Halloween is here, and with it comes the annual event Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. The night offers a wide array of exclusive activities: a terrific parade, spectacular fireworks, amazing character greetings, and tons and tons of candy. But… a story? While storytelling is at the center of most everything Disney does, it might seem like it’s not present at MNSSHP. (I mean, come on, it’s just an after-hours event… does there need to be a plot behind it?) If you pay extra close attention to some fun details, though, you’ll most definitely find a story there, and it will add to your appreciation for your evening of Halloween lore.
Is a story essential for a special event? Does anyone really pay that close of attention or think about this? Probably not. However, the presence of conflict suggests a story in any scenario, and within the framework of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, there is indeed conflict if we look (and listen) closely. The story that unfolds is not of intricacy, and essentially amounts to Mickey Mouse versus the villains for control over the Magic Kingdom. While a simple setup, its details are aplenty and fun to pick up on throughout the evening.
Our first clue of the story comes in the name of the event itself. This is Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, correctly implying that Mickey Mouse is our host for the night. He’s throwing a party at the Magic Kingdom, and we’re invited to join in the celebration for a spooky time.
We’re going to jump ahead to the middle of the night for our next suggestion of a story that reveals our setting. During Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular, the Sanderson sisters make note that it’s All Hallows’ Eve, otherwise known as Halloween. This lets us know that tonight’s proceedings take place on October 31. Whether or not our exact party date coincides with the real holiday, in this fictional version of the Magic Kingdom that we’re inhabiting for tonight, it’s Halloween night. This adds a level of fun pretending to our activities, and a bit of weight to what comes next.
But now to backtrack. As the clock strikes 7 p.m. and the party officially begins, so does the story. The park’s regular background music switches over to its party loop, a soundtrack of not-so-scary, yet distinctly ominous, tones that are wonderfully specific to each land within the Magic Kingdom. It’s a great instance of detailed theming that most guests probably don’t even notice. It is at the beginning of the soundtrack switchover–when a regular day in the Magic Kingdom suddenly becomes an evening of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party–that our story materializes. It turns out the Ghost Host from Haunted Mansion has taken over the PA system. And soon, we’ll see, his takeover will go much further.
Next: the parade! What fun. This is one of Walt Disney World‘s best productions. Within it we find, you guessed it, another hint at a story found simply in the order of the floats. Mickey and Minnie’s gazebo begins the procession. Mickey exclaims, “Oh, boy! I see you got my invitation. Welcome to our not-so-scary Halloween party!” This cements the idea that Mickey is in charge of the evening’s events. This implies, then, that if some resident baddies decide to intervene, they’re taking over control from the main mouse himself. And intervene they do. Villains have always been part of the parade, but in recent years their order in the parade has changed to be at the end. There are no good guys at the end of the parade anymore. Does this mean the villains won? For now, yes.
Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular summons even more villainous friends for a very literal takeover of the park. By HalloWishes, they’re in full force and celebrating their (temporary) triumph, emceed by the Ghost Host, who we can conclude has made some progress since he took over the PA system earlier. What’s more, there doesn’t seem to be any real resolution when all is said and done. Mickey doesn’t save the day. Villain Spelltacular ends with the bad guys still on the loose. HalloWishes concludes with the Ghost Host still in command. Is Magic Kingdom safe? Mickey and the gang are still in their respective greeting locations, but are they aware of what’s happening? Are they ok?
Now… was all of this masterplanned by Disney to tell one cohesive story of the villains taking over? Probably not, namely because all of these productions (except the fireworks) take place multiple times every party and could be viewed in any possible order by party guests. And even if we are to take all this literally, by morning when it’s time to open the park for another day of magic, Mickey is right there coming in on the train with all his pals ready to welcome us. In one way or another, overnight and after hours, Mickey took back his park. All ends well. And if we’re really looking this deep into things, that’s a reassuring thought to hear.
(Images belong to author’s personal collection.)
Blake graduated Appalachian State University studying Electronic Media Production/Broadcasting and Film. He is currently a participant of the Disney College Program. Blake’s favorite attraction is the hub grass. You can find him on Twitter @blake_242 or at BlakeOnline.com.