Traveling to Disney World in the months of August, September, or October and wondering about Halloween costumes and activities? Here’s tips, tricks, and the inside scoop on enjoying Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party!
For more theme park travel guides, check out our guide to Universal Studios and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as well as Making the Most of your Disney Vacation with Young Kids.
Happy Halloween, friends! Since our neighborhood was still under construction this time last year, we went trick-or-treating at Disney World instead. 😉 It was a whirlwind of a trip but attending Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) on the actual holiday was beyond words! I was clueless about how it all works when I planned it last year, so I’ve gathered up my best tips for everything you need to know before you go so you can get the most out of the experience. Keep reading to the end for our personal review of this special Disney World event!
What is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party?
MNSSHP is an event that takes place at Magic Kingdom from late August through Halloween night. There’s special activities, Hallowishes fireworks show, parades, special character meet-and-greets, and even some pretty epic trick-or-treating. Magic Kingdom closes early for regular park goers and only those who have a special ticket may attend.
What are the dates for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party?
The dates change each year, but it’s typically held from late August through Halloween. It doesn’t run every night, so you’ll want to check the dates for the year you wish to attend and plan accordingly. Keep in mind that if you aren’t attending the party but will be at Magic Kingdom on one of those days, the park closes early and you will be unable to stay in the park during the event.
Do you need a ticket for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party?
Yes, you’ll need a special ticket for MNSSHP. Your regular park ticket will not work, as they give special bracelets to attendees and usher anyone who isn’t wearing one out of the park so that by 7PM only those with tickets are allowed inside. You can enter the park as early as 4PM with a party ticket.
Can you wear costumes to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party?
Yes, but Disney does have some important requirements. For example, they have the right to deny entry for anyone wearing attire they deem inappropriate. Here’s a few more guidelines:
- Costumes must be family friendly with no sharp objects or weapons (even fake ones.) Toy swords and sabers might be okay, considering they sell those inside the park.
- Guests may dress as their favorite character but may NOT pose with guests or sign autographs.
- Kids may wear masks, but they may not obstruct the entire face. People over the age of 14 are not allowed to wear masks. Note that sometimes they are lenient on this rule.
- Costumes on adults may not drag on the ground (ie, no long ballgowns that drag)
Just a tip from me, you’ll also want to make sure your costume is appropriate for the weather. It can be blazing hot or chilly in Florida that time of year, so keep that in mind when deciding what to wear!
We kept it simple; the kids wore Star Wars costumes which were light and easy to wear (also, where’s Waldo? LOL!)
And I was a mouse. Duh. (name that movie!)
We visited Magic Kingdom on another day and wore t-shirts with the names of a few favorite dwarves. Super easy and lightweight and weirdly fits our particular personalities:
Where can you eat at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party?
The all important question of where to eat! We were super lucky to be able to snag reservations at Cinderella’s Royal Table, which are usually really hard to secure. Since the crowds are lighter, you might have luck getting a reservation though so keep checking! You need to cancel a day before, so if you aren’t able to get one check the day before/ day of just in case someone cancels (sometimes people don’t realize they need a MNSSHP ticket that night, and need to cancel with short notice.)
They also have special buffets for the party such as the Happy Hallowishes Dessert Buffet, you’ll need to reserve those in advance as well on the Disney website.
There’s also tons of spooky and special Halloween themed treats all throughout the park, pretty much in every little bakery and treat shop! There’s no shortage of food to buy.
Note that many attendees chose to skip table service meals because it takes time away from the party. We only chose to eat at Cinderella’s Royal Table because it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us– we’ll never be able to score those reservations again, I’m sure!
Here’s a few photos from inside the castle from our dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table:
The kids got build-your-own-cupcake desserts!
This one slays me. Storm troopers meet the wrong princess.
What other tips should I know before attending MNSSHP?
- Fast Passes are not available during the event, but lines do tend to be shorter because crowd size is typically lower. Note that there is some debate on this because in the past people have been able to get FastPasses for the hours of 4-7 at Magic Kingdom, but it’s not a given that they’ll be available.
- That being said, the crowds vary– they’re higher on non-school nights and as you get closer to the holiday. Crowds were fine the night we went (Halloween) because it was a weeknight and not a popular travel time.
- Some photographers have special poses they can do for Halloween overlays, so be sure to check with them around the park!
- The lines for trick-or-treating can get long, we found the lines were better the later we went and we didn’t have to haul around candy the entire night. I’m not sure what time the trick-or-treating ends, but don’t way too long or you may miss out.
- A few rides (typically about 3) may have additional ‘bonuses’ for the event but not many. Conversely, some rides are closed– we weren’t able to do the Jungle Cruise, for example.
Our Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Review
So after all that, the big question remains… what did we think of the event? Would we do it again? Here’s how I felt, personally: it was a really fun experience for the kids to trick-or-treat at Disney World on Halloween. They were ages 7 and 9 at the time, and they were able to hang until almost midnight, which was impressive since we’d visited Animal Kingdom earlier that day and walked 10 miles total! The kids had a great time and enjoyed the atmosphere and riding the rollercoasters at night (we all agree that Thunder Railroad is our favorite.)
In hindsight, here’s a few things I would have done differently. We ate at Cinderella’s Royal Table because it was a truly rare experience to get a reservation, but it took time away from the rides and trick or treating. Not sure I’d change that since we enjoyed it, but it was a rushed dinner for sure because we didn’t want to miss the fireworks.
Also, if our vacation had been longer we would have stayed at the hotel and done the pool during the day or gone to Disney Springs, and then used our ticket for the party on a day we weren’t already in the parks. We had to pay for the additional MNSSHP on top of our Park Hopper, which doesn’t make much financial sense. However, we were only in Florida for 5 days and squeezed Disney into 2 of those days so that’s how it had to be for that particular trip.
Was it worth the additional expense as opposed to simply going on a non-event night? That’s a tough one! I’m glad we were able to experience it once. It’s not on my ‘must-do’ list again, but if the opportunity came our way again we’d still go. 🙂 If you have younger kids, keep in mind the party runs from 7PM to midnight (though if you have event tickets you can enter the gates as early as 4PM) so they may be tuckered out!
Whether you go to Magic Kingdom during the fall or head to MNSSHP, you’ll enjoy the Halloween decorations and truly can wear costumes any time of year while there without getting the side-eye!
I’d love to hear your tips, thoughts and questions! Have you been to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary? What did you think?