Tricks and Treats – Halloween at Disneyland with Kids
There are so many magical reasons to visit Disneyland in fall. And so many wonderful things to experience. This year will prove to be the best ever! 2021 is all about celebrating traditions, which means that many classic attractions, entertainment and shows have returned. But there’s always something new to experience at the Disneyland resort. Guests can find delicious treats, enhanced character greetings and reopened ride overlays!
Disneyland celebrates the season with the return of the Dapper Dans, Halloween Screams fireworks and Haunted Mansion Holiday. Disney California Adventure park offers Cars Land “Haul-oween” and Plaza de la Familia, celebration of Dia de los Muertos. After dark on select nights, the park will be getting into the spirit, with their Mickey’s Halloween Party replacement, Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party.
What’s Included in a Halloween at Disneyland Ticket?
From morning to nighttime, there’s a cornucopia of fall fun happening at the Disneyland resort. And most of the Halloween entertainment is available with a regular theme park ticket. This includes rides, decorations, character greetings, merchandise shopping, dining locations and fireworks.
The exception is Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disneyland Halloween Party. This event requires a separate hard ticket. The offerings at this event (trick or treating, parade, etc) can only be experienced with this special ticket.
Keep in mind that no theme park tickets are being sold at the Disneyland resort or front gates. All tickets must be bought online. A park reservation is also required ahead of your visit. This reservation can be made through the Disneyland website. Check the theme park calendar to view availability. Read for more details about going to Disneyland in 2021.
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Keep reading for the new attractions, decorations and fun coming for Halloween Time at Disneyland.
Halloween at Disneyland – FAQ
When does Disneyland decorate for Halloween?
Halloween Time happens from Sept 3rd, 2021 to October 31st, 2021. Look for fall decorations September 3rd at the Disneyland parks. They come down promptly on the night of October 31st (when they are quickly replaced with Christmas decor). Dia de los Muertos and Plaza de la Familia events continue until November 2nd, 2021.
Can you dress in a costume at Disneyland?
Yes, and no. Children 14 and under can dress up in costume anytime inside the Disneyland parks. However adults may only wear costumes when attending Oogie Boogie Bash- Disney Halloween Party. And of course there are guidelines to what costumes can be worn, so be sure to check the Disneyland official website.
What’s the difference between Halloween Time at Disneyland and the Disney Halloween Party?
Halloween Time refers to the season when fall decor is up in the parks. Halloween-themed ride overlays are operating and special events like A Musical Celebration of Coco take place inside the parks. All of these festivities are included with your regular park ticket.
Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party is a special ticketed event that happens on select nights during the fall season. There is trick-or-treating, special character greetings and parade during the party, held inside Disney California Adventure park. Only guests with this special event ticket may attend the party. The Oogie Boogie Bash replaced the popular Mickey’s Halloween Party in 2019.
More Need to Know About Halloween at Disneyland
Note that the California Adventure park hours are shorter on the nights when Oogie Boogie Bash takes place. Guests who do not hold the extra Halloween Party ticket will have to leave the park. But if your regular park ticket is a Park Hopper, you may move over the Disneyland for the remainder of the evening!
One benefit of being in Disneyland, is watching Halloween Screams, which returns in 2021! Keep reading for all the magical Halloweentime entertainment returning to the Disneyland theme parks and resort.
Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party 2021 at Disney California Adventure Park
On designated days in September and October the Disneyland Resort sells party tickets to an exclusive Halloween party event. It’s called Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party (formerly called Mickey’s Halloween Party). The party lasts five hours but you can get into the park three hours earlier, so that’s eight full hours of Disney fun.
Adults and kids can dress in costume and trick or treat throughout the park. There’s also a family-friendly show and lots of character photo ops. There are interactive treat trails with Disney villains and a parade in addition to enjoying almost all the regular attractions. I have tons of tips about doing Oogie Boogie Bash with kids.
