What to Expect from 2012’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

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Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) is the Halloween Party you always wanted as a kid – music, costumes, noise, and candy, candy, candy, plus some creepy stuff that’s not so creepy it would give you nightmares. Here’s the complete scoop on what to expect when you attend.

When/Where is the Halloween Party?

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party takes place in the Magic Kingdom on select nights in the fall, typically running from mid-September until a day or two after Halloween. In 2012, the party dates are September 11, 14, 18, 21, 25, 28, 30; October 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 26, 28, 30, 31; November 2.

Tickets for MNSSHP and its cousin Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party typically become available in May.

What time is the Party?

Officially the Party runs from 7:00 p.m. until midnight. There is substantial anecdotal evidence that guests attending the Party are allowed admission into the Magic Kingdom as early as 4:00 or 4:30 p.m. using only MNSSHP tickets (not regular admission media). This practice could change at any time.

Will I need a special ticket to get into the Party?

Yes. Admission requires buying a separate ticket just for this event. It’s not included in any version of the Magic Your Way ticketing.

How much do the Party tickets cost?

There’s a range of pricing including discounts for buying in advance. On the low end, you’ll pay about $51 for a child’s ticket on a September weekday if you buy before the day of the party. On the high end, you’ll pay about $70 for an adult ticket purchased on Halloween day. There may be discounts for DVC members, annual pass holders, active military, or other special categories of guests, depending on the date. You should always ask about available discounts when purchasing Disney tickets or tours. Tickets can be obtained through Disney online, over the phone at 407-W-DISNEY, or at any WDW ticket window, concierge desk, or guest relations office.

I don’t have a Park Hopper, can I still buy a MNSSHP ticket?

You sure can. MNSSHP tickets are totally separate from regular park admission media. If you have a Magic Your Way base ticket, you’re welcome to visit Epcot in the morning and then MNSSHP in the evening using a Party ticket. This would not count as a “Park Hop.”

I see that there’s a discount for early ticket purchase, but do I need to purchase tickets early if I’m not sure about attending the party?

Same-day tickets may be available for some weekday Parties in September, but you should absolutely buy your tickets in advance if you’d like to go to MNSSHP on a weekend in October. A limited number of tickets are available for each party. The event does typically sell out on October weekends.

Where do I enter the Magic Kingdom for the Party?

Depending on what time you arrive at the Magic Kingdom, some or all of the entrance turnstiles will be dedicated to Party admission. Look for the signs indicating where to go. When you enter the park with a Halloween Party ticket, a cast member will place a plastic wristband on your arm and hand you a plastic candy collection bag. Also be sure to grab a map/schedule on the way in.

I’m not going to MNSSHP, but I will be in the Magic Kingdom during a day when the Party is held. Will they kick me out of the park at 7:00?

Well, no one will forcibly remove you from the park, but beginning at around 7:00 cast members will set up moving checkpoints for wristbands. If you’re not wearing a wristband, then you’ll be directed toward the park exit. Wristband checks occur periodically at the attractions.

I’ll be visiting the Magic Kingdom in the afternoon and also attending MNSSHP. Do I have to leave the park at some point?

No. Beginning in late afternoon, several stations will be set up inside the park to distribute wristbands to Party guests who are already inside. Stop by one of the stations, they’ll scan your ticket, give you a wristband, and you can be back to the fun in no time.

During a MNSSHP in 2008, just prior to the last presidential election, my daughter and I dressed as campaign workers.

It’s a Halloween Party – does that mean costumes?

Costumes are NOT required to attend the Party, but many guests do add to the fun by getting dressed up. There are a few restrictions on costumes (more on that in a sec), but there is no requirement that costumes be Disney-related. Many guests choose to give a nod to Disney in their dress-up (Mouseketeers and pirates are popular choices), but you’ll also see plenty of non-Disney superheros on hand.

Costumes range from just a Halloween-themed tee or pirate eye patch to full on Haunted Mansion ghosts. The choice is really up to you. Personally, I love seeing other guests dressed creatively.

What types of costume restrictions are there?

I’m all for the truth in advertising that this is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. The goal for costumes is being fun and creative, not frightening. You’ll be asked to change or leave if your costume is too scary or grotesque.

