The Happiest (and Not-So-Scary) Haunting on Earth

I was never an avid Halloween fan…until I went to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World this year, which has inspired me to create a three-part Halloween Special on Everyday Kawaii to celebrate this occasion! The biggest reason I didn’t like Halloween was that the emphasis here in America is usually on horror. You may have gathered that I am not a big fan of that based on my blog. The Halloween party at Disney in Orlando, however, showed me that I don’t have to be scared to enjoy Halloween, so I am starting this three-part series with my trip to the “happiest haunting on Earth.”

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Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party takes place in Magic Kingdom on select days from August to Oct. 31 after the park closes to regular visitors at 6 p.m. It runs from 7 to midnight. A pro tip online says Halloween party ticket holders (starting at $99 for adults) are allowed to enter the park as early as 4 p.m. and you should take advantage of that. Unfortunately, I was in town for work and my schedule didn’t end until 6 p.m., so I went closer to the starting time of the party.

Not only was this my first time attending a Halloween party at Disney, it was also my first time visiting a Disney theme park alone. I was nervous as I got off my Lyft and walked towards the Magic Kingdom Monorail Station surrounded by families and groups. (A big shout-out to rideshare companies for making getting around Orlando so much easier. Do tip your drivers though if you use these services.) Given the childish nature of Disney in general, I was worried about attracting strange looks for participating in the Halloween activities such as trick-or-treating.

Thankfully, a staff member I approached for a map reassured me that the trick-or-treating was everyone, not just for the little ones. This was no ordinary trick-or-treating: Multiple trick-or-treating stations where staffers hand out candy bags were set up throughout the park, and they gave me a bag to put all the candy in as I approached the first station. These candy bags contained an assortment of miniature Skittles, Twix, and more. The locations of these stations were marked on the special Halloween map of the park.

Besides getting a map and nailing down the specifics of the trick-or-treating event, my first order of business was of course to get a pair of special Halloween Minnie ears! Several styles were released, including a Maleficent-inspired headband, an orange sequined one, and a Haunted Mansion-themed one. These seasonal items were super popular, so much so that all the Halloween Minnie ears were sold out in Curtain Call Collectibles, the first shop I hopped into on Main Street, U.S.A. Thankfully, I later did find the Maleficent Minnie Ears at the Emporium just down the block, where a whole host of other Halloween goodies were available.

As a fashion lover, the most notable Halloween merchandise for me there was the Haunted Mansion ballroom dress. It features a purplish-blue tulle bodice and a full black skirt decorated with a white-outline print of the scenery within the iconic landmark. The shop also sold a Disney villains dress and other regularly available fashion items like the Mary Poppins dress, Disneyland dress, and Dumbo purse, which are all available online. Fun fashion fact: Visitors to Disney World are not allowed to dress up as Disney characters in full costume (think those Secret Honey dresses), except during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. All the apparel merchandise therefore is simply inspired by but not replicas of actual Disney character outfits.

It’s time to hit the road after equipping myself with some Maleficent Minnie Ears! The Halloween décor transformed Magic Kingdom into a completely different place. The Mickey pumpkin lanterns hanging on lampposts around Main Street U.S.A. amped up the Halloween atmosphere. The green, red, purple, and blue lights projected onto Cinderella’s castle made it look like the villains’ castle instead. The same colored lights were projected onto other sceneries around the park, making the whole place spooky but not scary.

Most rides were open, but no FastPasses during the Halloween party. I decided to just make a lap around the park since I was more interested in seeing everything than the rides. I was ecstatic when I found Rapunzel’s corner between Fantasyland and Liberty Square because “Tangled” was one of my favorite Disney movies! This relatively new area is available during the day too, but it looked special at night with all the lanterns lighted up.

A Mickey Halloween party would not be complete without meet-and-greets with the Disney villains. I saw the Queen of Hearts, Twiddledum and Twiddledee, and Jafar, but also a really long line behind each of them. (Magic Kingdom was packed even on a Tuesday.) Given how little time I had before the parade and firework show, I promised myself I would wait in line for a picture next time.

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Mickey’s Boo to You Halloween Parade starts in Frontierland and ends in Main Street, U.S.A. The best way to get a good view of the parade was to go down Main Street because most people already camped out in Frontierland and near Cinderella’s Castle along the parade route. Disney characters like Pooh, Tigger, Rapunzel, and Chip and Dale danced around with cute Halloween masks, followed by a procession of Wreck it Ralph, Pirates of the Caribbean, and more.

Last but not least, the villains made a grand entrance and brought a majestic end to the parade.   

Immediately after the parade, I rushed to the front of Cinderella’s Castle to wait for the fireworks. While the parade featured both the protagonists and villains, the Hallowed Wishes firework show shone the spotlight only on villains, striking a completely different tone from the regular Happily Ever After firework show.

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Honestly, I never liked the Disney villains, but the parade and the firework show emphasized the fun, rather than evil, side of these characters. It reminded me that Halloween is all about fun and that “it’s good to be bad” sometimes.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a completely different experience from the one you get when you visit Magic Kingdom on a normal day. I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience! Stay tuned for Part Two of the Halloween Special. Hint: It’s about my “light” costume.

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