Living in Southern California, it can be hard to notice when the seasons change. Sure, there’s pumpkin everything, everywhere, and that helps, plus I saw a small dog wearing a light jacket in the park this morning (although that may have been more of a fashion statement), but for the most part autumn is just a word on the wind.
That’s where the Disneyland Resort comes in. The annual “Mickey’s Halloween Party” in Disneyland Park starts each September, with ghouls, candy, and family fun for the trick-or-treating set, then tickets sell out almost immediately. Its sudden appearance reminds us to mark our calendars for next year’s ticket sales (which will be available in July, 2017—monitor Disney Parks Blog for official date and information), at which point we typically notice the season and dress our dogs accordingly. Thanks, Disney!
Seriously though, the Disneyland Resort during Halloween Time is simply amazing. Even if you are unable to to attend Mickey’s Halloween Party, which requires a separate ticket (see, sold out), there are still plenty of reasons to visit. Here is a quick look at my personal favorites:
Haunted Mansion Holiday – I know it might be considered blasphemy and damage my Disney (Main) street cred, but I actually like Haunted Mansion Holiday better than the regular version. There, I said it. The seasonal spin, now in its 15th year (what?!), features Jack Skellington and friends from the classic animated film Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas and transforms the mansion with a collision of Halloween spookiness and Christmas cheer. This year also marks the addition of Sally to the ride (previously she had only been at the ride’s exit—she’s still there, too), which, frankly, seems long overdue, but she is welcome all the same.
Spooky Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy – Not to be confused with Space Ghost, the seasonal Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy takes riders into a haunted section of the universe (not our section) where ghosts fly out of the darkness toward guests as they speed through space—because a roller coaster hurling through pitch blackness needs something to make it a little scarier. Mission accomplished. (No word on whether or not the Star Wars overlay will return to Space Mountain after the Ghost Galaxy run.)
Food and decorations – Disney does not pull punches. The seasonal theme runs throughout the resort with fall colors, pumpkins, and all of the little touches that makes Disney so special. And the food! Mmm, themed food.
Mickey’s Halloween Party
Not to rub it in, but my family attended Mickey’s Halloween Party last week as Disney’s guests, and there are a few things you should know. First, adults are not normally allowed to wear costumes in Disneyland (the kids can always dress up), but during the special event they can! Also dressing in Halloween costumes? The Disney characters.
Second, there are special “Halloween Screams” fireworks featuring “Master of Scare-omonies” Jack Skellington that are not available on non-event nights.
However, what really wowed us was the new “Frightfully Fun Parade,” which gets a head start (I know) from the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow (from Disney’s The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad) delivering a warning to guests, then the parade begins with festive greetings from Jack Skellington, some grim, grinning (and hitchhiking) ghosts, and a who’s who of Disney villains. Honestly, it’s my favorite new parade in a long time, which is saying something (I love a parade!).
The End of a Terror
Now, I have some good news and I have some bad news.
The good news is that there will be a new ride opening in Disney California Adventure Park next year (tentatively) based upon Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and that is super exciting.
The bad news is that it is replacing The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (it will be housed in the same structure and still feature the famous drop).
The invitation to check into the Hollywood Tower Hotel is even more urgent now as The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror approaches its final check-out date, Jan. 2, 2017. A special tribute begins Sept. 9 to salute the haunted hotel’s eerie story and exciting adventure at Disney California Adventure Park. During the celebration, guests who arrive after twilight will enjoy “Late Check-Out”–-a chance to venture beyond the fifth dimension into complete darkness. It’s something guests have never experienced before: free-falling in the attraction’s haunted elevator shaft with all the lights out.
Basically, if you want to visit the attraction you better do it quickly.
Remember, Halloween time at the Disneyland Resort runs through October 31, and it is not to be missed!
All photos courtesy of Disney unless otherwise noted.