Back for its second year, #HalloweenTime at Disneyland is once again spilling over into Disney California Adventure Park! Halloween has always been one of my absolute favorite times to visit Disneyland; families have double the reason to choose this time of year to head to the parks. Let’s explore Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort.
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Checking Out Disneyland’s Halloween Time Decorations
I am a sucker for all things fall decor. When Disneyland gets decked to the nines in pumpkins, fall-colored leaves, and ribbons of orange and black, I’ll admit that I get a little sentimental. Maybe it is the legit lack of seasons we experience in Southern California, but Disney’s Halloween transformation is basically the only thing that signals fall for me outside of an old-fashioned Starbucks PSL (which you can also get inside Disneyland- score!).
HalloweenTime Decorations at Disney California Adventure
Halloween decor weaves throughout Disney California Adventure. Starting from the entrance to the park, guests are met with Halloween-themed fun from a giant Oogie Boogie (of “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” fame), purple banners, a 10-foot-tall Headless Horseman statue, spooky-fun music, Halloween window displays, bats circling the belfry of Carthay Circle Theatre, and Mickey and friends ready for pictures in their Halloween costumes.
New for 2018: Fans of Disney Junior will love posing for selfies with Vamparina, found wandering around Disney California Adventure.
Speaking of costumes, the residents of Radiator Springs are joining in the “Haul-O-Ween” fun by dressing up in “car-stumes” to go “trunk-or-treating!” I know! You won’t want to miss pictures with these vehicles. Radiator Springs’ streets have also been covered in automobile themed-decor that features the best use of car-themed, punny decorations you’ve ever oohed and ahhed over.
New for this year, don’t miss a visit to Paradise Pier’s Plaza de Familia to explore the World of Coco. This seamless tie-in with Dia de Los Muertos features the “World of Coco” art gallery, hands-on arts and crafts for the kids, a massive ofrenda (like the one Miguel built in the film), and a family-themed live music and dance show, “A Musical Celebration of Coco.”
HalloweenTime Decorations at Disneyland
Every nook and cranny of Disneyland Park is enveloped with Halloween and fall decor; I love spotting the hundreds of individually carved unique pumpkins along Main Street and snapping pics in front of the giant winking Mickey pumpkin. Park visitors looking for a touch of Día de Los Muertos in Disneyland park will find skeleton figurines, flowers, and decorative items in Frontierland, just outside the entrance to Big Thunder Mountain.
Halloween at Disneyland Resort: Rides & Attractions
In addition to the eye-candy on display throughout the parks, don’t miss the slew of #HalloweenTime attractions, offered only for a limited time.
Halloween-Themed Rides and Attractions at Disney California Adventure
Returning for its second Halloween season, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! gets transformed into a spookier version of the thrilling ride: Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark. The Halloween-themed ride follows the premise that the power breakers go out letting all of the monstrous creatures out of their cages while Rocket asks you to help him find and save baby Groot. The ride features a new 70s-style punk rock song written by Tyler Bates (who composed the films’ music) that keeps the ride full of energy, excitement, and thrills.
Tip: Kids 7 and under might find the premise of Monsters After Dark a bit frightening (the lights go in and out, emergency alarms and breaking glass, etc… are heard throughout, making the atmosphere scary). FASTPASS is available for this popular spooky attraction.
Cars Land also boasts a few Halloween updates. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree has transformed into Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree with Mater singing Halloween-themed songs like “Monster Truck Smash” while you spin yourselves silly on the mini tractors. Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters features a similar musical update on Luigi’s Honkin’ Haul-O-Ween with music as well.
Halloween-Themed Rides and Attractions at Disneyland
Back for its 18th year, Haunted Mansion Holiday brings Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas to life & the result is a kick in the pants that warrants a visit for even non-fans of the film. My kids find this version of the ride less scary than the original and love to see their two favorite holidays, Christmas and Halloween, blended together in such a whimsical fashion.
Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy, on the other hand, gets significantly scarier. This ride is best suited for kids age 8 and up as it is much more frightful than the original outer space version.
Halloween at Disneyland: Food and Drink
Now to my favorite part. Food. I love Disney food and it is such a huge part of the #HalloweenTime experience that we had to share. Candy treats and a variety of fall-themed churros fill both parks. Must-try candies include the Minnie Witch Apple, Jack Skellington Cake Pop, Mummy Marshmallow, and Pumpkin Fudge.
Halloween-Themed Food and Treats at Disney California Adventure
Cars Land is featuring a Slow Burnin’ Mac & Cheese Cone, a Spoke-y Cone Macaron filled with marshmallow buttercream and candy corn, Candy Cone Pie, and Fire Dragon Tacos.
While exploring the rest of the park, visit Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream for a Bat Wing Raspberry Sundae or Spider Silk Ice Macaron Sandwich. Additional must-try treats include sourdough Mickey Bread with Fangs at Boudin Bread Cart, Pacific Wharf Cafe, and Mortimer’s Market, Green Apple Spell Lemonade at Smokejumpers Grill, and a garlic-y Anti-Vampire Pizza at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta.
Halloween-Themed Food and Treats at Disneyland
Disneyland Park is offering a wide variety of harvest and Halloween-inspired fare. Rancho del Zocalo in Frontierland features an Orange Sugar Skull Pot de Crème and a Frozen Abuelita Horchata to entice your sweet tooth. Cookie decorating kits, Pumpkin Spice Mickey Beignets, and savory options like Crab and Corn Chowder or a Halloween Hot Dog allow for an entire meal of Halloween-themed offerings. Looking for the ultimate Halloween-treat station? Visit Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe where you can purchase Sweet Potato Hand Pie, Cruella de Vil Brownies, a Graveyard Cupcake, Spice Bundt Cakes, Pumpkin Layered Cheesecake, Pumpkin Muffins, and a Mickey Mummy Macaroon!
Mickey’s Halloween Party: Trick or Treat in the Park
On select dates throughout the Halloween season, Mickey’s Halloween Party takes over Disneyland. During these special nights, the park closes early to regular guests, allowing wristband-holders to enjoy Halloween Disney style. Highlights include a special “Halloween Screams,” a Halloween-themed fireworks show, the “Frightfully Fun Parade” with dancing ghouls and villains, countless characters to meet and greet (including exclusive photo ops with the all the elusive Disney villains!), dance parties, and numerous treat stations dishing out enough candy (and healthy alternatives) to keep your kids deliriously happy until the wee hours of the morning.
Good to Know Tips for Mickey’s Halloween Party
Bonus: since Disney only sells a limited number of tickets to each party and there are so many fun distractions to enjoy, the lines for rides are actually much shorter than normal! So be sure to buy your tickets in advance as dates sell out quickly. This year, pre-party access to the park includes Disney California Adventure; you can now visit both parks with this ticketed event!
Tip: Dress up! Disneyland typically limits costumes to kids under 14, but at Mickey’s Halloween Party, everyone can join in the fun, regardless of age. Many families go all out with themed group costumes so get creative and add your family’s creativity to the mix. Check Disney’s website for rules on costumes as there are restrictions for guest safety.
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Disclosure: My family received a complimentary visit to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure to attend a media event for #HalloweenTime and this guide. I was not required to state any particular view; all opinions are my own.
Images courtesy of Disney Parks and/or Katie Bodell