For us and many others, Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort is one of the most special times of the year. It generally runs mid-September through Halloween with special decorations, surprises and special ride features. In 2017, Halloween Time runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 31. While some of the fun festivities are included with Halloween Time, Mickey's Halloween Party is not. The parties, which are held on select nights during Halloween Time, require event tickets at Disneyland Park. One of the biggest questions we get in comments is about whether you need regular park admission and a party ticket. The answer is that you must purchase a party ticket if you wish to attend the party. If you wish to enter Disneyland more than three hours before party time, you will need a ticket for that too! (We've answered a ton more questions in comments. Hop down if you want to read them.)
One of the special "treats" that takes place during the party is the "Frightfully Fun Parade." Mickey's Halloween Parties are already very popular, so get your tickets as soon as you can. We frogs were hopping mad one year when we didn’t realize that all the dates would be sold out a few weeks in advance. Luckily, we had a great time enjoying Halloween Time. If you want to know more, including party dates and how to get tickets, hop directly to it! Otherwise, keep reading to learn more about the Disneyland Halloween Time festivities that are included with regular park admission. And new in 2017, happy haunts will be a-howlin' over at Disney California Adventure as well. These spooks just can't stay contained in one park!
Overview of Disneyland Halloween Time 2017
Halloween Time draws many visitors to Disneyland. We find the best time to go is on a weekday because weekends are more crowded. The earlier you go in the season, the lighter the crowds seem to be.
So what can you expect during Halloween Time?
Disneyland will be exploding with Halloween decorations. The traditional Halloween and fall colors of yellow and orange abound, with pumpkins aplenty, especially on Main Street. As you stroll down Main Street, you will find hundreds of hand-carved pumpkins.
In Frontierland, you will find a traditional Dia de los Muertos skeleton display and an homage to Disney fan and author Ray Bradbury in the Halloween Tree. The tree, near the Golden Horseshoe Saloon, was inspired by Bradbury's novel "The Halloween Tree" and features orange glowing lights and jack-o-lanterns hanging from its branches. It's especially beautiful at night.
You can expect to be able to get your face painted (small items for free, although full face paint does come with a price) and see decorated skeletons for Dia de los Muertos in front of the Rancho del Zocalo Mexican restaurant in Frontierland, which is one of the our favorite quick service restaurants in Disneyland Park.
Exciting news for 2017! Disney California Adventure offers a few grim grinning ghouls and ghosts of its own. Oogie Boogie’s oversized shadow will haunt the Main Entrance of Disney California Adventure. Head over to the Headless Horseman Statue on Buena Vista Street. Beware of the bats swarming around the Carthay Circle Bell Tower! Prepare for Cars Land to roll into the Halloween spirit with holiday decor, music and characters dressed in fun “car-tumes.” Muffle your screams on Luigi’s Rollickin Roadsters and as they put a new spin on Halloween Time.
Characters at Disneyland Halloween Time 2017
We don't know for sure where everyone will be, but last year you could meet Mickey and Minnie dressed in their Halloween outfits near Main Street. Jack Skellington (with Sally) have a location in New Orleans Square near the Royal Street Veranda. The best time to arrive is before they start greeting or while they are on break. You can find out from a cast member when they will be reopening the line (which is about 5 to 10 minutes before their next scheduled appearance). They do not let the line form too early. Cast members have all the appearance times. Then linger nearby in a shady spot until they open the line and jump in. The line fills fast. We did that last year and were fourth in line.
Jack is awesome—really engaging and a great personality—definitely a must-do for guests if you can time it right!
You might spot other villains in Adventureland and Fantasyland, but mostly they make appearances during Mickey's Halloween Parties. They tend to make more appearances as Halloween gets closer. Cruella DeVille sometimes stomps around near the entrance to the park and Main Street.
There are special changes to certain rides this time of year. One of the most popular rides during Halloween Time is the Haunted Mansion, which is converted to Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. Wait times are usually longer than at other times of the year, so we recommend you make this one of your priorities before 11 a.m.
Tad finds Space Mountain’s Ghost Galaxy especially thrilling. Space Mountain always sees higher waits, but especially so during Halloween Time, so you'll want to make this one a first stop in the park. Or better yet, use FASTPASS.
Attending Mickey’s Halloween Party 2017
Mickey’s Halloween Party is one of our favorite events during Halloween Time for several reasons. The ride lines tend to be much shorter than usual during the party. Party guests can enter the park up to three hours ahead of the official party kickoff, and new in 2017, guests can enjoy both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure for those three hours. Also new in 2017, guests can receive souvenir Disney PhotoPass photos during the event and unlimited PhotoPass downloads.
Because parking is no longer included in the cost of the ticket, that means there are longer lines getting into the parking lots. If you are driving to the event, plan on one and a half hours to exit the freeway, park and take a shuttle or bus to the entrance. No joke.
The dates closest to Halloween usually sell out first, but all of the nights will likely sell out. If the tickets for the Halloween party are sold out online, there is still hope. Disney still reserves a few via phone after Internet sales are gone. Call by phone 714-781-4400. Open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
We like to attend on weeknights and dates in September or early October for the lightest crowds and lowest prices. No matter when you go, be sure to allow plenty of time to park your car if you are driving, so you don’t miss out on any fun.
