Disney After Hours BOO BASH - short waits, but short on entertainment

Aug 11, 2021 in "Disney After Hours BOO BASH"

Disney After Hours BOO BASH opening night
Posted: Wednesday August 11, 2021 11:27am ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Ticketed events are back at Walt Disney World for the first time since the parks reopened from the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020 with the start of Disney After Hours BOO BASH at the Magic Kingdom.

The first of 28 nights took place last night, and we were there to check it out and let you know the pros and cons of Disney After Hours BOO BASH. For a quick look at the experience, watch the video below (YouTube 4K version).

If you have been to a previous Disney After Hours event, you will be pleased to hear that the crowds are just as low as you remember, and wait times for attractions are as short as you will likely ever find.

With last night's event starting at 9:30pm, day guests were rapidly being escorted out of the park by the human wall of Cast Members advancing along Main Street towards the exit.

As the event started, lingering day guests were contained to Main Street, and by 10pm, the area was limited to event guests only.

The walkways around the park were quiet, and at times areas were nearly empty.

Wait times at the attractions hovered around the walk-on to the 10-minute mark, and this is perhaps the most significant selling point of any After Hours event, particularly at the Magic Kingdom.

Trick or Treat Stations had minimal waits, and the candy was in plentiful supply. A station in Liberty Square had numerous options to accommodate most cases for anyone with allergy needs (see the list of allergy friendly treats).

Snack kiosks throughout the park offer free soda, water, Mickey Bar, Ice Cream Sandwich, Strawberry Ice, and popcorn.

Entertainment comes in the form of 4 cavalcades, which are mostly small sections of the former Mickey's Boo-To-You parade, and the same as those seen during regular park hours in 2020. Each cavalcade is performed twice during the 3 hour event.

Over at the Haunted Mansion, Carlotta is joined by the butler for an amusing exchange with guests, complete with great lighting and fog effects on the mansion.

Cadaver Dans perform from the balcony in Frontierland, and a DJ Dance Party takes place in Tomorrowland.

Before the COVID-19 shutdown, Disney After Hours was priced around $130. BOO BASH begins at $130 but climbs to a much higher $170 to $199 as dates get closer to Haloween.

The original Disney After Hours offered low wait times, included snacks, no entertainment, and was aimed at those guests who wanted to experience the majority of the Magic Kingdom in one night with almost no waits. It worked and frequently sold out - and became a popular and well-rated experience for those who took part.

The more comparable event to Disney After Hours BOO BASH is Disney Villains After Hours from 2019/2020, priced around $140, or as low as $115 for pass holders. It included the "Villains Unite the Night" stage show, Maleficent appearance, and the same snacks and low wait times.

Then, there is Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, which BOO BASH replaces for 2021. This is where the new offering starts to hit some snags and becomes a less engaging experience.

For around half the price of BOO BASH, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party was packed with entertainment. There was so much entertainment that guests could easily spend their entire night just watching the special Halloween fireworks, the top-notch Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular stage show, the hugely popular Mickey's Boo To You Halloween parade, and visiting countless character meet and greets.

BOO BASH has no Halloween fireworks, no parade, no stage show, and minimal "distanced" character appearances. The only other entertainment offerings are the cavalcades, the same as those offered during regular park hours in 2020, the Cadaver Dans, and the very entertaining ghosts outside the Haunted Mansion.

As always, the performers are excellent, but the BOO BASH event entertainment feels like a heavily cutdown version of Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. And in reality, it is. The costumes, music, and floats are all reused. It is hard to watch a cavalcade when you know what Disney can really do. The cavalcades had their place in July 2020 when the parks reopened, and social distancing was a priority. But now, their use in place of full parades feels like cost-cutting and lack of effort.

Of course, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party had its problems. Massive overcrowding on the parade route and hub made viewing the entertainment a challenge, and attraction wait times could be lengthy.

