June 20, 2024

Disney Parks ‘Halfway to Halloween’ Predictions

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Halfway to Halloween 2024 is almost here! Walt Disney World and Disneyland will soon celebrate spook season's answer to Christmas in July with another week of announcements, hauntingly helpful planning advice, and other fun things.




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Halfway to Halloween 2024 is almost here! Walt Disney World and Disneyland will soon celebrate spook season’s answer to Christmas in July with another week of announcements, hauntingly helpful planning advice, and other fun things. This post covers what to expect, plus our predictions about what’ll be announced.

For starters, we should probably discuss when you should expect Halfway to Halloween to happen in the first place. Hopefully it’ll happen next week (starting May 6, 2024), which is a line we’ve been muttering to ourselves every Friday for the last few weeks. Honestly, we thought it would’ve been sometime in the last month. The second half of April would have been consistent with past precedent, or this week at the latest. Obviously, that did not happen.

There are likely a couple of reasons for that. The first is the elephant in the room, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, which still does not have an official opening date. Its debut was moved forward to Summer 2024, which was exciting news…but it’s been radio silence from Walt Disney World since. We’re starting to worry that the new ride is having ‘hiccups’ during its late stages of test and adjust, or just that there isn’t enough certainty to set a date.

It’s also our belief that Walt Disney World is going to debut more alongside Tiana’s Bayou Adventure as part of its Summer 2024 marketing push to entice guests to plan trips. Already, we know that CommuniCore Hall and Plaza and the “¡Celebración Encanto!” sing-along debut on June 10, 2024.

That same date, additions for Inside Out 2 and Lion King’s 30th Anniversary arrive at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, respectively. Prior to that, there’s the “Disney Dreams that Soar” drone show at Disney Springs. But we expect Tiana’s Bayou Adventure and possibly more to debut after this, in late June or July 2024.

Given that Walt Disney World still hasn’t shared the full summer slate, it’s possible that they don’t want to get ahead of themselves and start talking Halloween (which actually starts in late summer). Personally, I’m skeptical of this being the explanation. Walt Disney World already announced dates & details for the 2024 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival, which is post-summer.

I think potential Walt Disney World guests are either making summer or fall travel plans; the former group is mostly families with school aged kids who can’t choose between the two seasons. Some people are waiting for the TBA date to set dates within the summer season, not to pick between early July and early September. My guess is that the opening date for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is a non-factor; merely coincidental.

More likely, the delay in Halfway to Halloween is occurring for some other reason. The most obvious possibility would be a lack of sense of urgency. For each of the last few years, the hard ticket Halloween parties at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland have sold out every single night. If the internal expectation is that happens again, Disney simply does not need as much runway for ticket sales.

I think this is probably the explanation. In the past, Disney released tickets early when there were fears of a slowdown (2019 is a prime example–they dropped in mid-January due to fears about an attendance lull before Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened), and Disneyland always releases their party tickets later because they inevitably sell out.

It’s also possible that there’s a good reason for the delay, as Disney hasn’t firmed up all details about the upcoming Halloween season. Maybe there’s new entertainment or the Haunted Mansion Holiday opening date is not yet known. I’m also skeptical of this explanation, as that could be sidestepped by simply omitting those details. The best explanation is that Disney wants to get closer to Halloween for Halfway to Halloween.

Anyway, this is the fourth year Disney Parks is doing #HalfwaytoHalloween, and the notion of it being ‘halfway’ to Halloween makes us chuckle just a little bit. Don’t get me wrong–I love Halloween and love any excuse to celebrate holidays prematurely. But being a Walt Disney World regular sorta means having a warped sense of seasons.

For normal Americans, Halloween presumably starts when the air gets crisp, the leaves begin changing, and summer is firmly in the rearview mirror. Maybe around mid-September or even early October. For us, Halloween starts the first week of August. This is still very much summer–the hottest, most humid month and heart of storm season. We’re usually “over” Halloween by the time it starts for most normal people, ready to move on to Christmas.

Nevertheless, I’m excited to find out what the Halloween 2024 season is going to entail at Walt Disney World and Disneyland, and am looking forward to the Halfway to Halloween announcements. I know a lot of you are, too, as we’ve been getting a lot of questions about the Halloween parties and more.

