I don't know about you, but we've finally got the tadpoles back in school (or froggy day out, in Lily's case). While we're all getting acquainted with new teachers and routines, we're also looking ahead to fall, cooler temps and fun events. It's no secret that fall, and September especially, is a great time to visit Disney World, and this is true of Disneyland too. We'll soon be bringing you a guide to the best times to visit Disneyland, but today we wanted to look at Disneyland's special events. After all, the two biggest Disneyland special event holidays of the year — Halloween and Christmastime — will soon be upon us!
While it's not even remotely starting to look like fall in our neck of the Frog Pond, it's the perfect time to start planning for fall, winter, spring and maybe even next summer getaways. We put together this list of Disneyland special events to help you plan when to visit Los Angeles. Let's get started!
Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend
It's too late to register to run at this year's Disneyland Half Marathon, set for Sept. 3-6, but there is always next year. The event includes kids races, a 5k, a 10k and half marathon. If you think you've really got what it takes, sign up for the 19.3-mile Dumbo Double Dare and run in both the 10k and half marathon! (Check out Liliane Opsomer's recap from last year's Disneyland Half Marathon if you're looking for inspiration.)
SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER
Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort
Halloween is a big-time affair at Disneyland Park, with plenty of decorations, entertainment and other goodies. Main Street U.S.A. is turned into a pumpkin festival with hundreds of hand-carved pumpkins on display. You can gather with some of Disney's biggest villains along with other favorite Disney characters for meet-and-greets — in costumes, of course! The kids will find crafts, and moms and dads can enjoy the seasonal entertainment plus eats and drinks. There are also seasonal overlays to some of the resort's very best rides, including the Haunted Mansion Holiday hosted by Jack Skellington and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. Best of all, the Halloween Time festivities are included with regular park admission! This year's festivities run on select nights from Sept. 11-Nov. 1.
Mickey's Halloween Party
On select nights during Halloween Time, Disneyland Park plays host to Mickey's Halloween Party. The whole family is invited to dress up in costumes and trick-or-treat throughout the park. The party takes place this year on select nights from Sept. 25 through Oct. 31. There are also character encounters with Disney villains and photo-ops with other Disney characters and Pixar Pals. You can dance some of the night away at the Monsters U Dance Party and take in Halloween Screams, the Halloween fireworks spectacular. You don't want to the new Paint The Night parade during this time!
Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend
Get ready to join your favorite super heroes at the inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend. The event is set for Nov. 12-15. Finishers will be rewarded with a commemorative Avengers-themed medal. As of this writing, registration is still available for the half marathon.
NOVEMBER, DECEMBER AND JANUARY
Holidays at the Disneyland Resort
Like Halloween, Disneyland goes all out during the Christmas holidays, with the parks transformed into a winter wonderland from mid-November until early January. Sleeping Beauty Castle is alight in sparkling icicles and thousands of shimmering lights. Beautiful Main Street U.S.A. is decked out in fabulous holiday decor, and over at Disney California Adventure, Buena Vista Street, "a bug's land" and Cars Land are decorated as well. Jack Skellington's takeover continues at Haunted Mansion Holiday. Once the sun goes down, "it's a small world" turns into one of the most beautiful holiday lights displays you'll ever see. You'll definitely want to stay for A Christmas Fantasy Parade! There is no hard-ticket Christmas Party like Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom, and all of the Christmas festivities are included with regular admission.
New Year's Eve at the Disneyland Resort
The Christmas festivities continue through early January. If you're planning to visit around New Year, you definitely want to stay for the "Ring in the New Year" fireworks spectacular!
Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend
This coming year will see the first-ever Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend. The four-day event, held Jan. 14-17, 2016, includes kids' races, a 5K, a 10K, a half marathon and a two-race challenge. Your favorite Star Wars and other Disney characters will be there to cheer you on! Like all of the runDisney events, the key to getting registered is to do it as soon as registration opens. For the 2016 race, registration opened in June.
Happy Lunar New Year
Celebrate this multi-cultural event with food, authentic performances and your favorite Disney characters at Paradise Gardens inside Disney California Adventure. Colorful lanterns and other decor welcome you, while hanging banners written in English, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese wish you a Happy Lunar New Year. You can join the time-honored tradition of writing wishes of good fortune and happiness for your friends and family, and enjoy the other festivities.
JANUARY, FEBRUARY AND MARCH
New Orleans Square Mardi Gras
While it's always festive inside New Orleans Square at Disneyland Park, for the last several years, Disneyland has celebrated Mardi Gras with its New Orleans Bayou Bash. Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen, Mickey, Minnie and others come out dressed to party with special performances and meet-and-greets. Special eats, drinks and entertainment are available. Dates vary for these festivities, so make sure to check back for the 2016 dates.
Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend
With just a little bit of faith, trust and pixie dust, you too can join this magical 13.1-mile run through Never Land. The 2016 event is held May 5-8 and will include kids' races, a 5k, a 10k and Pasta in the Park Party. As of this writing, registration is still available for some of the events.
Disneyland Park celebrates America's freedom during July 4th with red, white and blue decorations, special eats and drinks, and "Disney's Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky."
It's always a great time to visit the parks, but especially with so many terrific Disneyland special events. Have you visited during any of these events? Share your memories in comments below. Or if you haven't, let us know which Disneyland special events you most want to experience!
Related: Disneyland's Not-to-Miss Attractions
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