Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party - Fun for the Whole Family

This past Friday the family attended Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. My former boss, now friend, has gone for years and LOVES IT. And as a passholder, I often would get to see the park getting ready for the party and it looked just... awesome.

This year my boys were old enough to really understand what was going on when they saw the decor at the front of the park when we bought our annual passes and went just on a "normal" day. There were giant pumpkins that greeted you pretty much the minute you entered the park. Plus, when we bought the boys some drinks, they were served in a fun, keepsake cup that had some Disney characters in a haunted mansion. The boys LOVED IT. My husband was all for going ... but I hesitated. When we got home we showed my oldest son the website, which also allowed me to learn more - and we were hooked. My oldest (3 years old) kept exclaiming about a spooky Mickey and Goofy and even my one year old was chanting Halloween.

One thing that everyone keeps asking me is, "What is the Not-So-Scary Halloween Party?" I mean, knowing it is Disney-themed you can make three assumptions. One - it is funtabulous. Two, you need to plan accordingly and have some cash on hand. Three - its all totally worth it.

At Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party you will experience:
  • Trick-or-Treating
  • Character greetings - many in "costumes"
  • Character Dance Parties
  • A Firework Show that is done just for this event (Halloween Hallowishes)
  • Villain Mix & Mingle Production
  • And a Spooktacular Parade! (Mickey's Boo-to-You)

We did everything except the Villain Mix & Mingle. Trust me, that was a big bummer for me! I really wanted to see it. But from the minute we entered the park, the whole family was in awe and in motion. Disney had replaced some of the traditional statues and decorations with scarecrows and Halloween statues. Ghosts and other Halloween images were reflected onto the stores to make it look like they were flying. My little one LOVED that. And you kept hearing the ghosts from the Haunted Mansion talking around the park. Or at least, I did! It completely added to the spooky atmosphere.

Since we had to leave the house early to get there in time, we decided to eat at the park. That was a mistake, because pretty much they give you bags to collect candy when you first enter the park. And within minutes we did our first Character Greeting with Baloo the Bear from Jungle Book. When we were leaving, we passed a Trick-or-Treat location. The kids got candy. Then we tried to get them to eat a kids meal. Uhm, no-go. They only wanted Smarties and Lollipops from that point on. So that takes us to:

Feed your kids a nutritious meal BEFORE you go. They will probably not eat ANYTHING except candy at the park. It is EVERYWHERE. There are specific locations that you will find on your map, as well as candy spots that are after character greetings AND they give out candy during both parades.

If you have little ones, they will probably get tired. You will need a stroller. Since we came from the beach house, we didn't have a stroller. Renting a single stroller is $14 and change. Renting a double is $30 and change. We rented the double. So here is...

Bring a stroller if you own one. We have carried our kids through Epcot before and it is tiring, especially since at the Halloween Party you probably will also have a camera and bags of candy. Otherwise expect to rent one. The perk in renting one is that if it gets "misplaced", you just take your ticket back to the stroller spot and get another one! And yes, BIG kids get tired too. I saw plenty of 7 - 8 year olds in the Disney strollers. And parents were also using them to carry bags. So just plan accordingly!

Speaking of planning ahead ... let's talk parking. Since this is a special event even pass holders need to pay for parking. I *think* if you are spending the day at the park and got there when it opens you can get out of this ... but if you arrive when the event starts there will be a $14 parking charge for everyone.

Bring money for parking! Parking is currently $14.

Let's get back to the fun stuff, though. Even though the event runs until midnight, many guest will start leaving around 10:30pm. Face it, many of us brought little ones! They get tired, cranky and fall asleep. Although, my kids rocked and stayed awake the WHOLE TIME. And they were in good spirits, no pun intended. But what does this mean for you? If you want to avoid long lines and crowds, you need to hit the character greeting and parade later.

The parade is AWESOME. You see much-loved Disney Characters dressed in "costumes" or their Halloween Best. The Villains come out to play. The Headless Horseman RIDES through the street. I wish I caught a picture of that. It was AWESOME! And my favorite part, after the headless horseman, was when the ghosts, ghouls and zombies came out from the Haunted Mansion. They did a "shocking" show through the streets, scraping their shovels to the beat and causing "sparks". And then some of the ballroom ghouls danced and twirled, never even noticing the crowd of spectators watching.

There are two "Boo-to-You" Halloween Parades, 8:15 and 10:30. The 10:30 one is less crowded. The perfect spot to watch the parade is where it starts in Frontierland. Otherwise, expect a lag as it makes its way to you. No matter which parade time you choose, try to get a spot a little early that way you can see EVER STEP.

There are loads of characters that you can get your picture taken with. We found Mickey in Toon Town. At 10pm the line was about a 20 minute wait. Minnie seemed a little busier - she was also in Toon Town.

