Updated September 24, 2018
***Halloween Party dates are almost sold out. Visit this link to purchase ASAP. They’ll be gone soon.
As new information regarding the season is announced by Disney, I’ll be sharing on social media first and then updating this post. To get immediate updates, follow me here:
A few quick dates for reference:
September 7 – October 31, 2018 – Halloween Time at Disneyland Resort
June 5, 2018 – Halloween Party tickets went on sale for qualifying guests
June 12, 2018 – Halloween Party tickets went on sale for the general public
Now, follow me for all things Halloween!
In this article
- Discounted Theme Park Tickets
- The Basics of Halloween Time
- Attractions that Transform for Halloween Time
- Special Events and Details for Halloween Time
- Strategies for Park Touring During Halloween Time
- Shopping, Food and Novelty Items for Halloween Time
- Disneyland Resort Hotel Decor
- My 2018 Park Visits
- Dia de los Muertos
- Mickey’s Halloween Party
- New-ish to California Adventure
- The Blue Bayou Dinner with Reserved Viewing for the Frightfully Fun Parade
- The Frightfully Fun Parade and Headless Horseman
- Maps of the Halloween Party
- What You Will Find that is Exclusive to the Halloween Party
- Costume Guidelines
- Advice on Finding a Party Ticket When Your Date is Sold Out
- Characters during Halloween Time
- My Suggestions on Making the Best Use of your time at the Halloween Party
- If You’re Not Planning to Attend the Halloween Party
- Follow My Halloween Time Visits
- Additional Info
- What I Learned at the First 2017 Halloween Party
Discounted Theme Park Tickets
Halloween Time can get pricey if you’re planning on adding a party ticket to your vacation. Take a look at how you can save on your Disneyland Resort Theme Park tickets to help with costs.
I share year round discounted ticket info, along with seasonal specials, within this post:
The Basics of Halloween Time
Halloween Time at Disneyland is a special way to enjoy the parks and if you’re a fan of fall and orange and pumpkins, you’ll be in heaven. The park, as always, is decorated to perfection and it keeps getting better every year. Halloween Time occurs from September 7 – October 31, 2018.
Halloween Time is a general term given for how both Disneyland and California Adventure celebrate the fall season. There is no additional fee to enjoy the parks at this time. (The Halloween Party includes an additional fee. More on that later.)
On days that include a Halloween Party that evening, Disneyland Park is open to all guests just like any other day. When it’s time for the party to begin, guests without a party ticket will kindly be escorted out. At that time, you may walk over to California Adventure to continue the fun if you have a park hopper ticket. Otherwise, visit Downtown Disney to shop or dine.
Attractions that Transform for Halloween Time
The Haunted Mansion is turned into a celebration of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas and Jack Skellington can often be found around the attraction for autographs and photos. Sally is usually with him for the meet-n-greet. Bring your camera and an autograph book for this. This transformation takes 2-3 weeks, so account for that timing during your trip planning. Classic Haunted Mansion will be closed the second part of August in preparation for this overlay, which begins 9.7.2018.
Space Mountain is turned into Ghost Galaxy. This transformation only takes a day or two. Keep that in mind, as Space Mountain will be closed a couple days prior to when Ghost Galaxy arrives on 9.7.2018.
Guardians of the Galaxy – MISSION: Breakout! transforms into “Monsters After Dark” each day at 5:00pm.
Special Events and Details for Halloween Time
- Pumpkins adorn every nook and cranny of Main Street and they’re all carved to perfection, with no two alike!
- Disney villains can be found throughout the park, as well. Jack Skellington and Sally can often be found around the Haunted Mansion. Cruella de Vil, Dr. Facilier (from The Princess and the Frog), and the Evil Queen will often wander Main Street, too. There are no specifics provided on where and when to find them. Ask a cast member upon entering the park if they have any tips for the day you are visiting. Use the Disneyland app to locate them, too. Visit my character post for how to find the ones you want to see, also, before visiting.