The official language on the tickets states. “Halloween costumes should NOT:

  • Obstruct the guest’s view or interfere with their ability to board/unload from attractions and/or the the Walt Disney World Resort transportation system (including monorails, ferry boats, and motorcoaches).
  • Drag on the ground.
  • Contain sharp or pointed objects or material that may accidentally strike another guest.
  • Be offensive to other guests.
  • Contain any weapons which resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon.”

Additionally, the main Walt Disney World website contains the following language about general costuming issues:

“Attire that is not appropriate for the theme parks (and which may result in refusal of admittance) includes but is not limited to:

  • Adult costumes or clothing that can be viewed as representative of an actual Disney character.
  • Masks (unless you are dressing up for a particular event).
  • Clothing with objectionable material, including obscene language or graphics.
  • Excessively torn clothing.
  • Clothing which, by nature, exposes excessive portions of the skin that may be viewed as inappropriate for a family environment.
  • Objectionable tattoos.

A Guest is allowed into the parks if her or his hair (or make-up, if applicable) has been made to resemble a Disney Princess or character (for example, after a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique makeover) provided the Guest is not also wearing a costume or clothed to look like the character.”

Even the characters will be in costume during the party.

Any other costume tips?

Autumn temperatures at WDW are still quite warm. Particularly for the earlier parties, you might encounter temperatures well into the 80s. This is not the time for fuzzy bear suits or full body armor. Think more along the lines of hula skirts and baseball jerseys for maximum comfort.

The Disney powers-that-be like to restrict adult costumes to the Party itself. If you’re coming directly from your resort to the Party, then you’re fine wearing your costume on the bus or monorail. If you’re coming from elsewhere, then your best bet is to change into costume once you’re at the Magic Kingdom. I speak from first hand experience that the ladies’ restroom near City Hall is practically a party itself from about 5:30-6:45 on MNSSHP nights. Most of the women there will be changing themselves or their children into costume. More than once I’ve helped someone with a zipper or shared some hairspray and bobby pins. If you don’t want to carry your street clothes around, MNSSHP is a great time to invest in a locker rental.

What is the crowd situation like during the party?

As I mentioned, there are a limited number of tickets sold for the event, so you won’t be slammed with crowds if you’re just walking through the park. I’ve personally found the lines for the rides to be quite short during the Party; however other aspects of the event can feel quite intense crowd-wise. More on that in a bit.

Now that you’ve got the business out of the way, can you tell me what there is to do at the Party?

On to the fun stuff! The Halloween Party has several components:

  • Rides
  • Trick or treating
  • Halloween-themed parade
  • Halloween-themed fireworks
  • Character dance parties
  • Special character meet and greet opportunities
  • Villain’s Dance Mix & Mingle
  • A pre-parade Flash Mob – NEW THIS YEAR!

Are all the rides open during the Party?

Well, not every last one, but most of the rides are fully operational during the Party. In 2011, the following rides were available to Party guests: Pirates of the Caribbean, Magic Carpet of Aladdin, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Haunted Mansion (of course), Snow White’s Scary Adventures (now permanently closed), Peter Pan’s Flight, Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, Dumbo, Mickey’s Philharmagic, Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Mad Tea Party, Space Mountain, Tomorrowland Speedway, Astro Orbiter, Buzz Lightyear, Tomorrowland Transit Peoplemover, Stitch’s Great Escape, and Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor.

It’s A Small World and the Hall of Presidents were most recently open during MNSSHP in 2009. The Swiss Family Treehouse was open during MNSSHP as recently as 2010. The Jungle Cruise, Country Bear Jamboree, and Tom Sawyer Island are not typically open during the Party.

Duffy dresses like a pumpkin on Halloween.

Should I go on rides during the Party?

This depends on your priorities. The ride wait times during the Party are usually minimal. If your main goal for the Party is to get some quality Space Mountain time in, then by all means ride on.

What’s the Trick or Treating like?

Every guest of the Party, children and adults, will be given a trick or treat bag upon entering the park. You’re also welcome to bring your own bag if that’s more your speed. There will be about a dozen treat stations scattered throughout the park. These are noted on the MNSSHP map and can be found in the park by looking for the special large Halloween-themed “lamp posts.”

