Food allergies and Halloween have never really been the best of friends. Sure, there are places and times where they have been able to work out a compromise and things ultimately go well. However, for the most part, history has proven their relationship to be frustrating and the one who actually loses out ~ is the child caught in the middle. Fortunately, Walt Disney World has found a way to take food allergies into consideration when planning out the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Now when Guests who have food allergies (or dietary restrictions) attend the special ticketed event, they, too, can receive just as many pixie-dusted treats as anyone else and walk away feeling like they were a part of the action.
I was invited to attend a Disney-sponsored media event as the guest of Angie from Disney Parents. All opinions in this post, however, are 100% authentic and mine alone. This post does contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure policy for more information.
Food Allergies at Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World has proven over and over again that they desire to give every Guest the chance to experience something magical. We have been witnesses to this year after year and are grateful for their dedication to food allergy families who come to visit the Resort.
When it comes to the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, the implementation of the teal token system is pure gold. Or should I say pure “pixie dust?” Where once a child with food allergies would suffer loss to another child’s sugar gain, these kids now have the opportunity to receive just as much pixie dust as the princess, prince or superhero next to them.
Knowing how important food allergy awareness and management are to me, my friend, Angie, invited me and Logan to join her and her own son to a Disney-sponsored evening at the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Whoo-hoo! I honestly cannot tell you how excited and grateful we were to be invited and how eager we were to have the opportunity to experience this firsthand. Over the last year or two, we have heard great things from other food allergy friends about the handling of food allergies at this party, but nothing would be able to beat being there ourselves.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
As a quick overview, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a special ticketed event held at Magic Kingdom during the months of August, September and October. This year’s party kicked off on August 17th (I know ~ that’s early!) and takes place on selected nights all the way through October 31st. Tickets for the event do vary in price depending upon the da of the week, how close you are to Halloween and any memberships you may have (DVC, Annual Passholders). The price of the ticket includes late afternoon park entrance until midnight, all the candy you can eat and multiple unique and exclusive entertainment opportunities throughout the evening.
Arriving To The Party
Logan and I arrived early, as is our tradition, but we didn’t meet up with our friends until just before the party. To pass the time, the two of us simply did the Resort Monorail Loop and hung out at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa for a bit. Once our friends did arrive, we met up to obtain our tickets, hopped back on the monorail over to the park and joined the festivities.
As we walked through the train station archway and into the Town Square Center hub, can you guess the first thing I did?
Yup! SNAP PHOTOS!!
We’re talking pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere!! I loved it! They always do such a fabulous job decorating Magic Kingdom around this time of year.
Introducing Something New
Next, Angie and her son introduced us to something we knew existed at Magic Kingdom, but haven’t yet explored. Have you done Sorcerers of the Kingdom?
Sorcerers of the Kingdom is an interactive scavenger hunt Guests can play around the park. The first time you play, you pick up your “key,” map and a set of spell cards at the Town Square Firehouse on Main Street. Once you have your “key” and first set of cards, a Cast Member teaches you how to go from magic portal to magic portal, unlocking them in order to defeat Disney villains. There is a lot more to it, but this was our first time. I’m sure we will learn as we go along.
PARTY TIP: Over by the Town Square Firehouse, there should be a Cast Member handing out a special “party-exclusive” spell card. We were encouraged to use it during the party to see what it does. Don’t forget to pick this up! Also – as long as you play the game once during each visit to Magic Kingdom, you can collect a new set of spell cards the next time you go.
Going Through the Gates
At that point, we were ready to walk through the Party entrance, which is located to the right of the first hub. While Main Street U.S.A. is still open, the intent is to drive the non-party population down and out via that route.
Once Guests pass through the big Disney gates, there are several more photo opportunities for you to embrace! You can snap selfies of your family with Disney statues or visit one of the PhotoPass photographers standing by waiting to help you capture some of those moments.
I love these statues at the entrance! Don’t you?