Okay, predictions time. The whole reason this post exists in the first place, as I want to make a few guesses as to what’ll be revealed…

August 9 Start for MNSSHP – It feels pretty safe to predict that this year’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party will start on August 9, 2024. That’s the Friday of the first full week of August, and that’s typically when it starts (last year kicked off on August 11). There is a vague possibility August 9 is deemed “too early” or, conversely, that Walt Disney World wants to squeeze in another date of the event and starts earlier that week.

Personally, I hope this prediction is wrong. August 9 is the start of D23 Expo, and I still haven’t perfected the technology to be in two places at once. If forced to choose between the events, I’ll have to go with D23 Expo. That would mean missing opening night of MNSSHP for the first time since maybe 2015 or 2016? I don’t even remember, that’s how long it’s been!

Part of me is holding out a sliver of hope that Disney won’t want to double-book big events on the same weekend, but I don’t think that actually matters. That’s especially true if there’s nothing new (of import) at the 2024 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.

Oogie Boogie Bash in August – In the past, Halfway to Halloween has largely been ignored by Disneyland Resort–it’s been a Walt Disney World-centric celebration. Disneyland has basically just released dates and maybe new character costumes. So we’re not necessarily expecting any major, substantive details from Disneyland about the Halloween season or Oogie Boogie Bash. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that Disneyland is starting to see pent-up demand exhaust itself and is acting with a greater sense of urgency to keep people coming to the parks. Hence the unprecedented New Disneyland Summer & Early Fall 2024 Ticket Deal for ALL Guests, which will include the first month of the Halloween season.

There’s also the fact that Disney released the Full 2024 Calendar of Events at Disneyland, which includes Halloween Time at Disneyland starting on August 23, 2024. This is the first time ever that Halloween has ever kicked off in August at Disneyland. Halloween is essentially arriving two weeks early with the August 23, 2024 start date.

Because that calendar was released late last year and Disneyland worrying about a drop-off in crowds, I think we could see a bit more of a Disneyland presence during Halfway to Halloween. It’s within the realm of possibility that Disneyland will release dates for Oogie Boogie Bash during Halfway to Halloween. I wouldn’t necessarily bet on every single date or when ticket sales will start, but the date range for the parties would make sense. Something like “Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party will return on [start date] and be held on select nights through [end date].”

My hope is that we also get a number of parties. With an August start date, we’d expect to see ~5 dates added to the 2024 Oogie Boogie Bash schedule. Last year, the hard ticket event was held on 25 select nights in September and October. This year, it’s likely there will be at least 30 nights of Oogie Boogie Bash in August, September and October 2024. It wouldn’t surprise us if there are as many as 33 parties. That would be huge for spreading out demand and ensuring that the party doesn’t sell out immediately with a lot of would-be ticket purchasers coming up empty. Speaking of which…

All Dates Sell Out – This isn’t really a Halfway to Halloween prediction, as it’s not like Disney is going to call their shot and announce that all dates of the hard tickets event will sell out. But that might be interesting from a marketing perspective! Nevertheless, we’re addressing it because it’s a common question.

Every single date of Oogie Boogie Bash ever has sold out. Last year, this happened both during AP presales and on the first day tickets went on sale to the general public. Even with more dates in August, I would still bet both on all nights selling out and it happening on day one of sales. Last year’s Oogie Boogie Bash probably could’ve sold double or triple the number of tickets that were available, and there’s no reason to believe that changes in 2024.

This is true even as pent-up demand continues to burn out. That’s in large part because these hard ticket parties are popular with locals, many of whom are ex-Annual Passholders who buy tickets to get their occasional “Disney fix.” It’s also true because, as noted above, demand has far exceeded ticket supply for the last few years. So if pent-up demand has led to an around 10% drop, but Disney could’ve sold double or triple the number of these tickets last year…well, you do the math.

There’s a lot less demand with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, even though both 2022 and 2023 sold out the entire season. Although the last two years set the record for sold out dates, nothing has been gone until June 30 at the earliest. That’s when Halloween night sold out in 2022. Last year, Halloween night sold out on July 3. In both of the last two years, no other dates sold out until the end of July.