- Souvenir Disney PhotoPass photos can be taken during the event, with unlimited PhotoPass downloads to enjoy later
- This event sells out quickly so get your tickets and start planning out your costumes. Halloween party tickets can only be purchased on the Disneyland website and app. Tickets are not available through third-party retailers. *EVENT SOLD OUT FOR 2021*
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Disneyland Weather in Fall
The weather is usually still very warm in SoCal during the fall months. It doesn’t give you much of the “autumn” feel. But warmer temperatures are great for enjoying the park. And you can swim in the resort pools without the summer crowds! On one day of my visit during October it drizzled most of the day and a few days later, temperatures were back up to 90 degrees!
You just never know, so check the weather forecast pre-trip. The temperature usually drops in the evenings, so definitely bring a light sweater or jacket just in case. If you struggle with the heat, check out these tips for What to Do at Disneyland When it’s Hot.
Disneyland Fall Crowds
As guests return to Disneyland in 2021, the crowd capacity is still below “normal”. It’s difficult to predict what will happen this year, as capacity begins to increase within the parks.
You may experience lighter crowds on the days of Oogie Boogie Bash. But take note that the operating hours at Disney California Adventure are shorter to compensate. So while you won’t wait in astronomical lines for the most part, you also won’t be spending as much time in the park as you might in the summer. There also may be some ride closures so check the Disney Parks schedule before you go.
Halloween Souvenirs at Disneyland
Don’t have anything autumnal to wear on your Disney vacation? No worries because the souvenir shops at the Disneyland Resort are filled with a huge variety of Halloween and fall-themed items to clothe you top to bottom. From sequined Minnie Mouse Ear headbands, tees and sweatshirts, hats and necklaces that glow, you can bedeck yourself with Disney Halloween goodness!
In addition to the Halloween clothing options at Disneyland, you’ll also find Halloween-themed plush, coffee mugs and home goods, all with a Disney twist, of course! Loungefly backpacks are ultra popular in a variety of styles including this Halloween Loungefly Mini Backpack with Minnie Ears.
There’s a large variety of Nightmare Before Christmas items featuring Jack Skellington and Sally available in both parks. Haunted Mansion merch is always popular during Halloweentime. Merchandise is available for Hocus Pocus as well.
Where to Get Disneyland Halloween Merchandise
Even if you don’t shop inside the parks themselves, you’ll still find some items inside World of Disney. Check the shops at Downtown Disney District and even in the gift shops at the Disneyland Resort hotels.
But my tip is to save time and money by shopping for souvenirs ahead of your trip. shopDisney has tons of Halloween merchandise and Disney costumes for the entire family. Plan your style by purchasing online then packing them for each day in the parks.
Some items are available only in the parks. Popcorn buckets, including this light-up Jack Skellington are found at the popcorn carts throughout the parks.
Fall Decorations for Halloween at Disneyland & California Adventure
The Disneyland decorations for fall are fantastic! Disney is known for their detail, of course. All over the park you will find decor to put you in the seasonal mood (even if the warm weather tells you otherwise!).
There will be lots of places for photo ops, including a Pumpkin Festival on Main Street. The buildings are swathed in candy-corn striped bunting. Take time to admire the hundreds of one-of-a-kind hand carved pumpkins lining the street. I found Elvis!
Don’t miss taking your photo in front of the enormous Mickey jack o’ lantern. The giant pumpkin is double sided. Mickey is smiling on one side and winking on the other, with twinkling lighted pumpkins at the base.
Oogie Boogie’s over-sized silhouette beckons guests through the main entrance of the Disney California Adventure park. The design is new for 2021. Hold onto your hats as swarms of black bats coil ‘round Carthay Circle’s Bell Tower.
The Headless Horseman statue offers a menacing presence on Buena Vista Street that’s simply spine-chilling. At night, all of Buena Vista Street is aglow in purple lights.
Haul-O-Ween hits Cars Land and turns Radiator Springs into Radiator Screams! Scary the Scarecar stands guard over the entrance to Route 66, a preview to the Haul-O-Ween transformation awaiting guests in Cars Land. See if you can spot Fillmore’s Jack-Oil Lanterns, the web spun over Flo’s by a Spider-Car, and the Cozy Cone dressed up in car-stumes.
