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Living less than 20 minutes from Disneyland means we spend lots of time here. I got my pass when Milana was just 6 months old and she got hers when she turned 3, and we have been coming several times a month since! No matter when you come, you’ll find magical things to do and see. But perhaps the best time to come to the land is during the holiday season. Halloween is one of our favorite times at Disneyland. Halloween time runs from September 7th-October 31st this year and is definitely worth a visit! The park is beautifully decorated and there are seasonal activities and foods all over both parks. This post will focus on mainly the attractions/foods/activities available during the Halloween season. This year, California Adventure’s Cars Land will be decked out for Halloween again, which means you can see awesome decor and eat some yummy treats in both parks. Some of these photos are from previous years, but they apply to this year too so I am not replacing them just adding new ones. Most of the treats are the same, I will update as we discover new ones! And if you want to save some money at Disney, I highly recommend getting the Disney Rewards Visa. Not only will you get a $200 statement credit after spending $500 in the first 3 months (hello free tickets!), but you can use it for special character appearances throughout the parks.
This is one of our favorite reasons to visit, the food and snacks offered during this time are really good, not to mention very photogenic! Here’s a list of items we recently tried and where you can find them.
French Market Restaurant had the Sally coffin cake in 2016, as well as the mini pumpkin cheesecake. Being slightly over the pumpkin craze at this point, I opted for a banana cheesecake instead, that looks pretty much identical to the pumpkin one. Milana loved the coffin cake and said it was one of her favorite treats at Disneyland. In 2017, the oogie boogie cupcake replaced the coffin cake. When you cut into it, there is green cake inside and it’s decorated with gummy worms.
In 2018, they had this cake with a cream like filling. I have to say, it’s not good at all! The coffin cake was so good and so cute, I wish they would bring it back!
You can find the Mickey bat cookie at several places throughout both parks, but we got ours at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe, which has lots of other Halloween treats as well. We also got the mini pumpkin cheesecake here as well.
Candy corn cotton candy can be found in carts all over the park, chances are you will see them everywhere.
The poison apple mug is also found throughout the resort. Now here’s the thing about these-because they are filled with different things, they are different prices all over the park. We opted for the one that came with pineapple (at the fruit stand in front of Big Thunder Mountain), but others were filled with frozen lemonade and many other things depending on where you were.
Of course, a Disneyland staple is their cake pops. Always decorated to go with the season, they are super yummy and one of our favorite treats. You can find these at several places. One is the Candy Palace and Candy Kitchen on Main Street, but we got ours at Hunny Spot in Critter Country (you’ll see it when you exit the pooh ride).
There were lots of candy apples to choose from as well:
And many other cake pops, but at this point we were all sugared out!
So not everything is as good as it seems. At the very popular Maurice’s Treats at Fantasy Faire, they had pumpkin twists. Everyone was buying them so we just had to try one, and it was very disappointing! Definitely won’t be buying this again. Thankfully, Disneyland will refund you if you don’t like the item so no money was lost in trying this product.
Every Halloween, you can buy popcorn in Halloween themed buckets. In 2016, vampire Mickey made an appearance. Last year, we got the Zero dog one (which is still being sold this year, but only at the popcorn stand in front of the Haunted Mansion). Milana chose the Halloween bucket over the Mickey this year. New for 2017 are the Mickey pumpkin popcorn bucket and the oogie boogie one (sold by Haunted Mansion) and across from Disney Jr. in California Adventure. When we got to CA, they were unboxing the oogie boogie ones so we got one. They were sold out soon after!
A lesser known treat is the spider parfait at Pizza Port in Tomorrowland. I’m not quite sure what’s in there (I think cake and chocolate), but it was orange (Milana’s favorite color) so she had to try it.
Of course, you can’t live on just sweets! Well you can try, but I don’t recommend it. So off we went to the Hungry Bear restaurant in Critter Country to try their seasonal food item. In 2016, they had the pulled pork hot dog. This was probably my favorite food to date at Disneyland, and we have tried a ton! In 2017, they replaced the hot dog with the bison blue cheese burger which sounds better than it is. It’s actually pretty bad, I wouldn’t recommend it!
