Monday, September 16, 2013

Top Five Tips To Experience Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party:

   Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party has become one of my favorite events of the year! Between the special character greetings, fireworks, shows, and trick or treating there is a lot to take in.  Sure, it's just a silly Halloween party...but to fully experience everything you have to have a clear idea of what to expect.  Our first year attending was a little hectic, and our irritation was palpable.
   I know you've heard a lot of this before, but here are our top five tips to experience the party to its fullest:

   Show Up Early (and rested):
      -If you have any inclination that you or your group will want to experience attractions during the festivities get them out of the way before the party actually begins. MNSSHP traditionally runs from 7PM to Midnight.  If you don't have a regular base ticket for the day, fear not! With your hard ticket to the event you can gain access to the Magic Kingdom as early as 4PM.  
      Use the few hours prior to the party to experience attractions, (Haunted Mansion or Pirates maybe?) eat your evening meal, and finalize your game plan for the evening.  Don't waste time on attractions during the party until the very end.  

   Line Up Before the Party Starts:
      - A huge part of MNSSHP is character meet and greets. Both fur and face characters are in every conceivable corner of the park, but you don't need to bother them unless they're specific to the party.      
      Every year there are a few must meet characters.  This year the big ticket are Jack and Sally from classic Nightmare Before Christmas.  These characters (however ugly the design is...) are extremely rare at Walt Disney World, and the line will reflect this throughout the night.  If you have any hope of enjoying the party without waiting in a long line during the limited hours available you need to line up early.  Join (or start) the queue no later than 45 minutes before 7:00 if you have any interest in meeting these rare characters.  The same rule applies for the seven dwarves and the princesses/princes. 
      It is possible to meet all characters available...but you will have to dedicate your entire evening toward the process. 

   Have A Plan For Shows: 
      - The biggest draw to The Magic Kingdom during these parties are the fabulous special shows! Not only are they INCREDIBLY THEMED...but they're among the best shows in the Disney canon.  The Boo To You parade, Hallowishes fireworks, and the under rated Villains Mix and Mingle are all required viewing.  Since they're on a pretty typical schedule its easy to plan your viewing times. 
      Boo To You runs twice a night at 8:15 and 10:30...unless you have small children and plan on leaving the park before the party ends, we seriously recommend seeing the second parade.  Not only will it be drastically less populated but it will also allow you the opportunity to see all three shows back to back.  Hallowishes is only shown once an evening, so PLEASE do not miss your chance so see these mind blowing fireworks.  Though it isn't necessary to view from the hub/mainstreet, these are the optimal viewing locations, so plan ahead. 

   For Crying Out Loud: DRESS UP:
      -When did dressing up for Halloween become a kiddie thing?  I'm always shocked at the amount of grumpy adults lugging their kids around MNSSHP.  Not only are they in a bad mood, but they're hardly ever dressed up. 
      Some of the most fun during these special evening comes from the interaction with other guests!  If you have a good costume plenty of people will want to chat and take pictures with you! It sounds really silly but these interactions can be a fun addition to your night. And don't think that meet and greet characters treat all guests equally...those with phenomenal costumes usually get the most one on one character time. 

   The Exception To The Rule: 
      -If you read Disney Hipster Blog or listen to the Disney Hipster Podcast you know of our disdain for WDW dance parties.  They tend to be a cheap way to add attractions where guests tend to gather in the first place, thus making their attractions per day higher. (and theoretically improve their experience.)  We blatantly disregard them as nonsensical and obsolete.  However, the big exception to this is during MNSSHP. 
      During the party there are two main dance parties.  An upbeat (albeit TOO upbeat) party found in Tomorrowland features Mike and Sulley from Monsters Inc fame...but also characters from the film who rarely show up to meet guests.  This is a great shot at getting a quick photo with these characters. Guest interaction is appallingly small. The poor DJ works hard, but to no avail. 
      The second party is almost the complete opposite.  Located in the defunct Diamond Horseshoe this party features Woody, Jessie, and Bullseye from Toy Story.  The characters aren't particularly rare...but the party is rollicking good time. From multiple firsthand experiences, Bullseye is extremely fun to dance its fun to spend some rare time in the Diamond Horseshoe. 

   There you go! Some advice that we wish someone had given us years ago, before our first visit to the Not So Scary Halloween Party! If this is you're first year at the party take these tips to heart and you're sure to get the biggest bang for your buck! And seriously, don't forget to trick or treat along the way!  You'll need some candy to replenish your energy at some point! 


  1. Hey guys, love the show and site! Where is the best place to stand if you want to catch all 3 shows? Do you see the 8:50 or 10:05 villains show? Do you see the stage show and fireworks from 1 location and then the parade from another. Details fellows, we are first timers to the event and love your idea of seeing them all in a row !!!


    Joe (@RazIsland)

  2. I had a pretty serious 29-year-old meltdown at MNSSHP last year. It was so packed I could barely breathe. Massive crowd-induced breakdown (in front of the in-laws no less) that included pouting and then the dreaded silence. The lines were absurd and the parents of little kids were horrendous. I had so many over-the-top negative interactions that I was practically in tears by the end of the night. I had so looked forward to it (spent weeks putting together my haunted mansion costume).

    Even so, I still have fond memories of the evening, the decor, the feel. I vowed I would never return, but you're making me want to reconsider. The Boo To You parade was the best I've ever seen (even if I had to battle with an evil dad and his (multiple) strollers.

    1. People definitely act extra ratchet at this and Very Merry Christmas. I pulled my stroller up BEHIND family sitting on the curb and the Dad goes "We were here first" uhhh obvi genius.

      Anyway I feel your pain, but don't rule out!! And as part of the stroller gang, I feel like an awkward asshole no matter what I do with it, but it's necessary for the little right now.

  3. Don't forget to get your picture with the hitchhiking ghosts between the Haunted Mansion and the Liberty Square riverboat. A photopass photographer takes the picture and they add in the ghosts. It's amazing and one of my favorite pictures from the party.

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