From creepy costumes and charming decor to eerie tricks and enchanting treats, Disney's Halloween Time is a must-see spectacle
For a spook-tacular holiday at the Disneyland Resort, plan a visit between mid-September and the end of October when cooler weather, smaller crowds and special haunted happenings create magical memories for every age. This year promises to be even bigger, as Disneyland’s frightful fun has taken over the California Adventure Park as well.
Here are our top Halloween Time experiences at the Disneyland Resort…
DisneylandThis is the first year ever that Cars Land in Disneyland California Adventure has received a Haul-O-Ween transformation—and it must not be missed. All of your favourite four-wheeled friends in Radiator Screams (aka Radiator Springs) are dressed for the occasion—from Mater as the Van-pire Dracula to a superhero-disguised Lightening McQueen. The spooky decor is also on point, with a 20-tire-tall jack-o'-lantern outside of Luigi’s and Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree filled with tombstone grills.
2. Chilling Adventures
DisneylandIn Disneyland's New Orleans Square, the Haunted Mansion Holiday is a frightfully fun take on this year-round favourite attraction. Jack Skellington from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is the inspiration behind the holiday mashup of Halloween and Christmas. Visit at night for an even eerier experience. Space Mountain also receives a Halloween overlay when it becomes Ghost Galaxy, complete with sound effects and spirits that pop out of the black night. Over at California Adventure, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout becomes Monsters After Dark at sundown so it’s best to keep a watch for creepy creatures on the loose.
3. Character Costumes
DisneylandWander along Buena Vista Street in California Adventure Park and you’ll likely spot Mickey and the gang in their Halloween finest. A devilish Donald, mystic Minnie, ghostly Goofy and the Mouse himself, dressed up as a bat, can often be sighted near the 10-foot tall Headless Horseman statue in Carthay Circle. Disneyland is just as festive, with Jack Skellington and his best gal Sally hanging out by the Haunted Mansion, and Mickey and friends sprinkled throughout the park. Download the Disneyland app in advance so that you can search for PhotoPass photographer locations, as every character will have a professional shutterbug in tow.
4. Frightening Food Fare
DisneylandThroughout the Disneyland Resort, there’s also an array of themed treats available for your enjoyment. At the California Adventure Park, top picks for savoury dishes include the Cozy Cone Hotel’s spicy red pepper slow burnin’ mac 'n' cheese, served in a black cauldron cone and topped with crushed chili-cheese puffs. At Cars Land, opt for the car-achnid chicken pot pie at Flo’s V8 Café, complete with dried cranberries and spider butter-crust. Throughout both parks, you’ll find everything from Halloween-coloured churros and candy corn cotton candy to Mickey bat cookies and Jack Skellington caramel apples to satisfy your sweet tooth.
5. Mickey’s Halloween Party
DisneylandHeld on four evenings a week during Halloween Time, Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland is a separate, ticketed event that is not included with your regular park admission or hopper pass—however it is definitely worth the extra cost. Tickets include a free PhotoPass and access to the California Adventure Park for up to three hours prior to the party. Crowds are also lighter at the event, which means shorter wait times for popular rides and more character and princess meet and greets. There are also dozens of trick-or-treating stations set up throughout the park. Party highlights include the Halloween-themed firework display and two showings of the Frightfully Fun Parade, featuring the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow, among other beloved Disney villains and heroes. This year’s party is now sold out but keep an eye out for next year, as tickets go on sale in mid-July.
6. Holiday Sneak Peek
DisneylandIf you’re visiting the Disneyland Resort in late October, you may notice a sprinkling of winter decor and merchandise mixed in with all of the Halloween Time fun. Even though the official holiday season kicks off in mid-November and runs through the first week of January, Disney’s elves are already busy preparing for the big event. Expect merriment and whimsy in both parks, with soaring Christmas trees adorned—with upwards of 1,800 ornaments each—and visits with Santa Claus and his special helpers. Annual favourites include California Adventure Park’s World of Colour – Season of Light, a water and light show featuring classic holiday songs paired with Disney film clips, and Disneyland’s Believe… in Holiday firework display as well as the Christmas Fantasy Parade. The magic continues with themed decor, traditional holiday fare and the special surprises that are only possible in "the happiest place on earth."
7. Tricks and Treats
DisneylandDisneyland Resort’s Max Pass, released in July, is currently available at the introductory price of just $10 per person per day (through the Disneyland app). It’s a super-charged version of the FastPass system that allows you to reserve high-demand rides and attractions from anywhere in the parks. This means, that if you’re at Mickey’s ToonTown in Disneyland, you’re able to reserve your spot on Radiator Springs Racers in the California Adventure Park without having to spend the 20 to 30 minutes it takes to walk between the two attractions. The other bonus is that PhotoPass is included with MaxPass, so all of the images captured by Disney’s photographers will be added to your app and can be downloaded for free. If your kiddos are under the age of seven, bring a light umbrella stroller for when they get tired. It’s super handy for late nights at the park, and those times you have to navigate through large crowds. Reusable water bottles are also a must, as concession lineups can be long and bottled water is pricey. You’ll find fountains outside of most restrooms and a simple search on the Disneyland app can also help locate them.