Disneyland is an amazing place to visit no matter what time of year you go, but this time of year, the park transforms into something even more amazing. Halloween takes over both Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure parks and it is truly something to behold. Overnight, decorations are added, the entertainment changes, ride get overlays and of course, Mickey's Halloween Party arrives. While this semi-exclusive event is an absolute must-do at least once, it can be a bit overwhelming to try and figure it all out. Well, hopefully, I can help make this a bit easier and of course, more enjoyable for you.
So, what is Mickey's Halloween Party? In addition to all the ghoulish delights throughout the park, including those awesome -- and sometimes stunning -- decorations, the parks are filled with Halloween themed treats, unique entertainment (don't miss the Cadaver Dans!) and some amazing attraction overlays (hello Space Mountain - Ghost Galaxy!). This special event, held on specific dates, allows you access to the parks, as well as some exclusive activities. Your ticket allows you access up to three hours prior to the event starting and once the event actually starts, those without event wrist bands are escorted out of Disneyland, leaving you with a smaller than usual crowd. You can also visit the dozens of trick-or-treat stations and grab some snacks (both candy and healthier options like apples and carrots are available).
One question most people have is regarding crowds and wait times. Keep in mind, this event has limited tickets available each night, and while it often sells out, there is still going to be smaller crowds than most are used to. Your larger and more popular rides (Space Mountain - Ghost Galaxy, Haunted Mansion Holiday, Splash Mountain, etc.) will still have wait times, but they will be shorter than usual. It should also be noted that FastPasses are suspended in Disneyland during the event (we'll cover DCA in just a moment).
So what else does this ticket get you? One of the more popular experiences at Disneyland for many people is the "Remember...Dreams Come True" fireworks display, but during the Halloween Party you are treated to the "Halloween Screams" display, which is filled with haunting tunes and spell-binding displays that the entire family can enjoy. But, before that, be sure to check out the "Frightfully Fun" Parade, which is kicked off by the iconic Headless Horseman! This parade features some of Disney's most popular villains, and of course, Mickey and Friends. Speaking of characters, this is the time of year when all the villains take to the streets of Disneyland. Characters that don't often make appearances will pop up. Your pass also includes Souvenir Disney PhotoPass, so any ride photos taken or pictures taken by cast members, will be available via their app, so be sure to take advantage of that feature.
Last year, Disney took the Halloween fun to Disney's California Adventure, adding a ton of fun sights and sounds throughout the park. Cars Land in particular is rather spooktacular. While your event ticket does get you access to DCA, many of the folks who didn't have passes to the Halloween party will migrate to this park, so plan on much higher crowds. FastPasses are still available for this park, but they will go quickly. You can hop back and forth between the parks with your ticket, but this Dis-nerd suggests just staying in Disneyland and taking full advantage of that Halloween Party ticket, especially at that price.
As with everything Disney does, safety is important, so there are some guidelines for costumes for both adults and kids. If you plan on dressing up, be sure to check out the guidelines prior to attending (Click Here and scroll down to Costume Guidelines). Keep in mind that autumn in Anaheim can be a rather warm time to visit, so doing an elaborate costume may be a bit too hot.
There is certainly a lot of things to see and do during this event, but here's a few highlights or maybe a few things you maybe didn't know about. First, Space Mountain -Ghost Galaxy takes an attraction that is a blast anyway and adds an all new and exciting element. Don't miss this ride! Haunted Mansion Holiday, as many know, brings the world of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas to the Haunted Mansion. Even if you're not familiar with the film, it's still really amazing what they do to this ride. On your way over to New Orleans Square, stop by the Halloween Tree in Frontierland, which is an ode to author Ray Bradbury, who not only wrote the screenplays for a few Disney films, but also had a hand in creating a few attractions in Walt Disney World. The tree is covered in orange lights and hand-painted jack-o-lanterns. The Headless Horseman statue featured in DCA is frightfully awesom
Of course, we can't forget the food. Each year, Disneyland goes all out when it comes to themed treats. This year, you can find delicious takes on the popular churro, including an Orange Sugar with Candy Corn sauce, Pumpkin Spice with Cream Cheese frosting and Sour Apple churros with caramel dipping sauce. Who doesn't love a candied apple?! Be sure to watch out for the Evil Queen apple, the Jack Skellington apple and of course, the Minnie Witch apple. On the savory side, check out the crab and corn chowder at Café Orleans or the Haunted Firehouse Chicken Sandwich at the Carnation Café. There are dozens more delicious eats all over the parks. I dare you to try them all!
Obviously, there's a lot to take in with the Mickey's Halloween Party and hopefully this will help answer some questions. If this is something you and your are considering doing, I'd highly suggest you give it a go at least once. There's so much to do and it's such a unique experience, it's worth doing at least once in your travels.