Updated: Sep 22, 2017
As a SoCal local I remember the first Disneyland Halloween Time. We got our two year old son all dressed up in his halloween Mickey costume, packed all of those two year old supplies and headed up the 5 freeway. He wasn't sure what all the fuss was about and looked quite bored with the whole thing during drive. After the thirty minute commute, we pulled into the main parking lot (no California Adventure yet,) jogged over a few character names to get a little closer to the main entrance and parked. With gleeful excitement we turned around to exclaim, “We’re Here!” By this time it was past our little guys bedtime, and judging by the snoring any Halloween Time family festivities would have to wait.
With the success of Knott's Halloween Haunt, Disney reluctantly entered the spook-tac-ular season of ghosts and apparitions back in 1995. After all, Halloween fright didn't exactly jive with Walt's sixty year old headline "The Happiest Place on Earth." Since Mickey donned that first not-so-scary Halloween costume, the month of October has grown into a major holiday opportunity for Disney, complete with extensive Halloween orange and black decorations, spooky Halloween overlays at Space Mountain - Ghost Galaxy and Haunted Mansion Holiday as well as Halloween characters like the Headless Horseman.
Since any Disney fan already knows what spooky surprises your goblins will encounter at Disneyland park, this blog post will focus on California Adventure as this is the first year Halloween Time officially casts a spell on the Disneyland Resort's second park. That doesn’t mean all you will see are a few more jack-o-lanterns scattered about, no far from it. Halloween Time theming has become serious business at Disneyland for 22 years. With its success, it’s only natural California Adventure join in on the scar-fair.
Buena Vista Street
Your fright-night-fun begins as you pass through the turnstiles but, guests beware! ... That ominous boogeyman, Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas is watching you.
As you enter the park and walk passed the Red Trolly Car station, guests will immediately be immersed in the Halloween spirit with ghoulishly decorated storefronts and window displays. Don't be alarmed if you hear flocks of flapping bats overhead scurrying down Buena Vista Street toward Cars Land. Bats that Mr. Boogie has mischievously unleashed upon unsuspecting guests. Once your crew reaches the Carthay Circle Theatre be sure to look up. Yep, more bats can be seen darting in and around the Carthay bell tower adding to the creepiness essential to a Halloween night out.
For that perfect group photo, there's a ten-foot statue of the Headless Horseman hoisting his own jack-o-lantern head high in the sky.
Watch for Mickey, Goofy and other Disney characters along Buena Vista Street who will be dressed up for the occasion and posing for photos.
"Cars Land Haul-O-Ween"
Cars Land becomes "Cars Land Haul-O-Ween." Guests visiting for Haul-O-Ween will be greeted by newcomer Scary the Scar Car for a quick photo-op. Scary is always up for some photo fun on fright-night with a emphasis on fun so you need not be concerned for the little ones.
As guests stroll down Route 66, you'll be treated with specially themed Halloween decorations on all the local businesses store fronts. However, dusk is when Cars Land puts the magic in magical. As day turns to night, music begins to blast throughout the land and the nightly light show begins only with a Halloween flair.
Joining in the Halloween Time fun, Mater's Junkyard Jamboree transforms into Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree with new music fit for a ghost including “Monster Truck Smash” and that graveyard favorite, “Welcome to Radiator Screams!”
Luigi's Rollickin’ Roadsters gets in on the action with Luigi’s Honkin’ Haul-O-Ween, with some new Halloween dance moves to Italian hits like 'Terror-antelle," and "The Chop Top Carsoli."
Not to be outdone, Cars residents will be all dressed up in their Halloween "Car-Stumes" led by Mater in his "van-pire-stume". Always cast in movies as the leading car, Lightning McQueen gets dressed up as, of course, a super hero.
Jack-Oil-Lanterns, folk art from the other side, and Spider-Car spinning her web all over Flo's V8 Cafe, Cars Land will certainly be a hit with your ghosts and goblins this year.
Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark
As night falls over California Adventure, the Collectors Fortress goes black-out but why? Alarms begin blaring out across the promenade, when the Fortress suddenly lights up but with twist. The strange lighting is alarming alerting guests something isn't quite right inside the Fortress.
Guests reluctantly file in to the Fortress lobby on edge from all of the chaos caused something, but what? As confusion grips your group, you realize some of the captured creatures have escaped their cages and are now roaming the free throughout the Fortress. With colorful light strobes flashing, illuminated warning signs radiating their ominous messages and the disorienting sounds of screeching alarms filling the air, it's a confusing, chaotic scene. No one knows exactly what to expect next. Even Apheta, the Collectors trusted aide and side-kick can't restore calm as the situation continues to spiral out of control while punk rock song "Monsters After Dark" blasts away adding to the chaos.
Halloween Time Dining at California Adventure
Guests will enjoy Halloween-themed food, sweet treats and ghostly beverages available throughout the park including:
Bat Wing Raspberry Sundae at Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream – White chocolate-raspberry swirl ice cream with raspberry splatter, blood-red sprinkles, whipped cream and bat wing cookie
Spider Silk Ice Cream Sandwich at Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream – Black macaron with charcoal-tart cherry spun ice cream topped with popping candy and drops of raspberry sauce
Sleepy Hollow Cupcake served at Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe – Red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting, raspberry drizzle and Headless Horseman chocolate decoration
Green Apple Spell Lemonade at Smokejumpers Grill – Lemonade, green apple syrup and cherry drops
Monstermallow Donut Schmoozies – Flaky, croissant donut in the shape of Mike Wazowski from “Monster, Inc.,” filled with marshmallow cream;
“Ghost”-ly Pepper Nachos served at the Cove Bar – Ghost pepper-marinated flank steak with green tortilla chips, topped with ghost pepper cheese sauce, black beans and avocado-tomatillo salsa
Pumpkin Raisin Bread Pudding and Anchor Blood Orange Blondie available at the Pacific Wharf Café
Slow Burnin’ Mac & Cheese Cone served at the Cozy Cone Motel - Fresh-cooked pasta with spicy red pepper cheese sauce, served in a Black Cauldron Cone and topped with crushed chile-cheese puffs
Car-achnid Pot Pie (Flo’s V8 Café) – Chicken pot pie with dried cranberries and butter-crust spider
Purple, green and orange-colored Churros, Mickey Bat Cookies and Candy Corn Cotton Candy