We kicked off the Halloween festivities (and Erin’s second birthday) a little early this year at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. The Mouse House hosts a “Not-so-Scary” affair select nights during the fall and this would be our first time in attendance. As with all of our Disney trips, I spent an inordinate amount of time researching the best way to go at this party. In the off chance that anyone reading this blog (and I know there are a handful of you, a couple of whom have surprised me lately) is preparing a trip to MNSSHP in the future, I present you with a few of the best tips I learned:
1) Purchase tickets online in advance. The price of tickets varies depending on the date you choose, which I also took into consideration. We saved $5 per ticket buying online — a savings of $25 total — and it was super simple to pick up the tickets at will-call the night of the party.
2) Because the party is a hard-ticketed event that takes place in the evening (requiring a separate admission charge from regular park admission), we decided to spend the morning at our resort relaxing and resting up. It would be, as TourDad fondly notes, the only chill-out we took during the entire trip. It was crucial we rest, though, because as I noted, the party’s official hours are 7pm – midnight.
3) However, party guests are admitted to the Magic Kingdom with their party ticket as early as 4pm. We were at the turnstiles at 4 in order to get a few hours of rides and dinner in before the festivities began. At 7pm guests without party tickets are ushered out (or are encouraged to shell out a hefty sum to remain). This is when the mood of the evening shifts into Halloween mode — pure fun, I should add, and not a smidge scary.
4) I packed lightweight, non-fussy costumes in our luggage prior to the trip. Early October in Florida can still be very hot and humid until the sun goes down. Nevertheless, the kids wanted an extra excuse to get dressed up and loved being called “Captain” and “Snow White” and so forth all night by Cast Members.
5) Small souvenir treat sacks are provided for guests to trick-or-treat at designated spots around the Magic Kingdom. Though the amount of times you can hit the candy stops is unlimited, we found the size of the bag just right for our kids. Trust me, they were not deprived. (Keep in mind you may end up hauling most of the candy home.)
6) Consult the roster of the night’s activities ahead of time. There is so much going on around the park, from dance parties to parades and special fireworks that we had to scramble around to fit in the agenda. I won’t mince words — the party is expensive and I’m sure most guests feel pressure to get their money’s worth. It’s also a reality that many families don’t want to keep their toddlers and preschoolers up hours past their bedtimes. Try staking out a front-row seat at the early (8:15pm) Boo-to-You Parade so you don’t miss it (hello, Headless Horseman!). Happy HalloWishes, the evening’s themed fireworks (9:30pm), are also pretty incredible.
The party was a blast for our whole family. Heck, the kids are still humming the parade theme song two weeks later. Is it worth planning an entire Walt Disney World vacation around? Well, unless you’re a rabid fan who just hasn’t made it to the party yet, probably not. But if you happen to have a fall trip in the works anyway, I highly recommend it. Along with Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival!
But that’s a post for another night.