This Is Halloween... At Disneyland. Here's What It Looks Like Now At The Spookiest Place On Earth
It's time to face the deep, blood-curling horror of... oops, got that mixed up with what SoCal's other theme parks are doing. We meant, enjoy the holidays with just a slight dose of fright in the Halloween Time version of Disneyland. They just kicked off their gentle scares this past week.
Join us below for a virtual look at what's going on at the parks right now (and what could be going into your belly).
Disneyland's celebration is juuuust this far off from being a non-Halloween church harvest festival, but there are still spooks to be had. On Main Street, you get a giant Mickey Mouse jack-o'-lantern, along with a Pumpkin Festival.
The Haunted Mansion transforms into Haunted Mansion Holiday, with Nightmare Before Christmas characters largely taking the place of the more traditional Haunted Mansion ones. It's a surprisingly complete tranformation, leaving you wondering how they managed to do all this before setting it back to normal in just a few months. This attraction serves double duty for both the Halloween and Christmas season. Synergy gods be praised!
One Easter egg (Halloween egg?) for you to check out: each year, the gingerbread house inside changes designs.
Meanwhile, Space Mountain gets some adjustments to become Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. Given that this ride largely takes place in the dark, the Halloween effects largely come down to switched-up sound effects, including screams that aren't just from those who can't handle a dark rollercoaster. You also get some ghosts, which reach out and come after you in the darkness of space. (No relation to Space Ghost.)
Frontierland gains a Día de los Muertos tribute with Zo�?calo Park, including an exhibit with skeleton figurines, bright flowers and other Day of the Dead decorations.
Disney also capitalizes on the Nightmare Before Christmas at California Adventure, with the silhouette of villain Oogie Boogie welcoming everyone in with some added creepy-kookiness.
The Halloween vibes continue down Buena Vista Street to Carthay Circle, home to a statue of the Headless Horseman, as seen in Disney's own '40s classic The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. It's a deep cut perfect for the season.
The Guardians of the Galaxy's Mission: Breakout becomes "Monsters After Dark" at night. They darken the exterior, then add new lighting effects, as part of a new storyline. The ride goes from being about breaking out to Groot being left behind, now in need of a rescue from Rocket. The new version of the read even includes a Guardians-style song, but instead of a real '70s deep cut, it's an original called "Monsters After Dark" written by the movie's composer.
Cars Land goes full Halloween, perhaps moreso than anywhere outside the Haunted Mansion. Their home of Radiator Springs becomes -- wait for it -- Radiator Screams, with the whole land getting a makeover.
Jamboree becomes Mater's Graveyard JamBOOree, while Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters becomes Luigi's Honkin' Haul-O-Ween. The JamBOOree features Cars takes on Halloween classics, with the "Monster Mash" becoming "Monster Truck Smash," while "Purple People Eater" becomes "Purple Fender Bender."
There's also a Di�?a de los Muertos appearance, with Cars Land's Ramone displaying his own altar celebrating the films' Doc Hudson. (Sorry, we're getting verklempt!)
Puns made in the promotion for this event that may be a step too far: Disney promises that the major car characters will show up in "car-stume" as they prep for "trunk-or-treating." WE'LL ALLOW IT, we suppose.
Beyond the world of Cars, California Adventure's also hosting a musical tribute to Coco at the seasonal Plaza de la Familia.
It tells Coco's story and includes songs from the movie, including the all-the-tears-inspiring "Remember Me." They're also hosting a bandstand with Mariachi music and other traditionals all day long.
The World of Coco art exhibit includes a look at everything that went into bringing the movie to life (and death). It also features a Coco-style ofrenda remembrance altar, putting you straight into the movie's universe.
MICKEY'S HALLOWEEN PARTY
The parks feature even more after hours on select nights (with the purchase of an additional ticket). Everyone's invited to dress up for the event, as long as you adhere to some safety restrictions.
The most epic part about the party: trick or treating at Disneyland. Combine the magic of Disney with the wonder of sugar, and your heart will be pumping as you zip around trying to collect it all. Just remember to pause, take a breath, and take in some of the trademark small Disney details. They've got you if you need a pure sugar break -- healthy snacks are also offered.
The Halloween Screams firework show takes place each night during the party, hosted by Nightmare Before Christmas's Jack Skellington.
The party also comes with the Frightfully Fun Parade, a Halloween march headed up by Sleepy Hollow's Headless Horseman. He rides down Main Street, joined by other Halloween characters such as Jack Skellington, as well as the ghosts of the Haunted Mansion.
As they do with some of their bonus events, Disney throws in their PhotoPass service, so you can get the park's professional photographers to shoot your picture without any additional fees.
If you don't want to buy a ticket to spend the whole day at the park, Mickey's Halloween Party tickets still allow you to come three hours before the party officially starts, so you can enjoy some of the parks before things get haunted. You also have to buy your tickets in advance -- purchases aren't allowed on the day of the event, even if they happen to not be sold out. (But it almost always sells out -- at press time, only 5 of 17 nights the party is being offered still had spots available.)
HALLOWEEN CHARACTERS AND OTHER PHOTO OPS
You can check out Mickey and friends in their own Halloween outfits during Mickey's Halloween Party, along with other seasonal garb at daylight -- along with different costumes for Disneyland and California Adventure.
For the party, they also send out the bad guys to Villains Square for evil photo ops, with other costumed Disney characters throughout the park.
The character Vampirina has been part of a Disney Junior series, and now she's also making the move to in-person appearance. "Vee" will be making appearances at California Adventure during the day, as well as in the Frightfully Fun Parade.
Over in Cars Land, the puns continue, with Mater as a "van-fire." You've also got Lightning McQueen as a superhero, a spider-car at Flo's V8 Cafe, and more.
Some of the highlights of Disney's Halloween treats include:
- Special holiday churros throughout both parks
- Halloween candy including Mini witch, Jack Skellington and Evil Queen apples
- Spoke-y Cone Macaron at Cozy Cone Motel: Filled with marshmallow buttercream and candy corn (we'll let you debate whether those ingredients equal a treat)
- Candy Cone Pie at Flo's V8 Café: Cream pie with vanilla, buttercotch and white chocolate pudding
- Headless horseman cupcakes
- Día de los Muertos cuisine in select areas
Disneyland's Halloween Time runs through Halloween itself. Mickey's Halloween Party runs on various nights from Sept. 19 to Oct. 31, usually twice a week.
You made it! Congrats, you read the entire story, you gorgeous human. This story was made possible by generous people like you. Independent, local journalism costs $$$$$. And now that LAist is part of KPCC, we rely on that support. So if you aren't already, be one of us! Help us help you live your best life in Southern California. Donate now.