Last update October 27th 2016 Disneyland Halloween Time, with special themed attractions, delicious autumn food, and park decorations, is one of the most fun times of year at Disneyland. The Disneyland Halloween 2016 season runs from September 9 to October 31.
In the article below, I will break down all of the Disneyland Halloween festivities happening throughout the Disneyland Resort and provide advice on how to maximize your time during the Halloween season. Be sure to check the official Disneyland website for full information on Halloween at Disneyland.
Out of the two parks at the Disneyland Resort, Disneyland Park decorates much more than Disney California Adventure, which has received only a few Halloween decorations in years past.
Special Disneyland Halloween Rides
Disneyland transforms two popular attractions for Halloween Time. Both Space Mountain and the Haunted Mansion are totally decorated and changed over for the Disneyland Halloween season.
The Haunted Mansion becomes the Haunted Mansion Holiday for the Halloween and Disneyland Christmas seasons. This special holiday edition features the story of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and characters from the film including Jack Skellington, Zero the Ghost Dog, and Sally. The attraction is fun regardless of whether you know the story of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” or not. Explained simply, the story goes something like this: the king of Halloween takes over the celebration of Christmas and we get to witness what happens when “two holidays collide.”
The one disappointment with the overlay is that because the Haunted Mansion Holiday runs from September-January, the classic Haunted Mansion attraction is only available for six months out of the year– which is bemoaned by some Disney fans.
During most of the year, the Haunted Mansion is an easy attraction to walk onto and there is rarely a line. However, when the Haunted Mansion Holiday rolls into town, the lines balloon to have multi-hour waits. You can avoid these lines by getting a FastPass for the attraction or heading here early in the day.
Haunted Mansion Holiday Video:
Space Mountain becomes Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy during Halloween Time. This overlay is created using new projection effects and a spooky soundtrack onboard the roller coaster. The rides regular feeling of optimistic space exploration transforms to focus on a darker and more menacing theme. Plenty of people come out screaming from this more intense ghost infested space rollercoaster. While the ride is fantastic for teens and up, this may not be the time to bring young children on Space Mountain, especially if it is their first time riding.
The same way that we always recommend enjoying Space Mountain first in our Disneyland touring advice, you should really be rushing to Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy. Even during regular season, this is one of the most popular attractions at Disneyland. Imagine what making the attraction one of the headlining pieces of the Disneyland Halloween season does. Suffice to say, arrive here early and get a FastPass if you want to ride the attraction any other time during the day.
Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy Video:
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With the 60th Anniversary decor out of the way, you can now enjoy Halloween decor throughout the park.
Upon first entering the park, huge Disney character pumpkins adorn the ticket booths and greet you as you step into Disneyland Park. The large Mickey Mouse floral arrangement will be completely done in a darker Halloween theme.
Then, once you arrive on Main Street U.S.A. you’ll see pumpkins and orange bunting adorning every building. It seems that every pumpkin is unique in shape and size. This really adds to the fall feeling in the park.
The Main Street decorations are capped off by a huge Mickey Mouse pumpkin that is perfect for photos. There are long lines for a photo at the beginning and end of the day when mass amounts of people are coming and going. Don’t waist your precious morning time when you could be getting a Disneyland FastPass or your tired evening time when you should be going to bed. Take your picture with the Mickey Mouse pumpkin head sometime in the late morning or afternoon. A perfect time is when you are crossing between parks using your Disneyland Park Hopper ticket (discounted here).
In Frontierland, the decorations feel much more unique and provide a very special charm and three dimensional level of detail I expect in anything Disneyland does.
When you first enter the land, next door to the Golden Horseshoe you can find The Halloween Tree, dedicated to Ray Bradbury and his book with the same title. Ray Bradbury has an important place in Disney history because of his work on EPCOT Center in Walt Disney World, his friendship with Walt Disney, and insightful observations on Disneyland.
Further into Frontierland near one of my favorite Disneyland Restaurants, Rancho Del Zocalo, are beautiful decorations honoring Dia de Los Muertos, or day of the dead. With the release of Pixar’s Coco, a film centering around the Dia de Los Muertos tradition, it will be very interesting to see if these decorations evolve next year to reflect characters and story from the film.
