Theme Park Insider

It's a Hot Time in Disneyland at Mickey's Halloween Party

September 26, 2015, 2:35 AM · For long-time residents of Southern California, nothing quite announces the impending arrival of fall like a scorching blast from the desert that pushes temperatures toward 100 degrees. But for recent arrivals and tourists who have not grown accustomed to SoCal's unique weather patterns, the start of Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland also provides suitable notice.

Mickey's Halloween Party

Disneyland's annual family-friendly Halloween event offers several hours of trick-or-treating throughout the park, in addition to holiday-themed entertainment. But with ticket prices ranging up to $84 per person, you'll want to make sure that you're not only getting all the candy you can haul out of the park, but getting every moment of the event to enjoy, as well. (My ticket last night was $69, after annual passholder discount.)

Even though the party officially starts at 6 or 7pm, Disneyland will admit ticket-holders into the park up to three hours before that, without requiring a regular "day" ticket or annual pass. Don't throw away those three extra hours, because they can give you a great head start on the event. Maybe you can use that time to visit Disneyland's Haunted Mansion Holiday, or the Ghost Galaxy overlay of Space Mountain, before party crowds inflate those wait times.

Haunted Mansion Holiday

Or, perhaps you would rather browse some of the holiday treats available at Main Street's Candy Palace and other sweet shops in the park, such as these "Dia de los Muertos" crispy treats.

Dia de los Muertos treats

I also opted for an early dinner, trying the Shrimp Po' Boy ($13.59, served with Cajun-spiced chips) and Pumpkin Pie ($5.39), just added to the menu at the French Market Restaurant for the holiday.

Shrimp Po' Boy

At nearly 14 bucks for a sandwich with just seven fried shrimp on it, you might be that "po' boy" if you ordered it too often. But as a treat, the crispy shrimp and spicy remoulade satisfied. The real star of the meal was the pumpkin pie, which elicited great enthusiasm from the checker on the cafeteria line. Sweet and flavorful without being filling, this pumpkin pie will put you in the mood for the holiday season.


But let's not dawdle and forget the main event. You will need your party wristband to stay in the park after the official start time. For Disney World parties, I always recommend getting your wristband in the park if you've arrived early on a "normal" ticket or pass. However, at Disneyland, the in-park wristband lines far exceed the wait time endured by people who just head out the front gate and reenter with the rest of the party guests. It's not that long of a walk to the front here, either.

Whether they offer haunted houses or treat trails, Halloween events seem to be for theme park fans who think normal attraction lines are too short. You could spend hours shuffling through the more than a dozen treat trails in the parks to load your Disney-provided candy bags, so you might as well get started early, with the pre-party in Toontown.

Toontown treat trail

Starting one hour before the rest of the party, the Toontown treat trails (open only to party guests with wristbands) probably would yield enough candy to fuel two or three sugar comas, freeing you to spend the rest of the evening on rides and enjoying the holiday entertainment, if you wished.

Candy

Choose your trail wisely, though. On a 90-degree-plus day like Friday, you'll want to head straight for the treat trail through Minnie's and Mickey's houses. Why? Almost all those candy stations are indoors, where you can enjoy the additional treat of air-conditioning. You'll find other indoor or partially-indoor trails at the Golden Horseshoe and the Village Haus.

Inside the Village Haus

If you are Disneyland annual passholder, don't miss the passholder-only treat station inside the Main Street Opera House, where you can pick up a Disneyland backpack cinch-bag and a special treat.

And if all the candy you've collected isn't enough, you can look for room in your stomach for some of the special Halloween treats and desserts available at the handful of Disneyland restaurants that remain open during the event. I tried the Apple Pie Funnel Cake ($6.49) at the Hungry Bear.

Apple Pie Funnel Cake

It left me longing for a good slice of apple pie... or a piping hot, freshly-fried funnel cake. Unfortunately, this massive mash-up shows that two aren't necessarily better than one... and sometimes they're not even as good as the one, either. If you're looking for a load of cream on a hunk of crispy bread, with a hint of apple in there somewhere, well, here ya go.

I much preferred the entertainment during the party, including the "Cadaver Dans" singing from one of my beloved Tom Sawyer Island rafts on the mist-shrouded Rivers of America.

And the funky musical projection show that played throughout the evening on Main Street.

