Ever since I can remember, I’ve heard of the famous Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World. I’m related to people who have gone, worked with former cast members who have gone, and watched several Disneytubers who would take part in the spooky festivities, yet… in all my years of being a Disney-loving Halloween enthusiast; I had never experienced Mickey’s Not-So-Scary.
This year I finally got to experience the event. My latest trip to WDW was the same week as my birthday, and guess what special event just happened to fall on that night? I jumped at the chance to celebrate Halloween at Magic Kingdom on my birthday, and as a first-timer at MNSSHP, here’s my honest review of the paid event.
I got my ticket at a decent price, only $119. Included with my ticket was a cute trick-or-treat bag that celebrated WDW’s 50th anniversary on one side and a spooky print to commemorate the evening. Also included in the ticket were five hours of trick-or-treating, hopping on rides, opportunities for unique character meet-and-greets, the famous Boo To You Parade, and a special fireworks show.
I arrived at the park at 4:00 – the earliest you can arrive with a Halloween party ticket – dressed in what I considered a cross between a costume and a Disney-bound of one of my favorite characters, Buzz Lightyear. With crowds still heavy at this dinnertime arrival, I spent the three hours before the party browsing the shops on Main Street, grabbing a snack at Casey’s Corner, and taking one last ride on Splash Mountain before it transforms into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, but not before taking a look at my party map. I’ll admit, although every trick-or-treat location is marked on the map, I personally found it more confusing than simply spotting the giant and lit inflatables that read “Treats” at every turn.
The clock struck 7 pm just as I walked soaking wet off Splash Mountain, and cast members were already standing guard at every land entrance asking to see party wristbands. I decided to start my night in Tomorrowland and begin with a walk-on ride of Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin.
I made my way into Storybook Circus as the party kicked off. My first experience trick-or-treating was through the queue of the Walt Disney Railroad, where cast members stood at the end with buckets half their size full of candy. As a cast member wished me a Happy Halloween, they tossed a handful of candy into my trick-or-treat bag, marking the first time I’d gone trick-or-treating in almost two decades. One interesting thing I learned during this trick-or-treating experience was that the cast members give handfuls of candy at every location. While it’s all Mars brand, even if you hit up every treat location (I made it to all but the one by Splash Mountain because it had an unexpectedly long line – every treat line moved incredibly quickly aside from this one), you’ll still end up with a good selection of candy in the end, including M&M’s, various flavors of Starburst, Snickers, Twix and more.
For dinner, I went back to Casey’s Corner to try what they called the Pain and Panic Hot Dog. As a vegetarian, I asked if I could get their plant-based dog (a Beyond sausage) Pain and Panic-style, and the cast member happily accommodated. But when it came time to take a bite, I’ll admit the combination of the sweet-and-spicy onion relish and Flaming Hot Cheetos on top of my hot dog was oh-so-scary, but I did enjoy some of the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular as I ate outside of Casey’s.
I caught both performances of the Boo To You parades. I found an unoccupied spot on Main Street for the main event. Of course, it started with the famous Headless Horseman galloping by, then an interactive dance party hosted by Max Goof dressed as Powerline, who stole the show and was a fan favorite for most guests. When the actual parade began, I took a moment to realize I was finally there at the Halloween party, seeing this famous parade in person. Buzz and Vanellope were memorable favorites, and of course, the gravediggers and the Hitchhiking Ghosts!
I stuck around Main Street for the upcoming fireworks show, and it was during this wait I realized how big of a crowd was at this party. It’s not as noticeable while walking around the park, but as soon as every guest is gathered on Main Street to watch the only firework show, it was clear how packed this party was. The fireworks, in my opinion, while told a cute story of Mickey and the gang coming face-to-face with villains like Ursula, Hades, and Oogie Boogie, the show was a bit lackluster. It was much more focused on the castle projections than the actual fireworks and arguably a bit too cutesy, even for a not-so-scary party.
When it came to exclusive character meet-and-greets, I did see several happening throughout the park. Genie and Jasmine were in Adventureland, and Jack Sparrow met guests outside Pirates of the Caribbean. Winnie The Pooh and his pals were dressed up for the party and meeting by their ride, Mike and Sully were jamming out with guests throughout the night at a dance party in Tomorrowland, and Elvis Stitch could be found hidden behind Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin. He was the only character I attempted to meet, but after finding out his wait would be an hour and only about an hour of the party left, I decided that wasting an hour in line wasn’t worth it.
As for rides, I impressed myself by making it onto nine rides during the five-hour party while also getting a peek at Monsters Inc Laugh Floor, which doubled as a trick-or-treat location. I took a spin on the Mad Tea Party to experience their Halloween overlay, but Pirates of the Caribbean was unfortunately down the entire night. Haunted Mansion was a must during this Halloweeny night, but the wait for this one was one of the longest throughout the party, never going below 30 minutes until the last half hour of the event. I expected it to be my last ride of the night, but because it went quicker than expected (even after getting stuck on it for several minutes), I managed to hurry from the pet cemetery to Ariel’s Grotto with about 5 minutes to spare and took the final ride on Under The Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid, walking off and humming “Part of Your World” at exactly midnight. As I passed the “See Ya Real Soon” flickering jack-o-lanterns, I was handed a commemorative print from the party before I headed to the buses.
My honest review is that I would definitely attend the Halloween party again, but there are also things they could do better next time. It was awfully jam-packed for a ticketed event, and I think more exclusive food and snack options would be more enticing. It also appears to be very time-consuming to meet the characters and not necessarily worth waiting hours in lines and missing the rest of the party. But overall, while I may not see it real soon, I think I’ll attend another Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party someday.