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A family touring plan for Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2013

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Here's a little trick that will help make Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party more of a treat: Map out a strategy for how you'll spend your time at the party so that you can avoid lines as much as possible and see more of the holiday attractions at the event.

With some additions to the party this year, my family changed our strategy for enjoying all the special Halloween activities only offered at the event, which requires separate admission.

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Although the party hours are from 7 p.m. to midnight, those with Halloween Party tickets are allowed to begin entering the Magic Kingdom at 4 p.m. If you call Disney World and ask, you will be told that party hours begin at 7 p.m., but this unannounced practice has been in place for years to allow the park to disperse the arriving crowds.

My best tip, especially this year, is to take advantage of the early entry! You can use that time for a number of things, including grabbing a bite to eat or getting transformed at The Pirates League or the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, so you don't have to spend precious party time on non-Halloween events.

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We arrived at the second party of the season about 5 p.m. and dedicated ourselves to activities in Town Square. There you will find a great, free photo opportunity with stacks of pumpkins framing a view of Cinderella Castle. We took a quick family photo while it was light out. A PhotoPass photographer is stationed there during the party if you want to purchase a professional photo.

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Then, we headed over to the outdoor spot adjacent to City Hall where we knew Jack Skellington and Sally from "The Nightmare Before Christmas" would be greeting guests, beginning at 7 p.m. The pair are new to the party this year, and early reports were that they commanded hours-long lines. (When they appeared at Downtown Disney last year during a Frankenweenie event, the lines had three-and-a-half-hour waits.) We snagged the first spot in line.

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We all wanted to see Jack and Sally, but none of us relished the idea of waiting two hours, so I tried to break up the time for my family by multi-tasking. We took turns in different lines, with some of us waiting in line at the Fire Station to collect the new Haunted Mansion card for the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game. The new card is only available at the party. Distribution began at 4 p.m. at the Fire Station and behind Ye Old Christmas Shoppe for guests who had their party tickets and wristbands. Even if you don't play Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom during the party -- and we didn't -- it's still worth getting the card for another visit.

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We also looked at the exclusive party merchandise in The Emporium, when it was taken out at 6:30 p.m., and we had a bite to eat while we sat in line. Although we didn't avoid the long line for Jack and Sally, we chose to do our waiting before the party started so it wouldn't affect our ability to see the fireworks, parade and other shows. The pair didn't sign autographs -- probably to keep the line moving -- but they did hand out a cool autograph card designed just for the Halloween parties. You can see it in the video below:

There are other special character meet-and-greets, too, such as Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in their Halloween costumes in Town Square Theater, Winnie the Pooh and friends in costumes in their regular location, and Snow White and all seven dwarfs near the gates to New Fantasyland.

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After seeing Jack and Sally, we moved to what my daughter most wanted to do: trick-or-treating. We headed back to one of the treat trails, which have multiple candy stations, near Splash Mountain so she and her brother could get plenty of sweets. It was disappointing to see that the cleverly carved jack-o-lanterns that were themed to "Song of the South" were missing from Br'er Rabbit's Laughin' Place Candy Patch this year. Also, the treat trail that runs along the walkway between Storybook Circus and Tomorrowland was reversed, with its entry near Space Mountain. The Alice in Wonderland decorations were missing from this trail, too. Both trails had fewer candy stations than in past years, which certainly is not a hardship when the candy is unlimited and included in your party admission. It just means you may have to do a bit more walking to fill your treat sack! (Guests with food allergies can exchange their candy from trick-or-treating for other goodies at City Hall.)

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Next up: attractions and dance parties. Space Mountain was closed for the first Halloween party of the year because it was undergoing a series of short refurbishments. It was, however, open during the party I attended. The last refurbishment is scheduled for Sept. 23 to 26. Nearby, the new Monstrous Scream-O-Ween Ball was taking place on the Rockettower Plaza Stage in Tomorrowland. The dance party is hosted by "Monsters University" scarers Mike and Sulley, and we saw other "Monsters, Inc." characters, as well. Woody's Happy Harvest Roundup takes place inside The Diamond Horseshoe in Liberty Square.

