Odds are if you’re a Disney fan, you’ve heard about the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP). After all, this is the 10th year for the event. But, as I found when I wanted to bring my family, it can be really confusing to figure out how it all works. So, I’m offering up the lessons I learned from our night of not-so-scary fun.
First: Check the calendar for the right night.
I was under the impression this happened every night, but that’s not the case. This year, it started September 15th and is running until November 1st at Walt Disney World, but only on select nights. You can check the calendar here.
Second: You have to purchase special tickets for this event. They are not the same as the Disney Admission tickets. The good news is the tickets are less than you’ll pay for a full day of admission to the park. The bad news is you can’t get in the park until that evening. Technically, the party starts at 7pm, but you can get in any time after 4pm if you have the special band that you get with your ticket (you use your ticket to get in the gate…then there are people giving the bands out just a few steps away). If you already have admission to the park earlier in the day, you must pay the additional party fee, but can pick up your wrist band earlier in the park. Contrary to what I found confusing on the Disney site, you do not need a park ticket along with the party ticket if you are not planning to go in the park before 4pm. I have to say, I loved going to the park later in the day—first, it’s less money, but second—you can avoid the hot Florida sun for the most part, and that’s a very good thing at Disney.
Third: Wear a costume! It’s so much more fun to get into the Halloween spirit if you’re wearing a costume of some sort. Entire families get into the spirit. We didn’t realize we were going to this event until the day before, so we ran to the closest drug store and threw together some costumes, but if we go again, we’ll do it up right. This is such a fun part of the event. We weren’t even sure in some cases if the people in costume were ‘cast members’ (employees of Disney) or regular attendees. The costumes were THAT good. Also, this night is all about the villains. Not in a scary way–your young children will be just fine. Just know that the villains take center stage and that makes this even more fun!
Fourth: A little research goes a long way. For example, wait to go to the Haunted House until 7pm. The cast members who work that attraction will be dressed up more than usual at that hour. Look for the pumpkin street lights starting at 7, too. Those are the stops where they’re handing out candy. Grab some candy on your way through, but know that the later you wait to trick-or-treat, the more candy you’ll get at each stop. We got 2 or 3 pieces at our first stop right at 7, but got 6-8 pieces at each stop when we went closer to 11.
Fifth: Grab your spots early for the show at the castle and the parade. It’s best if your seat is the same for both shows, which means you should get something right on the street curb, but also in front of the castle. If you’re too close to the castle, you’ll fight to get a spot on the street for the parade that follows the castle show by just a few minutes. The cast members literally clear the street to make way for the Headless Horseman—he leads the parade, but comes through well before the floats. We almost missed him and other friends of ours did miss him.
Sixth: It’s great to leave the street immediately after the parade ends and head to the rides you want to ride most. You no longer need to compete with anyone with fast passes (they don’t offer these for the MNSSHP event, so nobody will have one after 7pm—that’s when all of the other park attendees are already gone), so the lines move much quicker than you’re probably used to.
Finally: The fireworks show at 10 is wonderful from the front of the castle, but they’re also amazing from behind the castle. We found this out purely by accident on our trip. From behind the castle, you’ll get a 360 degree view of all of the fireworks. You’ll literally be turning around in circles watching them go off all around you. We enjoyed that!
As you leave, don’t stress if you don’t have enough candy. There are people giving it out even as you leave. We didn’t fill our bags by any means, but we were so busy running from ride to ride, we didn’t think about stopping at each candy spot. We have great memories of the evening, which is way better than candy, anyway, right?
Here’s our video of highlights of the evening. Enjoy!
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