Last year, my family and I decided to experience the Not-So-Scary-Halloween event at Disneyland. It probably comes as no surprise that Disney outdoes itself on this event. We left with about 30 pounds of candy between the four of us. So, we purchased tickets for the event this year and we showed up at Disneyland on October 8th, prepared to beat our record of 30 pounds.  Take a look at the pictures from the event and see the 8 reasons why this is something you should NOT miss!  Did we break our record of 30 pounds?  Find out below….

8.  THE PRICE – Tickets are about $64 for this event. That is about $30 cheaper than a one-day ticket. With the event starting at 6PM, people are allowed to access the park at 3:00 to start enjoying the rides.  Because Disney only sells a limited number of tickets for this event, the park is busy but not over-crowded. IMG_2538 Wait times at Space Mountain (AKA GHOST GALAXY at Halloween) were between 10-15 minutes.




7. FAMILY VALUES – This is a great family tradition. I have a teen and a pre-teen. Both are now way too cool and important to have their parents take them around the neighborhood for Halloween.  They carve pumpkins with us only because I bribe them.   They help me decorate the yard for trick-or-treaters but only because I guilt them into it.

They really do give away the good stuff!
They really do give away the good stuff!

But Halloween at Disney is another story.  My kids love this and enthusiastically trick-or-treat with us.  Family Pride takes over as we all work together to try to get more candy than the previous year.  Oh – and I let them skip school the next day.




6. ELSA & ANNA’S COSTUME PARADE – I know, right? A Disney parade with Elsa & Anna??  Who woulda thunk it??  These adorable princesses start the parade on their magnificent winter float with Olaf by their side. IMG_2626 They wave to crowd in the beautiful gowns and excite the hearts and minds of the young girls who are in awe of these two magical princesses. Then, things get a little darker. IMG_2566  Many of the villains make an appearance and your favorite Disney characters participate as well (in costume, of course).   Watching this elaborate parade go by will have you wondering “Where in the hell do they store all of this stuff during the rest of the year???”



Me and Cruella.  And my daughter begging like a puppy.
Me and Cruella. And my daughter begging like a puppy.

5. GREAT PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES – If, like me, you have a special place in your cold, dark heart for Disney villains then these Halloween nights are for you.

Don’t expect warm cuddles from this group of miscreants. I dare you to try to get Jafar to laugh – trust me it cannot me done. The nicest thing Cruella DeVille will do is encourage your kids to beg like a dalmation for a picture.



4. PEOPLE WATCHING – A normal day at Disney is ripe for people-watching. These Halloween nights take that to 11. People of all ages dress in elaborate, creative costumes.  Disney normally does not allow people over 9-years-old to wear a costume to the theme parks.  Since this is a separately ticketed event, anyone can wear a costume.  So, the evening is like a coming out party for those Disney fanatics that are normally only allowed to wear a souvenir t-shirt and some ears during the rest of the year.  And it’s not just Disney-themed costumes.  I saw Napoleon Dynamite holding hands with Slutty Snow White.  Katniss from the Hunger Games was hanging out with Oscar the Grouch and a Ghostbuster.

3. THE DECORATIONS – While Disney does decorate the park for the Halloween season, these special Halloween nights are filled with amazing special effects and lighting.

Main Street Train Station
Main Street Train Station

When we arrived on Main Street, there was a circle of about 50 black birds hovering above the train station.  While I THINK this was just a coincidence, I wouldn’t put it past Disney to release these birds, just like doves are released at a wedding.   The Haunted Mansion is decorated to celebrate the Nightmare Before Christmas and the décor will remain through the rest of the year.  The ride itself is actually altered and renamed the Haunted Mansion Holiday.  The original characters and elements of the ride are blended with the characters of Nightmare Before Christmas.  Check out the Naughty and Nice list in the attic to see where your name might be.



2. THE CANDY TRAILS – Peppered throughout the park are over a dozen Trick-or-Treat trails.

This movie was being shown along one of the "candy trails" in the Hall of Presidents
This movie was being shown along one of the “candy trails” in the Hall of Presidents

On each trail, there are about 4-5 stops where Cast Members hand out treats.  Most trails are in a circle so once you get your treats from the last stop, you can get in line again for more candy.  We got about 37 pounds of candy this year – our previous record WAS broken.  Some of that DID include sliced apples and carrots. (I’m assuming Disney wants to also appease THOSE parents who complain about the lack of healthy choices these days.)  However, you only need to tell the Cast Members that you do not want anything healthy and they will gladly give you candy instead. Also, EVERYONE gets to participate without judgment.  You don’t need to worry about a curmudgeonly Cast Member complaining that you look too old to be trick-or-treating and they won’t berate you for not being in costume.  And note: carrying all of that candy is not easy, especially as the evening wears on.  Fortunately, a friend of mine loaned me her double stroller.  Yes, we brought a double stroller that was for the sole purpose of hauling our candy.

IMG_25811. HALLOWEEN SCREAMS FIREWORKS SHOW– This is the best fireworks show I have ever seen at Disneyland. Hosted by Jack Skellington, many of the villains make an appearance. The accompanying music and lights to this show will silence any whiny child. Make sure you have extra diapers or underwear handy because they just might crap their pants as well. IMG_2604  Also, be sure you are in front of the castle for this show – not off to the side, not down Main Street a bit but IN FRONT OF THE CASTLE.  Get to the park, load up on candy and then grab a seat about an hour before the show.  Eat your candy until you hate yourself and before you know it, the show will begin.


If you want to celebrate the Halloween season at Disneyland, be sure to purchase your tickets early. These events DO sell out.  And an evening of screams and trick-or-treating can be exhausting – let Proto Planning help you book your next trip to Disneyland or the Magic Kingdom.  You can spend the night at a hotel and fall into a deep candy coma without worrying about the drive home.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain