A Brit guide to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2023
By Helen Wright
Have you heard of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party? If you are heading to Orlando from August to October, this is something you definitely want on your planner. As you probably already know, Walt Disney World has four major theme parks and two water parks, and these are open 365 days a year for all the Disney fun. As well as being open year-round, Disney Parks also celebrate key occasions with special ‘after hours’ events, and Halloween is the biggest one of the year (yes, people, it’s bigger than Christmas here!)
In fact, Mickey’s not-so-scary Halloween Party was completely SOLD OUT by early September last year, so if you want to party with Mickey and co in true Halloween style, you need to get in there fast. This post has everything you need to know, including what exactly happens at the event, what not to miss and how to book tickets in advance from the UK. Plus, there is the big question that everyone asks… is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party worth the money? Let’s take a look.
Cover image: Elizabeth McClay. This page contains affiliate links.
All you need to know about Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2023
At Walt Disney World, this year’s Mickey’s not-so-scary Halloween Party 2023 dates are from August 11th to 31st at Magic Kingdom Park. On party days, Magic Kingdom closes earlier to prepare for the event (which is something to consider when making daytime park reservations) and if you want to attend Mickey’s not-so-scary Halloween party, you will need a separate ticket to your daytime entry passes for Walt Disney World. The Halloween party ticket grants you access to Magic Kingdom at 4pm on your ticketed party day and the ‘wicked’ event officially starts at 7pm. Ticket prices vary and become more expensive the closer you get to Halloween (more on that later). These are also the dates that sell out first, too.
Halloween is huge in America! As well as Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, there are other fun Halloween events happening in Orlando during September and October, so click here to find out more.
At Disney, the Halloween theming is incredible with Mickey-shaped pumpkins, banners flags and flowers lining Main Street USA and decorations continue throughout the park. In front of Cinderella Castle, there is a huge Mickey Pumpkin and my kids loved that. The party includes a ‘Boo To You’ parade – which is different to the day time parade (Festival of Fantasy) and one of the best Disney parades I have ever seen and a special Halloween Nighttime Spectacular over Cinderella Castle, featuring all your favourite baddies, including Jafar, Ursula and Cruella.
There are also two Halloween shows, special character interactions and all the rides at Magic Kingdom remain open all night. And the best bit (for the kids, anyway) is the opportunity to go trick-or-treating at dedicated stands around the park for unlimited free candy all night! If you’re under 10, this makes for a wild night out.
I have always wanted to go to Mickey’s not-so-scary Halloween party (as I love Halloween!), so for me this was one of the true highlights of our visit to Orlando. It was amazing to be part of such a huge, cult, Disney event and the fact the kids loved it even more made it that extra bit incredible.
Can you buy tickets for Mickey’s not-so-scary Halloween party in the UK?
You absolutely can buy tickets to Mickey’s not-so-scary Halloween party at Walt Disney World, Florida here in the UK and I actually highly recommend you do. This is because the event often completely sells out by the end of September and tickets for the most popular dates (usually opening night, and the weekend and week days leading up to 31st October) sell out the week tickets go on sale. That’s why it’s best to get your tickets as soon as you’ve booked your holiday, if you are travelling during the Halloween period. Follow us on Instagram as we will always give you a heads up when the new 2023 tickets go on sale (usually in May).
If you will be staying at a Disney Resort Hotel during your visit, resort guests are sometimes given a chance to buy tickets pre-sale, so it’s good to have all your ducks (or mice?) in a row.
We always recommend attractiontickets.com for Walt Disney World tickets. They are a trustworthy UK-based ABTA registered company, and you are given the option of physical tickets to take with you or a digital download version. Once you have purchased tickets for your chosen date, you can easily sync the paper or digital versions with the official Disney My Disney Experience app.
HOW MUCH ARE TICKETS TO MICKEY’S NOT-SO-SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY 2023 AT DISNEY?
