“When will Walt Disney World release 2023 dates for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party?” and “why haven’t tickets for MNSSHP gone on sale yet?” are common reader questions we’ve been receiving with increased frequency this month. We’ll try to answer based on what we know based on historical release dates, current trends, past demand, and more.
As with all of these speculative posts, we’ll start by underscoring the fact that Madame Leota is not employed by this blog, which is to say that we don’t have a crystal ball. No one can give you a definitive answer about when Walt Disney World will announce 2023 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party dates or tickets. The same holds true for pretty much anything that hasn’t been officially announced, released internally, or leaked.
So if you’re the kind of person who, in the past, has complained that this type of prognostication post is a “waste of time,” then there’s nothing for you here. Consider instead subscribing to our free email newsletter for instant alerts, which will provide you an update when 2023 MNSSHP dates are officially announced by Walt Disney World. This post is most certainly not that, but rather, our long-winded attempt to offer insight in response the above reader questions…
With that out of the way, we have some good news: what’s past is prologue.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is hardly a new event, and there’s a ton of precedent regarding announcement and ticket sales dates over the years. In fact, one of big motivators for this post is compiling historical info. I always end up digging through past press releases to answer these questions, so rather than repeating that process over and over again, it makes sense to compile the last several years here. I’ve also added dates and pricing for those who are curious–or just want to contrast this year’s numbers with the past!
In 2017, ticket sales for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party started on May 10. That year, prices started at $74 for adults and $69 for children (3-9).
According to Walt Disney World, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party started earlier than ever in 2017, with parties running on August 25 & 29; September 1, 7, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 26 & 29; October 1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27, 29 & 31; and November 1.
That sprung forward significantly the following year, with March 19, 2018 being the date that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets went on sale. MNSSHP ticket prices started at $75, amounting to only a $1 increase from the prior year.
The 2018 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party was held for a record-setting 34 nights, with dates on August 17, 24, 28, 31; September 3, 7, 9, 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 28, 30; and October 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 25, 26, 28, 30, 31.
It’s potentially worth noting that both of those years, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party tickets also went on sale the same day that MNSSHP tickets were released. This was a pretty common practice at the time, but didn’t always occur.
It also wasn’t always the case that the announcement and sales date coincided. We don’t have consistent data, but it appears common for dates to be released in late March or April and tickets to go on sale in early May in previous years.
The following year was even earlier, with tickets for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party being released on January 15, 2019. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets started at $79 in 2019.
That year set another record, with 36 nights and an earlier start and later end. Here were the MNSSHP dates for 2019: August 16, 20, 23, 27, 30; September 2, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24, 27, 29; October 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 24, 25, 27, 29, 31; and November 1.
It now seems like an eternity ago, but back in 2019, Walt Disney World also offered the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Pass. This was essentially an Annual Pass for the Halloween Party that allowed access to 35 nights–every party night in August, September, October, and November except for Halloween itself for $299.
This was literally a last-minute offering, being announced and going on sale the day of the first MNSSHP, as Walt Disney World scrambled to buoy ticket sales for August and September. That was the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and many people steered clear of the parks (both in Florida and California) during that land’s opening months out of fears that it would be chaotic.
That was the exact opposite of what Walt Disney World was anticipated, with the parks announcing “Extra, Extra Magic Hours” and a range of other offerings meant to capitalize on an anticipated influx of guests in August and September. The early release of MNSSHP tickets likely played into that plan. Instead, the feared “crowdpocalypse” kept many Walt Disney World fans away who would normally visit during the late summer or early fall.
Fast-forward to 2021, when Disney After Hours Boo Bash was announced as a replacement for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party following a hiatus in 2020. That new event was unveiled as part of the “Halfway to Halloween” festivities on May 7, 2021. Tickets went on sale beginning June 8 for on-site resort guests and June 15 for the general public.
Disney After Hours Boo Bash was held on 23 select nights, starting August 10 and continuing through October 31 from 9 p.m. to midnight most nights (9:30 pm to 12:30 am on other evenings). This capacity-constrained event was fundamentally different from MNSSHP, and prices reflected that. Tickets started at $129 – $139 for August/September nights; $159 – $169 for October nights; and $199 for Halloween.
