Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is happening from now through October. It’s an event my children really look forward to, and so do I. Should you attend? Yes, if you love Halloween. There isn’t a better way to enjoy Halloween in a fun, not-so-scary way. But make sure you get treated to the best possible experience, and that you don’t get tricked along the way by those things that disappoint. Let’s review the trick and treats that you’ll find this year.
Treat – surprise candy upon arrival. There has always been some decorations at the toll plaza as you approach the Magic Kingdom, but when we went through this year, they handed out Halloween candy! What a great surprise and a great way to kick off the evening.
Treat – nutritious choices. They had always handed out raisins at certain locations. This year, they gave out Chiquita bananas. I also heard that you could go to City Hall in Town Square and have your candy changed out for other nutritious choices. I checked in on that throughout the night and I didn’t see a lot of takers, but it’s a great option to have in place.
Trick – lack of operating attractions. I happened to be in the new Storybook Circus area as the event was just beginning to get underway, and noticed that they were placing bunting around the new Carolwood Train Station, and realized that it was one of the candy stations during the party. It’s at that point I realized that the Walt Disney World Railroad would not be working. I then referred to my brochure and found many attractions not working, such as the Enchanted Tiki Room, Carousel of Progress, Hall of Presidents, Liberty Belle, and amazingly, the Jungle Cruise. The last one was really disappointing for my son, who loves that attraction.
Treat – return of Alice in Wonderland. Because of construction, the pathway between what was Toon Town Fair and Tomorrowland was closed a year ago. With Storybook Circus open, so is that pathway, and so is the return of the Alice in Wonderland path with candy.
Trick – return of Alice in Wonderland. It’s laid out as a one-way path that wasn’t spelled out in the park guide. It’s disappointing to be approaching it from Tomorrowland, only to be told that you should be going around to Storybook Cirucs to enter. Also, the theming is a little tired-looking, and could be enhanced.
Trick or Treat – inside sources say they are re-introducing a talking Mickey Mouse at Town Square Theater during the event. Unfortunately, we didn’t see him. If this is something you’d like to do, be sure to check it out—but be aware that it may or may not happen on the night you’re there.
Treat – unique Disney characters. It’s really great seeing characters you don’t always see, or that you see very seldom at the Magic Kingdom. The longest line of the evening seemed to be a photo opportunity with the Seven Dwarfs. It was popular, but it was also great to see others like Phineas and Ferb, who are usually found at Disney’s Hollywood Studios instead of at the Magic Kingdom.
Treat – Sorcerers in the Magic Kingdom. While waiting for the parade in Town Square, we found a cast member dispensing special cards featuring Chip ‘n Dale on a Halloween-edition "Sorcerer in the Magic Kingdom" card. They’re free and available on a first-come, first-served basis, though they hole-punch your ticket so that each person only gets one. By the way, I asked about what merchandise to expect to be available. I was informed that they are getting limited quantities, but that they were flying off the shelf as soon as they arrived.
Treat – the Disney cast members. It’s a late shift, but there’s more energy, more smiles, and more fun during the event that you usually see during the day. They often wear special costumes, and they really make the party come alive.
Treat – the Boo To You Parade. It has some wonderful moments, my favorite being the Haunted Mansion cast members scraping their shovels along the street. All of it is prefaced by the Headless Horseman, which is the absolute highlight. My son would be thrilled if he could see the Headless Horseman everyday.
Trick – the Boo To You Parade. Kind of been there, done that. And once you see the Headless Horseman, you may have to wait another 15 to 20 minutes before the parade catches up. Seems like there could be some great ways to make that happen. I was impressed by a little disco party happening in Town Square to help fill the time. Lots of people seemed to have fun, but the parade needs a new twist each year.
Treat – surprise candy upon departure. Just when you think it’s all over, there’s another set of wagons handing out not just candy, but Halloween-style marshmallow Peeps. It was such a great touch at the end of the event.
Trick – getting back to your car or hotel. As wonderful the exit candy is, the nice farewell touch is diminished by monorail closures. Resort monorails were operating, but the direct monorail to the Transportation and Ticket Center was shut down for the day. This problem isn’t exclusive to this late night party. But whenever it occurs, it is wrong. Most guests pay a premium just to park. With those closures, guests turn to the resort monorail, clogging that artery for guests who have paid a bigger premium to stay at a Deluxe Resort along the monorail line. And the ferries are never very efficient. The last thing you want to do with tired kids in a sugar coma is to wait in a long line to get back to your car. The parking lot trams weren’t much better, but that’s another conversation. I recommend you leave earlier—or better, be prepared to close out the park.
Well, those are the tricks and treats I’ve found. How about you? Have you visited yet this year? Have you visited in previous years? Are you planning to visit this year? Tell us what are the tricks and treats you look for.
(Send an email to Jeff Kober)
J. Jeff Kober, (@MousePlanetJeff) president of Performance Journeys and CEO of World Class Benchmarking, is also a thought leader on best-in-business practices at the Walt Disney Company. He brings those ideas to organizations via keynotes, seminars, and workshops to organizations around the world. He has authored "The Wonderful World of Customer Service at Disney" as well as a "Disney at Work" series of apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch, available via DisneyatWork.com. You can find out more about his newest book, "Lead With Your Customer: Transform Culture and Brand into World-Class Excellence" at LeadWithYourCustomer.com.