Updated: Feb 16
As many of you know, our family loves the Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party! We go every year and plan our costumes months prior. The whole process is such a blast! Since we live in Orlando, it's easy to get to this event, but for out-of-town guests who aren't able to visit in the fall, there isn't a Halloween-esque costume-party alternative in the spring... enter Villains After Hours. This party takes place select nights from February - June 2020. I really wanted to check it out to see how it's similar and different from MNSSHP (Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party). In today's post I'm comparing and contrasting the Villain's event with MNSSHP in various event elements so you have an idea of what to expect and which event is best for your family.
(All of the photos in this post are from the Villains After Hours event for clarity)
- Villains ($150ish per person) is actually at a higher price point than MNSSHP ($130ish per person). The crowds were definitely lower at the Villains event, potentially due to the price point, or the fact that it's the new kid on the block when it comes to After Hour Events this year.
- Villains runs three hours in length, either from 9pm-midnight or 10pm-1am. MNSSHP runs for five hours from 7pm - midnight. I did feel like it was tight to fit everything into the three hour party but since it started late I don't think I would have lasted must longer if they extended it on the back end. With the Villains event starting so much later than the Halloween party, it would have been really hard for Tallulah to hang if she joined me (which she didn't this time). With the Halloween party being geared to families, there's a lot to do with your kids starting at 7pm while they're still wide awake :)
(TIP - your Villains ticket gets you into the park as early as 7pm. I recommend getting there early and shopping for any event merchandise you're interested in since your wristband will give you access to a roped off event merchandise area in the Emporium - it's a VIP style experience.)
Character Meet and Greets
- MNSSHP has some incredible and exclusive character meet and greets... like meeting all seven dwarfs at once, seeing Mickey and Minnie in their Halloween costumes, and meeting Jack and Sally. Unfortunately, Villains After Hours didn't have any character meet and greets. Hands down, this was the most negative feedback I heard from fellow party goers. If you're at a Villains event, it would be fun to meet the villains in person. The Villains event offered PhotoPass Magic Shots, but although having pictures with the characters superimposed is cool to look back at, you miss out on an entire interaction. As you know, our family is big on character interactions, so this was a bummer.
- Since I've gone to MNSSHP many times, I was expecting almost all of the food and beverage locations and snack carts to be open for the Villains event since that's how it is at Not So Scary. However, the Villains event only had one restaurant with a full menu, Casey's Corner. All of the other food and beverage locations that were open (minus Starbucks) had only the event specific food. So if you aren't into those 8ish items, you're out of luck.
One really nice thing about the Villains event is that there are free food and drink offerings available at every snack cart. Unlike the Not So Scary Halloween party where you have to purchase any food and drink you want to enjoy, at the Villains event, popcorn, Mickey Premium Bars, bottled soda and water, Mickey Ice Cream Sandwiches, and strawberry bars are included in your ticket price. This was a really nice surprise :)
- Seriously people watching may be one of my favorite things about Disney parties. People are so creative and these type of events let that creativity shine! There were some amazing costumes at the Villains event and I'm sure as it grows in popularity more people will dress up. The people that did went all out and it was amazing to see!! At MNSSHP there are SOOO many cool costumes! Family costumes, solo costumes, couples costumes, kids and baby costumes. It's so neat to see what people come up with it! Although as a family we like to do more cosplay style costumes for MNSSHP, I chose to do more of a Disney bound style for the Villains event since I didn't know what to expect and I attended solo. It was a good (and comfortable) choice for me. I call it... Casual Cruella :)
- This really is not a fair comparison... the Boo to You Parade at MNSSHP is my favorite parade of all time!! It is filled with amazing park elements like a Haunted Mansion section complete with grave diggers whose shovels spark as they drag them on the parade route, heroes in their Halloween costumes, villains doing their thing all with incredible dancer and floats scattered throughout. The Villains event has a five minute mini parade called Cursed Caravan, which although it's cool it's really hard to compare. Gaston starts it off on a massive Clydesdale which is pretty epic, and Cruella is driven by Horace and Jasper which is a really fun element. Also, the Queen of Hearts is a face character with a bunch of cards trailing behind her which is unique to this party and very visually appealing.
Both are fun parades for sure, but if you have a choice between the two, the Boo to You parade gets my vote for sure!
- Both the Villains event and Halloween party have unique villain focused stage shows with characters that you can't see anywhere else. They both are shows with some cool special effects! This category for both events is a tie for me.
(TIP - you can arrive 5 minutes early to the stage show at the Villains event and still get a great viewing spot. At Not-So-Scary you need to allow about 30 minutes prior to the event time to get to a decent spot.)
- At the Villains event, there isn't a specific fireworks show, but there are some great special effects and firework elements included in the stage show. At MNSSHP, there's a special fireworks show that you can only see at the event. They did change it recently to incorporate more castle projections than there were in previous years which is cool and different.
- The lines for the attractions at both parties were longer than I expected. They're definitely lesser than daytime lines but I was hoping the villains event lines were shorter than they were due to the price point and lower number of attendees at the Villains event than for MNSSHP. When you only have three hours for the full party waiting in a 15 minute or 30 minute line can really cut into the party time. If the Villains event had an extra hour or two I would have definitely hit up more attractions.
(TIP - there's a surprise farewell at the end of the night that's unannounced you won't want to miss at the Villains event. Some key villains get off of the parade route at Main Street Train Station and wish guests a villainous goodbye at the end of the night.)
All in all, for the money and overall experience, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is an infinitely better value in my book. Plus, you can see both heroes and villains at that event. If you're only in the area in the springtime, attending the Villains event would be a fun touch of Disney Halloween for your family. No matter which one you choose, I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time!
Is there a party at Disney that your family loves, or one that you can't wait to visit?