« New 'Finding Nemo' film will find new fans with 3D | Main | It's easy to be Finding Nemo at Walt Disney World »

Tips for families attending Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

kristinford.jpg

My family has attended Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party every year for almost a decade, and although we have tweaked our touring plan for the evening as changes to the party come and go, it essentially remains the same. Here, I offer our tried-and-true strategies for maximizing fun for young kids during this year's five-hour party.

MNSSHP-ghost-mickey.jpg

To begin, know that kids and adults alike will dress up in costumes for the party, so get planning! These can be as elaborate or simple as you like, but remember that because this is a family night, gory costumes and the like are not welcome. However, ingenuity is on display. We have seen so many clever Disney-themed costumes over the years -- from a Dole Whip to FASTPasses to entire families dressing as characters from a single movie. Our most attention-getting costume was one worn by our son who went as Ghost Mickey one year.

MNSSHP-pirates-league.jpg

For the last two years, my own children have enjoyed having an afternoon makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and The Pirate's League. That means we have had a couple of princess and pirate costumes, which never go out of style at Disney World! Both salons stay open later than usual on Halloween party days to accommodate extra guests. The BBB was running pretty close to on-time this year, but we waited more than 30 minutes past our appointment time at The Pirate's League. Because of this, I would recommend giving yourself plenty of time in between reservations for either place and/or restaurants. And be sure to make reservations early because they tend to fill up quickly on party days.

MNSSHP-two-meridas.jpg

That brings me to my next tip: Even though the party doesn't start until 7 p.m., the folks at the Magic Kingdom typically will allow you to enter before the actual party starts, usually between 4 and 4:30 p.m. You are not guaranteed early entry, but I have not heard of anyone being turned away during the last several years. If you already are in the park with a day pass, you can go to the front gate between 4 and 7 p.m. to show your tickets and get a wristband, which is required for the party. Cast members in party attire also will be stationed in several locations in the park, and you can visit them for wristbands as well.

MNSSHP-photo-spot.jpg

We always go early, which gives us time to take a family picture in the Halloween photo spot on Main Street, U.S.A. and have dinner so we don't waste precious party time. One thing to be aware of, though, is that some restaurants close early on party days. And by that, I mean they close even before the 7 p.m. witching hour rolls around. We were surprised to find Columbia Harbor House closed at 5:15 p.m. last Friday. Be sure to take a look at Jack's blog for a list of which restaurants will open during Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.

This year, one of the new party offerings is a Halloween card for the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card game that debuted earlier this year. Even if you don't plan to play the game during the party -- and we didn't -- it's worth getting the special card since that's the only time it is offered. We saw folks lining up outside the Main Street fire station as early as 6:30 p.m. We got in what appeared to be a rather long line about 6:45 p.m., but it moved quickly, and we had our cards within 15 minutes. Cast members designated a separate line for guests who just wanted to pick up the card and not start a new game and that certainly helped. Know that you will need to have your Halloween Party admission tickets, which will be punched, to claim SotMK Halloween cards.

MNSSHP-candy-barrel.jpg

After that, the party was in full swing, and we headed off to visit the must-see characters and trick-or-treat. Many parents of little kids choose to see the first Mickey's Boo To You! Parade at 8:15 p.m., but it is jam-packed every year. Guests stake out their places more than an hour ahead of time. I certainly understand that little ones might not be awake for the 10:30 p.m. parade, and this is one that's not to be missed. For our family, however, it's more important to get out into the park.

MNSSHP-Alice-treat-trail-sign.jpg

We hit the treat trails -- one between Storybook Circus and Tomorrowland and the other near Splash Mountain -- so the kids can gather a bunch of candy quickly. There also are individual treat stations throughout the park. Cast members are generous when they put handfuls of candy in each bag, and, for those who have asked, there is plenty of chocolate and other yummy treats in those barrels. The thrill of actually trick-or-treating in the Magic Kingdom is one that doesn't lose its appeal in our house.

MNSSHP-candy-assortment.jpg

Once the candy stash has been established, we usually stop for any special character photos my children have requested. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse are wearing their Halloween costumes in the Town Square Theater. This year, Duffy the Disney Bear has moved from his photo spot adjacent to City Hall and can be found at the Liberty Belle boarding area in Frontierland. In his place, Phineas and Ferb are greeting guests at the prime location in Town Square. Captain Jack Sparrow is in Adventureland, and the Seven Dwarfs are near Splash Mountain. The Disney Villains will pose with guests after each Mix & Mingle dance show on the Castle Forecourt Stage.

We also usually take time to ride a few attractions because there is just about no wait. How can you resist a five-minute wait for Space Mountain and walking right on to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at night, even if you have been on both coasters more times than you can count? My daughter likes to visit the dance parties, as well, in Tomorrowland and Frontierland.

