Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland is a hard ticket event that takes place on selected nights in September and October during the Halloween Time celebration. Disneyland closes early to day guests, and only party guests are permitted to stay in the parks for the rest of the evening. There are many events that are exclusive to the party, but I’ll get to those later. One of the attractions of the party is that all party guests, even adults, are allowed to wear family-friendly costumes and go trick-or-treating.
All tickets to this year’s parties are sold out on-line, but there may still be tickets available at Disneyland ticket booths for some parties. Wednesday night, September 20, the first party of the season, was sold out, but on Friday the sign at the entrance indicated that some tickets were available. The moral of the story is: If you think you’ll want to go to Mickey’s Halloween Party, purchase your tickets early. Tickets usually go on sale in July.
The parties are 5 hours long: either 6:00-11:00 or 7:00-midnight. But party guests can also get an extra three hours of park time since their party ticket will allow them to enter either Disneyland or Disney California Adventure up to three hours before the party starts. The admission to Disney California Adventure is new this year. It allows guests to see the Haul-O-Ween celebration in Cars Land, as well as decor on Buena Vista Street, though my personal opinion is that it was a way to justify this year’s hefty price increase – $13-$21 depending on party date.
Now, considering a one-day park hopper is a minimum of $157 these days, then for those who are not Annual Passholder, perhaps $105 for a ticket that gives guests 8 hours of park time, as well as the party events, is not such a bad deal.
But I digress.
This year, party tickets included MaxPass. That means free PhotoPass downloads for party guests. And, I think for the first time, Fastpasses were available for Fastpass attractions during party hours, and with MaxPass, guests could book Fastpasses with the Disneyland app on their phones. A nice feature if you want to experience attractions such as Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy and Haunted Mansion Holiday, which have long standby lines on party nights.
There are designated entrance turnstiles for party guests. Upon entering, guests receive a wristband, which they will probably be required to show a number of times during the night as cast members attempt to clear the park of day guests. Guests also receive a trick-or-treat bag and a special party map.
An hour before the party begins, Toon Town opens to party guests for Early Trick or Treating. There are several Treat Trails available as well as several Disney character Meet-and-Greet locations. The characters are wearing different costumes than they wear later in the other photo locations. Toon Town is open for two hours, and then closes for the remainder of the evening.
I managed to fill my treat bag just by going through the treat trails in Toon Town! In addition to a variety of candy, most treat stations also had a “healthier” (or at least less sugary) option available. Whole grain crackers, cheese popcorn, graham crackers, potato chips, Craisins, and packages of mini carrots or apple slices. Generally I had to ask for the alternative, otherwise I received candy.
There were plenty of Treat Trails available in other areas throughout the park. The lines were pretty long early, but if you wait until later in the evening they were much shorter. And there was still plenty of candy available. In fact, towards the end of the party it seemed as though some cast members were giving out more candy just to get rid of it.
There is some party-exclusive merchandise available at the Emporium, Pioneer Mercantile, and Pieces of Eight.
Almost all regular dining locations and outdoor vending carts are open during the party. There are no party-specific food items that I’m aware of, but there are Halloween-themed food and beverage items available at many locations during Halloween Time, so there are lots of new things to try. One of my favorites is the Lamb Kofta at Bengal BBQ.
If you’re an Annual Passholder, there’s a Passholder-exclusive photo location in New Orleans Square near the Pirate’s Lair boat dock. I didn’t get a chance to check this out because the line was always very long.
A highlight for many party guests is the Character Greeting opportunities. Some of them wear outfits exclusive to the party, or are characters not usually seen in the park. Be aware that the character lines are usually very long – bring your patience.
There are other live entertainment options as well. The Pixar Pals Halloween Dance Party takes place at the Galactic Grill stage area. This is not a character greeting location – instead, characters like The Incredibles, Frozone and Mike and Sulley join guests on the dance floor. Everyone seems to have a good time.
In Frontierland, the Living Scarecrows are hanging around, talking to guests and telling “corny” jokes.
One of my favorites is the Cadaver Dans. They float along the fog-shrouded Rivers of America singing spooky Halloween songs. They have quite a repertoire in addition to the familiar songs like “This is Halloween” and “Grim Grinning Ghosts”. The last song in the clip below is “The Tale of the Headless Horseman”, not something that I’d heard before.
A spooky but fun Halloween soundtrack plays throughout the park. After dark there are projections on the castle and the Main Street buildings.
I think two of the main reasons to go to the Halloween Party are the Frightfully Fun Parade and the Halloween Screams fireworks show. The Frightfully Fun Parade was new last year. This year there were a few additions and changes.
The Headless Horseman walks down the parade route 10 minutes before the parade starts. This year the audio includes some narration of the Sleepy Hollow story, and Ichabod Crane scurries down the parade route ahead of the Horseman.
A dance element including Mickey and Minnie now follows the opening title float. Only villains were in last year’s parade.
There were a few changes to the final Villains element, with Ursula and Gaston joining the other baddies this year. Ursula leads the other villains down the parade route. Cruella deVil went to the front of the float with Hades, and a posing, flexing Gaston is now on the back.
Headless Horseman and Parade video:
The Halloween Screams fireworks is hosted by the “Master of Scare-omonies” Jack Skellington, who appears on a projection screen that’s raised to the left of the castle. For best viewing of the show you’ll want to stand someplace that you can see that area. Zero flies around the castle as well.
There’s appearances on the screen by guest villains such as Ursula and Oogie Boogie, also, and lots of fireworks.
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