I know this might be a bit of a surprise, since I write a Disney blog, and make the pilgrimage to the Mouse’s kingdom regularly – but David and I had never visited Disney during Halloween time before. Blame it on bad timing, or our overwhelming preference for the Christmas season, but we never seemed to make it to the parks for a Halloween Party. We knew it needed to be a priority this year (CANDY! PARADES! CHARACTERS DRESSED FOR HALLOWEEN!) , as the Not So Scary Party has all the Disney elements that I love. We attended said party last night, and adored it. The good news is that we had a fabulous time, like the Sanderson sisters themselves. The bad news, is now we have another Disney event to add to our calendar year (is the suite in Cinderella’s Castle available to sublet? Because I’m spending a lot of time in Florida). Today on the blog, we’re breaking down everything you need to know for the party, to make your time in the park flow more easily and smoothly.

20160916-ljp_090320160918-ljp_184720160918-ljp_1833Tickets
First things first – this is a hard ticket event. That means that you have to purchase it separately from your annual passes, magic your way tickets, etc. I know that might seem unfair, but A LOT is offered at the party that isn’t offered during regular park hours. It’s not cheap, so one way to make it more affordable is to consider doing one less day on your park tickets, since you can get into The Magic Kingdom with your Not So Scary Ticket starting at 4 pm. Consider spending your morning at Disney Springs, The Boardwalk, or Resort Hopping.

20160918-ljp_171820160918-ljp_173020160918-ljp_172920160918-ljp_172620160918-ljp_1721Character Meet and Greets
Unusual character meet and greets are one of the biggest draws of the Halloween Party. By and far the biggest draw is Jack and Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas, and they will have the longest line. David and I aren’t hip enough to be Nightmare Before Christmas fans, so we bypassed their crazy long line (which started lining up at 4 – they got their around 5). We headed instead to the second most popular meet and greet, which is the Seven Dwarves. The Seven Dwarves are meeting in New Fantasyland this year, by The Big Top. Their line started lining up around 5 and they got their at 6:15. Since we were one of the first people in line, we were able to finish the meet and greet fairly quickly, and still be one of the first people in line for Winnie The Pooh and his friends (in Halloween Costumes!), since they don’t start greeting until 7. Winnie The Pooh tends to be one of the longest lines as well so we recommend doing it early if it’s high on your list. There’s so many great character meet and greets (and all of them have LONG lines). Our tip is to pick two that you really care about and knock them out when you first get to the party before the line gets too long.

20160918-ljp_180820160918-ljp_178720160918-ljp_178520160918-ljp_178120160918-ljp_177920160918-ljp_177720160918-ljp_176320160918-ljp_1757Trick or Treating
Trick or Treating Candy stations are set up periodically throughout the park. You can find them by referring to your party map, or any time you come across an inflatable orange ‘treats’ blow up. We think it’s fun to stop once to grab some candy, but we really don’t recommend wasting much party time on trick or treating. You can get candy anywhere, and that’s not really what you’re paying for.

20160918-ljp_173620160918-ljp_175220160918-ljp_2190Costumes
Wearing a costume, or festively themed Halloween clothing, makes the party more fun. Most people are dressed up in some way – whether it’s elaborate costumes, simple DIY, Disney bounding, or Halloween t-shirts and Autumn ears. About 75% of people are dressed up somehow for the party, and we think it helps make the experience more fun. Our tip is this – September in Florida can be hot, humid, muggy, and rainy. Remember that when choosing a costume. If you’re thinking of dressing as a Polar Bear, with a fur coat and head piece – keep in mind the 90 degree weather.

20160918-ljp_1734Ambiance
One of the best parts of Not So Scary is the ambiance. The Magic Kingdom comes alive during Not So Scary, with Halloween music, projections on the castle, lights dancing on the buildings of Main Street, eerie smoke, wolf howls, and the clock of Guest Relations running orange. It’s Disney Magic at its best – and something that I think everyone should experience.

20160918-ljp_147620160918-ljp_1491

20160918-ljp_150720160918-ljp_1496Treats
A variety of specialty treats are available for purchase during the party. The pinnacle of these, in my opinion, is the Candy Corn Soft Serve Ice Cream at Story Book Sweets. Other favorites includes Candy Corn Cotton Candy (Casey’s Corner), Pumpkin Caramel Apples (The Confectionary), and Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes (Gaston’s Tavern).

20160918-ljp_219820160918-ljp_174620160918-ljp_1743
Merchandise

Is there ever a time that Disney doesn’t rush to put out merchandise? Better question – is there ever a time that I don’t buy it? Special merchandise is available for the party (and for Halloween time in general). Our favorite is the Party Passholder pins.

20160917-ljp_132720160917-ljp_1329 20160918-ljp_185920160918-ljp_185820160918-ljp_1856Hocus Pocus Villains Spectacular
THIS SHOW IS AMAZING. This, in my opinion, is the epitomize of what Disney entertainment should be. Funny, friendly enough for families to watch, but mature enough that adults will find it hilarious. The show is filled with good music, great pyrotechnics, and tons of villains. It’s the perfect stage show for Halloween.

20160918-ljp_215920160918-ljp_213820160918-ljp_2115Boo To You
Boo To You might be the best parade that Walt Disney World does. I slightly prefer the Christmas parade, based on my own Holiday biases, but objectively I can say that Boo To You is better. It’s an absolute must see for any Disney fan – and the only place you can see it is from a Halloween Party.

20160918-ljp_187920160918-ljp_206220160918-ljp_202920160918-ljp_199220160918-ljp_199120160918-ljp_198920160918-ljp_198620160918-ljp_198520160918-ljp_197820160918-ljp_195920160918-ljp_192720160918-ljp_192320160918-ljp_1901HalloWishes
HalloWishes, like Boo To You, can only be see at a Not So Scary Party. It’s a phenomenal show and shouldn’t be missed, especially since it includes 360 degree fireworks. The only thing better than a Disney fireworks show, in our opinion, is a Disney 360 degree fireworks show.

20160916-ljp_096220160916-ljp_096520160916-ljp_0977We LOVED Mickey’s Not So Scary Party and have a feeling it will be our Halloween tradition for years to come. We hope our guide helps make the party a little bit easier for you to navigate, especially if it’s your first time.