If you’re heading to Disney World in the fall, then you probably have seen advertisements or people talk about Disney’s Halloween Party (also known as MNSSHP) and you’re probably here because you’re contemplating wether or not it’s worth going. If that’s your situation then you’re in luck because I attended the Not So Scary Halloween party this year and have attended many in the past. So if you’re curious if it’s scary for your little ones and/or worth it for you and your family then keep reading as I will break down the party like: what is open, is it worth the money, how are the shows, do you get candy and more.
How Much Is The Party & When Can You Arrive?
Before we get into the Not So Scary Halloween Party Review, let’s first talk about some of the basics about the party if you’re thinking you might go. The Not So Scary Halloween party ticket pricing depends on when you go. The closer it gets to Halloween the more expensive the price of tickets becomes and they range from $85 – $135 per person for adults and $80 – $130 for children 3-10 years of age. If you are a DVC member or Disney World Annual Passholder you get a discount off the price of the tickets.
On a Not So Scary Halloween Party night you can arrive at Magic Kingdom to get into the park starting at 4:00 PM and the Not So Scary Halloween party starts at 7:00 PM. You do not need a separate park ticket to get into the park so if you have your party ticket you are good to get into the park starting at 4:00 PM. On Not So Scary Halloween Party nights there aren’t regular park hours but instead non party goers have to leave the park by 6:00 PM.
Arriving At The Halloween Party
When you first walk into Magic Kingdom Park, the Cast Members scan your ticket or your Magic Band and give you a wristband. You’re then directed to the right side of the park where you can’t get in unless you have Not So Scary Halloween Party ticket. This is for crowd flow purposes as there are many people leaving the park on a party night because at around 6pm, they stop letting non-party guests into the park, and they start escorting guests out of the park if they don’t see you wearing a wristband.
Special Halloween Themed Foods
To start the Not So Scary Halloween Party we decided to hit up the Halloween party themed food offerings right off the bat so first we went to Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies in Tomorrowland and got the Pumpkin Spice Milkshake and the Pumpkin Spice Sundae. The sundae was really good – it had candy corn in it and I actually really like candy corn and it wasn’t overly sweet. The milkshake was really, really sweet. This is one of those offerings that Disney has started creating that was probably created more for Instagram posts than for actual taste. I say that because it was just insanely sweet. Out of the two, the pumpkin spice sundae was the winner.
Next up we got the Headless Horseman Cheesecake from Sleepy Hollow in Liberty Square and by far, that was the best dish we ended up getting all night. It was light and fluffy, not too sweet and I could have eaten a bunch of them. The only downfall was the size as it was pretty small.
Next we headed to one of the popcorn stands in Liberty Square that was selling the Constance For Better or For Worse Wedding Cake. The same stand was also selling the specialty popcorn buckets based on the Haunted Mansion. If you are interested in these, just know that I use the term popcorn bucket loosely since I doubt it would hold more than a handful of popcorn, and when you purchase one they hand you a bag of popcorn separately from the bucket even… but I will admit it was pretty cool looking.
The Constance For Better or For Worse Wedding Cake was chilled in this big container, so it stayed cool but it started to melt pretty quick as we ate it. It had a raspberry flavor to it and it reminded me of flan on the inside. It was OK, but not great – not worth waiting in such a long line for anyway. So out of all the desserts we tried, the Headless Horseman Cheesecake was the best hands down.
That’s all we did food-wise since we were also going to be checking out Cruella’s Halloween Hideaway Party (or Inception Party since it is a party within a party) over at Tony’s Town Square, and there was going to be a lot of food there as well.
Time For Candy
We did do a little bit of trick-or-treating, but at the beginning of the party, those lines tend to be long. So if you are really wanting to maximize your time it’s a better idea to wait to do your trick or treating after the first parade. If you are very patient and toward the end of the party you can basically just walk right on through and at that point the Cast Members are dumping multiple handfuls of candy into your bag so they can get rid of it. Last year I was walking around toward the end of the night and wasn’t even in line and the Cast Members were like “Hey, you want some candy?” and I ended up with more candy than I knew what to do with them. So if candy is your thing, save it for later in the night if you can.
Rides During The Halloween Party
Something that started last year is some rides have Halloween overlays on them during the Not So Scary Halloween Party. These rides are Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain and the Mad Tea Party. The first ride of the night we rode Pirates of the Caribbean and the overlay was much better than the one last year as the one last year was very underwhelming. Last year while you were in line, there was a pirate saying he was looking for Gunpowder Pete, and he looked like he wanted to be anywhere besides there. And then there was a guy at the end. Nothing special.