As you move on down the way, there is a ginormous inflatable archway that welcomes you into the party. This is where Cast Members hand Guests their initial empty treat bag to begin collecting their loot. This year’s bags have The Incredibles logo on one side and Ralph Breaks the Internet on the other.
Not even a minute after we had even the slightest grip on our first bags, other Cast Members began to hand us our very first bag of candy for the evening.
Yes – I said “us.” Adults are kids, too, at Walt Disney World. There is no judgement here. Grab a bag and enjoy the fun. Besides, I was collecting for my other son…..(cough, cough).
A Special Food Allergy Bag
Now, for those with food allergies (which you know is our big deal), there is a different bag given that will visually notify Cast Members throughout the park that they need to take note. These very specially designed bags are primarily teal, which is the official color for Food Allergy Awareness.
Let the Trick or Treating Begin!!
Okay – bags in hand. We were ready! Logan took out his map to start scouting out treat locations while my friend Angie began to share with us wisdom from her previous experience. We had an entire evening of fun ahead of us.
So – here’s the set-up. All around the park, there are giant inflatable, illuminated markers that denote a candy location. In total, I believe there were about fourteen locations throughout the park where trick or treaters can collect their loot. There is a clear-cut entrance and a clear-cut exit o each treat depot. The system works very well. For Guests without food allergies, this means stand in line (which didn’t seem to be that long that night for us), approach the Cast Member standing next to a barrel full of sweet treats, open your bag and let them toss in a handful of goodies.
Let me be clear…
We’re not talking the one or two pieces of candy we normally see being handed out by neighbors on Halloween. No, my dear ~ we’re talking HUGE handfuls!!! HUGE. Name brand, too!!!
NOW ~ for those with food allergies – it may be important to manage the expectations early, especially for the littles. While some with food allergies may be able to have certain selections from the candy barrel (i.e. those that may not have any of the top eight or cross contamination issues), most (like my son) will only get a teal token from the Cast Member. It’s okay, though. Don’t fret. I’m going to share how those teal coins turn into tons of candy and treats in just a few minutes.
Pro-Tip: If you see that the Cast Member located at the front of the treat location is wearing a teal apron, they should have teal tokens to hand out. This does not mean you are done with that location. It just means you collect the coin they give you and then walk through the line to get another from the one at the candy barrel.
It’s okay….it’s allowed. This is Disney.
Let’s take a quick detour for a moment.
Before I get into how to redeem those tokens and make your princesses, pirates and superheroes smile, I wanted to talk about the rest of the park and the other happenings around the party.
Let’s talk attractions!
Most of the attractions are still opened during the event (Tom Sawyer Island is not). The benefits on a night like this are shorter lines and shorter wait times!! There are a few, like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which may still have 30-45 minute wait times, but most are a lot shorter. We had no problem getting onto the attractions we selected.
There are also a few that are thematically enhanced for the party. Pirates of the Caribbean, Mad Tea Party and Space Mountain are among those that received temporary makeovers to accentuate the Guests’ experience.
There were a few quick services options still operating during the party, such as Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn & Cafe. Boy – was that place busy!!! However, others, like Pinocchio Village Haus, were closed and used as treat locations.
Of course, as is typical with every Disney Parks special event, there are very special treats available for purchase in designated locations. I have to admit that we did not even think about searching these out. For one, Logan could not have them and, two, we just didn’t have the time! There was too much fun to be had!!
When it comes to a Disney Parks event, of course there is going to be a spectacular array of entertainment! Why should a Halloween party be any different?
The Mickey’s “Boo-To-You” Halloween Parade is a masquerade of costumed Disney Characters that starts off in Frontierland and ends near the Harmony Barber Shop and Town Square Fire Station. We placed ourselves right near the parade entrance, thanks to some friends, and enjoyed the gallop of the Headless Horseman and the serenade of various Disney Villains.
There are a few dance parties happening around the park, as well. Guests can get their groove on in either Tomorrowland or Fantasyland and dance the night away with either Mike Wazowski or the Disney Junior Characters.
