At 7:00 pm tonight, on August 16, Disney officially kicked off the Halloween season in Central Florida by starting its Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, located at Magic Kingdom. This relatively late addition to Walt Disney World’s annual-events roster has easily become one of the most popular at the resort – as its earlier-than-ever start date and longer-than-ever duration (36 nights, going all the way up to Friday, November 1) easily attest to.
One of the biggest reasons for this ever-growing popularity is, we think, Disney’s willingness to continually change Not-So-Scary’s roster of attractions and experiences over the past 24 years, slotting in new nighttime spectaculars, for example, or further tweaking the seasonal overlays that grace certain rides at the park. 2019 is, of course, no exception, and during a press event during the festivities tonight, the company was only too happy to point these new items out to us.
Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular Fireworks Show
Easily the biggest addition this year to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is the aptly-named Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular Fireworks Show, the latest extravaganza at Cinderella Castle. Featuring the company’s now-standard lineup of state-of-the-art projection-mapping, fireworks, lasers, and – in the case of Jack Skellington, who serves as the host of the show – puppets, there has been a more expansive mandate added to the proceedings: to more fully immerse audiences in the story, as James Silson, Show Director – Disney Parks Live Entertainment, told us.
The effort, we think, more than pays off. The narrative follows our tried-and-true heroes of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy as they enter a “mysterious” haunted house and explore its mischievous contents and residents, one room at a time. It really is like watching a traditional cartoon episode, albeit on the canvas of Magic Kingdom’s castle as opposed to a television (or smart-phone) screen.
Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parade
The ever-popular Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parade has received some upgrades of its own this year, mostly in the form of a whole new section that stars Edna Mode from The Incredibles (the second installment of which came out last year) and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story (whose fourth chapter released just this summer and whose theme-park land over at Hollywood Studios debuted last summer). Edna is only too happy to call out the “fabulous” costumes of the guests lining the parade route, and Buzz comes replete with his own planetary-playset float that sees the action figure (and his Space Ranger-esque backup dancers) looking for rare crystals amongst the alien terrain.
What stands out the most about this update – beyond the addition of some popular characters from some still-unfolding properties – is how it’s meant to represent Tomorrowland, the final section of Magic Kingdom that had been missing from a parade that was always meant to celebrate all six lands. But it by no means overshadows the other changes made to this year’s Boo-to-You: the Bride (and her blood-red roses) from the Haunted Mansion has been added to the Liberty Square proceedings, and the main gang of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy have all been given brand-new Halloween costumes (there is “lots of color to check out there,” Kate Pappas, the managing producer of live entertainment for Disney Parks, promised us).
Halloween overlays to classic attractions
Yes, we’re all already familiar with the “Halloween twist” that Disney has been unleashing on Mad Tea Party (that is, new lighting effects and background music) and Space Mountain (pitch-black visuals and custom heavy-metal tunes), which are both returning for this year’s event. But what hardened veterans may want to make note of are two further attractions that have been swept up into the seasonal overlay fun.
First up is Pirates of the Caribbean, which may already have had live pirates be integrated into its queue and ride experience previously but which now sees that number of actors doubled (six instead of three, and they all offer the possibility of finding your own treasure at the end of the ride). And then there’s Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, a completely new addition to the Halloween roster, which now sports a trick-or-treat trail that is interactive – the Monsters wish to learn about this silly human holiday, and they’re not above asking their young costumed visitors about it (or dishing out the very best in bad dad jokes, either). Guests are welcome to stay here as long – or as little – as they’d like.
Cruella’s Halloween Hide-a-Way Party
What is a separately-ticketed Disney World event without further separately-ticketed experiences contained inside it?
The newest take on this upcharge phenomenon is Cruella’s Halloween Hide-a-Way Party, which is located inside Tony’s Town Square Restaurant in Main Street, USA and which allows patrons to pop in and out of the restaurant in order to hobnob with Cruella de Vil herself and to snack on a spread of savory hors d’oeuvres (like the Witches’ Cauldron, a “kettle of gooey and creamy” spinach dip with ciabatta crustini and assorted flatbreads) along with sweet desserts (such as the Mini De Vil brownies). And much like other premium add-ons Disney offers throughout its resort, Cruella’s comes with access to a special viewing area for Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parade.
This “sinister soiree” costs $99 per person and is available every night of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
The Party Pass
Even though this last item on our new-for-2019 list wasn’t highlighted during our time at Magic Kingdom tonight, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the just-announced development: starting today, guests are able to purchase a Party Pass to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party that – very much like Universal’s Frequent Fear Passes for its Halloween Horror Nights – essentially acts as a mini-season pass for the annual event. In this case, patrons are eligible to attend every single night of the Halloween festivities save one – that one being October 31, which tends to be one of the busiest Not-So-Scary dates of the entire run.
The Party Pass goes for $299 for adults (that is, those above the age of nine) and $284 for children. Yes, you are able to upgrade your existing ticket to this brand-new option – just be quick about it, as Disney is promising that quantities are limited.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party runs for a record-breaking 36 select nights, from Friday, August 16 to Friday, November 1.
For even more photos and highlights of our night out at Magic Kingdom tonight, be sure to visit our OI Community Facebook group, where you can discuss these new additions with thousands of other Disney fans and vacation planners.