Disney Parks Holidays

Is Disney After Hours Boo Bash Worth Your Time & Money?

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Last Updated on August 18, 2021 by Allyson

On Aug. 10, I attended the first Disney After Hours Boo Bash at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.

When this event was first announced in place of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP), there was a lot of criticism surrounding it for many reasons.

I have always had an open mind about Boo Bash. Initially, it sounded like a great idea and I thought it was worth the price before even attending. Though, I do agree it’s no MNSSHP.

Based on the current climate and all of the planning that goes into these types of events (and during an ongoing pandemic, especially when you’re also trying to get ready for a massive 50th anniversary celebration), an After Hours event seemed to be the perfect compromise.

But now that I’ve actually tried Boo Bash, what do I think? Is it worth your time and money? Let’s get to it!

First, let’s go over the logistics of an After Hours event and what you can expect from Boo Bash 2021.

Dates, Tickets, & Pricing

disney after hours boo bash magic kingdom

The event kicked off on Aug. 10 and runs on select nights through Oct. 31, 2021.

The following Boo Bash festivities run from 9:30 p.m. to 12 30 a.m.

  • Tuesday, Aug. 10
  • Tuesday, Aug. 17
  • Friday, Aug. 20
  • Tuesday, Aug. 24
  • Friday, Aug. 27
  • Tuesday, Aug. 31
  • Friday, Sept. 3
  • Sunday, Sept. 5

The following Boo Bash events run from 9 p.m. to midnight.

  • Tuesday, Sept. 7
  • Friday, Sept. 10
  • Sunday, Sept. 12
  • Tuesday, Sept. 14
  • Friday, Sept. 17
  • Sunday, Sept. 19
  • Tuesday, Sept. 21
  • Friday, Sept. 24
  • Tuesday, Oct. 5
  • Friday, Oct. 8
  • Sunday, Oct. 10
  • Tuesday, Oct. 12
  • Friday, Oct.15
  • Sunday, Oct. 17
  • Tuesday, Oct.19
  • Friday, Oct. 22
  • Sunday, Oct. 24
  • Tuesday, Oct. 26
  • Friday, Oct. 29
  • Sunday, Oct. 31

Valid theme park admission and a park reservation are not required to attend. All you need is a Boo Bash ticket.

Boo Bash ticket holders can get into Magic Kingdom as early as 7 p.m. on the valid date of their ticket.

Tickets range from $129 to $199 per adult or child (plus tax), depending on when you attend. Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members receive a $10 discount on events in August and September.

You can purchase tickets online (only select dates remain available). They are nontransferable and nonrefundable.

Wristband Distribution

disney after hours boo bash wristband

Remember, you don’t need valid theme park admission and a park reservation, but you do need a Boo Bash ticket.

This also means, Boo Bash ticket holders can get into Magic Kingdom as early as 7 p.m. on the valid date of their ticket.

At 7 p.m. (even sometimes 15 minutes beforehand), you’ll receive an After Hours wristband from Cast Members.

disney after hours boo bash wristband distribution

You can either get a wristband at the front of the park entrance (you’ll see signs) or there are two designated locations inside Magic Kingdom (for those who have valid admission and a park reservation):

  • Tortuga Tavern in Adventureland
  • Entrance into Tomorrowland

Once the park officially closes, every other guest must leave the park, while After Hours attendees enjoy the festivities.

What’s Included

halloween lighting in tomorrowland at magic kingdom

From character cavalcades, to treat stops, to low crowds, to exclusive snacks, to complimentary popcorn, ice cream, and beverages, there are several perks included in your ticket price.

Keep in mind the following times may be different for the event you attend. This particular schedule is from the Aug. 10 event, which started at 9:30 p.m.

Make sure to check the Boo Bash guide you receive upon check-in for entertainment times and other information.

Character Cavalcades

mickey and minnie halloween cavalcade

Mickey’s Happy Halloween Cavalcade 

  • Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Pluto, and other friends
  • 9:55 p.m. — begins and ends in Frontierland
  • 11:25 p.m. — begins in Frontierland and ends on Main Street

Disney Villains Halloween Cavalcade

  • Disney villains, including Queen of Hearts, Cruella de Vil, Captain Hook, Bowler Hat Guy, Jafar, Dr. Facilier, and Evil Queen
  • 10:30 p.m. and 11:45 p.m. — begins in Frontierland and ends on Main Street

Jack’s Nightmare Cavalcade

  • Jack Skellington, Sally, Oogie Boogie
  • 10:40 p.m. and 11:55 p.m. — begins in Frontierland and ends on Main Street

Maleficent’s Fiery Prowl

  • Maleficent dragon from Festival of Fantasy parade
  • 10:50 p.m. and 12:05 p.m. —begins in Frontierland and ends on Main Street

Other Entertainment

cadaver dans at magic kingdom

The Cadaver Dans Barbershop Quartet

  • The Dapper Dans, aka “The Cadaver Dans,” perform haunting melodies in between Frontier Mercantile and Country Bear Jamboree in Frontierland
  • 9:40 p.m., 10:20 p.m, 11:05 p.m., 12:10 a.m.

