Fall might just be my favorite time of year to visit Disneyland. Crowds are reasonable, the weather is usually mild and pleasant, and the Halloween decorations and treats are out in full force. Halloween Time, as the season is known at Disneyland Resort, has lots for everyone in the family. There are special ride overlays and plenty of not-so-spooky decor. There is also a special after-hours ticketed party event every few nights – now called Oogie Boogie Bash (formerly Mickey’s Halloween Party) – but the resort has numerous Halloween offerings outside of party times too.
My family has visited Disneyland during the Halloween season many times through the years. We just returned from another trip in mid-September to see all the Halloween offerings for 2019 including opening night of Oogie Boogie Bash, so I have the inside scoop specifically on changes for this year. Disneyland has really expanded its Halloween Time offerings over the past few years (particularly in Disney California Adventure), and this year is no exception.
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If you are planning a visit to Disneyland this fall to celebrate Halloween Time, here’s what you need to know, do, and see.
(And remember: if you are headed to Disneyland, take advantage of the savings on tickets or vacation packages through Trips With Tykes partner, Get Away Today. Use promo code TYKES10 for an extra $10 off all package stays of 2 nights or more.)
Disneyland Halloween Time Basics
When: Halloween Time at Disneyland is longer than ever this year, running from September 6-October 31, 2019. A few years ago, the holiday didn’t get underway until mid-September but it now fully launches right around Labor Day. So you have a few more days to experience the season this year!
Where: The Halloween Time celebrations happen all over the Disneyland Resort. The bulk of the decorations and fun are in the two parks, but Downtown Disney and the three hotels of the Disneyland Resort don’t disappoint either.
Halloween Time in Disneyland Park
Disneyland park has been the home of most of the Halloween Time celebrations for many years. An iconic Mickey jack-o-lantern greets visitors as they enter Main Street USA. Orange decor and pumpkins set the mood.
There are a few changes in 2019 within Disneyland park itself. Gone this year is the special ride overlay Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. Also gone is the specially ticketed Mickey’s Halloween Party, as it has been re-themed and moved across the esplanade to Disney California Adventure as Oogie Boogie Bash (more on that below).
But never fear, because the Halloween offerings in Disneyland park that remain are still extensive. Plus, there is a major addition to Disneyland park to replace what has left… keep reading to learn what that is!
Haunted Mansion Holiday
Ever since 2001, Disneyland has offered a special holiday “overlay” to the Haunted Mansion in New Orleans Square in Disneyland park. Jack Skellington and his friends from Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” overrun the mansion, decorating it with their rare brand of Halloween and Christmas mixed together. The theming makes it perfect for a run from September through the New Year, so there is plenty of time for Disneyland visitors to schedule a visit.
What I love about Haunted Mansion Holiday is that the festive cartoonish overlay actually makes the ride less scary for little ones. Both of my children have ridden it many times through their toddler and preschool years and neither have been frightened (except for the opening scene in the elevator that may be scary just due to its loudness). It’s family-friendly at its best with an extraordinarily popular theme that adults love too.
The ride is very popular during the Halloween Time season, so make use of Fastpass (or better yet MaxPass!) to experience it. There is always a new gingerbread house in the banquet room each year, so stay tuned for what 2019 has in store.
Dia de los Muertos in Frontierland
Adding to the festive decor around Halloween Time are traditional decorations for the Mexican Day of the Dead. Appropriately located in Frontierland around Rancho del Zocalo restaurant, the decorations include skeletons and bright colored flowers. Face painting is usually available for the little ones in this area as well. The decorations are exquisite and a great place for some amazing photo opportunities.
Halloween Screams Fireworks
So we are finally at the part where we talk about what is new in 2019 in Disneyland park! Halloween Screams is a nighttime show hosted by Jack Skellington that traditionally has only been shown during the special ticketed Mickey’s Halloween Party. With the party now in DCA, the Halloween Screams show now happens nightly in Disneyland and is watchable by everyone with a regular park ticket.
The show includes fireworks on select nights – specifically Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays this fall. The fireworks can always be cancelled due to weather, but the rest of the show can run regardless. Even when the fireworks aren’t running, the show is still worth a watch for the music and projections.