As you walk through the park, stop by the treat stations and cast members will add candy to your bag. There are dozens of types of candy available, including everything from off-brand candy corn to giant Toblerone bars. When doing my own MNSSHP trick or treating, I’ve generally received a pretty even mix of sugar-based (Dots, US Smarties, lollipops, Twizzlers, etc.) and chocolate-based (mini Hershey bars, M&Ms, Tootsie Rolls, etc.) candy. Many of the stations will have an alternative treat, such as boxed raisins, to give to guests with food allergies. Be sure to ask the cast members at the trick or treat stations if you have alternative treat needs.

This year, look for the return of the Alice & Mad Hatter Treat Trail which winds from the Storybook Circus (formerly Toontown) area, behind the Tomorrowland Speedway, and ends near Space Mountain.

There is no limit to the candy collection. You’re welcome to hit the treat lines as often as you wish. If you’ve got a candy-mad child in your group, this may be his idea of heaven. While I always make a few trick or treat pitstops when I visit MNSSHP, here are some things to think about before you invest too much of your time on candy collection:

  • If you’re trying to maintain healthfulness, do you really want to come home with pounds of candy?
  • If simply having candy is your goal, it’s more cost effective to go to the supermarket and just buy the kinds you like.
  • What’s the opportunity cost of spending time trick or treating? Will you miss out on other party activities?
  • Do you come from a culture that does not trick or treat? If so, the novelty of this experience may outweigh other considerations.
  • Anecdotal evidence suggests that the candy distribution cast members become more generous as the evening wears on. You may get a bigger haul if you visit the lines later in the Party.

Other than candy, what are my food options during the Party?

There are no table service restaurants seating guests once the Party starts. However, if you’re seated at a table service before the start of the Party, you’ll be allowed to finish your meal at a normal pace. You won’t be rushed out.

There are a number of counter service venues open during the Party. In recent years these have included: Casey’s Corner, Main Street Sweets, Aloha Isle, Pecos Bill, Golden Oak Outpost, Westward Ho, Frontierland Turkey Cart, Sleepy Hollow, the Liberty Square Pizza Cart, Storybook Treats Ice Cream, Cosmic Ray’s and the Lunching Pad. These spots give you a range of options from sweets to salads. Check out the restaurant menus for specifics.

My personal opinion is that grabbing a Dole Whip or funnel cake during MNSSHP is a nice way to keep your sugar buzz steady, but it seems silly to me to use a substantial percentage of your valuable Party time for a full meal. To take best advantage of the Halloween offerings, consume your sit-down protein before the party starts. A 5:30 p.m. dinner at Crystal Palace or the Liberty Tree Tavern is a great way to fortify yourself for the long night ahead.

The Headless Horseman sets the mood along the parade route.

Tell me about the parade.

Mickey’s Boo to You Halloween Parade starts in Frontierland at 8:15 and 10:30 p.m. As with all parades, depending on where you’re situated on the parade route, it could take 15 minutes or more for the parade to pass your location. The exact parade route is noted on the MNSSHP park map.

Crowds will begin lining up along the route about 45 minutes before the start of the parade. However, if you don’t need to be right up front, then it’s possible to see almost everything if you’re along the route in Frontierland about 5-10 minutes before start time. Another good vantage point is upstairs on the second floor overlook at the Train Station at the base of Main Street. As an added bonus, there may be real chairs there to sit on while you watch. Typically, viewing crowds are thinner for the second run of the parade than the first.

A highlight of the parade happens before even the official start of the performance, when a horse with a shockingly realistic headless rider travels the parade route.

Other things to expect are floats with Disney characters wearing their Halloween costumes (in 2011, Donald Duck was a knight in shining armor and Minnie Mouse was a friendly witch), more Villain characters than other parades, elaborately choreographed gravediggers, and Goofy on his Candy Company float directing cast members to pass treats into the crowd. If you have a child with food allergies, keep a close eye on this.

I’m not a parade addict myself. I can easily take a pass on the typical afternoon park parade, but I always make a point to see the Boo to You parade during MNSSHP. The gravediggers alone are worth it.

What are the fireworks like?

A special “Happy HalloWishes” fireworks show is run at 9:30 p.m. The show lasts about 12 minutes. Good vantage points can be had anywhere along Main Street.

The actual fireworks in the sky are fairly standard for Disney, but the music and narration takes on a decidedly spooky tone. There is audio from the Haunted Mansion attraction (Grim Grinning Ghosts) and songs from Disney villains. The castle itself is primarily bathed in blues and greens. If you like fireworks, but all means have at it. If you have a child who is fearful of loud noise or creepy tones, then hop on a ride during the fireworks and skip this part.

