It’s the most wonderful time of the year…Halloween at Disneyland! 🙂 Disney has definitely done a fantastic job of turning October into an even more magical time at the Happiest Place on Earth. Are you considering taking a trip to Disneyland in October? If you’ve never seen Disneyland decorated for Halloween, it is a must. As with any good celebration at Disneyland, there come crowds…big ones. Here are my best Disneyland Halloween Time tips to really make the most of your time and enjoy your visit.
When does Halloween Time at Disneyland start?
After being Disneyland annual pass holders for nearly 15 years and living just down the street, we have visited frequently in the fall and each year Halloween Time at Disneyland seems to start a little bit earlier. By early September, just a few days after Labor Day each year, you can find the park decorated to celebrate Halloween.
Is Halloween busy at Disneyland?
If you are in the Halloween spirit, before October, mid September is my preferred time to visit, and here’s why. Southern California annual pass holders are blocked out from attending the park all summer long. Around the end of August their passes become valid again and all of the locals flock to the park. When school starts, young moms with their littles and those who have been holding out all summer to visit the park from far away, come to vacation hoping to avoid the summer crowds. By mid-September I feel like those crowds have settled a little too, and the Halloween crowds haven’t quite ramped up. Come October, especially the middle of October the park is nearly at full capacity daily. Both Arizona and Utah have fall break and it seems like everyone heads to Disneyland. When we visited last week…October 17-21, the crowd index was at 98%! Lines for the Haunted Mansion were between 2.5-3 hours long. Insane!! The last week of October, at least in my experience, weekday, daytime visits are much less crowded. Park hours are shorter which is a good indicator of how busy Disney expects the park to be too. Halloween day has been relatively quiet in the past too.
Which rides at Disneyland are decorated for Halloween?
Both Disneyland Park and California Adventure Park are decked to the nines to celebrate Halloween. It is SO fun to see all of the clever costumes they create for the characters, and the decor details they come up with for all of the regular park shops, buildings and rides. While the entire park is decorated, two rides at Disneyland Park and a few at California Adventure Park get extra special treatment at Halloween. Obviously the biggest draw is the Haunted Mansion which gets decorated in a Nightmare Before Christmas theme. These decorations stick around for the entire holiday season. For thrill seekers, Space Mountain becomes Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy. Because of the special treatment these rides get, the lines can be extra long, so get your fast passes early for these two main attractions.
Disneyland Halloween Food
It wouldn’t be Halloween time at Disneyland without some spooky treats. Some of our family favorites include:
-Pumpkin Spice Churros (New Orleans Sq. Churro Cart)
-Mickey Shaped Pumpkin Beignets (New Orleans Mint Julep Bar)
-Mickey Mummy Macaron
-Poison Caramel Apples
Almost all of the areas of the park have fun, special offerings throughout that are designed to fit within their theme. You can download a Disneyland Halloween Food guide here to see everything they are offering during your visit.
Best Disneyland Halloween Time Tips
October is always one of the hottest months of the year in Southern California…like 90+ degrees hot. Because it is often so hot and can be so crowded during Halloween Time, here are some of my best Disneyland Halloween time tips to help you enjoy your visit.
-Be in line to get in to the park at opening. The first hour or so after the park opens is the best time to hit the big rides. Be smart. Get Fast Passes for the Haunted Mansion while you wait in a usually shorter line for Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. Get those two rides done early so you can be sure to get on them without a 3 hour wait.
-If you are visiting on a very crowded day, take advantage of a Disney Max Pass. I will write another post about this to help you understand how it works, but it does work and it makes your time in the park much more pleasant on a hot, crowded day. As a bonus, you get a Photo Pass with your $10 Max Pass day pass. ALL of the good Halloween decor, characters and the important places in the park like the entrance and the castle have rather long photo lines to get a picture right in front. There are Disney photographers manning those lines and taking pictures with everyone. If you have a Max Pass, you can have those photographers take your group’s pictures everywhere in the park and download and share all of those professional photos. If you are going to stand in line for a photo with a character or in front of important spots in the park anyway, you might as well get professional pictures out of it. You can also download all of your ride photos as part of the Photo Pass. Totally worth the $10.
-Take advantage of online ordering for food. Through the Disneyland App, you can order food ahead of time at many of the park’s restaurants and pick it up at a time of your choosing. This can help avoid long food lines and keep you moving through the park faster.
-When you are planning your visit, pay attention to park hours before you buy your tickets. Mickey’s Halloween Party runs often throughout the month of October in the evenings and Disneyland Park closes early for this special event that requires it’s own, separate $100+ per person ticket. You don’t want to plan your trip at a time when the park closes at 6pm without knowing about it first! 🙂
I hope you have a wonderful visit and that these tips for Halloween Time at Disneyland help you to enjoy it even more! It is SO fun and really gets you into the Halloween spirit.
Looking for more travel posts? You can find all of our travel posts from around the world here. If you are visiting Southern California, be sure to check out these posts:
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