Learn All About Halloween at Disneyland
It’s my second favorite season to celebrate at Disneyland right after the Holidays. Halloween at Disneyland is filled with so many things including decorations, attraction changes, foods, characters, merchandise, shows, parties and more. If you’ve never been during the Halloween Season it’s a must-do!
In this guide I’m going to talk about all these things in details so you don’t miss out on any of the fun. If you’re planning to go during Halloween you’ll want to plan your trip to arrive between mid-september and the end of October. We keep the Halloween at Disneyland dates up to date as every year they are different but to be safe you could plan around those times.
This is probably one of my favorite things to experience during Halloween at Disneyland. Both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park celebrate Halloween by dressing up all over the parks. Everything from street lamps, buildings, trees, signs, attractions and even park maps are in for the celebration!
As you walk down Main Street U.S.A. you’ll see orange and yellow banners hanging from the street lamps along with little pumpkin Mickey’s. The buildings are all draped with the same banners across the tops of the roofs. The trees have decorations hanging from them and the park map for Disneyland usually has the great big pumpkin on it.
Speaking of the great big pumpkin, I call it the Mouse-O-Lantern because it’s in the shape of Mickey Mouse and and it’s ginormous! It’s THE perfect place to get your picture taken with family and friends to celebrate Halloween at Disneyland. The earlier in the day you can get there the better because there are shorter lines.
If you continue down to the end of Main Street U.S.A. you’ll notice that the Partners Statue in the center is surrounded by Halloween decor and fun Jack-O-Lanterns on top of what are usually Disney character statues. They’re a ton of fun to look at and at night time they light up.
Over at Disney’s California Adventure Park the same decorations await but in a twist of colors and themes. Lamp posts hang banners as well as the buildings. But once you get to the end of Buena Vista Street you’ll see some very different things. The trees circling the fountain are decorated with purple lights (as must-see at night) and Carthay Circle Restaurant is dressed with banners and lights at night time.
Throughout this park you may observe more decorations than over at Disneyland and this is because of the Oogie Boogie Bash that’s held on certain nights at California Adventure. Also, don’t miss the Headless Horseman Statue at the intersection of Hollywood and Buena Vista!
One of the must-visit parts of the park for Halloween at Disneyland is Cars Land. Nothing is spared or overlooked here. Right from the start of the land all the way to the back, everyone and everything is dressed up. And it’s here that guests can get their photo taken with a Halloween Car and a great big Halloween road sign.
As with the Mouse-O-Lantern, you’ll want to get here early as the line for this picture backdrop can get long. You may even want to visit it twice, once in the day and once at night while it’s lit up.
As you walk through Radiator Springs you’ll see banners, posters, lights, and all sorts of hanging decorations. It’s one of the coolest places to visit during Halloween!
For year I would attend the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Disneyland Park. These were special, separately ticketed events held every couple of days at Disneyland where guests could dress up in their costumes and go trick or treating in Disneyland. By far one of the coolest experiences at the parks.
The last of these parties was held in 2018 and, due to the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the parties were stopped I believe because of crowd capacity issues (boy were they off). I could be totally wrong and Disney just wanted a change of venue and a brand new way to party at Halloween. Whatever the case, they came up with Oogie Boogie Bash which is held over at Disney’s California Adventure Park.
Since it’s brand new to 2019 there wasn’t a lot of information leading up to it other than what Disney published so getting a guide to it was hard to find. The party requires a separate admission ticket, just FYI. So in addition to your Park Tickets you also need to buy an Oogie Boogie Bash Party ticket.
Price range from $100 – $145 depending on the night. The closer you get to Halloween Day the most expensive they get. Be sure to purchase your tickets well in advance as they tend to sell out quickly. I highly recommend attending one though if you pass just remember that on the nights that Oogie Boogie Bash is being done, California Adventure Park closes early for guests who aren’t attending.
Here’s what you can expect from an Oogie Boogie Bash Party:
- Held Select Nights – They don’t do Oogie Boogie Bash every night. Each year Disney will release a calendar with the event dates listed as well as the times. It’s good to read these in detail.
- You Can Enter Early – Most Oogie Boogie Bash Parties start at 6PM but your ticket allows you to enter California Adventure Park before then, typically around 2PM or 3PM. Be sure to find out to you can get there early and enjoy the Halloween at Disneyland decor.
- You Can Dress Up – It’s your one chance to dress up like a Disney character without being sent away (applies to adults mostly). So put together your best costume and get ready to party!