What is a “dance party”?

In 2010 and 2011 there were two character dance parties running throughout the Party: Stitch’s Club 626, featuring Stitch, Pluto, Goofy, and Chip & Dale, taking place at the Rockettower Stage in Tomorrowland, and Woody’s Harvest Roundup, featuring Toy Story pals, taking place at the Diamond Horseshoe Review in Liberty Square.

During the dance parties, DJs spin dance tunes and characters are available to boogie with guests. If you’re not shy, it’s possible to get in some time dancing with the characters. Beware, that the volume can be quite intense and keep an eye on the kiddos. It’s dark and confusing with lots of mood lighting and other guests trying to get time to boogie next to Bullseye.

What happens during the Villains Mix and Mingle?

The Villains Mix and Mingle is an eight minute long stage show performed in front of the castle four times per night. In 2010 and 2011, the shows were at 7:45, 8:50, 10:05 and 11:15. During the performance you’ll see classic Disney villains (Cruella, Captain Hook, Queen of Hearts, etc.) and a bevy of back-up dancers strutting their stuff to Halloween-themed techno music. If you’ve ever wanted to see Malificent shake it in quasi-Hip Hop, quasi-Broadway style, then here’s your shot.

After the performance, many of the villains will come off the stage to mingle with guests in the audience for about 10 minutes. There can be a bit of a crush to get to the characters, so be sure to stake out a spot up close to the stage if you want some face time with Cruella. You may be able to pose for a photo with your favorite bad guy, but be aware that you’ll be taking your photo among the throngs, in the dark. Get to know the low-light and flash settings on your camera if you want your photo to actually come out well.

Can I meet characters during the party?

Absolutely! Not only can you meet characters, but many of them will be wearing Halloween costumes themselves. The 2011 MNSSHP character greetings included:

    • All seven dwarfs – near the exit to Splash Mountain
    • Captain Jack Sparrow – near Pirates of the Caribbean
    • Gaston, Lotso, Jafar, and Lady Tremain, Anastasia and Drizella (Cinderella’s step family) – at the Main Street “hub” near the front of the Castle
    • Duffy – near City Hall on Main Street
    • Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet – on Main Street near the flag post by the entrance
    • Suzy and Perla (Cinderella’s mice) – outside the Town Square Theater
    • Mickey and Minnie, Flynn Rider and Rapunzel, Cinderella and her prince, Snow White and her prince – inside the Town Square Theater
    • Tarzan, Jane and Terk – at the Adventureland Veranda
    • Donald and Daisy – at the Adventureland Gazebo
    • Aladdin, Jasmine, the Genie, and Abu – near the Aladdin ride
    • Rafiki and Timon – across from the Swiss Family Treehouse
    • Tinker Bell and fairy friends – in Adventureland
    • Alice and the Mad Hatter – near the teacup ride
    • Aurora and Prince Phillip – in the Fantasyland Fairytale Garden
    • Frollo, Maleficent, the Evil Queen, Cruella, Captain Hook and the Queen of Hearts – at the Villains Mix and Mingle
    • Stitch, Chip & Dale, Goofy and Pluto – at the Stitch Dance Party
    • Buzz Lightyear – near the Carousel of Progress
    • Woody, Jesse, Bullseye – at the Diamond Horseshoe Dance Party
    • Tiana and Naveen – Liberty Square
    • Cinderella’s Carriage (not a character, but a good photo op) – past Small World, near the old Skyway station

Thanks to unofficialcharacterhuntingguide.blogspot.com for the comprehensive character location list.

The lines for the character greetings, particularly the dwarfs and Captain Jack, can become very long, very fast. Even at the start of the Party, you may face wait times of an hour or more for the dwarfs. If character photo opportunities are important to you, but sure to factor wait times into your planning.

Remember, characters who are in the parade don’t greet guests during the parade. This means that Mr. Sparrow takes two long greeting breaks during the party. Consider this in your timing.

What’s new this year?

New to MNSSHP in 2012 is a pre-parade, flashmobesque event called “Calling All the Monsters.” After the Headless Horseman and before the start of the Boo To You Parade, guests will be invited to participate in a line dance along the parade route. The music, by China Anne McClain, is available on iTunes and you can learn the choreography on YouTube via the link above. Get your Thriller claws ready for this one, folks.

