The happiest place on Earth. Where dreams are made of. Where adults can be kids again. These are all synonymous with visiting the most magical place in the world. Disney has several parks throughout the world, but the California and Florida locations are the premiere destinations. Disney World and Disneyland are some of the most visited vacation destinations in the world and with great reason. Disney does a fantastic job of giving visitors everything they want when it comes to their favorite childhood characters. But Disney cranks it up several notches when the holidays come around. For the major holiday seasons, the park transforms itself from a magical place to one of unimaginable wonder and delight.
During the fall season, Disney changes course and goes all out for the Halloween holiday. As we transition from sunny beaches to falling leaves and rainier weather, Disney parks everywhere also start to change their tune. During the Halloween season, the parks take on a spookier theme, while still being family friendly for the little ones. The holiday takes on a life of its own on the park grounds and becomes the central focus of just about every ride, stage show, dance performance and even the food. Here are ten photos of Disney taking it to the next level during Halloween and another ten to avoid it during the fall.
20 NEXT LEVEL FUN: Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
During the fall season, starting from mid-August through Halloween night, Disney World introduces their Halloween themed event on select nights called Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party. This holiday event takes place on certain nights which typically include weekends and requires its own separate ticket purchase
. For those who attend, they are treated to a giant extravaganza centered on the spooky holiday in which the entire park transforms into a Halloween party unlike any in the world!
19 AVOID IT: The Park Can Get Very Busy
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween has a capped number of tickets for sale and is a limited event taking place only on certain nights during the fall season.
This means the demand to get into the park for the Halloween extravaganza is sky high. Expect for the park to be packed so patience is a must. If the Halloween themed events aren’t a must see, make sure to buy a regular ticket for the standard park hours and events to avoid the madness.
18 NEXT LEVEL FUN: Seasonal Fall Food Is Sold
Fall is one of the most beloved of all of the seasons for a variety of reasons. The weather, the beautiful orange and brown leaves covering the streets and most of all, the food!
Pumpkin pies, turkey, apple cider, and pumpkin-spiced anything all get love when it comes to popular dishes during the fall. Disney plays off our love for the season’s best foods and makes sure to serve them and all their deliciousness throughout the entire park!
17 AVOID IT: The Price Can Get Pretty High For the Value
Disney is already expensive as it is. Planning a vacation to the park is practically a financial investment. Well, you’ll have to fork over a decent chunk of change to attend the Halloween themed bash. At right over $80 an adult per ticket, the price tag is quite hefty. Bear in mind this ticket is only for entry on that particular calendar day which provides access into the event that is limited to one evening.
That’s a fairly big price tag, especially if an entire family is planning to attend.
16 NEXT LEVEL FUN: Everyone Gets to Dress Up
Disney temporarily changes its rules on dressing up and wearing costumes during the Halloween season. Typically anyone over the age of thirteen is prohibited from dressing up or wearing anything that resembles a costume. For those attending the fall extravaganzas, all bets are off and everyone gets to join in on the fun.
Of course there are some strict guidelines since it is, after all, a family friendly place. But this rule change really does wonders for the look and feel of the park during the evening as guests get to enjoy one another’s creativity and spooky looks, sometimes even blending in as if they are part of the shows!
15 AVOID IT: Trick Or Treating Is Great, But They Kind of Skimp on the Candy
Throughout the fall season, those who attend the Halloween events are treated to a nightly allowance of Trick or Treating activities. Guests are even provided with a complimentary bag to gather their sweets as they visit different shops and rides.
This is an awesome added detail that makes guests feel like they are participating in Halloween, but the truth is they sometimes skimp on the candy. It is not uncommon for each location to give you one bite-sized piece so your total haul can look really underwhelming by the end of the night unless you visit as many attractions as possible.
14 NEXT LEVEL FUN: Epcot International Food and HalloWine Festival
This event isn’t limited to the Halloween party, but is instead held in a different Disney park throughout the entire fall season. Held in the more adult-oriented Epcot park, the International Food and HalloWine Festival is a nearly three-month seasonal event that focuses on serving guests fall foods and a large variety of wine selections.
The festival is definitely an event that caters to adults and can sometimes feel like a legitimate party so make sure to leave the kids at home for this one!
13 AVOID IT: Seasonal Merchandise is Limited and Goes Fast
Disney always does a fantastic job of offering merchandise that is specific to the current holiday season which can include any number of items with a Halloween twist. This includes everything sold in the parks like clothes, mugs, home décor, accessories, gift shop items and more. This means the entire park’s merchandise items are updated with a fall feel, but only a limited amount are sold.
These are hot ticket items and they sell out fast. For those looking to add to their Disney memorabilia, they have to move quickly as it won’t last long at all!
12 NEXT LEVEL FUN: The Decorations and Music
Perhaps one of the best updates to the park during the fall season is the look and sound of Disney. Disney is known for never sparing any expense and putting an incredible amount of detail into each idea and theme.
The parks are updated with a Halloween look throughout including pumpkins carved in the shape of Disney characters, scarecrows, spider webs, scary animals and the whole park lit up in purple, green and orange, giving it a spooky feel. The music added in the background is Halloween themed, a change from the famous music found in Disney movies that is heard throughout most of the year.
