Witness the Headless Horseman open Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parade!

MH headless horsemanI was unsuccessful at getting a still shot of the Headless Horseman opening Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parade, so my son helped me re-create the moment (at left). We also shot some video of Andy reenacting the Horseman’s dark jaunt through the Magic Kingdom, arguably one of the most memorable moments of our first Mickey’s Not-so-Scary Halloween Party.

It was when I first heard about the Horseman’s live performance that I set my heart on seeing him in person. We staked out a front-row seat for the parade in Liberty Square. My husband teased me for having the camera out and filming far in advance, fretting that I might somehow miss the HH. No reason to worry – he receives a chilling introduction before stepping off: “With a glowing pumpkin to light the way, he’s lurking to find his perfect prey…beware! The Headless Horseman is here!”

Location: Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parade steps off nightly during Mickey’s Not-so-Scary Halloween Party select nights at Magic Kingdom Park, Walt Disney World Resort.

Trick-or-Treat throughout the Magic Kingdom

My suspicions: if we let the kids have their way, we’d have to purchase an additional suitcase to tote their haul of candy home from Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. I’m not up for doing that. I’m also not up for eating three meals of candy a day for the remainder of the trip just to get rid of it. Therefore, limits must be set, right? A few things I’ve discovered in my trick-or-treat research:

  • Cast members are very generous with the candy. You may very well come away with a handful of goodies from each of the Magic Kingdom’s trick-or-treat spots (9 spots plus two “trails” with multiple stops each).
  • There is no limit on how many times you can visit a treat spot.
  • Kids could quickly fill the free treat bags handed out by Disney before hitting the entire circuit.
  • Trick-or-treating can cut into the valuable time available to experience other special Halloween attractions.

Touring tips: We found the free souvenir trick-or-treat bags handed out by CMs to be perfectly adequate. Our kids were really excited to collect candy, but we didn’t make it to all of the treat stops (too many other special events to check out!). Some treat stops were very easy to reach, others required a lengthy walk through a queue. All were lit by large orange orbs, but make sure to pick up a special party map to plan out your trick-or-treat strategy.

Even with Mom & Dad imposing a 40% candy tax per kid, they were still chipping away at their stash three weeks later…

Location: Magic Kingdom Park at the Walt Disney World Resort, select nights mid-September through early November. Requires a special event ticket separate from theme park admission. Prices vary by night.

Attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party!

Halloween is set to be extra special this year! While we’re down at Walt Disney World this fall celebrating our youngest pumpkin’s second birthday, the whole family will attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party for the very first time! Erin’s actual birthday does fall on Halloween, but we’re planning to party on an earlier date in October to cut down on cost and crowds. Here’s how we’ll save $55 on our tickets:

Mickey’s NSSHP Tickets (2 adults, 3 paying children) –
October 31 (advance or same-day purchase) – $73+tax/adult, $68+tax/child 
October 4 (advance purchase) – $62+tax/adult, $57+tax/child

Though the party doesn’t officially get started until 7 p.m. at the Magic Kingdom, guests are admitted as early as 4 p.m. We plan to be at the gate, costumes on and ready to go at 4. Because the party is a hard-ticketed event, we plan not to visit a park during the first half of the day. This will allow us to purchase one less day on our park passes (a savings of about $50).


Here are some of the special Halloween events and activities we’re looking forward to in 2013:

  • Trick-or-treating throughout the Magic Kingdom
  • Mickey’s Boo-to-You Parade (lead off by the Headless Horseman!)
  • Happy HalloWishes Fireworks: Grim Grinning Ghosts Come Out to Socialize
  • Halloween dance parties with Disney characters
  • Disney Villains Mix & Mingle
  • Characters in costume for meet-and-greets!

Location: Magic Kingdom Park at the Walt Disney World Resort, select nights mid-September – November 1. Requires a special event ticket separate from theme park admission. Prices vary by night.

Touring Tip: I can’t emphasize enough how important it was for our kids to be rested up for Mickey’s Not-so-Scary Halloween Party. If we’d have been dragging them around a theme park all day and then tried to pile the party on top of it, things could have been disastrous. Instead, we spent the morning and early afternoon dining leisurely at the resort, swimming and — most important of all — napping. We made it to the Magic Kingdom turnstiles promptly at 4pm, costumes on, with plenty of energy to face the night ahead.

Mickey’s Not-so-Scary Halloween Party at the Walt Disney World Resort

tm MNSSHP 2013

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.

tm MNSSHP 2013

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.)

tm MNSSHP 2013

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.

tm MNSSHP 2013The 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.