Should I bring my young child to MNSSHP?

Check out an in-depth discussion of this topic on the Touring Plans blog.

How might weather impact the Halloween party?

Tickets are non-refundable and the Party goes on rain or shine, even if there’s lots and lots and lots of rain. Some of the Party activities may be postponed, curtailed, or cancelled, but the Party itself will continue. If you’re thinking of attending MNSSHP in early September, you may want to wait until your arrival at WDW to purchase your tickets, when you have a good sense of the weather forecast. If you’re thinking of attending MNSSHP in October, there’s a chance that the Party could sell out, making advance purchase advisable. However, you should go into this knowing that you’re taking a gamble on being wet during the event.

Is there any special Party merchandise?

Of course there is. Disney will sell Halloween-themed merchandise throughout the parks and resorts from late August until early November. There will also be some items sold exclusively at the Parties. Typically this will include several styles of tee shirts, trading pins, and a Vinylmation. Since the exclusive merchandise only appears during the Party, you can usually find it at or near the registers where the cast members can most easily keep control of it. Try the Emporium for best selection.

Are there touring plans for MNSSHP?

Touring Plans has official MNSSHP plans for:

Note: these are premium touring plans.

How do I know what’s right for me?

The first step in working out any touring plan is deciding what your priorities are. Are you there to meet characters? Do you want to focus on the unique entertainment? Is collecting a year’s worth of candy your main objective? Do you want ride time with low lines? Each of these scenarios needs a different touring strategy. Once you have have your priorities set, it’s easy to choose a plan.

What tips do you have if meeting characters is my main goal?

This is perhaps the most time consuming Party objective. The line for the seven dwarfs will be upwards of an hour long right from the beginning of the Party. Get in line for this photo op at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the Party.

Decide whether you want to prioritize classic characters in costume or unique characters found only at the Party (the dwarfs, for example).

The characters may stop greeting guests before the official end of the party. Plan to have your character photos completed by 11:00 p.m.

You have several opportunities each night to get photos with the villains after the Mix & Mingle.

Is MNSSHP worth it?

Assuming that it’s not going to kill your budget, then I’d certainly recommend seeing MNSSHP at least once. To maximize the return on your dollar, think about:

  • Being present for the entire event. Think of it this way, if you pay $70 for your ticket and you stay for a full five hours, you’re spending $14 per hour for your entertainment. If you only stay for three hours, then you’re spending $23 per hour for your entertainment.
  • You’ll have the most “Halloweenish” experience if you focus on events/activities that are unique to the Party. Space Mountain is the same Space Mountain with or without a MNSSHP ticket. The Boo to You Parade can only be seen at the Party.
  • The lines for the trick or treating are rarely long, particularly later in the evening. Try working in your candy collection when you see a short line on the way to another activity.
  • While some guests will line up for the parade 45 minutes or more before start time, to me this is a waste of quality touring time. (And time is money.) Unless you absolutely must be right up front, you can arrive for the parade just a few minutes in advance.
  • Multitask when possible. If you’ve got to wait around for a parade to start, use this time for your food consumption.

So happy haunters, are you planning to attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party this year? What are you looking forward to most? What do you usually skip during the party? What are your touring strategies? Let us know in the comments below.

Thanks to the incomparable Tom Bricker for the use of many of the photos in this post.

UPDATE 9/8/12: 2012 MNSSHP official maps are now available. The information below is accurate for 2012.