- Pumpkin infused and Halloween designed treats can be found all around the park and in Downtown Disney, too. Check out Marceline’s Confectionery in DTD, Candy Palace on Main Street in Disneyland or Trolley Treats on Buena Vista Street at California Adventure. Pooh’s Corner in Critter Country will have treats, too!
- Flavored beignets can be found at The Mint Julep in New Orleans Square and are divine!
- Dia de los Muertos celebrations will be held in Frontierland. They’re so colorful and fun.
- Disney’s Happiest Haunts Tours became available in 2016, in addition to your theme park ticket. The tour focused primarily on the Haunted Mansion, with details about its development and design. Check out my review on that experience, which will give you an overview of what a seasonal tour entails. This year’s tour looks a little different. Find more info on that on the Disneyland website.
- The Halloween Tree can be found in Frontierland and it’s a site to see. Check out my Facebook post for more details on it and miscellaneous Halloween fun.
Strategies for Park Touring During Halloween Time
If you are visiting during normal days and attending a party:
Absolutely follow my strategies to get lots done prior to the party or on a non-party day. While the parties typically have shorter lines for attractions, Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain – Ghost Galaxy will not. Enjoy those during the day with a FASTPASS prior to the party, as FASTPASSES are not used during parties. Find all of my strategies in this post.
Arrive 30 minutes prior to the party if you’re not already in the park and then visit Toontown for the Pre-Party as soon as the event officially starts. This section of the park kicks off the trick-or-treating and also hosts some unique characters.
Trick-or-treat at this time – for an hour at the most – and then pause your candy gathering until later in the evening. I only encourage you to trick-or-treat during this first hour because there isn’t a lot of other stuff to do, as cast members are still ushering guests out of the park that are not attending the party. Once the party starts, enjoy all it has to offer….shorter lines for attractions…..entertainment…..the parade….fireworks….then start trick-or-treating again, later in the evening. Lines are much shorter later at night because young children are often tired and will leave the park early. You’ll still get plenty of candy. Trust me.
If you are only attending a party and want to visit DCA before the party starts:
Arrive 30 minutes prior to the time you are allowed to enter the parks. This will be 3:00pm or 4:00pm, depending on if your start time is 6:00pm or 7:00pm.
Start at California Adventure and enjoy all there is to do there. At 5:00pm, check the wait for Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark. If it’s not outrageous, board the attraction asap. Otherwise, consider walking through California Adventure to take in the decor around Buena Vista Street and/or visit the Plaza de la Familia section in Paradise Gardens on Pixar Pier to see all of the Coco decor and festivities. Then head to Disneyland.
Once you’re in Disneyland, head to Toontown if you’re arriving within the first hour of the party. Trick-or-treat at this time – for an hour at the most – and then pause your candy gathering until later in the evening. I only encourage you to trick-or-treat during this first hour because there isn’t a lot of other stuff to do, as cast members are still ushering guests out of the park that are not attending the party.
Once the party really starts, enjoy all it has to offer including shorter lines for attractions, entertainment, the parade, fireworks, and then start trick-or-treating again, later in the evening. Lines are much shorter later at night because young children are often tired and will leave the park early. You’ll still get plenty of candy. Trust me.
Most attractions will have shorter lines than usual. FASTPASSES are not in use during the party, so the most popular attractions will have long lines. That includes Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain – Ghost Galaxy. Save these for later in the evening, too, as the wait times are typically shorter then.
If you are only attending a party and want to visit Disneyland before the party starts:
Arrive 30 minutes prior to the time you are allowed to enter the parks. This will be 3:00pm or 4:00pm, depending on if your start time is 6:00pm or 7:00pm. Check to see what the wait times are for Haunted Mansion or Space Mountain. If either are reasonable, jump in line. These are the two most popular attractions during the party, so riding each prior to the event is ideal.
If the wait times are 30 minutes or more, plan to enjoy these two attractions later in the evening during the party when lines are lower.
When the party begins, head to Toontown to get started. Trick-or-treat at this time – for an hour at the most – and then pause your candy gathering until later in the evening. I only encourage you to trick-or-treat during this first hour because there isn’t a lot of other stuff to do, as cast members are still ushering guests out of the park that are not attending the party.