Early Party Fun in Mickey's ToonTown
The party gets started an hour early in ToonTown. They have three trick-or-treat stations. One winds through Minnie’s and Mickey’s houses. Another through Donald’s boat. Mickey and Minnie and all their friends greet guests in ToonTown from an hour before party time to 8 p.m. Visiting ToonTown early is a great idea to extend your party time, especially if you have little ones who can’t make it out too late.
Tickets for Mickey's Halloween Party 2017 went on sale July 21 for Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders, Disney Rewards Visa card holders and Disney Vacation Club members. On July 24, tickets went on sale for the general public. Tickets saw a notable jump for 2017. The cost for advance tickets are $95-120. Day-of tickets are $105-120. Annual passholder discounts apply to some weeknights.
Tickets are not refundable and may not be resold. There is a limit of eight tickets per person ages 3 and older, per event date. Go here to purchase!
September 20, 22, 25, 27, 29
October 3, 6, 10, 13, 17, 20, 24, 27, 31
For Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday dates, the party hours are 6:00 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday hours are 6:00 p.m. to midnight.
Mickey’s Halloween Party 2017 Entering and Exiting
The party takes place inside Disneyland Park after the park closes, but party guests can normally enter either park up to three hours earlier (4 p.m. for a 7 p.m. party start time). Party-goers are given wristbands, and only those with wristbands can stay in the park after 7 p.m. (or party start time). They check for wristbands all throughout the night, as well as one hour before park closing announcements are made. As regular park hours come to a close, cast members will begin ushering out guests who don't have wristbands.
When you enter Disneyland Park park before the party, there are two entrance areas: one for daytime guests and one for the special event. When you enter as a party guest, they put a colored bracelet on your wrist with the date and # of the party. For example, Sept. 20 would be #1. The area in which you collect your treat bag is roped off from the guests using the general entrance. Guests who are in the park all day do not have to exit the park to get their bracelet. There are check-in points in the park. Ask cast members for the closest one. There is one near the entrance to Frontierland.
Guests without a wristband can stay in the park until the party starts. If they are already in line for a ride when the party starts, they will stay in line until they ride and then be ushered toward the exit. There are many Disney employees with thin ropes, separating areas of the park. From Main Street U.S.A. to other lands, they check your wristband before letting you pass. When you enter a ride, photo or trick-or-treat area, they check for bracelets. They check for wristbands along the parade route repeatedly. So if you are a daytime guest, you could view some of the party as you exit, but you cannot participate.
Hold on to your ticket and be sure to get a hand-stamp for re-entry if you exit.
Costumes at Mickey's Halloween Party 2017
Just like at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disney World, there are costume guidelines for this event. Sometimes in the past we have all dressed in theme (one year we were pirates, aargh!). All guests can wear family friendly costumes to the party. Guests can dress as their favorite character or anything they like, as long as it fits the guidelines.
Costume guidelines for everyone include the following:
- Guests who dress as Disney characters cannot pose for pictures or sign autographs for other guests.
- Costumes cannot have sharp objects or drag on the ground
- Layered costumes and costumes that surround the entire body are discouraged and may be subject to additional security screening
- Costumes may not be obstructive, offensive, objectionable or violent
- Costumes may not contain weapons that could be mistaken for actual weapons.
Many adults wear costumes, and the guidelines do not seem to limit any fun. There are certain rules for guests ages 14 and older:
- Capes cannot go below the waist
- Themed T-shirts, blouses, sweatshirts and hats are OK
- Acceptable accessories include transparent wings, plastic light sabers, toy swords and tutus. Headware cannot cover the face.
- Masks are not allowed, except for medical purposes
Guests 13 and under have some new guidelines as well:
- They can wear some masks—eyes must be visible and the mask cannot cover entire face.
- Costumes cannot drag on the ground (like princess dresses)
- No props that look like real weapons but plastic light sabers and plastic swords are OK.
Mickey's Halloween Party 2017 Characters
There is a map of the park you can pick up when you enter that shows all of the trick-or-treat trails and character locations. Besides the villains, many characters are out greeting guests and spending a lot of time with each guest. Last year, the Wicked Queen from Snow White, Cruella De Ville and Malificent were set up very nicely in front of the train station. They have dramatic backdrops, and two villains work at a time. They each have their separate line, and they take breaks from greeting to perform in the parade. On our visit, their treat station across from them HAD NO LINE. It was really quite magical. There was music and projection in that area and down Main Street and on the castle for most of the party.
Jack Skellington and Sally greet guests in New Orleans. The line is long, but they spend a really long time with each guest. They got down to the ground for smaller guests and were so sweet. Mickey and Minnie meet guests in two locations. You can meet them in ToonTown from an hour before party starts until 8 p.m., along with Goofy, Donald, Daisy, Pluto, and Chip and Dale. You could meet some princesses in Fantasy Faire—including rare princesses like Pocahontas and Mulan. You could meet Aladdin, Jasmine, Genie or Jafar in Adventureland. Winnie the Pooh and friends are in Critter Country. You could also meet some pirate pals, such as Captain Jack Sparrow, on the Frontierland dock. Toy Story pals are also in Frontierland. You can find Star Wars characters in Tomorrowland.
