I absolutely adore Halloween, so naturally Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP for short) is my favorite Magic Kingdom event. With special character meet and greets, the best parade of the year, trick or treating in the park, and a chance for adults to wear costumes in the park, how can you not want to attend a Disney World Halloween party? Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2020 dates run from August 13th-November 1st. Here’s the low down on everything you need to know for a visit to Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party.

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Rules for Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party costumes

What is Mickey’s Halloween party without costumes? And I have great news for grown-ups: the rule prohibiting adults from dressing up in the parks doesn’t apply during the Halloween Party! Adults can wear costumes as long as they don’t include masks, full-length dresses that touch the ground, realistic weapons, or anything sharp or deemed dangerous. Capes are ok if they don’t go below your waist. You’re also not allowed to pose for photos or sign autographs like a character if you come dressed like one.

Woman dressed in a Megara costume at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

“I’m a damsel. I’m in distress. I can handle this.”

I wore my Meg from Hercules costume and got a lot of compliments on it. I was a little concerned that I’d need to shorten it because it’s close to full-length so I threw some hem tape and safety pins in my backpack, but it turned out to be just fine. My mom went as a pirate and my sister took the simple route with a Lilo dress from Hot Topic. I consider a Magic Kingdom Halloween party to be a big deal, so I prefer to go all out. After all, checking out other guests’ awesome and creative costumes is one of my favorite parts. We rode the bus to the park with a family dressed up as the Robinsons from Meet the Robinsons. I also saw a phenomenal Anna from Frozen whose dress had to cost a small fortune. And, not to brag, but my Meg costume was one of the more realistic ones.

Kids have a little more freedom, but there are still a few rules that apply to them. See the full costume regulations here.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party characters

The special character meet and greets are one of my favorite things about MNSSHP! I love seeing the rare characters out in the parks and they’re hugely popular at the party. The Seven Dwarfs – yes, all seven at once – are a huge draw, so you’ll have to show up really early to avoid a massive wait if you want to get a photo with them. Moana also draws long waits because she doesn’t meet anywhere else. Jack Sparrow remains one of my favorite meet and greets ever thanks to the time he claimed I proposed to him at a previous Halloween party.

Stitch in his Elvis costume with a woman dressed as Lilo at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

You can also see Minnie, Mickey, and the gang in their Halloween costumes, which make for fun photos. The Pooh characters also do a group meet and greet in their costumes, so you can get a photo with them all together. My sister was excited to meet Stitch in his Elvis outfit since he went with her costume.

The Boo to You Parade

Vanellope riding in the Boo to You Parade

I’m obsessed with Mickey’s Boo to You Halloween parade, which is performed twice during the party. The Boo to You song is catchy as all get-go and is a staple on my playlists around Halloween. I dare you to make it through a performance without getting the parade music stuck in your head. It begins with the ride of the Headless Horseman about 20 minutes before parade time, so get there early if you want to see him go past.

My favorite parts of the parade are Haunted Mansion and Pirates themed. The gravediggers who walk the parade route are amazing and I love when they use their shovels to make sparks on the ground. The ghostly dancers are incredible as well. The Pirates part is fun with a modified version of the famous “Yo Ho Yo Ho” song that shows a little more of the dark side of a life of piracy. This is an absolute must-do during Mickey’s Not So Scary, so check your event schedule and make sure you find a spot along the parade route.

Disney’s Not So Spooky Spectacular fireworks

Fireworks as part of Disney's Not So Spooky Spectacular

Kent Phillips, courtesy of the Walt Disney World Resort

New for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2019, this fireworks show called Disney’s Not So Spooky Spectacular replaced the old HalloWishes performance. The Halloween Party fireworks were always my favorite Disney World has ever done, and the new show is just as amazing as ever.

Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular

Sanderson Sisters performing onstage in front of Cinderella Castle

I grew up watching Hocus Pocus and firmly believe it’s the best Halloween movie of all time. Seeing the stage show was high on our list of things to do at the Halloween Party, so we made sure to watch the first performance. The casting was incredible and the Sanderson sisters looked and sounded just like they did in the movie. I don’t want to get into spoilers, but a lot of your favorite Disney villains make an appearance on stage so it’s a great chance to see some rare characters. Just hope that you don’t end up standing behind someone wearing giant Maleficent horns.

Women dressed as Lilo and Megara riding Space Mountain at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

I spent the whole ride making sure my giant clip on ponytail stayed attached to my head.

Special ride experiences at MNSSHP

For last year’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Disney introduced a few special ride overlays to experience during the evening. My favorite of the bunch was Pirates of the Caribbean. Live actors were located inside the ride to add to the show. In all honesty, I wouldn’t consider any of the overlays essential but they were interesting, especially as someone who has ridden the “normal” versions countless times.

You can also ride Space Mountain in total darkness with a different soundtrack. It wasn’t mind-blowing, but it was interesting. I’ve seen video of Disneyland’s Halloween overlay for Space Mountain, and let’s just say the West Coast has it better. I rode it so often as a Cast Member that I practically knew the track by heart, and it was nice to see that I could still lean into the turns like a bobsledder even in pitch darkness.

The Mad Tea Party ride is running with some fog and special lighting. It looked pretty cool at night, but I wouldn’t consider it to be a must-do at the Halloween Party.

Other special events for Mickey’s Not so Scary

Boo from Monsters, Inc. with a woman dressed as Megara

The party features a fun dance party in Tomorrowland. Mike, Sully, and – most excitingly – Boo (in her monster costume) were out dancing in the crowd. They don’t do autographs or pose for photos like regular characters, but you can still get a picture of them or just hang out. There’s also a Disney Junior dance party, but I’d feel a little weird joining in on that one as an adult.

Special PhotoPass Magic Shots for MNSSHP

Women dressed as Megara, Lilo, and a pirate hitchhiking with ghosts in a special PhotoPass Magic Shot

I love pictures. Maybe a little too much. Doing the special PhotoPass Magic Shots was high on my list of things to do at Mickey’s Halloween Party. We got three really good ones that I love. My favorite was located between the Haunted Mansion and the Liberty Belle dock. We posed like hitchhikers and the famous Hitchhiking Ghosts from the ride were added in after the fact.

In front of the train station in the very front of the park, we had a magic shot with the Headless Horseman added digitally. He’s actually pretty impressive.

You can also pose in front of the Haunted Mansion’s hearse and have a ghostly driver added in or by the Mansion sign holding a lantern.

Trick or treating at Disney World

Woman with a pile of candy from Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

One of the fun perks of the Halloween Party is the chance to load up on candy – and yes, adults can trick-or-treat too! There are designated trick or treat stations – for kids and adults – set up at various locations throughout the park. I’ve found that if you hit them toward the end of the night, Cast Members will be dumping larger than usual handfuls into your bag to clear out their bins. One of my friends when I was a Cast Member joked that he liked to hit an early Halloween party and load up on as much candy as possible to re-gift to trick or treaters at his house so he didn’t have to buy it himself. If you or anyone in your party has allergies, there is allergy-friendly trick or treating available. Instead of loads of candy, you pick up tokens which can be redeemed for allergen-free snacks or little Halloween items at designated centers in Liberty Square and Main Street.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party dining

Worms and dirt dessert at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Sure, you could just have candy for dinner, but if you’re looking for more substantial food, don’t worry: there are plenty of options. If you want to sit down for a meal, Be Our Guest, Cinderella’s Royal Table, and the Crystal Palace are all open and take reservations. You need to have a MNSSHP ticket in order to book dining reservations during the party, so buy your ticket early if you want to snag one of these typically hard to get restaurants. I wouldn’t want to waste precious party time with a long meal though, so I like to hit quick service restaurants. Plus, that’s where all of the cool special edition desserts like the worms and dirt pictured above are.

How to buy Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets

You can get discounted party tickets (and save money on regular park tickets too) at Undercover Tourist. They’re an official Disney partner, so the tickets are legit and I’ve used them several times myself. You can also save some money on your hotel by booking with them. Check it out and save a few bucks. You can also save some money by attending parties earlier in the season. Ticket prices increase the closer you get to Halloween, so scoop up those August and September ones if you can. Tickets can also be purchased on the official MNSSHP site.

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party decorations

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party dates for 2020

Party dates vary from year to year, but generally stretch from mid-August through Halloween. Mickey’s Halloween party dates are usually published in the spring, giving you plenty of time to plan a trip in advance. The parties get more frequent as Halloween draws closer and there are more Mickey’s Not So Scary dates in October. This also means that you’ll have to plan around the party if you want to spend an evening at the Magic Kingdom without attending a party. Disney World Halloween decorations aren’t quite on the same scale as the Christmas stuff, but you’ll love seeing the Magic Kingdom decked out in fall colors. The 2020 schedule runs from August 13th-November 1st.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party hours

So what time does Mickey’s Halloween Party start? Well, technically it starts at 7pm. That’s when the special characters appear and trick or treating starts. However, you’ll be allowed to enter with your Mickey’s Halloween Party tickets as early as 4pm. It’s a great opportunity to hit a few rides before the main event starts, and I’d recommend arriving as early as possible. Mickey’s Not So Scary hours run until midnight, so you’ll have several hours to enjoy the special stuff. Just don’t do what I did and book an 8 am breakfast reservation the following morning.

Special merchandise for the Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom

Special edition Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party exclusive shirt that says "amuck, amuck, amuck"

Disney is focusing heavily on Hocus Pocus this year since it’s celebrating its 25th anniversary. There were some cute t-shirts, and one of the popular spirit jerseys was available with the quote, “amuck, amuck, amuck” across the back. There were some other MNSSHP t-shirts for sale, as well as some ears. There were some cute MNSSHP exclusive pins that I’m sure will be popular. Get to the special event merchandise early if there’s something you really want to buy because lines will get crazy later in the party and popular items may well sell out.

Tips for attending Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party

  • Buy your ticket early. This is especially important if you plan to attend the parties closest to Halloween as they do sell out.
  • Read up on the costume rules before you arrive so you don’t accidentally show up wearing something prohibited.
  • Show up as early as possible to maximize your ticket. You can enter the park starting at 4 pm with your party ticket.
  • Remember to account for Florida weather when planning your costume. It may not be the best place to wear your full-fur Chewbacca costume.

Woman dressed in a Megara costume in front of Cinderella Castle at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

What to pack for a Disney World Halloween Party

  • Comfy walking shoes. It’s a big bonus if they match your costume, but don’t wear shoes that are going to destroy your feet just because they fit your outfit. You’re still going to be doing a ton of walking. Skechers GoWalks have been my go-tos for the last couple of years. (Men’s version here.)
  • A costume! This is the fun part. I’m a DIY girl, but you can get officially licensed ones at the Disney Store or on Amazon if you don’t want to make your own. Hot Topic also has a great line of comfy, simple costume-esque dresses like the Lilo one my sister wore to the party that are great for MNSSHP.
  • If you really don’t want to dress up (buy why?!), there are plenty of Halloween-themed Disney shirts out there. You can also get costume t-shirts that make you look like a character or some sparkly Halloween Minnie ears.
  • Backpack. I never visit the parks without a lightweight waterproof one.
  • Water bottle. Even though the party is in the evening, it’ll still be plenty hot.
  • Portable cell phone charger. I never travel without this charger. You’ll be using your phone a lot for photos and checking the app, so make sure it doesn’t run out of juice.
  • Your Magic Band – If you’re staying on property, you’ll get one of these included in your reservation. If you’re not (or if you just like more elaborate ones) you can get some cool ones. There are even exclusive Halloween party themed ones for sale. You can also get Haunted Mansion themed ones online.

While you’re planning your visit to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, check out these other Disney World posts:

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