Every year, the Disney parks hold two big, ticketed events: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. These events run after the park closes for the night, and tickets for the event much be purchased separately (however, a park ticket is not required to attend). Since they each run for a couple months, lots of visitors have the opportunity to join in the fun.
Guys, I don’t want to sugar coat this for you. I was so excited to be going to Halloween party, and everything I saw on line talked about how amazing it was and how the park only sells a limited number of tickets. I thought we’d get in there and be able to walk easily, and do it all.
I am a fool. Don’t get me wrong – it was fun. It had a lot of potential. But I don’t think there’s any way you could do everything. And it was more crowded than the park was during the day. So lets start right there with Rule #1:
If you’re going to an after hours event, don’t try to also spend the entire day at the park.
I’m serious, y’all. I thought I was gonna beast mode it, and instead I was hot and grumpy and miserable. Don’t do it.
The Halloween Party has a lot of things to offer that aren’t available during normal park hours:
- Mickey’s Boo-To-You Halloween parade.
- Monsters Inc. dance party.
- A Hocus Pocus nighttime show.
- 360 fireworks.
- Exclusive snacks.
- Exclusive merch.
- Exclusive character meet-and-greets.
- Exclusive magic shots.
- Shorter ride lines
- Adults can dress up (with some restrictions).
- Exclusive ride experiences (Teacups, Space Mountain, Pirates)
I legit walked in and thought I’d be able to do all of this. As the night started, it became readily apparent that I was a wide-eyed innocent, so Rule #2:
If you’re going to an after-hours event, make a detailed plan ahead of time.
You’re not going to be able to meet all the characters. You’re not going to be able to trick-or-treat and get all the exclusive photos. You can pick one or two of the things on this list, and that’s probably for the best. I really wanted to meet characters, get magic shots (they’re fun 🙂 ) and trick-or-treat and see at least the Hocus Pocus show… and none of that really happened. It was crowded and people were irritable and pushy.
So far this post has been all complaining. There was a lot of cool stuff we were able to do that you generally can’t during normal park hours, and it was fun. I personally don’t think I’d do the Halloween party event again (at least, not without some serious planning), but I’m really glad we went. So here’s some of the cool stuff.
We got some cool magic shots.
The lines for these were really long, and the quality hit-or-miss. You can kind of guess from the poses which one you’re getting, so I spotted people doing a pose I was certain was the Headless Horseman, and went for it. It ended up being the hitchhiking ghosts, and the quality was terrible. BUT we were smart enough to hit up some of the photographers early in the day, and got some of the magic shots just as they were starting to let party-goers in.
I’m pretty happy with both of these, even if I missed the Headless Horseman shot. Can’t have it all!
By the way, my husband and I are terrible at cheesing up the pictures. Not quite as bad as those families you see that just stand and smile no matter what the photographers say… but not good either. If you’re taking pictures, especially at Disney World… be ridiculous. It fun. 🙂 And while I’m on the point… if you’re on vacation, take a lot of pictures! And not just of the stuff. Of the people you’re with. And offer to take pictures for people. I can’t tell you how many times Mom or Dad were taking pictures, and every time I offered, they were so excited to be in the picture, too.
Side note, and a Disney trick – the Memory Maker photographers will take your camera or phone, and take pictures for you. They’re trained photographers, and they’ll take good ones. They’re also in a lot of prime spots that make for great photos. I could talk for a while how much I love the Memory Maker, but this is already going to be a long post. 😉
We met some characters (including one exclusive)!
I’d be lying if I said it was my plan to meet characters. It was the one thing I had ruled out by the time the party started. We walked past the pavilion where they were setting up Jack and Sally, and already there were people lined up, two hours ahead of time. No thanks.
Once we costumed up (and the costumes were super half-assed, since as it turns out, a layered costume that’s a great idea in New England is a terrible idea in Florida, so we skipped a lot of pieces), we hit Tomorrowland because Tomorrowland has some great rides to sit and rest your feet. After enjoying the highly riveting Carousel of Progress, we noticed a line had formed outside what was once the Alien Encounter (Matt is still bitter about this – he loved that ride as a kid). And people were sitting. And they were sitting inside in air conditioning. I was all in.
And that was how we met Elvis Stitch. Because why not!!!
Elvis Stitch is a Halloween exclusive. He isn’t at the party every year, but come on guys! He’s Stitch. Super fun Disney character, so no regrets. 🙂 Because we were in line so early, it went really fast, so we thought why not another one?
We stood in line for Alice and the Mad Hatter for about an hour. Which, as it turns out, was a complete waste because both were at breakfast a couple days later. Oh well.
In line for Alice and the Hatter, we ended up meeting another couple our age who were adorable and excited, and it was their first time at Magic Kingdom. They were so sweet to talk to. We also queued with a family with two girls, and the mom was super talkative and such a hoot, telling us stories of their vacation so far. When you’re in a really long line, the odds of queuing with not-grumpy people are pretty low, so I totally appreciated these folks. We had fun.
We’re both laughing like fools here because the actor playing the Mad Hatter was hilarious. He was one of my husband’s favorites the entire trip, so I suppose the line was worth it in that respect.
We rode 2/3 of the Halloween-ified rides.
For me, this was a particularly big deal, because it was the only way I was ever going to get my husband on the Mad Tea Party. He is a hard pass for spinning rides in the same way I am passionately against tower-drops. So he did the Mad Tea Party, and I did the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and we were even.