Tickets for this year’s event start at £97, and then almost doubling in price on the most popular days, at £198, with some mid-priced dates inbetween. I am asked repeatedly if Mickey’s not-so-scary Halloween party is worth the money, and it really is difficult to give a definitive answer. There’s no denying it’s a big spend for a family of four (£600 if you go in mid-October, like we did). However, getting to experience something different at Disney is a rare opportunity if you are coming from the UK and the whole event has a completely different feel than the daytime vibe at Magic Kingdom. Plus, big rides like Space Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Thunder Mountain Railroad had next-to-no lines, so it was also a great chance to ride atttactions in the dark with little to no wait time.
We honestly had a brilliant time. It was SO much fun and it did feel a bit special (even more ‘once in a lifetime’ than when visting the regular parks). It really depends on how much you love Disney, how much you love Halloween and how much money you want to spend. Ultimately, it’s as simple as that. Asked if I would spend the money to go again. 100%. (And I can’t wait!)
When is the best time to go?
The best time to go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party will mostly depend on when you are visiting Orlando. The 2023 party starts on August 11th and continues on selected nights until October 31st. Actual Halloween (October 31st) is usually the most popular day to go to the Disney Halloween party (and the first to sell out). Then, all the days leading up All Hallows Eve usually sell out pretty quickly after that. Friday and Saturday are the busiest days generally, with locals choosing to celebrate at the weekend. Tuesday (particularly in August and September) the least busy. However, in 2022, every date from early-September onwards was sold out, meaning every event will have the same number of guests.
What is the best age for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party?
Mickey’s not so scary Halloween party is recommended for all ages, on account of it being ‘not very scary,’ instead embracing the fun side of Halloween. Think smiley pumpkins, free candy and fancy-dress costumes, with a soundtrack of Disney music. The party atmosphere is certainly a given and even the most cynical Hallo-deniers will be charmed by it all.
This is Disney, so there is no question that this is an event designed with kids in mind. Wearing costumes is encouraged (both for adults and children), there are character meet and greets, with Mickey, Minnie and friends in seasonal outfits and, of course, the opportunity to go trick or treating. However, with a three-year-old and a five-year-old in tow, I did notice some of the key entertainment starts pretty late into the evening. The first Boo-to-you parade is around 9:15pm, with the Not So Spooky Spectacular fireworks over Cinderella Castle usually at 10:15pm. There is another parade at 11:15pm but most littles are long gone by then (we certainly were, anyway!).
My kids go to bed at 7:30pm at home, usually managing until 9:30pm on a normal beach holiday, so I did worry that at least one of them would be asleep in the buggy before the fireworks started. However, we had a plan in place (more on that later) and managed to make it to the amazing Spooktacular Fireworks and they were brilliant.
How does the party work? What goes on inside Magic Kingdom during Mickey’s not-so-scary Halloween party?
Magic Kingdom closes for daytime guests at 6pm (the other parks at Walt Disney World stay open for their usual hours. So if you don’t have party tickets, you can hop to another park if you want to keep the Disney dream alive). Guests arriving for Mickey’s not-so-scary Halloween party are given an exclusive wristband to wear for the event. At 6pm, Cast Members will begin checking wristbands and non-party guests will be asked to make their way out of the park. Attractions will remain open and anyone with a ticket for that evening’s Halloween party can enter the park and enjoy the attractions, dining and shopping until 7pm when the MNSSHP (as the locals call it) gets into full swing.
The fun starts at Market Street and Cast Members will be on hand to show you the way to go. Here, you will be given your trick or treat bag for the treat stations. The bags are now reusable (which is great as in previous years they were made from plastic) and make a great keepsake too. Our kids wanted to bring their own Halloween buckets, and that was okay too. This is also a good time to pick out any Halloween merchandise you want to buy as the lines for merch get much longer once the party kicks off.
Navigating the event is easy with live updates of events, character appearances and queue times on the My Disney Experience app, you can also pick up a paper map at the park entrance.
Kids can go trick or treating around Magic Kingdom and get FREE candy!
Despite everything that was going on and all the incredible entertainment, the kids were easily most excited about collecting bags of free sweets and chocolates (well, they consider it free because they didn’t pay for the tickets!) They were wild with glee, as even though we go trick or treating at home, it’s nothing like the scale of gluttony offered here. We were only there for five minutes and they were already having the best day ever.
