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My family goes to Disneyland almost every year during the fall. Partially because it is for my husband and my anniversary. We honeymooned in Disneyland so kind of fun to go there each year to celebrate. But there are a lot of other reasons we go during the fall, and Halloween at Disneyland is one of the big ones.
For those that do not know, Disneyland goes all out during Halloween. I mean all out. Rides have special layovers (like a limited time version), characters are in special costumes, and Jack Skellington is out and about. And of course, let’s not forget Disneyland’s Halloween party – Mickey’s Halloween Party.
One of the biggest topics in our Disneyland With Kids Facebook group is just Halloween at Disneyland, but more specifically, the Halloween party. So today, I am going to share everything you need to know about Halloween time at the Disneyland Resort.
Disclosure: I received free tickets to Disneyland in September to explore all the Halloween happenings and share them with you, as well as update this post.
When Does Halloween Time Start At Disneyland?
This year (2018) Halloween time kicks off even earlier than ever before. Halloween time officially begins September 7, 2018. That is only a mere four days after the end of Pixar Fest. It will run through Halloween. There is one exception for a ride overlay that runs past that, Haunted Mansion Holiday (which runs through the Holiday celebration).
What Are The Disneyland Halloween Party Dates?
Disneyland has an annual Halloween party called Mickey’s Halloween Party. This is a popular party and tickets sell out quickly. Normally we don’t get the dates for Halloween decor, or the party, until mid-July but this year Disney surprised us by releasing the party dates in May!
The party dates begin September 19, 2018 (a Wednesday) then run a few times each week through Halloween. I have a nifty calendar below for you to see the dates (and prices). Party tickets went on sale June 5th for Annual Passholders, and Disney Card Holders. They then went on sale June 12th for the general public.
How Does The Halloween Party Ticket Work?
Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland is a separate ticketed event. This means you need to buy a special party ticket to the party. That ticket gets you into both parks (Disneyland and Disney California Adventure) three hours before the party starts. When the party starts (at Disneyland Park), that park will close to non-party guests and then the party begins.
The party ticket gets you entry to the event (and parks three hours before the event) and photopass services during the event. It does NOT include parking. This is only the second year that parking has not been included, so this is still a pretty recent change.
Guests under the age of three do not need a Halloween party ticket when entering with a ticket holding adult.
What Is Special About The Halloween Party At Disneyland?
Mickey’s Halloween Party is a highly anticipated event, but maybe you are wondering why. So let’s look at some of the benefits of the event and why people love it so much.
Trick or Treat Trails
Mickey’s Halloween Party wouldn’t be what it is without the Trick or Treat Trails. You can get enough candy to last you for years (okay, maybe not that long) or you can choose some healthy treats. Many parents opt to go to this instead of taking their children trick or treating in neighborhoods. They know the candy is safe, and they love the Disney environment.
The limited number of Halloween Party Tickets for Disneyland insures you will have lower crowds. This makes it easier to hop on your favorite rides, like Haunted Mansion Holiday or Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy, with little to no wait. It also makes it a more enjoyable environment for those who dislike crowded areas.
Special Fireworks and Parade
There are special fireworks and a parade only for the party guests. The Headless Horseman will be back, leading the parade this year.
TIP: Some kids find the parade a little scary. While many are fine with it, if your child scares easily, please be aware this may not be a parade they enjoy.
Character Meet And Greets
The Disney villains are out in full force, and so are Mickey and his friends in their special Halloween costumes. You can get special photos (from Photopass photographers and included with your event ticket) with your favorites.
Adults Can Wear Costumes
Probably one of the best parts about the Halloween party at Disneyland is that adults can also wear costumes. While Disneyland does have some pretty strict costume guidelines, this is the one time of year that guests over age 13 are allowed to dress in full costume.
So What Is The Cost Of Mickey’s Halloween Party Tickets At Disneyland
Now that you know a little about the Halloween party at Disneyland, you are probably what the cost is. All magic comes with a price, and this event is no exception. Ticket prices start at $95 and go up to $130. YIKES! But let me tell you that many feel it is totally worth it! Again, I have a calendar at the bottom of this post with all the dates, and prices, for you.
Should I Buy Party Tickets First, Or Book My Vacation First?
I strongly suggest booking your vacation now, and then purchasing your party tickets once they go on sale. Now that the party dates have been released, hotels will book up fast. Plus, Disneyland could raise admission prices again this year (rumored it might happen, but we never know). Booking now locks in your regular park ticket prices.
If you purchas(d) tickets, be sure to check out my Top 10 Tips For Mickey’s Halloween Party.
When you go to book, I suggest booking through Get Away Today. They have a couple of ticket sales going on for this year (Adults at Kids Prices for select dates or 5th Day Free) and they also offer third or fourth night free at hotels. They have a great layaway plan where you can book for $125 down (so you still have money to buy those party tickets when they go on sale) and then just pay the remaining balance two weeks before you travel.
You can even save an extra $10 when you book a package using my Promo Code: CrazyAdventure (Add that to your churro fund money)
Speaking of Get Away Today, I went live on Facebook with them to break the news that the party dates were announced. You can see that video at the bottom of this post.