That’s a grand total of 2 parties each year selling out before the start of August. With that said, there is usually a “run” on dates selling out between the beginning of August and the first event. By then, as many as half of all nights have been selling out. Last year, the dates that sold fastest (aside from Halloween) were the cheapest nights.

In other words, the 2024 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. Whether 2024 tickets sell slower or faster than last year largely depends on whether any new entertainment is added. Even then, we’re looking at dates selling out in July and August, not immediately.

New Character Costumes – For each of the last few Halloween and Christmas seasons, Mickey & Friends have been getting new costumes each year for their meet & greet appearances around Town Square at Disneyland. These are a huge hit with fans, and the costumes are usually really good for Mickey, Minnie, Daisy & Donald Duck–and especially Goofy.

I’d expect this trend to continue for Halloween 2024, especially if there’s no other new entertainment at Disneyland for the spook season. It’s an easy way to get guests coming back and to hype up the Halloween season. It’s been so successful that I wonder whether the same will happen at DCA. (Here’s hoping that Goofy’s Kitchen gets another costume update for Halloween, too.)

As fun as this is, I’d be surprised if Walt Disney World follows Disneyland’s lead when it comes to daytime character costumes at Magic Kingdom. I do think it would make sense for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party–and would even be a good way to get guests over to Animal Kingdom–so here’s hoping this trend also spreads to Florida in some form!

Nothing (Big) New for MNSSHP – There are three pieces of tentpole entertainment during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. First is the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular! stage show featuring the 3 sinister sisters bewitch and villainous residents of Magic Kingdom. Next, the Mickey’s Boo to You Halloween Parade, featuring frightfully fun floats and characters. Finally, Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular—a wickedly wild fireworks display highlighted by characters and hosted by Jack Skellington.

Boo to You Parade is the oldest of those offerings, but it’s beloved. It got a refresh last year that breathed a bit of new life into it, but I could still see another new parade unit and characters added. I wouldn’t consider that “big.” Then there’s the Hocus Pocus stage show, which is now like a decade old but has a huge fan-following. Disney’s attitude there has gotta be don’t fix what isn’t broken.

That leaves Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular, which is only a few years old and by far the weakest link. Jack Skellington is awesome, but the rest of the show is uneven. Fans would go crazy if Disney brought back HalloWishes but modernized it and included Jack Skellington. That’s probably a pipe dream until MNSSHP stops selling out so quickly and an incentive is needed to lure back fans. As such, I don’t expect any major changes for the 2024 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.

$109 to $199 MNSSHP Ticket Price Range (Again) – For the last three years, Disney has flirted with breaking the $200 barrier for the Halloween Party, but the maximum all three years has been $199. I think they could probably exceed that price (especially for Halloween night), still sell out, and face minimal backlash (beyond what already exists), but I doubt they will.

Last year, ticket prices once again ranged from $109 to $199, but there was a greater distribution of dates at the higher end of the spectrum–meaning the average ticket price increased by nearly $10. That’s what we’d expect to see happen again–more dates on the higher end of the spectrum and fewer cheaper dates. It’s also possible that Walt Disney World will eliminate AP and DVC discounts as a way of boosting the average per-ticket cost without actually raising sticker price.

Or, who knows, maybe they’ll do all of that and raise the range. Every night sold out last year even as pent-up demand fizzled out, so clearly Walt Disney World has some room to raise prices without negatively impacting sales.

Ultimately, those are some of my predictions for the Halloween season at Walt Disney World, not necessarily what’ll be announced during Halfway to Halloween. Disney could start with vague details, like the name of the event, date range, and a line indicating it’ll feature “spooky festivities including entertainment, characters, special performances, décor, lighting, music, treat stops, and so much more!”

It’s also likely we’ll get more details about Disney Cruise Line’s Halloween on the High Seas and some of the international parks’ plans for Halloween. Stay tuned, we’ll keep you posted about what’s announced–and what isn’t!

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

YOUR THOUGHTS

Now that I’ve made my Halfway to Halloween predictions…what are yours? Think Walt Disney World will start MNSSHP on August 9, 2024? What about Oogie Boogie Bash beginning early? Thoughts on pricing or changes for 2024? Think any of this will NOT be announced? Will your family be buying or sitting the Halloween hard ticket events out? Are you excited for spook season at WDW, DLR, or DCL? Do you agree or disagree with our perspective on this? 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!




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