Welcome to another Disney Friends Blog Hop! This month is all about Halloween! At the end of our post, hop on over to our friends blogs and click your way through all of them ’til you come back here!
Disneyland is magical in every season. There are a lot of pros to going to Disneyland in the fall. The weather has cooled down a bit, but it’s still warm. The Haunted Mansion transforms into Haunted Mansion Holiday (“The Nightmare Before Christmas”-themed). In my opinion, this is much more fun and family friendly! The fall decor will take your breath away; I especially love the Mickey wreaths on the lamp posts. If you love all things fall and Halloween, this might be the perfect time for you to visit.
Oogie Boogie Bash
As soon as the summer season ends at the end of August, fall decorations descend upon Main Street, U.S.A. (If you think that’s early, WDW starts in MID AUGUST!) The Halloween festivities begin after the first week of September (approximately September 7) until October 31. (Every year they’ve been creeping this date up earlier and earlier, so when in doubt, a quick Google search should tell you the date they’ll start.) In years past, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party begins after the initial kickoff; about six weeks before Halloween. This year, they are trying something new called the “Oogie Boogie Bash.” It’s moved to DCA, which is really interesting. There are tons of fun things you can expect that are different than a regular day in the park. It’s important to note that the Oogie Boogie Bash, and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (in WDW) are not included in your regular park passes. You must purchase tickets for this special event in advance (day of tickets may be available, but are at a higher price rate than pre-sale). So, if you have a three day pass and you go to Disneyland on a party day, and you would like to stay in the park past 6:00 pm, you must purchase the $95-130 ticket upgrade to stay in the park. Everyone that purchased a Halloween Party pass will get a special wrist band and everyone else will be asked to leave.
The bash is on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 6:00-11:00 pm. Guests with event tickets can get into Disney California Adventure park up to three hours before the party begins and up to four hours early on a Sunday. On October 29 and 31 guests will be able to get in up to four hours early as well. This is a kid friendly Halloween party; however, you know your kid best. If they do not enjoy spooky things (spooky not scary, but my daughter screamed walking through Walmart the whole month of October) then you may not get your money’s worth. NOTE: This party does sell out FAST! All of the tickets for 2019 are sold out, so if this is something you’d like to experience, start looking to purchase by mid-September next year. For more information here’s the Disneyland website.
We haven’t ACTUALLY been to the Bash, but we have done extensive research so you don’t have to!
Villainous! – Think World of Colour, but with villains! Be warned that it is weather permitting. I have seen a bit of footage from this on Instagram and it looks amazing!
Redwood Creek Challenge Trail – This sounds spooktacular! The trail is transformed into an immersive environment with lights, fog, eerie music and special effects. You can expect to bump into several villains collecting candy from cauldrons along the way.
DescenDance – There’s a very empty area of DCA in the Backlot of Hollywood Land, and you can join the popular characters of the “Descendants” movies, singing and dancing to the songs from the three films.
Frightfully Fun Parade – If Halloween is your thing, this parade is a don’t miss. You can see Mickey and his pals marching in masquerade, Haunted Mansion characters, and Disney Villains.
Mickey’s Trick & Treat – Hollywood Land (in the Disney Theatre) hosts Mickey and pals for a show about a Halloween party thrown by their friends, and gets everyone involved in telling the story.
Characters – You should see some rare characters or classic Disney friends in unique outfits! Note that there is often a very long line for the characters (up to 3 hours sometimes!) so if this is important to you, make it a priority.
An advantage to the party is you can go on your off day, not use up one of your “days”, and get in 3 hours before the party starts and enjoy quieter crowds after the general public leaves. I wasn’t pro party in the past, but I’m definitely putting this and the Christmas parties on my to-do lists!
Dressing up is probably the best thing about Halloween… besides the candy of course. Typically adults are not allowed to walk around in costumes in the parks (hooray for Disney-bounding!), but for Halloween adults are allowed to wear full costumes. I really wish I’d known before hand that on Halloween party days, anyone can dress in costume! Typically, Disney has a strict no costume policy for adults. If you’ve seen any professional cosplayer, you can understand why. There are some seriously talented people out there, and it could be confusing (or earth shattering) for a child to see two Tinkerbells at the same time. However, on party days, costumes are everywhere! Just remember that Disney is a family friendly place and they do have a few guidelines.
- Make sure costumes are child- friendly and not violent or offensive.
- Masks are permitted as long as they do not obstruct vision and eyes are visible at all times.
- Here’s a good one: If your costume is so awesome that you look like one of the characters you may not pose with guests and give out autographs.
- Make sure your costume doesn’t drag on the ground.
- No sharp objects that could purposefully or accidentally cause harm to another guest (seems like a no-brainer).
- If your costume has a weapon of any kind, be sure that it’s not so realistic it could be mistaken for a real weapon.
- Guests who do not follow these guidelines may be refused entry to the event, even with a valid ticket. (That would be a sad day so just follow to rules, k?)
There are SO many fun costume ideas that you could do. It doesn’t just have to be Disney, but I mean, come on, there are endless Disney ideas to choose from.
