Disney Halloween Parties with the Kids

by Adrienne Krock, contributing writer

With Halloween just around the corner, tis the season for the Disney theme park Halloween parties. This week we asked our Parenting Panel: Do you have any tips or tricks for attending the Halloween parties at the Disney theme parks?

Chris, also known as GusMan, is always planning his next family trip to the Walt Disney World Resort and loves to help others plan their trips, as well sharing his experiences. Chris writes:

Halloween at the Walt Disney World Resort is a real neat time of the year. The weather is starting to cool down, and fall is in the air, even if it is Central Florida. It seems like the parks and resorts change overnight into a fall festival. Not only is it a special time of the year, but it is the first indicator that the holidays are upon us. What better way to kick off the holidays than with a Halloween party!

While each rendition of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween (MNSSHP) party seems to be slightly different year to year, it an event that, while an extra cost, is worth it if you have never experienced it before. While some see it as a time to experience the park with a different theme, I think there is much more to it than that. Here are some tips and thoughts that my family learned during our visits to MNSSHP:

  • If a party date happens to be within your trip dates, and you know that you want to go to the party, get your tickets sooner rather than later. Some dates sell out quickly, such as Halloween night.
  • Since this is an extra cost event, plan your day out so that you enjoy a different park during the day. This is also a great tip if you do not usually get Park Hopper tickets.
  • Along the same lines, if you plan on being at the party until it closes, that day might be a good one to spend some downtime away from the parks in the afternoon. That way, you are refreshed and have more energy for the party itself.
  • While the event has a start time that is after the normal park closing, you can get into the Magic Kingdom with your event ticket before the park closes. While times may vary, typically those who have event tickets can get in about an hour before the park closes.
  • While it may be tempting to use the event to take advantage of shorter ride lines, it would be a better idea to take advantage of all the different happenings that are unique to the party itself first.
  • It is still important to get good spots for the parade and fireworks. They are traditionally very good and not to be missed. Check the schedule to see if they repeat the parade as the second running of the parade tends to be less crowded.
  • This is a great time to get some unique night shots of the park decorations. Practice with your camera before you leave for your trip so you can come home with some great pictures that capture the event.
  • Be prepared for trick-or-treating! In the past there has been candy galore!
  • Yes, your kids can dress up in costume for the party. My advice here is to keep it simple and fun so you spend more time enjoying the party and not having to deal with the costume. Also make sure the costume is suitable for the different attractions. (Make sure you hold on to that tiara or pirates hat while on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad!)

While I am not a huge fan of Halloween in of itself, I do enjoy how Disney does their party. Its festive, fun, with happenings suitable for all ages!

Mickey's Halloween Party returned to Disneyland in 2010. MousePlanet file photo.

Mary Kraemer is an avid Disney fan and travel consultant with CruisingCo/MouseEarVacations who loves to travel with her husband and children to Disney destinations as often as possible. Mary writes:

I have only attended a couple Halloween parties at the Disneyland Resort, and none since the parties moved from Disney California Adventure to Disneyland Park, so I’m not entirely current on how things work in Anaheim.

However…the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) is hands down my favorite thing EVER at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Maybe it’s because it was the first hard-ticket Halloween event I ever attended, but every time I have been there, I am no less impressed.

Let’s just start with Halloween being my favorite holiday (with Christmas being a very close second, but Christmas causes me more stress!). I’m not into a gory, scary Halloween, however, and don’t go to places that are designed to be gross and frightening. I love the decorations, and the fun of dressing up in costume, and trick-or-treating is one of my favorite childhood memories (and I loved going with my kids, too).

So, MNSSHP was an ideal thing for me. When can adults wear costumes to the parks otherwise? Never! But it’s allowed for the party, and that’s great. We get to be big kids along with little kids.

Nobody does theming like Disney, so, from the moment you step inside the Magic Kingdom, the Halloween decorations are "plussed" from the daytime into an extraordinary experience of Halloween fun. It immediately puts you into the right mood for a great evening.