While the fireworks happen over Sleeping Beauty Castle, the show is watchable from several vantage points. You can see special projections on the storefronts of Main Street USA, on the facade of it’s a small world, and on the Rivers of America. These secondary locations often have lower crowds and won’t require you to camp out as long before show time.
Halloween Time in Disney California Adventure
For many years, Disneyland park was the only place to have most of the Halloween fun. But the celebration of the holiday has really expanded. Disney California Adventure’s decorations and entertainment offerings now rival (and maybe even exceed) those in Disneyland park. Look for decor like Oogie Boogie adorning the entrance to DCA and the Headless Horsemen standing outside Carthay Circle.
New in 2019 is the event formerly known as Mickey’s Halloween Party – now called “Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party” that moved over to California Adventure.
Here’s what to look for in DCA in 2019 during the Halloween season.
Haul-O-Ween in Cars Land
One of the most immersive transformations within DCA can be found over in Cars Land. During September and October, Cars Land gets a major overhaul for “Haul-O-Ween” (pun intended) and Radiator Springs becomes Radiator Screams. The Cars characters are in costume – Lightning McQueen as a super hero and Mater as a vampire. They pose for photo opportunities in front of the Cozy Cone Motel. Also look for Cruz and Red who get in on the “trunk or treating.”
Returning for a third year, there are two Halloween ride overlays in Cars Land. Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters becomes Luigi’s Honkin’ Haul-O-Ween with spooky Italian-inspired music. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is similarly transformed into Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree, where riders spin around the graveyard to haunted tunes.
Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark
Another popular Halloween Time attraction in Disney California Adventure is a special ride overlay of the highly popular Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! ride. Every evening during the Halloween Time season, the ride changes into Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark. Riders are tasked to #SaveGroot who has been left behind after the Guardians escape the Collector’s Fortress. There is a special intro from everyone’s favorite raccoon, Rocket, as well as a heavy metal-inspired song for the ride.
Plaza de la Familia
Returning for a second year in a row are the celebrations of Dia de los Muertos in Paradise Gardens in DCA. The area is transformed into the Plaza de la Familia. Crafts, photo opportunities, and seasonal decor highlight the holiday with plenty of touches inspired by the Pixar hit movie Coco.
“A Musical Celebration of Coco,” feature the Mariachi Divas, had been a wildly successful entertainment offering in the area. A troupe of singers and authentic dancers are joined by a life-size puppet Miguel inspired by Mexican folk art.
Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party
So, I’ve probably saved the best for last – the brand new Oogie Boogie Bash which is making its debut in DCA! During Halloween Time, Disneyland has always offered a special and separately ticketed event on select nights in September in October called Mickey’s Halloween Party. This year, that party has a new name (Oogie Boogie Bash), a new location, and a ton of new offerings.
Related: See my complete guide to Oogie Boogie Bash at Disneyland, with lots of tips from the opening night party that I attended with my family.
Attending Oogie Boogie Bash requires a special additional ticket, priced between $110-145 per person for guests ages 3+. Modest discounts for annual passholders were available for some parties.
The parties all start at 6pm and take place this year on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Park guests get access to California Adventure three hours before the party start time (and four hours early on Sundays as well as on the October 29 and 31 party nights). That means you can enter the parks at 3 pm for most parties, but at 2pm on Sundays and last two parties of the season. DCA park closes to all other guests on nights when the party is celebrated. Plan accordingly!
What makes Oogie Boogie Bash worth a visit? There are quite a few attractions and entertainment offerings exclusive to the event. It’s a chance to trick-or-treat in the park and for everyone (adults included) to wear costumes. We’ve gone with family costumes whenever possible – one year we went as Alice in Wonderland characters with my daughter as Alice, my husband as the King of Hearts, my son (reluctantly) as Tweedle Dee and me as the Cheshire Cat. (If you need some costume inspiration, check out these Disney DIY family costume ideas and best Star Wars DIY costumes from a friend who is much craftier than I!)
