By Jennifer Stuart
Halloweentime is scheduled to run from September 7 to October 31 for 2018. Read on to find out what to expect this season at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.
Disneyland does a great job of decorating for Halloweentime and there are several areas where you can expect to see seasonal decorations.
Insider Tip: Make sure to peer into the windows as you walk down Main Street to see all the great seasonal details inside. Also take the time to ride the Omnibus. Sit on the top floor and you can get a great view of the jack o'lanterns that decorate the upper levels of the shops.
Other than some light themeing in the stores on Buena Vista Street, Halloween had been noticeably absent from Disney California Adventure in the past. That changed in a big way last year. Oogie Boogie now looms over the entrance to Disney California Adventure and bats circle the tower on the Carthay Circle Restaurant. The popular Headless Horseman statue will be back in the middle of Carthay Circle and Buena Vista Street will get Halloween decor as well once again. The Headless Horseman Statue was a popular photospot last year so look out for Disney Photopass photographers. (Remember Photopass is included with Maxpass-- Read our Step-by-step Guide to Maxpass for more information).
The highlight of last year was the addition of Carsland to the Halloween celebrations. The whole land is highly themed and well decorated. Don't miss the Cars characters in their costumes or the great photospot at the entrance to Carsland.
Back again this season are the very popular overlays for Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain. Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy will open Sept 7 and run until Oct 31. Haunted Mansion Holiday will open Sept 7 and run until early January.
Insider Tip: These rides are very popular and you will want to grab a fastpass for them as early in the day as possible as they often run out of fastpasses well before the end of the day.
Last year in Carsland both Mater's Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi's Rollicking Roadsters both got Halloween overlays including new themed music. Look for both Mater's Graveyard JamBOOree and Luigi's Honkin' Halloween to return. Also, back is Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout -- Monsters after Dark.
I am a sucker for meeting characters, especially when they are wearing special outfits. What can I say -- it just makes me happy. Look for Mickey and friends to appear in Halloween costumes. Jack Skellington and Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas usually meet guests near the Haunted Mansion. Also at this time it is more common to find famous villains. Consult the Disneyland App for when and where you can meet characters on the day of your visit or ask a cast member for information at City Hall or one of the information kiosks. You may be interested in reading our post about why we think you should download the Disneyland App before you visit here. As part of the Halloween re-themeing of Carsland look for your favourite Cars characters in Halloween costumes. (Mater dressed up as a vampire last year was priceless!)
Fall treats at Disneyland tend to fall heavily into the pumpkin friendly category. This is fine with us as we love pumpkin and spice flavoured treats! The pumpkin cheesecake above has been one of our favourites and seems to have been on the menu for several years now. Disneyland is famous for its caramel apples and there are some great Halloween or villain-inspired ones that appear at Halloweentime. Look for seasonal treats throughout the parks but notable locations include Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe on Main Street, French Market in New Orleans Square, Rancho del Zocalo in Frontierland and the Candy Palace on Main Street or Pooh Corner in Critter Country.
Every year new treats are released for the season. Look for us to post updates to Facebook as well. Consider following our Facebook page for the latest Disneyland information.
Update: a list of the Halloween food and treats available for 2018 is available here.
Mickey's Halloween Party
Mickey's Halloween Party is a hard-ticketed event that runs on select nights from Sept 19 to Oct 31. It features special entertainment such as a Halloween Parade and the party exclusive Halloween Screams fireworks. This is your chance to trick or treat inside Disneyland! Read our post on What to Expect at Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland for more information if you are planning on attending this event. Get your tickets early as this event sells out every year.
New last year for Mickey’s Halloween Party guests, Disney California Adventure park was featured for the first time as part of the pre-party mix-in. Early arrivals were able to visit both theme parks for three hours prior to the party launch in Disneyland park. This will be the same this year and we suspect that this will be the last year that the party is held at Disneyland. Management will most likely move it to DCA next year to reduce the crowds at Disneyland after Star Wars Land opens. This has not been confirmed and is merely a rumour at this point, but it makes sense.
Día de Muertos
Experience a traditional Dia de los Muertos skeleton display, face painting and deliciously spirited Mexican treats in Frontierland near Big Thunder Mountain and Rancho del Zocalo. This colourful area is full of great photo opportunities! Often this area also has seasonal face painting. Returning this year look for Paradise Gardens to transform into Plaza de la Familia themed around the movie Coco. With music, a tree of life photo op and Mexican food.
Disney produces lots of fun seasonal merchandise in the fall for Halloweentime. Look for popular seasonal mugs, steins, popcorn buckets and more. Last year the poison apple glow cubes were a hot item. There are 3 different colours (red, green and purple) available at different locations around the parks. Here is a link to a preview of this year's merchandise.
And Even More....
Over the summer several attractions have re-opened after long closures. The old Paradise Pier area has re-opened after extensive re-theming as Pixar Pier. Check out the re-themed Incredicoaster (old California Screamin') and Pixar Pal-a-Round (old Mickey's Fun Wheel). If it has been awhile since your last visit look for the refurbished Dumbo with new shaded queue and Pirates of the Caribbean's new auction scene. Red the Pirate (the new star of the auction scene can sometimes be found meeting guests in New Orleans Square). Be prepared for Bugsland in California Adventure to be gone as it closes permanently on Sept 4. Also closed permanently are several restaurants in Downtown Disneyland. Earl of Sandwich, ESPN Zone, Rainforest Cafe and the West Starbucks location are all closed and scheduled to be demolished to build the new Disney hotel. On non-Halloween Party nights look forward to the return of Remember Dreams Come True fireworks.
For more about Halloweentime at Disneyland read our other Halloweentime related posts 10 Reasons Why Fall is Fabulous at Disneyland and What You Need to Know About Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland
All photos by Kim Stuart and Jennifer Stuart
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