In a previous article, I provided a few reminders for everyone preparing for the return of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) after almost three years of it being gone. As you may know, MNSSHP returns this year on August 12th. At piratesandprincesses.net, we will be covering MNSSHP for the second night on August 16th.
If you are like me, you want to use your time wisely while attending the event. Now, for me, that means getting some decent photos, with my bad camera skills, and trying lots of special Halloween treats. Now, your plans when attending MNSSHP should look different. I will strive in the following paragraphs to give you the best advice possible on how to use your MNSSHP time wisely. In fairness, each group comes to MNSSHP at magic Kingdom with different objectives. Please modify your intention based on information provided within this article.
Which nights will have the lowest crowds?
Standard advice tells people to visit earlier in the season for lower crowd levels. The exception to that rule involves the first night. The theme park media, blogging, and vlogging world descend on Magic Kingdom on opening night. Also, many of us are going the second night. After that, earlier in the year the better for lower crowds. The logic involves that locals lack the desire to celebrate Halloween in August in Florida. Thus, they wait until October so maybe it is not unbearably hot for their MNSSHP.
Similarly, weeknights are usually less crowded than weekends. So logically a Tuesday in August, starting August 23rd, should have the lowest crowd levels. Since the price of tickets tends to increase closer to October 31st, Walt Disney World knows these details also.
Also, we have no quantifiable way to gauge crowd level for this year at this point. We do not know how many tickets are available for each night. Having said that, guests should attend MNSSHP not expect an empty park. The crowds will be obvious. You can enjoy attractions with shorter waits then during the daytime hours. Still, the MNSSHP experience involves far more than just attractions. . Around the time of fireworks and parades, the “Hub” can feel incredibly congested. The Main Street area often feels and looks more crowded than a normal park day during MNSSHP. Yet, areas of the park such as Fantasyland and Frontierland will look empty by comparison.
Try to arrive as close to 4pm as possible
This will allow you to maximize the value of your ticket purchase. When you arrive, party attendees will be directed to a special entrance to receive wristbands. Use this time to get your wristband to avoid issues later.
Have a plan of attack
You cannot do everything. Do you want to focus on rarely seen characters? What about special MNSSHP parades and shows? How much candy, merchandise, and MNSSHP food/drink do you want? Please, decide before you arrive. The event can feel overwhelming. Since you cannot do everything in one night, decisions will need to be made.
Use your time between 4-6pm wisely
There are a few high priorities from 4-6pm. You need to get a wristband. If you need/want food, get some now. You do not want to use time in dining when your valuable time is floating away. Well, unless you are me covering the food, of course, then eating is always good! If this is your only visit to Magic Kingdom during your vacation, use this time to experience attractions not available during MNSSHP, like Jungle Cruise, Carousel of Progress, Country Bear Jamboree, and Mickey’s PhilharMagic. Now, if you must ride Jungle Cruise, then expect a lengthy queue using up much of your pre-party time.
If characters or exclusive MNSSHP merchandise only available during the party beckons you, this is your time to act. Special MNSSHP merchandise historically sells out. If you must get to it, use this time to find out when it is available for sale that evening. Adjust your plan accordingly. For other merchandise, save shopping until later in evening (maybe even after MNSSHP ends.)
Now the characters present a different challenge. Some rarely seen characters appear during this event. Queues commonly become very long for these characters. Some of the more exclusive characters may be found meeting before the party event begins, but only for Halloween party guests with wristbands. I recommend asking cast members when character locations for Jack Skellington, for example, start. Jack and Sally have come out as early as 4:15pm for some events. However, there are no guarantees when exclusive characters will start appearing.
What to do during transition time from 6-7pm?
During this time, day guests will be making their way out of Magic Kingdom. Not all the MNSSHP festivities will have started. I suggest exploring more character photo ops during this time. More should be starting between 6-7pm. Many of the ride overlays should start during this time also. In addition, you might consider doing attractions with historically low wait times like Country Bear Jamboree and Tomorrowland Transit Authority. The queues for more popular attractions will be longer at this time compared to later in the evening.
The hour of truth arrives at 7:00pm
Did you decide on your group’s priorities for the evening? You simply cannot do everything in one night. At 7:00pm, everything will be running for the party. These are my suggestions based on previous MNSSHP patterns:
-I suggest waiting to “trick or treat” until later in evening. One, if you get candy early in the evening, you must carry it all night. Two, the queues for candy will be longer at this point. Third, historically, the cast members give out more candy as the night goes on.
– Decide if you will watch the first parade, usually around 9:15pm, and/or the second parade, usually around 11:15pm. You will need to stake out a spot beforehand. Since the Not So Spooky Spectacular fireworks/ projection show happens only once, usually at 10:15pm, the “Hub” area will be quite congested then. If the fireworks, parade, and the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular show sit atop your priorities, then planning a viewing area in the “Hub” very early makes a good decision. This will cause you to be unable to do many other aspects of this event, however. Depending on your plans you could stake out an area around the “Hub” to view the parade, fireworks, and Hocus Pocus show one right after another.
-If willing to view parade outside probable mass of people at the “Hub”, the parade route starts in Frontierland, follows the waterway until it reaches Liberty Square, crosses the Liberty Square bridge, circles Central Plaza in front of Cinderella Castle, then heads down Main Street, U.S.A., where it ends next to Harmony Barbershop. Finding a spot away from the main hub area could lower the stress of your evening.
– The Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular happens 3 or 4 times a night. The first showtime usually happens at 8:30pm with the last showing at 12:00 midnight. If trying to avoid the congestion in the “Hub” area, those two times make sense to see the show.
-If after checking the weather forecast, you are confident that bad weather will not cause any delays or cancellations of the special MNSSHP events, watch the second parade. Usually, fewer people watch the second parade. However, the parade could be cancelled due to bad weather. If the first parade happens and then bad weather cancels the second parade, you are out of luck waiting for the second parade. This guideline also applies to the Hocus Pocus shows.
– After you have decided which shows and parades to view, try to do attractions, character interactions, and the other special party activities at other times.
-During the parades is a good time to meet characters. Please be advised that not all characters will be out during the parade.
-If characters are a priority, do not wait until 11:30 to get in a queue for one. The character queues will be cut off well before closing time.
As mentioned earlier, I will strive to update this data after the first night of MNSSHP.
You can find more details about MNSSHP as those events begin on this site and by following my twitter handle (@pastorjonself) for updates from the August 16th event.
If you are lucky enough to be attending MNSSHP this year, enjoy yourself. Of course, I wish the very best “Boo to You!”
Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.