Disney World is, of course, a magical place every day. During holidays, though? Well, Disney World just does holidays right!
If you are able to plan a Disney World vacation in the fall and especially over Halloween, there are many special events and activities to make your trip spooky, festive, and fun. These are my Disney World Halloween must-do’s!
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
You know this one has to be on a Disney World Halloween must do’s list so let’s talk about Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party first. On select nights from August through October, Magic Kingdom closes early to day guests to host a special ticketed event – Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
There is always a party of Halloween night, of course, but this party will be the most crowded and you’ll miss out on Halloween festivities taking place elsewhere at Disney World. If your trip overlaps Halloween night, choose a party several nights before for the full Disney World Halloween experience.
Fireworks, a parade, castle stage show, attraction overlays, yummy treats, special entertainment, unique photo opportunities … this night is just full of Halloween fun. And beyond those headlining features, the Magic Kingdom is transformed with lights and sounds in a way that you’ll never see it any other time.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party officially lasts for five hours and there’s little chance you’ll be able to do and see everything the party has to offer, so here are a few of my favorites:
Boo-to-You Parade // The Halloween parade runs the same route as the daily daytime parade, but with an entirely different soundtrack, floats, and performers. And be prepared to have “Boo To You” stuck in your head for the rest of the night! You can catch this twice during the party. We watched the early parade from Liberty Square and then the second run from the Town Square train station balcony. This gave us a unique bird’s eye view and was conveniently right beside the park exit to make an easy party departure after the parade finished.
Cadaver Dans // Main Street’s Dapper Dans barbershop quartet moonlights as the Cadaver Dans on party nights. Catch them in Frontierland with a different set of spooky serenades. You will NOT be disappointed! In fact, Frontierland just has the best Halloween vibe and should be your go-to land at Magic Kingdom for feeling the holiday spirit!
Fireworks // The Not So Spooky Spectacular will be making its debut in 2019 so expect large crowds for its single showing on party nights. To escape the crowds AND enjoy the spookiest atmosphere, consider watching the fireworks from the bridges around Frontierland. No need to claim your spot early or bump elbows during the show. Just arrive at showtime and enjoy spectacular fireworks over the water with the Haunted Mansion in the distance. Such a perfect view!
Attraction Overlays // Several rides and attractions receive overlays on party nights. Don’t miss them since you can’t experience them this way any other time! My favorite is Space Mountain … entirely in the dark.
Costumes // You’ll have more fun if you dress up! Costumes are encouraged and people-watching is never better than on party nights. We dressed as characters from Up! and had a blast! Be sure to review Disney’s costume guidelines before creating your look.
Trick or Treating // Treat stations are marked through the Magic Kingdom where cast members fill your complimentary bags with candy. Lines are longest earlier in the party, so wait until the party is at least halfway over. Lines will be shorter and you won’t have to carry a heavy bag of chocolate all night long.
Fort Wilderness Decorated Campsites
No other Disney World resort celebrates Halloween quite like Fort Wilderness! You simply MUST stop by the Fort if you’re at Disney World in October. It’s just a relaxing boat ride away from the Magic Kingdom, so you can easily add some Fort Wilderness time to a Magic Kingdom day when you need a break from the park crowds.
Many campers decorate their campsites and there are some truly spectacular displays. Our favorites this particular year were large, detailed recreations of Pirates of the Caribbean scenes … with skeletons. Another campsite featured a graveyard for “Disney’s Past Haunts” of closed attractions. RIP Horizons!
Fort Wilderness is equally impressive during both day and night so consider visiting twice for entirely different experiences. During the day, renting bikes from the Bike Barn is a great way to cover more ground.
Fort Wilderness Golf Cart Parade
Yep, another Fort Wilderness recommendation! Halloween night trick or treating is for Fort Wilderness campers only, but definitely stop by the night before for fun activities that anyone can enjoy.
Golf carts are the primary mode of transportation within the Fort. Not only do Fort Wilderness campers create spectacular campsites, they also are impressive golf cart decorators!
The day before Halloween (… usually. Check the Fort Wilderness activity guide for the exact date and time each year), a golf cart parade and decorating competition takes place. Jurassic Park, Nightmare Before Christmas, Hollywood Tower Hotel … you’ll see so many creative and impressive carts pass by.
While you’re at Fort Wilderness for the golf cart parade, also check out the employee and guest pumpkin decorating contest. Again, these campers and cast members are just so darn creative and you can even participate by voting for the spookiest, funniest, and “most Disney” pumpkin.
I recommend combining your day-before-Halloween Fort Wilderness visit with after-dark campsite viewing. The golf cart parade will typically take place during the five o’clock hour so watch the parade, eat a delicious buffet dinner at Trail’s End while the sun sets, and then have a walk around a few nearby camping loops to check out the decorated sites after dark.
Trick or Treating at Resorts
Every resort will have special activities on Halloween night. This is one reason you don’t need to attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party ON Halloween. Enjoy the party on another night when resorts don’t have additional activities to expand your Halloween fun.
All resorts will have trick or treating trails on Halloween night. Dress up again and score some more candy! We were staying at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort on this Halloween so we met Daisy by the pool and followed the treat trail on Caribbean Cay.
Meet Special Characters
Disney characters dress up in rare costumes and meet at different locations on and around Halloween. Each resort will have at least one character meeting on Halloween night. We also ran into Chip and Dale in Fort Wilderness on October 30th after the golf cart parade. These are great opportunities to meet characters in adorable costumes with little to no wait.
Spider web cinnamon rolls at Magic Kingdom, apple cider donut holes at Animal Kingdom, and holiday cupcakes almost everywhere sweets are sold … there are plenty of Halloween-themed foods to enjoy all around Disney World.
Main Street USA
Outside of Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom, there are few fall decorations elsewhere in the parks. But Magic Kingdom looks great in the fall. From the train station to the castle, Town Square and Main Street are festooned with orange and yellow banners, and too many pumpkins to count. This is definitely the place to take your fall family photos!
Epcot International Food and Wine Festival
While not necessarily fall-themed, you simply can’t visit Disney World around Halloween and NOT partake in all the delishness going on at Epcot! The International Food and Wine Festival lasts from August through November. Stop by World Showcase to enjoy food from dozens of marketplaces, free concerts, and so much more!