By Jennifer Stuart
If you plan on attending Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland there are some things that you should know to make your visit go smoothly.
****Updated for 2018!
Party Nights Sell Out
In 2018 there are 15 party nights for Mickey’s Halloween Party. These are hard-ticketed events which means that the park is closed to regular guests early, and a separate ticket is required for each person wishing to attend. We suggest that you buy your ticket well in advance (usually these go on sale at the end of July). Most nights will sell out before the day of the party and the most popular nights (Fridays and Halloween), will sell out well in advance. If there is a particular night you would like to go to you should get your tickets as soon as possible. Prices for 2018 are $105, $115 or $130 depending on the day. (this is an extension of Disneyland's new surge pricing where days with anticipated higher demand cost more) New this year there are some dates (weekdays) that are reduced price for pass holders --$95. Note that all guests aged 3 and older require a party ticket and there is no child pricing. Party times for 2018 are: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights, the party is from 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM. On Friday nights, it is from 7:00 PM to 12:00 AM.
Insider Tip: Your Halloween Party ticket will let you in early. You can enter Disneyland up to 3 hours before the party starts. As of last year, you can also enter Disney California Adventure 3 hours ahead of the party with your party ticket. If you are looking to save money you could rest up in the morning and enter the park using your Halloween Ticket in the afternoon rather than using a park ticket that day.
Entering the park
If you choose to enter the park early (using your party ticket), or if you have entered earlier in the day with an annual pass or other ticket type, you don’t have to leave and re-enter. Just look for the cast members with wristbands near the train station and show them your party ticket.
The closer to the party start time that you arrive, expect to see longer lines to get in. The lines move more slowly than usual as they have to put a wristband on each guest. Also, allow more time than usual to get through security as costumes receive extra scrutiny.
When you enter the park using you Halloween Party ticket you will be given a Halloween wristband. Cast Members will be looking for these as the park closes to make sure that you are a Party guest. You can also pick up a plastic trick or treat bag if you choose from a Cast Member just inside the entrance turnstiles.
Insider Tip: Passholders receive extra perks-- there is usually a pass holder specific treat trail through the Main Street Opera house with an upgraded treat bag and extra special treats for annual pass holders -- cast members will check for your pass at the entrance.
As you enter the park make sure to stop and pick up a party night map. The Halloween Party map will show you where to find the trick or treat trails. It will also give you the highlights for food and entertainment. (It's also a great free souvenir)
As always, we recommend that you download and use the official Disneyland App. Read our post on Why you should download the Disneyland App before your trip. Using the app during the party will keep you up to date on wait times, entertainment and character meet and greets.
The feeling at Disneyland once the party has started is electric. You can feel the anticipation in the air. People are excited for the night ahead. Even for those of us who visit the parks often, it is a special night. The costumes really add to the fun and it is so great to check out other people's creativity. From clever t-shirts to full on detailed costumes it feels like you really are attending the best Halloween Party ever.
More Halloween style decorations and vignettes are added to the already fun decorations. And when the sun goes down the Rivers of America are made extra creepy with some fog rolling softly off the water and across the pathways.
Trick or treat trails
You can find trick or treat trails marked on your map or on the app. Walking around you will see the entrance is usually well signed. These will not open until after the official party start time. Treats are a range of name brand mini chocolate bars or you can ask for a healthy alternative ( bagged mini carrots or apple slices—- like the ones that come in all the kids meals). Lines can get long so decide for yourself if this is the way you want to spend your party time. As a parent there is something magical about taking your children trick or treating in Disneyland. And the kids loved it but we typically only do a couple of the trails as we also want to see all the entertainment and take advantage of the shorter wait times for rides.
Insider Tip: If you are an annual pass holder it is worth it to do the pass holder exclusive treat trail. We found that trail to be very very quick and the treats were very yummy cake pops.
We love to meet characters and one of the highlights of the party is the ability to meet so many villains. Town Square becomes Villains Square with multiple villains meeting guests throughout the night. They will rotate so if you don’t see the one you are looking for ask a cast member when they expect them to return. Last year we saw Lady Tremaine, Drusilla, Anastasia, Hades, Malificent, the Evil Queen, and the Queen of Hearts in a short amount of time.
If you are not interested in villains you can meet many other characters at different locations in the park. The line for the princesses was long at the beginning of the night but later on there were only a handful of people in front of us. Check the app or the map for meet and greet locations.