Once the party really starts, enjoy all it has to offer including shorter lines for attractions, entertainment, the parade, fireworks, and then start trick-or-treating again, later in the evening. Lines are much shorter later at night because young children are often tired and will leave the park early. You’ll still get plenty of candy. Trust me.
If you want to see the parade and fireworks:
Attend the later parade if you are planning to stay long enough. If not, you might need an hour to claim a good spot for the earlier parade. 30 minutes should suffice for the later parade.
If you are watching the first parade, find a spot on Main Street to see the fireworks as soon as the parade goes by.
If you are watching the second parade, do the same. When the parade goes by, move into the crowd of people setting up to watch fireworks. This is always a little hectic. Patience helps. 🙂
I don’t recommend dedicating a huge amount of time to saving spots for the parade or fireworks because there is so much to see and do during the party. These shows are awesome – don’t misunderstand me. But, the arrivals I share above should give you a good view and allow you to really enjoy everything else during this special, ticketed event.
If you want to meet the villains:
The villains come out later in the evening and set up in front of the Main Street Railroad Station, which is located in Town Square. Save these visits for the very end of the evening. Remember that you can jump in line moments before the party closes and then stay as long as the line takes to meet these characters. Don’t spend an hour of party time waiting. Spend an hour after the party waiting instead.
Shopping, Food and Novelty Items for Halloween Time
August 8, 2018: Disney shared this link on highlighting novelty items like popcorn buckets and glow cubes that will be available this season.
August 13, 2018: Halloween merchandise starts trickling into the parks mid-August every year. On August 18, 2018, I shared photos of everything available for the 2018 season at this link.
August 23, 2018: Disney shared this post detailing all of the fun food set up for the season.
September 19, 2018: New seasonal popcorn buckets arrive. Visit this link for details.
Disneyland Resort Hotel Decor
Don’t miss visiting the Disney hotels during your Halloween trip. I share all about what you can expect at each location in this link.
My 2018 Park Visits
9.22.2018 – Haunted Mansion character meet ups
9.22.2018 – Frightfully Fun Parade
9.22.2018 – Halloween Screams Fireworks
9.8.2018 – new photo op in DCA
9.8.2018 – Vampirina
9.8.2018 – misc detail including:
- Halloween photo ops
- Dia de los Muertos at Disneyland and California Adventure
- Oogie Boogie popcorn buckets
- Halloween ears
- Pumpkin spice beignets
- Seasonal treats around the resort
- Downtown Disney
- Grand Californian Hotel treats
- Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark
- Plaza de la Familia
Dia de los Muertos
Find all about how you can celebrate at both Disneyland and California Adventure from September 7, 2018 until November 2, 2018 at this link.
Mickey’s Halloween Party
Mickey’s Halloween Party is a separate event from Halloween Time and requires an extra ticket. Ticket prices vary per date.
Visit this link to see pricing per date.
You may use this link to purchase or may call to buy tickets, also. You must be signed into your account, showing you’re an annual passholder, for that link above to allow you to purchase during the time allotted for annual passholders. (714.781.4400 is the number to call if you want to purchase on the phone with a discount. Disney Visa Chase Card Holders and DVC members must use the phone number listed above to purchase during the pre-sale.)
Tickets for this event range from $95-$130, depending on when you visit and if you qualify for a discount. Tickets do sell out for the parties, so if you’re interested, buy soon.
Annual passholders can buy up to 10 tickets for other guests. The other guests don’t have to be annual passholders.
On June 5, 2018 tickets went on sale for Annual Passholders, Disney Rewards Visa Card Holders, and DVC members. Annual passholders can buy online or call. Disney Visa Card Holders and DVC members must call in.
On June 12, 2018, tickets went on sale for the general public.
Adults and kids pay the same price for party tickets.
On May 17, 2018, Disney shared the following seasonal information in this post.
Dates for the Halloween Party include (from the Disneyland website):
Sept. 19, Sept. 21, Sept. 24, Sept. 26, Sept. 28, Oct. 2, Oct. 5, Oct. 9, Oct. 12, Oct. 16, Oct. 19, Oct. 23, Oct. 26, Oct. 29, Oct. 31
Again, for details on pricing per date, visit this link on the Disneyland website.
