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Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party finally returns: Here's everything you need to know

Aug. 30, 2022
18 min read
Halloween at Disney World
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The season for grinning ghosts and happy haunts is upon us — at least according to Walt Disney World. Pumpkin wreaths now line Main Street, U.S.A. and the first Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party of the season kicked off Aug. 12, much to our ghoulish delight.

We’re all for the scary season lasting as long as possible. So we downed our first pumpkin spice (iced) coffees, donned our (August-appropriate) costumes and marched straight to The Magic Kingdom to experience the return — for the first time since 2019 — of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

From a parade and trick-or-treating to rare characters, nightmarish fireworks and a villainous stage show, here’s everything you need to know about the frightfully fun fete.

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When Is Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party?

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party runs at Walt Disney World from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. on select nights from Aug. 12 to Oct. 31. Out in California, Disneyland has its own sleuth of Halloween events including the very popular Oogie Boogie Bash.

Yes, multiple Disney Halloween parties will sell out and we're already seeing that happen for many dates this year. In other words, if you want to go and your preferred date is still available, buy tickets ASAP.

Here are the 2022 Not-So-Scary Party dates (though some of these are no longer available).

August 2022: 12, 16, 19, 23, 26, 30.

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September 2022: 2, 5, 9, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27, 29, 30.

October 2022: 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31.

Related: It’s a changed world after all: 9 things you must know if you’re heading to Disney World

BROOKE MCDONALD/THE POINTS GUY

How much does it cost?

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a ticketed after-hours event. If you’re tacking it onto a Walt Disney World vacation, know that you’ll need to buy a separate ticket for the party (in addition to regular park admission) during your trip.

Pricing varies by party date and ranges from $109 to $199 for adults and $99 to $189 for kids ages 3 to 9. Disney Vacation Club members and annual passholders can snag a $10 discount.

We highly recommend not buying a regular park ticket for the day you want to go to the party since you can enter as early as 4 p.m. with your party ticket (and it's a late night). Tacking that onto a long theme park day may not be the best strategy for most.

Related: Magic at every budget: These are the best hotels at Walt Disney World in 2022

BROOKE MCDONALD/THE POINTS GUY

What’s included with a Not-So-Scary ticket?

As mentioned, a ticket to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party gets you admission to Magic Kingdom beginning at 4 p.m. (no park reservation needed); the park officially closes at 6 p.m. to day guests on party dates. Often referred to as the “mix-in” period, the park can be extra busy from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. when day guests and party guests overlap.

If you want to visit Magic Kingdom before 4 p.m. on the day of the party, you’ll need separate park admission and a theme park reservation. As we mentioned earlier, though, doing both the day and night festivities is not generally a good use of time, money or energy.

Party guests need a wristband to experience any of the party offerings, even if they’re already in the park, so you’ll want to pick up your wristband as early as possible. Wristband distribution begins at 4 p.m. at the designated event tapstiles at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom.

BROOKE MCDONALD/THE POINTS GUY

For guests already inside the park, there are three spots where wristband distribution also begins at 4 p.m: Fantasy Faire in Fantasyland, Tortuga Tavern in Adventureland and across from Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor in Tomorrowland.

Once the party officially kicks off at 7 p.m., it’s time to "boo this." You’ll be inundated with ways to spend your evening — far more than anyone could check off their to-do list in one night. Here are the highlights.

Related: How to use points for Disney theme park tickets

Special fireworks and entertainment

Shorter-than-normal wait times for rides and attractions are an advertised perk of the parties. However, I don’t recommend shelling out for a party ticket if you’re planning to spend the whole evening riding rides when there’s so much unique entertainment to experience. There are a few rides that offer a different experience during the party, though, and those are worth prioritizing.

Generally, it's more cost-efficient to knock out lots of rides through a combination of rope-dropping, staying late, purchasing Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane attraction selections; take advantage of early entry for Disney resort guests and extended evening hours for deluxe Disney resort guests, if you’re eligible, on your other park vacation days.