Make sure that you check out the Halloween Screams fireworks. The only way to see it is at Mickey’s Halloween Party. It is not offered on non-party nights even during the Halloweentime season. It is worthwhile watching from in front of the castle or on Main Street USA as the projections are not visible in other parts of the park. This is hands down one of our favourite fireworks shows that Disneyland does. The way the music, projections and fireworks are synched is fantastic. This is definitely a highlight in our opinion.
There is typically a special Halloween Parade -- The "Frightfully Fun Parade" (this wasn’t offered in 2015 as they showed Paint the Night for the 60th Anniversary). The 2018 parade is a short parade but very fun! It is lead by the headless horseman riding through the park at an eerily slow pace. There are 3 floats interspersed with dancers. The floats represent Halloween Town, the Haunted Mansion and the Villains. This is another piece of entertainment that I will make an effort to see because it is unique to party nights. The parade is marked on your map and the first one will start beside Its a Small World and end in Town Square. The second parade will reverse this route and end by Small World. It is important to note that the parade goes down the Tomorrowland side of the hub if you are looking for a spot to watch in that area.
You may be familiar with the Disneyland staple Dapper Dans. (If not, you should really stop and watch next time you see them out performing on Main Street). For the Halloween Party you will be entertained instead by the Cadaver Dans. Again this is exclusive to party nights and a lot of fun. Look for them in the Rivers of America, they lend so much atmosphere to the party when the sun goes down and they start making fog in this area.
In the past, dressing up has been a big part of the fun for some guests (like me!). Especially as costumes on guests over 14 are not permitted during regular park hours. Be aware that Disneyland has changed costume guidelines for guests this year. Click here for a link to the official guidelines page.
We are used to planning costumes around whether it will fit over a snowsuit or not, so making costumes for California heat was a bit of a mind-shift. This is definitely not the time to wear a full furry Sully suit, and crinolines can be really hot as well.
Unless you plan not to eat or to live off the sugar high of all that trick or treat candy you will want to have a plan for your food options. Other than the special package at the Blue Bayou you cannot make reservations for any of the restaurants, including the table service ones that usually take reservations. All restaurants will be walk up only.
This year there is a Halloween Party Dinner Package at the Blue Bayou. From the website here is what is included.
• A 3-course, prix-fixe dinner (starter, entrée and dessert) at the Blue Bayou Restaurant and a FASTPASS ticket to the Frightfully Fun Parade with access to a preferred viewing area
• Price: $72 per adult and $29 per child, plus tax and gratuity (discounts do not apply and Mickey’s Halloween Party admission is not included)
As always for the Blue Bayou reservations are “recommended” but in reality you are not going to get seated without them and for special packages you will always want to reserve in advance as tickets are limited. To make reservations you can access the package online, through the app or by calling Disneyland Dining at 714) 781-DINE or (714) 781-3463 between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM daily.
If this is going to be your only visit to Disneyland during Halloweentime make sure that you try some of the seasonal treats. There are lots to choose from! Click here for information on the seasonal foods being offered.
Starting off we found that wait times for rides were pretty similar to a regular park day but as the night wore on there were definitely shorter wait times for many rides. (Haunted Mansion Holiday was a notable exception, but we did wait only about 10 minutes in line at about 10:30pm). In general you will find waits lighter during the parades and fireworks. As usual for fireworks nights Fantasyland rides will close during the fireworks.
UPDATE: for 2018 -- as in 2017 Photopass for the party is included with your party ticket! This is a great value for those of us who love to meet characters! If you are thinking about getting a one day Photopass and you are going to do character meet and greets this would be the day to do it. There are so many photo ops with characters, next to the Mickey jack o’lantern, by the partners statue and don’t forget the ride photos are included. If you are not going to use Photopass remember that cast members are happy to take pictures on your camera or phone as well. We did both last year. We found that the posed and character photos were noticeably better on our photo pass but we loved all the candid shots that we took as well.
It is worth checking the weather forecast for your visit. Although it is fall, it is also southern California. Even knowing that - past year's heatwaves have caught us a bit off guard. One night that we did the Halloween Party it was 111°F (44°C) at 5pm when we were waiting to enter the party and was still 98°F (37°C) at 11pm!
If you liked this post you might also like our posts on 10 Reasons why Fall is Fabulous at Disneyland or How to Survive the Heat at Disneyland.
All photos by Jennifer Stuart and Kim Stuart
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Are you going to Mickey’s Halloween Party this year?
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