Updated: Disneyland Mickey’s Halloween Party 2018 Planning Guide

DSC07067Update: The first Mickey’s Halloween Party of 2018 took place last night. We attended the party and update this post with new pictures and information.

Mickey’s Halloween Party is a special extra-ticket event held select nights at at Disneyland during the Halloween season. The party includes a special fireworks show featuring a fly-by of Zero, an exclusive Halloween parade with an appearance by a horseback-riding headless horseman, trick-or-treating, and more. In this Mickey’s Halloween Party 2018 Planning Guide we’ll talk about what to expect and how to make the most of your time.

Mickey’s Halloween Party takes place in Disneyland on select nights in the fall, typically running from late September until Halloween. In 2018, the party dates are September 19, 21, 24, 26, and 28, and October 2, 5, 9, 12, 16, 19, 23, 26, 29, and 31.

Tickets for Mickey’s Halloween Party are now on sale.

What time is the Party?

Officially the Party starts at 6 p.m. on some nights and 7 p.m. on others. The party runs until 11 p.m. or 12 a.m., depending on the night. Guests with valid Halloween party tickets may enter Disneyland (OR Disney California Adventure, which is a new perk as of last year) up to three hours prior to the event’s start time.

Will I need a special ticket to get into the Party?

Yes. Admission requires buying a separate ticket just for this event. It’s not included in any regular theme park tickets or annual passports.

How much do the Party tickets cost?

There’s a range of pricing depending on the date you’re buying a ticket for. Previously Disney offered discounts for buying in advance, but that discount has now been eliminated. The official Disney website lists the following prices:

 

Mickey’s Halloween Party
Dates and TimesSold Out
Annual
Passholder
Ticket Price
Regular
Ticket Price

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Sold Out Sold Out

Friday, September 21, 2018

7:00 p.m. to midnight

Sold Out Sold Out

Monday, September 24, 2018

6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Sold Out Sold Out

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Sold Out Sold Out

Friday, September 28, 2018

7:00 p.m. to midnight

Sold Out Sold Out

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Sold Out Sold Out

Friday, October 5, 2018

7:00 p.m. to midnight

Sold Out Sold Out

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Sold Out Sold Out

Friday, October 12, 2018

7:00 p.m. to midnight

Sold Out Sold Out

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Sold Out Sold Out

Friday, October 19, 2018

7:00 p.m. to midnight

Sold Out Sold Out

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Sold Out Sold Out

Friday, October 26, 2018

7:00 p.m. to midnight

Sold Out Sold Out

Monday, October 29, 2018

6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

$130 $130

Monday, October 31, 2018

6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Sold Out Sold Out

I don’t have a Park Hopper. Can I still buy a Mickey’s Halloween Party ticket?

Yes. Mickey’s Halloween Party tickets are totally separate from regular park admission media. If you have a one day/one park ticket, you’re welcome to visit DCA in the morning and then Mickey’s Halloween Party in the evening using a Party ticket. This would not count as a “Park Hop.”

I hear parking isn’t included with the party tickets. Seriously? 

Yes, seriously. Disney does not include free parking with Mickey’s Halloween Party tickets. Parking will cost you $20 (unless you have free parking on your Annual Pass).

Do I need to purchase tickets early if I’m not sure about attending the party?

Same-day tickets may be available for some parties on the day of the event, but you should absolutely buy your tickets in advance if you’d like to attend. A limited number of tickets is available for each party. All of the event dates typically sell out in advance. Remember, tickets are not refundable.

Reader Joey shares some helpful information about purchasing tickets:

Before buying tickets, DVC members should check the DVC website to see which nights are discounted for them.

How will I know where to go after I arrive at Disneyland?

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Entrance to the park is done through turnstiles labeled with ‘Special Event Ticket’

Depending on what time you arrive at Disneyland, some or all of the entrance turnstiles will be dedicated to Party admission. Look for the signs indicating where to go. When you enter the park with a Halloween Party ticket, a cast member will place a plastic wristband on your arm and hand you a plastic candy collection bag. Also be sure to grab a map/schedule on the way in.

I’m not going to Mickey’s Halloween Party, but I will be in Disneyland during a day when the Party is held. Will they kick me out of the park when the Party starts?

No one will forcibly remove you from the park, but beginning at around 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. (depending on when the party starts) cast members will set up checkpoints for wristbands. If you’re not wearing a wristband, then you’ll be directed toward the park exit. Wristband checks occur periodically at the attractions and at the entrances of each land.

I’ll be visiting Disneyland in the afternoon and also attending Mickey’s Halloween Party. Do I have to leave the park at some point?

No. Beginning in late afternoon, several stations will be set up inside the park to distribute wristbands to Party guests who are already inside. Stop by one of the stations; they’ll scan your Halloween party ticket, give you a wristband, and you’ll be good to go when the party starts.

Rivers of America is covered in spooky fog during Mickey's Halloween Party.
Rivers of America is covered in spooky fog during Mickey’s Halloween Party.

It’s a Halloween Party – does that mean costumes?

Costumes are not required to attend the Party, but many guests do add to the fun by getting dressed up. There are a few restrictions on costumes (more on that below), but there is no requirement that costumes be Disney-related. Many guests choose to give a nod to Disney in their dress-up (such as about 5,000 people dressed as Snow White), but you’ll also see plenty of non-Disney costumes on hand.

