Six Flags and Universal join Disney in ‘early Halloween’

The pumpkins may wilt and Cruella De Vil may demand overtime pay, but Halloween is officially on at Disney’s  (DIS) – Get Free Report Magic Kingdom at Disney World.

That after the Orlando, Fla.-based entertainment company opened the lid on its annual Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party seasonal event on Aug. 11.

The event goes from 7 p.m. to midnight and lasts until Nov. 1. The Not-So-Scary Parties kick off after the park is officially closed, meaning Disney can cash in on to two separate admissions per day during its holiday season.

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Theme parks celebrate Halloween

It’s the earliest Halloween opening ever for Disney, and it’s a sign of the times with the big U.S. theme parks, as major competitors like Comcast’s  (CMCSA) – Get Free Report Universal Studios and Six Flags Entertainment  (SIX) – Get Free Report parks also roll out their Halloween festivities early this year.

“As part of the event, guests can look forward to event-exclusive entertainment, notorious Disney villains, and the Haunted Mansion graveyard gravediggers,” Disney said in a statement. 

Disney is hardly alone in capitalizing on the last days of summer to haul in cash for what used to be October-only theme park Halloween events. 

Universal Studios is opening its iconic Halloween Horror Nights on Sept. 1, just before Labor Day. That’s a week or two earlier than it’s done in the past.

Meanwhile, Six Flags is breaking out its Fright Fest event on Sept. 16, a full six weeks before Halloween and a week before the theme park giant usually cracks open its Halloween gear.

Theme park attendance is rising as the global pandemic fades away, with total visits to U.S. parks up 32% in 2022, according to Themed Entertainment Association. Disney’s Magic Kingdom Theme Park led the way, with visits up 35% from 2021 to 2022, TEA reported.

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Not So Scary sellouts

Even with rising attendance, you can’t blame Disney for opening its Halloween party earlier this year, as all six August “Not So Scary” dates are sold out, as are similar Halloween events dates for Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. starting in September.

Guests pay up to $149 to attend one of Disney’s Not-So-Scary Halloween parties in August and September. During October, top ticket prices rise to $199 each.

That means if you act early and don’t mind the heat, you can get your fair share of Disney scares for about 25% off of October ticket prices.

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