Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland California

  • 01 of 06

    Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland California

    Minnie Mouse Welcomes You to the Halloween Party
    Minnie Mouse Welcomes You to the Halloween Party. Paul HIffmeyer/Disneyland Resort

    Every October, Mickey Mouse gives a Halloween party for all his pals, and you're invited. It takes place in Disneyland Park. There's a similar party at Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Florida which is called Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, but we're talking about the one that happens in Anaheim, California.

    Reasons to go to Mickey's Halloween Party

    The #1 reason to go is that it's a lot of fun, with a good old-fashioned Halloween spirit and none of the chainsaw-wielding, fake-blood-spattering gore of other southern California theme park events. Besides that, Mickey has lots of unique events planned for his guests, and it's a good value, too.

    • A ticket for Mickey's party can be bought for the lowest price you'll pay for a Disneyland ticket all year long. The party lasts 4 hours and ticket-holders can get in 3 hours before that, so you get 7 hours of Disneyland for less than the normal ticket price - and free parking, too.
    • It's the only time of year that adults and kids older than 10 years old can wear a costume inside Disneyland. Costumes need to be kid-friendly, non-offensive and safe, though.
    • Fireworks! There's a special Halloween Screams Firework Show just for this event and going to the party is the only way to see it.
    • Mickey's Halloween Cavalcade Parade gives all the characters a chance to dress up in their costumes, too.
    • You can pose for photos with characters that you wouldn't be able to get at any other time. In fact, you'll find them in almost a dozen different spots.
    • With limited attendance, you'll have more time to enjoy the Halloween-themed decorations and rides like Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy.

    Besides all that, you can go trick-or-treating inside the park on "Treat Trails." You can dance until you drop and play until you're all tuckered out, too.

    Dates for Mickey's Halloween Party

    The party starts around the end of September and happens on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights through Halloween, with a couple of extra days near the end of October. Tickets are a little less expensive for the first few nights, but they also sell out first.

    Tickets for Mickey's Halloween Party

    Everyone older than 2 years old needs a ticket, and the best place to get them is through the Disneyland website. Season pass holders have to buy a separate ticket, but they get a discount. It's best to buy in advance because you can save up to $10 per ticket - and just in case they sell out. Check their website to buy tickets and get more information.

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  • 02 of 06

    The Mickey's Halloween Party Experience

    Taking Photos With Mickey at Halloween
    Taking Photos With Mickey at Halloween. ©2012 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    It's a Private Party - For Thousands of Mickey's Friends

    Mickey has a lot of friends, but attendance is limited to a very manageable crowd that keeps wait times for rides to about 20 minutes or less. If you have a ticket for the party, you can get into the park 3 hours before it starts.

    The changeover is smooth, with frequent announcements that Disneyland will be closing for a special event. After the official party start time, cast members and security may ask to see your wristband. That's how they know that you have a ticket for the event. The easiest way to avoid frequent questions is just to make sure your band is visible, especially during the first couple of hours.

    What's It Like?

    Mickey's Halloween Party is a fun, family event, a good place to enjoy the holiday without seeing even one drop of fake blood. Everyone is in a festive mood and lines at the rides are much shorter than usual.

    If you arrive at early entry time (3 hours before the party starts), you can enjoy the holiday decorations while it's still daylight.

    A third of the adults and more than half the kids who go to Mickey's Halloween Party wear costumes. Many are clever, original ones that make you laugh and wonder how they thought up such a cute idea and the people-watching is the best of any time of year.

    What Is There to Do?

    When a friend who has a Disneyland annual pass told me that she was planning to go to Mickey's Halloween Party several times in the same year, I began to doubt her sanity. In fact, there's so much going on that you might not be able to pack it all into a single night, either.

    The pictures in the rest of the gallery show some of the most photogenic activities, but besides a Halloween Parade, special fireworks display, extra lighted decorations and dancing you can also go trick-or-treating. Scattered around the park, you'll find clusters of "treat trails" where you can collect enough sweet goodies to provoke an unscheduled trip to the dentist. Even the adults have a hard time resisting the Halloween ritual, holding out their bags and saying at the same time: "I don't know what I'm going to do with this." If you'd like to enjoy the experience but not the calories, you can also ask for their healthy snack options. You can bring your own container for all the loot, or just use the bags they give you at the entrance.

