You can't exactly feel a chill in the air here in Orlando ... but Halloween season is upon us! We attended the first Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party of the year to help you, the readers, plan ahead for a party night of your own. (OK, we may have had a TOTAL blast along the way ... but no surprise there, right?)
The party we attended not only was the very first of the season, it was also sold out AND saw the debut of new party-exclusive ride experiences. And don't think we forgot to check out this year's delish snacks.
We’ve loved all of the classic, family fun Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party has offered us for years … but there is so much to do! With only five hours of party time to meet rare characters, trick-or-treat and catch spell-bounding entertainment, a game plan is essential. Lucky for you, the Frog Family is here with our best time-saving advice to help you get the most out of your favorite Halloween Party.
Our Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween 2018 Guide is quite thorough, so we've added some helpful links to take you to key topics ... or you can just keep reading :)
Disney Halloween parties typically start in late August and run through early November. The parties are held in Magic Kingdom after the park closes from 7 p.m. to midnight. (New this year: The park closes at 6 p.m. for regular guests, rather than 7 p.m. in past years.) You can now purchase Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2018 tickets from your favorite frogs!
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2018 Dates:
- August 17, 24, 28, 31
- September 3, 7, 9, 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 28, 30
- October 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 25, 26, 28, 30, 31
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party tickets start at $70 for children age 3 to 9 ($74.55 with tax) or $75 for those over 10 ($79.88 with tax).
Best Dates to Attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018
The biggest question we get for this event, as well as for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, is what the best days to attend are. These Disney Halloween parties can and do sell out, especially closer to Halloween, so we recommend purchasing tickets as soon as you know you want to attend.
Oct. 31 historically is one of the most popular dates to attend the Disney Halloween parties, along with Fridays in October, when more locals attend. Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, especially those in early September, are less popular.
Disney does not publicly release its party capacity, but we estimate that a sold-out party is around a crowd level 7 using our Crowd Calendar.
Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Costume Policy
A more restrictive costume policy went into effect for the Disney Halloween party in recent years. These changes were fairly restrictive, especially for adults.
General Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Costume Guidelines:
- Disney may deny admission to anyone or remove anyone who is wearing attire that is considered inappropriate or could detract from other guests' experiences.
- Guests may dress as their favorite characters, but cannot pose for pictures or sign autographs.
- Costumes must be family-friendly and not obstructive, offensive, violent or objectionable.
- Costumes must not contain weapons that resemble or could be mistaken for real weapons.
- Costumes may not contain sharp or pointed objects, or materials that might strike another guest.
- Guests who do not abide by the guidelines may be refused entry or removed unless their costumes can be modified to acceptable standards.
For guests ages 14 and up:
- Layered costumes or costume props that surround the entire body are strongly discouraged and subject to additional security screening.
- Costumes may not reach or drag the ground.
- Capes should not go below the waist.
- Themed T-shirts, shirts, sweatshirts and hats are acceptable.
- Transparent wings, plastic light sabers, toy swords and tutus are OK. Headwear must not cover the face.
- Masks are not allowed.
For guests ages 13 and under:
- Costumes and some masks may be worn. Masks cannot cover the entire face, and eyes must be visible.
The party officially begins at 7 p.m. inside Magic Kingdom. Disney Halloween party guests are allowed to enter the park starting at 4 p.m., which we recommend taking advantage of. A popular question that comes up is how Disney handles the transition between park close and the start of the party. Starting this year, the park closes for regular guests at 6 p.m., which allows cast members more time to filter out those regular day guests who will not be staying for the party. Party wristbands are given to party guests entering the park and are also distributed to those who present a valid party ticket at select locations on the park. Beginning at 6 p.m., cast members are stationed at critical points throughout the park to direct the wristband-less toward the exit.
For party guests arriving just in time for the spooky festivities, you will be directed toward Market Street. (We just found out that the back alley between La Chapeau and Tony's Town Square Restaurant has a name!) This path is where you'll find those adorable Halloween character statues (like Pluto seen above), fun photo-ops complete with props AND your first treat station! Select Halloween merchandise can be purchased here as well. What a grand entrance to the party!
FastPass+ at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018
FastPass+ is not available during the party. Luckily, there is generally less need for FastPass+ as most people are enjoying the party activities and spending less time on rides.
Show Times for Key Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018 Entertainment:
- Mickey's "Boo-To-You" Halloween Parade - 9:15 p.m., 11:15 p.m.
- Happy HalloWishes Fireworks - 10:15 p.m.
- Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular - 8:30 p.m., 10:45 p.m., 12 a.m.
If inclement weather may be on the horizon during your visit, be sure to catch the early stage show and parade in case the later ones get cancelled.
Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018 Characters and Locations:
One of the biggest draws of the night is meeting characters, especially those who don't greet guests at other times of year or often. Moana was especially popular last year. Below you'll find this year's characters and their greeting spots (popular characters noted with asterisk). With waits as long as three hours for some characters, you need a strategy! Hop down to tips to see our best strategies for meeting them.
Main Street, U.S.A.
- Mickey Mouse at Town Square Theater
- Jack Skellington and Sally *
- Anastasia and Drizzella
- Seven Dwarfs *
- Queen of Hearts, Alice, Tweedle-Dee, Tweedle-Dum, Mad Hatter
- Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet and Tigger
- Ariel and Eric
- Belle and Gaston
- Minnie Mouse
- Cruella DeVil *
- Daisy Duck
- Princess Tiana
- Princess Elena
- Donald Duck
- Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear a.k.a. Lotso *
- Tarzan, Jane and Terk
- Moana *
- Captain Jack Sparrow
- Aladdin, Abu, Genie, Jasmine
Attractions open during Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018
One of the major perks of ticketed events such as Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is the shorter lines for some of your favorite attractions. During our party, we waited only 15 minutes for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train!
Rides are subject to closure at any time. For a list of refurbishments during your specific dates, please see our full list of Disney World ride closures:
- Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Swiss Family Treehouse
- A Pirate's Adventure ~ Treasures of the Seven Seas
- Country Bear Jamboree
- Splash Mountain
- Haunted Mansion
- Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
- “It’s a small world”
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Mad Tea Party
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- The Barnstormer
- Astro Orbiter
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Space Mountain
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
New Experiences for 2018
New for this year are three party-exclusive ride overlays that offer special experiences for guests. Pirates of the Caribbean, Mad Tea Party and Space Mountain transform under the moonlight for an extra special experience.
Pirates of the Caribbean invites a live-action character in its queue to warn you of Gunpowder Pete, followed by a man holding a "Wanted" sign in the loading zone explaining your search for the latest pirate villain. Keep an eye out ... you might just see him pop up during your ride.
Be sure to check out Mad Tea Party after dark when it truly comes alive! Special lights and exciting, new music enhance the already spinnin' ride.
Meanwhile on Space Mountain, the lights are out! The red and blue tunnels turn pitch-black (along with all lighting effects) providing a thrilling, new ride experience with galactic rock music playing to match.
We're hoppy we took these new ride effects for a spin, but we wouldn't go out of your way unless you were already planning to ride them or they are your favorite rides and you must see the new effects. The good new is wait times are pretty short throughout the night. It's important to know that the rides don't change over until promptly 7 p.m. and only close briefly ahead of this switch for about 10 minutes tops.
While not advertised as an overlay, Haunted Mansion has some interactive ghosts floating about. They're not new, but they are super fun! These characters are residents of the Haunted Mansion ... and as the song says, the grim-grinning ghosts have come out to socialize! They share some ghost humor and stories from the mansion with guests in the outdoor queue, and on your way out of the exit. The "performance" takes place right on the Haunted Mansion lawn.
Calling all tadpoles! Storybook Circus is hosting the Disney Junior Jam, featuring some of Lily's Disney Channel faves like Doc McStuffins. Lily LOVED this dance party! I’m excited to have an area dedicated to the extra little ones. It's a great way to quickly meet tadpole faves.
"Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular"
The infamous Sanderson Sisters from "Hocus Pocus" are back for another year at the Disney Halloween party! Watch out — they may put a spell on you as they conjure up the "Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular" show at the Castle Forecourt Stage. The show is held exclusively during the party and features the Sanderson Sisters, Winifred, Mary and Sarah, along with other Disney villains such as Dr. Facilier, Ooogie Boogie and Maleficent. "Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular" replaced the Villains Mix 'n' Mingle. There are typically no picture-taking opportunities with the Sanderson Sisters or the villains. The show is still a wicked good time, especially for fans of the film, and a must see at this year’s party!
Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Trick-or-Treating, Specialty Food & Merchandise
One of the big "treats" of the Disney Halloween Party is trick-or-treating around the park. You can haul in quite a lot of candy if that's the goal, but we prefer to enjoy the entertainment and hit a trick-or-treat trail or two as we hop around.
Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018 Expected Treat Locations:
Main Street, U.S.A.
- Town Square Theater (Allergy-Friendly Center)
- Market Street (party entrance; open until 8 p.m.)