Use your time at the party to experience everything you can’t do when the park is open to day guests, starting with two epic shows and my favorite Walt Disney World parade.

Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular (multiple times per night)

The Sanderson Sisters from Disney’s “Hocus Pocus” and forthcoming “Hocus Pocus 2” will put a spell on you when they take the castle forecourt stage for the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular.

I'd call this a can’t-miss show that stars the witchy sisters and a sinister lineup of Disney’s most iconic villains. It happens three times a night for parties through Sept. 30 and four times a night from Oct. 2 to Oct. 31.

The final 'spelltacular' of the night kicks off at 12 a.m. Night owls wanting to maximize their time should wait until midnight to watch this show once the rest of the party has officially ended.

Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parade (9:15 p.m. and 11:15 p.m.)

The Headless Horseman rides alone, kicking off this must-see parade on an eerie note.

No need to fear, though, this family-friendly affair is more fun than frights. New this year, Max Goof dressed as Powerline (his favorite superstar) follows the Headless Horseman and leads an interactive dance party, making way for the return of this beloved parade in all its "Boo-to-You glory" for the first time since 2019.

BROOKE MCDONALD/THE POINTS GUY

The parade happens twice nightly — at 9:15 p.m. and 11:15 p.m. If you can stay up for it, the 11:15 p.m. parade is much less crowded.

Disney’s No-So-Spooky Spectacular (10:15 p.m.)

Master of fright Jack Skellington is the master of ceremonies for the party’s nighttime spectacular, happening once nightly at 10:15 p.m. The show features projections and music from Disney favorites like Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Trick or Treat for Halloween,” “The Skeleton Dance” and the Haunted Mansion.

You can see the projections and fireworks from around the hub and Main Street. However, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” fans should arrive early to get a spot close to the stage where you can best see the seriously impressive Jack Skellington puppet that appears during the show.

Storybook Circus Disney Junior Jam (7 p.m. and 12 a.m.)

Vampirina and other Disney Junior characters take over Storybook Circus for a dance party perfect for the youngest guests.

Monstrous Scream-O-Ween Ball (7 p.m. and 12 a.m.)

Monsters, Inc. fans simply cannot miss this adorable dance party hosted by Mike Wazowski and Sulley.

Zom-Beatz Bash (7 p.m. and 12 a.m.)

In celebration of the Disney Channel original movie “Zombies 3,” zombies, cheerleaders and werewolves take over Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe for yet another dance party.

Related: What you need to know about visiting Disney World

In park trick-or-treating

Upon arrival, every guest gets a reusable treat bag to bring to trick-or-treat locations throughout the park. It's not a huge bag, so if you really want to maximize the candy distribution, you may want to bring your own (larger) bag. If you're so inclined, you can amass a seriously large quantity of candy at this party.

BROOKE MCDONALD/THE POINTS GUY

At each location, a Disney cast member will drop a handful of Mars Wrigley treats such as M&M’s, Snickers and Skittles into your bag. Look out for the illuminated inflatables denoting trick-or-treat locations in the following spots around Magic Kingdom:

Main Street, U.S.A.

  • Market Street Welcome Trick-or-Treating.

Adventureland

  • Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room.
  • Tortuga Tavern.

Frontierland

  • Splash Mountain.
  • Tom Sawyer Island Dock.
  • Country Bear Jamboree.

Liberty Square

  • Columbia Harbour House.

Fantasyland

  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic.
  • Pinocchio Village Hause.
  • Ariel’s Grotto.
  • Walt Disney World Railroad Station.

Tomorrowland

  • Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress.
  • Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor.
  • Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe.

Allergy-friendly trick-or-treating

Guests with allergies won't be left out of the trick-or-treating fun.

Pick up a teal allergy-friendly treat bag and collect a token at any trick-or-treating location. You can redeem tokens at either of two Allergy-Friendly Centers located at the Liberty Square Ticket Office or the Chamber of Commerce for special allergy-friendly treats.

