Halloween Time: Disneyland Touring Strategy to Maximize Time and Experience the Spooky Fun

Visiting during Halloween Time at Disneyland is exciting because there's so much to see and do. One of the biggest questions guests have that are visiting during Halloween Time is “how do we see and do it all?” As always, we at Mickey Visit recommend planning your day in advance to avoid feeling overwhelmed (especially for Disneyland first timers!) at the parks.

There are a few basics that are essential to becoming familiar with in order to best use your time at the Disneyland Resort. This is especially important when you're visiting during a seasonal celebration and the crowds may be higher than usual.

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Disneyland App To Jumpstart Your Day

Morning strategy for Disneyland: Cast member holding plate of food

Disneyland has an app that you can download for either Android or iPhone that will give you the most accurate wait times for rides. This app is a must have for anyone visiting Disneyland. You can link your park tickets to it, make dining reservations, use the mobile food ordering feature, link your PhotoPass tickets, and book FastPasses with MaxPass!

Pro tip: download this app PRIOR to your trip and become familiar with it. This way when you show up to the gates you are already a pro at using the app. Take a look at the layout of each park on the app so you have a rough idea of where you are going once you enter!

Halloween Time Disneyland Strategy FastPass

We have written an ultimate guide to using FastPass at the Disneyland Resort. This is definitely a must read for first time guests. Check out our guide here. FastPasses give you a return window to come ride the attraction later to help avoid guests waiting for hours in the standby line. Be sure to be familiar with FastPass because they are essential for having a smooth start at either park! Some FastPasses go quicker than others due to the popularity of the ride so that is why it is so important to grab them in the morning. Fastpasses are essential to this Halloween Time Disneyland strategy!

Pro tip: check out the list of attractions that offer FastPass and see which ones are your group’s top must sees. Make those your priority in the morning!

Disneyland MaxPass Strategy

Image of cellphone with maxpass option: Morning Strategy at Disneyland

Disney released a mobile version of the FastPass system called MaxPass in Summer 2017. MaxPass, unlike FastPass, isn’t a free feature and costs $15 per person per day. Depending on the size of your group, this feasibly may not be an option. But it is a great feature that makes touring the parks a breeze.

MaxPass allows you to book FastPasses from your mobile device so it saves you a walk across the park. This not only helps you grab FastPasses efficiently but it also helps save energy! MaxPass also comes with unlimited PhotoPass downloads for the day which is a great additional feature. If you only have one day in the parks, MaxPass is highly recommended for your group.

Doing Disneyland Rope Drop Right

Disneyland Halloween Pumpkin

Thirty minutes before park opening, cast members will begin letting guests into the parks. This helps control the flow of crowds and it can be a huge advantage for morning park visitors! There will be ropes (guarded by cast members) that block off access points of the lands until the official park opening time. Being one of the first groups positioned at those ropes can be a huge advantage for your morning strategy for Disneyland! You can also begin booking MaxPass once you enter the gates so this is also a great plus for groups that plan on purchasing MaxPass. To be there at Rope Drop plan to arrive at least one hour prior to the park opening.

Pro tip: Grab breakfast to go and eat while you're waiting to be let in through the turnstiles. This will help keep adults happy and kids occupied during that early morning wait time. We always recommend either eating here or at your Disneyland hotel.

Popular Seasonal Attractions

There are five rides at the Disneyland Resort that get the Halloween Time seasonal treatment which are definitely worth centering your day around. These attractions become even more popular than usual during these holiday overlays so our Halloween Time Disneyland strategy prioritizes these attractions so you don't miss out!

  • Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy
    • Disney describes this spooky overlay as being full of chills and thrills, “Dip and careen past spectral stars and scary satellites during your spirited space ride in the dark. Shiver and shudder amid the inky blackness—glowing apparitions reaching out in all directions to grab you. Behold ghoulish orbs of light, howling comets and materializing meteors. And shriek in fear inside a wicked wormhole—piercing screams, ghostly music and inhuman sounds echoing all around.”
      • This year Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy will NOT BE FEATURED.
  • Haunted Mansion Holiday
    • The Haunted Mansion gets a makeover inspired by Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. Be prepared to experience decor courtesy of Jack Skellington such as jack o’ lanterns and wreaths, terrifying toys, and a spooky scented gingerbread house! Sally and Oogie Boogie are also on hand to wish you “Season's Screamings!”
  • Guardians of the Galaxy- Monsters After Dark 
    • Groot was left behind in the escape and it's up to you to help save him from the monsters that have been unleashed in The Collector's Fortress!
    • This spooky theme only takes place after 5PM each day in California Adventure. FastPasses run out quickly so make sure you don't miss your chance!
  • Luigi's Honkin' Haul-O-Ween
    • Luigi and Guido celebrate Halloween with a dance party complete with Halloween themed decor.
  • Mater's Graveyard JamBOOree
    • Don't miss Mater's Halloween celebration with ‘high spirited' Halloween music.

