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Mike Scopa

Doin' It Right

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Friday, October 7, 2005
by Mike Scopa, staff writer

Oh sure. You're all excited because you are holding in your hot little hands a ticket to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, affectionately referred to by some as as “MNSSHP.” You've never been to this event at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, and you are just brimming with excitement because you never thought you'd ever get a chance to attend one of these parties.

Finally, this is the year. This is what you've been waiting for. This is going to be sooooo cool.

But wait a minute. Do you know what you're getting yourself into with this special event? Do you truly understand what this is all about? Are you prepared for what might be one of the most memorable times you've ever spent in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom?


The Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Guide Map. © Disney.

Hopefully when you finish reading this, you'll have a better sense of what to expect as you walk through the turnstiles that night. You'll feel better prepared to juggle all the activities that will be tossed your way, and confident knowing a few things beforehand as you tour the park.

In this session, we take a look at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, and find out how to do it the right way. Yes, there is a “right” way to do this.

Let's talk.

The Basics

For 2005, there are 15 special nights set aside for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. Ticket prices can vary. If you buy them in advance, they are just over $37 for adults and just under $30 for children. Wait until the day of the event, however—assuming it doesn't sell out—and the prices jump to almost $43 for adults and $35 for children. So the tip here is to buy your ticket ahead of time.

Better yet, if you happen to be a Walt Disney World annual passholder you can save even more money by purchasing an event discount ticket. These tickets are designated for specific discounted nights, and are available only to annual passholders. The AP discount means $32 for adults and just under $26 for children. The dates these discount available for this year are September 30, October 2, 6, 20, 23, and 25.


A smiling luminary greets guests as they enter Magic Kingdom's Town Square. Photo by Mike Scopa.

[Editor's note: Remember that this is a “hard-ticket event,” meaning your regular park admission does not apply for the evening's events, and you have to buy a separate ticket just for the event. By the way, this also means that the Magic Kingdom closes pretty early in the evening on those nights when the party is happening. If you plan to visit the Magic Kingdom on a day when you are not staying late for the party, try to schedule the day of your visit so that it is not on the same day as the party (so you will be able to enjoy more time in the park). Those with party tickets get a special wristband identifying their status, and those without the wristbands are shooed out of the front gates well before the party starts.]

When you arrive to Walt Disney World, you may want to visit Magic Kingdom's City Hall a day or two before you attend the party and ask for a Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party guide map. This way you get a general sense of the activities as well as the schedule know what is going on at what time. By doing this before the day of your party, you will be able to see the times for all the special events and plan your night so you don't miss a thing.


A witch flies across the Main Street USA buildings. Photo by Mike Scopa.

Spooky Sights and Sounds

Even before you enter the Magic Kingdom you will notice a different look to Magic Kingdom's Train Station. I'm talking about different lights, different colors, different music, and some interesting balloons.

When you enter Magic Kingdom, be prepared to see some more interesting sights and sounds. On my last venture to the “Haunted” Magic Kingdom, I saw many guests dressed up in some very elaborate costumes. Some that come to mind are a very elegantly dressed bride and groom. We’re talking full-fledged wedding gown and bouquet and a tuxedo, several Captain Jack Sparrows, and a horde of Tinker Bells. Of course these are just a few that come to mind. Needless to say there were many others, including several hundred little princesses roaming the park

But there's more. When you enter the Town Square you will see nothing but green, orange, and purple lights. Look for the huge luminaries that will be smiling at you as you first gaze upon haunted Main Street, U.S.A.


A Mickey Bat makes his appearance on Main Street U.S.A. Photo by Mike Scopa.

When you enter Main Street U.S.A., you do not hear the normal Magic Kingdom music. But what are those familiar tunes? Well, you may or may not recognize the music that is played on Main Street USA but you will find yourself spending a lot of time just gazing at the ghosts, witches, and “Mickey” bats flying back and forth on the buildings, I guess I meant their silhouettes.

If you look real carefully at some of the second-story windows, you see a jack-o-lantern or two. As a matter of fact, how many jack-o-lanterns do you think you can find in windows throughout the park? See if you're good enough to find 50.

Here's the point I need to make. Try not to stop and gaze at everything. Remember, Main Street will be like this all night, so walk up this main thoroughfare and check out everything, but try not to spend too much time here—you have things to do.


A couple of jack-o-lanterns peer out at the guests as they walk up Main Street USA. Photo by Mike Scopa.

Oh—you might want to check out some of the normal character meeting places, especially in front of the castle, where some Disney villains may be waiting for you. This is a rare opportunity to get some autographs and take some photos with some villains that you would only see in a parade or on stage.

Trick-or-treating

Make sure you get your trick-or-treating bag as you enter the park. There are about 16 places in the park where you can get your candy. I can tell you that the place you do not want to miss is that new stroller parking area right next to “it's a small world” and across from Peter Pan's Flight. I have some very reliable sources who tell me that area is where the best candy can be found.