Because this is a hard-ticket event, the regular guests are shooed out of the park for the party starting time at 7 p.m. But with the MNSSHP ticket, you can get into the park at about 4 p.m., and have a few extra hours. That’s a big plus in my book, and enjoy the park for a few more hours before things really get going. It gives you time for dinner so you don’t miss any of the party action.

I love seeing the Disney characters dressed in Halloween costume…it’s so clever and fun, and really special for photo opportunities. Lines can be long for these characters, though, so pick and choose how much time you want to do this. It’s usually tied into trick-or-treat stations, so it’s got the added benefit of candy.

I’ve noticed that the trick-or-treat bags handed out in the past are pretty flimsy; I’d recommend bringing your own bag so you don’t have a seam burst, causing your little ones’ candy to spill all over Main Street.

But the Halloween party is not just about trick or treat…no! There are special Halloween fireworks that are only used on party nights; these include projections on the castle and a soundtrack that are fantastic. Be sure to find a good spot to see the fireworks because they are not to be missed.

My absolute favorite part of the Halloween party is the special "spooktacular" parade, that only happens during the Halloween party. The Headless Horseman starts things off, and there are lots of your favorite Disney pals (and villains) on floats that are specifically Halloween themed. Of all these, the Haunted Mansion gravediggers, who march and dance in the parade with shovels, striking the pavement and causing sparks…it’s the best parade segment ever.

Because I am a West Coast girl, I like to go the Halloween party early in my trip so that I’m fresh for the party when I haven’t yet quite adjusted to East Coast time. If the party is scheduled for a day when I’m flying into Orlando, it’s ideal, because I can check in to my hotel, and go to the party. What a great start to my trip. And I don’t use a day of park admission for just a few hours either (the Halloween party tickets are less expensive than a day-of-park admission)

So, don’t hesitate…if you have a chance to go to the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, do it. You’ll be happy you did.

It's your turn—keep the discussion flowing!

Visit the Parenting in the Parks forum on our MousePad discussion board, and share your opinions about this topic or many others, or send your suggestions via e-mail. Reader-submitted tips might be used in a future article, and you might be selected to participate in an upcoming panel discussion!



  1. By Jimbo996

    I went to the Disneyland Halloween Event a few years ago. I highly advise anyone to go for a number a reasons.

    1. Cheaper than a 1 day 1 park pass. Ranging from $60 to $70 a ticket, it can be 33% cheaper than regular Disneyland admission price.

    2. You get free candy and as much as you want. While you can use their bags, I highly recommend you bring additional bags. Even if each person in your party is holding two bags, the cast members will fill both without question.

    3. Choice of healthy snacks. I highly recommend the packaged apple slices, raisins, and baby carrots. I actually ate them instead of the candy during the night. They also last a few days after the Halloween event. Just keep them in the refrigerator except for the raisins.

    4. High quality candy. There is no skimping here. You get all the name brand candies like Hershey's, M&Ms, Snickers.

    5. A stroller is actually necessary. Use it to hold your loot. Your candy bags can get very heavy. You might want to put your bags down when going on rides.

    6. Only time that dressing up in full costumes are allowed for adults. Definitely dress up. Some adults put on very impressive princess dresses. Men put on elaborate pirate costumes.

    7. Photo ops. Take your favorite photos with your favorite characters plus some scarce ones.

    8. Shorter ride lines especially for the Haunted Mansion and Ghost Galaxy Space Mountain.

    9. Early entry. Get into the park at 4pm. The regular day guests are booted at at 7pm. Bad for them. Good for you. The CMs will definitely check your wristbands. I heard that some regular guests hide out to avoid getting booted out. This might work for some, but Disneyland has increased the checks.

    10. Free parking. Another freebie that you'll appreciate.

    11. Last call. Disneyland makes sure you don't go empty handed. They offered more candy as you're leaving for the night at the exits. By this time, they're giving it away by the handful.

    12. Most of all, Disneyland goes way over the top in Halloween fun. You enjoy the Halloween Parade and Fireworks. It is just a very festive party.

    Overall, my kid enjoyed it very much. I used up the leftover candy to give out on Halloween night.

  2. Discuss this article on MousePad.