MNSSHP-castle-HalloWishes.jpg

Then, our goal is to be back on Main Street, U.S.A. by 9:30 p.m. for the special Happy HalloWishes fireworks, followed by the Villians Mix & Mingle and then the second parade. When all that wraps up, we usually join the crowds and head out about 11 p.m. This year, though, my 8-year-old and 10-year-old got a second wind so we stayed until the bitter end, hitting a few more rides and candy spots.

A little bit of planning and strategy before you attend the Halloween festivity will go a long way toward helping you and your family enjoy all the party offers. Now isn’t that not so scary?

Please share your tips in the comments.

The previous post in this blog was New 'Finding Nemo' film will find new fans with 3D.

The next post in this blog is It's easy to be Finding Nemo at Walt Disney World.

Comments (30)

Lisa Zitek:

Thanks for the tips, Kristin. I'll be taking my parents trick or treating (they're 69 and 70 years young) this year and they are super exited with our costumes. We'll be going as the 3 musketeers. Question: Do they have a limited number of the special Halloween sorcerer cards at the Firehouse? I have to decide if we should wait in that line or the one for the photo op with the 7 dwarves. Which would be most efficient?

Cheers and see you on Oct 2nd in Epcot.

Lisa

KRISTIN: The only limit on the SotMK cards that we have heard about is the one-per-person rule. We have not heard about any shortages at the parties. I don't think you'd go wrong starting at either place.

Look forward to seeing you at the meet!

Dana:

Any hints on where certain characters are?

KRISTIN: Please let me know who you are looking for, and I'll try to answer.

Wow, that is a ton of candy!!

We've never attended MNSSHP before, but always look forward to reading the trip reports every year. It looks like such fun. I will definitely keep these tips in mind if we ever go! Great blog!

KRISTIN: Thanks, Blake. That is candy from two children hitting each treat trail once and a handful of the single candy stops!

Susan:

We will be attending the party next week. Do you know where the 7 Dwarfs will be at or Cinderella's Coach? Thank you kindly.

KRISTIN: 7 Dwarfs are near the playground by the queue for Splash Mountain. Cinderella's Coach has not been seen at this year's parties. (It used to be located in an area that is under construction for New Fantasyland.)

Gretchen:

We are going in October, and our main goal is the character interactions... I saw the ones you posted above, and the map has other character spots during the party...Do you know what characters are also there?

KRISTIN: Alice in Wonderland and Mad Hatter are by the teacups; Sleeping Beauty and Prince Phillip are near the New Fantasyland wall; and there are multiple characters at each dance party.

Amy P:

Thanks for the great info. We will be attending our first MNSSHP in two wks with our five children, ages 3-10. I may need a whole suitcase to haul all that candy back to Buffalo! I'm hoping an afternoon nap will keep two little ones, 3 & 4, ready to party all night ;) I am definitely planning for the late parade. Do you have any suggestions about meeting Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs? My girls will be dressed as Snow White, and I've heard this I the longest wait! Little girls and long lines don't go well together! Thanks so much for another mom who loves the magic ;)

KRISTIN: My suggestion is to line up before 7 for that photo op, which is near the Splash Mountain queue. That way you'll get it done while everyone is fresh and cooperative. :)

Jennifer:

Hi,

I've heard that Cinderella's Carriage is not a photo op option at the 2012 MNSSHP. Is this true? I'm hoping it's just a rumor. I've always wanted my photo in front of her Carriage.

Thanks!

Kristin: Unfortunately, that is true. The carriage has not be spotted yet this year.

Karen Hughes:

Great ideas!! My DH and I are going (alone) in Oct. We will be at Disney for a week, and combining the MNSSHP and Food & Wine Festival, We're counting the days... We have an ADR at The Crystal Palace before the party starts, they won't hurry us along so they can close early will they?? When we are done eating, should we start our party in Frontierland or elsewhere? We can wait for the second parade and hit all the good rides during the first parade. Please give us some suggestions. Thanks so much. (p.s., we're 69 & 64 years young, so not too much partying) lol!!

Georga:

Great tips there, thanks.
We will be coming from Australia for MNSSHP in 2013 and are very excited. Halloween is not really celebrated down under so we are very new and unfamiliar to the ways of trick and treating.
I see your kids in their first photo are not in costume. Does this mean that you carry their costumes in and then they get changed somewhere in the park? Is this what everyone does or do some people arrive already dressed?

