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 in 2017, happy haunts were a-howlin' over at Disney California Adventure too. They'll be returning in 2018, too! Disneyland Halloween Time generally runs mid-September through Halloween 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.
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
In 2017, the Disneyland Halloween fun ran from Sept. 15 to Oct. 31. September and October are generally better times of the year to visit Disneyland, but Halloween Time brings visitors, especially on weekends. Visit 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 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, 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!
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.
Get ready to #SaveGroot at Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark. The new Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT! attraction will get into the Halloween spirit during Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort. Each evening, the attraction will become a new experience where guests will help Rocket Raccoon save Groot.
This is a very popular ride!
The ride shuts down for a while before the switch and reopens at 6 p.m. Each day the Monsters after Dark FASTPASS distribution opens at 3 p.m. and the FASTPASS return times disappear as if being chased by a monster. If you want a FASTPASS, be in line before 3 p.m. or on your phone reserving through Disney Maxpass at 3 p.m.
We don't know for sure where everyone will always be, but you can meet Mickey and Minnie dressed in their Halloween outfits. Last year, Jack and Sally had 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 (5 to 10 minutes before their next scheduled appearance). Cast members have all the appearance times. Linger in a shady spot until they open the line and jump in. The line fills fast.
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.
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 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 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. For 2017, guests could enjoy both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure for those three hours. Also for 2017, guests received souvenir Disney PhotoPass photos during the event and unlimited PhotoPass downloads. Plus ride lines tend to be much shorter than usual during the party.
Mickey's Halloween Party 2018 Dates & Times
While dates for 2018 haven't yet been announced, these were the dates from last year:
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 were 6:00 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday hours were 6:00 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 and a half hours to exit the freeway, park and take a shuttle or bus to the entrance, especially on a Friday. 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 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 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. 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!
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 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 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 exit of Space Mountain.
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 and be sure to get a hand-stamp for re-entry if you exit.
Mickey's Halloween Party Maps
Check out the 2017 Mickey's Halloween Party Maps to get a leap on your 2018 party planning.
Early Party Fun in Mickey's ToonTown
Mickey's Halloween 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. Plus, your candy bags will be full by the time the party officially starts.
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 objects or 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. During 2017, 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!
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.
FASTPASS does not operate during the party, but wait times are much lighter. FASTPASS is available during the three hours before the party starts. There seems to be a glitch in the system. It is possible that if you arrive early, before the party you can use MaxPass in that time. The added PhotoPass benefit might also give you 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, 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 8:50 and 10:30 p.m. Fireworks are at 9:30 p.m. We hopped in place on the parade route near the castle at 7:20 p.m. 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. It is near the partners statue and good for viewing the fireworks.
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 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 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. 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.
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.
7. Check out the Pixar Pals Dance party for some fun with favorite characters you might not meet in the park on a regular basis.
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