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  • 03 of 06

    Tips for Mickey's Halloween Party

    Everyone Can Wear a Costume at Mickey's Halloween Party in Disneyland
    Everyone Can Wear a Costume at Mickey's Halloween Party in Disneyland. ©2014 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    With strict attendance limits, the Halloween Party almost always sells out ahead of time. To make sure you can get in, buy tickets at least two weeks in advance.

    Adults can wear costumes (with some restrictions). Check the costume rules at the website link above to be sure your costume meets the standards. For the 2016 party they include:

    • Layered costumes or costume props that surround the entire body are strongly discouraged and may be subject to additional security screening.
    • Costumes may not reach or drag on the ground. (e.g. full-length Princess dresses).

    If you plan to do the trick-or-treating, you can collect quite a lot of sugary treats. You'll get a bag when you enter, but bring a bigger one if you think you'll need it. The longest treat trails are at Innoventions and next to Rivers of America. The cutest is the one through Pixie Hollow.

    Healthy treats are available (carrots, pretzels), so you can have fun trick-or-treating, even if you don't want the sugary stuff.

    The park closes to regular visitors when the party begins, and Main Street can get pretty crowded as they all try to get out at once. Take advantage of 3-hours early entry and get in before the crowds build up.

    Ride wait time apps will stop working when the party officially begins and will show all the rides as closed. Lines will be so short that it won't really matter, though. All the waits will be about 15 minutes or less shortly after the party starts.

    Be realistic about your energy levels and how long the kids can enjoy the goings-on before they're too pooped to stay awake. I have been to the party with adults and pre-teens and we went in as early as they'd allow. And we walked out just before midnight. It's a fun way to see and do as much as possible, but if you don't think you'll last that long, time your arrival and departure to maximize your enjoyment.

    Ride lines will be cut off on the dot at the closing time, but the rides will stay open to accommodate everyone in line before that. The shops will also close very quickly, especially the ones near attractions. Main Street shops stay open just a little longer. If you put off all your shopping until the end of the evening, and you jump in a ride line 2 minutes before closing, you may not have time to make your purchases.

    Some people like to get a hotel room near the park for this event. It gives you somewhere to change into your costumes and a nearby place to crash once the party is over. If you're thinking of doing that, you're not the only one. Reserve your room a month or so in advance for the best selection.

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  • 04 of 06

    Mickey's Frightfully Fun Parade

    Parade at Mickey's Halloween Party
    Parade at Mickey's Halloween Party. ©2012 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    We love a parade and Mickey has put together a special version, just for the Halloween Party.

    The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow kicks off the parade. He rides a black steed and carries his flickering jack-o-lantern through the heart of Disneyland. After that, you'll see lots of characters dressed up in their best costumes. Mickey and Minnie ride in the big float that comes at the end.

    To be sure you don't miss it, check the schedule you get when you arrive. The parade usually runs twice during the evening.

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  • 05 of 06

    Fireworks Just for Halloween

    Halloween Fireworks at Mickey's Halloween Party
    Halloween Fireworks at Mickey's Halloween Party. Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland

    The fireworks show also gets a special Halloween theme, Halloween Screams. It's exclusive to the Halloween Party and not shown during regular admission days.

    Replacing Tinkerbell, who flies in from the Matterhorn to set off the regular fireworks show is Zero (Jack Skellington’s dog from The Nightmare Before Christmas), joined by his owner, ghost host Jack Skellington himself, projected onto a large balloon near the castle. The rest of the show is a tribute to Disney's best-known villains, including the Ghosts from Haunted Mansion, Ursula (Little Mermaid), Cruella DeVil (101 Dalmatians), Captain Hook, Oogie Boogie (Nightmare Before Christmas) and Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty).

    The Jolly Holiday Bakery is a good place to watch the pyrotechnics, get a rest and a meal all at the same time. Try to get there about 30 minutes before the fireworks start and choose your table carefully. If you can't see the castle from your table, you won't see the show either. Tables on the right as you enter the seating area are usually best.

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  • 06 of 06

    Even the Castle Puts on a Costume

    Disneyland Castle with Halloween Themed Lights
    Disneyland Castle with Halloween Themed Lights. Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland

    Sleeping Beauty's Castle gets a dressing of artificial snow, which will stay on until after New Year's, but during the Halloween Party, colorful lights project spider web patterns on it. Space Mountain and the train station are also bathed in lighted projections.