Guests can also meet with various Disney Characters, some of whom only come out on nights like this. The map will show designated locations and which Character can be found there. Of course, keep an eye out! We saw several Disney Villains roaming the park. The problem here is that you have to be quick and catch them. They do not and will not stay in one place for very long. Good luck! (We missed several of these opportunities because we just were not fast enough).
Fireworks – OF COURSE!! During the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Happily Ever After is replaced by Happy Hallowishes Fireworks. Above the skies of Cinderella Castle, “delightful frights fill the night” with a hauntingly colorful display.
And who can forget the dear Sanderson Sisters? Disney’s “Hocus Pocus” comes to life on stage when the trio and a variety of other Disney Villains take center stage for a wickedly fun celebration. Everybody I know who has attended this event has loved watching the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular!
But seriously…let’s get back to the candy!
Okay….detour over. Let’s talk about how to turn those teal coins into golden opportunities. Shall we?
While there are fourteen treat locations located around Magic Kingdom, there are only two places where you can redeem those teal tokens for allergy-safe treats. One can be found in Liberty Square and the other in Town Square Theater.
When ready (and I’ll share why I said “when ready” in a minute), Guests can simply take the tokens they have collected and visit one of these locations. When it’s your turn, the Cast Member will ask what food allergies you have, show you a laminated sheet that lists their allergy-safe options (disclaimers included) and then proceed to prepare you a brand new bag of individually-selected safe treats to take with you.
#1 – Complete one half of the park (the left side, for instance) and then visit the redemption center at Liberty Square. Then, complete the second half (or rest) of the park and redeem the remainder of your tokens at Town Square Theater.
#2 – Visit the redemption locations multiple times, but only exchanging a portion of the tokens you receive the each time. Go back an hour later to redeem more….etc. While both locations have the exact same loot, it’s fun to visit both locations.
Personally, we did option number one this time around. In the end, Logan left with TWO HUGE bags of allergy-safe candy and treats! Thank you to Enjoy Life, Surf Sweets, Smarties, Free2b, GoGo Squeez and YumEarth for providing such an amazing variety of options!!
NOTE: If treats are not your thing and your little one cannot consume any of what is there – or you just feel safer with them not receiving food, they can trade in their tokens for non-food related items. Of course, they can probably do a mix, as well.
With a heart full of sugar and gratitude…
We cannot thank Disney Parks enough for creating such a unique and amazing system that allows kids who normally cannot participate in Halloween festivities an opportunity to feel “normal” and “included.” While I may never be a huge fan of having tons of candy or sweet treats in my house, I will always be grateful and appreciative of those who go out of their way to “get it.” Food allergies are a life-threatening situation. One deadly bite could change not one life, but many. I know I’m not alone in being grateful that an organization such as Walt Disney World does what it can to accommodate those who have the daily struggle to manage food allergies.
So…yes. Thank you, Disney Parks. You gave my son a chance to celebrate Halloween just like every other kid.
My Final Thoughts…
- Pick up your teal treat bag.
- Collect tokens at each, any and every treat location.
- Redeem tokens at either of the two locations listed above for allergy-friendly treat options.
- DO NOT WAIT until the end of the night ~ the lines may increase exponentially.
Go in with a game plan – manage your expectations – and ENJOY the evening. Do more than just collect candy because this is a unique event that provides multiple opportunities to make forever memories with your family. Study the guide, know which characters you want to meet. Familiarize yourself with the treat locations and redemption centers. I do believe that if you follow the Pro-Tips above, you have the potential to walk away from the party having had an extremely magical and spooktacular night.
PS: The above post is written from our personal experience at the party. I cannot guarantee that your evening will be the same. Cast Members are people, too, and have bad days. There are also occasions where certain items may run empty. Please find a way to enjoy your evening, be grateful, be kind and make magical memories.
PPS: Please also remember that I am not a medical expert. You are responsible for making a clear-cut, well-informed decision whether or not a food item is safe enough for you or your family member with food allergies to consume. Speak up, be clear about the severity of your allergies and be confident in your own decision. Happy and Safe Trick-or-Treating!
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