Is HHN28 Slicing a Chunk Out of MNSSHP’s Market?

A rumor came into the HHNU Office this week that might point to HHN taking more of a market share in the night-time entertainment offerings of the Central Florida theme parks.  Namely, that HHN is attracting more people to their event who would otherwise had gone to Disney’s night-time hard ticketed event ‘Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween’ Parties.

The evidence for this is scarce as the parks don’t formally report attendance for these night-time parties but if you dig around enough there is another evidence to show that HHN must be experiencing huge attendance bumps whereas Disney might just be doing the same or less business than last year.

mickeys-not-so-scary-halloween-party-34
Your prices are scary Disney but that’s all!

MNSSHP has sold out twice this season with October 4 and 31.  Whereas last year one date in September sold out as early as August and then a further five nights sold out throughout October.  This was on top off alleged reports that Disney might have increased the number of tickets they were offering to the public.

So why is this year possibly quieter for Disney?  If we take the MNSSHP event as the reason, we can say that not much is exactly new at the now 20+ years old event. The Boo-to-You Parade, Hallowishes and Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular have all been around for a few years now and have hardly been updated in this time.  And whereas the candy has improved, the merchandise is slightly better (maybe?) and they’ve added actors into the Pirates ride (Note: the actors aren’t scary or funny so what is their point?), these are all still not massive jumps forward but one item that has significant increased in this time and that’s the price!  The price in 2014 was $62 + tax, whereas now it is $126.74 for a Saturday night, the price has virtually doubled in cost in the space of only a few years but we can hardly say the entertainment and offerings have increased by double!

A new take on the Party by our pal Derek Burgan…

Comparing the Florida MNSSSHP to the Californian version at Disneyland is hard as the Californian version has special experiences that run all day for the daytime guests too, namely: The Nightmare Before Christmas overlay at The Haunted Mansion or the terrifying Halloween redo of Space Mountain with Ghost Galaxy – all of which are missing in Florida.  And then if to save further costs it appears Disney is quietly dropping the ‘Not-So-Scary’ portion of the name by now sharing the marketing budget with Disneyland’s event and calling it simply ‘Mickey’s Halloween Party’.  Changing the name just to save money on marketing is very ‘poor show’. Disney marketing trying to be ‘scary’…

Ticket windows outside Epcot right now:

But it’s not all Disney’s fault!  HHN28 is AWESOME and if you include the show and all the scarezones, there’s 16 brand new attractions for you to enjoy.  And whereas Disney has more than doubled the cost of their event tickets in 3 years, HHN has increased between $10 to £28 (depends on the ticket), which is merely inflationary at best.  And there’s more houses now than ever before!

Then there’s Stranger Things.  The hit genre defying Netflix original series that is a hit with all age ranges and appeals to wider demographic than say just the Halloween franchise.  This alone will be bringing in people from all different age groups and fandoms that perhaps had never tried HHN before.  And whereas houses like Dead Exposure and Seeds of Extinction are genuinely terrifying experiences, other offerings such as the Killer Klowns scarezone and the Academy of Villains are downright fun experiences. Combine these with the open rides and there’s more than enough for younger people or people who don’t want to be ‘scared witless’ to do.

And the final piece of evidence is overwhelming, in that for the first time in my knowledge, HHN has been selling out on select nights.  Universal doesn’t need to restrict attendance numbers in order for people to have fun or experience the rides; people aren’t there to ride Transformers!  Whereas at Disney they do, as having shorter lines for the rides at the Magic Kingdom was one of the big draws for many people in attending MNSSHP.  So for HHN to sell-out on select nights, basing that on day-time attendance limits, shows that HHN28 must not only being doing record business for Universal but they must also be taking a huge slice out of Disney’s night-time market too!  Add in the extra nights that have been added to the HHN calendar and it all adds up!

The new normal for HHN…?

What are your experiences with HHN and MNSSHP?  Let us know in the comments!

Cover photo by Meg

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