****Because your Halloween Party ticket allows you in 3 hours prior to party time, I recommend not buying a day’s ticket for the day you are attending the party. You will see and do plenty during the 3 hours prior to and during the party.
****Your Halloween Party ticket does not allow you entry into the park for the entire day. You must purchase a day’s admission ticket to enter the park at opening.
****If you have a regular theme park ticket for a day that includes a Halloween Party that evening, you will be escorted out at 6:00pm or 7:00pm, depending on which day you’re there. You may visit California Adventure at this point if you have a park hopper ticket. If you do not have a park hopper ticket, I recommend enjoying Downtown Disney. Get Away Today has fantastic ticket sales for park hopper tickets in both September and October. Visit this link to purchase.
****If you are in the park the day of a party and you are attending that party, you don’t have to leave and return. There are stations throughout the park set up so that you can show your Halloween Party ticket (or confirmation) and get your wrist band there.
****Your Halloween Party ticket will include admission to BOTH parks – Disneyland and California Adventure – up to 3 hours prior to party time.
****Even though the Halloween Party ticket allows entry into DCA 3 hours prior to party time, it will still stay open regular hours. DCA can close anywhere from 8pm to 11:00pm on party nights, depending on the date. Check here for park hours.
New-ish to California Adventure
In 2017, DCA included lots of new Halloween decor and fun. I’m so excited to see DCA this year, again, in its Halloween glory!
Oogie Boogie plays a big part in the fun at DCA. Check this out, from the Disneyland website:
- Demanding that Halloween lasts forever, Oogie Boogie’s oversized silhouette beckons Guests through the Main Entrance as thousands of bats cover the night sky.
- Heed the Headless Horseman statue… its menacing presence on Buena Vista Street is simply spine-chilling.
- Hold onto your hats as swarms of black bats coil ‘round Carthay Circle’s Bell Tower
- Get revved as Radiator Springs transforms into Radiator Screams with a happy Hallo-theme all over Cars Land!
- Bump into your fave Cars’ characters as they strike a pose in hilarious Halloween cars-tumes—see super hero Lightning, van-pire Mater and more!
- Go for a spellbinding spin on Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree—both are decked out with new howliday-themed music and décor!
Also! Guardians of the Galaxy will transform into “Monsters After Dark”. Check that out in this post from Disney. Disney has shares info on how DCA transforms at the following links:
Blue Bayou is offering a lovely 3 course meal that provides you with a ticket for a reserved viewing spot at the parade. You may dine at Blue Bayou with this pre-fixed menu and specific dining package up until 7:00pm. Then, you’ll have access to the reserved viewing areas on Main Street for the parade. This dining package does not work with the second parade. It’s only offered during the first one at 8:30pm.
I dined at 6:20pm and enjoyed the first parade at 8:30pm last year. It was a nice meal and the reserved viewing areas were great.
Dining times for this event start at 4:00pm. It’s ideal to dine as early as possible so you don’t miss much of the actual Mickey’s Halloween Party.
This meal gives you reserved viewing for the parade, but not fireworks. Enjoy the parade and then move toward the castle for fireworks. Be sure you can see the castle from wherever you set up.
Check out my photos for what you can expect at this dinner. Book your own with Disney if you are interested.
Child ($29) – 2018 pricing, but 2016 menu:
(If you have a child under the age of 3, he or she can join you for the meal and eat off of your plate. He or she will also be permitted into the reserved viewing area. A ticket is not needed for a child under the age of 3.)
Adult ($72)- 2018 pricing, but 2016 menu:
I chose the Crab Cake to begin. It was delicious.
Filet Mignon for the Main Course. Also very good.
Molten Cake for Dessert. This was very rich. I’m not a huge fan of sweets, but most people will love this. I could only finish about 1/4 of it.
After your meal, you’ll be given the check:
A Party Lanyard that lights up. These are really cute. I haven’t seen mine since I walked in the door that night after the party. Kids have confiscated.