Before Star Wars Land began construction, the area behind Big Thunder Ranch bbq was used for seasonal activities. On Halloween, you could have met all the characters in their costumes, who were just wandering around and interacting with people. There were carnival games for kids (free!) and coloring. I’m so sad that that area is closed, and that they haven’t found another spot to recreate this awesome experience. Milana met quite a few characters when she was a tiny baby in that area, those are some of our favorite Disney memories. You can see the tables, where coloring pages and crayons were in the background, as well as some of the games. And, this area was fully shaded, which was a nice reprieve from the hot afternoon sun.
Now you have to wait in awfully long lines on Main Street (or Toon Town) if you want to meet characters, and you get a few seconds before they move on to the next guest.
But there are two characters you won’t find on Main street, and they are Jack Skellington and Sally. To see them, head to New Orleans Square and line up near the exit of the Pirates ride. This line can get very, very long very quickly so if you want to meet them, I suggest you head there first. They’re a very popular pair!
On the topic of Jack and Sally, what’s a visit to Disneyland at Halloween time without a visit to the Haunted Mansion? It’s all decked out for the holidays, and one of our favorite rides. Milana brought her poison apple stein, to see if it glows in the dark and it did!
If you go to Frontierland, check out Zocalo Park near the Rancho Zocalo restaurant. It’s all decked out for Halloween, and they have free face (or arm!) painting for the kids. There are only 4 to choose from, but hey it’s free and it’s not often Disney does something free! This was here last year and again this year (2017) and never crowded because everyone is too busy rushing around the park!
The Mad Hatter on Main Street sells Halloween themed ears and hats. Milana chose the ears this year.
I should probably mention the most popular event of the Halloween season, and that’s Mickey’s Halloween Party. On select nights in September and October, Disneyland closes early for the Halloween party. You need a separate tickets to access the party. We did it twice and will be doing it again in October. The amount of candy they hand out is ridiculous! We had close to 20 lbs. between our family last year, which was way more than any family needs so we ended up donating it to a dentist’s office, who gave kids a prize for giving up their candy. Be aware that they have pirate’s booty and freeze dried apples (the same ones they sell at the parks) hidden, but the default is candy so you have to ask if you want an alternative to all that sugar. This year, we hope to utilize that time to go on rides vs. doing all that trick or treating, since we don’t need or want all that candy! Somehow I don’t have many pictures from the party, but here is us last year:
And the aftermath (well part of it!):
Here’s a video of Milana trick or treating. And one of the Halloween Parade, that is only during the party. Keep in mind, that most people come to this to trick or treat, so the lines for rides are very short. It might be a good time to come (at a discounted rate) and ride all the rides without waiting for hours!
And of course, what’s a holiday at Disneyland without merchandise? There is lots of Halloween stuff to choose from. Lots of the same items from last year, and some new.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, California Adventure is taking part in the festivities now as well. In Hollywood Land, Schmoozies has a mummy macaron ice cream sandwich. This was one of our favorite treats this year! It’s filled with rainbow sherbet, which is perfect for hot days. They also sold monstermallow donuts here that looked like Mike from Monsters Inc. but we didn’t try it.
On Buena Vista street is Clarabelle’s ice cream shop and that’s where you can get the bat wing sundae. This was also really good!
Award Wieners has a Halloween menu this year. Keep in mind, that the Oktoberfest dog is super spicy! Lots didn’t know as it’s not listed anywhere and I saw a few returning them after taking a bite.
When you enter Cars Land, you will be greeted with some awesome decor!
And of course, lots of yummy treats this year as well!
Cars Land has lots of treats to choose from! At Flo’s V8 Cafe, you can find the candy corn pie.
Just across the road at the Cozy Cone motel are some more treats. We only tried the spoke-y cone macaron, but they also had a mac and cheese cone that came in a black cauldron cone and the popcorn cone had the Junkyard JamBOOree Mix that had “loose parts” consisting of various candies mixed in with the popcorn.
The Paradise Gardens area near Paradise Pier is transformed to whatever holiday/season it is. Right now, it’s the Plaza de la Familia, inspired by Mexico. Here, you can get your face painted for free. Unlike Disneyland which only has 3 options, you have a lot more choices.
Right next to the face painting is an area where you write your family memories and hang them up with all the others. Since Milana doesn’t write yet, she drew a picture instead.
And there is Halloween themed food here as well. We were full from everything else by the time we ended up here, but I did try the pineapple agua fresca which was great! Here are some other seasonal offerings.
Do you have a favorite treat or activity at Disneyland during Halloween time? Comment below!