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Will you be in Walt Disney World for your Halloween holiday? Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) is Disney’s answer to the American trick-or-treat tradition that takes place every fall. For the span of a month and a half (September 13 – November 1) Disney closes the Magic Kingdom relatively early on select days and transforms it in the evening for a Halloween celebration. This party requires the attendees to purchase an entirely separate ticket specifically for the event. Regular park tickets and Annual Passes cannot be used for admittance. Guests are welcome to masquerade in their costumes of choice, collect candy, and participate in special happenings around the park for the last five hours of the day (7pm to 12am).
The tradition is to allow MNSSHP ticket holders entrance into the Magic Kingdom at 4pm in the late afternoon, even though regular park guests are still actively running around. Upon presenting a ticket or purchasing one on the designated night, MNSSHP guests are given a wristband that distinguishes them from the average park guest. When the party officially starts, guests without a wristband are no longer allowed to enter attractions, and as the night progresses they are prohibited from even entering the various lands and asked to exit entirely.
MNSSHP begins at 7pm. At that time, Cast Members set up candy distribution spots throughout the entire park. These locations are designated on the MNSSHP park maps, and this year these spots are placed in every land except for Main Street, U.S.A. The largest number of candy-collecting opportunities is in Tomorrowland, yet the highest concentration of them for this year can be found at Br’er Rabbit’s Laughin’ Place Candy Patch (a walk through the Splash Mountain queue that hits three candy barrels in a single line). The candy that is passed out is essentially the same mixture at every location, so it isn’t necessary to visit every spot for the purpose of variety; however, the more stations you visit, the more candy you accumulate. Feel free to revisit stations throughout the night, as well, to gather a particularly large stash of sweets. For those who have special dietary concerns, lines for raisins form alongside the lines for candy.
Much like during regular park hours, guests have the opportunity to meet with Disney characters throughout the park in specified locations until 11:30pm. The primary difference during MNSSHP is that the characters are either dressed in Halloween garb or their personalities are villainous in nature. It may be appropriate to prepare younger children for intimidating meetings with cruel step-mothers and harsh sorcerers.
Character Dance Parties take place during the evening with Rockettower Plaza Stage being a primary location to interact and dance with characters like Stitch. The other location is The Diamond Horseshoe, where a Western themed dance party brings out Woody’s Round Up Gang to “shake their groove thing.” Also, a Halloween stage show titled Villain’s Dance Mix & Mingle happens almost hourly in front of the castle with the villains roaming throughout the audience after each show (7:45pm, 8:50pm, 10:05pm, and 11:15pm).
Happy HalloWishes is the fireworks show that is sandwiched in between two appearances of the Halloween-themed Mickey’s “Boo To You” Halloween Parade (8:15pm and 10:30pm for the parade and 9:30pm for the fireworks). These events are the cornerstones of the entire evening.
Happy HalloWishes can be viewed from any location in the Magic Kingdom, but the best views to be had are from Main Street, U.S.A., facing the castle. The castle turns a whole spectrum of blues, green, oranges, and purples as fireworks are synchronized to a medley of spooky and villainous tunes.
The “Boo To You” parade is an eclectic mixture of fluffy elements such as floats that emulate Halloween on a farm with clucking chickens, pumpkins, cowboys, and Country Bears, as well as more ghoulish traits such as grave digging dancers and skeletons. The Disney characters are featured in Halloween attire, and there are special appearances from not-so-often seen villains like the Headless Horseman, Pain & Panic, and personalities from the Haunted Mansion.
The expense of the event varies, depending on the date you choose to attend, as well as whether you purchase your tickets prior to that particular evening. With the exception of the Friday nights in October and Halloween weekend parties, guests have the option of purchasing tickets at an Advanced Sales Price or at a Same Day Sales Price. The Friday nights in October and Halloween weekend parties only sell at the Same Day Sales Price. The exception to these prices are the evenings of October 28 and 31, when tickets are sold at Premium Pricing. Disney Vacation Club members trump them all, though, with a tax-included discount ticket price on select nights (call DVC Member Services with your DVC Member number for pricing). Keep in mind two caveats for the DVC discount: the tickets have to be purchased in advance by phone using your DVC Member ID number, and a government issued photo ID along with your ticket order number must be presented at a Will Call window to receive the tickets.