Your ticket (that looks like a FASTPASS) that allows you into the reserved viewing area on Main Street (near Carnation Cafe):
And, a large bag of candy since you missed out on some trick-or-treating. The dinner lasts about an hour, start to finish. Kids took these, too. They DID, however, leave me all the wrappers. #KindnessCounts
I recommend arriving 30 minutes to an hour prior to parade time to grab your spot in the reserved viewing area. You’ll see people lined up in the street about mid-way down.
The reserved viewing spot is on both sides of the street, so you can choose which you prefer. I can’t see one being better than the other.
Here is what that line will look like as it’s forming:
And, here are the two reserved viewing areas…..
In front of the Fortuosity Shop (close to Carnation Cafe):
And, in front of the Market House (Starbucks):
The Frightfully Fun Parade and Headless Horseman
Both the Headless Horseman and the Frightfully Fun Parade are back. This parade is only shown on party nights, so you can’t see it unless you buy a Halloween Party ticket. Check your party date at this link to confirm times for the parades. There are two during each party. (Typically 8:50pm and 10:30pm.)
I recommend setting up camp about 30 minutes prior to the beginning of the parade you wish to see. One hour will do if you’re die hard and want front row (but I wouldn’t waste my party time setting up this early).
Viewing can be found along the usual parade route and performers do a good job of showing attention to both sides of the route equally, so I wouldn’t recommend one side over the other. Main is always most crowded. it’s a small world will have the least crowded viewing spots (as with most parades). The first parade starts at the back of the park near it’s a small world and the second starts at the front in Town Square.
I always recommend the parade route near it’s a small world because there is a lesser crowded, easily accessible restroom nearby, room for small children to run around pre-parade (as opposed to closer quarters on Main Street or elsewhere), and because it’s typically the least crowded area to watch a parade. My only issue with it for this season is that you will want a view of the castle for fireworks. So, if you watch this parade, follow it along once it’s finished to the castle area or all the way to Main Street. After the last float goes by, you can literally follow the parade along and then stop once you find a good spot to watch fireworks.
The Headless Horseman rides through before the parade and then about 20 minutes later – maybe longer – the parade finally arrives. The parade lasts about 15 minutes total. I don’t think the parade is “scary”, but it’s definitely a departure from the usual happy, life-is-perfect shows. Watch the video below to determine if it’s a fit for your family. It’s NOTHING like Knotts Berry Farm or such (no disrespect – I love their Halloween celebrations), but it’s a little spooky.
The Headless Horseman was awesome for me to see because as a kid, my brother tormented me with stories of Ichabod Crane. For many – especially young children – this part will likely prove uneventful. He does not make a mad dash through the park. It’s a slow trot, so have your camera ready for photos.
Here is the parade recorded by Inside the Magic:
Maps of the Halloween Party
Zoom in to find Trick-or-Treat stations and so much more. I’ll share a 2018 version asap.
- Entry into BOTH PARKS up to 3 hours prior to your party time. As you enter, grab a map (as shared above) so you can locate trick-or-treat stations around Disneyland if you wish. Also, grab a treat bag if you didn’t bring one of your own. (Most people use the park’s free bag.)
- Parking is not included with your ticket. Parking is $20 per car. If you have an annual pass that includes parking, this will suffice for the party, regardless of what time you arrive to the parks.
- Trick-or-treating at dozens of stations throughout the park. Bring your cute plastic pumpkin or bag to collect the candy. (Healthy options are available, too….like apple slices and dried fruit.) If you don’t bring your own bag, one will be given to you. Lines for each of these stations can be quick (lasting just a few minutes) or up to 20 minutes.
- I don’t recommend using your party time to trick-or-treat. Buy candy for your kids (or self) outside of Disneyland. Focus on what else the party has to offer. If you insist on trick-or-treating – or if your children do – wait until the end of the evening because the lines are much more manageable then and the cast members typically hand out more candy at the end of the night. If that won’t work with your kids, I recommend setting a goal of going to one station an hour. Do whatever works for your group. But, in my opinion, the trick-or-treat trails are not a good use of party time. There’s so much to see and do.
