaotic.
Concerns about the “crowdpocalypse” kept many Walt Disney World fans away who would normally visit during the late summer or early fall. Normal factors did, too. mid August through September are school season, storm season, and the heart of what’s typically off-season in Florida.
While Walt Disney World has been able to attract attendance to other months that used to be off-season, that has never happened with September. Even the prospect of low crowds hasn’t worked to move the needle. Unsurprisingly, the fear of busy parks had the opposite effect, with many determining the September weather wasn’t “worth it” if crowds might be bad.
Suffice to say, it ended up being a great time to visit. Walt Disney World extended hours in anticipation of colossal crowds that never materialized, Party Pass enabled attending low-crowd Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties, and the weather actually wasn’t half bad (minus a hurricane scare–which ended up bringing even lower crowds and cooler weather).
But I digress. Before I get too deep into the rambling commentary and crowd implications for Fall 2022, let’s look at sold out dates thus far for this year’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Let’s start with this month:
Pretty easy–every single date in August 2022 has sold out.
A couple of these went before the parties even began, but most have sold out since.
Same deal for September 2022.
The trend here is even more pronounced. These dates have been going fast in the last week, which is likely due to a combination of a few factors. First, social media photos and reports from the 2022 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Second, September dates being cheaper than October ones. Finally, September is less than a week away; normal people plan relatively last-minute and are just starting to think about their September trips.
Those last two factors would explain why October 2022 is largely not sold out.
For the remaining dates, ticket prices are all $139 each or higher as compared to $109 or $119 for most August and September dates. On top of that, the AP and DVC discounts end with the October 7 party. Everything after that is not discounted.
There’s a reason for that: the October parties are historically the most popular ones and don’t need discounts to sell out, even at higher prices. The main explanation for October mostly being available is simple: people have not begun planning that far ahead. (This might sound like heresy to WDW diehards, but most people start planning a few weeks to a few days in advance of their trips. Night before and day-of research are incredibly common!)
No conclusions about daytime crowds or overarching attendance trends should be drawn from Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party dates selling out–or not selling out. The first MNSSHP of this year sold out, and it was Magic Kingdom’s Third Slowest Day of 2022! Subsequent evenings have all sold out, and Magic Kingdom has yet to crack 2/10 on the crowd calendar for those days. (See our latest WDW crowd report.)
About the only conclusion that can be drawn from sold out MNSSHP nights is that the mix-in window from 4 pm to 6 pm will be busier. It is utterly meaningless for attendance before 4.
It should follow that the reverse is also true for October 2022. Those nights largely not being sold out does not mean that month won’t be busy. The only conclusion we can draw from those parties not being sold out is that October is further into the future than September. I’d hope that’s a conclusion that would only require a basic grasp of the calendar or months of the year and their ordering.
Our expectation remains that October 2022 will be busier than this month or next, and that those parties will all sell out. Every single one of them. We know enough about hotel occupancy to be reasonably confident in this prediction. Same goes for every single Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party night. (The better question is when the first date will sell out and how long it’ll take all Christmas parties to sell out.)
Circling back to 2019, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party did not sell out nearly this quickly or frequently then. In fact, not a single date in August sold out that year. The majority of September was the same story, with no dates selling out prior to the September 27 party.
In total, only 13 nights of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party sold out that year, including a majority of the October dates. However, this is “only” 13 nights in retrospect, given how well the 2022 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is selling. At the time, 13 nights was unprecedented because it was higher than ever before.
In 2018, only 5 nights of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party sold out. That number was even lower in 2016, with 4 nights selling out. (This was despite fewer parties–the first year there were over 30 parties was 2017. That date total jumped from 26 in 2014 to 36 in 2019.)
You’d have to go all the way back to 2014 and 2015 to see higher numbers of sold out MNSSHP dates, when 11 nights sold out in each of those years. Prior to that, it was common for only a handful of nights to sell out each year. Halloween night was always one of them, even at higher prices. Conversely, earlier dates used to be priced around $50…and still didn’t sell out!
The numbers themselves are a bit deceiving. While the 2016 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party was gloriously uncrowded on the dates we attended, the same could not be said for 2018.
That year, there were credible reports that the attendance cap for the event had been increased significantly. In a few of those years, Disney was also savvy with what essentially amounted to differential pricing. The company increased ticket prices significantly for regular guests, while offering deep discounts to Cast Members.
When the sell outs started in October 2019, some fans speculated that the attendance cap had been lowered again. Why else would the event go from gloriously uncrowded the first two months to popular in October? (See “Is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Too Crowded?” for more on how busy that last month of the event was.)
Our theory was/is that it was mostly a matter of deferred visits. Rather than cancelling entirely, many of those who feared high crowds in August and September right after Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened delayed until October.
Even if that explanation is wrong—and it very well might be—the lower attendance cap does not pass muster. We attended several October parties, and they were all bonkers. Much more crowded than any August or September dates we did.
While it’s difficult to ascertain attendance from congestion or ‘feels like’ crowds, I am highly skeptical that October had a lower limit on party attendance than 2018. It’s contrary to on-the-ground observations. There were some nights in October that easily had double the number of guests as compared to some earlier events.
This is all relevant because we’ve already heard some Walt Disney World fans question whether tickets are selling out faster—despite a significant price increase—because the party cap is actually lower for 2022.
While possible, we’ve yet to see any evidence to support this theory. From my perspective, it’s much more likely that the attendance cap is comparable to 2019. (Perhaps down a little, but still significantly higher than Boo Bash. That was an After Hours event, which promised lower crowds and shorter waits–and thus had a lower cap and even higher prices as a result.)
The explanation for more sold out dates at the 2022 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party would instead be pent-up demand. Both MNSSHP and MVMCP are incredibly popular with locals and diehard WDW fans, and they haven’t been able to experience these events since 2019. It’s thus unsurprising that they’re eager to return, even at higher prices.
With locals, there’s the added wrinkle of new APs not being sold. Some could thus be treating MNSSHP the same way many Disneyland locals have viewed Oogie Boogie Bash and its predecessor for years—an AP alternative. The hard ticket parties are a good way to get a Disney “fix” without buying a single-day ticket.
That 2022 MNSSHP dates are selling out despite higher prices really shouldn’t be a surprise at this point. Everything at Walt Disney World is selling well despite higher price points, and has been since last spring. Price increases are the big reason why per guest spending is up 40% as compared to 2019.
Ultimately, if you’re thinking about attending the 2022 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and haven’t already bought tickets, we’d encourage you to make a decision ASAP. There’s really no reason to wait at this point. No new information is going to be released that should influence your choice. Every party will almost certainly sell out, so if crowds are a non-starter, opt against attending.
If you’re leaning towards going, we’d encourage buying sooner rather than later. While crowds can be bad at the front of the park during the ‘core’ of the party, you can always start deeper in Magic Kingdom, do the second parade from Town Square or Frontierland, and catch the last Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? If you’re interested in learning more about hotels, our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page is a good place to start. For where to eat, try out our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews page. If you want to save money on tickets or determine which type you should get, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at unconventional things you should take on your trip. Once you arrive at the parks, our Walt Disney World “Ride Guides” are great for determining what to do and when to do it. For overviews of all of these topics and so much more, the best place to start is our comprehensive Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide to make the most of your experience!
Have you attended Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World yet this year? What did you think of the ‘sold out’ crowds? Think it was worth the high ticket price? Thoughts on the Boo to You Parade, HalloWishes Fireworks, Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular, or any other entertainment? Any other tips, likes or dislikes? 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!