Look for the special Mickey pumpkin balloons indicating trick-or-treats are there to eat.


Mickey pumpkin balloons tell you where to trick-or-treat. Photo by Mike Scopa.

Be selective when getting in line for candy. If you see a long line, you may want to bypass it. Of course, don't deny yourself your treats, but also don't deny yourself some fun, either.

Primetime priorities

The most popular attraction on a MNSSHP night is everyone? That's right, the Haunted Mansion.

Like a moth to a flame, each guest the Haunted Mansion on their list for that evening, so you need to make up your mind as to when you are going to visit those 999 ghosts. Normally on Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party nights, the Haunted Mansion does not offer Fastpass tickets, but if by chance the Fastpass distribution area is operating, you may want to take advantage of it and save some time. Make sure you miss not to miss the Haunted Mansion this evening. In years past, you could also enjoy the Halloween riverboat ride for its special storytelling and special Halloween treats, but unfortunately, the refurbishment has run long and they are not able to open this in time for the party this year.

Mickey's not so typical parade and fireworks show times

Veteran Magic Kingdom visitors sometimes assume that parades are at 9 and 11 p.m., with the fireworks sandwiched at 10 p.m. This is true but not the case on Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party nights, when the Mickey's Boo-to-You Halloween Parade runs at 8:00 and 10:00 instead. This parade includes the Headless Horseman, some of your favorite Disney villains, a special Haunted Mansion float with some very familiar hitchhiking ghosts, the famous Haunted Mansion undertaker team with their amazing sparkling shovels, and a few other surprises.


A Large Hidden Mickey Leads the Boo To You Parade. Photo by Mike Scopa.

If you happen to miss the 8 p.m. parade, don't fret, as the 10 p.m. parade may be less crowded. Small-fry trick-or-treaters get tired after the fireworks and usually exit the park.

Oh—regarding the parade, one of the best spots to take photographs is in Frontierland. If you decide to watch the parade from Frontierland, be sure to set yourself up on the mercantile side of the road so that the parade goes from your right to your left. During the time of the parade, there will be some spotlights that will rise up from atop the buildings and shine on the parade route, and you do not want to take (backlit) photos of the parade with those lights shining right at you.

Special Halloween fireworks

I've often heard the term “Hallo-Wishes Fireworks” used to describe the fireworks display on the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party nights. I'm not sure I would go so far as to link the traditional Wishes fireworks display with what is shown on these special nights.

Now, I could tell you some special surprises in store for guest who will be viewing the fireworks on Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party nights this year but then they wouldn't be surprises, now, would they?

One thing you don't want to be surprised at is the time of the fireworks. Showtime is usually 9:15. Be sure and check your show schedule.

Promise me that you will watch the fireworks from in front of the castle, and be sure you have a clear view of the right hand side of the castle. If you happen to watch the fireworks from the upper rose garden, that may be even better.

Other goodies not to forget

In past years, MNSSHP also offered complimentary family photos, which I would suggest you try to do early on in the evening before the lines get too long. If the lines seem too long, keep an eye on it any time you walk by. It isn't long all night, and there are pockets where there are no lines.

Also, throughout the park there are mask-making stations for the kids and Halloween storytellers. Look for their locations on your MNSSHP guide map. See, I told you that map would come in handy.

Above all, enjoy

This can be a very memorable visit to Magic Kingdom, and it's best to plan your tour of the Haunted Magic Kingdom so you don't miss out on any fun. Just grab a guide map when you first arrive and before you attend. There's so much to do, and it's best to do just a little bit of on-site planning to make sure you get to see and do everything you want to do on one of the most unforgettable evenings you will ever spend in Walt Disney World.

You will not forget it. You will…

Remember the magic!

Next time

Have you ever had the opportunity to show someone Walt Disney World? That is, bring them for their very first visit? It's a big responsibility. We'll talk about it next time.


Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Mike here.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Scopa first visited Walt Disney World almost 30 years ago. Planning a trip was simple back in the 1970s, with only the Magic Kingdom and a few Disney-owned resorts in Orlando.

Over the past 11 years, Mike has been perfecting his WDW trip-planning skills as he has hosted chats and bulletin boards about Disney for a Fortune 100 company.

Mike brings his experience to MousePlanet in a series of lessons to help you with all the phases of planning a WDW trip.

Mike pays special attention to all the details that ensure your family has the best possible time at the Happiest Place on Earth.

You can contact Mike here.

OTHER LINKS

Here are trip reports that Mike has written that are part of MousePlanet's archives:

Michael Scopa -- August 1999 -- Walt Disney World (CSR)

Michael J. Scopa -- July 1997 -- Walt Disney World (WL/CBR)

Mike Scopa -- July 1994 -- Walt Disney World (WL / CBR)

Also, don't miss Lani Teshima's column, “The Trip Planner” for more travel planning information.

Get the latest info about the resort at “Park Update: Walt Disney World.”

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