- Halloween Screams fireworks only seen at the Halloween Party and they go off at 9:30pm (most nights). The fireworks are super popular. Do not miss this show and be sure to have a view of the castle for it. After the first parade, grab a spot facing the castle. Jack Skellington rises nearby – as you can see in the photo, above – and Zero flies across the castle like Tinker Bell. It’s really cute. The show lasts 10 minutes. With nearly every other fireworks show, I recommend you avoid the castle and Main Street chaos and watch from it’s a small world or Fantasmic! This is the exception. You need to at least be on Main Street with some sort of view of the castle.
- The Ride of the Headless Horseman, which is fairly new to Disneyland and previously exclusive to WDW. Love this addition!
- The Frightfully Fun Parade.
- Cadaver Dans, a spooky version of our beloved Dapper Dans, who sing and perform throughout the party.
- Disney Villains will take over Villains Square during the party, allowing you to meet several at once. Great photo ops here in Town Square! Maleficent, The Evil Queen, Queen of Hearts and Cruella were out when I attended the party last year (2016). These lines are LONG – 30-45 minutes each. Prepare to wait and know that whomever you see in line when you get in line may not be who you meet once you arrive to the front. The villains are not out to terrify young children. If you don’t want to encounter them, simply don’t get in line. The villains are not out to see guests during the parade or fireworks.
- A “Pre-Party” in Toontown begins an hour prior to official party start time and you can kick off your night there by trick-or-treating at a few stations or by meeting Mickey and Minnie if they’re out. Once the party time officially arrives, all trick-or-treat stations should be open.
- One of my favorites, The Scarecrow, is set up in Frontierland near The Halloween Tree. He tells improv-style jokes (kind natured) as party guests walk up to greet him.
- Lower lines for all attractions with most open for the party. (Use the time during the first parade to tackle attractions. Then, watch the second parade instead. Little ones eventually tire, and more families will focus on the first parade, making attraction lines lower.)
- PhotoPass+ in use at Disneyland Park only, at official party start (6pm or 7pm, depending on when you’re attending the party). Just like all PhotoPass images, you’ll have 45 days to download your photos.
Costumes are encouraged for this event within Disney’s guidelines here:
“While we encourage creativity, we also value safety and good judgement. Please take a moment to read over our latest rules and regulations:
- All Guests may dress as their favorite character, but may not pose for pictures or sign autographs for other Guests.
- Costumes must be family-friendly and may not be obstructive, offensive, objectionable or violent.
- Costumes may not contain any weapons that resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon.
- Costumes may not contain sharp objects, pointed objects or materials that may accidentally strike another Guest.
- Layered costumes or costume props that surround the entire body are strongly discouraged and may be subject to additional security screening.
- Costumes may not reach or drag on the ground (e.g., full-length Princess dresses)
For Guests Ages 13 and Under
Costumes and some masks may be worn, as long the mask does not cover the entire face and eyes are visible.
For Guests Ages 14 and Older
- Capes may be worn if the length does not go below the waist.
- Themed T-shirts, blouses, sweatshirts and hats are acceptable.
- Acceptable accessories include: transparent wings, plastic light sabers, toy swords and tutus.
- Headwear may be worn as long as it does not cover the face.
- Masks of any kind may not be worn, except for medical purposes.
- Guests who do not adhere to these guidelines may be refused entry into, and/or removed from, the event, unless his or her costume can be modified to meet the above standards.”
Advice on Finding a Party Ticket When Your Date is Sold Out
Every party night in 2018 will likely sell out, so you can’t just go online to grab a ticket at any time. If you are interested in attending the party, but don’t have a ticket, you have a few options to try out:
- Try the ticket booth the day of. (My husband joined me one year at the last minute and I found his ticket at the regular ticket booth.)
- If you are staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel, ask the front desk if they have any available. Typically, they hold party tickets for those guests staying onsite. Don’t have a reservation? Contact Get Away Today to book a room.
Characters during Halloween Time
Characters can be found throughout Disneyland park in full Halloween gear during the day and at the parties, too. As always, your best option is to use the free Disneyland app to locate characters. Find out more on the app, how to use it, which cast members to find for help, and more before you visit for Halloween Time or The Halloween Party.