Cheers Georga

KRISTIN: Plenty of people come already dressed for the party. My children were getting makeovers at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and The Pirate's League that afternoon, so they changed into their costumes right before those experiences.

sherry:

what is a good costume that will look good and be easy to get on and off the rides too. this will be our 9yr olds birthday gift so of course he will dress up but i am hoping to get dad to do the same

Lisa:

Hi,
This will be our first year attending this event. I have heard it is the only time one is able to meet the 7 Dwrfs. Are there any other characters that it is a must to meet? That our children might normally not see?

Thank you!

Robyn:

My family and I will be attending our first party this year. After reading all the blogs, can't wait to get there and see it all in person.

Jodi:

How bad are the crowds on Halloween night? We may plan a last minute trip from Oct. 31-Nov 4. I think trick-or-treating through MK would be awesome!

Robin Eddington:

Hi Kristin!
My mom and I were behind you and your family at the Merida meet and greet! I loved your daughter's dress. She was so excited about her bow and arrow.
Thanks for the additional tips!

KRISTIN: Thanks and please say "hi" next time!

Donna:

I just have a quick question. This is my 7-year-old daughter's first time to Disney and also mine, too. We are very excited! My husband, daughter, and I plan to dress up. I just wanted to know do we have to bring trick or treat bags or are they supplied there? thanks

KRISTIN: Each guest receives a trick-or-treat bag.

Rachel K:

Hi Kristen,

It looks like Merida's meet and greet is where the Rapunzel's use to be, do you know if Rapunzel still has a meet and greet/or if she is out for the party? Rapunzel is my DD's favorite and we're going in October to WDW/MNSSHP for her birthday.

KRISTIN: Rapunzel and Flynn Rider are at the Town Square Theater during MNSSHP.

Anonymous:

Is treat or treating for kids only? If us two older adults come can we get candy also? We like being a kid again? Is this really worth the extra money for two adults without kids?

Kim Garner:

How much are the tickets for this special event?

Tina G.:

My daughter loves Merida - we'll be at the party on 10/31! Where is she located this year? Is Ariel anywhere in the park?

KRISTIN: Merida is in the same location during the day and at the Halloween party -- Fairytale Garden adjacent to Cinderella Castle. Ariel is in MK during the day but not at the party.

Danielle:

Hi Kristin,
Thanks for the wonderful info on this post!! I found that it answered my question somewhat but, can you tell me if all the rides and attractions in the park are open during the MNSSHP or is it only select ones? I haven't seen anything in the MNSSHP info that says exactly. We are planning a trip in 2013 and I am the official Disney travel planner for our extended family that will be coming along. None of them have been before and this will be our first MNSSHP so I'm trying to be armed with as much info as possible.
Thanks!! And keep up the great work!!

KRISTIN: Thanks very much, Danielle. Jack's post (which is linked under "Opening Night Blog" on the home page) has a list of the attractions that are open during the party.

Lainie:

I've read we need to kind of know the position of the Villains after the Mix and Mingle in order to get pictures with the ones we want. Do you know what order they are in if you are looking at the stage? We definitely want pics with Malificent and would also like pics with Cruella and the Queen of Hearts?

Also, has anyone seen King Louie this year?

Thanks!

Sabrina:

Hi Kristin,

I loved your tips. This october will be my first time at Walt Disney parks ever! I'm so excited because this is my dream coming true!!

I'm going with my husband and no children and we'll be attending MNSSHP at the very Oct 31th.

I'm from Brazil and we don't really celebrate halloween here, so that's another reason I am excited about. And I do have to ask if the candy and trick or treat is only for children or adults can collect candy as well??

Thanks.

KRISTIN: Thank you! Adults definitely are welcome to treat-or-treat at the Halloween party!

Kariann:

Are there any restaurants that are decorated for Halloween? This is our fist MNSSHP and I want to make the most of it.

KRISTIN: As of now, no Halloween-themed dining has been announced for 2013.

Courtney:

Hi Kristen, thanks for the tips! My family of six will be in the world beginning October 30 through November 5. It's our first halloween party. Is the October 31st party significantly more crowded than November 1st? Thanks again for all the great blogs!

KRISTIN: Thanks, Courtney. Yes, the 31st IS significantly more crowded!

Joy Guedd:

Hi. This will be our first Halloween at Disney World. We are beyond excited! Lol I will have my mom with me and her favorite character is Grumpy. I can not leave without letting her meet him. We have been to Disney World two times but never saw him. Also, we've saw Cinderella but never met her. Can you tell me where they are located this year? Thank you so much for this wonderful, helpful blog.

KRISTIN: Maps have not been released yet for the 2013 parties, but I can tell you about past appearances. For the last couple years, Snow White's Dwarfs posed together for photos in Frontierland near the Laughin' Place Candy Patch. With the Village Market at the base of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train set to open soon, though, I wouldn't be surprised if the group moves into New Fantasyland. (Just my opinion.) As for Cinderella, she used to appear with her coach, but that has been missing from the party for the last couple years. If it's not brought back this year, she likely will again appear at the Town Square Theatre.

