Your Guide to Halloween Time at Disneyland with Kids

Disneyland Resort

Lots of insider tips await

School is finally back in session and that means the fall season has arrived. While the weather may not have gotten the message in Southern California, there’s no time like Halloween Time to visit the Happiest Place on Earth.

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From Sept. 2 through Oct. 31, Disneyland Resort and Disney California Adventure have been transformed into a fall-themed extravaganza with decorations, ride overlays and a brand new menu. We hit up the parks on the first day of the fall celebration and got all the insider details you need to make your visit the most festive yet.

Halloween Time Attractions & Experiences

Disneyland Resort

A trip to Disney requires advance planning so before you head out, take inventory of what attractions and experiences are the most important to your family. If the Haunted Mansion Holiday (with it's Nightmare Before Christmas overlay) is a must, consider a rope drop (where you arrive at the park and are some of the first to enter) to make sure you don't get stuck in a huge line. Instead of trying to hit up every single ride, picking a few experiences will let you enjoy your day more and give everyone a win. We talked to Carrie at Plan Disney who shared this amazing resource where parents can submit questions and receive expert tips and advice on planning their trip.

In addition to the Haunted Mansion Holiday attraction, we highly recommend checking out the Halloween Screams nighttime spectacular. While the fireworks portion of the experience is only available on weekends, visitors can still catch the projections on weekdays. Carrie from Plan Disney recommends catching this show closer to it's a small world, where there's more room for kiddos to let the wiggles out instead of being shoulder to shoulder in other viewing areas.

Insider Tip: Plan lots of breaks in your day where you can rest and beat the heat. While it's technically "fall" at the parks, Southern California is known for autumn heat waves. We recommend hitting up it's a small world, the Star Wars Launch Bay and the Animation Academy at Disney California Adventure to soak in some much-needed AC.

Fall Menu Items at Disneyland & Disney California Adventure

Karly Wood

There's food and then there's Disney food––and you don't want to miss the new fall menu items on your visit. In addition to options like spicy mac and cheese and ghost pepper nachos, there are plenty of fall-themed items like Oogie Boogie Funnel Cake Fries, pumpkin spice churros, Monster Halloween cake and a blood orange slush. We highly suggest checking out the foodie guide and mapping out your must-haves before heading to the park.

This year's popcorn bucket is a glow in the dark Mickey Mummy that is bound to be the envy of every park attendee, in addition to a Donald Duck sipper.

Finally, we cannot recommend mobile ordering enough. If it is an option at your dining location of choice, exercise it to keep your hungry kids at bay. 

Insider tip: You can place all your mobile orders at the start of the day once entering the park so your meals are taken care of. If you wait too long, time slots will be not available and you might have to wait hours to pick up your food.

Plaza de la Familia at Disney California Adventure

Karly Wood

Returning this year is the Plaza de la Familia in Paradise Gardens at Disney California Adventure. This special area commemorates Dia de Los Muertos, a holiday of joyful celebration remembering family and friends who have passed away. It runs from Sept. 2 through Nov. 2.

This is a great place to see Coco come to life, with beautiful interactive experiences, special food and live entertainment. Several times a day you can catch the street show, “A Musical Celebration of Coco,” and sing your heart out to “Remember Me.”

This location is the perfect spot to also grab some amazing photos at the memory wall, see the Árbol de la Vida (Tree of Life) and snap a picture with Miguel.

Insider tip: The Plaza is a great place to sit and recharge. It's heavily shaded, right next to lots of food options and has a great craft section for kids. When you need a break, head here!

Halloween at Disney California Adventure

Karly Wood

Disney California Adventure is equally transformed during the fall season. While the theme is more on the spooky side with lots of bats and Oogie Boogie displays, it's just as enchanting for families. Don't miss the 10-foot tall Headless Horeseman on Buena Vista Street and the vintage Halloween costumes the Disney characters are wearing.

Be sure to head to Cars Land to see Radiator Springs transformed into Radiator Screams, Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree and Luigi’s Honkin’ Haul-O-Ween. Also, keep an eye out for Lightning McQueen, Mater, Cruz and Red in their best “car-stumes!”

And finally, once it gets dark, don't forget to head to Guardians of the Galaxy- Monsters After Dark. This ride is the only one that guests can ride twice in one day and have completely different experiences thanks to its evening transformation!

Insider tip: If your family plans on riding Guardians of the Galaxy- Monsters After Dark, we highly encourage a Lightning Lane pass. This line for this attraction can get long quickly and you don't want to waste your evening!


Note: This trip was paid for by Disneyland Resort but all opinions expressed here belong to the writer. 


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