On my most recent trip, I crossed a big item off my WDW Bucket List: attending Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. It was, in a word, spooktacular.
For the uninitiated, MNSSHP is a ticketed evening event in the Magic Kingdom in which the park transforms into a spooky celebration, complete with a special parade and fireworks display. There are also character greetings, trick-or-treating, and best of all, incredibly short lines for the attractions.
I'll back up and start with the park itself. I'm an autumn person anyway, but the Magic Kingdom decorations and overall ambience during this time of year are the best. The lighting, decorations, and music all come together for a truly memorable experience.
|This was taken earlier in the day, |
the giant pumpkins only appear on MNSSHP days.
|Let the ambiance begin!|
The event itself is pretty simple - the Magic Kingdom remains open until midnight, and there are several stations and walking trails around the park for guests (young and old) to trick-or-treat. The special Mickey's "Boo to You" Parade runs twice, with the Happy Hallowishes fireworks show in the middle. Guests are encouraged to dress up - no one in my family is really a "Halloween person," but we thought wearing coordinating custom t-shirts and Halloween fascinators was a good compromise. In truth, most of the adults weren't dressed up at all, there were lots of little pirates and princesses, and the award for The Greatest Thing Ever goes to the family that was dressed as The Incredibles, right down to the baby.
I haven't been trick-or-treating in many, many years, but being able to participate in candy-begging around the Magic Kingdom was incredibly fun. I had been told to expect to walk away with pounds of candy - I don't know that I collected as much as I thought I would, but we also attended the first MNSSHP of the year, so perhaps the Cast Members were rationing. Either way, it was excellent. There is at least one station in every section of the park, and because there were no lines (when we went, anyway), we were able to spend the entire night trick-or-treating and riding pretty much anything we wanted. I'm talking walk-right-onto-Space-Mountain levels of queue-emptiness. Inside tip: the station on the Liberty Square Riverboat sees very little foot traffic, so they are much more generous with the candy there.
The "Boo to You" Parade is generally considered to be one of Disney's better parades - I'll be honest, parades aren't really my thing, so I have no idea how it stacks up to anything other than the Spectromagic one. We did watch the whole thing from a great spot near the parade start in Frontierland, and you definitely get to see characters, especially the villains, that I haven't otherwise seen in the parks. If you can stay up, definitely attend the later parade and hit the rides while everyone else is watching the first showing.
Now. The fireworks. They are worth the price of admission. I've seen Wishes, oh, seventy billion times and while that never gets old, the Happy Hallowishes show is like Wishes on steroids. It's easily the best fireworks display I've ever seen. The fireworks are set to a mix of ghoulish tunes ("This is Halloween" from The Nightmare Before Christmas provides a standout moment of synchronicity), and I cannot stress this enough - This. Show. Is. Enormous. We were standing near the castle, to the right, and it felt like the fireworks were exploding all around us. It was like being at a concert where the sky was on fire. When you're a Disney person and you visit the parks on a somewhat regular basis, it's rare to come across something you haven't seen before and that completely surprises you. Hallowishes was both for me.
|No blue fairies here.|
* The Wishes Dessert Party - Worth the Money?
* Segway Tours in WDW: This is How I Roll
* Call of the Wild: Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge