Halloween Time Returns to the Disneyland Resort

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Halloween Time

Halloween Time is one of my favorite times of year at Disneyland…I might like it even better than the holidays.

But like the holidays, it seems to start earlier every year – this year it began on September 9 – just four days after Labor Day! It runs through October 31. I was there on opening day – Friday, September 9.

At the Mickey and Friends tram stop, I was a little surprised that the large signs there advertise the Tower of Terror closure and not Halloween Time.

Halloween Time

This Halloween display along the tram route is always fun to see. There’s a second and longer part on the other side, but I was on the wrong side of the tram to get a photo of it.

Halloween Time

The large character pumpkins above the entrance turnstiles were back.

Halloween Time

The Mickey floral and the train station are no longer decorated for the 60th anniversary.

Halloween Time

The Mickey pumpkin has returned to Town Square.

Halloween Time


Halloween Time

The Main Street Pumpkin Festival includes lots of jack-o-lanterns peeking out from the buildings on Main Street.

Halloween Time

The candy shop has a number of Halloween-themed treats, like Mickey jack-o-lantern krispie treats, Maleficent krispie treats, skull caramel apples, and these Dia de los Muertos krispie treats.

Halloween Time

The new map and Times Guide. That night was the first showing of the Fantasy in the Sky fireworks show, which has returned now that Disneyland Forever ended along with the Diamond Celebration. Fantasy in the Sky will run (probably on weekends only) until the Holiday celebration kicks off on November 10 and Believe…in Holiday Magic returns.

Halloween Time maps

Speaking of the Diamond Celebration…an unadorned castle. It looks rather plain.

Sleeping Beauty Castle

I was there at park opening, so I hustled over to Tomorrowland to get a Fastpass for Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. Hyperspace Mountain seems to be the only piece of the “limited time offerings” of Season of the Force that is no longer around – Path of the Jedi and the Galactic Grill are still there.

Star Wars Launch Bay

I was surprised to see that most of the photo ops from the 60th anniversary celebration are still in place.

Matterhorn photo op

The jack-o-lanterns themed to each land surround the Walt and Mickey Partners statue in the Hub.

Halloween Time

The Vampire Mickey popcorn bucket has been “re-vamped” this year. 🙂

Halloween Vampire Mickey popcorn bucket

There’s a new Halloween-themed bucket, also, with Disney characters drawn in the older style. (I think Daisy looks pretty creepy, personally.)

Halloween Disneyland popcorn bucket

Haunted Mansion Holiday opened for the season, and many of us were eager to see how Jack had “decked the halls” this year. The standby line was posted as 40 minutes, but it was less than 20.

Halloween Time Haunted Mansion Holiday


Haunted Mansion Holiday

The advances in projection technology have certainly changed the look of a lot of things in the mansion over the years, starting with the Stretch Room. It’s always fun to see what happens when two holidays collide…

Haunted Mansion Holiday

The loading area:

Haunted Mansion Holiday

This year’s Gingerbread House in the ballroom. I was fortunate to have a brief stop almost right in front of the house.

Haunted Mansion Holiday

New this year: a life-size audio-animatronic figure of Sally was added to the graveyard scene. Her eyes blink as she gazes across at Jack Skellington and she kicks her foot up and down.

Haunted Mansion Holiday Sally

After exiting Haunted Mansion I was in my Ghost Galaxy Fastpass window so I got a Fastpass for Haunted Mansion Holiday, figuring the line would be longer later. I wandered back to Tomorrowland by way of the Mint Julep Bar, thinking maybe I’d get some beignets. But to my dismay this year there are no pumpkin beignets! The special this year is regular beignets sprinkled with butterscotch sugar. Not very appealing to me.

I also went through Frontierland and the Dia de los Muertos display outside Rancho del Zocalo. It seems the same as previous years. There’s a face painting (free) station set up there.

Halloween Time


Halloween Time

The entrance to the Rancho del Zocalo restaurant is also decorated.

Halloween Time Ghost Galaxy

Lots of Halloween merchandise available – here’s just a few samples.

Halloween Time merchandise


Halloween Time merchandise

I used my Fastpass for Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. I didn’t notice anything new about it this year, and I found it not nearly as exciting and immersive as Hyperspace Mountain. I hope that will return…

Halloween Time Ghost Galaxy

In Town Square some of the characters were out in their Halloween costumes. They always seem to have the same costumes every year – don’t they get tired of them? 🙂

Halloween Time Vampire Mickey


Halloween Time witch Minnie

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is offering a Halloween Minnie makeover for the season.

Halloween Minnie Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

The entrance to Toontown has some Halloween decorations.

Halloween Time

New maps and Times Guide in Disney California Adventure. The classic World of Color show has returned to replace the Celebrate! version.

DCA map

AP Days, a special event for Annual Passholders, has begun, and will run through October 31.

AP Days

There are activities for Annual Passholders in two different areas of the park. In Hollywood Land, the AP Days Showcase is at Studio 12 (which was the Tron arcade).

AP Days

Outside were a few tables where kids (or adults) could color some Halloween-themed drawings. Inside was a special character meet and greet.

AP Days

This area looks like it recycled a lot of props and decor from the Scare-dy Crow shack at the former Big Thunder Ranch area.

AP Days


AP Days

There’s a different AP button each week – they change on Mondays. My AP was scanned when they gave me a button, so it seems like they are limiting the buttons to one per passholder. They also gave me a small bottle of water.

AP Days

There were some benches outside a small demonstration kitchen – apparently there are food demonstrations that take place a couple of times a day. I wasn’t around for any of that, though. The displays outside have descriptions of some of the seasonal food offerings around the resort.

AP Days

One of them is a seasonal smoothie at Schmoozies – a caramel apple smoothie. I tried it. It has apple pureed in it, and a hint of cinnamon. But most of what I tasted was sweet – too sweet for me.

Caramel apple smoothie

The second location for AP Days is in the Paradise Gardens area. Mainly an AP Days photo opportunity.

AP Days

There was a scavenger hunt-type of activity available. I don’t know if the activity changes each week, but this week it was solving a word phrase. The letter clues asked questions about which was more or less, e.g. “Which is MORE? The number of gas pumps at Flo’s V8 Cafe or the number of animal spirits within the Spirit Cave at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail?” There’s a different letter choice for each answer. No prize for solving it – just the satisfaction.

AP Days

There are several special things going on at the Tower of Terror during its final Halloween season. The Silver Lake Sisters – also known as Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical (they own the cafe on Buena Vista Street) perform throughout the day in the lobby. Unfortunately you have to actually be in line to see them. I thought that was odd. At night there’s Late Check Out, where the Tower of Terror ride takes place in total darkness. I didn’t stay late enough to try that. There’s also special merchandise available in the shop.

Outside the Tower is a new PhotoPass location with a few props.

Tower of Terror photo op

Trader Sam’s at the Disneyland Hotel also has a seasonal item – a drink called “This Chilling Challenge” available with a souvenir Hitchhiking Ghosts Tiki Mug. They are $30 each. I went over there to see if I could get one. The line wasn’t too bad (apparently it had been very long earlier in the day), but I could sit outside on the patio and order there right away. So I ordered the chicken lettuce wraps and the drink. The drink was a stronger than I expected it to be. It was made with pineapple juice and spiced rum, I think – not sure what else.

Trader Sam's This Chilling Challenge

And here’s the mug. There was a limit of two per person, yet these still sold out on Friday. The Parks blog reports that another shipment will arrive closer to Halloween. I continue to be amazed at how poorly Disney estimates the demand for these sorts of items.

Trader Sam's Hitchhiking Ghosts Mug

Downtown Disney had a couple types of Halloween banners.

Tower of Terror banner

When I went back to DCA around 5:00 the bag check line on the Downtown Disney side was really long. It stretched back into the tram area on one side, and past the entrance to Downtown Disney on the other. Wow. I’d like to see them implement a “no bags” line like they do at Disney World. That wouldn’t have helped me at all, but it might help things move along faster overall.

There are lots of new seasonal food items for the Halloween season. The Disney Parks blog posted this list.

Here are a few of them. Cupcake from Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe:

Halloween Time Cupcake

These poison apple mugs were first released last year, but they must have sold out quickly. They are EVERYWHERE this year – I think I saw them at most of the quick service locations in Disneyland (and some in DCA), and even at Mortimer’s Market, which is more of a fruit stand. Depending on where they are purchased, they are available with a beverage, ice cream, or fruit.

Halloween Time Poison Apple Mug

The French Market has this multi-layer Cookies and Cream Mousse Coffin Cake.

Halloween Time Coffin Cake

It seemed to me as though a number of the food items were not yet available – I didn’t see signs posted like I usually do. Except for the Poison Apple mugs – did I mention that those were EVERYWHERE? 🙂

I had a really good day. Crowds were not too bad, and I got to ride Haunted Mansion Holiday four times!

Laura Gilbreath is a native of San Diego, CA. She has been making the trek up Interstate 5 to Disneyland since she was a small child and terrified of talking tikis and hitchhiking ghosts. She and her husband Lee enjoy trips to Disneyland and Walt Disney World, as well as sailings on the Disney Cruise Line.

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