- Trick or Treat Trails – This is why you’re really going…to get candy. No shame in that either. When you check in for the event you’ll be given a trick or treat bag to store all your goodies. If you’re smart you’ll bring your own pillow case as well because the trick or treat trails are unlimited; you can do them as many times as you want! They are spaced around the entire park so be sure to look at your map and don’t miss any.
- Villainous! – It’s World of Color with a twist, and it’s only shown during this special event.
- Villains Grove – Experience the worlds of some of your favorite villains from Disney movies such as Maleficent, The Lion King and more!
- Frightfully Fun Parade – Join Mickey, Minnie and some of your favorite villains for a parade in the night.
There’s a lot more to Oogie Boogie Bash and the best way to experience it all is to go to one!
There are actually quite a few attractions that change for Halloween at Disneyland now and it’s a lot of fun. Basically what happens is Disney takes some of your favorite, classic attractions and changes them in some way to make them reflect Halloween.
The biggest and most popular one has and probably always will be Haunted Mansion Holiday. It’s really what started the tradition and is a personal favorite of mine. They take the Haunted Mansion and dress it up as Nightmare Before Christmas, creating the story that Jack and the gang have taken over and are trying to do Christmas again.
Everything from the outside in is changed to Nightmare Before Christmas including your elevator ride down which features Jack wishing you Happy Holidays on the big screen. The one thing you can’t miss is the dance and dinner room where every year a hand-made gingerbread house is places on the table for all to see. If you love the smell of gingerbread than you’ll really enjoy this part!
Over at California Adventure Park you’ll find that quite a few attractions have change for Halloween at Disneyland. First, Guardians of the Galaxy transforms at night to Monsters After Dark. It’s a brand new way to experience the Guardians including a new story and some scary monsters. It typically runs from around 6pm till close but be sure to check a times guide.
Over at Cars Land both Mater and Luigi have gotten in on the fun, changing up their normal attractions to some fun and scary Halloween ones. Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree is filled with cobwebs and tombstone grills and some brand new songs to whirl to. It’s actually quite fun for the smaller kids to enjoy.
At Luigi’s, he’s transformed Casa Della Tires into Honkin’ Haul-O-Ween filled with orange and yellow lights, decor and some spooky fun songs to dance to.
Lastly, Space Mountain over at Disneyland Park used to do what was called Ghost Galaxy during Halloween at Disneyland. 2019 is the first year in a while that they actually didn’t change it over. Cross your fingers that 2020 will have them bringing it back again because it’s a lot of fun!
Where to start?! There are so many different food offerings at both parks that you would need a full week to try them all! Disney prints a completely separate guide just for food during Halloween and the offering are so good. Take a look at 2019’s Halloween Food Guide below. Here are some of the highlights:
- Monster Halloween Cake
- Coco Churro
- Mickey Pumpkin Balloon Bucket
- Mummy Donut
- Slow Burnin’ Mac N’ Cheese Cone
- Worms and Dirt Funnel Cake Fries
- Churro Sundae
To try and do it all would be crazy (which is why I do it every year) but my suggestion would be to go through the food guide and choose out your favorite items and get them! #noregrets
Of course the Halloween offerings are more than just treats and snacks. There are several restaurants and quick service locations that offer actual food items for Halloween. Try the Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich at Carnation Cafe or the Dueling Taco’s at Rancho del Zocalo.
My absolute favorite item is the Churro Sundae at The Golden Horseshoe in Frontierland at Disneyland park. This is the 2nd or 3rd year they’ve done this and it’s sooooo good! Stop by, order one up and grab a seat for one of the shows. You’ll have a rootin tootin time!
A lot of the stuff can be mobile ordered from your phone so you can skip the lines and get straight to eating. Be sure to check the app to make sure the restaurant offers mobile order for the treat you want.
It’s time for some villains! Also, it’s time for some of your favorite characters to throw on their Halloween Costumes and join in on the fun for Halloween at Disneyland.
The biggest guest you’ll want to meet may be the tallest and thinnest of them all, Jack Skellington! Over in New Orleans Square you can meet Jack in a very special setting just down from the Pirates of the Caribbean exit, between Pieces of Eight and Port Royal Curios and Curiosities. Of course Jack isn’t complete without Sally who you’ll also find find here.
The line to meet them both can get really long so be sure to get there early and look at a times guide to see when they’ll be out.
Towards the front of Main Street U.S.A. in Town Square is where you’ll find Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Daisy, Pluto and more of your favorite characters dressed up in their Halloween best! The best advice I can give you is look to see where the character you want to meet is getting pictures taken. If there’s a long line wait till they leave and them come back. Usually you can get closer when you do this.
