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For us and many others, Halloween is one of the best times of the year to visit Disneyland. We love that Disneyland Park is outfitted with pumpkins, golden banners and other treats. For the first time ever last year, happy haunts were a-howlin' over at Disney California Adventure too. They've returned for 2018, too! Disneyland Halloween Time generally runs mid-September through Halloween every year with special decorations, surprises and ride overlays. Mickey’s Halloween Party — which is not all that scary and a whole lot of fun — runs on select nights at Disneyland Park during Halloween Time. For 2018, Disneyland Halloween Time runs Sept. 7 through Oct. 31! We just returned from hopping about both parks to get the scoop on this year's festivities and tasty treats. For more details, including ticket prices and Mickey's Halloween Party dates, read on!
While some of the festivities are included with Halloween Time, Mickey's Halloween Party is a separate ticket. You do not need regular park admission, but you must purchase a party ticket to attend. If you wish to enter Disneyland more than three hours before party time, you will need a regular ticket too. These parties are very popular, so purchase tickets in advance!
Disneyland Halloween Overview | Disneyland Halloween Characters & Rides | Mickey's Halloween Party Dates, Times & Overview | Characters, Costumes & Entertainment | Mickey's Halloween Party Tips & Is It Worth It | Comments
Overview of Disneyland Halloween Time 2018
The Disneyland Halloween fun runs from Sept. 7 through Oct. 31, 2018. September and October are generally better times of the year to visit Disneyland, but Halloween Time brings visitors, especially on weekends. Visit early in September and on a weekday if you can. The earlier you go in the season, the lighter the crowds seem to be. So what can you expect?
Disneyland is 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 see decorated skeletons for Dia de los Muertos in front of the Rancho del Zocalo Mexican restaurant in Frontierland, one of the our favorite quick-service restaurants.
Halloween at Disney California Adventure
Disney California Adventure offers a few grim grinning ghouls and ghosts of its own. Oogie Boogie’s oversized shadow haunts 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! This year, Disney Junior star Vampirina is greeting guests during Halloween Time in Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure — we promise she won’t bite!
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 Mater's Junkyard Jamboree as they put a new spin on Halloween Time.
Any "Coco" fans out there? You won't want to miss visiting the Plaza de la Familia at Paradise Gardens Park.
There you can do free crafts, color a mask, record a family memory, try out the special angel wing photo walls and Tree of Life photo location, sample Mexican food, learn about Dia de los Muertos, and catch a showing of A Musical Celebration of Coco. You can also get your face painted, for a fee. The Plaza de la Familia will be open through Nov. 4.
Get ready to #SaveGroot at Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark. The Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT! attraction gets into the Halloween spirit during Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort. Each evening, the attraction transforms into a new experience that continues the story of the daytime ride, but now guests need to help Rocket Raccoon save Groot. It’s a lot scarier than the daytime ride with a heavy metal soundtrack, so consider that if you have tadpoles who are just tall enough to ride the daytime version. They might find Monsters After Dark to be too much.
This is a very popular ride!
It’s tricky to figure out how to get a FASTPASS. It requires vigilantly checking return times being distributed for the daytime. Once the return window reaches 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., it will automatically skip to a window that is 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. That’s because the ride shuts down at 4 p.m. for a while before the switch and reopens at 5 p.m. The FASTPASS will still say Guardians of the Galaxy, but if it is for after 5 p.m., it's for the Monsters after Dark version. Return times disappear as if being chased by a monster, so keep your eye on this by checking the Disneyland app to see distribution times. You can acquire a paper FASTPASS or use MaxPass to reserve.
You can meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and more friends dressed in their Halloween outfits in both parks. Jack and Sally have the same location as the past two years in New Orleans Square near the Royal Street Veranda. The best time to arrive is in the morning before they start greeting.
Jack is awesome — really engaging and a great personality — definitely a must-do 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. This year Disney Junior star Vampirina greets guests at Disney California Adventure.
Rides at Disneyland Halloween Time 2018
There are special changes to certain rides during Disney Halloween Time. We already mentioned Guardians of the Galaxy — Monsters After Dark at Disney California Adventure. One of the most popular rides is Haunted Mansion, which is converted to Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. Wait times for Haunted Mansion Holiday are significantly longer than at other times of the year, so we recommend you make this one of your priorities before 10 a.m. or get a FASTPASS.
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.
In “Radiator Screams,” Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters are parading as Luigi’s Honkin’ Halloween. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree has been transformed into Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree. Both rides have several Halloween-themed songs and decorations throughout the Halloween season.
