If you haven’t yet experienced a Disneyland Halloween, make this the year to enjoy festive twists on popular rides, characters dressed up for the season, special events, and limited-edition food offerings. It’s one of our favorite times of the year to visit.
After a hiatus in 2020, we’re thrilled that favorite activities are back in full force in 2021. You’ll need at least two days to see and eat everything in both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure this fall.
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1. Celebrate with Oogie Boogie After-hours
Tickets are already on sale for Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party. It’s an after-park hours event with fun Halloween activities, trick-or-treating, the “Frightfully Fun Parade,” performances, and more across 25 select nights between September 9 – October 31, 2021 on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays from 6 –11 p.m
Oogie Boogie is the villain in “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Rest assured that he’ll be scaring up fun for all ages across Disney California Adventure. Costumes are welcome (be sure to follow the costume guidelines) and most park areas, including Avengers Campus, will be open during the event.
Some dates are already sold out so act quickly. You need to purchase a separate ticket which will allow you into Disney California Adventure park three hours before the event’s start. (Location: Disney California Adventure) Costu
2. Eat ALL of the Disneyland Halloween-themed Food
There is so much of it. Food alone is a reason to enjoy a Disneyland Halloween.
Fill your Instagram feed with these frightful treats. For the full “scoop” see the list of 2019 Disneyland Halloween food (2021 eats TBD) including more seasonal churro variations than one can eat in a week. (Location: Both Parks)
3. Main Street Pumpkin Festival
The Mickey Mouse-inspired jack-o-lantern awaits visitors on Main Street, U.S.A. and will add some Halloween fun to your family album or Instagram feed. But along the street, you’ll also find many other creatively carved pumpkins in storefronts.
Guests will also see pumpkin statues representing Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland, Critter Country and Frontierland in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle, surrounding the Partners Statue. (Location: Disneyland)
4. See the Haunted Mansion in Scarier Form
During the Halloween season, the Haunted Mansion changes to a Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas theme that is extra spooky and cool. Upon exiting your Haunted Mansion “doom buggy” be sure to say hi to Jack Skellington and Sally nearby in New Orleans Square.
Having marked its 50th anniversary, the Haunted Mansion attraction is sure to delight guests of all ages. This year the Haunted Mansion Holiday, celebrating its 20th anniversary, will feature a make-over of the estate.
Fans will still look forward to seeing the massive annual gingerbread house on the ballroom table. Fun fact: In 2019, it was made out of 30 lbs of gingerbread, three gallons of egg whites, 120 pounds of frosting and icing, 75 pounds of confectioner’s sugar, 140 pounds of fondant, and more. (Location: Disneyland)
5. Celebrate the Dead (Through November 2)
Dia de los Muertos festivities occur at Paradise Gardens Park during Plaza de la Familia with a Coco theme, from Sept. 3 – November 2, 2021.
“A Musical Celebration of Coco” brings together traveling Storytellers of Plaza de la Familia several times per day for a festive performance featuring songs from the movie, singing host Mateo, the Grammy® Award-winning Mariachi Divas, and authentic folklórico dancers. (Location: Disney California Adventure)
6. Take a Photo with Favorite Characters in Costume
Your favorite characters will be in different costumes depending on which park you’re in. They’ll be close enough for photos and waves.
You’ll find Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Daisy, Donald, and others picture-ready along Buena Vista Street in old-fashioned costumes.
Across the way at Disneyland, Minnie is dressed up as a witch, Donald Duck is dressed up as a pumpkin, and others in their Halloween best.
(Location: Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks.)
7. Visit Radiator Screams
All of Cars Land gets a Haul-O-Ween makeover. Lightning McQueen and friends dress up to get ready for trunk-or-treating.
Mater, of course, is dressed up like a van-pire. Cruz Ramirez, Red the Fire Truck and DJ will get dressed up as a pirate, a clown and a punk rocker, respectively. And, Lightning McQueen hits the road as a superhero.
Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree transforms to Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree and Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters becomes Luigi’s Honkin’ Haul-O-Ween.
(Location: Disney California Adventure)
8. Halloween Screams
Every night from September 3 – October 31, enjoy Halloween Screams evening projection and special effects show. On weekends, the show will be accompanied by fireworks.
The best places to view the show are at Sleeping Beauty Castle, near “it’s a small world” and on Main Street, U.S.A.(Location: Disneyland)
9. Dine Under Frightfully-Fun Decorations
A Disneyland Halloween dining highlight decoration-wise includes the spooky spider car inside Flo’s V8 Café in Cars Land. But wait until you see the special Halloween food.
You will no doubt need to rely on mobile ordering through the Disneyland app so be sure to have it downloaded. (Location: Disney California Adventure)
10. Ride Monsters After Dark
The Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! thrill ride transitions to Monsters After Dark during Disneyland Halloween. Guests will join Rocket in rescuing Groot from the monsters inside the eerily-lit Fortress. (Location: Disney California Adventure)
11. Look for the Headless Horseman
With his jack-o-lantern in hand, the 10-foot headless horseman greets guests on Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure. (Location: Disney California Adventure)
12. Enter Under Oogie Boogie
Oogie Boogie’s quest for a forever Halloween is inspired by Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. Walk under his oversized silhouette to enter Disney California Adventure park check out the swarm of bats summoned by him around Cathay Circle Restaurant and Lounge. (Location: Disney California Adventure)
13. Stay Overnight at Disneyland Resort Hotels
I’m a big fan of spending the night after a long day at Disneyland. It’s a lot of walking plus now that my daughter and her friends are older, they can return to the hotel on their own (if it’s on the resort or really nearby).
The most convenient is Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. The hotel’s exclusive entrance to Disney California Adventure park proves extra handy since most of the Halloween festivities occur in this park, including the evening Oogie Boogie Bash.
Guests of all three hotels will enjoy special trick-or-treat festivities on select dates in addition to the other benefits of staying at Disneyland Resort Hotels. (Location: Disneyland Resort Hotels)
14. Take Home Seasonal Souvenirs
No costume? No problem. Load up on Halloween-themed Disney gear to wear in the parks or at home.
Pictured above is last year’s Oogie Boogie Bash headband. Expect plenty of seasonal merchandise ranging from pins to T-shirts. (Location: Throughout Disneyland Resort)
15. Pumpkins, Treats and Souvenirs in Downtown Disney
Another place to find seasonal treats and fun Halloween souvenirs is Downtown Disney. Guests can also look forward to an all-new Halloween-themed pumpkin hunt, Pluto’s Pumpkin Pursuit. (Location: Downtown Disney)
Buy Disneyland Discount Tickets
As someone who helps people plan Southern California family vacations, I can tell you that it’s possible to purchase Disneyland discount tickets from authorized sellers legitimately.
See also: 10 Reasons to Visit Disneyland Resort During the Holidays
Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).
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