Tips for Making The Most Of The Halloween Party at Disneyland
So you decided to take the plunge and attend the party. What are some of our best tips for making the most of this event?
Do not go to the park in the morning.
If you are coming from out of town, and also planning a longer visit to Disneyland, do not use your normal, multi-day park ticket to go in the morning. Save it to use for another day. First, then you get one extra day at Disneyland, but here are a few other reasons:
- You can sleep in and have a relaxing morning before your late night of fun.
- Adults can not wear costumes into the park in the morning, so you would have to leave, change and come back
- You would lose that extra day at Disneyland
Bring a large, empty tote bag
The bags they provide are nowhere near big enough for the amount of candy your family will receive. Be sure to bring a very large, empty tote bag (a reusable shopping bag would probably work).
It can be quite warm still in September and October, but when the sun goes down at night it gets quite cool. Be sure to bring jackets or hoodies for littles, and maybe yourself as well.
Take advantage of that three hours before the party
Like I mentioned above, party guests gain entry to BOTH parks three hours before the party starts. Take advantage of that time and head over to Disney California Adventure to enjoy the Halloween decor in that park. Then you can get to Disneyland at the start of the party to enjoy the low crowds. Be aware that DCA tends to be very crowded on party days as other guests know that Disneyland will close early and often go over there.
Do NOT try to hit Magic Morning the next day
The party goes to 11 pm or midnight, depending on the day. DO NOT try to do a Magic Morning the next day. It will set you up for very grouchy kids. I actually suggest taking a day off from the parks and hitting up a beach the next day.
What To Know If You Are At Disneyland But NOT Attending The Party
So what about those who are at Disneyland but not attending Mickey’s Halloween Party? Don’t worry, I got you covered.
First, you are still able to enjoy all the fun decor and the ride overlays at both parks during the regular park hours. Be sure to utilize Disneyland’s digital fastpass system, or even purchase MaxPass to get access to those rides’ fastpass lines as they tend to be very popular.
Second, the villains are out and about a lot more, even during the non-party hours, at Disneyland during Halloween time so you may still catch your favorite bad guy roaming around the parks.
Here are some tips to make the most of your time, and some things to watch out for, when you do not have a party ticket.
You Can Still Enjoy Halloween At Disneyland Resort
Even though you are not attending the party there are still plenty of Halloween happenings that can be enjoyed during regular park hours.
- Haul-O-Ween takes place in Cars Land. Lots of fun and spooky decorations and overlays make Cars Land a whole new experience.
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Monsters After Dark is a special version of the ride that takes place every evening beginning at 6 pm. This is a continuation of the story, and is a whole new experience. A must do for GOTG fans and thrill seekers alike.
- Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy is a Halloween overlay of the classic dark coaster. WARNING: This ride can be scary for little kids. My thrill seeker son, who loves Space Mountain, and even Nightmare Before Christmas and loved the Tower of Terror movie, was freaked out by this ride. You can view my Facebook live about his experience in the Disneyland with Kids Facebook group if you want to know more.
- Haunted Mansion Holiday is probably the most popular ride overlay for the season. Jack Skellington and his crew take over the Haunted Mansion and deck it out for a great Halloween and Christmas mash-up. (This overlay will last through the Holidays.)
- A Musical Celebration of Coco is a fun and amazing show celebrating my favorite Pixar film to date. Not only that, they sing my favorite song “Un Poco Loco.” This show takes place multiple times per day right by Goofy’s Sky School and is usually standing room only. TIP: Sit at the tables just inside Paradise Garden Parks dining area for a backstage, seated view of the show.
Buy Parkhopper Tickets
I always suggest buying parkhopper tickets for Disneyland if possible, but even more so when you plan on going to Disneyland during Halloween time. Here is why – Guests who do not purchase parkhopper tickets (and even some that do) tend to head over to California Adventure for the entire day if there is a party that evening. Party guests do note start arriving until three or four in the afternoon. So guess what? Disneyland crowd levels tend to be fairly low on party dates. So if you have a parkhopper, start out doing rope drop at Disneyland, and get in a ton of rides before the crowds start coming at three. This is when party guests start to arrive, so it will feel a lot more crowded.
Wait before you plan on just staying all night at DCA
A common plan I see for guests is that they decide they will head to California Adventure as party guests start to arrive and try to close out that park (DCA). STOP! While this can be a good plan, be aware that as soon as Disneyland closes DCA gets extremely busy. There have been times it has been wall to wall people. I feel like I handle crowds pretty well, and I still have been like “I have to leave” because of it. IF you are not a fan of crowds, I actually suggest maybe heading over to DCA about three in the afternoon and try to call it quits by dinner.
Get to rope drop every morning, but especially party mornings
When the park has limited hours, whether from a party or because the hours are just shorter, take advantage of the early hours. Be at the park 45 minutes or more before the gates open (or before your Magic Morning start time) so you can get to rope drop and bust out several rides without fastpasses.
More Tips For Disneyland
I mentioned above that I joined Get Away Today for a Facebook live to break the news that Disneyland Halloween dates had been released. Check out the live right here for more great tips and info.
Remember to use my link HERE and code CrazyAdventure to save an extra $10 on your package.
As promised, here is my handy little calendar showing the Halloween party dates and prices for this year.