The Fall is always a special season for our family and I find that much of what we do together began as traditions originating from each of our families. So much of what we do has created lasting memories and my children anxiously await picking out the right pumpkin, baking sweet treats, and dressing up to trick-or-treat with our favorite mouse. Halloween Time is in full swing at the Disneyland Resort, and all month-long the happiest place on earth has undergone a spooktacular transformation. Here are my personal recommendations for what you must see when you visit Disneyland at Halloween.
Mickey’s Halloween Party is one of our favorite ways to celebrate, and this year, the resort has added even more dates for a total of 13 fun-filled nights. This is one of the coolest ways for kids to trick-or-treat in a safe, engaging environment with the characters they know and love. Once Disneyland Park closes, families can enjoy a myriad of special activities including Mickey’s Costume Party cavalcade, the Cadaver Dans ghoul quartet which performs on the Rivers of America, dance parties, photo opps with Disney & Pixar characters and Disney Villains, and the sensational Halloween Screams fireworks show, presented exclusively during this party.
What’s new this year?
- Your favorite monsters from Monsters U will be looking for the best scarers on campus at Tomorrowland Terrace. Join Mike and Sulley in a spirited, silly Scare-Off plus learn the Monsters U Scare Dance.
- Getting your favorite sweet and healthy treats is even easier with two new treat locations along Mickey’s Hide and Go Treat Trails: Piratepalooza Treats and Mickey’s Toontown Treat Pre-party.
- I recommend buying tickets early as Mickey’s Halloween Party traditionally sells out (you can buy them online here). If you’re an annual passholder, you can save up to $16 per ticket when you buy in advance.
- Plan to dress children in a comfortable costume that allows them to dance, trick-or-treat, and ride the attractions. I also recommend layering clothing in case it gets cold later in the evening.
- Take advantage of the opportunity to enter the park up to 3 hours early to allow for sufficient time to enjoy all of the haunted happenings during Mickey’s Halloween Party.
- See the characters early in the evening, particularly if you want to take photos with all of them.
- Don’t forget to make use of Disney’s PhotoPass service. It’s a perfect way to store all of your photos from the evening in one place.
- Allow some extra time to grab a spot to watch the Halloween Screams fireworks show.
- Have fun!
Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort is one of those unique times during the year that you can experience not-too-spooky transformations of your favorite attractions. Haunted Mansion Holiday returns for its 13th year and features a Halloween-Meets-Christmas Takeover by Jack Skellington and his ghost dog Zero. Every year, Jack leaves a deliciously scary treat for the ghosts who dance around the Mansion’s Grand Hall and this year, the Gingerbread Mansion takes the form of an Advent Calendar. Every week during Halloween Time, a different door will reveal one of the 13 faces of Jack Skellington!
Don’t forget about Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror which are also popular and fun for the season.
Traditionally, we’ve always headed to Big Thunder Ranch when our kids need some downtime. New this year is the Halloween Carnival at Big Thunder Ranch which features crafts, music, treats, pumpkin carvers and more. We spent quite a bit of time here since there are a wealth of things to do.
There are plenty of costumed characters walking around to take photos with, carnival games, regular performances by Billy Hill and the “Haunted” Hillbillies, and the Magic Cauldron Sideshow where guests conjure up a Disney Villain for a meet-and-greet/photo opp.
Adjacent to the ranch is the petting zoo with some of the friendliest goats we’ve yet to meet.
Those who observe Dia de los Muertos will find the traditional display of skeletons and altars a unique way to commemorate this important Latin holiday. Located in Rancho del Zocalo, families can stop and take a moment for photos or remembrance.
Dressing up, whether for Halloween or simply for fun, is an important part of imaginative play. Last year, the Disneyland Resort introduced The Pirates League and it was so popular, they’ve brought it back (now located at Big Thunder Ranch). Boys and girls (yes!) can choose from one of three Pirate transformations including Jake from Jake and the Never Land Pirates, The First Mate (Black Beard, Black Eyed Jack, Captain Hook or Ghosted Pirate) and an Empress. What we loved about this experience last year was the storytelling, experiential component. Each pirate receives a “name” and takes the Pirates League Oath. *Tip* We actually experienced The Pirates League prior to celebrating at Mickey’s Halloween Party which was a festive way to begin the evening. Be sure to make a reservation by calling 714.781.STYLE.
And for little girls who would rather explore their inner rock star, Studio 365 is a fun way to be a pop princess for a day. The experience includes makeup, hair, wardrobe and a photo shoot and the prices are very reasonable (starting at just $19.95 for makeovers). Their Halloween Take Two Makeover includes hair styling, makeup (including a palate to take home), a “talent contract” and Minnie Mouse Halloween ears.
Celebrating Halloween at the Disneyland Resort wouldn’t be complete without a spooky treat. This year’s frightfully delightful treats will satisfy your sweet and savory cravings and include a Pepper Jack Skellington Burger (Carnation Cafe), Halloween Wicked Grilled Chicken (Village Haus Restaurant), Pumpkin Beignets (Café Orleans), and an Oreo Mousse Coffin (French Market Restaurant).
During this season, we visit several times since there are a wealth of experiences to enjoy. The entire park is colorful and Fall-inspired and one of my favorite things to do is simply walk down Main Street to admire the pumpkins. If you’re still looking for a unique experience at the Disneyland Resort, check out Disney’s Happiest Haunts Tour. This special tour includes a Guide who will take you through a number of “happy haunts and spooky sighting” throughout Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, thrills, chills, tales, and treats. *Tip* Annual Passholders save 20% on guided tours. Plus, you might consider combining this tour with Mickey’s Halloween Party.
For more information regarding all of the spooktacular happenings at the Disneyland Resort, visit Disneyland.com/HalloweenTime.
Images: Rockin’ Mama unless otherwise noted.