We saw characters from Jungle Book, Tarzan and Lion King in Frontier Land. We also saw Captain Hook right outside of Pirates of the Caribbean. The kids LOVED Captain Hook, nearly capsizing him with their giant hugs. I am pretty sure he wasn't expecting that from a 3 year old and 1 year old! We also saw Snow White with the Seven Dwarves and Pooh and Friends doing photos outside The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. We did skip those character photos, since at that time we were trekking across the park to find Mickey. And if anyone knows where Donald does his character photo for Mickey's Not-So-Scary Party, I would love to know. My kids were dying to see him, and we just couldn't find him. But this takes us to:

Don't waste time in long lines to meet characters. All characters will be out until 11:30pm. The later you stay at the park, the shorter the lines are.

As a parent, I can easily see taking part in this even yearly or bi-yearly. We are already making plans to go again next year. And I've talked to quite a few of my friends about the party, already. Of course, they had some questions. Here are the most common questions and my answers:

Is the cost worth it?
A ticket for ages 10 and up is between $52 - 59. It is $46 - 53 for ages 3 to 9. It is free for under 3. The amount you pay depends on the day you attend and any discounts. Now, a one day ticket to Disney (to compare) is between $68 and $79 dollars. A "day" ticket is good for between 9 am and 7 pm. The Halloween Party ticket is good from 7 pm to 12 am. The one thing I noticed is how less crowded it was on October 9th when I went, as opposed to when I went to the parks during the day on October 7th (for Epcot) and October 1st (Hollywood Studios). It was almost like having the park to myself. The longest wait was 20 minutes. Many rides and character greetings were a 10 minute wait or less. We even got to go on Snow White's Scary Adventure, something that we usually can't do because of the insane crowd. During the Not-So-Scary Halloween Party we simply walked on and relived memories. So even though the time spent in the park is shorter, you can do more. Plus the Parade makes it SO WORTH IT. Most rides are open, including Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan's Flight, Dumbo, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Tomorrowland Speedway, The Barnstormer... and there is plenty more that is open, those are just my top choices.

And if you want to go on a coaster but have little kids, you and your spouse/partner can take turns riding. Just ask a Disney Cast Member for help!

Is it appropriate for my child?
I saw every age, from newborns to older adults without kids. As a parent with little ones, I would love to say that no one else should go. Mwa-ha-ha! More candy for us! Kidding, though. I can easily see my boys enjoying this as "children", tweens and teens. 

There were some adults, maybe in their 30s, going with friends and dressed a little inappropriate. I wondered what their attraction to the event would be? But for the most part I saw lots of little princesses, families dressed as "Incredibles" or as the characters from Peter Pan. There was even some adult men there dressed as Darth Vader and some Storm Troopers. Again, I am curious about the attraction for the adult men - and they got stopped for A LOT of photos that they didn't look like they enjoyed. But their costumes were authentic ... what else could the expect??? 

My favorite family costumes that I saw were a mom dressed as Alice in Wonderland, her 16 month old dressed as the White Rabbit and her parents dressed as the King and Queen of Hearts.

It's Florida, people. The weather is finicky in October. The weather can be cool and dry or hot and humid ... even at night. Check the forecast and dress appropriately. I saw so many people sweating in their costumes and looking uncomfortable. My husband and I wore shorts and tees. Albeit, I wore an Andy Monsters tee. And my boys wore thin, black outfit with a glow in the dark skeleton. If the weather was cooler, we would have done full costumes ... but we wanted this to be enjoyable. So check that weather forecast! If you don't go on Halloween, feel free to wear any attire!

Is it crowded?
My guess is that it depends on when you go. I wrote above that the longest wait was 20 minutes, with most wait times being 10 minutes or less. I imagine that the later you go the more crowded it is. I think you can also guage the popularity of the night by the ticket price. The higher the ticket price, the more crowded it will be. I suggest choosing a night that is less popular so you can enjoy the atmosphere, parades, trick-or-treating and rides.

Buy your tickets in advance - they do sell out. As I write this, I am checking the site and I see that October 31st is sold out.

My family was already a huge Disney fan - hence the annual passes. But I know the boys will be thrilled to go again next year. My husband is already dreaming of their Rice Krispy Treats (they are yummy) and I can't wait to ride the Haunted Mansion! So if you are wavering on whether Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is right for your kids... just ask them! Or just go for yourselves!

Any questions about Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or any other Disney Park - just ask! We have annual passes and go often. Just leave your question as a comment here or e-mail me at erintales@themombuzz.com. And check out the official Not-So-Scary Disney site for dates, times and pricing.


This is solely the opinion of the Mom Buzz. Other people may have different experiences with the product. And don't forget to enter my other hot contests so you can win and try buzzworthy products!