  • Parade, fireworks, and Mix & Mingle times remain the same as 2011.
  • Trick or treat locations are: In Adventureland – next to Jungle Cruise, at the Pirates of the Caribbean queue; In Liberty Square – at the Liberty Square Riverboat; In Fantasyland – at the Peter Pan queue, at the Pinocchio Village Haus restaurant, at the Fantasyland Railroad station; In Tomorrowland – next to the Speedway, near Space Mountain, next to the Carousel of Progress. Trick or treat trails will be in Frontierland next to the Splash Mountain queue and in Fantasyland starting near the Barnstormer.
  • MNSSHP merchandise sales locations will be: Emporium, Uptown Jewelers (pins only), Plaza del Sol Caribe Bazaar, Frontier Trading Post, Heritage House, Fantasy Faire, and Mickey’s Star Traders.
  • All of the 2011 attractions (with the exception of Snow White) will be open during the Party. Additionally, the Barnstormer and it’s a small world will also be open.
  • For dining options: the Frontierland Churro cart will be open. The Liberty Square pizza cart will not.
  • There will be a Facebook Game related to the Party. Text on the MNSSHP map reads, “Mickey and Friends Trick or Treat Game. Check out Mickey’s Halloween Party on Facebook to virtually trick or treat with all your friends! Simply select the “Mickey’s Trick or Treat” tab at top right to begin. Plus, for a special treat, enter the code URSULA! Visit the page often for more codes.” I’m excited to see what that’s all about. If you try it, please let us know what your experiences have been.
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Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel (now PlanDisney), a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater.

56 thoughts on “What to Expect from 2012’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

  • September 5, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Great write-up, Erin…thanks! We’ll be heading to our first MNSSHP Sep 21st and are really looking forward to it. We’ve been to MVMCP and thought the parade by itself was almost worth the price of admission; several have told us, however, that Boo To You is even better than Christmas.

    As for touring strategies, we (2 adults and 2 boys aged 9 and 7) are contemplating trying to attempt an “unofficial” ultimate touring plan this day (you can’t use a hard-ticketed event to complete an official try). We’re planning on taking a 2-2.5 hour break back at our resort in the afternoon and eating in the park (Pecos Bill’s around 6 or so)…when the party starts, we’ll be mixing in the party-specific items (i.e. Mix-n-Mingle, Boo To You, HalloWishes, hitting at least one trick-or-treat line, getting a pic of the carriage and/or a character or two, etc) along with a number of attractions (at least 13 in our plan at the moment, assuming they’re open during the party…this may change once the party brochures become available). If the boys get too run down, though, then we’ll slow it down – knowing their energy levels, love of MK, and desire to meet a challenge, though, I think we’ll have a chance to hit at least 18-22 attractions/events during the party. Regardless, I think we’ll all have a blast at the party (as well as the rest of the day).

    • September 5, 2012 at 3:48 pm

      Wow. Sounds like an awesome plan. I’d love you hear how it turns out!

  • September 5, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Over past 3 years we’ve been to the MNSSHP and MVMCP. While I like the MVMCP, I just love MNSSHP. Best Halloween party! Also, we’ve been able to get in on the hard ticket at 4:00 the last 3 years.

    • September 5, 2012 at 3:49 pm

      I’ve also been able to get in at 4:15ish several times in the past few years, but Disney does reserve the right not to admit anyone with a Party ticket until 7:00.

  • September 5, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    I thought they changed the balloons from Goofy’s Candy Co. to pumpkins this year.

    • September 5, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      Good catch. Making the edit now. Sorry.

  • September 5, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Thanks for this blog post, just reading about the Halloween party got me excited about my October trip. I have been to MNSSHP in the past and I completely agree with your advice about waiting to get candy until later in the night. Last time we tried to go early and the lines were pretty long, but by the end of the night we just walked right up to the barrels of candy and the cast members even let us pick which candy we wanted. Just a warning though, if you wait too late they might run out of the candy bags they supply, so make sure to grab those early on even if you won’t be using it until later.

    • September 5, 2012 at 7:35 pm

      Good tip. If you want those sturdy, heavy plastic bags, be sure to grab them when you arrive. But you should know that any bag will do. If they happen to run out of the special bags, you can go to any merchandise location and just ask them for a couple of small plastic bags.

      • May 1, 2013 at 4:13 pm

        I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was curious what all is needed to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a
        pretty penny? I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100% positive.
        Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • September 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    If you are visiting WDW from the Mountain or Pacific time zones….I’d recommend going to MNSSHP early in your trip, BEFORE you become acclimated to the East Coast time zone. I think our 7 year old (at the time of the trip) would have been more awake had we gone to the party earlier in our visit.

    • September 5, 2012 at 7:35 pm

      That’s a really smart idea. Thanks for sharing.

  • September 5, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    I got half way through this post and KNEW it was you writing because it was so informative and helpful. Yet again you have helped me in my trip planning (20 days to go) and I am very grateful.
    We have an ADR for 4:00 in Cinderella’s castle that day do you think they will let us wear our 6 dwarfs costumes at dinner or will we have to change afterwards? It would be great to meet Snow White and be pictured with our dwarfs costumes.