BROOKE MCDONALD/THE POINTS GUY

Unique 'spooky' character experiences

One of the hallmarks of Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween party is the unique characters that you don't often see in Disney World. It's also one of the most popular activities. Some of the more rare and most unique Disney friends can command some frightfully long waits, so you’ll need to strategize and prioritize.

Specific character appearances aren’t published in advance. However, if the first few parties are any indication, the most popular meet-and-greets will continue to be Jack and Sally at the Town Square Theater as well as Pooh and friends in their adorable Halloween costumes in Fantasyland.

Most of the special character meet-and-greets begin when the party starts at 7 p.m., but Jack and Sally have been meeting with guests starting at 4:30 p.m. This is a very good thing because they’ve been known to log three-hour waits later in the evening.

BROOKE MCDONALD/THE POINTS GUY

If you want to meet the pumpkin king and queen without spending your whole party waiting, you need to be in line outside Magic Kingdom’s park gates by 3:45 p.m. As soon as wristband distribution begins at 4 p.m., head straight to the Town Square Theater to line up for Jack and Sally.

BROOKE MCDONALD/THE POINTS GUY

It still may take an hour or more, but you should be done well before the official party starting time if you start as close to 4 p.m. as possible.

Pooh and friends begin meeting guests around 6:30 p.m., so this is another meet-and-greet we recommend heading to early or before the party officially starts.

Other popular character meets include Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Stitch — all wearing their Halloween garb, of course.

In order to keep wait times down, some characters aren’t signing autographs. However, you can get a Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party-branded pre-printed autograph instead. It makes for a fun, 'free' souvenir.

We got one from Jack and Sally and we also picked one up as a sort of consolation prize at the Pooh and friends character spot when we arrived too late. Their queue closed for the night at 11 p.m., which is a good reminder not to wait until the end of the party for the characters.

BROOKE MCDONALD/THE POINTS GUY

Classic attractions get ‘Halloween twists’

If you do want to ride some attractions during the party, I’d suggest putting the most unique offerings at the top of your list.

Four popular attractions in The Magic Kingdom get their own party “costumes.” My top picks are Space Mountain — which runs in total darkness with a limited-time, more intense soundtrack — and Pirates of the Caribbean — which features live pirate actors both in the queue and on the ride.

Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor and Mad Tea Party also both get their own Halloween "twists" like special lighting and effects.

BROOKE MCDONALD/THE POINTS GUY

Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane attraction selections are not available during the party, so you’ll have to use the standby line for every attraction. However, if you enter right at 4 p.m. you could use Genie+ and/or Lightning Lanes for those hours until the party starts if you didn't want to prioritize getting in line for characters.

Getting in line for Space Mountain or Pirates of the Caribbean right away is a good idea if you’re not headed straight to a character when the party officially starts. Wait times are also notably shorter for the seasonal rides during the first parade and fireworks if you opt out of those.

Related: These are the best restaurants at Disney World

Boo-tiful merchandise — plus a free souvenir

It’s not a special event without some exclusive merchandise to commemorate it. While there's plenty of Disney Halloween merch you can order from ShopDisney in advance, there are things only for sale during the party in the parks.

You'll find limited-edition Not-So-Scary event merchandise at the Emporium on Main Street, U.S.A.

Didn’t squeeze in time to shop? You're covered. This year, party guests receive a complimentary departing gift — a Halloween-themed 50th-anniversary celebration commemorative print.

BROOKE MCDONALD/THE POINTS GUY

Ghoulishly good eats

There are lots of specialty Halloween treats on the menu during the party, and luckily, we didn’t see very long lines for any of them.

If you crave a savory treat, try the pain and panic hot dog from Casey’s Corner or the spellbinding fried pie from the Golden Oak Outpost.

For a sweet treat that plays tricks on your eyes, head to Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe for the dessert that has everyone talking. The Almond Sweet Corn Cake looks so much like a real ear of corn, you won’t believe it when you cut into it to find it’s a delicate almond vanilla cake.

