Halloween is a special time to visit Disneyland. Halloween decorations are everywhere. Rides get spooky makeovers. Mickey and his friends dress in costumes. You can get photo ops with rarely seen Disney villains. Halloween treats and merchandise are sold throughout the park.
Serious Halloween lovers will not want to miss Mickey’s Halloween Party, on select dates in September and October. On top of the Halloween treats already listed, Mickey’s Halloween Party guests also get:
- treat trails throughout the park where children and adults can load up on Halloween candy. Healthier treats are available upon request.
- photo ops with Disney Villains not seen at other times.
- a parade, usually Halloween themed
- a special Halloween Screams fireworks show
- a dance party in Tomorrowland
- shorter lines, because tickets to Mickey’s Halloween Party are limited.
Before your trip
Buy tickets early
Mickey’s Halloween Party is held several nights each week from late September through Halloween. In 2015, tickets sold out by early October, so if you’re serious about going, buy well in advance. Tickets usually go on sale to the general public at the end of July. Children under age 3 do not need a ticket.
You can only buy tickets to Mickey’s Halloween Party through Disneyland’s website at https://disneyland.disney.go.com/events-tours/mickeys-halloween-party/. It’s a separate ticket, so you can still buy discounted park tickets for the rest of your trip from Get Away Today, or wherever you choose.
Check the weather
Ideally, your night at Mickey’s Halloween Party will include perfect Southern California fall temperatures. For us, it was a sticky 90 degrees F when we walked through the gate in mid-October. At other times, it could be unseasonably chilly or rainy. A few days before your trip, check the forecast and plan your costumes or clothing accordingly.
Mickey’s Halloween Party is the only time of year that teens and adults can wear costumes at Disneyland. It’s really fun to see all the costumes! Some are as simple as a Halloween or Disney tee. Others are elaborate and creative. Many are Disney related, and groups often choose costumes with the same theme.
You may also want to pack your own treat bags. Small treat bags are provided by the park, but families who are serious about treat trails will need something larger.
Morning of the party
Mickey’s Halloween Party is a separate ticket from regular Disneyland admission. I recommend NOT visiting the parks in the morning. Why pay twice for the same day? Use your morning to sleep in and lounge by the pool instead. Then eat a good lunch and prep for the party.
Unless dining at Disneyland is a top priority for your family, consider packing sandwiches and drinks into the park for dinner. You’ll save money and time in line.
Party guests are allowed into the park up to three hours before the party begins – 3:00 or 4:00 pm, depending on the day. Arrive at the gates up to 30 minutes prior to that time to get in as early as possible.
We’re here! Now what?
If you arrive three hours before the party (and you should!), expect to be part of the biggest crowd of the day. If it’s the last week in September, crowds may be relatively light. If it’s mid-October during Utah and Arizona Fall Breaks, the park could be packed. That’s the week we were there. Our goal was rides, parade, fireworks, treat trails and photo ops, in that order.
Our party was scheduled from 6:00-11:00 p.m. Check the official times before your visit and sketch out a plan for your family in advance. Here is how we did it:.
3:00 p.m. We arrived just in time for the afternoon parade. We easily found a good spot near the steps to Disneyland Railroad on Main Street. The only downside to this was that we were stuck at the back of the crowd heading into the park after the parade. It might have been a good idea to get on the train and ride to a different part of the park.
3:30 p.m. Time to ride! We avoided popular rides with long lines in favor of rides with 10-15 minute waits. Use a wait times app like the official Disneyland Resort app to help decide which direction you’d like to go. We chose Jungle Cruise, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island.
5:00 p.m. Visit Mickey’s ToonTown, where Mickey’s Halloween Party begins an hour earlier than the rest of the park. We found short lines for Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin and Gadget’s Go Coaster. Most other guests lined up for the first treat trails of the night and photo ops with Mickey and Friends in their Halloween costumes.
In ToonTown, we took the treat trail through Minnie and Mickey’s houses. Treat trail lines moved quickly, had multiple stations, and were generous with the candy. Here is our haul from that one treat trail:
6:00 p.m. When you’re done in ToonTown, venture into the rest of the park. Crowds should thin, making it easier to enjoy rides, character photo ops and treat trails. You won’t have time to do it all, but you should be able to get to at least a few of your favorites. Here is a screen shot of the wait times in Fantasyland near the beginning of a sold out night.
7:00 – 7:30 p.m. If you want a good seat for the parade, stake your claim at least 60-90 minutes in advance. The parade runs from “it’s a small world” to Disneyland Railroad on Main Street U.S.A., so you have lots of options. Ideally, you’ll want a spot where you can also see the fireworks and projections on the castle afterward. Another parade spot I like that usually isn’t crowded is at the very end/beginning of the route near “it’s a small world”. However, you may not have a good view of fireworks and projections on the castle from there.
8:45 p.m. Parade, followed by fireworks! Disneyland parades are showy, and you can expect the nighttime parade to be bright, loud and fun. One of my children loved it, but the other did not.
Disney puts on a great Halloween fireworks show especially for Mickey’s Halloween Party, which can be seen from many spots in the park. You’ll have a few minutes to move from your parade spot to a different fireworks spot if you’d like. The show also includes a musical program and projections. You’ll want to have a full view of Sleeping Beauty’s castle to see those.
If parades and fireworks are not your thing, use that time to enjoy shorter lines on the rides and treat trails. We headed for Indiana Jones Adventure during the last minute of the fireworks and walked onto the ride with no wait. By the time we finished our ride, the line was 20 minutes long.
10:00 p.m. Keep riding, treat trailing or photo opping until the park closes, or head for the front gate and call it a night. There is a lot going on at Mickey’s Halloween Party, and the right way to do it is your way!
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