For more than 5 years we have been season pass holders with Disney. One of the main reasons is because of the amazing holiday traditions at Disneyland. Every year my son has to visit Disneyland during the Halloween season, Christmas season and for their yearly Easter Eggstravaganza. Now experiencing Disneyland at the holidays has become a must do family tradition.
My son loves Halloween at Disneyland (tied with Christmas and Easter he says!) for so many reasons, but what he seems to love the most is the wonderful holiday decor and the slight changes to a few rides. Read on to find out what not to miss while celebrating Halloween at Disneyland.
CELEBRATING HALLOWEEN AT DISNEYLAND & CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE
The yearly celebrations of Halloween at Disneyland typically start at the beginning of September which allows visitors plenty of time to visit before the Halloween Party crowds descend. In 2019, celebrations begin just after Labor Day on September 6, 2019 ending Oct 31, 2019.
Even if you can’t make it for one of the special Halloween Party nights, this is still a wonderful time to visit to experience Halloween focused decorations, ride updates and characters in costume.
HIGHLIGHTS OF HALLOWEEN AT DISNEYLAND
Disneyland goes all out for Halloween, decorating the park from top to bottom with some amazing decorations that are accessible for kids of all ages. Nothing too spooky here, which is great for families with kids scared of the yearly creepiness often accompanying Halloween.
As soon as you walk in, you will be greeted with beautiful orange streamers across the majority of the buildings as well as the iconic giant illuminated Mickey pumpkin. The glowing pumpkins at the the Walt Disney statue at the end of Main Street are also worth checking out. They provide the perfect spot for taking photos with the Sleeping Beauty Castle as your backdrop.
Making your way through the park, you must visit Frontierland where some of the best decorations in the park are tucked away. An illuminated Halloween Tree with mini pumpkins hanging from the branches is a fun addition to the scene. Here there are also a lot of Dia de los Muertos decorations which is fun for the kids to experience as well as a jumping off point to learn about this beautiful Mexican celebration of death.
Keep your eyes peeled for characters in costume as well. There may not be many during the day, but you never know. Jack and Sally have been spotted out and about near the Haunted Mansion and Mickey and Minnie have also been known to make appearances at random times during the holiday season.
As with Christmas, there are a few ride updates during the Halloween period that Disney fans flock to the park to experience. In the past the two main rides that go all out for Halloween are Space Mountain and the Haunted Mansion. I do not have confirmation that Space Mountain will do a theme change this year, but fan favorite Nightmare Before Christmas themed Haunted Mansion will remain.
Space Mountain works with the theme ghoulish galaxy where supernatural spirits may come out from anywhere. Unlike during other times of the season, the Halloween special for this ride is that it is completely in the dark, making the twist and turns even more exhilarating. As with any day of the year, a FASTPASS is a must, particularly during the Halloween celebration time period.
The most popular attraction during Halloween has to be the Haunted Mansion which is completely transformed into a Nightmare Before Christmas theme. If you have never seen the Nightmare Before Christmas transformation, you must put it on your to do list. It is a little less scary than normal in my opinion, but it’s a fun yearly tradition. If you plan to ride this during the Halloween season, make sure to get a FASTPASS early in your visit as you just may have to wait 6-8 hours for your time slot!
HALLOWEEN SCREAMS HOLOGRAM SHOW
An addition this year at Disneyland will be the “Halloween Screams” presentation. Favorite character Jack Skellington will begin the night with a scare-tastic good time with soaring flames, projections of rising ghosts and of course all your favorite Disney villains like Maleficent and Ursula the Sea Witch all set to fun Halloween inspired songs.
On select nights, this will be followed the always enjoyable Disney fireworks show.
Head over to the main area of Disneyland in front of the castle for the best views of Halloween Screams.
DISNEYLAND HALLOWEEN TREATS
While we don’t have a super sweet tooth, it is always so fun to check out the different treats that filter their way through the year at Disneyland. Check out all of these amazing Halloween treats at Disneyland. Our favorites are the orange dusted and black and purple coated churros found around the park.
Another close favorite are the Mickey and Minnie Day of the Dead rice crispy treats. We love to get rice crispy treats all year long, but these are so pretty you almost don’t want to eat them! As the world now knows, Fall is also the time for pumpkin everything. During the season you will find pumpkin fudge and delicious pumpkin cheesecake too.
HIGHLIGHTS OF HALLOWEEN AT CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE
In years past I didn’t notice ride updates at California Adventure, but mostly because we focused our time at Disneyland during the Halloween season. However, there are a few ride updates during the Halloween period that California Fans will be excited to check out. The three main rides that go all out for Halloween are Guardians of the Galaxy, Luigi’s Honkin Halloween and Mater’s Graveyard Jamboree.
Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters after Dark will be sure to delight and thrill you like normally with some scary additions! I would only recommend this for kids who aren’t scared easily and/or pre-teens and up. As with any day of the year, a FASTPASS is a must, particularly during the Halloween celebration time period.
For the smaller kids, head over to both Luigi and Mater’s yards for some kid friendly ghoulish fun. Think spider webs and dance party atmosphere.
OOGIE BOOGIE BASH – A DISNEY HALLOWEEN PARTY
The most anticipated and exciting of the Halloween celebrations at Disneyland in years past was Mickey’s Halloween Party. This year, with the opening of Star Wars however, the biggest party of the year has moved to California Adventure and has been redubbed as the Oogie Boogie Bash. This event requires a special ticket which can be purchased separately from a regular day pass.
The Oogie Boogie Bash takes place on select Sunday, Tuesday and Thursdays from mid September through the end of October. Several dates in early September are already sold out. On the nights when the Halloween Party is held, the park is closed to normal guests. If you do not plan to attend the Halloween Party, check the park’s timings so your day isn’t cut short unexpectedly! (I know this from experience!)
The highlights of this event include the Frightfully Fun Parade, a Descendants dance party, Villanious World of Color show, seeing visitors dressed to the nines in costumes, exploring the transformed Redwood Creek Challenge area, character meet-and-greets, and unlimited trick or treating among immersive treat trails.
Another fun addition this year is the Mickey & Minnie Trick or Treat Party. This new show at the Disney Theater in Hollywood Land will wow guests with a music filled show featuring 2 original Halloween songs, video projections, bubbles and lots of fun family friendly surprises.
A note for Disney fans, the trick or treating treats are not special “only available at California Adventure” treats like at Easter. It is just regular candy and snacks.
The beauty of the Oogie Boogie Bash however is that you get early admission in the park up to three hours before the party starts to ride rides. Therefore, if you are not a season pass holder, spend the morning at Disneyland or your hotel pool before hopping over to California Adventure in the late afternoon.
As with most things, Disney is pretty great about allergies. They even offer allergy friendly treats in specially marked bags. Keep an eye out for them.
Advanced tickets for the Oogie Boogie Bash are $110-$145, and you save a bit more if you are an annual pass holder.
See you there!
To read more about visiting Disneyland, check out our other posts: Visiting Disneyland & California Adventure in 1 day, Planning a trip to Disneyland and California Adventure Ride Guide.
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