Halloweentime at Disneyland 2019
It’s August which means it’s almost September which means it’s pretty much Halloween. Both in my heart but also by Disneyland standards because they start with their Halloween celebrations beginning September 6th and run through October 31st. They roll out decorations, characters in costumes, ride and land overlays, themed fireworks show, lots of food, the ticketed Halloween party and a lot more but you probably stopped reading this like three things into the list.
Keep reading for all the information you could possibly ever need and then some.
Events + special tickets
Oogie Boogie Bash (Halloween Party)
Every year starting in September, Disneyland begins hosting their yearly Halloween party, usually a couple times a week leading up to October 31st. Here’s the full schedule of their Halloween party.
This year’s party is the Oogie Boogie Bash (named for the villain in Nightmare Before Christmas) and takes place in Disney California Adventure (DCA) instead of Disneyland. It’s a special event that requires its own separate ticket. The tickets this year start at $110 a person, and can go up in price depending on the day. Your event ticket gets you into the park 3 hours before the start of the party, and on the 29th and 31st of October, get you in 4 hours before the start of the party.
This year’s party still includes lots of trick-or-treating candy stops (which all have allergy friendly options) and lots of rarely seen villains out for photo ops. There will also be Villainous, a special, event-only World of Color Halloween show, the Frightfully Fun Parade, a transformed Carsland and Redwood Creek Trail, and DescenDANCE, a (you guessed it) Descendants themed dance party. Typically, in the past, there have also been event-only food and drink options.
The Halloween party is the one time during the year that those over the age of 12 are allowed to be in costume. On a day-to-day basis, costumes are limited to those under the age of 12 for safety reasons (it’s hard for kids and parents to tell which Snow White has a full background check and is an official Disney employee if there’s like 12 Snow Whites walking around). However, at the Halloween party, as long as you follow the guidelines listed here, all are allowed to come in costume.
If you’re visiting the parks for the Halloween party and you’re not an annual pass holder, my recommendation is to make the day of the party your traveling day, or a day when you’re doing something else around the area. I don’t think it’d be worth it to pay over $100 to get a regular park ticket, and then pay an extra $100+ for the party. Remember, you get access to the park 3 hours before the event time, so if you’re traveling that day, it gives you time to get to your hotel and do what you need to do, then have ample time in the park before and during the event.
I’ve been to the party in the past when it was still held at Disneyland. At the time I paid $70 for my ticket and personally, I didn’t think it was worth it. It seemed like they oversold the event, making it just as crowded as a normal park day. The candy was a nice perk, but the lines to the candy were very long. I did a survey and multiple people reported back that they also felt it was oversold the times they went to the party. One person, however, reported a lovely experience! She went to the last party date before Halloween and she said it didn’t feel crowded and she could do everything she wanted to do.
I’m interested to see how the crowds feel this year at DCA, which has bigger walkways and more space.
Something to thing to keep in mind if you’re not going to the party but visiting the parks for Halloween is to still check the party schedule. Once the party starts up, all other guests who have not bought a ticket get tossed from the park (DCA), making Disneyland even more crowded.
Halloween Screams is the special Halloween themed fireworks show. In the past, you could only see the Halloween Screams firework show at the Halloween party. However, since the party is in DCA this year, Disneyland will have Halloween Screams for all guests in Disneyland the same nights as the Oogie Boogie Bash happening over in DCA. All other nights, Disneyland will be showing Forever, the current fireworks show. Check here for the entertainment schedule.
Happiest Haunts Tour
The Happiest Haunts Tour is a 2.5 hour Halloween themed tour of Disneyland. Looking at the event website, it looks like it goes throughout both parks and you get to learn some primo creepy park history. And also there’s candy. What more could you want.
It’s $99, does not include park admission, but there are AP discounts available. You can book up to 30 days in advance, details and booking info here!
Hotel in-room theming add ons
The Disneyland Hotel, Grand California, and Paradise Pier all decorate for Halloween, and also offer hotel-only treats as well as trick-or-treating on Halloween. They’re also advertising “in room scare-abrations” but I genuinely don’t know what that means and they don’t elaborate anywhere. Maybe some fun room theming? You truly never have to leave Halloween at Disneyland. It will follow you whether you like it or not.
Main St Pumpkin Festival and Character Photo Ops
I know there’s SO MUCH going on at the parks during Halloween but don’t pass those pumpkins by! There’s the GIANT mickey pumpkin at the very top of Main Street, but there’s also tons of actual pumpkins everywhere, too. They line main street going all the way down to the Partners statue and they’re all hand carved. You’ll also notice lots of pumpkins sprinkled throughout both parks, all themed to the different lands.
Along with the billions of pumpkins along Main Street, you’ll also find Mickey and Friends in their Halloween costumes. The fab five (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto) can usually be found on the right side of town square. They usually stick to the right side of the walkway, hanging out in front of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and wrapping around in front of the sections in between shops. Sometimes you’ll find Goofy in front of the Emporium along the left side of Main Street, by the firehouse.