This year, they had a lady pirate in the line that was taking pictures with people and was funny, there was also a pirate in the little jail area when you’re walking into the first part of the ride, then you also had people in with the animatronics and they were having conversations that added to the story. So it was much more interesting and entertaining than last year for sure.
Then we did the Mad Tea Party, which was cool, they had different colored lights flashing during the ride. That ride never has much of a wait and isn’t an overly long line so the overlay was cool. We didn’t end up getting to ride Space Mountain because the wait time was over 45 minutes and we didn’t want to wait that long.
How Were The Ride Wait Times?
This is always a tricky one to answer because each party is always a little different in terms of crowd levels. The night of our party it wasn’t super packed as Hurricane Dorian was making it’s way to Florida and it was the opening week of Galaxy’s Edge. So it’s hard to know exactly what the cause of the lower crowds but the ride lines during the party weren’t terrible; I believe the posted time for Pirates of the Caribbean was 30 and we rode it within 15 minutes or less. Space Mountain had around a 45 minute wait most of the night and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was around an hour but other than that most rides were less than 30-40 minute wait times.
Make Sure You Have Your Wristband Visible
Disney Cast Members did a great job in checking to make sure people had party wristbands and if they did not they weeded out the non-party crowd. Last year the whole Not So Scary Halloween Party felt very crowded, the lines were long, and there were a ton of people lining Main Street waiting on the parade that did not have wristbands. This year, they were kicking people out and checking wristbands on every ride and you could tell when you were just walking by a Cast Member they were looking to see if you were wearing a wristband. It didn’t feel nearly as crowded as it did last year and I think on some level that had something to do with it. If Disney is overselling the parties to begin with, the last thing you want to see after you have paid extra to enjoy the party is people freeloading and trying to cheat the system. So I was very happy and impressed so see that the Cast Members were actively checking.
Meet And Greets
Meet and greets are a popular part of the party as there are characters you can meet that normally aren’t in the parks. Characters like Jack Skellington from the Nightmare Before Christmas, Moana, Jafar and others. Depending on what you want to do at the party, you could spend the whole night just meeting characters as the lines many times will approaching 1-2 hours at times. Given we didn’t have our kids with us, we weren’t looking to do much on the meet and greet side of things.
The only meet and greet we did was we got our pictures taken with the Haunted Mansion Grave Diggers and we just happen to be in the right place at the right time for that one as we were eating some food when they just came out right by us. We did a few Magic Shots with a PhotoPass Photographer, like the one with the Hitchhiking Ghosts as well. We watched a few of the dance parties, watched the Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular show (spoiler alert: it’s the same as it has been every year), and we saw the Cadaver Dans perform too.
Party Within A Party Review
This is the first year that Disney has offered what has been referred to us as the “Inception Party” which is the party within a party. It’s called Cruella’s Halloween Hideaway in Tony’s Town Square Restaurant and the cost is $99, on top of the $89 ticket for the party. Part of the this special event is that you have unlimited food and drinks (including beer and wine) and priority seating for the 2nd parade. The party started at 9:00 PM and also went on until 12:30 so you got an extra 30 minutes compared to a normal party ticket as the Not So Scary Halloween Party ends at midnight. The other selling point about Cruella’s Hideaway is that you can come and go as you please the whole time. So you could go in and get some food and drinks and then leave again to do more things in the parks.
When I first heard about this party, I was very curious about it; I had heard nothing but bad reviews about Tony’s Town Square Restaurant but lots of people were asking for a review so we decided to give it a try to see how it was. Disney first put on the Christmas version of this party last year, and people we talked to really enjoyed it. Needless to say, I was really interested to see if paying for a party within a party was going to be worth it.
We checked in at 8:30 PM and got our wristbands and then hung out in the lobby area until it was time for the party to start. The food that was available were finger foods like mozzarella sticks, flatbreads, ravioli, meatballs. They also had a salad bar and of course desserts. What was kind of cool was they had this station where they made the ravioli right in front of you and fry it up with cheese on top. All the food was really, really good; I was very impressed. The unlimited drinks was a nice thing as well and if you are someone who enjoys alcohol you could get your money’s worth in that department pretty easily given Disney prices. Also alcohol is very limited in Magic Kingdom so this is one of the only places you can get alcohol in the park.
During the party, Cruella DeVille herself will also walk around and take pictures with everyone. She was really good and seemed to be having a good time playing the part. Ultimately we were not at the party for very long the first time in the party as we stayed for about 45 minutes, then went back out to enjoy the other Not So Scary Halloween party activities.