    • September 5, 2012 at 7:39 pm

      Ah Heather, you always make my day.

      I LOVE your idea to take an in-costume photo with Snow White in the castle. It’s really at the discretion of the cast members at the restaurant, but my hunch is that if your costumes look like people dressed as dwarfs, then you’re probably OK.

      I’m wondering if other readers have had personal experience with something like this. Anyone have any advice?

  • September 5, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    My husband and I will be in WDW in 2 days (yea!). Our last night, 9/14, we have tickets to the MNSSHP (first timers). Initially we bought tickets mainly to make our last day last a little longer, but I’m getting very excited! We are very devoted to the touring plans and will definitely follow that. I can’t wait to see the headless horseman! I’m usually not a huge fan of parades or fireworks, but Disney’s are just done so well and are not to be missed. Thanks so much for the tips! You’ve got to be my favorite Disney blogger. Like Heather said – always informative and helpful.

    • September 5, 2012 at 7:41 pm

      You’re making me blush.

      I am also not generally a parade fan, but I truly love the Boo to You Parade. I hope you enjoy!

  • September 5, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    I am a big villans fan and will be attending on 10/23. I have preordered my Photo Passport + already. As I tour by myself this is a big help. Will there be special photo options and locations during MNSSHP? thank you,Erin

    • September 7, 2012 at 8:35 am

      We’ll have Touring Plans staff at several of the early parties. We’ll report back as soon as we have details.

    • October 22, 2013 at 3:00 pm

      I have been told by a friend who was there by the haunted mansion you can get photo pass pictures with hitch hiking ghosts

  • September 6, 2012 at 6:49 am

    We are going on Oct 14th and are so excited! I have been to MVMCP a number of times but have never been for MNSSHP. We are traveling from NJ and are trying to plan what to wear for the party (excluding props since we have to pack it). Does anyone have ideas that we could try?

    • September 7, 2012 at 8:36 am

      Kate, give a Google to “MNSSHP costumes” and you’ll find LOTS of ideas. Have fun!

  • September 6, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Dh and I are going to Food and Wine in 3 weeks and are thinking of doing MNSSHP this time. Last year when we went with the kids, we skipped the party due to the price for all 4 of us, plus my kids are more early birds that night owls. But I am really excited for it now after reading this article and I think we may go for it!! Splurge for the adults only trip!!!

    • September 7, 2012 at 8:37 am

      I love your adults-only idea. Have a great time!

  • September 6, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Great article, thank you 🙂 I am going to MNSSHP next month for the first time – really looking forward to it! We have been to MVMCP and enjoyed it a lot.
    Just wondered – is the Haunted Mansion any ‘spookier’ or have an extra effects during the parties?

    • September 7, 2012 at 8:39 am

      The actual Haunted Mansion ride is the same, but the exterior of the attraction is given an extra spooky treatment during the party. There will be “fog” and blue green mood lighting. There will also be some humorous ghostly characters seating in the graveyard near the queue entrance, interacting with the guests.

      Also, the horseless hearse coach may be available for photos.

  • September 7, 2012 at 12:27 am

    This a great blog about all the details about MNSSHP. I’ve been looking for a good post about all aspects of the party as well as tips and pointers, and at last my curiosity has been satisfied! I’ll be at WDW in 1 week for my honeymoon, and my family will join us for our second week starting the 21st. We are going to MNSSHP on the 25th and we are excited to meet all the characters. Knowing the possible wait times (1 hour for the 7 dwarfs wow!) helps me plan the day better. Thanks!

    • September 7, 2012 at 8:40 am

      If you want to see the dwarfs, my advice would be to get in line for them at about 6:15. This way you’ll be one of the first to see them when they arrive and you can spend the rest of your night enjoying the party.

  • September 7, 2012 at 11:45 am

    So they figured out a way to make you buy 2 admissions to Magic Kingdom on the same day? Not sure that is cool.

    • September 8, 2012 at 8:24 am

      Cool or not, it’s been that way for many years.

