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Mickey's Halloween Party Archives

October 28, 2011

Mickey's Halloween Party - Disneyland 2011

Kristen Nowicki of the Mousetalgia podcast (www.mousetalgia.com) attended one of this year's Mickey's Halloween Parties at Disneyland and shares her experience in this guest blog.

It's been over 20 years since I last went trick or treating. This all changed last Friday night as my boyfriend and I attended Mickey's Halloween Party in Disneyland. It was my first time at what has recently become an annual event in Anaheim and was the perfect way to kick off the Halloween season.

A $59 ticket purchased five hours of Halloween themed entertainment and decor, lots of treats and luckily no tricks - this is Disneyland after all! The party ran from 7pm to midnight, and while I had anticipated a two-hour tour (how much could a 34-year-old, childless adult have to do at Halloween party, right?) we practically shut down the park, arriving shortly before 7:00 and leaving a few minutes before midnight.

While Disneyland is always beautiful, especially after dark, the extra Halloween plussing really made the evening magical. From the moment we stepped through the front gates, we were immersed in Disney Halloween goodness. Versions of Grim Grinning Ghosts, covers from the Nightmare Before Christmas and other original Disney Halloween tunes played throughout the evening and were accompanied by corresponding projections on the buildings down Main Street.

Throughout the park, Disney brought out special spooky décor just for the party. Our favorite was the Golden Horseshoe, which just earlier that day had been its usual charming frontier self, but transformed into a Halloween fan's delight for the evening. There were pumpkins throughout the main floor and even a special spooky guest musician at the player piano.

The Halloween décor wasn't limited to just the interiors, but outside as well including the sparkling Bradbury Halloween tree, a bevy of carved pumpkins at the Big Thunder Ranch with Mickey and Minnie nearby at a special Halloween photo-op. (Other characters including Jack Skellington, Winnie the Pooh, Phineas and Ferb and Storm Troopers were stationed at elaborate backgrounds throughout the park for photos.)

In addition to the special Halloween décor, there were a number of other events exclusive to the party including the Halloween Screams fireworks display, Mickey's Costume Party Cavalcade and two dance parties - Piratepalooza and Buzz Lightyear's Intergalactic Space Jam. The dance parties seemed targeted at a younger audience, with Goofy, Donald, Buzz and the Green Army Men actually getting down on the dance floor with costumed kids of all ages. While we chose to sit this one out, the kids who were there seemed thrilled to dance the night away with some of their favorite characters. These events were also less crowded than other areas of the park, though it did seem to be a little odd having a mix of the Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls and other 90's pop artists blaring throughout Walt's park.

The biggest crowd pleaser of the night was the Halloween Screams fireworks show. The hub was filled with costumed attendees of all ages, screaming with delight at the spectacular of orange and yellow fireworks. We had seen this show in previous years when it was available to regular park goers and this year's show was the same as years prior. The inclusion of villains and a heavy emphasis on Nightmare Before Christmas characters was nice, but the cheesy soundtrack puts this show at the bottom of my list. Just 30 minutes prior to the show, it was easy to get a coveted spot in front of the Castle, which did help ease the pain of the canned, calypso beat soundtrack. Not quite as flashy as some of the other firework shows, there were a number of interesting projections on the front of the Castle, and the inclusion of a flying Zero made for an extra Halloween treat.

Mickey's Costume Party Cavalcade was a bit short, but overall very entertaining. The Country Bears made a rare appearance, and on the back of the last float sat a somewhat jerky, audio-animatronic Miss Piggy. We caught the first and second showings of the parade (the second by accident as we were trapped, trying to get to the Pixie Hollow Candy Trail) and both viewings, one from Main Street and the other from the entrance to Tomorrowland, were equally enjoyable.

Amid the decked out décor and special entertainment were a number of Candy Trails, each consisting of anywhere from two to five trick or treat stations. We were given a medium sized bag upon entering the park, and an hour into the party, both of our bags were overflowing with a variety of chocolate candies, suckers and healthier treats like raisins, Craisins and apple slices. Our favorite Candy Trails were near the Matterhorn and the Innoventions Queue - both had five candy stations and short lines.

Speaking of lines, if you hate queuing up, Mickey's Halloween Party is not for you. While the numbers of attendees versus a regular day was significantly lower, the lines for the photo-ops and Candy Trails were quite long. Every photo queue had an average of 45 people and the Candy Trail starting next to Pirates of the Caribbean, wrapped all the way back to the Big Thunder Railroad. Halloween themed attractions like the Haunted Mansion and Ghost Galaxy (Space Mountain) also had really long lines. Most of the park attractions were open, and the average wait for non-Halloween themed rides was reasonable, but those attractions weren't the reason we came. We came for candy, characters and photo-ops and paid the price dearly by standing in a number of lengthy queues.

One of our favorite parts of the evening was being dressed up as Alice and the Mad Hatter. While this did prove to be somewhat awkward as we walked through the parking garage with the masses of un-costumed teens headed to DCA, as soon as we entered the gates of Disneyland, we were right at home. Themeing our costumes in a Disney way proved to be especially fun as we took photo after photo in the wonderful Wonderland setting of Fantasyland.