As for specific Disneyland Halloween characters, over by the Haunted Mansion Holiday, Jack Skellington and Sally are often out for a special holiday meet and greet. Also, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse often wear their Halloween costumes the entire day. Beyond these characters, you never know which Halloween specific people you will see wandering the parks. In the past popular Disney villains like Maleficent, Captain Hook, Cruella de Ville, and more have been spotted wandering Main Street U.S.A. You can find specific information on characters each day in the official Disneyland app.
There are more special decorations and specific Halloween Disney characters throughout the entire park during the separate ticket Mickey’s Halloween party on select nights throughout September and October.
Disneyland Halloween Snacks and Foods
Just like the decorations and ride overlays, the snack offerings during the Halloween season are transformed. The Disney culinary team outdoes itself every year as they work out new sweet treats to be sold throughout the resort.
If you can dream up a bakery good, you can probably buy that good in pumpkin flavor at Disneyland during Halloween Time. If you are looking for these sweet treats, look specifically at the Pooh’s Corner shop in Critter Country, Candy Palace on Main Street, Trolley Treats on Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure, and if you are outside the parks you can find treats at Marceline’s Confectionery in Downtown Disney.
One of my favorite treats at any time of the year are the New Orleans Square Mickey Beignets. Well, during the Halloween season there is a special flavor in….you guessed it…pumpkin. As my younger sister says, these will really make you go “ben-YAY.”
There are so many treats that is hard to provide up to date information on these important addition to the Disneyland Halloween celebration. When you visit, be sure to look at all of the selection for seasonal dessert as not to miss one of the new Halloween specific creations.
The dates and information for the Disneyland Mickey’s Halloween Party 2016 have now been announced. This special event includes free candy, character meet and greets, and special Halloween entertainment.
The events typically run from 6pm or 7pm until 11pm or 12pm. With the purchase of a ticket to the Halloween party, you can enter the park up to three hours before the party begins. At the time of the party, every non-Halloween party guest who doesn’t have a wristband given to all event attendees will be ushered out of Disneyland. This is an important point for all guests visiting during September and October: If you don’t have a park hopper ticket then you will be forced to leave Disneyland early in the evening and have nowhere to go but back to your hotel or home. Be sure to check the Mickey’s Halloween Party dates to see if they conflict with your Halloween trip.
The Disneyland Mickey’s Halloween Party event centers around special entertainment fireworks and a character cavalcade, which, this year, will be headed off, by the headless horseman (see that pun I worked in there). The main draw for the event is the popular Halloween-Screams fireworks, which worked in impressive projection on the castle years before the debut of the Disneyland Forever fireworks.
Another highlight of the event for park guests are the various Halloween trick-or-treat trails located throughout Disneyland. These provide Disneyland guests the opportunity to receive huge amounts of candy.
The tickets for the event can be pricey and I really don’t recommend purchasing both a park ticket and event ticket in the same day. If you like the sounds of the party, then consider not purchasing a park ticket for that day and enjoying yourself at the hotel or in Downtown Disney until you are allowed to enter the park with the ticket. Even with our exclusive discounted Disneyland tickets, purchasing both the Mickey’s Halloween party ticket and regular park ticket seem costly.
During Halloween Time at Disneyland, a specific “Happiest Haunts Tour” is held that focuses around the specific Halloween attractions and story of certain Halloween elements in the park. Last year, the tour centered around a Halloween quest to find Aladdin’s missing magic lamp. Over the course of the search, the tour guide took guests on six attractions throughout the entire park.
Tour benefits can change year to year, but in the past these Halloween tours have included front of the line access to the two Halloween themed attractions, plus some of the other top attractions throughout the park. Also, in previous years the tour has included two Halloween desserts and an exclusive pin.
This tour, not to be confused with the Disneyland VIP tour guides, provides a nice fun way to see all of the Halloween offerings and a fun interactive story that kids will really enjoy.
The tour is pricey, costing $85 in addition to purchasing theme park admission. You can find out more information on the Disneyland Halloween Happiest Haunts Tour on the official website.
Tips for Visiting Disneyland Even When It’s Not Halloween
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