The Best Halloween Time Disneyland Strategy Halloween Time Disneyland Strategy: Haunted Mansion Holiday

If you do not have a ticket to Mickey's Halloween Party then it is essential to start your day at Disneyland to see the Halloween Time fun and attractions before it closes for the party. Now let's take a look at our Halloween Time Disneyland strategy to help you experience all the Halloween Time fun!

  • Grab Space Mountain FastPass with MaxPass when you enter the park.
  • Get your picture in front of the Mickey Pumpkin on Main Street (We recommend doing this in the morning for a few reasons: you're fresh and looking your best, the line will be short, and it's right on your way as you make it down Main Street)
  • Line up by the rope drop to Adventureland.
  • Ride Haunted Mansion Holiday.
  • Ride Pirates of the Caribbean. 
  • Ride Indiana Jones Adventure. 
  • Ride Space Mountain with FastPass.
  • At this point, begin checking the FastPass arrival times for Guardians of the Galaxy- Monsters After Dark. You need to time it so you can get a FastPass with a return time that is AFTER 5pm to experience this Halloween overlay. Typically, FastPasses will run out by lunch during Halloween Time so it's important to be on top of this!
  • Grab Star Tours-The Adventures Continue FastPass with MaxPass. (If it's not time yet to grab your Guardians FastPass!)
  • Ride Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters.
  • Ride Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.
  • Ride Autopia.
  • Ride Star Tours- The Adventure Continues with FastPass.
  • Ride Astro Orbiter. 
  • Grab Big Thunder Mountain Railroad FastPass with MaxPass (Remember: stay on top of getting your FastPass for Guardians of the Galaxy- Monsters After Dark. If you have one in hand already, skip to the next part of the strategy. You can also CANCEL an existing FastPass using MaxPass if you need to- make sure to keep checking those times!)
  • Ride Jungle Cruise. 
  • Ride Splash Mountain (The earlier you ride- the shorter the standby line will be. If you're worried about getting wet, wear ponchos! You can get them at the Dollar Store for a buck!)
  • Ride The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. 
  • Ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad with FastPass. (Or with standby if you can't pull a FastPass yet)
  • By this point, you should have your Guardians of the Galaxy- Monsters After Dark FastPass. Check when you can pull another FastPass and when you can, pull Radiator Springs Racers. If the Radiator Springs Racers FastPasses run out then pull Toy Story Midway Mania instead.
  • Break for lunch.
  • It's up to you how you plan on spending the afternoon, you could stay in Disneyland and tackle low wait time rides in ToonTown and Fantasyland or you can cruise over to California Adventure right away.
  • At California Adventure, make sure to take the time to go to Cars Land and see the Halloween decorations and themed attractions such as Luigi's Honkin' Haul-O-Ween and Mater's Graveyard JamBOOree. 

MaxPass and Park Hopper tickets are essential to our Halloween Time Disneyland strategy so make sure you have both of those things before using this touring plan.

If a ride on this list offers FastPass and has a standby time of over 20 minutes, I recommend skipping it and moving to the next one in the Halloween Time Disneyland strategy. You can always catch it later with a FastPass- don't waste precious morning time standing in long standby lines.

Pro tip: You can cancel FastPasses after you've booked them with MaxPass using the Disneyland app. This way, if you have a current FastPass and notice you need to abandon that one and grab your Guardians of the Galaxy-Monsters After Dark FastPass- you can cancel the existing one so you're free to grab your Guardians FastPass.

More Disneyland Planning Tips

There is always a lot of information to consider before planning an Disneyland vacation. Make sure to spend time planning your days in the theme parks and become familiar with everything Disneyland has to offer. Don’t forget to subscribe to our FREE Deals Newsletter to stay on top of the current planning tips, strategies, and deals.

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