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You definitely won't want to miss Mickey's Boo To You! Parade, Celebrate the Magic projection show and Happy HalloWishes fireworks. The debate is whether to go to the first parade at 8:15 p.m. or the second at 10:30 p.m. (Celebrate the Magic and Happy Hallo-Wishes are only presented once -- at 9:15 and 9:30 p.m., respectively.) To be sure, the first parade is always the most crowded, with folks lining up at least an hour beforehand. If you have young children, this may be the only option for you, but if you can wait, I would recommend it. The second parade is a lot less crowded and you will be able to get some trick-or-treating, dancing and riding attractions done beforehand, which might tire the kids out enough to sit without complaining during the wait for the parade. If you choose to sit near the castle, you will be able to see the Disney Villains' Dance Mix and Mingle, which is performed at 7:45, 8:50, 10:05 and 11:15 p.m. The characters perform on stage and then descend into the crowds for a quick meet-and-greet.

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Finally, if all the candy doesn't satisfy your sweet tooth, the Magic Kingdom is offering specialty treats: a spiced pumpkin waffle sundae at Sleepy Hollow, ghost cupcakes at Gaston's Tavern, candy corn soft serve at Storybook Treats, Halloween cupcakes and cookies at Sweet Treats on Main Street, and Hitchhiking Ghost popcorn buckets at the popcorn carts.


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Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party requires a separate ticket. Prices vary, depending on date and possible discount. For a full breakdown, see the AllEars.Net resource page.

DISCLAIMER: I was a guest of Walt Disney World at its Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. This did not affect my story; my opinions are my own.

The previous post in this blog was Tips for making the most of your visit to Epcot's Food & Wine Festival.

The next post in this blog is Disney Collection by Vera Bradley launches at Walt Disney World, Disneyland.

Comments (12)

Pam:

Thanks for your article. We are going to the party on 9/24 and we are SOOOO excited!!! We have never done the MNSSHP and really looking forward to it.

Penny from Vermont:

Thanks for all the information.
This is my only my second time (first was 12 yrs ago) doing the MNSSHP and I am going solo so I have a few questions.
Do you have to check in when you first arrive and get a special wrist band, or will your "Magic Band" be all you need? I remember years ago you got a free photo with your package, is that still true?
Are there long lines for the rides? Where do you suggest to grab a bite?
I am going next Friday the 27th and can't wait
Thank you

KRISTIN: Yes, you will need to get a special MNSSHP wristband between 4 and 7 p.m. by tapping your magic band at a scanner. Unfortunately, the free photos are a thing of the past. Lines for attractions can be longer at the end of October than the September parties, but they still are not as bad as a busy day at Magic Kingdom, because the number of party attendees is capped. As for a bite to eat, please check our MNSSHP map on the home page for restaurants that are open during the party. We like to eat before 7 so we don't waste any "party time." Have fun!

Sheri:

Thank you for the article! Does anyone know what kind of "treats" are exchanged for the candy for children with food allergies?

Glenn Vines:

Kristin,
Your blogs have really helped answer some questions on our first MNSSHP visit on Oct 17th.
Do you have any info on seeing the Cadaver Dans performances?
Also, your kids look great and absolutely love the pixelated man. At first glance I thought something was wrong with the photo!
Happy Halloween! Glenn

KRISTIN: Thanks, Glenn! As far as I know, the only place to see the Cadaver Dans is in Frontierland as part of the pre-show to Mickey's Boo To You! Parade, which steps off at 8:15 and 10:30 p.m.

Pam:

Kristin,
I am thinking about going on Oct. 6th~ impulse decision for now...just my 13 year old & I...thought it might be kind of fun to get a little taste of WDW. If I order my tickets on line up here from home...do you know if I can actually pick them up early as well at the ticket window of the Magic Kingdom that day and still go in any time after 4:00? I would hate the anticipation of being able to go in early, only to be turned away once we got there...We will be coming from All Star Sports :) Thanks & Happy Fall~

KRISTIN: I double-checked and your tickets can be picked up any time on the 6th. If you're going to be at MK on a previous day as well, you can get them then, too. They will be ready whenever you get here!