The way it works is, candy stations are set up and manned by staff around Magic Kingdom Park. Locations of the candy stands are marked on the map and on the app, but you can easily see them as they are all situated next to a large illuminated inflatable character. There are 16 places to get candy around Magic Kingdom – what a treat indeed!
I was told that sometimes the lines can be long(ish) and the tip is not to bother waiting in the longer lines. You’ll likely find the next stand along only has a few people waiting. If you are there until the end of the party, hit the treat stations in the last hour – lines are non-existent, I am told. I have to say, we didn’y wait in any lines for the candy stations and the kids walked straight up, but I did see the line barriers that are up for bigger crowds, so maybe we just got lucky on the day we went.
The Boo To You Halloween Parade is amazing!
Disney parks are known for their incredible parades and the special Halloween Boo To You parade is no exception. In fact, it be one of the best processions I have seen at Walt Disney World. In a ‘trick’ twist, the parade celebrates all the Disney baddies as they cause mischief and mayhem along the parade route, which stretches from Frontierland to Main Street USA.
The best place to stand for the parade is on Main Street, not too far from Cinderella Castle, so you can move along and watch the fireworks right after. We got a spot right outside Casey’s Corner around 15-minutes before, so we grabbed some hotdogs to eat while we waited for the parade to start. As well as the evil greats (Ursula, Jafar, Cruella , Evil Queen and Maleficent), other sinister characters involve the hitchhiking ghosts from The Haunted Mansion attraction, ballroom dancing ghouls, gravediggers and naughty pirates – including Captain Jack Sparrow, of course. Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Tinkerbell and Buzz can all be spotted dancing on elaborate floats that range from a pirate ship to a candy wagon and a floating graveyard.
The parade starts with a headless horseman – on a real horse – walking ahead of the music and floats. This is amazingly sinister and everyone goes silent as he passes, which is funny. The effect was fantastic, especially the fact it was actually quite sinister for a Disney park! Isobel was scared, she hit behind her sweetie bucket.
I loved the fact the baddie characters were getting their day and I the illuminated costimes and floats were really spell-binding (see what I did there?) Beware, though, the catchy theme song will be stuck in your head until Christmas…
There are two ‘spooktacular’ shows at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2023
As well as the parade and the Halloween night-time spectacular (Not So Scary Spooktacular), there is another major show at Mickey’s not so scary Halloween party, as well as a range of smaller more low key performances too. If you have time, you can catch the Cadaver Dans, Zom Beatz, Storybook Circus and the Scream-o-Ween ball at set locations. With two little ones in tow, we knew we wouldn’t make it to closing time (midnight) and so decided to stick to the parade and the main shows for entertainment, and hit the candy hard.
The Hocus Pocus Villian Spelltacular
This stage show, which takes place in front of Cinderella Castle features everyone’s favourite witches, The Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus, as they plot to throw an evil Halloween party at Magic Kingdom, inviting along some classic Disney baddies such as Hades and Evil Queen to help out. The show is filled with camp songs and comedy from the beloved characters and, for grown-ups, it’s definitely worth a watch (we kept the kids busy with snacks for the duration). This show gets pretty busy but there are multiple showings in October at 7:40pm., 8:35 pm, 10:45 pm and at midnight. The first show was pretty busy, but we watched from the left of the castle so we could dash to Pirates of the Caribbean straight after.
Disney’s Not-So Spooky-Spectaular firework show
Like the parade, the firework show at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is completely different to the standard night-time spectacular at Magic Kingdom, Disney Enchantment. This is just as fabulous with an empathis, again, on Disney’s villains with the hero Mickey Mouse arriving to save the day and celebrate Halloeen. This was my first time watching a special nighttime spectacular bit none of the shows at any park have ever let me down. I can’t help but watch in awe of the creativity and dramatics, whist weeping (and singing) along to the Disney music, of course.
The kids were pretty tired by this point, but I had promised them a moster cookie ice cream to keep them going and it didn’t disappoint. We left after the show (along with 80% of the under-12s) and it was easy to escape back to the car and home to bed. Both kids fell immediately asleep in the car – luckily we had changed them into their PJs before the ride home.