Most of the Magic Kingdom’s attractions remain open for MNSSHP. A number of counter service restaurants and snack kiosks continue to host hungry guests as well. No table service restaurants are open once the party officially begins, but considering that guests are only given five hours in the park, most would not want to spend a full hour or two of that time seated in a restaurant and missing the very events that they paid a premium price to experience.
Disney’s Photopass photographers will be stationed throughout the park, especially in locations where the Halloweeen style of the castle can be used as a backdrop. Another spot of particular interest is the stroller parking area in Fantasyland that formerly was the location of the Skyway to Tomorrowland. Cinderella’s Coach is parked there amongst pumpkins for a unique photo opportunity.
What are the specific dates and times of MNSSHP in 2011?
For 2011, the time frame is 7pm-12am on each of the following evenings:
September 13, 16, 20, 23, 27, 30
October 2, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31
September Advanced Sales Price: $53.95 + tax for 10 & up / $47.95 + tax for 3-9
September Same Day Sales Price: $59.95 + tax for 10 & up / $53.95 + tax for 3-9
October and November Advanced Sales Price: $56.95 + tax for 10 & up / $51.95 + tax for 3-9
October and November Same Day Sales Price: $62.95 + tax for 10 & up / $57.95 + tax for 3-9
October Premium Sales Price (October 7, 13, 21, 30): $62.95 + tax for 10 & up / $57.95 + tax for 3-9
October Premium Sales Price (October 28, 31): $67.95 + tax for 10 & up / $62.95 + tax for 3-9
*The Advanced Sales Price is not available for October 7,13, 21, 28, 30 or 31
*Tickets for October 7, 13, 21, 28, 30 and 31 are only available at the Premium Sales Price
*The Disney Vacation Club Discount Price is not available if tickets are purchased on the same day.
There are a few rules that Disney asks its guests to adhere to concerning costuming. First, for safety reasons Disney does not permit costumes that obstruct vision or drag on the ground. Eyes must be visible at all times. Costumes may not contain sharp or pointed objects that could strike another guest. Because the event is child-friendly, guests are asked to not wear offensive or violent disguises. And, finally, guests that are dressed as Disney Characters are not permitted to pose for pictures or sign autographs for other guests to accommodate Disney licensing issues.
MNSSHP merchandise is available. It is sold in a number of shops throughout the park such as the kiosk near the exit of the Haunted Mansion and the gift shop in which Mickey’s PhilharMagic empties. More options for Disney Halloween items can be found in the Emporium on Main Street, U.S.A., the Merchant of Venus store in Tomorrowland, and the Pirates Bazaar in Adventureland.
Do I need to bring my own container for collecting candy?
It isn’t necessary to bring a bag or container for collecting candy. Disney does provide guests with nice plastic bags for this purpose if they arrive empty-handed.
Which attractions and food services are expected to be open?
While Disney reserves the right to change their plans at a moment’s notice, their pattern of the past years has been such:
Pirates of the Caribbean; The Magic Carpets of Aladdin; Splash Mountain; Big Thunder Mountain Railroad; Haunted Mansion; Peter Pan’s Flight; Prince Charming Regal Carrousel; Dumbo the Flying Elephant; Mickey’s PhilharMagic; Snow White’s Scary Adventures; The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh; Mad Tea Party; Space Mountain; Tomorrowland Speedway; Astro Orbiter; Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin; Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover; Stitch’s Great Escape; Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor
Open Food Spots
Casey’s Corner; Aloha Isle; Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe; Golden Oak Outpost; Westard Ho; Fronteirland Turkey Leg; Sleepy Hollow; Liberty Square Pizza Cart; Storybook Treats; Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe; The Lunching Pad at Rockettower Plaza
If your visit only includes a day or two at Disney, then the extra ticket is worthwhile in order to extend your hours in the park. If you are really set on seeing the Magic Kingdom in full force for Halloween, then the expense is also worthwhile since it can’t be experienced this way at any other time. However, if your vacation extends for more than a few days and the Halloween aspect of the Magic Kingdom doesn’t intrigue you, then bypass the cost of the extra ticket. In fact, it would probably be best to bypass the park entirely on the designated MNSSHP days due to the crowds. Instead, choose a separate day for your visit to the Magic Kingdom, especially if it is not scheduled for Extra Magic Hours. Since most people will have been there the previous day and late into the night, it is likely those same people will sleep in late and visit a different park the following day, making your day in the Magic Kingdom less crowded, more efficient, and more pleasant while still enjoying some of Disney’s fall decor.