Tracy:

I am going for the very first time the 1st weekend in Oct with my 8 year old girl. I loved all your info in this article. Besides the second parade time, what are your must dos? What should we not miss if we need to pick? Thanks! Mom from Indiana

KRISTIN: Hi, fellow Hooiser! We never miss Happy HalloWishes; we try to get one special character photo; and we leave plenty of time for trick-or-treating. I generally try to talk my kids out of a lot of rides since we can do those on a "regular" day. We do a quick dinner before 7 so as not to waste party time.

The last couple years, my kids went to the Bibiddi Bobiddi Boutique and The Pirate's League on the day of MNSSHP, which they LOVED. I made sure those appointments were done by 4:30 or 5, though.

Hope that helps!

CSFurious:

I went on September 27, 2013 and would not attend again.

Why? (1) The candy lines are way too long, i.e., just go to Downtown Disney and have some fun at Goofy's Candy Co.; (2) too many people are in the park; (3) if it rains or might rain more, Disney will cancel the "Villians" show; (4) Disney has completely destroyed any spontaneous interaction with characters by making you wait in lines that are too long for small children to patiently wait in.

I would actually just take my son to the Magic Kingdom on a regular night with his Halloween costume on my next visit.

Karen:

Hi Kristin,
We are planning on going to MNSSHP the week of October 6th. I see that Peter Pan's Magic Flight is closed for refurbishments the entire month of October, however, it is listed as one of the attractions open on the MNSSHP map. Any idea if it really will be open? I was disappointed to see it was closed so I was hopeful that they might open it just during the Halloween Party. Thank you for the info!
Karen

KRISTIN: If the party you are attending falls during the refurbishment, it's unlikely to be open, unfortunately. Disney World publishes multiple maps for MNSSHP throughout the two-month season to reflect the changes so you might be seeing an older map. Sorry!

Robert Greenlee:

Can you enter the treat trail in Tomorrow Land (by Space Mountain) and exit at Storybrook Circus or must you enter at Storybook Circus and exit in Tomorrow Land?

KRISTIN: You are supposed to enter in Tomorrowland and exit at Storybook Circus, which is the opposite of past years.

Alisa:

Are trick or treats bags handed out or do we bring our own from home. Thank you very much.

KRISTIN: Each guest receives a small trick-or-treat bag, and you can get additional bags if you fill yours. You also can bring a bag from home, if you prefer.

Sara:

Regarding treats for people with food allergies:

We went to one of the early September parties. i have food allergies to dairy, peanuts, nuts, and seafood (fish, shellfish, etc).

At City Hall I was able to choose from either five or six candy options -- they had all ingredients and the major allergens for each listed, along with a picture of what it was. Two of them were safe for my allergies. I told the CM which ones I wanted (the two), and he went into the back and a couple minutes later came out with a treat bag filled with a good three inches worth of the two candies. And, a WDW keyring buried in among the candy (a treat to discover later !).

Now, at some of the treat stations in the park they had skittles and starburst, which I can have, so at the treat stations I would say to the CM "may, I please just have skittles and/or starburst, I am allergic to the rest", and they would dig through and give me skittles and starburst -- sometimes LOTS of skittles and starburst, especially if there was no line behind us :-)

I was disappointed with one thing. In past years there have apparently been "healthy choices", like bananas and other things available. Not this year. Only one treat station had anything other than candy -- they had craisons, and they were only giving one of the little bags to each person. We asked at City Hall at the end of the night if we could trade in some candy for healthier options, and they said that was not available. So, disappointed. We were looking forward to having some healthy snacks for the rest of our trip... instead we had lots and lots of candy...

Jessica:

I noticed you said Snow White and all 7 Dwarfs are at entrance to the the new Fantasyland. This is different from years past... just wanted to confirm as this is a highlight for us.
Thanks for the tips!

KRISTIN: Yes, they are in a different location this year. Have a great time!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 19, 2013 8:53 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Tips for making the most of your visit to Epcot's Food & Wine Festival.

The next post in this blog is Disney Collection by Vera Bradley launches at Walt Disney World, Disneyland.

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