The highlight was the Halloween Screams fireworks, especially since there is no Halloween parade this year, due to the park's decision to run the Diamond Celebration's Paint the Night parade in its place, instead.

For those of you who enjoy them, the park is filled with meet-and-greets as well, including a motley collection of villains in Town Square, featuring Governor Ratcliffe, Jafar, and Hades.

Villains meet and greet

As you leave the party, cast members will hand you one last treat of candy — a handful of Dove chocolates. All that's left, then, is to show off the haul.

More candy

Mickey's Halloween Party plays Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights between now and Oct. 19, then also on Oct. 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, and 31. Many nights are sold out. Tickets for the remaining nights are available on Disneyland's website.

Replies (22)

September 26, 2015 at 12:22 PM · Good tip on Toontown. The heat is why I reserved for Oct 25th.
September 26, 2015 at 5:52 PM · Starting the party an hour early in Toontown is a smart move from an operations standpoint, as it loads the crowd earlier, and in the back of the park, helping to alleviate the problem of party-goers overloading the treat trails at the front of the park at the start of the event.
September 26, 2015 at 9:31 PM · Last year, they had the pre-party at Big Thunder Ranch. I spent a good 2 hours there, played the free games, and enjoyed the Cadaver Dans. I thought their rendition of "This Is Halloween" was quite good. Too bad the ranch is taken out of commission prematurely.
September 27, 2015 at 2:38 AM · I have a question. My brother in law and his wife are going to Disneyland for the first time during the week of the 8th. From Australia they only have a few days in LA and I've recommended a day each of Disney and USH (and mentioned it would be worth going to Universal Horror Nights).

Is it worth then doing the Disney Halloween party? Or would it be better to avoid it and go on a Tuesday or Thursday when the crowds are less and they can see more of Disneyland and DCA?

September 27, 2015 at 5:33 AM · The Disney Halloween party is sold out on the week of the 8th. Why skip the regular USH day? They have to be horror fans to want to go on Horror Nights.
September 27, 2015 at 6:28 AM · Is USH closed on the days the Horror Nights happen?
September 27, 2015 at 8:32 AM · No, but they have to pay for each. Horror Nights have less time in the park and they go in mazes that take up valuable time.
September 27, 2015 at 10:27 AM · Is big thunder ranch open this year? They have a lot of cool halloween carnival stuff there during the day. Though I realize it will eventually be replaced by star wars land
September 27, 2015 at 11:15 AM · Yes, unfortunately, the only way to make Horror Nights worth your time is to buy their most expensive tickets which give you front of the line privileges. I believe they are in the $140 per person range. Saves you hours of time, but it's definitely a premium price.
September 27, 2015 at 11:51 AM · Great report Robert !! Appreciate the videos also. Since this is something I will probably never do, it is nice to get a trip report that gives me a feel for the whole event.
September 27, 2015 at 1:09 PM · I suspect the money shouldn't be an issue, is the.park closed between the day opening and the Horror Nights?
September 27, 2015 at 3:19 PM · Big Thunder Ranch was not open during Mickey's Halloween Party.
September 27, 2015 at 4:28 PM · Wonderful article as always!
But can I ask a non disney question please :)
We are coming from the UK on the 8th october for a couple of weeks and are planning our first ever trip to Magic Mountain! Because of the time of year it's only open weekends for fright fest, and now in truth we are wimps and will leave by 7 when the street entertainers start... So we will only have a limited time to tackle all of the coasters and really only have one day to get round them....

Are the day queues at the fright fest going to be hours long?
If so should we buy a Flash Pass and if so what level? The platinum one seems by far the best but will be the equivalent of a small vacation lol :)

What advise do you have Robert & gang! Please help us out :)

September 27, 2015 at 5:07 PM · Do you happen to know if it was open during the day? For the 2014 party it wasn't open at night either (nor during the day when we went in early October) but they had a treat trail and that's where Mickey and minnie were if you missed them in toon town.
September 28, 2015 at 2:46 PM · I can't begin to understand the appeal of the Halloween party. Why would you pay $80+ bucks to stand in long lines to get the same amount of candy you can buy for $10 at the grocery store? As you can see from your haul, it's not a wide variety of candy, and almost all of it is chocolate based.

