Spooks Come Out For A Swingin’ Wake: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

A Mickey pumpkin on Main Street.

Finally, as promised, little earbuds, I’m writing my review of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Funnily enough, I’d never heard of this event before this year, but it makes sense that Disney World would have a Halloween celebration to compete with nearby neighbor Universal Studios, the latter of which throws a huge scary bash each autumn. However, as the title implies, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween is, well, not so scary. It’s more about seeing cute Disney characters in costumes (that’s right, costumes on top of costumes!), extravagant parades, villain shows and fireworks, and of course free candy every few feet. If you’re the slasher movie, blood-and-guts, “visits an 18+ haunted house every year” type of Halloween lover, then Universal is probably more your speed (from what I’ve heard; I’ve never been to Universal myself). However, if you prefer classic/vintage Halloween fun such as jack o’ lanterns, costumes, ghost stories, and candy candy candy, then you’d be right at home in the House of Mouse from September through October.

This ghostly family was kind enough to halt their haunting for a photo.

My family and I had read that costumes were part of the fun for all ages, so at my behest everyone got dolled up (our theme was Adventureland: we were three pirates and a jungle cruise skipper). On the bus ride from our resort to the Magic Kingdom we were a bit uneasy: no one on our bus was dressed up except for young kids! To our relief it turned out that we were just staying at the fuddy-duddy resort, because once we stepped off the bus we were far from the only adults in costume. There were groups of grown-ups and entire families decked out in their Halloween finest. I not only felt right at home, but then and there I resolved to dress up even more lavishly next time! There was a bit of a snafu at the gate as the frantic cast members tried to slap event wristbands on the writhing crowd, so we ended up waiting a good fifteen minutes just inside the turnstiles.

The Pooh crew in festive costumes!

Since it was my first MNSSHP I was in nervous knots because I didn’t want to miss anything, but luckily at long last we all made it to Main Street. There I was greeted with a true feast for the eyes: autumn/Halloween decorations were everywhere, from the street lamps to the edges of the buildings, and music from The Haunted Mansion was being piped in over speakers around the park! The first characters I saw were Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, and Tigger, and they were all in costumes, which was adorable. My group wasn’t quite sure what to do or where to go, so after taking a few pictures we decided to go ahead to Adventureland (since we were dressed as pirates, we had to ride Pirates of the Caribbean that night).

Louis Gator’s candy station in front of the steamboat at Liberty Square.

Along the way my younger sister noticed that most of the ride entrances were candy stops, so all of us pulled out the bags that we were given at the gate and trick or treated. It was actually quite fun, and the cast members handing out the goods were very warm and pleasant and wished us “Happy Halloween!” In fact, the cast members working the party that night did such a great job that I found it difficult to believe that it was barely September when we left, because I felt like I’d already had a full-on festive All Hallow’s Eve. After riding Pirates and getting some more candy we decided to go ahead and eat a quick service meal. We’d meant to arrive at the park earlier and do so then, but even though we arrived late we decided that it was best to take the time to eat. I complained at first, but I was glad that we ate, and we were not alone! We managed to get our meals in Frontierland as the first parade of the night was going by, and it was just in time, too, because before the parade had even fully ended the restaurant was packed to the gills.

More Main Street decorations.

We finished our meals and made our way to Fantasyland, stopping at every candy station along the way. We were still in Tomorrowland when we saw the villains’ fireworks begin, so we rushed to the bridge between Tomorrowland and Cinderella’s Castle to watch the show. Fireworks went off as each villain sang a bit of their song, and the show ended with a medley of “Grim Grinnin’ Ghosts” (from the Haunted Mansion) and “This is Halloween” (from The Nightmare Before Christmas). Despite a few trees, we had a pretty good view and enjoyed ourselves immensely. After the fireworks we walked to the front of Cinderella’s Castle and took in one of the many villain shows that evening.

Cinderella’s Castle alight with fireworks (photo courtesy of my older sister).

It was relatively quick, consisting of cast members in Halloween colours dancing to a generic song about Halloween, then Doctor Facilier (from The Princess and the Frog) performing his theme song (which was AWESOME, though I might be biased because his is one of my fav Disney villain songs) then a group of Disney villains coming out and dancing. At the end the Queen of Hearts had a solo moment of dancing while Glee’s mashup of “Thriller/Heads Will Roll” played, which was super cute and funny. The villains then made their way out into the audience for pictures and autographs, and though I was tempted to stay and try to get a pic with Maleficent or the Evil Queen from Snow White, we rushed over to Liberty Square in order to find a good spot for the second (and final) parade of the night.

Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy open the parade.

