It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And for my family, that time of the year is Halloween. No kidding. Yes, it’s technically still summer. Yes, the kids aren’t even in school yet. But, ding dang it, I’m already thinking about Halloween at Walt Disney World. There are so many ways to celebrate the holiday, but my family’s favorite way is to attend a Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP). And while there are so many things you must do, there are things you should never do when you visit. From when to scan your ticket to what to do to get a good view of the fireworks, here’s our insider’s guide to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party: 11 things NOT to do!
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The bold, bright autumnal colors are just around the corner. Actually, I was out shopping yesterday and saw hints of Halloween decorations beginning to line the store shelves. And it’s right around now that my mind starts drifting to the Halloween fun at Walt Disney World (WDW). For me and my family, attending a Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is the ultimate way to celebrate the holiday. And by attending a yearly party, I’ve learned tons of things to do and not to do when we visit. Here are my top tips.
1. Don’t Show Up Right When the Party Starts
Technically, MNSSHP starts at 7pm. That’s when an announcement is made over the Magic Kingdom speakers that politely asks non-party guests to exit. It’s also the time that WDW lowers the lights and adds all of its Halloween Party ambiance to the park. But, there’s no need to wait until 7pm to scan your party ticket and enter the park. If you don’t have a standard park ticket for the day of your party, you can actually enter Magic Kingdom beginning at 4pm. So, don’t show up at 7pm thinking that you can’t arrive to the party until then.
Do: Take advantage of those three extra hours to check out party costumes or grab dinner or a snack. You can also queue up for popular character meet and greets. More on that in #8.
2. Never Wait Until the Last Minute to Buy Tickets
This especially goes for Halloween night as it’s the first party to sell out. As soon as you lock in your date to party, buy your tickets. There’s also an incentive to not waiting, too.
Do: Buy your tickets at least a day in advance. This year, there’s a bonus to buying early: you’ll save $10 a ticket!
3. Don’t Be Shy About the Halloween Candy
When I was a kid, the best part of Halloween was trick-or-treating. Ahh, the candy. When my daughter was younger, I’d literally take my head and shove it into her candy bag and take a whiff. The scent of chocolate combined with fruity candy scent is absolutely intoxicating to me. And, MNSSHP completely agrees with the kiddos that trick-or-treating is part of the fun. But, unless your kiddo is adamant about it, don’t trick or treat first thing. You can have as many bags of candy as you can carry, too, but keep in mind you’ll have to drag them around the park until you leave.
Do: wait until the party is at least half way over and then score your candy. The lines are way shorter and the Castmembers are way generous.
4. Never Forget that Costumes + Orlando = Really Hot
I love intricate Halloween costumes, I really do. But, if you plan on attending an early MNSSHP, you must take into account the temperatures. Yes, dressing as Maleficent may sound like a great idea – then you get to the party and it’s 90 degrees. Not only that, you’re so hot you’re just unhappy and cranky. That goes for the kiddos, too. Man, there’s nothing cuter than a two-feet tall Mike Wazowski and Sully walking around the park, but you and your Monsters will be downright miserable. Having written that, by the end of October temperatures can go either way. I’ve had to wear sweaters over my costume.
Do: Look for lighter costumes that are still super cute. I like to hunt on Pinterest for ideas. Of course, I also love having friends that are crafty and have great costume tutorials:
Redhead Baby Mama has several fun ideas:
- White Rabbit Vest Tutorial is adorable
- A fun Dole Whip Hat – it would even be great for Dapper Day
- Need a little Wreck-It Ralph inspiration? Here’s the most adorable family trio idea.
Need a last-minute Disney costume idea? Disney Adulting has five great ones! (LOVE the Mary Poppins idea! 😉 )
5. Don’t Forget to Check the Costume Policy
Walt Disney World has a costume policy to keep everyone happy and safe. Here’s the scoop straight from its website:
- Disney reserves the right to deny admission to or remove any person wearing attire that is considered inappropriate or attire that could detract from the experience of other Guests.
- All Guests may dress as their favorite character, but may not pose for pictures or sign autographs for other Guests.
- Costumes must be family-friendly and may not be obstructive, offensive, objectionable or violent.
- Each Costumes may not contain any weapons that resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon.
- Costumes may not contain sharp objects, pointed objects or materials that may accidentally strike another Guest.