What rides are open during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party 2023?
Most of the regular Magic Kingdom Rides are open during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2022, including Space Mountain, Big Thunder Railroad Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – and, of course, the Haunted Mansion! During ticketed party events, lines for the attractions are usually much shorter than during the day, so it’s a great time to experience rides that have long lines during regular hours. The kids got to ride their favourite ride, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin multiple times. We also rode the Orbiter at sunset, which was ace.
For something a bit fun, some attractions have been modified in celebration of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party 2023. Disney call this a ‘ride overlay’ and it includes Pirates of the Caribbean, which has been enhanced with live actors in the queue line and on the ride and Space Mountain, which runs completely in the dark – scary!
Can you wear costumes to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party?
The best news ever is that everyone can wear costumes to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party – yep, adults too! It was so much fun getting the kids dressed up for Disney with a Halloween Twist. Isobel was the Evil Queen and Finn wanted to go as a pirate (my choice would have been Jack Skeleton, but he insisted!). Simon and I decided not to dress up – even though I would have loved it, opting for a nod to Halloween with our parent attire.
There are some costume rules for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween (such as being family-friendly, no floor-length gowns and no masks) and the full list of rules can be found online at disneyworld.co.uk.
One of the best things about Disney anyway, is the people watching and seeing what people are wearing for their visit. I love seeing Disney Bounding in action and family-on-tour T shirts. Halloween was even better with some brilliant Disney bounding, great adult outfits and inspiring costumes on the kids. I think the freedom of expression with clothing at MNSSHP (and, in fact, at Disney generally) just adds to the entertainment provided by the park and is so much a part of why Disney is loved worldwide.
Is it cold in the evening? Do you need jumpers and hoodies?
In 2023, Mickey’s not-so-scary Halloween party starts in August, so it’s actually really hot – even in the evening! However, as the season rolls on, the temperature in Florida does start to cool (thankfully), so it’s wise to pack hoodies or a stroller / buggy blanket for kids after dark (especially if they might fall asleep and so are not running around). Waiting for parades and shows to start is when kids start complaining that they are cold, so always best to be prepared. Failing that, there is a ton of cool merch to choose from in the shop – treat yourself to one of these cool Halloween Spirit jerseys!
Where is the best place to get food at Mickey’s not-so-scary Halloween party?
There are plenty of places to grab food during Mickey’s not-so-scary Halloween party, with some quick-service restaurants still open (such as Casey’s Corner, which can have long lines at the best of times, Friar’s Nook and Cosmic Rays) and some pop-up food stalls serving themed Halloween foods. (You can also make reservations for Be Our Guest and Cinderella’s Royal Table, bizarrely, because who wants to spend time eating in a restaurant while all the Disney Halloween fun is going on outside? But, anyhoo). We decided to eat a big, late lunch before entering the park at 4pm, so we didn’t eat proper meals. Just stuffed our bellies with Halloween snacks!
Don’t forget to pick up one of the cult snacks!
The food imagineers at Disney wasted no time going to town on super-themed Disney Halloween treats at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party 2023. As well as at Magic Kingdom, you can find Halloween treats across the whole of Walt Disney World, in all the Parks and resorts. There were some brilliant offerings that we simply had to try including:
The Sweet Candy Corn Swirl Cone: Sweetcorn and vanilla soft-serve swirl topped with candy corn chocolate bow ($5.49 £5, from Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies at Tomorrowland).
The Spellbinding Fried Pie (Buffalo chicken, mozzarella, and blue cheese pie) topped with a candy eye and jalapeño ranch aioli ($9.99 £8.80, from Golden Oak Outpost in Frontierland).
The Monster Cookie ice cream sandwich ($6.49 £5.70, from Plaza Ice Cream Palour on Main Street USA) – the kids saw this on youtube and had their minds set on it.
Jack-O-Lantern Float: Citrus swirl with Fanta Orange, brown sugar whipped cream, and graham cracker crumbs, ($6.99 £6, from the Sunshine Tree Terrace at Adventureland).
