A Visit To Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone! Today is the perfect day to give you a tour of my recent trip to Disneyland to see how they celebrate Halloween!
Of course, Disney Resorts did not let me down when it comes to celebrating this fun holiday. Halloween is all about the young and young-at-heart, just like everything Disney related!

My dream was to one day take my boys to Disney during the Halloween season and have them participate in the Mickey's Not So Scary nighttime trick or treating and extra festivities (this requires a special ticket on top of park entrance). Alas, time was not on my side. Now that one is in college and the other in high school, they think they are a little old for that. But I still wanted to see how Disney celebrated one of my favourite holidays one day! Well, the stars aligned (actually it was a Westjet seat sale 😁) and mom & dad decided they were going to see Halloween at Disney and celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary there! And don't feel too bad for my kids that they didn't get to travel with us, they've been to Disneyworld and Disneyland enough times already. 

Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

Today, I thought I would take you on a visual tour of the Halloween decorations, rides and experiences at the Disneyland and California Adventure resorts. The entrance to Disneyland is all decked out in Disney character pumpkins. Whenever I visit the west coast I stay on Eastern Standard Time not only to try and alleviate potential jet lag but also so we can take advantage of early morning activities. It really paid off on our trip to Disneyland. Because our trip was only a few days and we had so much to cram in, we had to visit on a Saturday which would not have been my preference. The crowds at any theme park are at their heaviest on weekends.

The park officially opens at 8 am (PST), meaning that's when the rides commence, but you can get into the park and walk around much earlier. We arrived a little after 7 am, using our hotel's hourly shuttle service. We were able to walk through security and check our tickets with ease. No line ups. 

Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

While the rides are not yet accepting guests, many of the shops and restaurants are! Because we headed out of our hotel early we skipped the complimentary breakfast (which for me really just means copious amounts of tea and coffee) we headed to a breakfast spot right on Main Street, USA called Carnation Cafe. Here we sat outside with a wonderful view of Disney members starting the day and guests filling in the park. 

Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

Next we stopped by the Disneyland City Hall to test out an urban legend I had heard about. Since we were celebrating our 15th anniversary, I wanted to see if we could get free buttons from Disney to commemorate our special day. Guess what? It's true! We were handed, with many congratulations, buttons that said "Happily Ever After" on them. You can get a variety of buttons depending on what you're celebrating (read all about them here)

Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

Wearing the buttons in the park will attract attention from staff and big time celebs like Mickey himself who gave us a little wave. Probably the most famous person I have ever met (or maybe it was the time I met Martha Stewart?) There are many opportunities to see beloved Disney characters through the park and at this time of year they are all in various Halloween costumes. 

Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

The characters were not the only ones wearing Halloween clothing! I made this Hocus Pocus inspired t-shirt from an image I found online. I printed it out on iron transfer paper and bought a baseball style t-shirt from Old Navy. AMH wore his favourite Jack Skellington t-shirt and matching socks! 

Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

There is a wonderful dia de los muertos display, it looks like you're stepping into Coco the movie! Have you seen that one? It was released in 2017 and is just spectacular! Watch the trailer here and then promise me that even if you don't have kids around you'll still see it!

Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

By the time we had our breakfast and did a little wandering, it was finally time to head to the rides! We added MaxPass to our tickets which allowed us to use the Disneyland app on our phones in the park to reserve rides. The first ride I wanted to go on is my favourites ride of all time, The Haunted Mansion! 

It has been taken over this season by Jack Skellington and is like a whole new ride! As soon as I took my last sip of coffee at breakfast, I had our tickets reserved. On our way over we saw there was no line at Pirates of the Caribbean so we made a quick detour to cross that one off our list. No special Halloween items to mention about that ride (although it's still a fun one!).  

Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

Jack is from the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas which is a classic Halloween and Christmas movie all rolled into one! My husband gets all the credit for making this movie a family favourite. He loved the movie when it was first released and he begged me to give it a try. As a teen I was more of a Disney traditionalist (aka I was being stubborn) but I relented and of course loved it right away! 

Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

The combination of Halloween and Christmas decorations can be seen all over the mansion and on the grounds while you're waiting in the queue.
  
Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

I snuck a number of photos while inside the ride. I'm not sure you're supposed to take any photos and while I generally play by the rules, no way was I missing the opportunity to share the ride with y'all! 

Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

This is my favourite scene in The Haunted Mansion, the grand ballroom. There is a dinner set up and the ghosts dance around. They were dancing, you can see their apparitions in the bottom left, and the room was all set up with holiday decorations. 

Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

Did you ever think you'd see a snow covered hill with Jack-o-lanterns on it?

Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

The man of the hour, Jack Skellington and his dog, Zero!

Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

Our next ride was Space Mountain that has been converted to something called Ghost Galaxy for Halloween. Alas, there really wasn't any special signage to photograph. The ride is a fast one and not for the faint of heart. They have added special Halloween lighting, instead of the traditional red and blue, and you encounter many scary (and I mean scary) ghostly projections. 

Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

And what's Halloween without Halloween treats! 

Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

We finished our morning by visiting a few more traditional Disneyland rides. Disneyland's Toontown is always a favourite place to stop (Mickey's house is here!). I spotted a little Halloween balloon here so I'm sharing it, but there isn't anything else Halloween related here. 

Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

We made our way back to Sleeping Beauty's castle by 11 am and then headed over to the other park, California Adventure. 

Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

Which welcomed us with a giant Oogie Boogie who talks! I wasn't expecting that and gave me a little fright at first! (We bought the one day park hopper for our visit which gives you entrance to both parks in California)

headless horseman

Following the crowds (which by now were filling in fast) we found The Headless Horseman statue! 

headless horseman

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is an all time favourite of mine, with Washington Irving being my favourite author! But it's not the Headless Horse that draws me in, it's Ichabod! I can totally relate to being a bookish person who likes to hear scary stories but is then completely terrified by them in the end 😂

Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

If you're ever out anywhere and you want a picture of yourselves, find the nearest millennial and just ask! AMH, in his Jack Skellington gear, and I were taking a selfie beside two young ladies and we offered to take each others photos. We had just visited Carsland for lunch and took two road beers for our travels. 

carsland

Speaking of Carsland, it was totally decked out for Halloween!

carsland

Even the souvenir shops were decorated. 

flo's cafe

Lunch was at Flo's Cafe where we were greeted by a giant car spider. I snapped this photo quickly as many families were using this as a photo op. 

Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

Lunch was burgers and fries and dessert was a tasty candy corn treat and a beer to go! 

Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

The California Grizzly outside Grizzly River Run was all ready to go trick or treating. 

Rides filled up quickly in this park and even having the fastpass option was no help. We rode a few but then decided the park was too crowded for us, plus we opted out of the Mickey's Not So Scary event and the parks would be closing early for that. Just to give you an idea of how full the parks were...

halloween

We headed back to Disneyland Park to make a few purchases on Main Street (I bought a sweater and candies to bring home to the boys, AMH bought a backpack) here is the scene in the afternoon on a Saturday. You just can't believe how full this place gets! This is why I always recommend visiting on a weekday but you have to do what works best for your schedule. 

disneyland
 
Overall, I am really glad that I finally got to see Disneyland in all it's Halloween glory. The decorations, food and themed rides did not disappoint.

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