Slightly Spooky Rides & Attractions
The “Nightmare Before Christmas” themed Haunted Mansion Holiday is a can’t miss! It gets more elaborate year after year. This is the 20th installment of the attraction!
Haunted Mansion Holiday is a completely different experience from the usual Haunted Mansion attraction. The annual Haunted Mansion Holiday gingerbread house is inside the ballroom scene. This year’s house is the tallest ever and features elements from years’ past.
Seasonal Ride Overlays at Disney California Adventure
Ride Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! during the day, then return at dusk for a new twist! The attraction transforms into Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark, the seasonal edition of the popular attraction.
In Cars Land, the entire area is made over in a fantastic Halloween theme! Radiator Springs becomes Radiator Screams for the “Haul-O-Ween” season. Look for the mountain range lit up at night in purple and green.
Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree are both decorated for Halloween with themed music and décor! These attractions will transform with Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree turning spooky as the Graveyard JamBOOree, and Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters to become Luigi’s Honkin’ Haul-O-Ween.
Dia de Los Muertos at Disneyland
While the rest of Halloween at Disneyland disappears when the clock strikes midnight on October 31st, Dia de los Muertos decor will remain in the park through November 2nd, 2021. Disneyland offers its traditional Día de los Muertos display at Zócalo Park in Frontierland. The colorful display features marigolds and paper flags, along with a traditional “ofrenda” and sugar skulls.
Plaza de la Familia in Disney California Adventure
Make time in your Disneyland vacation planning for a visit to Plaza de la Familia in Disney California Adventure park. This colorful area is the spirit of Halloween at Disneyland, with activities that reflect on traditions and family memories. This immersive celebration of Dia de Los Muertos includes folklórico dancers, mariachi music and a craft area inspired by the “Coco” film.
Entrance to the Plaza de la Familia – The figures of Coco’s parents stand at the entrance, which is arched in a plethora of colorful marigolds.
A Musical Celebration of Coco – This is can’t miss entertainment! Miguel (as a hand-animated character) from the movie dances and plays his guitar. This show takes place several times a day, so check the Disneyland app for specifics. It’s a standing room only festival that’s held just outside the front entrance to Plaza de la Familia. Expect to see costumed dancers, skeletons, mariachi and singers. The show is vibrant and family friendly (but little to no shade).
Paradise Garden Grill – Features a menu of traditional Mexican dishes. Look for the pollo verde wet burrito, sirloin beef tacos with pickled vegetables, and Coco Cake. This colorful version includes layers of vanilla cake with cinnamon churro mousse and sweet cream cheese frosting. A sugar skull candy decorates the top.
Traditional Mariachi Music – While you enjoy your delicious Mexican food in the shade, enjoy the sounds of Mariachi Espectacular and Mariachi Divas. They play several times daily (as shown on this signage).
More Things to Do in Plaza de la Familia
Kid’s Crafts – Color a memento of Dia de los Muertos in the craft area. These paper masks of Dante and Pepita (spirit guides from Coco) are offered complimentary for anyone.
Photo Spots – A pair of angel wings (one adult sized and a smaller set for children) are along the back wall of the craft area. Brightly colored flowers and a statue of Miguel’s dog Dante create another photo backdrop.
Mexican Árbol de la Vida – Stop by the Memory Wall to write personal remembrances of loved ones. It’s a special spot at the heart of the festival, with a Tree of Life as a perfect backdrop for another photo op.
Character Greeting – Miguel appears in a socially distanced meet ‘n greet within Plaza de la Familia. Pose for a photo and to wave at Miguel in front of the beautiful “Remember Me” mural.
Characters in Costume
One of the best things about Halloween at Disneyland is how the characters dress in costume! It really makes that meet & greet extra special when the characters are wearing unique outfits just for the season.
Currently all character greetings take place at a distance, with space between characters and guests. At Disneyland, you’ll find classic Disney characters at the Main Street railroad station. I found Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Chip ‘n Dale, Donald Duck, and Goofy wearing their Halloween costumes.