DJ Dance Party

  • Dance and listen to a DJ at the Rockettower Plaza Stage in Tomorrowland
  • Constant from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

Character Interactions

chip and dale at disney after hours boo bash

There are only a select number of characters out and about in costume, so keep those eyes peeled.

  • Crystal Palace Patio: Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore
  • Adventureland (stage across from Pirates): Pirate Goofy
  • Frontierland (in between Frontier Mercantile and Country Bear Jamboree): Chip ‘n’ Dale
  • Haunted Mansion (outside in grassy area in front of attraction): Miss Carlotta, Madame Renatta, Broome the Butler
  • Pinocchio Village Haus (front balcony): Foulfellow and Gideon

Disney PhotoPass

magic kingdom halloween magic shot

There are several spots to have your photo taken by a Disney PhotoPass Photographer. This is also where you can get Magic Shots, meaning spook-tacular magic will be added to images.

  • Town Square Flag Pole
  • Main Street (between Casey’s Corner and Plaza Ice Cream Parlor)
  • Near Sleepy Hollow in Liberty Square
  • Near Haunted Mansion (outside Columbia Harbour House)
  • Near Pinocchio Village Haus
  • Towards Merchant of Venus in Tomorrowland

Warning: On Aug. 10, these were the longest lines. If you want a PhotoPass shot, I recommend getting in line early or hopping in line at the end of the evening.

Trick-or-Treat Stops

trick or treat stop at disney after hours boo bash

There are different locations throughout the park for guests to collect candy and also allergy-friendly options — for free!

You will receive a candy/allergy-friendly bag during wristband distribution.

Candy Locations

  • Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room (Adventureland)
  • Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe (Frontierland)
  • Near Splash Mountain (Frontierland)
  • Ariel’s Grotto (Fantasyland)
  • Pinocchio Village Haus (Fantasyland)
  • Pete’s Silly Sideshow (Storybook Circus)
  • Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café (Tomorrowland)
  • Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor (Tomorrowland)

Allergy-Friendly Location

There is only one allergy-friendly center. You can find it in Liberty Square next to Sleepy Hollow. (There’s usually even one inside Chamber of Commerce on Main Street at the end of the night.)

Complimentary Snacks & Beverages

disney popcorn and water at magic kingdom

You can eat and drink all of the popcorn, ice cream products (like Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bars), and bottled beverages all you want throughout the night.

You’ll find these goodies at different snack carts, so pay attention!

Don’t be scared off by lines. They move fast, since you don’t have to pay and items are handed to you.

Exclusive Treats

disney after hours boo bash funnel cake

The following treats are exclusively offered during Boo Bash — and you must pay an additional price for them.

  • Main Street snack cart (in the hub near Cinderella Castle): Maleficent Churro ($7.00) — Churro covered in chocolate cookie crumble drizzled with purple icing topped with green and purple sugar
  • Golden Oak Outpost (in Frontierland across from Pecos Bill): Apple Ginger Dale Frozen Drink ($5.99) — Frozen apple cider mixed with ginger ale topped with whipped cream and chopped TWIX cookies bars
  • Golden Oak Outpost (in Frontierland across from Pecos Bill): Mocha Chip Frozen Drink — Frozen mocha topped with whipped cream, chocolate chips, and a sugar acorn
  • Sleepy Hollow (Liberty Square): Foolish Mortal Funnel Cake ($7.99) — Funnel cake topped with chocolate cookie crumbles, purple vanilla ice cream, caramel drizzle, and M&M’s milk chocolate Ghoul’s Mix
  • Storybook Treats (near Prince Charming Regal Carrousel): Five Dozen Egg Frozen Drink ($5.99) — Frozen custard with brown sugar topped with whipped cream garnished with a cinnamon stick
  • Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies (in Tomorrowland): Prince John Sucker Frozen Drink ($5.99) — Tart green apple lemonade slush topped with whipped cream and a ring pop

Main Street Bakery (aka Starbucks) is also open, with the full menu available. You can also order from the Joffrey’s stand in Tomorrowland.

