Touring Strategy for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2022

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Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is incredibly popular this year! If you’re visiting Walt Disney World between now and the end of the October, chances are that you’ve at least been tempted to go see the full return of this party. And you should be! Tickets may be expensive, but the party features the first fully-staffed parade we’ve seen since the parks reopened. And wait times at rides during the party are incredibly low. Plus … that Jack Skellington puppet.

But how should you spend your time during the party? 5 hours seems like a lot, but it passes quickly. Especially if you wait for over 2 hours just to see one character! So if you’re looking for a good balance of attractions with low waits, trick-or-treating, characters and entertainment, look no further!

Celebrate fall with Mickey! Even if the temperatures are up in the 90s …

Party Basics

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party runs from 7 pm to midnight on the following dates:

  • SEPTEMBER 2022: 9, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27, 29, and 30
  • OCTOBER 2022: 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, and 31

Note #1 here is to try to not visit Magic Kingdom on non-party days, especially in October. Yes, you miss fireworks that way. But every tries to avoid party dates if they don’t have party tickets, which makes those days so nice at Magic Kingdom, and forces everyone into the non-party dates. In October, only 13 days don’t have parties. Those thirteen days will be disproportionally crowded.

Note #2 is that your party ticket gains you entrance into the Magic Kingdom as early as 4 pm. Go ahead and get there early to get some attractions in before the party starts!

Note #3 is that DAS works during the party! For attractions and characters. This can be a HUGE win if you’re eligible for DAS. I’d definitely recommend getting DAS return times for the major characters and doing attractions by standby. Character waits >> attraction waits, almost always.

The strategy presented in this article gives some specific times for various entertainment options. In case you want to make your own plan, the various shows and offerings are presented at the following times:

  • Disney’s Not So Spooky Spectacular (fireworks and more!): 10:15 pm
  • Mickey’s Boo to You Parade: 9:15 pm and 11:15 pm
  • Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular: 7:40 pm (October only), 8:35 pm, 10:45 pm, midnight
  • Cadaver Dans: 7 pm, 7:40 pm, 8:30 pm, 9:50 pm, 10:30 pm
Cadaver Dans!

A Note about Characters

Character meet and greets at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party are something of feast or famine. Or, really, eat-up-your-whole-night or delightful.

The hot-ticket characters require hours of waiting, and they take frequent breaks. If you’re absolutely set on meeting one, you’ll need to line up well before the party actually starts, and you’ll need to be okay with dedicating most of your party to waiting for them. Who are these popular characters? Jack and Sally, Elvis Stitch, and Pooh and friends. As an example of what your night look like if you absolutely must meet Elvis Stitch, for example, I present this real-life scenario that required over 2 hours of waiting:

Is he cute? Undeniably. Is he worth 2 hours of party time waiting for? Ehhhhhhh
  • Entered the park at 4 pm, when party guests are eligible to enter.
  • Got in line for Elvis Stitch at 6:42 pm
  • Stitch came out at 6:48 pm (before the party actually started! Hooray!) and greeted until 7:10 pm (10 minutes after the party started, boo).
  • Stitch then took a nice 8 minute break, and came back out at 7:18 pm. He continued rocking on and greeting until 7:43 pm.
  • Unfortunately, no quick 8-minute break this time. Stitch must’ve needed a long nap, because he didn’t come back until 8:19 pm.
  • To add insult to … the waiting, that 36 minute rest only gave Stitch enough energy to greet for 24 minutes. By 8:43 pm, he needed another break.
  • Thankfully, this break was short and Stitch was back by 8:51 pm, and the wait was finally over at 8:57 pm.

On the other end of the character spectrum is the location at Mad Tea Party. At this one spot, there are FIVE different characters that rotate in and out. For example, the Queen of Hearts will be closer to the Tomorrowland shrubs and Alice and the Mad Hatter will be nearer Pooh – all at the same time.

Pre-Party Strategy

With party tickets, you can enter Magic Kingdom as early as 4 pm. And you should enter as early as possible if you want to ride some attractions before the Halloween festivities get started. To that end, the following would be a reasonable way to spend the afternoon:

  • Immediately go to Jungle Cruise, which will likely have a 30-40 minute posted wait, but should only be an 18-20 minute actual wait. Hooray!
  • This means that around 4:45 pm, you can be at Pirates of the Caribbean with something like a 10 minute posted wait, but it should actually be something near a walk-on.
  • You can still hit Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain before 6 pm. Splash will be posted between 30 and 40 minutes, and Big Thunder will be posted at something like 20 minutes. But your actual waits should be closer to 5 and 10 minutes, respectively.
  • At this point, it will be nearing 6 pm. If you need to eat, you could do so now before the party begins. But hopefully you ate before you arrived and you can make it until you sugar up later in the party.
  • If you want to see one of the really popular characters, you need to get in line by 6 pm. Even then you may spend 2-3 hours waiting for them.
  • Otherwise, your goal is to do two more attractions before 7 pm. First, Haunted Mansion with approximately a 25 minute posted wait that should be more like 10 or 15 minutes. And then Seven Dwarfs Mine Train just before 7 pm. It will probably have a 60 minute posted wait, but should be a 20 minute wait.
I consider Haunted Mansion to be a do-not-miss during MNSSHP. Its ambiance is unmatched and it’s the perfect spooky addition to your evening.