BROOKE MCDONALD/THE POINTS GUY

Pro tip: If you want to try some seasonal treats but don’t want to waste precious party time snacking (aside from dipping into your trick-or-treating hoard, of course), there are quite a few spots around Magic Kingdom serving Halloween snacks and treats during regular park hours.

While you wait for the party to start, head to Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies for sweet corn and vanilla soft-serve, or visit the Cheshire Cafe for a Binx pastry tail and cold witches’ brew coffee.

Halloween photo ops

The Disney PhotoPass photographers are at most character meet-and-greet spots. However, make sure to also seek them out around the park for special Halloween Magic Shots, including spooky moonlit backdrops, dancing skeletons and flaming jack-o-lanterns.

You can also step inside Halloween scenes from Disney stories old and new, such as “Hocus Pocus 2," out on Disney+ Sept. 30.

BROOKE MCDONALD/THE POINTS GUY

PhotoPass photo downloads are not included with your party admission, so you must purchase your photos either individually or with a Memory Maker photo package. If you don’t want to spring for Memory Maker, cast members will pose for smartphone photos at character spots.

Related: How to save money by renting Disney Vacation Club points

Practical tips for visiting Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

What to wear

Costumes are encouraged — but choose wisely.

Aside from a few special events, like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, costumes are actually prohibited at Walt Disney World for guests 14 years of age and older. So, take advantage of this rare opportunity to dress like your favorite character no matter how old you are.

There are still some strict guidelines about costumes, such as no costume masks for guests 14 and older. Be sure to consult Disney’s detailed guidelines before finalizing your get-up.

It's also important to remember that temperatures in Orlando can still soar into the high 90s through Halloween. It’s a good idea to prioritize comfort when it comes to your party costume.

Costume t-shirts, Disney-bounding (dressing in “regular” clothes and accessories that emulate a particular character) and focusing more heavily on accessories while wearing lighter clothing are all good ways to feel “in costume” without overheating.

What if it rains?

The weather in Central Florida is always unpredictable. With the party season extending from the end of summer (when there are near-daily showers through the start of hurricane season), there’s always the possibility of a Mickey’s very rainy Halloween Party.

Tickets are nonrefundable, even in the case of less than magical weather.

Usually, Disney will try and delay parades or performances during the party rather than cancel them, but it can still happen. If a lot of the special experiences are canceled on the night you're there, it's not a bad idea to inquire with guest services as to whether there are any options to try again on another night.

Related: What to do when it rains at Disney World

Recipe for a successful day

To get the most out of the party, you’ll want to be there right at 4 p.m. and stay until midnight, if you can make it.

This is why it’s a good idea to take it easy in the morning, especially if you have younger kids. Sleep in, enjoy some leisurely pool time, maybe take an early afternoon nap and stay off your feet. That way, you’ll be ready to go all-in when it’s party time.

It's also a good idea to have a well-balanced later lunch so that you don't need to spend precious party time eating a full dinner. Then, you can spend your time and stomach space on snacking.

Related: How to save your Disney vacation when the parks are absurdly crowded

BROOKE MCDONALD/THE POINTS GUY

Bottom line

As an add-on ticket to an already pricey Walt Disney World vacation, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party is an expensive way to spend an evening. Weather considerations make shelling out anywhere from about $440 to $800 for a family of four an even riskier consideration.

The timing is also a significant consideration if you have younger kids who turn into pumpkins by 9 p.m. It's fair to decide to hold off until they are old enough to stay up later than normal and enjoy the festivities.

On the flip side, the party is also the only way to experience most of Walt Disney World’s Halloween offerings and some of the iconic characters.

BROOKE MCDONALD/THE POINTS GUY

Our youngest son adores Jack Skellington and the entire “The Nightmare Before Christmas” movie. Meeting Jack was not only one of the highlights of our night but of our whole trip.

If your family absolutely loves Halloween and Disney — and you can make the most of it throughout a long night — there’s a good chance you’ll get your money’s worth out of the party.

Featured image by BROOKE MCDONALD/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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