Glenn:

Kristen,
We are so excited to attend our first party this October and I have two questions.
First we'd like to see Jack & Sally and I wondered if waiting till near the end of the party is a good idea, my daughter is nearly 15 so being tired won't be a factor.
Second, is midnight a soft cutoff for catching rides at the end of the day?
Thanks, Glenn

KRISTIN: Reports from the first party this year say that Jack & Sally were busy all night and the line was cut off at 11:40 p.m. The only exception was during the last 10 minutes of the first parade, when there apparently was no line. I'm attending the party on the 13th and will let you know if I notice any different patterns. As for the soft cutoff - the party ends at midnight, so the attractions stop then, too.

Connie L:

Hi Kristin, I am going 9/17 to the party. My niece & nephew (not young children) are taking part in the Pirate's League. Their appointment(s) are at 2:30 p.m. Do you know if we get to MK about 2 p.m., if we can get our photo taken at the Main St. Halloween special photo spot? I wanted it taken before their makeover. Also when is best time to go for photo op with 7 Dwarfs? Because after their Pirate's League experience, I wanted to try to get to the Harbour House for something to eat. Please advise. So much to do it is mind boggling. lol

KRISTIN: Your touring plan sounds very similar to ours! To answer your questions:
1 -- The Main Street photo op is out all the time now as part of the fall decor, not just for the party, so you should be fine.
3 -- Love the Harbor House and it likely will be less crowded if you're having an early dinner. Be aware that it closed at 5 p.m. last year, and it's not open during the party.
2 -- The 7 Dwarfs have always been one of the most popular photo ops, so I would advise lining up by 6:30 p.m. so you're at the front of the line when they start at 7 p.m. Personally, I try to do the must-have photo ops first so that if we get busy with something else, or my kids get tired and cranky, we don't miss out. :) BTW - 7 Dwarfs are near the gates to New Fantasyland (behind Cinderella Castle) rather than adjacent to Splash Mountain as in past years.

Kelly F:

Hi this is my 6 year old daughters first time going to Disney. We are doing MNSSHP and I was wondering what your suggestions were for getting ready in costumes. I dint want to have to carry them in park yet I dont know if it makes sense to go back to get ready.

KRISTIN: It sounds as if you are planning to spend the day in the parks and then the night at MNSSHP, correct? In my opinion, that's a lot for a 6-year-old, especially in the Florida heat. I would suggest hanging around your hotel and planning to get to the MK by 4, which is when party-goers can get in. Then, you'll have a full 8 hours to enjoy the park - and you can wear your costumes at that time.

Sheryl:

Kristin,
The kids and I will be at the party on October 20th. I have been to Disney World 6 times as it is our favorite place to go together. I have always longed to have my pic taken with captain hook. Any advice on where I can find him during the party/villain mix. How would I go about getting a pic with him after the Mix/mingle?
Any tips would be appreciated.
Thank you and HAPPY Not so Scary HALLOWEEN!

KRISTIN: Captain Hook descends on the right side of the stage after the Villain Mix & Meet at MNSSHP, so I would get to that side early. He meets guests after the shows at 8:15, 9:20, 10:05 and 11:15 p.m. for about 15 minutes.

Julie Hutchison:

Hi, Kristin,

We will be in Florida from 10th Oct 2014 until 30th Oct when is best to go to the MNSSHP? and do you have any tips for us? our daughter will be 11 years old and is a massive Snow White fan!

KRISTIN: You will have the same entertainment at all the Halloween parties, so it's really a matter of preference. Weekend nights and dates closer to Halloween get more crowded and usually sell out. You'll be happy to know that Snow White and her prince are regulars at MNSSHP.

I'm sure you know that the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will be open by the time you visit, so if your daughter enjoys roller coasters, you'll want to stop by New Fantasyland. If she would enjoy dressing up as Snow White, you could book a makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique inside Cinderella Castle before the party.

Snow White greets guests at the Germany pavilion at Epcot each day. She also usually is among the princesses at Cinderella's Royal Table at Magic Kingdom and Akershus Royal Dining at Epcot, though there is no guarantee at the character meals. She also is usually one of the visiting princesses at Princess Fairytale Hall in the Magic Kingdom. Hope that helps!

Post a comment

(All comments must be approved before they appear on the entry.)


Return to Blog Central

About

This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 18, 2012 7:50 AM.

The previous post in this blog was New 'Finding Nemo' film will find new fans with 3D.

The next post in this blog is It's easy to be Finding Nemo at Walt Disney World.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.