Also spotted were villains like Jafar from Aladdin and the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. Guests can stand next to the ropes at the bottom of the staircase while characters pose on the stairs and landings.
In Disney California Adventure, more characters were seen near the fountain at Buena Vista Street. Cars Land in Disney California Adventure is fully decorated for Halloween, err Haul-O-Ween.
*New for 2021 – Pluto’s Pumpkin Pursuit at Downtown Disney District
In fall of 2021, look for a new way to celebrate the Halloween season outside of the theme parks. Pluto’s Pumpkin Pursuit is expected to be a seek & find game, similar to what’s available with eggs during Easter. This new Halloween-themed pumpkin hunt will take place starting Sept 3rd (more details to come).
Halloween at Disneyland – Treats and Eats
Foodies agree, Disneyland seasonal dishes, snacks and treats can truly make the events more special! And this year is no exception, as new items have been created for Halloween at Disneyland.
In addition to the return of popular Halloween Time foods like the Haunted Mansion Cake, the Disneyland Resort chefs have come up with a spooky number of delightful dishes to please every palate this fall! There are tons of new treats and an inspiring number of different varieties of churros this year.
This year’s Haunted Mansion Cake is chocolate Cherry Cake with the return of cherry sauce splatters on the buttercream frosting!
The food guide for Halloween at Disneyland includes plenty of savory and sweet delights for all tastes. Try a Blood Orange Slush from Galactic Grill, BBQ Bacon Dog at Refreshment Corner, Ghost Pepper Nachos at Lamplight Lounge or Backlot Carnitas Nachos at the Studio Catering Truck.
Sweet Halloween treats include Mickey Mouse shortbread bat cookies, Halloween Candy Funnel Cake Fries or Mint-Chocolate Cookie Shake at Schmoozie’s. The Mickey Cookie & Cream Macaron was delightful!
Lest you think it’s all about the desserts, there are options for savory, fall-inspired main dishes as well. Those include the Toasted Salsa Roja Chicken Sandwich at Jolly Holiday, Spicy Mac & Cheese Cone at Cozy Cone Motel or Jalapeño Bacon Cheeseburger at Smokejumpers Grill.
HALLOWEEN AT DISNEYLAND TIP:
Skip the lines at select dining locations by using the mobile ordering feature on the Disneyland app. I used it several times on my visit. Mobile ordering truly saved me at least 45 minutes that would have been spent waiting in line to order.
More Halloween at Disneyland Fun to Watch For
Partners statue – Circled around the hub of the Partners statue in front of Sleeping Beauty castle are pumpkins. Each pumpkin features a character that represents each Land in the park.
Halloween Tree in Frontierland – Hand-painted pumpkins and orange bulbs light up in the oak tree at night. This tree was dedicated to Ray Bradbury and is based on his story, “The Halloween Tree”. A dedication plaque stands at the base.
Dapper Dans – The singing and dancing quartet has returned to the Disneyland park and should not be missed. The current song list includes Halloween favorites like, “Grim Grinning Ghosts” and the Headless Horseman. The Dapper Dans perform several times daily, in front of the fire station or on one of the Main St. vehicles.
Halloween Screams – This not-so-spooky evening light spectacular takes place nightly during the Halloween time season, from Sept 3rd- Oct 31st. On weekday evenings, expect to see the projections and lights (no pyrotechnics). Fireworks are added to the show on select Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.
Projections can be viewed from either Main Street on the Castle front or it’s a small world. The latter location is less crowded.
Halloween at the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort
You do not need to be a hotel guest to explore inside the three Disneyland Resort hotel lobbies! Inside the lobby of Disney’s Grand Californian, you can’t miss the huge gingerbread decor. The smell of ginger and royal icing is strong!
Disneyland in Fall – Dapper Day
Dress to impress in your retro best on Dapper Day in the Disneyland park. Thousands of other guests turn out for this event, “dappered” up in their Sunday attire. The date is Nov 14th, 2021 for the annual Disneyland Dapper Day.
READ MORE: Put together your own Dapper Day Outfit Ideas to step out in style!