Fall at Disneyland means Halloween Time! It’s a season when the Park is transformed into the Pumpkin Festival complete with hundreds of glowing jack-o’ lanterns. Certain attractions take on a Halloween twist. And there are entertaining tricks and treats for all ages! Our Day Trips Traveling Mom finds that Halloween Time at Disneyland is an extra magical time to visit. Read on for the 8 reasons why you should see Disneyland this autumn.
Halloween Time at Disneyland
Halloween Time at Disneyland begins in early September and runs through the end of October. With warm temperatures and generally lighter crowds, the fall is a pleasant time to visit. School is back in session so plan your Park days mid-week for the most manageable crowds. Halloween Time activities are included with regular Disneyland Park admission.
1. Pumpkin Festival Decor All Over the Park
Even before entering the Park, Disneyland guests will be greeted with Halloween décor! There are even Halloween touches at the Mickey & Friends Parking Area. Enormous pumpkin-inspired Disney characters sit atop the front gates, with whimsical vines winding around.
On the hub in Main Street U.S.A, a larger-than-life Mickey jack o’ lantern is a great first stop for a photo op. There are bright orange and yellow buntings and banners hanging all down Main Street U.S.A, along with hundreds of hand-carved pumpkins.
Look for special fall touches throughout the Park as well. This glowing orange “Halloween Tree” in Frontierland is dedicated to author Ray Bradbury. Be sure to read the plaque for details on this tree’s meaning.
2. Little Ones Can Dress Up in Costume (and the Characters Do Too!)
Children up to 12 years old can dress in costume all day long at the Disneyland Parks. Just keep it comfy and wear practical walking shoes.
If you want to get into the Halloween spirit while in the Park, there are several fun options for kids. In the Zocalo Park area of Frontierland children can get their face painted like a Day of the Dead sugar skull. The Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique gives kids the royal treatment, inside Sleeping Beauty Castle. Kids up to 15 can transform into their favorite Frozen characters at Anna & Elsa’s Boutique in the Downtown Disney District.
Some Characters are dressed up in their Halloween costumes during the fall season. You’ll find the “Fab 5” in the Main Street U.S.A. hub throughout the day. Many not-so-spooky villains will be out and about to meet with guests and pose for photos. Here are some sure-fire ways to meet your favorite Disney characters.
3. Big Kids Can Get Into the Halloween Spirit
Space Mountain takes a ghastly turn with the seasonal offering, Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. My elementary-school aged kids rode this with their dad and said it was appropriately creepy for Halloween. A devilish ghost appears in lighting effect through the ride accompanied by dramatically intense music.
Space Mountain is already a coaster that frightens some, with sharp twists and turns in the dark. Your children may meet the height requirement (40”). But if they tend to scare easily, you might want to skip this one.
4. Cultural Flair to Celebrate Other Autumn Festivities
Celebrate Dia de los Muertos in Frontierland with a customary skeleton display (located just in front of the Rancho del Zocalo Restaurant). This is a great photo location with fantastic displays of colorful flags and flowers. Face painting with a traditional sugar skulls design also takes place here. Candied apples decorated like sugar skulls are sold in the Parks in honor of this festivity.
5. Halloween Time’s Crown Jewel – Haunted Mansion Holiday
The Haunted Mansion in New Orleans Square is taken over by Jack Skellington and his friends from Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” It transforms delightfully into Haunted Mansion Holiday. The entire attraction takes on a spooky new look, replete with coffin on the rooftop, glowing jack o’ lanterns and flickering candles.
The inside of the ride is completely done over with Halloween scenes, featuring the characters from the movie. On display in the ballroom scene of the attraction is a scented Halloween-themed gingerbread house. This is a can’t-miss attraction if you visit Disneyland during Halloween Time. Be sure to grab a FastPass for this one first thing in the morning!
6. Special Treats and Tricks
The Disneyland Resort offers seasonal treats that will get you in the autumn spirit – even if the weather is anything but cool and crisp in Southern California! Think cinnamon, caramel, apple and pumpkin spice flavored treats. Check out this pumpkin cupcake that was sweetly decorated with cream cheese frosting, edible glitter and chocolate wafer Mouse ears!
Maurice’s Treats Snack Cart in the Fantasy Faire area also offers a seasonal pumpkin twist that is delicate and flaky deliciousness! Candy Corn cotton candy is also a special sweet treat.
7. Warm Weather Keeps Guests in a Summer Mood
Much of the rest of the country starts to welcome chillier temperatures in fall. However it’s still quite hot in California, which means a continuation of summertime activities. In fact, September and October are often the hottest months of the year! Plan plenty of down time in your Disneyland schedule to allow for poolside play. And read up on what to do when it’s hot at Disneyland.
8. Extra Halloween Time Fun
Mickey’s Halloween Party takes place on select nights during the months of September and October. This separate ticketed event allows guests of all ages to dress in costume and trick-or-treat through the Park. There are special Character greetings and certain rides and attractions are open. There are even dance parties and a fireworks show that only happen during this event.
If you have more than just a day to spend at Disneyland, you should also consider taking Disney’s Happiest Haunts Tour (additional cost, valid Park ticket also required).
Regular Disneyland Park tickets can be purchased on ParkSavers for a discount (use code TM2 for an extra $2 off per ticket) but Mickey’s Halloween Party and tours must be booked via the Disneyland website.