The Disney Parks are currently in the height of their Halloween Time offerings. One of the biggest offerings at the Disneyland Resort during this time is the separate hard-ticket event called “Mickey’s Halloween Party” We had the chance to visit the resort in October of 2010 and attend the Halloween party on one evening. With this post I would like to share our experience at the party and whether or not we felt like foolish mortals to pay the additional cost and attend the party.
Mickey’s Halloween Party is held on select nights throughout Halloween Time in late September and all of October at the Disneyland Park. On these nights the park closes early to regular day guests and is open to only those who have paid the extra $70-$80 to attend the event. While the parties usually begin at 6 or 7 pm, those with a ticket to the party can enter the park 3 hours before the party begins.
During Halloween Time the park is decked out with hundreds of carved pumpkins, orange bunting, the famous giant, smiling, pumpkin Mickey head in town square and many other festive decorations. There are also a few overlays on some attractions to give them a seasonal flair. The Haunted Mansion is decorated to the hilt with a Nightmare Before Christmas overlay (this overlay is so expansive that the Haunted Mansion basically become a new attraction), and Space Mountain is converted into Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy. All of these offerings are available to day guests and party-goers alike. In addition to this, those who are attending the party get the following benefits:
- Trick-or-treating on special trails in the park (including the adults)
- Wearing costumes (including the adults)
- More decorations and effects
- When we attended in 2010 there was a Halloween Cavalcade but that has been suspended this year in favor of the new Paint the Night parade
- The incredible Halloween Screams fireworks show
- Special meet-and-greets and photo spots (Disney Villains have a larger presence on these nights)
- Special Food and Merchandise
When I planned our trip in 2010 during Halloween Time I almost felt that I would be foolish NOT to attend the party since we would be there anyway and I thought it would be cool to say that we had trick-or-treated in Disneyland. At that time the tickets were a little more reasonably priced at around $50 per ticket and we “only” needed 5 tickets as our youngest at the time was under 2. So for $250 we attended the party.
So what was our impression of the party? What follows is a quick list of what I consider to be the biggest pros and cons of attending the party.
While my wife and I aren’t big into dressing up, it was fun to have the kids dressed up in costume and enjoying the Halloween atmosphere. The highlight here probably being the chance my son had to be picked at the Jedi Training Academy while wearing his Anakin Skywalker costume. It was fun to see mini-Anakin have a light saber duel with his larger, evil self, Darth Vader.
Trick-or-treating was fun for a short period of time. In that time we did all end up with a ton of candy. However, the lines were long and there wasn’t much variety in the treats that were provided. I guess that makes it both a pro and a con.
The ambiance was a lot of fun. From the Mickey ghosts all around and people in costume to the eerie fog and lighting effects on the Rivers of America and lighting on the Castle and the Main Street buildings the park really provided an immersive Halloween experience.
Extra meet-and-greets and photo ops. While we enjoy them if the lines aren’t long, my family is not too big on meet-and-greets. However, the additional photo-ops were a fun way to make and record memories. For example, the kids had a great time interacting with Jack Sparrow and still talk about it today.
The Halloween Screams fireworks were astounding! With the exception of possibly the Disneyland Forever fireworks (which I have yet to see), I would say that the Halloween Screams fireworks display is the most impressive and entertaining fireworks show that I’ve seen at a Disney Park and the only way you can see this fireworks show is by attending the party. It is not run on other nights. I remember commenting at the time that the fireworks alone, for me, were almost worth the price of admission.
The cons for us basically came down to two things, crowds and cost. While the party is advertised as having a limited number of people admitted to the park, it felt to us extremely crowded, much more so than the park was earlier in the day before the party started. The trick-or-treat lines were packed and the park itself, with its “creepy” ambiance, seemed darker. During the party we were much more worried about losing our children in the throng. Regarding the cost, when it was all said and done we didn’t really feel we got our money’s worth from the party. As stated before, many of the Halloween offerings are there for the day guest as well and it seems we could have enjoyed ourselves almost as much by just heading over to DCA when the party started and maybe spending a small portion of that $250 on extra treats or souvenirs.
So is Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland worth it for a large family with small kids on a budget? While we did have a good time, I think my vote on this one would have to be no. Especially with the large increase in ticket prices without really any increase in offerings since we attended in 2010. This evaluation is based on the assumption that you have at least a few kids for which the total cost would grow quickly and that you’re going to be visiting the parks anyway with a multi-day ticket. With that said, if you really want to go to the party and are planning on doing multiple days in the park (more than three) it might be worth it to consider purchasing one day less on your passes and doing the party on the extra day.
What are your thoughts? Have you attended the party with your family? Would you vote yes or no on the “Is it worth it” poll? Vote in our poll or share your thoughts in the comments below.