Full disclosure: I didn’t try any of the special offerings. Thank you to WDW Prep School for letting me take a photo of their funnel cake. They have a great guide to Boo Bash that you should check out as well.

Costumes

disney blogger magic-ally main street at magic kingdom for halloween

Adults and kids are allowed to wear costumes. Children younger than 14 are only permitted to wear costume masks and appropriate face coverings are still required in all indoor locations.

Attractions

pirates of the caribbean during halloween at magic kingdom

These are the only attractions not available during Boo Bash:

  • Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room (trick-or-treat stop)
  • The Hall of Presidents
  • Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor (trick-or-treat stop)
  • Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
  • Liberty Square Riverboat
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Tom Sawyer Island

What I Liked

low crowds disney after hours boo bash

There are several pros to an After Hours event, but here’s what I liked about Boo Bash.

  • Character cavalcades (and if you play your cards right, you can see them twice)
  • Low crowds and short wait times (with many attractions you can simply walk on and ride multiple times)
  • Free unlimited candy, bottled beverages, ice cream, and popcorn
  • Cooler temperatures compared to hot summer days
  • Unique characters
  • Wear costumes
  • Can enjoy your part of your day by sleeping in, having a pool day, hanging at the resort, relaxing, or whatever else you choose to do
  • Allowed to enter Magic Kingdom two hours prior to event, meaning you get to see the current nighttime spectacular (Happily Ever After ends on Sept. 29 and Disney Enchantment begins Oct. 1)

What I Didn’t Like

haunted mansion disney after hours boo bash

As many pros as there are, there are several cons.

  • Characters were hard to spot (really wish they would’ve been on a set schedule like the cavalcades and Cadaver Dans)
  • Too short (should’ve been at least an hour longer, like Disney Very Merriest After Hours, to really maximize your time)
  • PhotoPass and exclusive Boo Bash treat lines were long, with the former being the longest all night
  • No exclusive Boo Bash merchandise (you can find Halloween merch at Emporium on Main Street and Star Traders in Tomorrowland and Haunted Mansion items at Memento Mori in Liberty Square)
  • Haunted Mansion area can get super crowded, making it difficult to see the characters and navigate

Is It Worth Your Time & Money?

cinderella castle red lighting at disney after hours boo bash

I’ve always heard that After Hours events are better than buying a day theme park ticket and that you get more bang for your buck.

This was my first time attending an After Hours, so do I think it’s worth your time and money?

If I’m being honest, this event is hard to evaluate, because, as my friend @willtalkdisney put it, “It’s trying to be two things at once and for the price tag, it’s hard to say it’s worth it.”

First of all, yes, it’s pricey. There’s no denying that one bit.

Compared to MNSSHP pricing, it’s much more. Why? You’re paying for shorter wait times, free snacks, lower crowds, and, of course, the Halloween theme.

Could Disney just run the Halloween cavalcades during the day like they did last year? Obviously, but let’s remember that Halloween has never been available to day guests. You’ve always had to pay to experience both Halloween and Christmas at Magic Kingdom.

trick or treat stop during boo bash

That said, Boo Bash was fun! I love the Halloween cavalcades.

Though, wouldn’t it be nice if they ran more unique cavalcades for this event instead of the same ones that were made available to everyone last year? Maybe the latter ones could even run during the day?

Whatever the case, these tickets are a lot of money for only 3 hours.

And you have to keep in mind that not all events cost the same. I paid the cheapest amount for the first event, whereas closer to Halloween the more expensive the events get.

It’s hard for me to say definitively if it’s worth your time and money, especially because it depends on what you want and are willing to spend.

If you’re looking for low wait times and to eat as much Disney popcorn as you want for free, then this event is probably for you.

mickey's premium ice cream sandwich boo bash

Now, for those of us who have attended MNSSHP, it’s hard to not compare the two, but we have to keep in mind they are two very different events. Boo Bash probably isn’t for you if you’re wanting it be on the same level as MNSSHP.

Remember, After Hours events are centered around giving guests the chance to hop on rides with low wait times, which is seriously great (even more so now without FastPass+).

If you’re looking for a combination of both Halloween and to be able to take advantage of low waits, Boo Bash should be right up your alley.

If I had to rate Boo Bash, I would give it a 6 out of 10. It’s not horrible, but it’s also not fantastic.

