There’s lots of special Halloween treats at Disney California Adventure this Halloween season. I already wrote a blog about the new Haul-O-Ween celebration in Cars Land, but there’s other areas in the park that are also celebrating the season.
A huge shadow of Oogie Boogie, the boogeyman from “Nightmare Before Christmas”, stands over the entrance to Disney California Adventure. At night he talks to guests, enticing them into the park.
Buena Vista Street is decorated with bats, Halloween banners, and window displays. According to Imagineers, the bats will multiply as time goes on.
The Carthay Circle Restaurant is decorated with banners and appears to have bats flying out of its belfry.
It’s involved in a nighttime lighting moment when the bells peal (the first time bells have sounded) and Oogie Boogie unleashes his spell bringing a spooky Halloween atmosphere to Buena Vista Street.
The Disney characters are in costumes for the occasion – costumes that might have been popular in the 1920s. Mickey wears a bat costume and Donald a pumpkin costume.
Goofy is the “Spirit of Halloween” in a ghostly costume.
In the plaza outside Elias & Co. is a new 10-foot statue of the Headless Horseman.
There are special effects at night as the pumpkin head lights up and the horse appears to breathe fire.
In Hollywood Land, each night from 6:00 until park closing, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! becomes Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark. Inside The Fortress, the Guardians have just escaped, and things are a bit, well, chaotic with all of escaped creatures running around. In all of the excitement Groot has been left behind, and Rocket is trying to rescue him – with the help of guests and their very attractive heat signatures…
The blue lights of The Lobby have given way to flashing red warning lights and the Collector’s assistant Alpheta appears on the large video screen, attempting to reassure guests that their VIP tour will still continue.
In the Collector’s office, Rocket is using the security system to search for Groot, and he has a plan.
In the Gantry area there are search lights and lots of sound effects.
Once aboard the Gantry lift, the attraction experience takes place to the new song “Monsters After Dark”, written for the attraction by Tyler Bates, composer for the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies. New visuals of Groot and Rocket, along with a rather intimidating escaped creature, appear during the ride. There’s just a single song for this one, rather than the six during the daytime.
I rode the attraction and this new version is so much fun! Certainly enhanced by doing it when it’s dark outside. Looking up at The Fortress from the outside there’s additional lighting and other special effects at night.
Fastpasses for Monsters After Dark are available at the regular Fastpass kiosks beginning at 3:00 p.m. They are also available at that time to those with the MaxPass feature via the Disneyland app. Monsters After Dark is scheduled to end on October 31.
But wait, there’s even more at Disney California Adventure.
In Paradise Gardens is Plaza de la Familia, a Celebration of Coco and the Everlasting Bonds of Family. The area is inspired by the tradition of Dia de los Muertos, which celebrates loved ones who have passed away. A number of experiences are available including complimentary face painting and a Tree of Life photo opportunity. Guests are also invited to write down a memory and share it on the “Recuerdos de me Familia” wall.
A Musical Celebration of Coco is performed five times a day in the area just outside the Plaza de la Familia sign. A storyteller relates some of the story of the upcoming film “Coco” and performs several songs from the movie. He is joined by Folklorico dancers, puppeteers, and the Mariachi Divas. It’s a very colorful and upbeat show – I enjoyed it. But there’s a limited viewing area, so arrive early if you want a spot in front.
The World of Coco is an exhibit featuring images that depict characters and settings from the movie. There’s also an “ofrenda” – a remembrance altar – inspired by the “ofrenda” Miguel builds in the movie.
The Paradise Garden Grill has a new menu with Mexican items such as Mole Verde con Pollo, Yucatan-inspired Vaporcitos (chicken tamales), Tortitas de Papa con Queso (crispy potato cakes and cheese), and the traditional Pan de Muerto.
There’s also a snack stand offering Elote (street-style corn-on-the-cob), Ensalada de Frutas, and Paletas (frozen fruit bars).
Plaza de la Familia runs through November 2. Some elements will move to “a bug’s land” from November 5-January 7 while the sneak peek of “Coco” is running in the theater there.