Attending Mickey’s Halloween Party 2018
Mickey’s Halloween Party is one of our favorite events during Disneyland Halloween Time. Party-goers get to meet more rare characters, wear costumes, enjoy special entertainment and trick-or-treat! Party guests can enter the park up to three hours ahead of the official party kickoff. Guests can enjoy both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure for those three hours, although the party festivities are only happening at Disneyland. Guests receive free Disney PhotoPass photos during the event and unlimited PhotoPass downloads for party photos for up to 45 days. Plus ride lines tend to be much shorter than usual during the party.
Mickey's Halloween Party 2018 Dates & Times
September 19, 21, 24, 26, 28
October 2, 5, 9, 12, 16, 19, 23, 26, 29, 31
For Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday dates, the party hours are 6:00 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday hours are 7:00 p.m. to midnight.
Parking is no longer included in the cost of the ticket, and there are longer lines getting into the parking lots. If you are driving, plan on one to one and a half hours to exit the freeway, park and take a shuttle or bus to the entrance, especially on a Friday. No joke.
Friday nights typically sell out first (in fact, all Fridays are currently sold out online and dates during Columbus week), but all of the nights may likely sell out. If the tickets for the Halloween party are sold out online, there is still hope. Disney has in the past reserved a few via phone after Internet sales are gone. Call by phone 714-781-4400 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. PST.
Tickets for Mickey's Halloween Party 2018 went on sale June 5 for Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders, Disney Rewards Visa card holders and Disney Vacation Club members. On June 12, tickets went on sale for the general public. The cost for advance tickets are $95-$130. Day-of tickets were $105-$130. 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!
Mickey’s Halloween Party 2018 Entering and Exiting
The party takes place inside Disneyland 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 Disneyland 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 begin ushering out guests who don't have wristbands.
When you enter Disneyland 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. 19 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.
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.
Hold on to your ticket if you exit!
Mickey's Halloween Party Maps
Check out previous Mickey's Halloween Party Maps to get a leap on your 2018 party planning.
Early Party Fun in Mickey's ToonTown
Let's get this party started quickly! Mickey's Halloween Party gets going 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 7 or 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. Plus, your candy bags will be full by the time the party officially starts. You'll be gobblin' candy before the party officially gets going.
Visiting Disney California Adventure During the Party
A new “treat” has been extended to party guests. Your Mickey's Halloween Party ticket allows you to visit to visit both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure (the official party is only at Disneyland). Entry begins three hours before the party start time. This means you'll have time to see Haul-o-Ween and the other Halloween activities at DCA.
Halloween Party guests will be able to stay inside Disney California Adventure up until closing time. Depending on the day, this can be one to three hours before Mickey's Halloween Party ends. When DCA closes, you’ll need to head over to Disneyland.
Costumes at Mickey's Halloween Party 2018
All guests can wear family-friendly costumes to the party. Sometimes in the past we have all dressed in theme (one year we were pirates, aargh!). Guests can dress as their favorite character or anything they like, as long as it fits the guidelines.
Costume guidelines for everyone:
- Guests who dress as Disney characters cannot pose for pictures or sign autographs
- Costumes cannot have sharp or pointed objects and cannot have materials that could strike another guest.
- Costumes may not drag on the ground
- Layered costumes and costumes that surround the entire body are discouraged and may be subject to additional 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
Guidelines for guests 13 and younger:
- 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; plastic light sabers and plastic swords are OK
Mickey's Halloween Party 2018 Characters
Besides the villains, many characters are out greeting guests. Last year, you could meet the Queen of Hearts, Gaston, the Wicked Queen from Snow White, Cruella De Ville or Malificent in front of the train station. There are 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, the treat station across from them HAD NO LINE. It was really quite magical. There was music and projections on the buildings along 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 long time with each guest. They get down on the ground for tadpoles and are super sweet. Last year, Mickey and Minnie met guests in two locations. They were on the Frontierland dock, and you could meet them in ToonTown from an hour before the party started until 7 p.m., along with Goofy, Donald, Daisy and Pluto. Chip and Dale greeted guests just past the Toon Town Station (it's within the treat station path). You can meet some princesses in Fantasy Faire — including rare princesses. Last year, you could meet Aladdin, Jasmine, Genie or Jafar in Adventureland, although we also saw Jafar wandering around Main Street U.S.A. Winnie the Pooh and friends are in Critter Country. You could also meet some pirate pals, such as Captain Jack Sparrow, or other pirate pals, on the Frontierland dock. Pixar friends danced in the dance party at Tomorrowland Terrace (we caught Sulley, Mike Wazowski, the Incredibles, Woody, Russell and Dug). You could find Star Wars characters in Tomorrowland. Keep an eye out for characters attending Mickey's Halloween Party 2018! You can use the party park map and the Disneyland Park app to locate your favorite characters.