Mickey’s Boo To You Parade was fantastic, and hands-down my favourite part of the night. Pretty much any Disney character that you might want to see, from princesses to pirates to villains to sidekicks, was in this parade singing and dancing in Halloween masks. While there were some exceptions, I have to give Disney credit for their thoroughness. You didn’t just see Peter Pan and Wendy, you saw the Lost Boys, Hook, Smee, and the giant ticking crocodile, too! Pooh was there, and so was Eeyore, Tigger, Piglet, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, and Christopher Robin, the latter of which I’ve never seen at WDW.

The hitchhiking ghosts lit up the night.

However, by far my favourite part of the entire parade was the lavish tribute to the Haunted Mansion: first the freaked-out groundskeeper made an appearance, lantern in hand and trusty (real!) dog by his side, followed immediately by a group of undead ushers who danced with shovels and scraped them across the pavement causing sparks. Next came a float with several gravestones, most notably Madame Leota’s, then the ghostly ballroom dancers waltzed through the streets (perhaps the most famous residents of the Haunted Mansion!). And of course the three hitchhiking ghosts were right on the dancers’ heels, sticking their thumbs out and looking for a ride home. The entire parade was incredibly awesome, but, being the Haunted Mansion fanatic that I am, nothing can top seeing a handful of my favourite 999 haunts come to life!

The hauntingly hilarious southern belle ghost.

Once the magnificent parade was over, we visited the Haunted Mansion itself, which had a special treat that night: the real “live” ghost of a southern belle, sitting on a bench out front, telling stories and interacting with the crowd. We listened to her for a bit, then hopped into a couple of Doom Buggies to ride my favourite ride of all time, then went back to Fantasyland. We hadn’t realized that the park was closing, and the super kind cast members kept letting us ride rides, so we rode Peter Pan’s Flight and had an entire boat all to ourselves on It’s A Small World. At last another party goer kindly mentioned that we might not want to bother going to Snow White’s Scary Adventure because the party was over, so we walked by Cinderella’s Castle and meandered down Main Street, finally bidding adieu to our first MNSSHP. It was a blast, and I very much hope to visit again another year!

I would recommend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party to anyone of any age who loves Halloween. Just remember Miss Pink’s tips!

Tip #1: Dress up! Costumes are part of the fun, and even something simple will make you feel the magic. Trust me, even if you’re staying in a fuddy-duddy resort and you’re the only adult dressed up on your bus, once you arrive you will definitely not be alone! (We especially weren’t, as pirates seemed to be all the rage this year.)

Tip #2: Get there early! The party officially begins at 6 pm and ends at midnight, but I’ve read that cast members will allow party-goers inside the park as early as 4 pm. I don’t know if it was because it was the first Halloween Party of the year or just the glut of an arriving crowd, but next time I would certainly aim to be there by 5:30 pm at the latest. Also, sub-tip: I wouldn’t do another park earlier on the same day as a MNSSHP. Trust me, six hours of walking around the Magic Kingdom is more than enough for one Disney day!

Tip #3: Get character pictures! You’re not too old to have your picture with any character, be it a princess or Mickey Mouse himself. Even if it seems like everyone in line around you is under ten years old, believe me, you won’t be the only adult who wants a picture with Captain Jack Sparrow that night. The only character pic of the night that I have is my family with Rafiki, but it’s great to see us in our costumes with him. Next time I’m definitely getting as many as possible, and I vow not to be as shy around the “realistic” characters (i.e. the ones without masks).

Tip #4: Trick or treat! Some Disney blogs recommend skipping that part, and if the lines are especially long, I could understand that. But no line that we stood in was longer than five minutes, and it was just as much fun initially getting the candy as it was spreading it all out on the living room table and divvying up the good stuff later on.

Tip #5: Eat beforehand, but if you can’t, take the time to eat a quick meal in the park. It doesn’t take that long, and it can save you from becoming a cranky mess later in the night. (I speak from experience here.)

A final eerie view of the castle, again thanks to my rad older sis!

Tip#6: Decide what’s most important, and just take the rest in stride. I knew that the parade was my biggie, and looking back I wouldn’t have minded seeing it both times (once for pictures and once just to enjoy it) yet the one time that I did see it was absolutely grand. However, throughout the night I kept worrying that I was missing something, but looking back, I did pretty much everything that you can do: I trick or treated, I watched the parade, fireworks, and villain show, I rode rides, I took pictures, I visited the Haunted Mansion… It was all great, but I was so keyed-up and worried about missing things that I was a bit stressed out until the parade was over (and there was only an hour of the party left!). Next time I’ll remember that it’s all about enjoying yourself, and that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to attend MNSSHP. Do what you want to do, and just have fun! And if you miss something like a particular show, don’t worry about it. There’s always next year!

As my final “treat” for this entry, here’s an excellent video of Mickey’s Boo To You Parade, taken the same night that I attended. I warn you, that opening song will get stuck in your head for days to come. Happy Halloween!

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