Here is what the characters look like in their Halloween gear from previous years. I’ll share more as 2018 unfolds.
The “fab five” can be found in Town Square throughout the day. Characters at Disneyland are typically out in Halloween gear during daytime and at night during the party. If you’re looking for a classic Mickey, check Toontown or on Buena Vista Street at DCA.
Jack and Sally can be found in New Orleans Square next to Pieces of Eight (the pirate store):
Cruella can be spotted harassing guests all around Town Square. She despises me and I respect that about her.
Vampirina can be found at California Adventure. She seems to be moving around the park. I’ve seen her in Hollywood Land and near Ariel’s Undersea Adventure.
The characters are fun year round, but I totally enjoy them in their Halloween attire.
Rare characters seen throughout Disneyland during Halloween Time include:
Queen of Hearts
Chip ‘n’ Dale in police uniforms
My Suggestions on Making the Best Use of your time at the Halloween Party
- Put less effort into trick-or-treating if lines are long. As I always tell my children, you can buy candy outside of the park. Don’t spend lots of time in these lines. About an hour before the party ends is the best time to trick-or-treat if you insist on gathering candy.
- Take advantage of low lines for attractions and ride, ride, ride. The crowds are lower and it’s a nice time to get a lot done.
- Don’t miss the fireworks and secure a place near the castle for good viewing. Select one person to sit on a sheet or blanket an hour or so prior to save your spot. The fireworks are phenomenal and reserved only for Halloween Party guests. Be sure you can see the front of the castle for the show.
- Don’t lose your bracelet. Party guests will be given a bracelet upon entry to the park and those without bracelets will be ushered out at party time.
- If you don’t want to bring in your own candy bag, one will be provided for you and it’s a cute little souvenir to take home.
- Attend the parties in September for less crowds. The closer we get to Halloween, the more crowded the parties become.
- Most children are in costume, but it’s not necessary to participate.
If You’re Not Planning to Attend the Halloween Party
Here are some things to think about if you choose not to attend the party. My kids haven’t been in years. It’s not in our budget. But, they love Halloween Time, regardless.
- Consider visiting the parks on a day that the Halloween Party is not happening. If you do not have a ticket for the party, you will be ushered out at 6pm or 7pm (depending on when the party begins that evening) and that’s a tough walk down Main Street, watching the others brimming with excitement for their night ahead. I’ve done it. It’s not fun.
- However, the day of the Halloween party usually includes lower attendance at the parks due to people not wanting to leave at Halloween Party time. So, check the calendar for closing times at California Adventure and consider visiting during the daytime and leaving Disneyland for California Adventure at party time.
- California Adventure will be more crowded than usual due to those leaving Disneyland for it, however, you can still enjoy the park if you utilize what I suggest doing when the parks are crowded.
- DCA will not close at party time, even though party guests can visit this park prior to official party time.
- On party nights, the esplanade will start filling with party goers. Since they’re allowed in DCA to start the evening, I’m hopeful this will balance out the crowd a bit. In years past, Disneyland felt very full by 5pm.
- You can still enjoy a wonderful Halloween experience at Disneyland without the party. Decor is up, characters are in Halloween gear and there’s an overall fun spirit at the park during this time. Don’t fret if you don’t want to spend the extra money on the ticket. Enjoy the decor and the park itself. Halloween Time is magical, with or without the party.
Follow My Halloween Time Visits
I’m in the parks at least once a week. Take a look at what all you can see this time of year.
I’ll also be attending one of the first parties of 2018! This post will be edited according to what’s changed this year.
I’ll keep this post updated as I visit.
Check out what Halloween Time looked like in 2017:
A couple from 2016:
September 10, 2016 – LOTS of characters in Halloween attire – Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto…..plus Jack and Sally……butterscotch beignets……..and the coveted poison apple mugs
September 10, 2016 – AP Days, Halloween Tree, Lunch at Flo’s, Dinner at The Plaza Inn
For any show or parade, consider packing a sheet or blanket to reserve your spot. As previously mentioned in this post, I recommend asking one person in your group to secure your viewing space for the fireworks show about an hour prior to showtime. The Matador blanket is an awesome purchase for your visit and to use elsewhere. It folds up to pocket size, but can seat up to 4 people.
