A Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Survival Guide

by: Deb Wills with Kristin Ford, AllEars.net Updated:

This artful Jack-O-Lantern bandleader strikes up a few frightfully fun tunes on Main Street, U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom.

While many Disney fans have been focusing on the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland Expansion, it’s easy to forget that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party kicks off on September 11th with 23 nights of Halloween fun!

Here are a few new items to look for at this year’s party.

Disney is adding pre-show entertainment on Main Street, USA, and in Town Square that will include music and "streetmosphere." You will be invited to join a line dance during the Not-So-Scary Street Jam! The featured song will be “Calling All the Monsters” by China Anne McClain.

With the opening of Storybook Circus, comes the return of Alice & Mad Hatter's Treat Party between Storybook Circus and Tomorrowland.  There will be a candy stop near the Fantasyland train station, and the Dumbo the Flying Elephant and The Barnstormer attractions in Storybook Circus will be open during the party.  Be sure to check these out once the sun goes down.

The balloons marking the candy stations will have a new look this year -- lighted Mickey pumpkins will take Goofy Candy Company's place.

Your old favorites are returning:

Boo-to-You Parade: performed twice each night, this parade is one of the highlights of the party and guests typically stake out their spots for the first time more than an hour before it starts. The parade features characters only seen during this event, such as ghosts and gravediggers from the Haunted Mansion, and it starts with the Headless Horseman galloping by.

HalloWishes – The “Grim Grimming Ghosts” music and a “Ghost Host” narrator highlight this amazing fireworks and pyrotechnic show seen only during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party. Projections on the Castle add unique images while complimenting the music.    This show was created in 2005 by an entertainment team led by Steven Davison and remains a huge favorite of party goers!!  In other words, don’t miss it!

There will also be the Villains Mix & Mingle stage show as well as dance parties and meet--and-greets with rarely seen Disney characters.

AllEars® readers offer these tips for party goers:

Make sure you and your family eat a good meal before you get to the Magic Kingdom for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party because many of the restaurants in the MK close before the party begins, and the ones that are open are packed with people trying to eat and change their little ones into costumes before the magic of trick or treating begins!

Be sure to get there in advance and get the best seating, which is on the curb right in front of the Castle. From here you will be able to see the dance show on stage, then turn right around for the parade, which will follow immediately after. Once it is complete you can go toward Tomorrowland easily across the bridge, then head up toward Fantasyland, which is the most popular for children to trick-or-treat! Be sure to stop by the Haunted Mansion for a unique queue experience and ride! Once here you can go back down the bridge toward the castle to get a great view of the fireworks and pictures along Main Street!

Schedule some "down time" the afternoon of the party so everyone is well rested.   Don't try to be there right when the party starts, either go early or go a little later so as to avoid the back-ups on the buses and any crowds leaving the parks that are NOT attending the party. If you have younger children, try hitting the characters/ trick-or-treat early and shoot for watching the second parade. That way they can trick-or-treat before getting too tired to walk and can just relax and watch the fireworks/parade before heading out (best of both worlds)!  

My best tip for attending MNSSHP pertains to costumes. If you are attending in September or even early October, it is still very warm at night. In order to combat the heat along with staying in the Halloween spirit, I have been making family t-shirt costumes for the past 8 years. I buy t-shirts for the whole family in Halloween colors (orange, green etc.) and I decorate them with puffy paint, decals, stickers, glitter, etc. The front always says the "Smith Family Halloween Costume". Not only does it make it easier to spot your family, but everyone stays cooler during the party while being in "costume". We've gotten many compliments from other guests as well as cast members, plus we have a souvenir from each year!

The 2012 dates are:  Sept. 11, 14, 18 21, 25, 28, 30; Oct. 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 22, 23, 25, 28, 30 and 31; Nov. 2.  Advance ticket purchase for adults begin at $55.95 plus tax.  Discounts may still be available for Disney Vacation Club Members and Annual Passholders.  Call 407-WDISNEY (407-934-7639) to purchase tickets, or visit disneyworld.com (Disney Vacation Club members must call Member Services.)  

Active and Retired U.S. Military, including members of the U.S. Coast Guard and active members of the National Guard or Reservists, may purchase discounted Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Tickets to select event nights. They may also purchase additional tickets for up to five (5) family members and/or friends.  Discounted military tickets are available at all Vacation Planning and Guest Relations locations. (Not available at Shades of Green, military bases, disneyworld.com or at 407-WDISNEY.)

For more information, photos and videos visit: http://allears.net/tp/mk/mnssh.htm

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Deb Wills is the founder and webmaster of AllEars.Net (established January 1996), which also publishes the AllEars weekly e-newsletter. A veteran of numerous trips to Walt Disney World and Disneyland, Deb is an internationally recognized expert on these vacation destinations, as well as on the Disney Cruise Line. Deb actively participates in events designed to raise funds and awareness in the fight against Breast Cancer, of which she herself is a 25-year survivor. In addition to sponsoring Team AllEars, which participates in runDisney events while generating funds for this cause, Deb has participated in 11 Avon Breast Cancer Walks (both as a walker and a crew member), and has raised more than $325,000 since 2001.  Follow Deb on Twitter at @allearsdeb.