Tad and Lily’s favorite part of Mickey’s Halloween Party is the trick-or-treating in the park. We all receive so much candy (yes, adults get to trick-or-treat too!) that we can barely carry it all. Moms, relax — there are also healthy goodies mixed in. A cast member will provide you with a bag for trick-or-treating when you enter the park, but we always bring our own bigger bags. I think a stroller or empty backpack also makes a great tool for hauling your loot around the park. Plus, the park is open late, so younger guests and toddlers with tired legs will appreciate taking a seat in a stroller.
FastPass Distribution does not operate during the party, but wait times are much lighter than during normal park hours. The following rides are expected to be open during Mickey's Halloween Party, although this list is subject to change (check current ride refurbishments):
Indiana Jones Adventure
Pirates of the Caribbean
Haunted Mansion Holiday
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Pinocchio's Daring Journey
Snow White's Scary Adventures
King Arthur Carrousel
Casey Jr. Circus Train
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
Peter Pan's Flight
Mad Tea Party
Alice in Wonderland
Storybook Land Canal Boats
"It's a small world"
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy
Star Tours—The Adventures Continue
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
Mickey's Halloween Party 2017 Parade, Fireworks & Other Entertainment
The Halloween Screams fireworks spectacular is a special Halloween fireworks display during Mickey’s Halloween Party. This is an exclusive event for Mickey’s Halloween Party guests. The only viewing spot for the entire show with projection is in front of the castle.
The Frightfully Fun Villain parade usually runs at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. (a few minutes before each parade the Headless Horseman makes his ride). Fireworks are at 9:30. We hopped in place on the parade route near the castle at 7:30. The first parade runs from Small World to the park entrance. The second parade runs the opposite direction. If you watch the first parade, we recommend finding a spot that is near the castle so you can easily hop into the street for the fireworks as soon as the parade ends. You want to see the castle for the fireworks show. The projection only occurs there. There is a dinner package at the Blue Bayou that gives you “preferred viewing” of the parade, but it may not be the best fireworks viewing area.
There is plenty of other entertainment as well. If you like music and dancing there is live entertainment in Tomorrowland. Jedi Training takes place the Galactic Grill with three shows. The Cadaver Dans perform on a raft in the foggy Rivers of America. It is worth checking out as you hit the trick-or-treat area in front of the water.
Mickey's Halloween Party 2017 Tips
1. Plan to watch the Halloween Screams fireworks near the castle if you want to see projection. It is the only spot that offers this. Because the Frightfully Fun Parade precedes the fireworks, get to a spot on the parade route that has a good view of the castle about 60 minutes before parade time. After the parade ends, quickly jump into the street for good fireworks viewing location. Watch out for trees blocking the view of the castle. Enjoy the pre-show projection on the castle and music while you wait. If you love fireworks and don't care about projection, you can see the fireworks really well and with plenty of space around you in front of Small World. They do not do projection for Halloween Screams there, but they do play the music and voices. This location is good for people who don't want to fight the crowds or wait a long time. The full show is at the castle though.
2. Avoid long treat lines, because while some areas had long waits, you could walk right into other treat areas. There is likely a less-crowded treat area around the corner. If the treat stop you come to has a long line, keep going!
3. Avoid rides in the beginning of the party. Ride times drop significantly after the daytime guests trickle out of the park. Visit your favorite characters first instead. Unique characters you can’t see every day can be found in Frontierland, Villains Square, at the Royal Theatre, and other spots around the park.
4. Visit Toontown early. If you enter the park early (up to three hours before party time) Toontown is closed to the public, but it opens just for party guests an hour before party time. There you will find trick-or-treat stations and many characters, including Mickey and Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Donald, Chip and Dale, Donald, and Daisy in their Halloween costumes. This is a great early opportunity for families with younger guests, especially those who just can't stay up very late or want to get a jump on the Halloween fun.
5. Talk to the live scarecrow hanging in Frontierland.
Is Mickey's Halloween Party worth it?
Mickey's Halloween Party is now about the price of a one-day ticket (and closer to peak pricing in some cases) so you have to decide if the investment is worth it for your family. It offers some unique entertainment and character interactions, as well as a chance to wear a costume and go trick-or-treating as an adult, but the price no longer includes parking.
With candy (plus other healthier and less sugary treats too), great access to everyday and special characters, and a lot of visual entertainment, we think it's a great time. Plus the ride times are quite short.
One plus has been that Disney does not oversell the party. There is special lighting and a lot of decorations unique to the party. Food lines are short and tables easy to find. If you love Halloween, seeing costumes, meeting characters and special effects, then this party is for you. We would not buy a daytime admission and a party ticket though. For us that just wouldn't fit the budget for a one-day visit. Choose the party for a date you are not visiting the park during the day.
Have questions about Mickey's Halloween Party and Disneyland Halloween Time? Share them in comments below!