What’s Different About This Season
Several rides convert to Halloween themes:
- Space Mountain converts to Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy
- Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! converts to Guardians of the Galaxy: – Monsters After Dark
- Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters converts to Luigi’s Honkin’ Haul-O-Ween
- Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree converts to Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree
- Haunted Mansion converts to Haunted Mansion Holiday
I was at Disneyland this year for the very beginning of the Halloween roll out, and Guardians of the Galaxy (at least for the 2 weeks when we were there) was normal in the morning, and then closed from 4:00-5:00 pm to change over to Monsters After Dark. FastPasses are not distributed for this time, and if you want to do a Rider Switch close to the changeover time, they will not allow you to.
Main Street, U.S.A. features hand carved pumpkins, as well as a large Mickey Mouse pumpkin head photo op.
Characters are costumed, and fall decor abounds. Special fall treats are also available (Pumpkin Spice Beignets anyone?). This is what really gets me. It wasn’t even on my radar to go at this time, but now that I’ve seen the many Instagram photos of sour apple churros, fun caramel apples, and other fall themed snacks, it’s at the top of my bucket list.
One of the things I look forward to the most going in different seasons is the different snacks. One of the things I recently learned this summer is on the Disneyland app, when you go into “order food” you can see all of the restaurants, INCLUDING some of the smaller carts, and see what there is to eat. We have a friend with a daughter who is VERY allergic to peanuts, and she pointed out that there is also an allergy section here, so you can plan ahead if you have someone with food allergies in your party! As well as the allergy section, there is a “seasonal offerings” section. This is where you will find treats that aren’t available year round! For me, this is the biggest (and most wonderful!) trap of all! Some of the seasonal offerings I’d be trying if I were going this season are the different Halloween Churros, Candy Corn Cotton Candy, and Hades Dog (located at Refreshment Corner… it’s a foot long hot dog with harissa aioli, lemon pickled cucumbers and feta… YUM!)
Weather wise, it is lovely in the fall. It is comfortable to wear shorts and a tank top, as long as you have a sweater for the mornings/evenings. I was comfortable in a t-shirt and shorts, but my husband and toddler were in tanks and shorts the whole time. Now that I’m thinking about it, we did spend more time in the hot tub than the pool, since our pool days were cooler and overcast. For some reason, the days often start quite overcast at this time of year, and then the clouds “burn off.” So if you’re getting ready for the day at 7:00 am, it’s something to consider. Also, as I’m the self proclaimed “Queen of the UV rays,” the UV ray index is much much lower at this time of year, so you don’t have to be as concerned about sunscreen applications. Once in the morning and once in the afternoon should be plenty.
If you’re planning on going during this time, make sure to check the Parks Calendar to see what the hours are like. It was really fun seeing the parks decked out differently. The DCA decorations were a little more spooky, especially at nighttime, as they were purple and had Oogie Boogie’s voice coming over the speaker system. If you have sensitive children I would try and prep them beforehand. The Disneyland decor was not scary.
All of the characters are dressed up for Halloween; such as a witch, a skeleton, Dracula, etc. We did notice that in Mickey’s Toontown they were still dressed as normal.
While we seriously enjoyed being there at this time of year (come on, it’s California… we live in Raincouver, what’s not to love) there were some things that would make me pause before booking at this time of year again. Firstly, we were there the very first week of the official Halloween season. I think the parks were busier because people specifically planned trips to be at the park for the occasion. We had to go when our vacation time permitted. Haunted Mansion Holiday had just converted and it made that section of the park almost impassable. The only way we got on the ride was to FastPass it. We were barely in that area due to the crazy congestion that was there. (Think minimum 50 minute wait times, at ALL times of the day, and lineups being extended out into New Orleans Square). It was also a Saturday, so naturally passholders were also checking out the newly decked out parks.
Now, I know we broke the cardinal “Thou shalt not go to Disneyland on a weekend” rule, but there was a reason! Fall time is weird in the sense that yes, it is a holiday time; and yes, it’s busy… but it isn’t “peak” season. This meant that park hours were shorter (usually 10-10, or 9-10 for Disneyland, and then 10-6 for DCA) on weekdays. Nightly entertainment is also reserved for weekends only, unlike the summer and winter when it runs almost every night, if not every night. SO, if you want to see the Fireworks Spectacular or Fantasmic!, you have to go on Friday or the weekend. (A quick note about Fireworks: they can and do cancel them for “high winds.” This was disappointing for us because during the off-season fireworks are only on weekends… so we got to Main Street on the only weekend evening of our trip, and 5 minutes before the scheduled start time they were cancelled.)
Of course, this means that anybody else visiting the resort at that time who wants to see the fireworks must also attend on the weekend. Thus, it was CRAZY insane busy. But again, weekends have extended hours as well. Still, gird your loins if you plan on being in the park on a Saturday. A friend of mine is there right now, and she mentioned that Sunday was less busy than the Monday. I think another reason for this is many weekends are “blackout” days for passholders, so you’re getting more tourist crowds on weekends, and annual passholder crowds on weekdays.
If you’re planning on visiting Disneyland at this time of year, or you’re wishing you were there like us, check out the amazing Disney Halloween play list on Apple Music here!
Whether or not you’re a big fan of the holiday, Halloween time is definitely worth checking out if you’ve got time off in the fall!
What’s your favorite holiday to visit the Disney Parks? Let us know in the comments 🙂
And check out the other amazing blogs!
Have a magical day!
Elisia, Erica, Heidi and Danielle