Review: Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular fireworks show is fun but has room for improvement

Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular is the new fireworks show that anchors the festivities during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom. Replacing the old HalloWishes spectacular and debuting after Disney hit Happily Ever After out of the park, the show carried some high expectations.

Does Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular live up to the hype? How does it compare to other Magic Kingdom fireworks shows? It’s a bit of a mixed bag.

Let’s start with the positives.

Starting at the beginning, a fantastic Jack Skellington puppet acts as host and is a great sight to see on the stage in front of Cinderella Castle. The puppet is quite convincing and makes you wonder what Disney could pull off with similar ideas in future shows.

The projections used on Cinderella Castle throughout the show are as impressive as any we have seen so far. Though some may say Disney is leaning too far into projections with their nighttime shows, they’re still doing them exceptionally well.

A castle made of candy.

Time to talk about the real star of the show – the fireworks. The variety of fireworks won’t leave you disappointed. Disney did a great job of combining unique shells to help tell the story. Our favorite example was a burst of fireworks for Oogie Boogie that created a swarm of dragonflies in the sky. Just awesome.

Unfortunately, there’s some areas of the show that felt a bit off.

The story behind a fireworks show may not be the main selling point that draws guests in, but we still feel it’s an important factor that shouldn’t be overlooked. Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular has a story that’s disjointed at best and quite confusing at worst.

Quickly summarized, Jack Skellington tells the story of Mickey and pals finding a haunted house. They’re drawn into this house by Zero, Jack’s dog, and what ensues is a collection of different experiences found as they travel through the various rooms. Villains eventually pop up as they tend to do and Zero helps lead everyone to safety and is applauded as the hero. But didn’t Zero get everyone into this mess in the first place? The encounters in the rooms themselves could have been tied together a bit better.

Maybe we’re reading too far into things.

A Halloween waltz.

One thing we did feel was particularly odd was the show’s soundtrack. Spooky versions of classic Disney songs, such as “Step in time” from Mary Poppins, seemed a bit out of place. A subdued and mostly quiet ballroom scene sucked some of the energy out of the show and slowed things down a bit too much. Credit to Disney for trying something a bit different here, but some more familiar Halloween songs (or even remixes) may have had a better impact.

The use of perimeter fireworks is another area that could be tweaked some to improve the show’s overall punch. As it currently stands, Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular uses a version of the usual perimeter fireworks (rumor is the perimeter launch pads are a bit closer together for this show due to construction projects) in a way that removes some of the surprise previously found in HalloWishes. The perimeter fireworks are launched several times throughout the new show – a stark contrast to the big finale that held the perimeter displays until the end of HalloWishes. Why reveal all of your cards so early in the show?

Overall, we enjoyed Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular and felt it represented a nice change compared to HalloWishes. It’s great to see the technology rolled out for Happily Ever After introduced in additional nighttime spectaculars. However, we think some slight adjustments could make this show even more enjoyable.

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David is a Disney travel expert who created Notes from Neverland in 2018 after visiting Disney theme parks countless times. Previously, David spent way too much time writing about sports, and was featured in Sports Illustrated, MSN, Yahoo!, and in many other publications. Learn more or contact us.

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