Grab a times-guide when you first enter the park and it will give you a rundown of when and where all the character meet and greets will be.
Buckle up, we’re talking about ALL the different theming and decorations and also *CLICKBAIT* a fan favorite Disney is ditching this year. WHAT COULD THEY BE GETTING RID OF? THE HAUNTED MANSION?
Ride and Land Overlays
It’s not the Haunted Mansion. The Haunted Mansion will be flipped over to Nightmare Before Christmas theming just like always. I don’t even like Nightmare Before Christmas (don’t come for me) but I l-o-o-o-o-v-e Haunted Mansion Holiday. It smells like cookies. And also a fun fact: you know the giant gingerbread house in the ballroom scene? It’s real! It’s made fresh and the houses they build are completely different each year.
Cars Land is the only land in both the parks that gets a (n almost) FULL retheme. It gets fully decorated down to the lamp posts, murals, and music. The meet and greet characters will be in costume, and two of the three rides will be getting an overlay.
Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree will flip to Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree, and Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters flips to Luigi’s Honkin Haul-o-ween. I believe Radiator Spring Racers stays as-is (which is why Cars Land is only an *almost* full overlay).
Last year, Flo’s Drive-In (the main restaurant in Cars Land) had a pumpkin spice milkshake and a candy corn pie and Cozy Cones across the way from Flo’s had a special spicy mac and cheese, and a “Spokey” Cone Macaron. It’s a good bet they’ll be bringing back lots of themed treats this year as well.
The meet and greet characters are typically just Mater and Lightning Mcqueen (although sometimes they bring out Cruise Romero, but I haven’t seen her in a while), and they get dressed up around Halloween. Last year Mater was Dracula and LMQ was a superhero. It’s pretty cute (notgonnalie) and worth a picture if you’re into that kind of thing. Mater and LMQ do photo ops in front of the Cozy Cones.
While not as thorough as Cars Land, Frontierland embraces the season as well. The decorations lean more toward “fall” than “Halloween,” there are lots of pumpkin and plaid decorating the land. However, over at Rancho del Zocalo, there’s a full dedication to Dia De Los Muertos, and it’s stunning. The outside is bursting with marigolds and calaveras, as well as a traditional ofrenda, and a huge statue representing La Catrina. It’s one of my favorite parts of the park during the fall season.
Coco Plaza De Familia
There’s also a Dia De Los Muertos celebration, the Coco Plaza De Familia, over in DCA that takes over the outdoor restaurant space next to Goofy’s Sky School. Last year there was a replica of the ofrenda from the movie, alebrije coloring pages and activities, an Arbol de la Vida (tree of life) that guests are welcome to add memories of their loved ones to, as well as character meet and greets.
There are also a couple of different shows. There’s live performances from the Mariachi Divas (they’re incredible), and the Musical Celebration of Coco.
The Musical Celebration of Coco is a mini show done with PUPPETS (SO COOL) held right outside the Plaza de Familia. It’s so friggin cool. And because it’s so cool, tons of people swarm to watch. Even though it’s essentially a street show with no official stage, it gets super crowded, so I recommend getting to the area half an hour before the show starts if you want to be able to see the whole thing. I’m hoping they’ll have upgraded the show with a stage this year since it was so popular last year, but if it’s still in the middle of the walkway, just ask a cast member around the area about best places to wait for the show.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Monsters After Dark (after 6pm) (fast passes start at 3)
Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout gets, what I think, the most unique overlay for Halloween. Instead of doing a full overlay, Guardians gets an overlay only after a specific time. Because night is spookier I guess? Starting at 6pm every night, Guardians switches from Mission Breakout to Monsters After Dark, with different music, storyline, and video scenes. It’s hilarious and fun and definitely worth a ride.
*Monsters After Dark starts at 6pm but you can start getting your fast passes for the ride at 3pm.* I always recommend you have maxpass, but I especially recommend getting maxpass the day you plan to ride Monsters After Dark, because that means no matter where you are at 3pm, you can grab fastpasses for your whole party via the app. And I recommend you do it AT 3- fastpasses go quick!
We’ve come to it. The apple of the clickbait eye. The sad news. Since 2009, Space Mountain has switched from normal ole Space Mountain to Ghost Galaxy for Halloween. This is the first year they will not be making the switch and you’ll be in space without a creepy universe ghost chasing you. Hopefully we haven’t seen the last of Ghost Galaxy but there’s no news of why it’s not coming back and if it will ever return.
All the pumpkin food all the time! Lindsay over at mickeyvisit.com has already written a full rundown of every halloween themed food/treat/meal coming to the parks this year and it would be like trying to reinvent the wheel if I were to research and write it all over here. So I highly recommend checking out her blog post which is making me super hungry. The post also gives you info on popcorn buckets/ straw toppers/ all those fun things. Thanks, Linsday!
And that’s all! Let me know if you’ve been to the Halloween Party recently. Did you think it worth it? Would you go again? Or, if you’ve never been and have questions, as always, just lemme know. Happy haunts, y’all!