I might feel differently if Boo Bash was an hour or so longer. I just wanted more time to be able to do it all. I felt rushed and overwhelmed at times to make sure I experienced everything. But, that’s impossible, just like it is with MNSSHP.

mickey pumpkin on main street at magic kingdom

If this was an After Hours without a theme that focused strictly on rides and snacks (with somewhat of a cheaper price tag), then I think it’d really be worth your time and money.

But, then again, you’re not paying for a typical After Hours event, but one that has a little extra spookiness.

I don’t want to discourage you, especially if you’ve already bought tickets. Like, I said, it’s fun! You can’t beat Halloween at Magic Kingdom. I’m simply trying to be honest.

All that said, Boo Bash might be a good choice for those who are worried about the pandemic and want to avoid crowds, especially with the upcoming 50th anniversary where it will likely be more crowded.

Overall, Boo Bash gives you the chance to enjoy the parks with minimal guests and a Halloween vibe. They are both nice perks.

You Need To Maximize Your Time

tomorrowland dance party boo bash

If you are attending or decide to snag tickets last minute, it’s important that you maximize your time. Three hours isn’t enough to see and do everything.

You need to go in with a game plan and decide what matters to you most. For me? I prioritized the Halloween exclusives over the rides.

Since I’m lucky enough to visit Magic Kingdom often, I wasn’t worried about riding too many attractions.

And seeing as you have to pay extra this year to experience most of the Halloween festivities at Disney World (just like in past years for MNSSHP), I wanted to make sure I enjoyed as much as I could.

If you want a good combination of rides and Halloween, going in with an idea of what you want to achieve is a must.

Here are just a few tips that will hopefully help you get your moneys worth:

+ If you have valid admission and a theme park reservation, go before the 7 p.m. check-in to ride what you can.

+ Skip the nighttime spectacular to hop on rides. Usually, wait times are much lower during fireworks, so you may be able to ride a lot before Boo Bash even begins.

+ Eat dinner beforehand. There aren’t Quick or Table Service spots open for meals, so make sure you’re not walking in hungry.

+ If you choose to watch the nighttime castle show, you can get on rides immediately following the end of the nighttime spectacular. You don’t have to wait until 9 p.m. or 9:30 p.m. All you have to do is show your After Hours wristband for entry.

+ Check cavalcade times, because you should be able see one right after the other. This is much easier than trying to catch cavalcades between rides.

disney after hours boo bash guide

+ Watch cavalcades from Frontierland, where they begin. This means you don’t have to wait until they get to Main Street. Plus, you’ll be able to catch the Cadaver Dans and Chip ‘n’ Dale in between.

+ Skip the dance party in Tomorrowland (it’s not worth it).

+ Hit up trick-or-treat trails and snack carts for free food and drinks as you see them (lines move relatively fast).

+ PhotoPass lines were the longest waits of the night — and they don’t move super quick. If you want a Magic Shot, have your photo taken first thing or hop in line at the very end of the night.

+ Chip ‘n’ Dale, Haunted Mansion characters, and Winnie the Pooh and friends are the easiest characters to spot.

+ Don’t shop for Halloween merchandise during the event, especially since it’s not exclusive to Boo Bash (shopping can be extremely busy in the midst of an After Hours; go before the event begins).

What did I accomplish?

I saw all of the cavalcades twice, watched the Cadaver Dans a couple times, waved to Chip ‘n’ Dale more than once, caught Broome the Butler and Madame Renatta, had a Mickey ice cream sandwich, checked out the dance party, and rode Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain, Haunted Mansion, and PeopleMover.

I really wanted to see more characters, especially Pirate Goofy, and take several Magic Shots, but, alas.

Other Ways To Enjoy Halloween

Minnie's Halloween Dine at Hollywood Studios

If Boo Bash isn’t your thing (and you don’t want to spend all that money), there are several other ways you can enjoy Halloween across Disney World.

There are themed-treats across Disney World. Be sure to check out the Halloween Foodie Guide shared by the Disney Parks Blog.

All guests get to see the Halloween decorations at Magic Kingdom for the duration of the season. Plus, there are fun PhotoPass photos and themed-Magic Shots to take during regular park hours with the fall decor.

Oh, and don’t forget the Halloween merchandise!

You may even want to book a dining reservation for Minnie’s Halloween Dine at Hollywood & Vine in Hollywood Studios, where you get to meet Minnie and friends in Halloween costumes.

These unprecedented times have impacted holiday celebrations across Disney World. But, it won’t be like this forever. One day, I believe we will see the return of the holiday fun many of us are used to.

Until then, Boo Bash it is.

Did you attend the Halloween-themed After Hours? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

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