  • September 7, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    This was so helpful, you don’t understand. Thanks so much for your help! Question. My family this year is going all out on a Peter Pan theme, and we’re trying to look as authentic as possible in our costumes. I’ve looked everywhere and it seems Peter only comes out for the parade and never for meet and greets. Is this true? We really wanted to meet him and just have that one perfect picture. We already have Tink and Captain Hook on the list, but it would be so great if he was there. Thank so much!

    • September 8, 2012 at 8:27 am

      We’ll have our TouringPlans spies at the parties, so once the parties get started we’ll be able to check out whether Peter Pan is there this year.

      Peter Pan often greets guests during normal park hours, typically near the PotC attraction.

      At any time, you’re welcome to stop by any WDW guest relations office. Ask them to call the “character hotline” for you. They’ll be able to tell you exactly where and when any specific character will be appearing at the time of your visit.

      Good luck!

      • September 16, 2012 at 8:49 pm

        We are planning on going to the party this Friday 9/21 and we wondering if the TouringPlans spies have put together a new list of locations for the characters.

        Thanks for all of the other AWESOME information about the party. We can’t wait!!

  • September 9, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Thank you so much, this is really helpful and got me so excited about our visit now.

  • September 9, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    Thanks for all the great info! We are attending MNSSHP on Sept 18th & are 1st timers. Our daughter is also celebrating her 8th birthday. Do you have any tips for us to make it even more special? We are so excited for our visit! Thanks

  • September 11, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    This is an incredible, detailed overview of the event! I’ve attended the party twice and I found your descriptions and notes to be spot on! Great job! Also, great tip on the weather (heat) and not overdoing it with a fuzzy costume! Thanks!

  • September 13, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Hi there, it sounds like alot of fun. We are going on a Disney Cruise and arrive in Florida the afternoon before the cruise leaves. Can you just buy tickets for the hallloween party? It would not be cost effective for us to have to buy a park admission ticket & a Halloween ticket when we will only be there for the party.

    • September 13, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      If all you want to do is go to the party, there’s no need to purchase a regular park admission ticket. The party ticket is all you need.

  • September 17, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Awesome, this gave me more details that I could ever hope for thanks. I just do have one question. I’m not fully understanding the whole arriving in a costume part. Me and the Mrs will be attending, and we plan on wearing costumes, (Star Wars themed in fact). We can’t arrive at the gate dressed up. We have to be in plan street clothes? (Even if say we arrive after 4PM)

    • September 17, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      Sorry for the confusion.

      If you want to arrive at the Magic Kingdom directly from your hotel, after 4:00 p.m, then you’re fine in costume.

      You just can’t be in the other theme parks in costume. Nor can you be at the Magic Kingdom in costume before 4:00 p.m.

      So if, for example, you’re planning to spend the whole day at the MK, you’d need to change into costume in the late afternoon.

      Similarly, if you were spending the morning at Epcot then going directly from there to MNSSHP, then you’d have to change into costume when you got to the MK.

      Let me know if this doesn’t make sense and I’ll try again.

      • September 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm

        Nope, (I’m relatively local, coming from Tampa, but it still applies to me). perfectly covered. Thanks again.

  • September 28, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    We went to the party on 9/21. We arrived around 6:30 – 7:00 and before we entered we asked if the parades and fireworks were still on for that night because of the rain and we were told they were. We entered and it was totally disorganized with people leaving and the people for the party coming. Half the people that were coming in didn’t receive bracelets. Then it poured and the first parade was cancelled 10 minutes before it was suppose to start. So everyone who found a spot a half hour before got up and left. The line for the trick or treating was insane and you get two pieces of candy. The characters were no where to be found either. It was a waste of time and money and kids were so disappointed. What a let down!

  • October 4, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    is this worth the extra money for older teenagers (must see?) or is this more for little kids?

    • October 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      Honestly we didn’t get to see/do much because they cancelled the parade etc. The trick or treating part was for all ages. We saw people from infants to 60+ in line for candy. I personally would not take my toddler back for the halloween party. I think it was geared towards “older kids” 8-13 or so.

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  • March 17, 2013 at 9:17 am

    We’ve booked a trip 9-27 to 10-6-13 with our 3 girls 4, 8, & 10. It looks like MNSSHP will be going on Sunday (9-29) then Thurs. & Fri. nights while we’re there. Is there a night that’s typically less crowded? The crowd levels at MK is predicted to be the lowest Friday night but I was wondering if that would be a more crowded night for the party? Thanks for any advice!

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