Last night we attended our first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in three years. We would attend them regularly prior to this but the past few years we have found it necessary to skip the event. I found that while many things have stayed the same, there are some enhancements and a few more obstacles than in previous visits. I wish that we would have known these things before attending the party so I felt it only fair to share some of our observations in hopes that it might help someone from making the same mistakes.
Main Street USA is the Place to Be
During previous parties it really didn’t matter where you spent your time because the Halloween experience was pretty evenly dispersed throughout the park. This year I have noticed that Main Street USA is a much more enhanced experience. The lighting is crazy and the music is louder. The decorations are unbelievable and just standing on Main Street USA gives you a feeling unlike any other part of the park. For this reason we really wish that we had spent more time there and possibly staked out a spot early for the parade and fireworks. Having said that, if this is what you choose to do then some of my other suggestions will not really work. Read everything and make a decision based upon personal preference.
Watch the 2nd Parade
Since a lot of guests with young children exit the park after the fireworks or have already seen the first parade there is far less competition for spots for the second parade. You can usually find a great spot to watch the parade and I suggest watching back in Frontierland so that you are not competing with all of the guests leaving the park down Main Street. It is also possible to watch the second parade from Frontierland and make your way to the front exit before the parade makes it that far. It is a very slow moving parade and by doing this you can avoid some crowds as you exit the park. Realize though that this is only if you want to give up the last hour of the party.
Don’t Waste Your Time Camping Out for the Castle Show and Fireworks
This will only lead to frustration and anger! Every time we have ever staked out our spot for fireworks we have become extremely angry when people come at the last second and crowd you or come and stand right in front of you. I have finally relented and have decided to be one of them, responsibly and courteously of course. We figured out that these people have had much more time to enjoy trick-or-treating and riding attractions and notice that they are much less bitter and angry during the fireworks. Sometimes there is a fine line between being courteous and ruining your visit being overly courteous. A few side notes:
- Don’t step in front of someone who has been waiting forever. I would never suggest becoming one of those people who has no regard for others in the park.
- Make sure to be aware of your surroundings and think of all children as your children. If it is possible to move children up closer than do it! They will not block your view and you will feel really great. This act of kindness and respect could also change the behavior of other’s around you.
- Don’t think that you will have the most amazing view in the world and that finding a spot at the last second will be easy. More than likely waiting that long will put you at some disadvantages when it comes to view. Remember, however, that fireworks are in the air!
Pick a Comfortable Costume for You and Your Children
The only picture that we have of our 2 year-old in his costume was taken at home. He didn’t last 5 minutes with it on when at the party. We have no pictures of him trick-or-treating in costume. Looking back it would have been wise to come up with a costume that was more like the clothes that he would normally wear. I suggest dressing your child in the costume for a period of time at home and see how long it takes for them to complain that they want to take it off. If they won’t wear it at home there is a great chance that the added heat of the park and attention would cause an even faster removal of the costume. This goes for older children and adults too. There is a lot of walking and usually sweating that goes on while attending the party and some costumes could be more trouble than they are worth.
Alternate the Responsibilities
This applies to those who travel with children of different ages. In our situation, we have a 2 year-old and an 11 year-old. The age difference could be a real issue if you all stay together all the time. Take turns with the other adults in your party going with the older child and hitting things hard. This could mean going through more trick-or-treat stations or riding more attractions. The other adult can tend to the very different needs of the younger child. Very important to switch so that everyone has the opportunity to experience the event with both children. We should have executed this plan and will in the future.
Don’t Make the Party an End to a Long and Hectic Day
The party will take a lot out of you and your children. The crowds and extra lines for candy and jockeying for position during parades and fireworks can drain any energy you may have. It makes sense that going into the party with little rest would be a mistake. I suggest ensuring that everyone relaxes prior to the event. Relax by the pool at the resort that day or whatever might be relaxing to your family. Take a nap, for everyone not just the children. The party works as admission to Magic Kingdom after 4pm so it would be silly to burn a ticket on another park that day anyway. If you don’t rest up you will find that the last few hours of the party might become difficult or you may leave early altogether. Basic Math: Cost of Party: $65 (Average) per person Number of Hours: 7pm-12am= 5 Cost per Hour: $13 per person If you leave right after the fireworks you will be out of the park by 10pm missing 2 hours= $26 per person Family of 4= $104 LOST That is not the kind of math I like to do!
Have Fun and Go with the Flow!
The people that I see have the most fun are those who go with the flow. They just seem to be having fun and don’t really care what they might not be accomplishing or what they may be missing. We approached the parties that we attended in the past in this way and had a much more enjoyable time. It seemed that opportunities presented themselves to us often and we had an amazing time. This year we had very high expectations since it was our youngest son’s first party and because we have not attended in a few years. This caused us to be more stressed and have missed opportunities. Only when we finally looked at each other exhausted and said “Whatever” did things start going our way. We started having some great times but unfortunately it was too late, the night was basically over. Don’t have too high of expectations! It goes back to a previous article “Ways to Minimize Walt Disney World ‘Meltdowns’” where I talked about how to avoid meltdowns on a normal day at Walt Disney World. Same applies here.
I know that it is really hard to anticipate issues that you may face but maybe some of the issues we had will help in determining some possibilities. It really is an amazing event and honestly, in my opinion, the best hard ticket event that Walt Disney World offers. The parade and fireworks are spectacular and the experience is unforgettable. Head over to Heartofthemagic.com if you are interested in reading more about our experience at the party.