A lot has changed at Disney World since the reopening — character cavalcades have replaced parades, socially distanced character interactions have replaced traditional character meet and greets, and nighttime fireworks and shows have been temporarily suspended.
Some special events, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, were also canceled last year. But, things have already been changing again in 2021 — there’s increased vaccine distribution, changing mask rules, and more. That has left us wondering…what might happen this year with Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party?
As we mentioned, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party was canceled last year, as were other ticketed events like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Typically, guests at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party would have had the chance to dress up in their costumes, go trick-or-treating, see special stage shows, watch the Not-So-Spooky Spectacular fireworks show, and check out the fun Boo-To-You Parade, among other things.
But, last year, parades, fireworks, and many shows were suspended due to the situation with the pandemic. Specifically, due to social distancing concerns, Disney World decided to “temporarily suspend its parks, fireworks, and other events that create crowds.”
When Disney canceled the Not-So-Scary Halloween Party it said, “we determined that many of its hallmarks – stage shows, parades and fireworks – are unable to take place in this new, unprecedented environment. With that in mind, we have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.”
Instead, last year guests were allowed to dress up in their Halloween costumes during the regular park operating hours. There were also special treats all over the park that were available throughout the entire day for guests to buy, and guests got to enjoy many of the songs and same characters from the Boo-To-You parade through the character cavalcades.
But, there was no trick-or-treating, no Halloween party merchandise (except the one rouge item we found at a discount store!!), and no special stage shows. Some other aspects of the Halloween Party were also absent last year.
So what’s the status of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party this year? Well, a lot of things have already changed in Disney World (and the world generally) since last October. And we know that a lot will continue to change at Disney World, so we’re going to run through what we know so far and how it might impact whether or not Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party makes its spooky return in 2021.
Park Capacity and Crowds
Park capacity in October 2020 was at 25%, but just a month later, Disney CEO Bob Chapek confirmed that capacity had increased to 35%. There hasn’t been a capacity increase since then — at least from what we know. During a February Earnings Call, Chapek noted that the number of vaccinations received by the public will determine any future decisions to increase capacity.
According to President Joe Biden, the U.S. could have enough vaccines for every adult by May. Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has previously indicated that 70 to 85% of American adults could be vaccinated by the end of the summer and that the U.S. could have some normalcy by fall. Could that all happen in time for Halloween? It’s possible.
The CDC has recently issued some updated guidance regarding what “fully vaccinated” individuals can do — including visiting other fully vaccinated individuals without a mask or social distancing. But, for the time being, the CDC has still said that vaccinated individuals should take precautions in public, like wearing a well-fitted mask, social distancing, avoiding crowds, avoiding poorly ventilated areas, and more. They’ve also said that they should still avoid medium and large in-person gatherings.
It is possible that these recommendations will change as vaccination levels increase in the U.S. If we do reach a high level of vaccinations in the United States, and a sense of normalcy can return in the fall, that could impact the Halloween Party.
This could mean we’ll see an increase in the capacity of the parks, as well as the addition of some of the activities and events that were canceled last year, including Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. It will likely depend on vaccination levels, COVID-19 infection rates, and whether events that could potentially create crowds like fireworks, parades, and the like — which are hallmarks of the Halloween Party and a big reason why Disney stated it couldn’t take place last year — are allowed to safely return. It’s possible that Disney will also bring back some of these events with stricter social distancing measures like in Tokyo Disneyland.
Disney could also decide to bring back the Halloween Party without some of these signature events and perhaps only do special cavalcades, skip on the shows and fireworks, and provide pre-packaged candy bags to guests to promote distancing. The question would then become, will people be willing to pay for it?
Another thing Disney will have to consider is if guests are willing to buy tickets to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. We’ve already started to see some signs indicating that demand and crowds are returning to Disney World — spring break is already looking like it might be pretty busy!
But, earlier this year we did see some days with VERY low crowds. Still, if some of the big crowds we’ve seen recently are any indication, it could mean that more people are willing to return to Disney World. But, are those people willing to buy a separate ticket for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party? It’s certainly possible.
We’re already seeing extended hours for spring break (meaning the parks will actually be open after dark on some days, which previously sometimes wasn’t the case). So after-dark events like the party might be something guests not just want, but demand, and they might be willing to pay for it.
The event that was recently announced for Disney California Adventure Park might also be an indication. With this event, guests can purchase a $75 ticket (which includes a $25 food card) to enter Disney California Adventure Park to walk around, see characters from a distance, eat at the restaurants, and shop. No rides would be open, no parades have been announced, and no fireworks are set to take place. Tickets for this event already sold out.
Now, the situation is different there as the Disneyland theme parks have been closed since March so the demand for ANY access to those places is likely high with locals who used to frequent the parks. But, it could also show that guests are willing to pay to visit the parks for special, ticketed events — even if they don’t have ALL of the things they’re used to.
Halloween Horror Nights
The most telling indication that Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party could return this year lies with Universal Florida.
Although Universal Studios Resort canceled its own special ticketed Halloween event, Halloween Horror Nights, last year, the resort recently announced that Halloween Horror Nights will be BACK in 2021! The event will run on select nights from September 3rd through October 31st.
So does this mean that it’s likely Disney will soon make a similar announcement for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party? Well, we can’t say for sure, but we think it’s likely something Disney is considering. There are a LOT of factors at play here, but with Disney celebrating its 50th anniversary this year (and into 2023), it seems like the Company would likely want to start bringing back these events, provided they think they can do so safely and if they feel there’s enough demand there.
Tickets for the 2020 Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (which was, of course, canceled) went on sale in late February. So we are a little behind on dates and tickets being released if we’re basing things on early 2020. At this time, the Not-So-Scary website page simply says “Scare Up a Good Time at This Frightfully Fun Event.”
Of course, we won’t know if we will be not so scaring it up for sure until Disney announces something. And when they do, we’ll let you know! Do you think the event will return this year? Let us know your thoughts!
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Would you be interested in attending Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party this year? Let us know in the comments!