What to expect: Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party brings more treats than tricks to Disney
Once a year, Disney villains take center stage at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween party.
The party at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom runs 29 nights through Oct. 31 and features trick-or-treating, A Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular show, a Boo-To-You parade down Main Street and the HalloWishes fireworks show.
Disney's party was one of the first Halloween attractions to open this year, filling its parks with fall decorations, pumpkins carved with Mickey Mouse faces and costume-clad characters since early September.
It's quite an experience hearing spooky music and watching guests sweat through costumes while surrounded by Jack-o-lanterns.
We recently checked out Mickey's not-so-spooky ghoulish gathering on another muggy Friday night.
Mickey's Boo-To-You Halloween Parade: Led by the Headless Horseman, the haunting parade starts in Frontierland and makes its way down Main Street, U.S.A. After the Horseman makes his grand entrance, Zootopia characters put on a dance party in the street, followed by dozens of floats carrying costumed characters and raucous villains. Wreck-It Ralph's Vanellope von Schweetz even peddles a gumdrop machine that makes the entire block smell like sickly sweet candy.
Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular: The Sanderson sisters brought back their Villain Spelltacular show for its second year along with plenty of villain friends and pyrotechnics. We noticed a few confused looks on the faces of young children, who obviously weren't alive when Hocus Pocus debuted 23 years ago. They may not even recognize some of the other villains in attendance - Cruella de Vil, the Evil Queen, Maleficent, Hades, Hook, Oogie Boogie - unless their parents insisted they watch the classic Disney films.
But as older Disney fans who grew up with the Sanderson sisters and The Nightmare Before Christmas, we felt nostalgic seeing our favorite villains celebrated together on stage.
Happy Hallowishes: Green and orange fireworks launching and bursting to sinister tunes like This is Halloween and Trust In Me, with a playful light show on Cinderella's castle. What more could a Disney villains fan ask for?
Adults can have fun, too!: With more than a dozen treat stations around Magic Kingdom, there's plenty of candy to go around, even for adults. Guests are given a treat bag upon entering the park. Treat stations are marked on the party map and with glowing orange pillars.
One of the best things about being in the park late into the evening is the lack of long lines for rides. Those without kids or with bigger kids can easily knock out the Haunted Mansion, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and the mountain trio without missing the parade or fireworks. The party will probably get busier the closer it gets to Halloween, but the longest wait I saw for a ride was 20 minutes.
For kids at heart, Disney's Hollywood Studios has Club Villain on Friday and Saturday nights through Oct. 31. Hosted by the mysterious Dr. Facilier from The Princess and the Frog, the separate-ticketed dining experience has the likes of Maleficent, the Queen of Hearts, Cruella de Vil and other villains in attendance. It's $129 per person for an open bar and buffet.
Wear your costumes: This is the only time of year that Disney lets guests wear costumes inside the park. And again, this doesn't just include children. Some of the best costumes we saw were a trio of Play-Doh tubs, plenty of Sallys and Jack Skellingtons and R2-D2s. But the tiny tot Jawa dancing to Zootopia's Try Everything during the parade was the cutest we have ever seen.
Must-do: What would a visit to Disney World be without going on the Haunted Mansion ride? It's iconic, it's creepy and it's the quintessential Halloween attraction. You might even catch one of the ghostly residents posing for pictures outside the mansion on the horseless carriage.
If you go
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party runs select nights through Oct. 31. Tickets $72-$105 for adults, $67-$100 children age 3-9. Children under 3 are free. For more information visit disneyworld.com/halloween or call 407-W-Disney.
Contact Chelsea Tatham at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @chelseatatham.