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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.