Walt Disney World has announced that costumed characters will appear as the Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus in the 2023 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This post shares the details, where you can see them, our past experience meeting them, and other assorted commentary.
For those of you who are fans of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP), you already know that the Sanderson Sisters are a staple of that event and have been for the last several years. During MNSSHP, the Sanderson Sisters unite for an adventure and call on their comrades to summon the ultimate Party Potion during the “Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular” stage show at Cinderella Castle.
This is a popular aspect of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, having debuted several years ago and still being the biggest “new” offering. It has somehow only gotten more popular over the years, as its source material becomes even more of a cult classic, and the show itself develops a similar fan-following. You can read more about that in our Guide to the 2023 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.
What Walt Disney World has announced now isn’t the face characters inspired by the actresses in Hocus Pocus. Those already appear on stage and the performers who play them do a remarkably good job–right down to the mannerisms and quirks. Those performers look, sound, and behave just like their counterparts in Hocus Pocus. (There’s absolutely no reason to believe this is replacing the stage show, either.)
Instead, Walt Disney World is introducing the Sanderson Sisters as Disney “fur characters.” This means that Minnie Mouse is dressed as Winifred Sanderson, Daisy Duck as Sarah Sanderson, and Clarabelle Cow as Mary Sanderson.
This version of the Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus will appear in Mickey’s Boo-To-You Parade during the 2023 Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
(Our assumption is that Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, and Clarabelle Cow will not appear in Boo to You as themselves as a result. That’s no big loss.)
This is great news, but it was kind of expected. Last year, Minnie, Daisy, and Clarabelle dressed as the Sanderson Sisters debuted during Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party at Disney California Adventure and Halloween on the High Seas for Disney Cruise Line.
Given that, they were a conspicuous omission from Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.
We met this version of the Sanderson Sisters at both Oogie Boogie Bash and Halloween on the High Seas. They were absolutely fantastic. Each embodies their respective character from Hocus Pocus, melding their own personalities with the Sanderson Sisters.
It was impossible to not get caught up in the excitement and energy of the experience. Seeing these characters cosplaying as the Sanderson Sisters and interacting with Hocus Pocus fans was an absolute hoot. Really impressive stuff.
When this meet & greet was first announced as coming to Disney Cruise Line, I thought it was a really clever idea–that whoever thought up the costume ideas deserved a promotion. Never did I imagine that the performers’ would overshadow their outfits. They truly cast a spell on guests!
I’m not kidding or exaggerating when calling this one of the best meet & greets that Disney has ever done. Sarah liked it even more than me, and was “energized” for about an hour after we met the Sanderson Sisters.
It’s a good thing these performers have great personalities and it’s fun to watch them interact with other guests, as the line was really long to meet them. During the party we attended, it peaked around 60 minutes and was 45 minutes later in the evening. (We waited in the sun during mix-in time and were done shortly after the event started.)
An hour might sound like a lot, but that’s actually far lower than the Jack and Sally meet & greet during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. That might sound great, and would seem to suggest that maybe the Sanderson Sisters aren’t actually that popular, and Jack Skellington reigns supreme.
Wrong. Hocus Pocus might as well be included along with a PSL in the Millennial Disney Fan’s Autumn Starter Pack.
It was really more about knowledge than anything else. Word hadn’t gotten out about the Sanderson Sisters, and their tucked away location kept demand down that first event. According to reader reports we received, the line only got worse over the course of the year.
If the Sanderson Sisters were to do a meet & greet at the 2023 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, the line would easily exceed two hours on average, surpassing Jack and Sally in the process. Oogie Boogie Bash is constantly refreshed, whereas MNSSHP is mostly the same year after year. As a result, repeat visitors have to make tough choices at Oogie Boogie Bash. By contrast, if there’s one new thing at MNSSHP, most fans are going to flock to it.
Personally, I’d rather have the Sanderson Sisters in Mickey’s Boo to You Parade where everyone can see and take photos with them. That’s better than “forcing” fans to wait in a 2+ hour line…and there’s nothing to say it wouldn’t be 4+ hours, either–two hours is simply the minimum; the sky’s the limit on the maximum!
Of course, I also say this as someone who has already met the Sanderson Sisters and has my own photo with them…and would really love some “fresh” Boo to You photos. So you character hunters can feel free to take my “biased” opinion with a grain of salt! 😉
There is a silver lining for fans who are hoping for new (or more returning) meet & greet characters, though. As discussed in our new Guide to Encanto at Walt Disney World, it’s likely that Bruno will appear at MNSSHP. While it’s possible that he’s another addition to the parade–I’d personally love to see an ominous Encanto float–my guess is that’ll be a new meet & greet.
Bruno would be another ‘import’ from Oogie Boogie Bash, and here’s hoping they don’t stop there. That Halloween party has a ton of great characters that never appear at Walt Disney World. It’d also be great to see MNSSHP redo all of its treat trails in the style of Oogie Boogie Bash, but that’s probably wishful thinking!
On a different note, if this were an announcement of something truly new coming to the 2023 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, I might speculate that ticket sales were low and Walt Disney World wanted to give fans a reason to return to the event. That very well might be the case, but I’m not inclined to speculate that it is, since the Sanderson Sisters were a smash success at DCA and DCL. It seems like a foregone conclusion that they’d end up at Magic Kingdom’s event, too.
With that said, it will be interesting to see what, if anything, else is announced for the 2023 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. There’s still a ton of time until the event itself starts, so I wouldn’t read anything into no dates being sold out by this point–none were last year, and sales ended up being unprecedented. But another month from now will be a different story, and Walt Disney World already knows how internal numbers are tracking as compared to last year. If they’re slow, we might see more additions like this.
Ultimately, we’re pleased to see Daisy, Clarabelle and Minnie Mouse as the Sanderson Sisters coming to the 2023 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This trio was fantastic at both Oogie Boogie Bash and Halloween on the High Seas, and we suspect that they’ll be huge hits and add a ton to Mickey’s Boo to You Parade.
Now that Minnie has moved to a different role, my hope is that Mickey Mouse follows suit. It is his parade, after all, and his presence currently feels like a bit of an afterthought. While I wouldn’t expect him to be dressed in a costume from Werewolf by Night or some other Halloween movie a la the Sanderson Sisters, it would be cool if he were more the centerpiece of his own parade.
Oh, and while we’re dreaming, how about characters and a float for Muppets Haunted Mansion? Walt Disney World might as well make it the ‘Season of the Muppets’ and offer something for Halloween in addition to the variety show during Disney Jollywood Nights. Now that would move event tickets!
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What do you think of Daisy, Clarabelle and Minnie Mouse costumed as the Sanderson Sisters joining Mickey’s Boo to You Parade? If you’re attending the 2023 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, are you planning to see this terrifying trio? Hoping that Bruno, the Muppets, or other characters join the meet & greet lineup? Any questions? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!