Orlando theme parks are known for fun year-round, but they really turn up the excitement for holidays, especially Halloween. Whether you’re looking for wet-your-pants frights or more mild scares for the little ones, Orlando delivers. Walt Disney World offers good-natured fun at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, while it’s a full-on scarefest at Universal Studio’s Halloween Horror Nights.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
Neighborhood trick-or-treating has nothing on the Halloween fun offered at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando. Don your favorite princess dress, dress up as a love-to-hate villain or stick with something simple like a cat or witch – costumes are highly encouraged for all ages! Let your creativity go wild, just no masks or weapons as part of your costume. Don’t forget the trick-or-treat bags, as candy stations are scattered throughout the party. Disney even has teal chips for kids with allergies to get special allergy-friendly treats instead of candy.
Costumes, candy, characters – sounds like the perfect party already, but Disney takes it to the next level with fireworks, spectacular shows and not one, but two, parades. You can also enjoy character autographs and pictures with some of your favorite Disney characters, including many characters that only make an appearance this time of year. Some rides are also open, like Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain and Mad Tea Party, some with extra experiences just for Halloween. Many of the restaurants and food stands offer Halloween-themed specials like Hades nachos from Pecos Bill’s and Oogie Boogie Meringue from Gaston’s Tavern. Want to take home a souvenir from the fun? Many of the gift shops sell special Not So Scary Halloween Party merchandise.
Get your tickets!
Offered on October 23, 25, 26, 28, 30 and 31, the party starts at 7 p.m. and runs through midnight.
You’ll need a separate ticket to enjoy all the not-so-spooky fun – check out this Disney page for discount tickets for the Halloween party, as well as general admission to the park. Adult tickets are $105.44, while a child’s ticket (ages 3-9) costs $100.11.
To get the most out of your visit, decide ahead of time what character meet-and-greets, rides and attractions are must-dos and start with those. Consider watching just one of the parades and riding your favorite rides during the other parade time, when line waits are lower. It also pays to get to the park early, as Halloween party guests can often get in long before the party starts at 7 p.m.
Even if you don’t make it to Mickey’s Halloween party, you can still enjoy the magic of Halloween throughout Magic Kingdom. It’s decked out with giant pumpkins, spooky displays and Halloween-themed drink and food specials for all Disney guests to enjoy.
Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights
Consistently ranked as one of the best Halloween experiences in the world, Universal Studio Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights is sure to leave you with nightmares. It’s so scary, in fact, that it’s not recommended for children under the age of 13. The event takes place select nights September through November, running from 6:30 p.m. to 1 or 2 a.m., depending on the day.
It’s a popular event no matter what day you choose but gets extra crowded on the weekends and closer to Halloween.
Get the last tickets!
October 24-28, 31, November 1-3
Halloween Horror Nights is a separate ticketed event from regular theme park admission, so if you’re looking to do both, you’ll have to purchase two separate tickets. Undercover Tourist does not offer tickets for Halloween Horror Nights. You can purchase regular admission tickets from them, however, and put the extra dough you save toward Halloween Horror tickets. When purchased online on the Halloween Horror Nights website ahead of time, tickets for a single night start at $62.99 per person plus tax and multiple night tickets start at $106.99 per person plus tax.
Besides being scared out of your mind, what can you expect from Halloween Horror Nights? Hollywood-caliber scare actors, haunted houses straight from a horror movie set and scary shows that outshine many Vegas acts. You’ll scream your head off at special attractions based on your favorite horror shows such as Stranger Things, Poltergeist and Halloween. Watch your back in the numerous scare zones throughout the park, as costumed actors do their best to catch you off guard with some spook surprises. All that screaming have you starving? Don’t miss fun themed treats, drinks and dishes at the restaurants and food stands.
With so many attractions to visit, it may seem impossible to do it all in one night. To see as much as possible, get to the gates before they officially open at 6:30 p.m. – oftentimes, Universal will start letting people in as early as 5:30 p.m. You can also get early admission by staying at a Universal hotel property, such as Loews Portofino Bay Hotel and Universal’s Hard Rock Hotel. To really experience it all, it pays to go two nights or invest in an Express Pass.