Everything BUT the Parks

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Everything but the Parks
All you can do without visiting the theme parks
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Sue Holland
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is held at the Magic Kingdom
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is held at the Magic Kingdom

Every year on the several nights leading up to Halloween, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom closes at 6, then reopens an hour later for a separately ticketed 5-hour party. Unlike the adult-oriented Halloween festivities at Universal Studios Orlando down the road, Disney's party is appropriate for even the youngest child, with nothing scary at all. For families with children who are upset that they are missing the chance to go trick-or-treating, this party can net them a larger bounty of candy than walking around their neighborhoods!

Most of the Magic Kingdom is open for the party, but not all. Generally speaking, those attractions such as the train, Tomorrowland Transit Authority, and Toontown Fair that do not open for the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party do not open for this one either.

Tickets are just under $30 per person, with a small discount for children age 9 and under. This past Sunday on October 28, the park was admitting people with tickets as early as 6:10 and giving them wrist bands, while at the same time moving the people without tickets towards the exit. Most of the children wore Halloween costumes, as did many of the adults. Some of the families were very cute in their coordinated costumes - the Mouseketeers, Wizard of Oz characters, Snow White & the Seven Dwarves, and other groups. Of course there were lots of Disney character costumes, including a six-foot-tall man dressed in a Snow White costume!

Halloween Party decorations in Town Square
Halloween Party decorations in Town Square

The second-story windows of Main Street are decorated with jack-o'-lanterns, while images of ghosts flash past the buildings, and music from the Haunted Mansion is piped in throughout the park. They did a good job setting the scene without it being scary at all.

Included in the price of admission are complimentary family photos, which can be taken at several locations around the park. The picture is mailed to the subjects' home in about a week. In addition, cast members give out candy (sponsored by Nestle) to anyone who approaches the several trick-or-treating stations set up in the park.

Although the Diamond Horseshoe Saloon performs a Halloween Revue five times throughout the evening, we were disappointed to find it was the same show that is performed during the day. Evidently saying "boys and ghouls" and putting an orange vest on the piano player makes this a Halloween revue.

The Frontierland Band playing to the Party crowds
The Frontierland Band playing to the Party crowds

The Liberty Belle Riverboat runs a Halloween Riverboat Ride five times a night. On the night we visited, the band played music at the front of the boat, while later a woman in a creepy costume came and told a story that could only be heard by people in that immediate area. Some of the bears from Country Bear Jamboree circulated with the party goers, taking extra time to interact with the children. Cast members gave candy to everyone as they disembarked at the end of the ride.

Two parades are held within the park: one specifically for children, and another for everyone. In the "Boo-To-You" Kids' Parade, children in costume line up and are led throughout the park in a small parade several times per evening. The main parade is the Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Parade, which run at 8:30 and 10:30.

People line up for the 8:30 parade far in advance, with the parade route filled five or six rows deep well before the start of the parade. The 10:30 parade is much less crowded -- you may see large open patches on Main Street without a single person only five minutes before the start of the parade. My suggestion is to do the rides during first parade, then watch the second parade with no waiting.

Many of the characters are involved in the nightly parade
Many of the characters are involved in the nightly parade

The parade starts off quite impressively, with the Headless Horseman running down the street. Many Disney characters are represented, most wearing some sort of friendly Halloween costume. The rest of the parade is cute, but does not hold a candle to parades like Spectromagic or Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Parade. For this reason, this parade is worth seeing if there is no wait, but not if you must sit there for an hour to get a spot.

Cinderella's Surprise Celebration is held at the Castle Forecourt Stage three times per night. Once again, this appears to be the same show as is presented during the day, but with a few Halloween references thrown in. Overall, except for the decor and the different parade, the entertainment was not very different from what you see at the Magic Kingdom during regular hours.

Cinderella's coach, at least, is given a holiday make-over
Cinderella's coach, at least, is given a holiday make-over

Fantasyland is usually the busiest part of the park, because of the large number of children in attendance. Cinderella's coach is set up behind the castle, but we never saw anything happening there when we visited. Waits for the more popular attractions were 20 to 30 minutes in some cases, although during the 8:30 parade it was possible to almost walk right on anything.

The fireworks are beefed up a bit, and are set to haunted music. In Tinkerbell's place is a witch that flies on a broom from the castle. Once she makes her flight, brief perimeter fireworks begin, with fireworks set off simultaneously from all around, forming a perimeter around the main area.

Cinderella's Castle is lit to provide an eerie mood
Cinderella's Castle is lit to provide an eerie mood

One of the prettiest sights is always Cinderella's Castle at night, and with the spooky music and lighting it does look great.

If you'd like to write Sue you can reach her at sue.holland@mouseplanet.com


Photos on this page, unless otherwise noted, by Sue Holland


If you missed them, here is a list of all of Sue's trip Reports that are archived here on MousePlanet!

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