People often lose their manners during shows and parades and will sit anywhere to get a good view. Having a sheet or blanket to block off your spot might give you a bit of peace. You cannot leave it unattended, however, because cast members will remove it if you do.
One of my favorite parts of Halloween Time is the Halloween Tree in Frontierland, which was dedicated to the park by Ray Bradbury, who wrote The Halloween Tree book. Find out how to make your own tree, tips on preparing pumpkins at home and more.
FASTPASSES are typically not offered during parties and special events due to lower crowds.
What I Learned at the First 2017 Halloween Party
+Both parks had light crowds until about noon. DCA filled up first and then guests moved over to Disneyland for the 6:00pm official party start time.
+PhotoPass is included in this year’s party ticket. It will only allow you to receive photos from Disneyland Park and only starting at official party time – not at the 3:00pm or 4:00pm entry time.
+If you bought your ticket online and requested a digital ticket, it should be loaded into your Disneyland app already. If you have paper tickets, open your app, click on “My Tickets”, Click on the “+” in the top right hand corner, click on “Link Tickets & Passes” and then physically scan the barcode from your ticket into the app. Voila!
+I recommend spending the first two hours after you’re allowed into the parks at California Adventure, soaking up all of the new Halloween decor and attraction overlays (mentioned above). Focus on Buena Vista Street for decor and characters and then Cars Land for two Halloween overlays, characters, decor and lots of fun photo ops. Then, an hour prior to official party time, head to Disneyland and get started in Toontown for the “Pre-Party”. Trick or Treat stations are open there, characters are out for photos and it’s a great way to kick off the party.
+If you are absolutely determined to ride Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark, and your party times are 6:00pm – 11:00pm, I recommend you arrive 30 minutes prior to when you can enter the parks, which will be 2:30pm. Be first in line to enter DCA and have tickets scanned into your phone. Immediately after entering the park, purchase MaxPass for $10 a person and then select the Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark FASTPASS. This will give you a return time of around 6:30-7:00pm. Enjoy DCA, enjoy this attraction, and then spend the majority of your evening at Disneyland for the actual party. FASTPASSES for this night time only Halloween overlay begin a distribution at 3:00pm. (FASTPASSES for the day time version of the attraction will have since run out.) When the FASTPASSES become available again at 3:00pm, your return time will set you up to enjoy the Halloween overlay. These FASTPASSES run out within 10 minutes (for the entire night!) and people are lining up at 1:00pm for them at the FASTPASS kiosks. Hence, my suggestion for using MaxPass to grab one of these immediately after walking in. You may not receive a FASTPASS if you get in line after entering at 3:00pm since guests will have already been in line for a couple of hours.
+If you have a party time of 7:00pm – 12:00 midnight, I recommend skipping Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark all together. FASTPASSES will be gone by the time you are allowed into the parks at 4:00pm. Standby times are around 2.5 hours for this attraction. It’s simply not worth the time sacrifice, ESPECIALLY if you have already been on the regular version of this attraction. It’s much better than the Halloween overlay.
+If you don’t mind missing the projections, watching the first parade near it’s a small world is a great set up for two reasons. First, you get to see the parade as it begins since this one starts near it’s a small world and finishes at the front of the park. Second, you’re already set up for a great fireworks viewing, with the show starting shortly after the parade ends. Arrive an hour prior to the first parade’s start time to grab a spot. Restrooms are nearby (near the Fantasyland Theater where you watch Mickey and the Magical Map), snacks are available at kiosks on the main path, and there’s plenty of room for little ones to run around while you wait. I much prefer this area for parade/fireworks viewing – especially if you have small children with you. There’s also a fuel rod machine in the it’s a small world gift shop.
+The glowing dragon that used to be located to the left of Casey Junior’s Circus Train can now be found in the abandoned tunnel near Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Let me know how I can help you with your visit!