Disney’s Not So Spooky Spectacular Fireworks Show
This was also the first year of the new Halloween fireworks show, Disney’s Not So Spooky Spectacular. Given the low crowds at the Not So Scary Party we ended up with an awesome viewing spot even though we didn’t stake out a spot for the fireworks show until about 15 minutes before it started. At first we were on Main Street even with Casey’s Corner and the ice cream shop. We then started walking up further and Cast Members started motioning to us to keep going straight ahead and we ended up being dead center in the Hub. There was basically nobody directly in front of us no and we had a totally unobstructed view.
Not only was our viewing spot incredible, but the new fireworks show was incredible! It was on par with the Happily Ever After fireworks show and a very similar show except with a Halloween theme. Jack Skellington narrates it and at first we thought Jack onstage was a guy dressed up in a costume, but it was actually a puppet, which was done very, very well. The whole story is about Mickey and his pals walking through a haunted house and other characters keep popping up and stuff. It was pretty impressive.
It was a great show and considering what it replaced, which Happy Hallowishes, it’s a huge upgrade. If you like Happily Ever After then you will love Disney’s Not So Spooky Spectacular.
The Boo To You Parade
This is where the biggest perk of doing Cruella’s Halloween Hideaway party really shined through as you get reserved seating for the second Boo To You Parade. And let me tell you, we were dead center viewing – basically right behind the bench with Roy Disney and Minnie Mouse, facing down Main Street toward Cinderella’s Castle. It was amazing! This was a spot that in years prior you would have to camp out hours before the parade to get a spot to watch the parade like that.
The best part was that we got over to the reserved seating about 10 minutes before the parade started and there was only about a handful of people there already. Again, it was awesome. Granted, the Not So Scary Halloween party was not sold out by any means and it was the second parade, but it was still a great perk.
The parade itself was basically the same as it is every year, but they did have a few new floats – there was a Tomorrowland float, an Incredibles float, Wreck It Ralph float and a Buzz Lightyear float. All in all, it’s a good parade and it’s a nighttime parade which except for the holiday parties, we don’t get to see anymore at Magic Kingdom.
Rest Of The Night
So like I mentioned before, the The Not So Scary Halloween party ends at midnight but Cruella’s Halloween Hideaway was still going on until 12:30am. So after the parade we headed back over there and at this point it was also pretty empty as most people were leaving. So we just hung back, ate and drank until little it after 12:30am. and had a really great time.
A Few Things To Note
Before we get to our final thoughts I feel it’s important to just note that we saw a lot of people who dressed up for the party and probably regretted choosing the costumes they were wearing because it was hot and humid during out party. This is going to depend if you go to the party more toward August or if you are going closer to Halloween though. Mind you, it’s Florida so it can be hot on Halloween so if it’s going to be warm and you want to dress up, wear lighter fabrics. You’ll be glad you did!
There’s also a new pass that Disney is offering this year. It’s called the Halloween Party Pass and for $300 you can attend as many of the Halloween parties that you want EXCEPT for Halloween night. Price wise you would only need to go to three parties for the ticket to pay for itself. I guess this is to appeal to locals who can go multiple times over the two and a half months the Not So Scary Halloween party is going on. If you are a local and really want to check out everything the Halloween party has to offer, it really would require you going multiple times as you just can’t get everything done during the 5 hours you have during each party.
Final Not So Scary Review Thoughts
As for the whole experience review, first off, this party is not scary at all. If you have little ones they will have a great time and you don’t have to worry about them being scared by people trying to be scary or anything like that. As for the party itself, I really enjoyed this year’s party far better than last year. It wasn’t as busy mind you but was also a brand new fireworks show, and the addition of Cruella’s Halloween Hideaway party all added up to a very pleasant experience. Overall I would give the Not So Scary Halloween Party a 8 out of 10. I really did have a great time, it was a lot of fun; the fireworks were great, the crowd level was low, the wait times were low – everything a ticketed event should be. The real winner of the night was the Cruella’s Hideaway Party which had unlimited food and drinks, an air conditioned place to hang out that we could sit and relax, come and go as we please, as well as the priority parade seating – to me it was all worth the money. Now, if you are a family of 4, adding on the extra cost of the Hideaway Party may not make sense financially as it could cost you potentially upwards of $800 for the whole night. But if you have the means and or perhaps decide to make the Not So Scary Party a date night, then I think you would very much enjoy it and I would recommend doing it 100%.
If you enjoyed this article then you should check out some more of our content here, like our Best Breakfast At Magic Kingdom article!