So, the party has just officially started. And, ideally, you’ll have already done six of the attractions with some of the highest waits on a normal day in Magic Kingdom. Not a bad start.

Party Time!

When the party starts, you’ll be tempted to immediately go trick-or-treating, or some other sort of fun. Don’t do it! Everyone else at the party will be giving in to that temptation. If you trick-or-treat early, you’ll spoil your dinner have to carry around heavy candy all night. And, spoiler alert, Disney doesn’t run out of candy. Save that for much later. Your goal is to experience a few more attractions before getting into the party spirit.

  • First, head over to Tomorrowland and ride Buzz Lightyear. It’ll have some minimal posted wait, but should be close to a walk-on.
  • Then, take in the ambiance of the party on the Tomorrowland PeopleMover. This one will once again have close to zero wait, and will buy you some time as the crowds calm down at Space Mountain.
  • Time your arrival to Space Mountain to be close to 8 pm. There will be a 30 or 40 minute posted wait, but it should only really be closer to 20 or 25 minutes.
  • If you’re fortunate, you might be able to make it to Frontierland in time for the 8:30 pm performance of the Cadaver Dans. If not, you’re still headed that way to grab spots for the 9:15 pm Boo to You parade.
  • As soon as the parade is over, make your way as close to the front of the castle as possible. The fireworks spectacular won’t begin until 10:15 pm, but you want to wait it out for a prime viewing location. The Jack Skellington puppet featured on stage during the spectacular is the stand-out of the party and is worth the wait.
  • From fireworks until midnight is your time to party like it’s Halloween. Meet characters with short waits or do your trick-or-treating.
  • Finally, at midnight, end your night by watching the Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular. This is the last of 3 or 4 showings for the night, and should therefore be pretty empty and easy to enjoy.
You want to be front and center for this impressive Jack Skellington performance!

Quick Trick-or-Treating

Every treat location at the party has the same treat options. You don’t need to visit many of them unless you plan on eating your weight in sugar over the next few weeks. But, it does pay to have a savvy strategy to get as much candy as possible with as little walking and waiting as possible.

Part one of the strategy is to wait until after 10 pm. Everyone else will have already loaded up their treat bags at that point, so the lines at the trick-or-treat locations will be almost non-existent. Easy.

The next step is maximizing treats per step. The absolute best location for this is at Monsters Inc Laugh Floor. There is a treat stop on the way in, a fun show, and then another treat stop on the way out. Two-for-one on candy? Yes please.

TWO treat locations _and_ a fun show in between. If you’re trick-or-treating at all, this is the spot to do it.

Plus, Tomorrowland is objectively the best land for getting a lot of candy in a short period of time, because you also have stops at Carousel of Progress and Cosmic Ray’s. That’s four total stops with very little walking in between.

Where should you avoid? Pinocchio Village Haus and Country Bear Jamboree. Both locations have very long walks within the attraction or restaurant, and you’re getting the same treats as your would at any other location. Avoid.

Not-So-Scary Strategy Summary

  • 4 – 8:30 pm: Do the rides! Suggested order: Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Haunted Mansion, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Buzz Lightyear, PeopleMover, Space Mountain. Phew!
  • 8:30 – 10:30 pm: Boo to You Parade and Not-So-Spooky Spectacular
  • 10:30 – midnight: Treats and characters
  • Midnight: Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular

Are you headed to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party this year? Do you plan on emphasizing rides, characters, treats, or attractions? Let us know in the comments!

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Becky Gandillon

Becky Gandillon was trained in biomedical engineering, but is now a full-time data and analytics nerd. She loves problem solving and travelling. She and her husband, Jeff, live in St. Louis with their two daughters and they have Disney family movie night every Saturday. You can follow her on LinkedIn: or instagram @raisingminniemes

2 thoughts on “Touring Strategy for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2022

  • September 8, 2022 at 10:37 am

    Would love if you do something similar for MVMCP.

  • September 23, 2022 at 7:28 pm

    Can you clarify how DAS works for meet and greets, specifically Jack and Sally? Is it in the app?


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