Get your scream on during Halloween Time at Disneyland

Disney California Adventure Park joins the fun

By Wendy O'Dea,

When I moved to southern California years ago, Knott’s Scary Farm was the sought-after ticket for a good Halloween scare. But with ghouls unexpectedly popping out to shock the bejesus out of visitors, it's not that appealing for families with young children (or the faint of heart), like me. 

Luckily, Disneyland Resort continues to up their Halloween game, adding more decorations, attractions, entertainment and tasty treats themed for the season. This year, they’ve expanded the festivities to Disney’s California Adventure Park for the first time. Here are 10 treats you can expect if you visit during Halloween Time.  

1. Halloween on Buena Vista Street

Enter Disney California Adventure under a massive cutout of The Nightmare Before Christmas’ Oogie Boogie looming over a blood red moon, then stroll along Buena Vista Street to an eerie new soundtrack and soak up the Halloween décor.

Cast members decorate Halloween-themed treats in the candy shop, (fake) bats fly out of the bell tower and a 10-foot Headless Horseman gallops its way into Carthay Circle, complete with glowing jack-o’-lantern head that lights up the night (along with the glowing eyes and fire-breathing nostrils of his rearing horse).  

2. Cars Land Haul-O-Ween

Radiator "Screams" in Cars Land — Photo courtesy of Disneyland Resort

"Radiator Screams" (Radiator Springs) is celebrating "Haul-o-ween" with decorations suspended over the walkway and Cars characters dressed in "car-stume."

Cones at the Cozy Cone Motel have been turned into jack-o'-lanterns (Jack-o-Cones?) and they're serving up special items like the candy corn-shaped Spoke-y Cone Macaron, a French macaron filled with marshmallow buttercream and speckled with candy corn pieces. Mater and Lightning McQueen are also standing by to meet their fans.

3. Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark

Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark — Photo courtesy of Disneyland Resort

The recently-opened Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! is eliciting screams of panic each night during Halloween Time when the Collector’s Fortress goes dark and is lit with creepy exterior lighting. Alarms sound, alerting guests that something inside has gone horribly wrong. 

Rocket Raccoon has realized that poor Baby Groot was left behind and he sets out (with you) to distract the monsters that have been freed. You thought it was creepy before? Prepare thyself.

4. Plaza de la Familia

Celebrating Día de los Muertos — Photo courtesy of Disneyland Resort

California Adventure’s Paradise Gardens has been temporarily converted to the Mexican-themed Plaza de la Familia to celebrate the upcoming release of Pixar’s film Coco.

Activities and entertainment, including storytelling, folklórico dancers, puppeteers and a mariachi band, center around Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a Mexican tradition that remembers loved ones who have passed. Restaurants in the plaza also feature special Latin-themed dishes, including traditional Pan de Muerto, street-style corn on the cob, chicken tamales and more.

Most fun: the colorful Day of the Dead face painting!

5. Treats over tricks

The not-so-scary Bat Wing Raspberry Sundae — Photo courtesy of Disneyland Resort

Load your social media feeds with pictures of the lip-smacking good treats available only during Halloween season. These include the Bat Wing Raspberry Sundae (white chocolate-raspberry swirl ice cream with raspberry splatter, blood-red sprinkles, whipped cream and bat wing cookie) and a Monstermallow Donut (croissant donut filled with marshmallow cream, in the shape of Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc.), to name a few.

6. Mickey’s Halloween Party

Mickey's Halloween Party — Photo courtesy of Disneyland Resort

Adults and kids alike come in costume year after year for this event (held on specific evenings only, separate ticket required) that features special entertainment, costumed Disney characters and trick or treating at locations throughout Disneyland.

This year, guests can also visit Disney California Adventure during the three hours prior to the beginning of the party. 
Unfortunately, tickets are sold out for 2017 but mark your calendars for July when tickets will go on sale for 2018.

7. The newly-launched Disney MaxPass

Disneyland Resorts (both parks) recently launched the new MaxPass to book a FASTPASS via the Disneyland app. I’m sure it wasn’t coincidental that this was launched before Halloween and Christmas, when the parks experience an influx of visitors. Disney photo downloads are also included. Definitely worth the extra 10 bucks.

8. "Halloween Screams" fireworks spectacular

Halloween Screams fireworks at Mickey's Halloween Party — Photo courtesy of Disneyland Resort

The nightly fireworks at Disneyland are a must-see, but on the nights of Mickey’s Halloween Party (specific dates only), an impressive pyrotechnic display is set off by "Master of Scare-emonies" Jack Skellington* and his ghost dog, Zero. 

The happiest place on earth, darkened for the dramatic display, is transformed into the scariest with classic Disney villains appearing to shake things up. It’s possible to scout out viewing locations from Disney California Adventure or Downtown Disney to sneak a peek from outside Disneyland.

9. Haunted Mansion Holiday

Haunted Mansion Holiday — Photo courtesy of Disneyland Resort

A favorite Disney movie celebrates the collision between Halloween and Christmas as Jack Skellington offers his unique take on the holidays. The annual Haunted Mansion Holiday gingerbread house is presented in a new design each year, and this year it’s the creepy Oogie Boogie in the form of a 7-foot-tall cookie in the Mansion ballroom.  

10. Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy

Guests are thrust into a ghostly galaxy on this popular Disneyland ride and are surrounded by eerie screams, sound effects and music. Creepy spirits pop out to menace the space travelers, who are whirled about in the darkness.

*Jack Skellington and Haunted Mansion Holiday are inspired by Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.