Welcome to Theme Park Insider! Join the community or log in
Theme Park Insider
Facebook Twitter Google Plus Email Newsletter

Space Mountain's 'Ghost Galaxy' highlights HalloweenTime at Disneyland

By Robert Niles
Published: September 29, 2009 at 12:45 PM
Tuesday Park Visit: It's Halloween Time again at Disneyland, in Anaheim, California.

Keep a sharp eye as you leave the Mickey and Friends parking garage, and you'll find some Halloween-themed scenes along the way toward the park:

The park's entrance sports its traditional Halloween decor:

And Main Street remains decked out for the season, with a massive Mickey Jack O'Lantern greeting visitors:

Frankly, outside Main Street, not much of the park is decorated for Halloween. Fantasyland and Adventureland remain the same as they ever were, and with one big exception, Tomorrowland is, as well. But you will find plenty of Halloween decor at the Big Thunder Ranch:

Disney offers an after-hours, hard-ticket Halloween event on selected evenings across the plaza, at Disney's California Adventure. That's where you'll find the character flood and trick-or-treating. The highlights of Disneyland's HalloweenTime are its two holiday-themed attraction overlays.

Haunted Mansion Holiday's been playing for years...

...But it still impresses with its seamless adaptation of the "Nightmare Before Christmas" story into the Mansion ride.

The new attraction this year is an overlay of Space Mountain, "Ghost Galaxy."

To be clear, the ride's the same - Disney didn't make any track or train changes. But there's a fresh soundtrack and video effects.

Remember that flaming ghost from the attraction entrance? You'll see him again, throughout the ride, as he chases your spaceship across the galaxy. The new soundtrack, with its "Carmina Burana" overtones, adds to the suspense... and the fun.

I found "Ghost Galaxy" an engaging twist on Space Mountain, one that added a welcome narrative element ("get away from the ghost!") and some sweet visual near-misses throughout. Space Mountain's all about twists and turns, and the pursuing ghost heightened the thrills. Heck, I preferred this version to the regular Space Mountain, though I could see how the extra cheese factor might get a little too filling if it ran longer than one month a year.

In addition to Ghost Galaxy and Haunted Mansion Holiday, Disneyland is presenting a special Halloween-themed fireworks show in the evenings. (Which I didn't stay for on this short day trip.) HalloweenTime continues at Disneyland through November 1.

Readers' Opinions

From Anthony Murphy on September 29, 2009 at 1:55 PM
That blog thing the released has a little clip of the Ghost Galaxy. It seemed pretty cool!
From James Rao on September 29, 2009 at 6:02 PM
Nice post, Robert. Glad to see you are getting back out to Disneyland again... I like your weekly reports!

Maybe next week you can check out how the DCA work is progressing first hand and give us your thoughts. Every time I see pictures of all that construction work all I can think is that the park must feel absolutely claustrophobic these days!

From Joshua Counsil on September 30, 2009 at 11:39 AM
Great report. Had no idea about the Space Mountain overlay.

If only Disney World put more effort into its Halloween celebration. The Magic Kingdom could bring back Alien Encounter once a year, Epcot's World Showcase could be given a Halloween makeover with the ghost folklore and cultures of each country, The Great Movie ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios could be re-themed with classic horror movies, and Disney's Animal Kingdom could showcase exotic and creepy animals.

From 75.36.34.224 on October 1, 2009 at 8:48 PM
The Disney Halloween tour mentions four rides:
Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Tower of Terror and Big Thunder Mountain.
Are they doing anything special at Tower of Terror and Big Thunder Mountain, or just including them in the tour?
From Robert Niles on October 1, 2009 at 10:06 PM
Nope. There's no special overlay for BTMM and TOT. Same rides as always.
From 71.112.24.43 on October 2, 2009 at 3:45 PM
Wow Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy looks very scary the ending shook me up. Well this is not new they already did this at Hong Kong right?
From 75.84.185.153 on October 2, 2009 at 7:03 PM
My husband and I enthusiastically visited DL yesterday October 1st. All the decorations and especially the Haunted Mansion are BETTER THAN EVER. Sadly, the Space Mountain change does not live up to all the hype by any means. When it was all over we looked at each other and said, THAT'S IT??? We ended up giving our extra fast passes to a young couple on their way into the park as we were leaving. Hope they liked it better than we did. Usually the Haunted Mansion isn't my very favorite ride, but yesterday once we were tucked into our doombuggy, I could not stop smiling. The changes are incredibly well done, tell a good story, and made me feel like I was IN the movie. It was awesome! I could ride that one 5 times in a row and be thrilled every single time.

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

More Theme Park News

Previous article: Disney to offer free tickets to volunteers in 2010

September 2009 Archive