11 AVOID IT: It’s Only Five Hours
The price to get in is high and the ticket is limited to select evenings during the fall which starts at 7PM. The park closes at midnight so this means your ticket is good for five hours.
Purchasers of the Halloween event get to enter the park three hours before the start, so technically it’s eight hours, but bear in mind activities specific to Halloween don’t start until the evening. That’s a big price tag for five hours compared to the standard ticket which sometimes lets guests have fun for up to 16 hours in a day.
10 NEXT LEVEL FUN: The Villains Come Out to Play!
Meet and greets with Disney characters take place throughout the entire year which often results in some of the longest lines of any attraction with patrons eager to take a photo with their favorite childhood friends.
During Halloween, the regulars are replaced with some rare characters that become the stars for select nights. Disney villains like Cruella de Vil, Jafar and the Queen of Hearts come out to play and are always a hit.
9 AVOID IT: Seasonal Attractions Have Insane Wait Times
Those limited and rare villainous characters that were mentioned in the previous entry are a big hit. This means the demand to see them is off the charts so wait times to get a photo op with them can get out of hand, sometimes resulting in hours.
Unless you absolutely need to see Captain Jack Sparrow or the bad guys in Monsters, Inc. you might want to skip the seasonal attractions, because, let's face it, when you have 5 hours in total you don't want to spend 3 of them in line.
8 NEXT LEVEL FUN: Boo To You Halloween Parade
One of the highlights of the entire nightly events is the Boo to You Halloween Parade. The parade takes place twice in the evening with the kick off marked by the headless horseman galloping through the cobbled streets on a real horse followed by the rest of the character floats all decked out in Halloween themed décor.
The parade is a hit with tens of thousands lining up along the street ready to get a view of the songs, characters, floats, dance performers, and bands passing by. It often feels like a giant party for everyone involved!
7 AVOID IT: The In-Park Upgrades Can Get Expensive
Some of the upgrades and add-ons available to park attendees during the Halloween season are great including entry into limited event performances, merchandise, fast passes and more.
On top of already paying for the entry into the park, these extras cost more which can make for a very expensive evening, sometimes resulting in well over $100 per person. Sometimes it’s best to pass on the upgrades unless it’s something you have been itching to see.
6 NEXT LEVEL FUN: Happy HalloWishes Fireworks
Disney is well known for the fireworks display it treats its guests to on a nightly basis. It’s one of the most sought-after and beloved events of the park. There’s no better way to finish a fun day at Disney than enjoying the beautiful display of lights capping off the night, as they dance and shimmer to the tune of the music.
During the fall season, the nightly fireworks are given a slightly different feel with more orange and purples included, and some surprise twists added to awe patrons.
5 AVOID IT: It’s Still Pretty Hot
This one is more limited to the park you are invited. If you are in California, the weather stays pretty consistent year round so it’s somewhat muted, but if you’re heading to Disney World in Orlando, it’s no secret that Florida is still fairly hot during all of August and September and even parts of October.
The seasonal Halloween events actually start in mid-August so be prepared to contend with some warmer temperatures while dressed up in your costumes. The heat also makes for some fairly agitated and sometimes tired children.
4 NEXT LEVEL FUN: Coco Is Now Part of the Festivities
Disney Pixar’s massive box office hit Coco will always play a big role in the Halloween festivities moving forward. Proving to be a force in theatres, its popularity makes the movie a fan favorite and its theme is perfect for the Halloween celebrations.
Coco’s Dia de los Muertos theme, otherwise known as the Day of the Dead, will be incorporated throughout the parks moving forward, adding to the spectacular look and feel of the park’s decorations.
3 AVOID IT: The Rides Don’t Actually Change Much
Despite all of Disney’s attempts to account for every detail, sometimes they fall short. Disney promotes the changes they make to their rides during the fall season with added spooky decorations and small upgrades to their normal attractions. However, if you've been on the rides before, it's not going to be revolutionary by any means.
It’s a great touch, but ultimately, they don’t add much to the ride itself and the long lines simply don’t make it worth it.
2 NEXT LEVEL FUN: Trick Or Treat Festivities
Halloween is all about Trick Or Treating and patrons won’t miss out on this essential activity when visiting Disney. Although it has its minor setbacks, allowing all guests to dress up and Trick or Treat throughout the park is fantastic touch.
Children decked out in their costumes sometimes even forget about the attractions and are focused on racing from one stop to another enjoying the essence of Halloween!
1 AVOID IT: The Holiday Special for Christmas Might Be the More Worthwhile Ticket for the Value
The Halloween extravaganza that Disney puts on is fantastic and definitely worth it in the end. It should come as no surprise that the pros definitely outweigh the cons, especially if Halloween is your favorite holiday. The truth is that all of the family is bound to have fun, but if the value for a holiday event is important, the Christmas specials are probably the more worthwhile ticket to purchase when it comes to bang for your buck.
That’s for an entirely different write-up, but it’s definitely one of Disney’s highlights of the year!