Thursday, September 20, 2012

Considering the Hard Ticket Events

If you're visiting Walt Disney World in the fall/early winter months, you have probably heard about the different "hard ticket" events that are offered.

When reader Deann wrote on facebook asking for my opinion on going to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) with her 11 month old, I had to actually think about this.  Sadly, we haven't been to WDW in the fall since before our children were born (come to think about it, I'm not sure I've been in the fall since before I met my husband!), this hasn't been an option.

Let's start back at the beginning:
  • What are the hard ticket parties?
    • For an extra price, you buy a "hard ticket" for special entrance to a party.
    • The current parties are Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP).
    • From around $55-$75, depending on the date, you are allowed entrance to the park (Magic Kingdom only with the current parties) from 4p.m. through midnight, though the party starts at 7 p.m. (Again, children under 3 are free)
    • A limited number of tickets are sold and there are special activities, parades, characters, fireworks shows, and more just for these parties.
  • When are the offered?
    • Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party is on select nights in September and October, leading up to Halloween, and even one night in early November (November 2, 2012).
    • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is held on select dates in November and December
Based on the fact that Deann would have an 11 month in tow, I recommended skipping this party.  Why?  Because you are essentially paying about 80% for 2 adult tickets that may only cover a few hours beyond what a normal night would offer.  Maybe with an 11 month old, you can have them asleep or they are used to staying up late.  But, if you're like me and your little ones have an early bedtime, this might not be worth the risk!

With the special parades and shows starting after 8 (MNSSHP has 2 parades- 8:15 and 10:30) with the fireworks show taking place around 9:30, you're risking an overtired child with a late night and loud noises!

While I normally say "YES! THEY'RE FREE UNDER 3!!" This definitely doesn't apply to late night parties.  Even on a "Disney" schedule, when we're out several hours later some nights, staying out late enough to make this hard ticket price worth it is unlikely.  This is one case that I would recommend waiting until they're old enough to stay out until 11p.m. at least! 

I can't wait to experience this party.  I've heard from many sources that the Boo To You Parade at MNSSHP is the best parade at Walt Disney World. 

What are your experiences with the party?  Did you stay late enough to fully enjoy it?


  1. We took my son (only child at the time) when he was 28 months (and still free). It was completely worth it at that time. He was able to stay out late, he loved the parade (he went around the house singing "boo to you" for months), and he loved the trick-or-treating and fun costumes. He even dressed up and thought it was really fun. But I don't think I'd do much earlier than that because the ticket cost is so prohibitively high. I'd be afraid we'd wind up with a cranky baby and wind up going back to the room before "getting our money's worth." But really, as long as you know your baby's temperament and think they'd do well with it, then maybe it might be fun to go. Or maybe even wait to buy tickets until the day off (if earlier in the season) and see if your baby takes a nice, long, late nap that day facilitating a late night.

    1. What a great experience! I love them being free, but I know with my boys, we wouldn't last long enough to make it worth paying for just the 2 of us! Thanks for sharing your experience!

  2. We took our son at around 16 months. We had fun but he fell asleep DURING the fireworks and we had to leave right after. So my response would be if you are willing to spend the money for an hour or two go for it but otherwise wait until their older like Krystal mentioned above.

    1. 2 extra hours are not worth the price to me! Well, maybe with the military discount ;-) I think we'll be waiting!~

  3. This has been a hard topic for us! Our son will be 33 months at the time we go this fall for a 10 night stay at WDW. We have the availability to attend the MNSSHP but it is on the first full day we are there and I'm really scared that it will throw off the rest of the trip if we attend with all the ADRs and early mornings planned already, if we staying more then an hour or two before heading back to the room. I know that if the party was on the last night or two nights before the end of our trip, we would go but at the beginning of it just scares me with the idea that he will be all jacked up. I think we will all enjoy attending but that fear is holding us back (along with the additional cost of the hard ticket on top of staying on resort for 10 nights. Am I being over paranoid or realistic? We plan on going to WDW several times throughout his childhood so I keep trying to tell myself that we can always attend later even though I don't know if we will be back during this time of the year. What would you do if you were me? THANKS!

    1. It would definitely depend on your son! Mine are NOT good late - they are very routine-friendly children. We stay out late near the end of our trips, but the beginning days are usually fairly early (7 ish) nights. I would expect them to go maybe 2 hours later than usual - he'll still be free, so that's a definite plus.. but, do you think he would either fall asleep in a stroller to help you stay out late? Or, is he a late nighter as is? If you do decide to do it, especially on your first full day, I would definitely recommend a LONG early afternoon break. The pass will get you into the park at 4 p.m., so maybe start at 1 park, take a 2-3 hour nap break (hopefully he'll nap - if not, just relax!) and then head back at 4. With my kids - My current plan is to wait until they're probably 5-7 for the parties.