It seems to us that the ideal Disney Halloween experience falls somewhere between BOO BASH and Not-So-Scary. For the asking price of BOO BASH, particularly during October, it should include the same low crowds but have a stage show, full parade, and fireworks. It may be wishful thinking, but we think guests would love that experience and feel the high admission price is justified.

So who is going to get the most out of Disney After Hours BOO BASH? We think it works best for those whose primary purpose is to experience rides with no wait, with a hint of Halloween thrown in. For anyone looking for a Halloween experience packed with entertainment that so many guests became accustomed to during Not-So-Scary, it will likely disappoint. Go in with the expectation of it not being a party. You will probably enjoy the experience more than those reminiscing about Not-So-Scary and all the missing entertainment.

Click the gallery to see more pictures of the 2021 Disney After Hours BOO BASH from the Magic Kingdom.

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Animaniac93-98Nov 09, 2021

They're going to charge more no matter what they do. They could drop the Halloween cavalcades and still end up charging an extra $25/person if they thought they could get away with it. As outrageous as the price is for Very Merriest, I think paying $150 or so for what was basically Evening EMH was a bigger rip off.

MisterPenguinNov 09, 2021

Merriest certainly cost more.

Animaniac93-98Nov 09, 2021

There's no defending Boo Bash 2021 after tonight. Very Merriest is clearly a real party, despite the After Hours branding. If they do Boo Bash again it needs to be much better. There should be no holiday double-standard.

G00fyDadNov 08, 2021

Thank you for the "lightning" fast response. :) We just changed our dates to October 14th-20th next year and we want to do the MNSSHP but maybe not Boo Bash.

monothingieNov 08, 2021

I would bet that the new price point is a permanent replacement. You can't have More Magic and More Di$ney without $.

wdwmagicNov 08, 2021


G00fyDadNov 08, 2021

Has it been determined that this will be a permanent replacement for MNSSHP?

ne4nowOct 20, 2021

Exactly what we said! No genie reservations, no lightning lanes. Come in late, maybe grab a bite or catch a show, watch fireworks and then just be able to walk around and ride the rides and the parks without the huge crowds. Could make even more $ if they went "adult" after fireworks and started selling cocktails in the parks. Unfortunately I got hit for the park pass w/ hopper and then additional for boo bash this time.

MisterPenguinOct 20, 2021

If WDW did this for each park taking turns... I'd probably wouldn't buy any day tickets for most of my trip... maybe one day-ticket with a hopper to catch some shows that don't show at night. Sleep in. Catch all the long-line rides with almost no wait in the cool of the night. Yeah... I'm in.

ne4nowOct 20, 2021

Went last friday night 10/15. It was much more crowded than we expected but not over-crowded. Longer than expected lines for included snacks/beverages for the 1st hour then you could walk right up. Our group of 9 was able to ride Space mountain (twice), astro orbiter, Buzz's Star command, Prates of the Carib, Big Thunder Mountain, Splash mountain & the Haunted Mansion. All while stopping at the Trick or Treat spots that didnt have long lines (some did). The 2 cavalcades were few & far between and if there was anything at the castle we missed it. Other than the normal fall decorations there was nothing extra done. Pros: Short waits and some "free snacks" Cons: A lot Extra $$$, should run later, needs more theming (castle & main street projections would be good) & more cavalcades. The longest wait was the bus ride back to our resort (just over an hour) because they are running a lot of coach buses that have no standing and cant move as many people. I think I would like it if WDW did something like this every night at a different park - perhaps discounted for resort guests. We are night owls and would gladly pay for lower crowd level evenings. Stay at the resorts for the day then head to the parks. Imagine a relaxing WDW vacation...

Tony the TiggerOct 18, 2021

As long as it’s not “Come Sail Away.” Now, we can talk “Mr. Roboto!”

wdwmagicOct 18, 2021

If only WDW has thousands of entertainment CMs waiting to return to their roles that could provide some proper entertainment. Oh hang on..

Chi84Oct 18, 2021

If only there were such a thing . . .

dreday3Oct 18, 2021

....why, nothing screams Halloween like a good Styx song...🤣