What is the best Disney Halloween merchandise to buy?
From limited edition, glow in the dark spirit jerseys ($79.99 £70) and 2022 branded t-shirts ($29.99, £26), keyrings ($6.99, £6), mugs ($8.99, £7.80) and candy bowls ($39.99, £35), the merch offering is as eclectic and wacky as you might expect from a crazy Halloween party at Disney World.
MNSSHP guests get their candy bag and while stocks last, ticketed guests are also given a lithograph print from the event as a collectable item.
America goes wild for Halloween and so you’ll find the shops around Walt Disney World are awash with spooky goodies. If you don’t find anything you like in the stores at Disney, head to Target and Walmart, which both had an incredible Halloween offering, including costumes, jewellery and Halloween accesories from $1.
Do any of the other Walt Disney World parks celebrate Halloween?
Halloween is HUGE in America and the holiday is celebrated at all the major theme parks, as well as at smaller attractions, such as Gatorland, Old Town and in residential streets, with school kids out trick or treating. This post takes a look at all the other cool things you can do during Halloween in Orlando.
How to manage the late finish with younger children
We attended Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party with a three-year-old and a five-year-old. They absolutely loved the event, with their favourite things being the Boo To You Parade and getting to trick or treat at Disney! However, with normal bedtime being around 7:30pm at home (and jet lag as a result of flying from the UK), we had to come up with a strategy to make sure they were not too tired to enjoy it!
As we were up from the jetlag anyway, we got an early breakfast and went to the pool for lots of swimming, splashing about and activities that would tire everyone out. Then, it was back to the room for as long a nap as we could all manage (which turned out to be 2 hours). After that, we spent an hour or so chilling out to maintain energy levels, before having a big lunch at 4pm. This would act as our main meal of the day, as we planned to sample the snacks and treats at the party later on.
Even though Mickey’s not so scary Halloween party officially starts at 7pm, your ticket gets you in to Magic Kingdom Park at 4pm. Most younger kids won’t want to stay up until midnight, when the party ends and so if you have under 10s with you, it makes sense to get into the park as soon as you can to make the most of the admission price. We had a wander around to soak up the atmosphere and rode a few of the kiddie rides for fun. Then we stopped by Friar’s Nook for a snack. By that point, it was almost 7pm and the party was beginning to kick off.
At 7pm, hit your first treat station (we went to the one at Tomorrowland and there was no queue). Then, head to Disney Junior Jam at Storybook Circus, which features characters from Disney Junior shows. The first Hocus Pocus show is at 7:45pm and this is good time for the kids to have a rest in the buggy, or sit on the floor, while you enjoy the show.
TOP TIP: pack a blanket, which can be used to sit on while you wait for shows and parades to start, and double up to wrap around you if it starts to get cold.
We waited for the nighttime fireworks, (the Not-So-Scary Spooktacular), and then like most people at Mickey’s not-so-scary-Halloween with pre-schoolers, made our way to the exit with two tired out, but happy kids. Just make sure you have a chill day planned the next day, to recharge your batteries.
PLANNING A TRIP TO ORLANDO? Read our guide to two weeks in Orlando, inlcuding where to put in much-needed rest days and other attractions to avoid Disney burn out.
Staying on site at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel is a good move.
Staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween is a good idea. Not only are some resort guests given advance booking for party tickets (which is extra handy if you want to go on one of the popular days that sell out fast), but you’ll be close to your hotel once the party ends, meaning getting the little ones tucked up in bed asap (no traffic jams to contend with). Plus, free Disney resort transportation is on hand to whisk you back to the hotel.
What is the best hotel for Mickey’s not-so-scary Halloween party?
The Disney Resort hotels close to Magic Kingdom Park will be your best bet for staying at Disney during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. One of the best of the hotels close to Magic Kingdom is Art of Animation Resort. This is a value option that happens to be one of my favourite Disney hotels. For a fancier way to stay, Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridan Resort are also gorgeous hotels, super close to Magic Kingdom Park with monorail access directly form the park gates.
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