It's that time of year again. Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party is up and running at Walt Disney World. Pack the gang and head out!
Actually, the setting for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party begins well before Labor Day. Bunting and signs can be found up and down Main Street U.S.A. and throughout the park, like here at Minnie's House:
And signs throughout property invite you to attend this after-hours event.
The question is: Do you attend? The answer is, well...it depends. It depends on what kind of Walt Disney World guest you are:
1. If you are an annual passholder, probably not—unless you are the most avid Disney fan.
2. If you are on vacation where you are buying a multiday park hopper—probably not—unless you are the most avid Disney fan.
3. If you live in the greater Orlando area, or less than a day's drive from Disney—definitely so. And I recommend that if you're more than an hour or two away, that you take advantage of the low rates found on property.
4. If you are in town for only a day or so at Disney and you only had time to do one park—definitely so.
Here's the rationale: It really isn't worth the value if you have already invested money into a multiday pass or in an annual passport. There are major offerings at this event you won't see otherwise. But they are not so significant as to warrant the extra expense.
Conversely, if you only go once in a while, or if you are only going to have a limited time to go while in town, this would be your best value. The official starting time is 7 p.m., but you can enter as much as two-and-a-half hours earlier. While there you will enjoy a wonderful parade:
A unique stage show offering:
And a major fireworks display:
Here's a hint--go to one of the earlier parties they offer. Consider it a kick off to the Halloween season. You'll find the park much emptier than later Halloween party events. That's to your advantage, because it allows you to walk in on many attractions. We rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad twice without having to get off the train! In fact, having attended the September 18 event, we found many corners of the park fairly quiet at times.
Then of course, there are the many things the park does to plus the event above and beyond what you find on most days. First of all there's the candy.
You find free bags and places to obtain candy throughout the park. Some locations even include an extra hand out of raisins. Some locations are unique, such as an Alice in Wonderland themed area between ToonTown Fair and Tomorrowland, as well as this one utilizing a former queuing space at Splash Mountain:
As for the candy, it's a good variety of chocolates, with popular favorites, and even some old favorites.
Beyond the candy, there's much more. Throughout the park, there are cast members all around, inviting you to play games.
In addition to Disney character appearances, there are locations like this one where you can have a special photo taken.
There's unlisted entertainment throughout the park, different performances you don't find during regular hours.
And there's dance parties going on like this one over at the Diamond Horseshoe. This location also handed out candy, though it wasn't marked on the map.
So you see, there's plenty to do and see. If you come early and stay late, you'll find this to be one of the best Disney values out there. Of course, you and your party—including your kids—have to stay up late to get that value. I found many a child fading quickly before 10 p.m.
But, if you are an avid Disney fan, you'll have a great time. As one such individual, the highlight was the music playing throughout the park. In Frontierland, you would find tunes like Ballad of Davy Crockett and Swamp Fox playing. I loved the special lighting found throughout the park.
I found Disney characters you don't see every day, like the Headless Horseman, who makes his way ahead of the parade.
Even the Cast Members seem to have a great time.
Indeed, I enjoyed the experience immensely.
Therefore I recommend it to anyone who is a Disney fan. If you want terror, head to Universal. But if you want a great Disney experience, head to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
(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.