Sometimes characters just pop out of nowhere and there is no line so just follow behind them until they settle into their picture spot and you’ll have a one on one experience with them! If anyone in your party is dressed like them, they love that.
Over at California Adventure Park you’ll find the same thing at the end of Buena Vista Street for all the Disney characters. Over in Cars Land you’ll be able to get your picture taken with Lightning McQueen in his wrestling outfit and Mater in his Vampire costume. You can also catch Cruz Ramirez and other cars in their Halloween Costumes too.
Of course if you want to meet some villains like Maleficent, Jafar, Queen of Hearts, Hades and more you’ll want to attend an Oogie Boogie Bash party.
Ready to spend some serious cash?! You really don’t have to but you might find yourself getting there because there is a ton of Halloween merchandise to purchase during this season. From plush dolls to kitchenware and clothes, it’s all available and calling your name!
My personal favorite is the Mickey plush dolls that I collect with my family. Every season has different ones but Halloween is one of my favorites because of the costumes he’s dressed in.
Popular in 2019 was the Halloween Long Sleeve Jersey shirt that says Halloween across the back in orange and yellow. I’m actually a fan of these jersey shirts and they did a really good job on this one.
Along with the shirts you can also pick up a pair of candy corn Minnie ears and a Halloween backpack in black, orange and yellow. Hoodies, shirts, hats, pins and so much can be found throughout the parks. Here are the top stores to checkout for Halloween at Disneyland merchandise:
- Disney Showcase at Disneyland Park
- Elias & Co. at Disney California Adventure Park
- Emporium at Disneyland Park
- Gone Hollywood at Disney California Adventure Park
- Pioneer Mercantile at Disneyland Park
- Rushin’ River Outfitters at Disney California Adventure Park
- Seaside Souvenirs at Disney California Adventure Park
- World of Disney within the Downtown Disney District
If you’re an annual passholder be sure to bring your pass with you so you can get your 10-20% off discount for all merchandise (less collectible items deemed by Disney). AP holders also have exclusive merchandise that they can purchase at certains store, just be sure to ask!
For nighttime fun you can pick up tons of glow stuff including necklaces, headbands and lanyards to name a few. You can bling with Halloween at night!
Shows and Parades
Last but not least are all the shows and parades that you can enjoy at the parks during Halloween. If you’re like most guests than you’re probably going to want to watch the fireworks at nighttime by Sleeping Beauty Castle.
For Halloween there’s always a brand new fireworks show, this year was Halloween Screams and it didn’t disappoint. With Jack Skellington and Zero as your host, how could it? As they fade away you’ll be sucked into the show with fireworks, music, lasers, projections and more.
The show lasts about 10 minutes and you best get there early, about 1-2 hours early if you want a good viewing spot in front of the castle. There’s a grand finale that you won’t want to miss!
During the Halloween season Disneyland Park does not host a parade since Oogie Boogie Bash is at California Adventure Park. There is a parade but you have to have a ticket to the party.
The Frightfully Fun Parade features Mickey and Minnie in their Halloween costumes plus Jack Skellington and his friends. The parade starts with the ride of the headless horseman who carries his head in a white-gloved hand as he gallops down the street. Then get ready some some real fun with characters, costumes, floats, dancing, music and more!
There’s so much to see and do during Halloween at Disneyland that you’ll definitely want to spend at least a couple of days there. Be sure to check out our partner Get Away Today for some ticket discounts and special offers on vacation packages.
Planning ahead is a great idea, especially if you want to attend an Oogie Boogie Bash party. These tickets typically go on sale in July or August and AP holders have a 24 hr head start. Buy them quickly before they sell out (which they’ve done every year). Trick or treating during the event will land you some serious candy and a lot of entertainment.
Prepare to have a lot of fun with twists on classic attractions, holiday decor, merchandise, food and so much more! I hope you enjoyed my Halloween at Disneyland guide!
If you’re planning a vacation to Disneyland be sure to checkout my Planning Guide which offers some great insight for all seasons. I also have a What to Pack for Disney guide which can give you some great ideas of things to bring to make your trip more comfortable. If you enjoy saving money you’ll also want to checkout my guide to purchasing discounted tickets.
Dean has been writing and blogging for over 10 years. He specializes in Disney theme park news including updates, openings, special events and general advice for travelers. He doesn’t shy away from the good, the bad and the ugly. His previous work includes being a Cast Member at Disneyland and working as a travel agent.