So what is there to do at Oogie Boogie Bash? Entertainment offerings of note at the party include:
- World of Color – Villainous!: One of the centerpieces of the 2019 party is the brand new World of Color show. It’s bizarre in just the right Tim Burtonesque way, and weaves in some beloved Disney music with brand new lyrics to tell a compelling and only slightly spooky story.
- DescenDANCE: Part show and part dance party, this new show is the perfect fit for the tween set. The party features characters from Disney Channel “Descendants” movies over in Hollywood Land.
- Mickey’s Trick and Treat Show: For guests with younger kids, the best entertainment offering is the new Mickey’s Trick and Treat Show. Set in the familiar environs of the Disney Junior Dance Party theater, the show has plenty of Fab 5 and even a couple of candy treats.
- Frightfully Fun Parade: Led by The Headless Horseman, this parade has moved from Disneyland park to DCA for Oogie Boogie Bash. New to the parade this year in 2019 is the Cheshire Cat closing the parade.
- Character Meet and Greets: The Halloween party always features plenty of unique Disney characters, both good and evil, and Oogie Boogie Bash is no exception. Familiar standbys like Mickey, Minnie, Chip and Dale all make appearances but you can also snag some rarer character photos with the likes of Baloo and and Don Karnage from Talespin.
- Villains Grove: Finally, the offering getting the most buzz is Villains Grove, which is also new for 2019. Set in Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, the area features multiple dream-like scenes inspired by villains with lights and special effects.
- Immersive Treat Trails: Probably the highlight of Oogie Boogie Bash for kids is the immersive treat trails. Candy + live action villains like the Mad Hatter, Oogie Boogie, or Maleficent are the perfect combination!
Note that the Halloween party always sells out, and indeed is already sold out as of mid-September. If you are already thinking about 2020, be sure to plan early as tickets seem to go on sale even earlier every year. (For planning purposes for next year, be aware that the first party date to sell out happened in late July. As of August 21, 2019, 8 of the 20 parties were sold out, including Halloween night and all but one date in September.)
Halloween Time Food & Merchandise
Holidays never go unnoticed by the Disney restaurants and stores, and Halloween is definitely a time when the Disney gets creative. Be on the lookout for lots of Halloween-themed treats and merchandise during Halloween Time.
In 2019, all of the Halloween Time food offerings are available all of the time – none are limited to Oogie Boogie Bash. That means you won’t have to miss out on all the delicious and highly Instagrammable food even if a trip to the Halloween party is not in your plans or budget this year.
I got a sneak peek (and taste!) of some of the new and returning treats for 2019 at a media event earlier this summer. The Oogie Boogie Inspired funnel cake fries – topped with M&M style candies, candy corn, Oreo cookies, gummies, and more – were to die for.
Disneyland has released complete Halloween Time foodie guide with the complete menu. Food highlights include:
- Mummy-Inspired Donut (Schmoozies)
- Minnie Mouse Witch-Inspired Shake (Schmoozies)
- Caramel Apple Smoothie (Schmoozies)
- Specialty churros (Cozy Cone)
- Cruella de Vil-Inspired Brownie (Jolly Holiday)
- Graveyard Cupcake (Jolly Holiday)
- Hades-Inspired Hot Doc (Refreshment Corner)
- Maleficent-Inspired Churro (Town Square & Castle churro carts)
- Oogie Boogie-Inspired Drink with new Dice Glow Cubes (Hollywood Lounge)
- Oogie Boogie-Inspired rice crispy treat (multiple locations)
The merchandise gets better with each passing year too. Be on the look out in 2019 for Oogie Boogie Bash spirit jerseys, an Oogie Boogie sipper, special Nightmare before Christmas ears, and much more (check out the Halloween merchandise preview from the Disney Parks Blog for additional information).
Still Looking for More Disney & Halloween Information?
- See the Fall & Winter at Disneyland 2019 Guide for everything happening from September to December all over Disneyland Resort.
- For tips for a very Disney Halloween on the other coast, check out tips for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World.
Disclosure: Disneyland has hosted my family on some of our trips to HalloweenTime and Mickey’s Halloween Party/Oogie Boogie Bash. My family regularly visits Disneyland other times at our own expense. All opinions are my own.