by Caitlin Corsello
Many times throughout the year, Walt Disney World plays host to a celebration, holiday, or special event. From Christmas to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, these times are special and unique every year that they occur. In my opinion, the most enchanting and spooktacular celebration at Walt Disney World is the Halloween season. With everything from decorations to exclusive parades and fireworks, Halloween can be a spellbinding time of year in the World.
Depending on whether you want to pay additional costs to experience some of the Halloween offerings, there are several options to choose from. If you are on a budget while visiting, you can still experience all of the amazing decorations that the Magic Kingdom offers throughout September and October. Starting outside the train station, there are pumpkins displayed on the lawn making for a great photo opportunity. Once inside, there are several pumpkin characters such as the mayor and a bandleader around Town Square. Near the statue of Roy Disney and Minnie Mouse, there are even two stacks of pumpkins framing the distant sight of Cinderella Castle. Here you can have the Photo Pass Cast Member take your picture with the fall decorations and even ask them to take a similar shot with your own camera. As you proceed forward, you will see that Main Street is transformed into a fall haven with orange and yellow bunting hung on all the buildings and pumpkins decorating many surfaces. Be sure to look closely at some of the pumpkins as they are carved to represent the buildings they are placed near. Additionally, you can enjoy browsing the special Halloween merchandise sold in the shops along Main Street. (Although once seeing everything, I can’t guarantee that this will remain a cost free activity!)
If you want to see all that the Magic Kingdom has to offer in terms of Halloween festivities, then it is worth it to purchase a hard ticket for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Running certain nights from September through early November, the party is a hard ticket event. This means that you must purchase an additional ticket on top of your Magic Kingdom admission in order to experience the party. The tickets are around sixty dollars and become more expensive the closer the date gets to Halloween. You can save an additional few dollars by purchasing your tickets in advance either online or over the phone with Disney. I find the ticket price to be worth the addition cost for two reasons: the first being that I absolutely love Halloween, and the second being that the party has a variety of unique experiences over the course of five hours.
If you choose to purchase tickets for the party, there are a few things you should know going in to make your experience even more enjoyable. While the party begins at seven, you can actually enter with just the event ticket beginning at four. I recommend going in costume, as by seven the majority of other guests you will encounter are going to be costumed as well. Last year I saw some amazing costumes, the best being a couple dressed as Mary Poppins and Bert from the Chim Chim Cheree number. Beginning at seven, select stores will display Halloween merchandise exclusive to the party. If you really have your heart set on a particular item, I recommend arriving at one of the stores at exactly seven. You can find out which stores are going to offer the merchandise by checking on the Magic Kingdom maps which are exclusive for the party and offered at the main gate.
Throughout the party, you will also get the unique opportunity to meet classic Disney characters decked out in their own Halloween costumes. By far the most popular characters during the party are the Seven Dwarfs. If you would like to meet with them and have your picture taken, you should get on line to meet them (usually near Splash Mountain) well before six. The line for them can become huge, even before the party starts, and if you want to experience as much as possible throughout the event plan to wait before they appear at seven.
Guests are also offered the option to Trick or Treat throughout the park at candy stations which are indicated on the event’s map. Each station offers several pieces of candy which can be collected in free souvenir bags which are handed out at the entrance to Main Street. I recommend visiting the candy stops later in the night when smaller children have headed home and the lines are shorter.
There are three exclusive events during the party: The Villains Mix n’ Mingle, Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade, and Happy HalloWishes. The Villains Mix n’ Mingle occurs in front of Cinderella Castle and is a musical experience in which the villains perform and greet guests for pictures and autographs after. The show runs several times throughout the party. I would advise on viewing the show closest to the beginning of the parade. This will allow you to experience the villains, and then rotate to face the Partners Statue and have a great viewing spot for the parade. Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade runs twice during each party and features an infectiously catchy song. The parade begins with the Headless Horseman galloping at full speed- so have your cameras ready! The horseman is then followed by Disney characters and villains all decked out in their Halloween finest. The parade is worth viewing both times, however the second showing will always be less crowded as more guests have headed home. So if you are looking to snag a great viewing spot without waiting before the parade begins, opt for the later viewing. Remember, two great places to watch the parade from are the train station balcony and in Frontierland along the Rivers of America.
Wrapping up the evening is HalloWishes, a fireworks spectacular featuring classic Disney music, villains, and a touch of the Haunted Mansion. Narrated by your host, your ghost host, the fireworks display is a screaming good time and is best viewed from any point along Main Street facing Cinderella Castle. Be sure to take part in the scream along! Just scream like you are trying to wake the dead!
In addition to all of these amazing unique offerings throughout the party, you can also experience Halloween themed music and lighting throughout the park. Look for some spooky projections on the surface of Space Mountain in Tomorrowland! Many of the more popular attractions will be open to guests as well, so the party is a great opportunity to experience the attractions with shorter wait times.
So whether you are on a budget and taking in the Magic Kingdom’s Halloween decorations and merchandise, or opting to experience Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Walt Disney World is a magical and spooky place to visit for the Halloween holiday season. Just remember to check for hitchhiking ghosts following you home!
What is your favorite part about Halloween at Walt Disney World? Let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear from you!
Caitlin Corsello was born and raised in New York. She graduated from Adelphi University with a Masters in Mental Health Counseling in 2012. Her love for Disney started as an infant and has continued to grow with family vacations to Disney parks almost every year since. She holds a particular interest in WDW’s parks and attractions, never passing up an opportunity to visit. She looks forward to continuing to explore and learn about all things Disney and to share that passion with readers.