- Guests who do not adhere to these guidelines may be refused entry into, and/or removed from, unless his or her costume can be modified to meet the above standards.
For Guests ages 13 and under:
- Costumes and some masks may be worn, as long as the mask does not cover the entire face and eyes are visible.
For Guests ages 14 and older:
- 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. (e.g.,full-length Princess dresses)
- Capes may be worn if the length does not go below the waist.
- Themed T-shirts, blouses, sweatshirts, and hats are acceptable.
- Acceptable accessories include: transparent wings, plastic light sabers, toy swords, and tutus. Headwear may be worn as long as it does not cover the face.
- Masks of any kind may not be worn.
Do: Make sure you abide by the rules. If a Castmember catches so breaking one at the entrance, you’ll either be asked to surrender your costume prop or leave. If you’re in the park, you may be asked to modify your costume. Play it safe and do the right thing the first time.
6. Don’t Forget to Score a Good View for Parades & Fireworks Early
I know, you want to enjoy as much of MNSSHP as you can. You want to check out the fun events, trick or treat, and all that comes with the party. But, if you think you can head to Main Street U.S.A. five minutes before the parade and fireworks and score a front row seat, you’ll probably be disappointed. Party goers begin scouting out and locking down prime viewing areas well over two hours in advance. So, you need to decide what’s best for your family. Personally, I like to head to Town Square and find a spot. Much less crowded than near Cinderella’s Castle.
Do: Lock down a viewing location for Boo to You! Halloween Parade & Happy HalloWishes Fireworks early. Seriously. While you’re waiting, have an adult in your party run for snacks and drinks. Castmembers are really good about entertaining waiting guests, too.
7. Never Forget to Scout Out Special PhotoPass Locations
A cool perk of attending a MNSSHP is getting fun, party-themed PhotoPass Magic Shots. These can range from party borders around photos to video enhancements. They haven’t been announced yet, but in the past locations have included:
- Town Square
- Haunted Mansion
- After the Entrance Gates in Front of the Train Station
Do: Scout out Magic Shot Locations and Get as Many photos as you can. WDW has been pretty good at having them available in the My Disney Experience app quickly, too.
8. Don’t Spend the Entire Party Waiting in Line for Character Meet and Greet Opportunities
Learn from my mistake on this one. During one of our first MNSSHPs, my daughter had to meet and greet Jack Skellington and Sally from “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. It’s always been her favorite movie, so it was a deal breaker if we didn’t. We waited in line during the party for nearly three hours. Yep.
During MNSSHP, there are elusive character meet and greets. And by that, I mean you’ll be able to have photos taken with Disney characters that you will normally not see in the parks daily. The Seven Dwarfs, Jack and Sally, Moana, and Disney Villians are always super popular. So please, unless it’s a absolutely-must-can’t-live-without type of deal, don’t wait in line during peak party times.
Do: Take advantage of the 4pm party entrance time. Look at your party guide and find the top of your list for a meet and greet and wait in line before the party starts. you can expect lines to begin at least an hour before the party so wait in line then. On the opposite end of the party spectrum, meet and greets go until 11:30pm, so hop into line a little before that.
9. Never Go Tired
We’ve made this mistake. We’ve hit Magic Kingdom at rope drop, toured the park all day, and then went back to the room to get ready. We didn’t leave any downtime and were pooped out by 9pm.
Do: Take a Break. Take an afternoon nap. you’ll be fresh as a daisy and can hang with the night hawks when the crowds thin out.
10. Don’t Leave the Park with Everyone Else
There two are times when guests like to leave the party in droves: after the first parade and after the fireworks. But, leaving with everyone else means waiting for resort transportation – with everyone else. We like to leave either five minutes before the fireworks end or in between parades and shows. If you exit with everyone else, you’ll be queued up for the motorcoaches and Monorails. That’s prime time you could still be partying.
Do: Leave between the parades and shows. Or wait until the party’s end. You’ll have lighter crowds if you can stick it out, too.
11. Don’t Forget that Attraction Wait Times Are Low
If you hit Magic Kingdom on a crowded day, you may be spending a couple of hours in each standby attraction queue. During MNSSHP, Magic Kingdom guests are capped on the low end, so ride & attraction times tend to be lower. So, if there’s a ride that you really want to go on, use party time to do it.
Do: Take advantage of lower crowds and attraction wait times. If you really want low standby queues, ride during a parade or fireworks.
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