There’s never a bad time to visit Disneyland Resort, but for some, there is no better time than Halloween. While the holiday may technically be two months away, Halloween Time is under way at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, and even if you weren’t able to score tickets to the Oogie Boogie Bash, there’s plenty of thematic entertainment, attractions and food fests available to enjoy. Nobody does Halloween quite like Disneyland.
If you’ve never experienced a Halloween season at Disneyland Resort, there is a lot to recommend visiting right now. There are shows and attractions that are not available any other time of year, and some attractions get a facelift and become almost entirely new experiences. Although it’s difficult to recommend this year’s festivities if you have visited Disneyland Resort for Halloween more recently.
Disneyland Has A Lot Going On For Halloween
The centerpiece of any Disneyland trip is the attractions, and there are several worth checking out specifically during Halloween Time. The Haunted Mansion is one of Disneyland’s most popular attractions at any time of year, but once the Halloween season begins, and running through Christmas, the ride becomes the Nightmare Before Christmas-themed Haunted Mansion Holiday. Not everybody loves the Halloween version of the Haunted Mansion, but it’s a must-see if you’ve never experienced it.
The other major ride change happens over at Disney California Adventure, but only during certain hours. Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout, is the same ride it has been when the park opens, but at 3 p.m. until the park closes, the ride transforms into Guardians of the Galaxy: Monsters After Dark. This version of the ride is essentially the sequel to the main ride, which sees some of the Collector’s scariest items escape, and come after the guests. For those looking for a real Halloween scare, there’s nothing better.
Radiator Springs also transforms into Radiator Screams, with some solid Halloween decorations, and the two smaller attractions in the land, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi’s Rolickin’ Roadsters, are given Halloween overlays with new thematic music.
Running alongside the Halloween-themed events are some dedicated to Dia de los Muertos. You’ll find a Musical Celebration of Coco at Disney California Adventure, and in Disneyland’s Frontierland you’ll find a small display near where you can get pictures with Encanto’s Mirabel celebrating the Mexican holiday.
No trip to Disneyland is complete without a nighttime spectacular, and there is, of course, a special themed one in the park. The Halloween Screams fireworks show is hosted by Jack Skellington and includes projection mapping effects on Sleeping Beauty Castle, as well as all up and down Main Street U.S.A.
For those who love Disneyland nighttime spectaculars, but don’t love crowds, is that there will be a version of the Halloween Screams show that takes place during the week, not only on weekends. There won’t be any fireworks in the performances during the week, just the projection mapping and music, but that’s still most of the show, and perhaps the best parts of it.
Regular Disneyland Visitors Have Seen (Almost) All Of It Before
If you’re visiting Disneyland Resort for the first time during Halloween, or at least the first time in a long time, there’s a lot to enjoy here. However, for the regular guest, it has to be said that we’ve seen nearly all of this before from Disneyland. Nearly every significant part of what makes up Halloween Time has shown its face in previous years. If you particularly love the elements that only appear this time of year, that’s great, but there just isn’t much that’s going to blow you away this year because you've seen it.
Most of the really new stuff, like appearances from unique characters such as Ernesto de la Cruz or Mother Gothel, whom we don’t see normally, are only available as part of the Oogie Boogie Bash. If you weren’t lucky enough to snag tickets months ago, you’re out of luck, as the event is sold out for its entire run.
Disney Parks are built on nostalgia, and so for some, seeing the things they’ve seen before is part of the joy of it all. Part of the issue is that many of the special Halloween-themed elements are new enough that they don’t yet feel nostalgic, but they’re old enough they no longer feel new.
What’s Actually New For Halloween At Disneyland Resort In 2022
That’s not to say that absolutely nothing is new at Disneyland’s Halloween Time. There are a few things worth checking out that you’ve never experienced before. First and foremost, your favorite Disney characters, like Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy, are all dressed for the occasion in brand-new Halloween costumes. And they are great looking outfits, so if you’re the picture-taking kind, you'll want to check them out.
There are also the elements that are always new at Halloween. The Haunted Mansion Holiday has a brand-new gingerbread house sitting on the table. This year’s features Lock, Shock and Barrel, and is another impressive creation. For food you can actually eat, there is plenty of brand-new food and drink available to guests, alongside some returning favorites. You can eat your way around Disneyland getting a different flavored churro at every cart if you so wish.
As somebody who likes Halloween, but doesn't go all in on it the way some people do, I enjoyed wandering around the parks, especially at night when Disney California Adventure has Oogie Boogie-inspired projection effects at the front of Carthay Circle, or when Radiator Screams comes to life after the sun goes down, but I was honestly looking for more that I hadn’t seen before, and there just isn't much of that.
I still loved my time spent at Disneyland at the beginning of the Halloween season. It's hard to not enjoy yourself when you're there, but I hope that next year the resort adds a bit more to the festivities and really gives guests a reason not to miss Halloween Time.
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CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.