Disney Parks: Halloween events without the screams
During the Halloween season, parks such as Universal Studios and Knott’s Berry Farm transform their midways into hellish landscapes with blood-splattered mazes designed to invoke terror. The Disney theme parks, however, celebrate the spooky season with nary a drop of blood.
Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort, which runs from mid-September through the end of October, is expanding the G-rated fun in its Disney California Adventure park this year. Cars Land, which is inspired by the Pixar films, gets a “Haul-O-Ween” overlay. Lightning McQueen and the other anthropomorphic autos who greet guests along Route 66 are decked out in, ahem, “car-stumes” (Disney’s punsters were apparently working overtime on this event). The land’s rides, shops, and eateries also get into the spirit of the season with cars-centric décor and themeing.
The park pays tribute to the Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos, with music, dancing, and displays in Cars Land and elsewhere. Disneyland Park also marks the Day of the Dead.
The former Tower of Terror, which got a Marvel makeover with a Guardians of the Galaxy theme earlier this year, is transformed yet again for Halloween Time. When nighttime falls, riders can experience Monsters After Dark aboard the drop tower attraction. The elevator-gone-haywire ride still features Groot, Rocket Racoon, and the rest of the Guardians gang, and it still delivers gut-wrenching falls and rises. But it incorporates a different, creepier story and includes new scenes.
Buena Vista Street, the retro boulevard at the front of the park, is decked out for the fall holiday. Disney’s classic characters, outfitted in Halloween costumes, are on hand in the area.
Mickey and his buddies are also dressed in seasonal garb across the plaza at Disneyland Park. The Haunted Mansion, which is spooky year round, gets an extra dose of dread. The characters from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmasmake their annual appearance and transform the classic attraction into Haunted Mansion Holiday. (The Halloween-Christmas mashup will continue straight through to early January.) Another Disneyland standard gets tricked out again for the season as supernatural specters threaten the cosmos in Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy.
On select nights, Disneyland is presenting Mickey’s Halloween Party. The separate-ticket event includes the Frightfully Fun Parade and trick-or-treat stations complete with candy. Halloween Screams Fireworks, which includes projections onto Sleeping Beauty Castle as well as pyrotechnics, are also part of the special party.
Across the country at Florida’s Disney World, the Magic Kingdom is also presenting its version of the separate-admission fall event, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party on select nights through November 1. Along with Disneyland’s Halloween party and the Magic Kingdom’s Christmas party, this is the only time that the Disney theme parks allow adults as well as children to enter their gates in costume. They impose many restrictions, however, so would-be Captain Hooks and Cinderellas should check the parks’ rules.
Disney World’s event is also distributing trick-or-treat candy and presenting its own fireworks show, Happy HalloWishes. A ghoulish foursome, the Cadaver Dans (based on the park’s popular Dapper Dans barbershop quartet), perform at the party. Floats and performers representing the Haunted Mansion, the evil queen from Snow White, and other macabre malcontents proceed down Main Street U.S.A. as part of Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parade.
One of the highlights of the Magic Kingdom party is Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular, a stage show presented in front of the park’s castle. It features characters from Disney’s live-action film, Hocus Pocus, as well as villains such as Maleficent.
Many of the park’s most popular attractions are open during the Halloween party, including Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and, of course, the Haunted Mansion. Unlike Disneyland, Florida’s ride does not get a seasonal makeover. Despite its sinister-sounding premise, the beloved Haunted Mansion is also not so scary.