How the Disneyland Resort celebrated the Halloween season this year

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Disneyland celebrates Halloween with spooky decorations and rides. Photo by Kaitlin Agnew.

Less than a 5-hour drive from UNLV is the Disneyland Resort, The Happiest Place on Earth. Halloween and Christmas are the two biggest times of year for the Resort, so both Disneyland and California Adventure are completely decked out for the holidays. From Sept. 1 to Oct. 31, the Halloween decorations go up in both parks and Oogie Boogie Bash at California Adventure Park begins. 

The most notable decoration at Disneyland is the giant Mickey pumpkin that greets guests on Main Street USA after entering the park. All of the lamp posts on the street have pumpkins and Halloween garlands as well. One of the lands in the park, Frontierland, puts orange lights on all of the shrubbery and celebrates Dia De Los Muertos with skeleton figures, an ofrenda and marigold flowers surrounding it all. Guests can also meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Daisy and Pluto in their seasonal Halloween outfits around both parks.

Disneyland Park also has an array of food to celebrate the season. Some offerings are pumpkin funnel cake, blood orange slushies, bat cookies and pumpkin spice beignets. Another fun one is the simple gray stuff from Beauty and the Beast but rethemed to grave stuff for the holiday. But of course, the parks are best known for their churros. Nearly every cart in both parks has a different specialty churro for Halloween, and some even have fun themed sauces to go with them. Some names for the churros are trick or treat, Maleficent, candy corn, Oogie Boogie and the Halloween lollipop churro. The most interesting sauce is the sweet potato churro sauceThe popular ride “Haunted Mansion” also gets rethemed to “Haunted Mansion Holiday.” This layover stays from Halloween time to the end of the Christmas season and it is quite popular. 

Lastly, Disneyland also has a nighttime spectacular for the season titled “Halloween Screams” which includes popular songs by the Disney villains. Some examples are Cruelle De Vil from 101 Dalmations and Pink Elephants on Parade from Dumbo.

The main event for the Disneyland Resort though is their after hours Halloween party, Oogie Boogie Bash held at California Adventure Park. This event debuted in 2019 and is known for selling out within the first few hours the queue to purchase tickets is open. This year, ticket prices ranged from $134 to $189. The ticket gets you into the party that lasts from 6 to 11 p.m. Along with that, guests can enter California Adventure at 3 p.m. to enjoy the park before it transforms for Halloween. 

Oogie Boogie Bash has rare Disney character sightings, treat trails, a Frightfully Fun Parade, themed merchandise and has every ride in the park open with little to no wait times. One ride at California Adventure, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout, transforms into Monsters After Dark for guests to ride it with a spooky twist. 

The treat trails include cast members handing out handfuls of candy to everyone while a Disney villain is standing and interacting with people in line. Ernesto De La Cruz from Coco was one of the characters, and he would have performances of “Remember Me” throughout the night. Oogie Boogie, Mother Gothel, Cruella, Sid, Agatha Harkness, Yokai, Madam Mim, and Judge Doom are some of the other characters meeting throughout the night. Yokai from “Big Hero 6” and Judge Doom from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” were two characters who showed up for the first time at this event. Student Ryan Benson was in attendance at Oogie Boogie Bash on Sept. 12 and states his favorite part of the party was, “Seeing Ernesto De La Cruz, because he is not seen around anywhere else, and he is in my favorite Disney movie.”

There are also characters you can get in line to meet at the after-hours parties. These specific characters are ones who are not usually in the parks during normal hours. At Oogie Boogie Bash, people could meet Minnie, Daisy and Clarabelle dressed as the Sanderson Sisters, Prince Hans from “Frozen,” Lotso from “Toy Story,” Russell and Carl from “Up,” and Captain Hook from “Peter Pan.” 

Lastly, the Frightfully Fun Parade had two showings throughout the night, one at 7:30 p.m. and one at 10 p.m. The parade has its own theme song and includes a “Nightmare before Christmas” and “Haunted Mansion” float. Other villains like Ursula, Cheshire Cat and Dr. Facilier are also seen dancing down the parade route and waving at guests.

While the price points are high for Disneyland and after-hours events, guests get what they pay for and really enjoy the offerings.

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