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By Jayship Earth

One of the joys of visiting Walt Disney World at different times of the year means getting to experience different annual events at the parks. High on my Disney-to-do list has always been Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party, a separately ticketed event that runs select nights throughout September and October. Starting at 7 pm (but guests with a party ticket may enter as early as 4 pm), the Magic Kingdom gets a spooky, yet whimsical, face-lift. Guests can trick-or-treat for candy at various stops around the park. Rare characters or common favorites in Halloween attire meet and greet with guests, and special Halloween treats are found at different dining locations. The night culminates in 2 showings of the “Boo To You” parade, as well as the Hallow Wishes firework show. I recently attended my first “Not-So-Scary party, and despite researching the event, I learned a lot first-hand, and wanted to provide the tips that I wish I had in hindsight.

Arrive Early

If you don’t have a park hopper ticket, or plan on being in the park the day of the party, you can still enter the park as early as 4 pm. I recommend taking these 3 hours before the party starts to eat dinner, look over the map of the party and plan out what you want to see and do. We made the mistake of arriving right at 7, and already felt like we were running behind. Not all the restaurants in the park are open during the party, and even those that are close at different times during the night. We wasted a lot valuable time deciding where to go, crossing the park to find it was closed, picking another spot, waiting for food and eating.


DSC08188Dress Up

I highly recommend wearing some kind of costume to the party. You’ll find everyone, young and old, all dress up for the party. One member of the group I went with decided not to dress up, and as soon as he stepped off the bus and saw the vast amounts of costumed guest streaming into the park proclaimed “I instantly regret not dressing up”. People put a lot of work into their costumes, especially Disney-themed ones. Guests take pictures of other guest’s costumes, and we even had a cast member announce over the microphone while riding Dumbo that he greatly appreciated my wife’s Mr. Toad costume. Dress-up. You’ll feel sillier if you don’t.


DSC08258Plan Your Route

This was probably our biggest mistake. We arrived at the park right at 7, opened the event map and began picking out activities right on the spot. This resulted in a lot of crisscrossing the park to random character and candy spots, attempting to hop on attractions and getting trapped by parades. Get an event map and plan out the things you want to see most ahead of time. You won’t get to every character, so decide who’s most important. Stop at candy locations on the way to other things. Pick out a couple of the special party treats (candy corn ice-cream, ghost cupcakes, Spiced Pumpkin Waffle Sundae), and pick them up along the way as well. Try to get everyone in your group on the same page and move through the park smartly. Or if everyone can’t decide, agree to split-up and meet at the end of the night.



If getting photos with rare characters is your thing (and it is my wife and I’s), the Halloween party is a great opportunity for this. But lines can get very long, and you don’t want to pay all that money to waste it in line. I recommend locating where the characters you want to see will be and getting in line before the party starts. Or the alternative is waiting until the last 90 minutes of the party when lines will be shorter as a lot of the smaller kids have tired out and left. Jack Skellington and Sally, and all Seven Dwarfs are the 2 most popular finds. We waited for the Dwarves for about 10 minutes in the estimated 60 minute line when the party first started, until a cast member informed us that the line was cut to in half following the second parade the night. We returned then, and were happy to see he was 100% correct.

DSC08193Also, new this year is a villain’s dance party at the Golden Horseshoe in Frontierland. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Governor Ratcliffe and Gideon from Pinocchio having a dance-off to Katy Perry, Ratcliffe moving quite nimbly for a man of his size.



There are multiple candy spots in the various lands where cast members fill your bags with handfuls of free candy (well, free for the price of the party ticket). The lines for candy are incredibly long when the party first starts. But as it gets later, the smaller kids turn in for the night and the lines become non-existent. Before the party, I was told little to no candy would be left by the end of the night, but I found in the last hour of the party, I was getting huge handfuls just so that they could get rid of as much as they could. A good candy spot is the path between Tomorrowland and Storybook Circus. Not a lot of people know about it and there are multiple spots along the path.




There are lots of specialty treats at the party, each at different quick service and food cart locations. Our group personally sampled the Candy Corn Cotton Candy, the Candy Corn Ice Cream, and the Spiced Pumpkin Waffle Sundae. The cotton candy had a little bit of orange flavor to it, but not much. The ice cream was simply vanilla soft serve with orange coloring over half of it (no special flavor), and some candy corns in the bottom of the cup. We kind of regretted the long line we waited in for it. The waffle sundae was probably the best of the bunch, and after getting it at the Sleepy Hallow food counter right before the parade gave us a great snack and a great parade viewing spot.

photo(7)Parade and Fireworks

There are 2 parades of the night, an early one and later one. The later parade has a much lighter crowd, so try and wait for that one. But even so, the parade is a big draw, so getting a spot 30 minutes before is a good idea. Also, about 15 minutes before the start, the Headless Horseman rides the parade route, which is well worth seeing. The parade is pretty great, with Haunted Mansion butlers performing their shovel dance, and the Hitchhiking Ghosts riding on one of the floats.

The Hallow Wishes firework show follows the second parade, and in my opinion, is the best firework show at the Magic Kingdom. But if fireworks aren’t a top priority to you, this is a great time to get in line for a character or favorite attraction while seeing the fireworks from one of the many vantage points throughout the park.

Most of the Magic Kingdom attractions are open during the party too, with greatly reduced wait times. The party we went to happened to actually be one of the busier ones due to it also being a race weekend, so they weren’t that much shorter. Definitely do some attractions during the party to take advantage of the reduced wait times, but don’t let that be your whole night.

DSC08244I had a blast at the Halloween party. There was so much to see and do, 5 hours wasn’t enough. And if we find ourselves at Walt Disney World again in the fall, we would definitely do it again. Hopefully, both you and myself can follow these tips to have the best party experience possible.