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. A stroller also makes a great tool for hauling around your loot. With the park open late, younger guests and toddlers with tired legs will appreciate taking a seat in a stroller. The provided bag is small, making it easy to fill quickly, but if you want more, bring your own bag or buy a larger, sturdier bag at Disneyland.
FASTPASS does not operate during the party, but wait times are much lighter. FASTPASS is available during the three hours before the party starts. Last year there seemed to be a glitch in the system. When we arrived early, before the party we could use MaxPass in that time. The added PhotoPass benefit might have given us MaxPass benefits. Each employee we talked to had a slightly different explanation. MaxPass worked with our party ticket, but sometimes we needed help reserving. Disney may fix it for 2018, but it is always worth a shot, so be sure to download the Disneyland app and link your ticket just in case. If you are an Annual Passholder with MaxPass benefits, be sure to use your party ticket to reserve rides and scan your party ticket for FASTPASS return (before the party starts). Unless you re-enter the park with your annual pass, the MaxPass on your pass will not work because it does not recognize that you are in the park.
These rides are expected to be open during Mickey's Halloween Party (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"
Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin
Gadget's Go Coaster
Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy
Star Tours—The Adventures Continue
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
Mickey's Halloween Party Entertainment
The Frightfully Fun Villain parade usually runs at 9:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., with the Headless Horseman leading the way about 10 minutes before the parade gets going. Fireworks are at 9:35 p.m. Watch out for an appearance by Vampirina in this year's parade. "Vee" is the star of the hit Disney Junior series "Vampirina."
Last year we hopped in place on the parade route near the castle about an hour and a half before the parade time. The first parade runs from Small World to the park entrance. The second parade runs the opposite direction. The second parade is easier to secure viewing with a shorter wait. 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. It should be near the partner’s statue and good for viewing the fireworks, although we have not been able to confirm this yet.
The Halloween Screams fireworks spectacular only happens during Mickey’s Halloween Party. The only viewing spot for the entire show with projection is in front of the castle.
There is plenty of other entertainment. If you like music and dancing you may find live entertainment in Tomorrowland. Last year, Jedi Training took place at the Galactic Grill with three shows. The Cadaver Dans performed 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. We can’t wait to see what type of entertainment Disneyland scares up this year.
Mickey's Halloween Party Tips
1. Plan to watch the Halloween Screams fireworks near the castle if you want to see projection. 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 90 minutes before parade time. Or see the later parade without having to stake out an early spot. After the parade ends, quickly jump into the street for good fireworks viewing location. Watch out for trees blocking the view. 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 with plenty of space in front of Small World or Rivers of America, as well as further back on Main Street U.S.A. They do not do projection for Halloween Screams there, but they do play the music and voices. Alternate locations are good for people who don't want to fight the crowds or wait a long time.
2. Avoid long treat lines. While some areas have long waits, others do not. 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 at Frontierland, Villains Square, the Royal Theatre and other spots around the park. When we arrived right when the gates were opened, we encountered so many Disney characters and villains near the entrance to Main Street U.S.A.
4. Visit Toontown early. Toontown is closed to the public but 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 and Daisy in their Halloween costumes. This is great for families with younger tadpoles who don't stay up late.
5. Talk to the live scarecrow hanging in Frontierland.
6. Take some PhotoPass shots and ask for special party Magic Shots. The downloads are included in your party ticket.
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. The party offers unique entertainment and character interactions plus the chance to wear a costume and go trick-or-treating, but it no longer includes parking. With candy, great access to special characters and entertainment, we think it's a great time. Plus ride times are quite short. In 2017, all of your PhotoPass party downloads were included in the price of your ticket.
One plus has been that Disney does not oversell 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 daytime admission and a party ticket though — it just wouldn't fit the budget for a one-day visit. Save the party for a date you are not visiting the parks.
Who's ready for Mickey's Halloween Party and Disneyland Halloween Time? Have a question about either event? Read more in comments or drop us a line!
Related: Best Time to Visit Disneyland