Disclaimer: I love Disneyland. Any criticisms I have should be taken with a grain of salt. Also, I’m not just adding this disclaimer because Disney’s legal department can strike fear into your heart quicker than the IRS. That makes it sound like I’m about to rip the House of Mouse a new one….rest assured, I’m not that negative or that tough.
I’ve been an annual pass holder at Disneyland since I was 5. I’ve watched the park change and expand, the electrical parade leave and then come back again.
I remain a pass holder (as are my children) and in recent years we’ve made the tradition of going to the “Halloween Party” at Disneyland.
For those that are unaware there is a separate ticket to get on top of your regular admission (if you are an AP you only need to purchase the special event ticket). A few words of caution: keep your eyes peeled for pre sale, weekday nights and special discounts for buying early and AP holders, that’s when the ticket are less expensive.
On a Halloween party night you can get to the park three hours before the party starts (if you don’t wish to pay the all day admission). Kids and adults alike can dress in costume (normally guests under the age of 9 are the only ones allowed to wear costumes in the park). There are candy stations set up throughout the park and in years past you walk away with almost TOO much candy!
I ended up passing it out to my trick or treaters that year. Recently they have villain and character photo ops, most rides and restaurants are open, a special firework show (get a spot in front of the castle early), and there’s a general vibe of Halloween/Fall in the air.
Now…here’s some cons…Disney in the last few years has adopted a “more the merrier” approach. I dislike it immensely. I’ve noticed that the park just seems busier and busier and busier. Lines longer, cast members not as friendly as a result (or maybe it’s poor hiring? Did I mention I worked for the park about 13 years ago? There’s been a huge slide in guest service, trust me.) and the guests are crankier as a result.
Needless to say this years Halloween party was more crowded than last year. My eight your old (who loves candy) was pretty bummed that we lined up like cattle to get treats, it was like that at most every station (please note the cast members at the stations were perfectly lovely) Just this herd of people queued up to get a handful of candy. As the night goes on be prepared for most parents to let their rude princesses and princes to be…well…awful and to push and shove like sugar high, self entitled monsters. Again, a result of cranky parents suffering with an oversold event they shelled out money for or just bad SoCal parenting…
Another side effect of this “more the merrier *cough more money coughcough* is that the lines to the attractions are longer, again, another issue you don’t expect to encounter at a private event. Hit candy lines later when the lines and novelty of them die down.
NOW, the pros! The kids LOVE it! The photo ops in their costumes are amazing, the candy that we did get was still enough to weigh us down considerably, as the night goes on the lines for the attractions and candy get better (ps going through toon town is almost pointless, wouldn’t bother if I were you), the firework show and the graphics they project onto the outside of the castle and it’s a small world add an awesome festive, child friendly creepy feel. If we take out my negative comments about cranky self entitled parents the UPSIDE is that a lot of the guests have this great feeling of camaraderie.
We’ll be back again next year.
A word from the little mice on their favorite parts:
Cohan says: “the people who liked my mad hatter costume”
Kaplan says: “getting to see everyone’s different costumes is awesome! Also thinking that I’m Alice an I’m in a different story, I felt like I was in Once Upon a Time.”
Brayden: “the looks on the toddlers faces when they saw me in costume, like “‘you do exist!'”
All Halloween costumes were made or put together by me with just bits being purchased at thrift stores or ears at the local pop up costume shop. Inspired by Tim Burton’s wonderland, the classic drawings from the books, the Alice in wonderland Disney cartoon and etsy (I think that’s where kap saw this type of dress)