As haunted houses and other theme parks around the country try to one up each other with the freakiest spookfests around, Disney is taking the opposite approach with Halloween parties that everyone in the family can enjoy — even a toddler. And to prove the point: the celebration at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is called Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
Boo! Mickey’s celebrating Halloween (Photo: Jonathan Bloom)
I recently went down to Orlando to check out the not-so-scary festivities and discovered some tricks that will make any Halloween trip to Disney amazing.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is held on select nights throughout September and October. Buy your tickets in advance: they sell out fast, especially for the night of Halloween. And get to the Magic Kingdom early: the party technically starts at 7 p.m., but guests can start arriving as early as 4 p.m.
Mickey comes in all shapes and sizes (Photo: Jonathan Bloom)
Just in case you think you can hide away in one of the gift shops until later in the evening, think again. You need a ticket to stay in the park. But even if you aren’t able to snag one, you’ll still get to take in some of the fun during the day The Magic Kingdom is decked out with Mickey-themed pumpkin lanterns and spooky balloons for sale.
Batty balloons (Photo: Jonathan Bloom)
Typically, only kids under nine are allowed to go in costume at Disney. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is the only time of the year where adults can dress up, too, and I definitely saw my fair share of Superheroes, young and old. And you wouldn’t believe how many variations there are on Minnie Mouse ears: from sequined to pirate-themed.
All in the family (Photo: Jonathan Bloom)
Even the characters get into costume, from Mickey (who holds court in the front of the Magic Kingdom — and speaks!) to Donald Duck, whom I spotted in a pumpkin suit. If you don’t get a chance to meet your favorite characters, check back after 10pm — that’s when the crowds clear out.
Trick or treat! (Photo: Jonathan Bloom)
There are candy stands for trick-or-treating all over the park. A hint: Disney passes out small bags, but you’ll want to bring your own tote or buy a glow-in-the-dark pumpkin basket to carry all your stash. If you really want rake in the candy, head to the back of the park where the lines are shorter. And as if you couldn’t get enough, there are also special sweets that you can only get during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
Making seasonal candy apples (Photo: Jonathan Bloom)
One of the highlights is Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade, which goes through the park and down Main Street USA twice a night. There are decked-out floats and characters and things you’ll only see here. But you’ll have to see it to believe it… I don’t want to ruin the surprise.
Another highlight is the HalloWishes fireworks display, which includes eerie projections on Cinderella Castle. For the best viewing spot, you’ll want to be facing the castle.
And whatever you do, make sure you’re well rested because this party haunts the Magic Kingdom well into the wee hours.
The Halloween crowds descend on Main Street USA, with Cinderella Castle in the distance (Photo: Jonathan Bloom)