Last year, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party made its triumphant return. This was again announced during Walt Disney World’s “Halfway to Halloween,” but interestingly, the halfway point moved forward to April 28. Tickets went on sale beginning May 12 for on-site resort guests and May 18 for the general public.
Taking place on 37 select nights, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party set a new record for earliest start date and most event nights. It also returned to its standard schedule of hours from 7 p.m. to midnight, and was no longer capacity-constrained in the same was as After Hours Boo Bash.
As a result, ticket prices decreased on the low end as compared to Boo Bash, but were still a record high (by a wide margin) relative to MNSSHP in previous years. Ticket prices ranged from $109 to $199 in 2022, with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party event dates August 12, 16, 19, 23, 26, 30; September: 2, 5, 9, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27, 29, 30; and October: 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31.
As you can see from the range of release dates above, there’s very little consistency to when Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets go on sale each year. It has been as early as January and as late as May. Walt Disney World planners may bemoan this, as it makes planning difficult.
Just be glad you’re not Disneyland fans, as the Halloween party there has historically been announced much later each year. That actually brings up an important point, as the aforementioned inconsistency becomes much easier to reconcile when accounting for a major factor…
Anticipated demand goes a long way in explaining the release dates over the years, with a couple of notable exceptions. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party starts during the off-season, usually right as schools go back into session and crowd levels plummet. This has happened consistently and predictably at Walt Disney World in mid-August and September, and although some visitors may claim otherwise, this remains the slowest 2 month stretch of the entire year.
Consequently, Walt Disney World has often had a difficult time selling tickets to the event in August and September; it has been rare for those party nights to sell out. This is precisely why August and September always have significantly lower prices on average than October.
Circling back to 2019 during the dreaded “crowdpocalypse,” Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party did not sell out a single date in August that year. The majority of September was the same story, with no dates selling out prior to the September 27 party.
In total, a 13 nights of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party sold out that year, including a majority of the October dates. However, this is “only” 13 nights in retrospect, given how well the 2022 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is selling. At the time, 13 nights was unprecedented because it was higher than ever before.
In 2018, only 5 nights of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party sold out. That number was even lower in 2016, with 4 nights selling out. (This was despite fewer parties–the first year there were over 30 parties was 2017. That date total jumped from 26 in 2014 to 36 in 2019.)
You’d have to go all the way back to 2014 and 2015 to see higher numbers of sold out MNSSHP dates, when 11 nights sold out in each of those years. Prior to that, it was common for only a handful of nights to sell out each year. Halloween night was always one of them, even at higher prices. Conversely, earlier dates used to be priced around $50…and still didn’t sell out!
Fast-forward to last year, when over half of all Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party nights sold out by the morning after the first night the event was held. By September 11, every single date had sold out for advance online purchase. (It was quite common for same-day walk-up availability at Magic Kingdom, but that’s not altogether unprecedented.)
On the plus side, if you’re anxiously awaiting Walt Disney World to release 2023 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party dates and tickets because you’re worried about it selling out, don’t. Even with last year setting the record for sold out dates, nothing was gone until June 30. That’s when Halloween night sold out. It wasn’t until July 28 that the next date sold out, and no other nights running out of tickets until August. That all happened earlier than normal, too.
In other words, the 2023 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is not going to sell out within days of tickets going on sale. That applies to both the presale window and the general public window. Honestly, our expectation is that 2023 tickets will sell significantly slower than last year.
To that point, there are a lot of potential ways to explain why MNSSHP sold so well and quickly last year. Pent-up demand is a big one; both for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party as an event (that hadn’t been held since 2019!) and for Walt Disney World in general. Many fans had postponed fall trips for several years, dating back to 2019 when the feared “crowdpocalypse” caused many visitors to delay trips until 2020…and then cancel again.
There was also stimulus money, higher household savings, and a renewed emphasis on traveling or making up for lost time. Another underappreciated factor is the lack of new Annual Pass sales at the time, which means some locals likely purchased MNSSHP to get their Walt Disney World fix. (That’s a big contributor to Oogie Boogie Bash’s popularity at Disneyland Resort.) The lack of AP sales will soon be rectified, but it remains to be seen whether that’s an issue come party season.
With that said, the popularity of last year’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party should not be minimized as a relic of its time frame or an anomaly. Those parties sold out despite more of them, a significantly higher capacity cap than Boo Bash, and substantial price increases relative to the last Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party before that. Substantial Cast Members had also been ubiquitous in prior years to drive attendance (the holiday parties are particularly popular with College Program participants) and that was not the case last year.