Even though he wasn’t happy about it, he didn’t get sick, and he was spinning the teacup? So if he got sick, it was going to be his own fault. The Mad Tea Party had a fun light show for the event, and spooky music. The wait was about fifteen minutes, which is longer than you’re going to wait for this during the day, but not too long. We waited for this one with a lovely Scottish lady and her daughter. She was probably my favorite guest at the park – very nice and funny and happy (although exhausted). Her daughter was a sweetheart as well. I enjoy meeting people at parks like this, where everyone is happy and in their element, then letting them become a story in my life. 🙂 So yeah I’m that weird person listening to your conversation in the line for the rollercoaster, then inserting herself. Hi! Nice to meet you!
We also went on Pirates of the Caribbean, which had real people dressed like pirates inserted in the ride. All in all, that was a little underwhelming, but I like the ride as a whole, so it was okay.
Also I love this ride picture? The girl dressed as Princess Aurora is spot on. 🙂 I had no idea Pirates of the Caribbean took pictures, and we didn’t get one when we rode it again a few days later, so either this was just a Halloween party thing, or the photos are hit-or-miss.
We took advantage of the short ride lines.
Where the lines for trick-or-treating looked to be a slow moving twenty minutes, we walked right on to Splash Mountain.
Let me repeat that: we walked on to Splash Mountain.
Loves, that doesn’t happen even with a FastPass+ reservation. There were probably better things we could have been doing, but Magic Kingdom is my favorite park for rides, and I was definitely going to take advantage of the distracted crowds.
And, yes. I’m the only fool who understands you are supposed to pose for these ride pictures, apparently. Haha.
We ended up seeing the parade and the fireworks.
But we missed the Hocus Pocus show. *facepalm* The funny thing was – we didn’t mean to catch either of these things (though admittedly, the fireworks would have been hard to miss). For the parade, I was hunting for one of the exclusive Oogie Boogie popcorn buckets, and a really helpful cast member told us only one stand had them, so we hightailed it down to them.
And just as we were paying, the Headless Horseman headed down the walkway. And that’s my story how we got a really good standing view of Mickey’s Boo-To-You Halloween parade – we got trapped!
I’m glad we caught it, because even though the popcorn cart was emanating an intense amount of heat that was sort of miserable, it was a fun parade. It was filled with characters you never see in the parks, as well as favorites.
Personally, I was excited about Wreck-It-Ralph and Vanellope? I love Wreck-It Ralph, and when we went in 2013, we got to see a lot of behind the scenes stuff for that movie and the characters themselves (I was too busy adulting to get a picture, which was foolish). The costumes have pretty much just been in storage, except for parades at special events. I was happy to see them both. 🙂
Other fun characters you never see? Some of the villains! They had Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed (the hyenas from The Lion King), as well as Goob from Meet the Robinsons. Most the people I’ve met haven’t even heard of Meet the Robinsons, and it was super fun to see that Disney will still throw back to the movie, because it was fantastic and totally under appreciated. But wait! There’s more villains! We had Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmatians), Pain and Panic (Hercules), Anastasia and Grizella (Cinderella), Oogie Boogie (Nightmare Before Christmas), Dr. Facilier (The Princess and the Frog)… all in a line. If you’re a Disney fan, you won’t see this line of villains anywhere else than this parade.
Heck, you probably won’t see any of them individually, either.
Of course, there were also throwbacks, like Clarabelle Cow. I kept looking for Oswald, but I suppose there isn’t an Oswald costume. 😉 Just about every rare character that I can think of (that they have a costume for) was here in this parade, or at the park somewhere. That was pretty cool. And I’m glad we caught the parade, because I was completely rejuvenated by seeing so many of my childhood favorites.
Yes, I know they’re people in costumes.
Shut up, it was still fun.
The fireworks were really cool, too! They were beautiful 360-degree fireworks, so they were all around us. We had just sat down with a snack (I had the cookies and cream doom buggy… which was so-so, but I was hungry) and suddenly there were fireworks!
After that, it was sorta a hint that we should probably pack up and go. After all, we’d been at the park for about sixteen hours at that point and we were tired.
Leaving Magic Kingdom after Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party is tricky. After a day in the high 90s, very little sleep, a lot of walking, and being at the park for so long, I was super ready to go home.
We hit it right, which is to say, Rule #3:
Leave the after-hours event a little early.
Listen, I get it. You paid good money for that event and want to milk the most you can out of it. You know what you don’t want? Having to wait in line for thirty minutes to catch an anything (boat, bus, monorail) to the Ticket and Transportation center, where you’ll have to wait another thirty minutes for a tram. Why? Because everyone left at the same time.
This didn’t happen to us after the Halloween party, but it did when we waited ’til close the next time we went to Magic Kingdom, and it was not fun. I suppose this is where taking the Magical Express buses to and from your Disney Resort can be great. We personally liked the freedom of not worrying about bus schedules (we had dining reservations all over the resort, and liked leaving randomly to go back to our hotel), but people swear by them. I’d still rent a car next time, so if you’re like me… time your exit wisely.
As an overall experience, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party was really fun, but it would have been better if we were smarter about it. At the moment, I’d say that once was enough for me… but ask me again in three years, and I’m sure I’ll be planning my costume.
(Because I’m sure you didn’t guess from the pictures, I was going for Scarlet Witch, and my husband was – more obviously – Tony Stark. Next time I’d go with my original idea of Megara from Hercules.)