Sure, the Dapper Dans singing on the lake are cool, and yes, you can meet some "bad guy" characters you might not see otherwise, but the park is PACKED, I mean PACKED. I was there all last week, and Friday night definitely had the longest lines all week. I think the Haunted Mansion was at 125 minutes for part of the evening. That's TWO HOURS, yo!

The vibe is fun, and it's great to see people in their costumes, but with the lights down low, crowd control is more difficult that usual, and most of the night we felt like cattle being herded around. Couple in that not all rides have their fastpass stations open (Ghost Galaxy FP was closed), you're left at the mercy of the usual lines.

We ended up leaving by 9:30, it was all waaaay too much for the kids. And to think we had to pay an additional $80 on top of our four-day passes? What a rip off, we won't do it again.

September 28, 2015 at 4:59 PM · i purchased my not-so-scary event ticket, but when i try to print it out, it says there is a problem. The statement reads that the ticket is stored and safe, but i have to go to a park gate to pick them up. Should i be worried? is this happening to anyone else?
September 28, 2015 at 8:51 PM · The longest I saw the Mansion wait during the party was 45 minutes, after the fireworks. And while the park was crowded, it wasn't as bad as I've seen it on many other Friday and Saturday nights. With APs blocked out and capacity limited, as well as people distributed through the treat trails, I could move through the park fairly easily. (Note that I left around 10:30.)

All that said, the big appeal here -- the selling point -- is the ability for teens and adults to get dressed up and trick-or-treat again, with no judgment from anyone around. This isn't some booze-filled "adult" Halloween party. It's a return to the pure joy of being a kid on Halloween again.

The chance to do that again is worth a lot of money to many people.

September 29, 2015 at 8:01 AM · "Why would you pay $80+ bucks to stand in long lines to get the same amount of candy you can buy for $10 at the grocery store?"

Would you buy your own present, wrap it, and give it to yourself? Merry Christmas to Me, Happy Birthday to Me.

September 29, 2015 at 3:08 PM · I went to the party for the first time last night because I'd always been intrigued by the why of it all. I work at a job that I get to dress up as an adult, so that hold no special appeal. I went to Toontown right at 5 and stood in line to get pics. After an hour and a half I had pictures with all the essential Mickey Mouse gang (Pluto, Goofy, Daisy, Donald & M & M) and in their cute Halloween outfits to boot! So that was worth it to me. I then went to the Mystical Spirits Dinner, but that’s another post - I’m happy to share but the original post about that is closed to comments. The fireworks show was AMAZING. Honestly, I thought it was much cooler than even the Disneyland Forever show. The atmosphere of music playing loudly, the fun Main Street projections and seeing villains out and about was very fun. I stayed until around 10:45. I had the AP discount so I think it was $68? I wouldn’t do it again but it was fun to do once. I didn’t ride rides or go out of my way for candy, I just went into Village Haus & the Golden Horseshoe while walking from Toontown to NOLA. The inside ‘treat trails’ decorate the space a bit so that’s fun.
September 29, 2015 at 3:30 PM · FWIW, I tried to get into the Mystical Spirits Dinner, but Disney wouldn't sell single seatings for it, and I was flying solo. I'd love to read a report, though!
September 29, 2015 at 5:01 PM · That’s interesting but I understand not selling the single seats, business-wise they “need” to make as much profit from the space as possible since they’re paying all the cast members that wouldn’t normally be working at the restaurant.

First I’ll say that it was worth the price & I got it as a bday present for my friend. If you got a 3 course dinner at Blue Bayou, that alone would be around $80, so $70 for the entertainment, gift, unique experience & seats we had for the fireworks is reasonable (for Disney). Obviously Dr. Facilier is the host and the actor playing him is great. He also has some Bayou Belles with him and they are great as well. There are essentially 3 acts: Cadaver Dans, the Doctor & Belles (twice), and Pirates. The food was delicious & great service.

It was a treat just to eat in the Blue Bayou which I never have. I love the Cadaver Dans so having them so close for a performance was great. We got the lithograph and other goodies and seats right in front of the castle. Note: if the fireworks had been cancelled I would be singing a FAR different tune, but they are amazing & having front row/center seats by the Castle (where I have never been for any fireworks ever) was great.

September 29, 2015 at 8:17 PM · Thanks for the report. I'm envious!

I hope that all the tables were filled -- if it turned out that there were empty tables, then I'd be upset that Disney turned me away. After all, one person at a table is better than none.

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