In other words, there are explanations for the popularity of last year’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party that may not apply in 2023. However, it would be foolish to forecast significantly lower sales (or prices) as a result; there were many factors driving the popularity of MNSSHP last year, and at least some of those will once again be present in 2023.
The bottom line is that Walt Disney World is going to feel a much lower sense of urgency to release 2023 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party dates and tickets as a result of last year’s demand. Even if internal attendance forecasts are soft for late this summer and fall (and they probably are given discounting), the event should maintain its popularity. (Also worth noting that demand did drop unexpectedly starting last July–likely due to a spike in gas prices–and MNSSHP still sold incredibly well.)
Another wildcard is the potential return of Villains After Hours at Magic Kingdom. For those who are unfamiliar with this event, it was a hard ticket event After Hours at Magic Kingdom, but themed to villains. Enhancements included Villains Unite the Night stage show featuring Meg and Hades from Hercules, Maleficent the Dragon rolling down the parade route, and attraction overlays. This was actually a really solid “plussing” to the standard After Hours at Magic Kingdom, and we’ve been eagerly awaiting its return.
Villains After Hours was also not the first time that Walt Disney World has attempted a hard ticket summertime event. We’ve mentioned the Pirate & Princess Party many times before, including in our Top 10 Extinct Things Walt Disney World Should Bring Back. That event “failed,” but almost exclusively because it was held during the Great Recession at a time when the parks attracted many millions fewer guests per year than now. It would be a huge hit if revived in 2023! But I digress.
Back in 2019, Villains After Hours was announced in early April. Tickets didn’t go on sale until April 29, and were priced at $139 plus tax in advance or $144 plus tax on the event night (with $30 discounts for Annual Passholders and DVC Members. Villains After Hours was held on select nights June 6 through August 8, and returned again the following year for a brief run before the parks closed. It has not returned since, but its official webpage still exists. (Walt Disney World has purged most pages for extinct entertainment.)
The point is that if Villains After Hours were to return for Summer 2023, I suspect that it would be announced first and be given some time to “breathe.” Walt Disney World may not want to cannibalize ticket sales for that event with news of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, even if it’s common knowledge that MNSSHP will return for 2023.
With that said, I personally grow increasing skeptical that Walt Disney World will do a summer special event this year with each passing day that one isn’t announced. Perhaps staffing shortages for entertainment are to blame; maybe the company is confident that ticket sales for regular After Hours at Magic Kingdom will be strong; it could also be a matter of figuring out logistics for TRON Lightcycle Run (just do standby during these events!).
Ultimately, my expectation is that Walt Disney World does another “Halfway to Halloween” event at the end of this month or in early May 2023 and announces dates for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at that time. It’s difficult to get more specific than that for the date.
On the one hand, last year’s record-setting ticket sales likely reduce the sense of urgency to release 2023 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party dates and tickets. On the other hand, this year is already proving very different from last; more resort discounts have already been released, and they’ve come earlier and been better than historical norms. If there are internal concerns about softer numbers do to fizzling pent-up demand, it would behoove Disney to move faster and lock-in MNSSHP ticket sales ASAP.
No matter how or when the announcement is made, I’d further predict that tickets will go on sale a couple weeks after the announcement and once again be staggered for on-site and off-site guests to create a sense of urgency and perhaps demand for on-site accommodations.
This is all hardly a bold prognostication, as it’s more or less what has happened in the last two years. With that in mind, here’s my specific prediction: Walt Disney World announces dates, prices, and when tickets will go on sale for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party on May 2, 2023. That gives a bit of breathing room to the resumption of Annual Pass sales, allows for another After Hours announcement, and is close enough to the halfway point to Halloween. That’s just my guess, though–we’ll keep you posted when something is actually, officially announced.
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When do you think 2023 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party dates will be announced? Expect ticket sales to start the same day, or with a delay? Did you attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World last year? Planning on attending again this year, or were you part of the ‘pent-up demand’ crowd? What did you think of the ‘sold out’ crowds? Think it was worth the high ticket price? Thoughts on the Boo to You Parade, HalloWishes Fireworks, Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular, or any other entertainment? Any other tips, likes or dislikes? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!