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Jungle Cruise
- Splash Mountain
- Dock to Tom Sawyer Island
- Country Bear Jamboree
- Liberty Square Ticket Office (Allergy-Friendly Center)
- Columbia Harbour House
- Pinocchio Village Haus
- Mickey's PhilharMagic
- Walt Disney World Railroad Station
- Ariel's Grotto
- Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
- Cosmic Ray's Starlight Café
- Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress
If the free candy doesn't quite satisfy your sweet tooth, enjoy spooktacular offerings created especially for the season. The buffalo-chicken-nacho-cheese masterpiece pictured above are Hades nachos, found at Pecos Bill's. (The Worms & Dirt found here is the perf tadpole-friendly treat too, by the way.) Right outside at Golden Oak Outpost, our winner for more amazing beverage goes to the Apple Cider Slush. So amazing and refreshing for those fall nights that feel a lot more like summer ;)
A few other party-exclusive highlights include the Hitchhiking Ghost dessert at Aloha Isle, the Oogie Boogie Meringue from Gaston's Tavern and the Muenster Smash Burger at Cosmic Ray's.
Speaking of sweets — while we, of course, advise you to save some room for treats throughout the party, we recommend grabbing a meal ahead of time. Sitting down for dinner with your tadpoles can eat up anywhere between thirty minutes to over an hour of the five-hour party time, so it's much better to enjoy a nice meal before you start partying.
If shopping is your top priority, visit the Emporium, Big Top Souvenirs for apparel, ornaments, pins and more exclusive to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. You can also find costume pieces at Curtain Call Collectibles, and tons of event pins at Frontier Trading Post. We're not overstating this — lines for exclusive merchandise can rival the lines for the characters. Items can sell out quickly if you wait until later in the night. Before you arrive at the party, decide how much time you're willing to spend to get that limited-edition pin set. If you're lucky enough to be traveling with two "grown-up" frogs, we recommend one waiting for merch while the other takes the tadpoles on a ride or two nearby.
As we've mentioned a time or too, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party is one of the Frog Family's absolute favorite events! For those of you who love Halloween, it is definitely not to be missed.
Now, each of us Frog Family members has a different thing we love most about the party, so that just goes to show you there is a little something for everyone! For those of you wondering whether the party is worth the additional expense, for us, it's a resounding "Yes!" To make it the absolute best experience for your family, follow these tips:
1. Wear a costume
While it's not required that you wear a costume, it sure adds to my enjoyment, because my favorite part of the night is taking in all of the elaborate costumes! And since this is the one event of the year where you are allowed to wear a costume at Magic Kingdom, I like to take advantage of it. And, in case you're wondering, you're never too old to enjoy Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. Note: Masks are not allowed to be worn at the Magic Kingdom, so keep this in mind when choosing your costume.
2. Keep it light
While temperatures in Orlando are cooling down a bit, the average high is 90 in September and 85 in October. It can still be quite muggy, especially after those still-frequent afternoon rains, so parents should dress their children (and themselves) accordingly for the Disney Halloween party. Think twice before outfitting your little monster as Sulley, at least a head-to-toe furry Sulley. Consider bringing a change of clothes for younger children "just in case" and picking up rain ponchos at your nearest dollar store before you leave for the trip.
3. Bring your own trick-or-treat bags
Upon entry into the park, guests will receive treat bags. That's a cool perk, but they are on the smallish side. If your children are there for the loot, consider packing extra bags. You can also purchase souvenir bags that do the trick! Trick-or-treating is Lily's favorite part of the party, but she loves saying "trick-or-treat" as much as she loves the candy. You'll find candy stations throughout the park. Save time and skip the crowds by trick-or-treating later in the evening.
If you're not planning on hitting every treat spot, try visiting the unique places, such as inside of the Enchanted Tiki Room. Treats with tiki birds = extra fun! If your treat line is long, don't wait. Visit a different one, or come back later. You'll find the same candy at each one!
For allergy-friendly offerings, a teal chip is handed out at the entrance of the party. Make your way to the street behind Tony's Town Square Restaurant to pick up your chip. You'll exchange this token for a teal treat bag and special candy at the allergy-friendly locations.
4. Get to the parks early
This is the single-most important tip for maximizing your fun and justifying the cost of this separately ticketed event. While the Disney Halloween party officially starts at 7 p.m., guests can begin entering the park as early as 4 p.m. We highly recommend you get to the park early, so you can spend as much time in Magic Kingdom as possible.
When you arrive, Halloween Party attendees will be directed to a special entrance to receive wristbands. If you've already spent your day at the Magic Kingdom, you can secure your wristband from a cast member at specially designated locations throughout the park —don't worry, you can't miss the signs! Receiving your wristband is an absolute MUST-DO. Cast members are around every corner to usher non-party attendees out of the park.
5. Visit the most "in-demand" characters first
Leap's favorite part of the party is meeting all of the characters who greet guests in different locations. "Rare" characters are out for photo-ops, and your usual favorites are wearing their best Halloween garb. Lines can get very long for the most popular characters (up to three hours or more!), so be sure to prioritize. (If you want a costume idea, check out our DIY Jack and Sally T-shirt.)