Mickey's Halloween Party not only gave us an excuse to dress up as our favorite characters, but to go back in time and celebrate a child's holiday as adults in the Happiest Place on Earth. Our first trip definitely won't be our last and if you're looking for a Halloween event for the whole family, childless-couple or even single adult, Mickey's Halloween Party is a place for anyone and everyone who loves Disney and Halloween.


About the author: Kristen Nowicki first visited Disneyland at the age of six and has been a regular park attendee and annual pass holder ever since. Drawn to the history and nostalgia of Disneyland, Kristen and her three friends, Jeff, Dave and Becky, host a Disneyland podcast, Mousetalgia. Mousetalgia is a show dedicated to the exploration of Disney's past, present and future, emphasizing the theme park culture and the people who have imagined Walt's happy place into existence. Check out their weekly podcast at www.mousetalgia.com. Let's go "Carpe Kingdom!"



October 8, 2010

Mickey's Halloween Party 2010

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This year the Disneyland Resort's Halloween party has moved from Disney California Adventure over to Disneyland Park. And it has a new name: Mickey's Halloween Party. While the name location and different, most aspects of the party remain the same as what we've experienced in previous years, with some exceptions that I will talk about later. The party is being held on 10 nights in October - every Tuesday and Friday, plus Sunday, October 31. There's more detailed information on the ticket prices, dates, times and events on the Mickey's Halloween Party page.

Lee and I went to the very first party of the year, which was on Friday, October 1. One thing that is new this year: party guests may use their party ticket to enter Disneyland up to three hours in advance of the start of the party. (At DCA the park was closed and cleared of day guests before party guests were allowed in.) There is a separate set of turnstiles that party guests must use - these were all the way over on the right side (furthest from the Mickey & Friends tram stop, of course!). Once inside we obtained our wrist bands - and these were checked multiple times during the evening, especially during the first hour or two. This year's treat bags, featuring an ad for Toy Story 3 on one side and Beauty and the Beast on the other, were also available just inside the turnstiles.

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Halloween party maps were available at the turnstiles as we came in - I assume they were available at the usual map stations elsewhere in the park, but I didn't specifically notice them. These gave the locations of the treat stations, character greeting areas, and dance parties, as well as giving the times of the "parade" and fireworks show. They also listed all of the attractions and restaurants that were open. (Toontown and Tom Sawyer Island were closed, and part of Fantasyland was closed until after the fireworks.)

One of the big (perhaps the biggest) draw of the Halloween Party is that it's the only way to see the Halloween Screams fireworks show this year. The show is only showing on party nights. I know that disappointed a lot of people - it's really a great show, and for those of us who are Annual Passholders, it's kind of tough to have to pay an additional $44-$59 for a party ticket to see something that was "free" last year. But I have to say that it was a LOT easier to see it this year since there were a lot fewer guests in the park for the party than there are on a typical October night, so we weren't crammed into Main Street like we were last year.

We arrived just before 6:00. The park was open to day guests until 7:00, so we were surprised at how many of the restaurants were already closed (other than the ones that would be open during the party) - we wanted to eat at Cafe Orleans, but they had stopped seating before 6:00. :-(

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They were still setting up for the party at that time - putting up decorations and treat stations and that sort of thing. By the time we finished dinner at the Plaza Inn it was about 7:00, which is when the party started. It was interesting listening to the background music change over to Halloween-themed music.

We both thought that there were more people in the park than there ever were for the parties at DCA. Which makes sense, since Disneyland is a lot bigger and can handle more people. Attraction lines weren't too bad once the day guests had cleared out, and got shorter as the night went on. But the treat lines were VERY long in most places - generally a lot longer than we were willing to deal with. Several locations had a "treat trail", where there were 5-6 treat stations within 20' or so of each other. We found the ones along Big Thunder Trail and back in Critter Country had fairly short lines but the ones around the Matterhorn had long lines every time we went by them. One tip: the treat trails are two way, so if the line is long on one end, try going to the other end. There are two cast members at each station, each one serving guests coming from one direction. (One thing I noticed: this was the first party of the year, and at the beginning of the evening cast members all said "Happy Halloween!" as they gave us our candy - by the end of the evening they were generally silently dropping it in the bag. Can't say I blame them - I think I'd be hoarse if I said "Happy Halloween" to thousands of guests in an evening!)

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This year's treats were pretty similar to last year (which was quite an improvement over the first few years): LOTS of chocolate candies, including Snickers, Milky Way, Three Musketeers, Reese's, Nestle Crunch Bars, M&Ms, and Tootsie Rolls. Also Skittles (I got a lot of those), Tootsie Pops, and non-chocolate-flavored Tootsie Rolls. For healthier options there were packets of baby carrots, raisins, and apple crisps. As an extra treat there were one or two treat stations (I only found one) that had Ghirardelli Chocolate squares. Yum. (No, I did not get in line over and over again...)

