The first date for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is tomorrow -- Sept. 2 – one of the earliest starts for the two-month run of special events. That gives us more dates to choose from, though, right? I have made no secret over the years that Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is one of my favorite events at Walt Disney World, and that hasn’t changed even as my children have gotten older.
Here are some things for you to consider – mostly new offerings and policies – to help you decide if Disney’s after-hours party is a good fit for your family. (Look for a future blog post with tips for making the most of your party night.)
Earlier this year, I wrote about the new ticket pricing structure for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. The same basic pricing principles hold true from previous years: Tickets are least expensive in September and there are advance-purchase, Walt Disney World annual passholder and Disney Vacation Club discounts. Tickets range from $67 to $105 plus tax, and you can sort through the breakdown of dates and prices on the AllEars.Net resource page.
When considering the party prices, understand that your ticket allows you to enter the Magic Kingdom at 4 p.m. – even though the party activities don’t begin until 7 p.m. The party ends at midnight, but Main Street, U.S.A., stays open another hour, so if you plan to use that time wisely, you could get nine hours in the park for the cost of your ticket. That’s a pretty good deal, especially for the party tickets that cost less than a one-day ticket for Magic Kingdom.
So, let’s say you’ve decided that financially, it makes sense to spend the money for the party, but you are concerned because someone in your group has a food allergy that could interfere with trick-or-treating. The folks at the Magic Kingdom have you covered! They have been offering allergy-friendly treats to guests for years, but there is a new system in place for 2016. In the past, guests would trick-or-treat at the regular stations throughout the park and then trade their candy for allergy-friendly treats at City Hall.
This year, guests are invited to visit one of two allergy-friendly centers located near Tony’s Town Square restaurant on Main Street and Heritage House in Liberty Square – to receive a teal treat bag. (Teal is the official color of food-allergy awareness.) When they trick-or-treat with teal bags, cast members will give them a teal token at each treat station. They can redeem the tokens at one of the centers at any time to receive their special treats.
Of course, trick-or-treating means fun costumes, right? That is one of the draws for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party: children AND adults are invited to dress up. But not everything goes at Walt Disney World because of safety concerns and its family friendly atmosphere. Be sure to note the rules, some of which are new this year, before you plan your costumes.
For guests 14 and older:
** May not wear masks of any kind.
** Layered costumes or costume props that surround the entire body are strongly discouraged and may be subject to additional security screening.
** Costumes may not reach or drag on the ground. (For example, full-length Princess dresses.)
For guests ages 13 and under:
** Masks may be worn, as long as the mask does not cover the entire face and eyes are visible.
For all guests:
** May not pose for pictures or sign autographs for other guests.
** Costumes must be family-friendly and may not be offensive, objectionable or violent.
** Costumes may not contain any weapons that resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon.
Speaking of planning … new this year is the opportunity to have a table-service meal during the Halloween party. Walt Disney World has announced that Be Our Guest, Cinderella’s Royal Table and Crystal Palace restaurants will remain open for dinner. Reservations can be made now, but you must have purchased tickets to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party to make a reservation during party hours.
For a couple years now, Be Our Guest quietly has taken same-day, walk-up reservations for a limited dining window on party nights. Because it still is one of the most difficult restaurants on Disney World property to book, I would recommend this tip to families who were willing to sacrifice party time for the opportunity to eat in Beast's Castle. For my family and I, the tradeoff of losing time we could be participating in the Halloween activities has never been worth it.
Finally, once you have purchased your Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party tickets, you also have the option to book the Happy HalloWishes Dessert Premium Package. This package offers guests reserved (and less crowded) viewing of the Happy HalloWishes fireworks and Mickey’s Boo To You parade as well as a themed dessert party. At $69 plus tax per adult, you will be paying almost as much as you did to enter the park for these privileges. (That $69 is in addition to your admission ticket into the party.)
Happy Haunting (and planning)!
The previous post in this blog was What you need to know about Disney World's Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular fireworks show.
The next post in this blog is Review: ‘Disney on Ice Presents Follow Your Heart’ .