Some of the more exclusive characters (Jack & Sally, the Seven Dwarfs, and this year, Moana) may be found meeting before the party even begins, but only for Halloween party guests with wristbands. We saw Jack and Sally out as early at 6 p.m. — and there was already a three-hour wait! If you arrive at Magic Kingdom when doors "open" for Halloween Party guests at 4 p.m., we recommend heading toward the characters' designated locations and asking cast members where and when to line up. That way, you can spend valuable party time doing other fun activities!
Can't make it early? Have no fear. Our best advice is to wait until just before parade times to hop in line for character meet-and-greets. Pick one of the two parade showings to attend, and then spend the other time snapping pics with your favorite characters. Another great idea is hopping in line toward the end of the night. The park starts to empty out as families head home, so 11 p.m. is a great time to get in line.
As a time saver, try meeting characters who are joined by a friend. This may also make your tadpoles hoppier. Lily was dying to meet Jasmine, but Tad was all "whatever." Once he saw Genie join Jasmine, he hopped right in line with his sister.
The lines for characters have grown longer than in years' past. We recommend deciding as a family who your "top priority" characters are and making a game plan before you go. If a photo isn't a must, it's fun just to walk around and see the characters and their unique outfits. A majority of them meet outside, so it's easy to check them out in passing.
6. Stake out your parade location
Tad's favorite part of the party is watching Mickey's "Boo-To-You" Parade. He loves the Headless Horseman, all of the spooky floats and the characters in costume. You don't want to miss the Grandmaster's entrance — even if he is missing his head. Be sure to find a spot along the parade route at least 15 minutes in advance if you don't mind standing behind other people. If you want to be in the very front row, you should plan on staking out your spot — especially near the Castle and along Main Street U.S.A. — at least an hour ahead of time. You'll spot people snagging the best spots up to two hours ahead of time.
Don't want to spend so much time holding your ground? We recommend viewing it in Frontierland. You can get a great spot with a much shorter notice. We found a spacious area for the family just about fifteen minutes before the parade kicked off. We love the atmosphere of Main Street U.S.A., and that's where you'll find us for the Christmas parade. Halloween is a different story. We think Frontierland fits the spooky ambiance of "Boo-to-You." Since the parade starts in Frontierland, that also means it finishes sooner. So you can hop on more rides and character meet-and-greets while the rest of the audience waits for it to finish up.
The parade happens twice nightly and kicks off in Frontierland, follows the waterway until it reaches Liberty Square, crosses the Liberty Square bridge, circles Central Plaza in front of Cinderella Castle then heads down Main Street, U.S.A., where it ends next to Harmony Barbershop. If you don't mind the kids staying up late, go to the second parade. It's usually much less crowded.
7. Make time to mingle
Favorite Disney villains make special appearances to meet and greet party guests. In the past, the villains would mix and mingle after their singing and dancing performance on the Castle Stage. This year, the Sanderson Sisters take over the stage in the "Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular," also featuring Dr. Facilier, Ooogie Boogie and Maleficent. Although these villains will not be joining the crowd for photo opportunities, the performance is worth making time to see. The lines for character meet and greets are typically a lot shorter just prior to and during parade performances, so plan to see some characters during either the first or second Boo-to-You parade.
8. Get your boogie on
It just wouldn't be a Disney Halloween party without a dance. Mike and Sulley play host to their own Monstrous Scream-O-Ween Ball on the Rockettower Plaza Stage in Tomorrowland. You can dance the night away with your favorite Monsters, Inc. employees … and the adorable Boo!
9. Don't forget HalloWishes!
The centerpiece of the night is the villainous fireworks show Happy HalloWishes! You must not miss the show, as we think it's one of the very best fireworks shows of the entire year. The very best spot for taking in the pyrotechnics is straight ahead on Main Street U.S.A. For a unique (and less crowded) perspective, check out viewing areas near Fantasyland. If you're not worried about seeing the castle, we found fantastic views of the fireworks on the Frontierland bridge, overlooking Tom Sawyer Island.
10. Don't spend too much time waiting for the ride overlays
While it's always neat to experience your favorite attraction with a twist, we didn't find any of the special Halloween party attraction experiences worth waiting too long for. The difference in the party-exclusive changes on Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain and Mad Tea Party are fairly minor, so don't get your hopes up on having a toadally different experience. We wouldn't wait any longer than 20 to 30 minutes for any of these. Luckily, the wait times didn't get too crazy for any of these attractions. We anticipated excited crowds lining up, but they didn't seem to pull any longer of a line than they normally would at the party. So if you can catch a short line (like our 10-minute wait for Pirates) you should check 'em out!
Do you have questions about Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018? Share them in comments below! For more vacation planning tips, check out the When to Visit Orlando page inside our Orlando Planning Timeline!