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We didn't do a lot of attractions, but did get to the two Halloween-themed ones: Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy (25 minute line at 8:45), and Haunted Mansion Holiday (5-10 minutes at 7:30, though it was longer later in the evening). Ghost Galaxy was unchanged from last year as far as I can tell, but they were still doing the "show" on the outside of it (you can read more about that and see some video in this blog entry from last year. Lots of smiles and happy people coming off the ride. One of the other attractions we did was the Jungle Cruise, hoping that it would have some party-themed jokes, but we were disappointed.

Haunted Mansion Holiday is also basically unchanged, though as usual the gingerbread creation in the ballroom is different - this year it's a "Haunted Tombstone". There's an interesting piece on how it was created on the DisneyParks Blog.

There's a new Mickey's Costume Party character cavalcade this year. Not quite enough there to classify as a "parade" yet, apparently, but it's more than we've had in the past. It features new music this year and three new floats, and several "push-along" themed jack'o'lanterns. Along with lots of dancers and costumed characters. It was short, but I thought it was a lot of fun. The parade leads off with the Vampire Mickey float - he opens and closes his cape.

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Then there's the Costume Shop float:

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And the final float is the Haunted Castle:

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In between are the pumpkins - I thought these were really cute - my favorite was the Monster pumpkin!

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The cavalcade runs twice a night.

The decorations were about what we've seen in the past - lots of the pumpkin and ghost Mickey lights (though they had done away with the blowy air-filled thingies - that's a good thing):

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There's of course a fair bit of decorating that's there in the park anyways because it's Halloween Time, like the jack'o'lanterns on Main Street and the carved pumpkins in Big Thunder Ranch.

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Most of the party decorations are done with light projectors. They really need to get their pest control people working, though - there were giant spider webs all over the buildings, including the castle, which also had giant spiders crawling on it! :-)

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The party logo was on the Matterhorn:

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And on the "small world" facade:

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And a variety of projections were on the walkways and on buildings on Main Street.

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The Rivers of America was filled with mist, with eerie lighting:

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There were two dance parties - Buzz Lightyear's Integalactic Space Jam at Tomorrowland Terrace, and Club Skellington at the French Market. both parties had DJs playing various dance music. Buzz and some of the Green Army men were dancing with guests at that area - I didn't see any characters at Club Skellington, but it had quite an interesting entrance!

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There were a lot of character greeting areas, but most of them had very long lines - especially the Princesses back at Princess Fantasy Faire and Mickey and Minnie at Big Thunder Ranch. There were short lines for Pirate's Wharf and the Pooh characters in Critter Country, though. I really liked what they did with Pirate's Wharf - it was at the Frontierland dock, and they pulled in the Columbia behind it. It would have been really cool if they'd done the greeting area on board the ship itself, but I suppose the logistics of that are too difficult.

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Halloween Screams is still one of my favorite fireworks shows ever, and I like it more every time I see it. The fireworks, the music, the effects, are all just terrific. (How can you not like a fireworks show that includes a scream-a-long?) Disney blocked off the area between the hub and the castle until after the first parade (about 8:30), and at that point there were people who started staking out spots for the 9:30 fireworks show. There really was no need to do that to have a decent viewing spot, though - we went off to ride Ghost Galaxy, and didn't get back until about 9:20, but were still able to get a really good spot at the entrance to Tomorrowland, and we weren't packed in like sardines. So that's definitely a benefit to showing the fireworks only on party nights.

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Have I mentioned how much I love this show? :-)

There was some exclusive party merchandise, like t-shirts, Mickey Mouse ears and so on, but I didn't photograph any of it. It was available in multiple locations so it didn't seem too hard to find.

This is the first year that the party has been held at Disneyland and Lee and I both thought that it actually fit a little better at Disneyland than at DCA. For one thing, there are several attractions there that go with the Halloween/villain/ghost theme, like Pirates of the Caribbean, Snow White's Scary Adventures, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and of course Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. And since so much of the "decorating" is done with lighting, Disneyland actually already has the existing infrastructure to do something more interesting than simple projections, such as the colorful lighting on the castle and "it's a small world". And of course the Halloween-themed fireworks show is a HUGE point in Disneyland's favor...though I think we all hope that in the coming years there will be a Halloween-themed version of World of Color (please????).

We really had a good time - and it was very nice to have the extra time in the park before the party - gave us a chance to have dinner and not waste valuable "party time" to do it. I think the extra hours and the fireworks and expanded parade make up for the hefty price increase (about $18 more than last year, but still cheaper than the party at the Magic Kingdom).

We saw a fair number of adults in costume this year - Jack and Sally were very popular, and pirate costumes are a perennial favorite. Lots of kids dressed as the Mario brothers this year. And of course lots of little girls dressed as princesses.

The party lasted for five hours, but we didn't actually stay all the way to the end since we'd done what we wanted to do by 11:30 and we still had to drive home that night. We really didn't make an effort to get a lot of treats, but my haul was still pretty good anyway!

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Additional photos of the event are available in our photo galleries:

General Party Photos

Parade and Fireworks Photos



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About Mickey's Halloween Party

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in the Mickey's Halloween Party category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Lunar New Year is the previous category.

Mickey's Trick or Treat Party is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.