Costumes range from just a Halloween-themed tee or pirate eye patch to full-on Haunted Mansion ghosts. The choice is really up to you. Personally, I love seeing other guests dressed creatively, and guests seem to up the ante each year.

What types of costume restrictions are there?

The goal for costumes is being fun and creative, not frightening. You’ll be asked to change or leave if your costume is too scary or grotesque.

Disney’s official rules state:

  • Costumes must be family-friendly and may not be obstructive, offensive, objectionable, or violent.
  • Guests who dress like characters may not pose for pictures or sign autographs for other guests.
  • Costumes may not contain any weapons that resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon.
  • Costumes may not contain sharp objects, pointed objects, or materials that may accidentally strike another guest.
  • Layered costumes or costume props that surround the entire body are strongly discouraged and may be subject to additional security screening.
  • Costumes may not reach or drag on the ground (e.g. full-length Princess dresses).

For kids 13 and under the rules are pretty straight forward:

Costumes and some masks may be worn, as long the mask does not cover the entire face and eyes are visible.

For guests 14 years and older, Disney has left the rules intentionally vague.

  • Capes may be worn if the length does not go below the waist.
  • Themed T-shirts, blouses, sweatshirts, and hats are acceptable.
  • Acceptable accessories include: transparent wings, plastic light sabers, toy swords, and tutus. Headwear may be worn as long as it does not cover the face.
  • Masks of any kind may not be worn.

Any other costume tips?

Autumn temperatures at Disneyland are still quite warm. Particularly for the earlier parties, you might encounter temperatures well into the 80s. This is not the time for fuzzy bear suits or full body armor. Think more along the lines of hula skirts and baseball jerseys for maximum comfort.

DSC01058

What is the crowd situation like during the party?

I’ve personally found the lines for the rides to be quite short during the Party; however other aspects of the event can feel quite intense crowd-wise. Think of party nights as a regular busy day at the park, or a 6 or 7 on the crowd calendar. I found it impossible to do everything. With so many meet and greets, candy stations, fireworks, and the parade, I did not ride any attractions when I attended the Party. There just wasn’t enough time.

Now that you’ve got the business out of the way, can you tell me what there is to do at the Party?

On to the fun stuff! The Halloween Party has several components:

  • Rides
  • Trick or treating
  • Halloween-themed fireworks
  • Special character meet and greet opportunities
  • Villains meet and greet
  • Haunted Mansion Holiday
  • Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy
  • A dance party in Tomorrowland

Are all the rides open during the Party?

Most of the rides are fully operational during the Party. In 2017, the following rides were not available to Party guests: Tarzan’s Tree HouseCasey JuniorStorybook Land Canal Boats, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.

Should I go on rides during the Party?

This depends on your priorities. The ride wait times during the Party are usually minimal. If your main goal for the Party is to get some quality Indiana Jones Adventure time in, then by all means ride on. Disneyland does offer two special Halloween attractions (Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy and Haunted Mansion Holiday), but these are NOT exclusive to Mickey’s Halloween Party, and they can attract hefty wait times.

What’s the Trick or Treating like?

Every guest of the Party, children and adults, will be given a trick or treat bag upon entering the park. You’re also welcome to bring your own bag if that’s more your speed. There will be eight treat stations scattered throughout the park. These are noted on the Mickey’s Halloween Party map and can be found in the park by looking for the special large Halloween-themed “lamp posts.”

As you walk through the park, stop by the treat stations, and cast members will add candy to your bag. There are dozens of types of candy available, including everything from off-brand candy corn to name brand mini candy bars. Typically guests report receiving an even mix of sugar-based (Dots, US Smarties, lollipops, Twizzlers, etc.) and chocolate-based (mini Hershey bars, M&Ms, Tootsie Rolls, etc.) candy. Many of the stations will have an alternative treat, such as boxed raisins, to give to guests with food allergies. Be sure to ask the cast members at the trick or treat stations if you have alternative treat needs.

There is no limit to the candy collection. You’re welcome to hit the treat lines as often as you wish. If you’ve got a candy-mad child in your group, this may be his or her idea of heaven. Here are some things to think about before you invest too much of your time on candy collection:

  • If you’re trying to maintain healthfulness, do you really want to come home with pounds of candy?
  • If simply having candy is your goal, it’s more cost effective to go to the supermarket and just buy the kinds you like.
  • What’s the opportunity cost of spending time trick or treating? Will you miss out on other party activities?
  • Do you come from a culture that does not trick or treat? If so, the novelty of this experience may outweigh other considerations.
  • Anecdotal evidence suggests that the candy distribution cast members become more generous as the evening wears on. You may get a bigger haul if you visit the lines later in the Party.

Other than candy, what are my food options during the Party?

dsc07071-copy
There is no food exclusive to the party but Jolly Holiday Bakery has a few Halloween-themed treats.

There are a number of counter service venues open during the Party. In recent years these have included: The Plaza Inn, Jolly Holiday Bakery, Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor, Refreshment Corner, Royal Street Veranda, Bengal Barbecue, The Golden Horseshoe, Stage Door Cafe, and Tomorrowland Terrace. These spots give you a range of options from sweets to salads. Carnation Cafe on Main Street is open if you’d like to sit down for a full table service meal. Check out the restaurant menus for specifics.

It seems silly to me to use a substantial percentage of your valuable party time for a full meal. To take best advantage of the Halloween offerings, consume your sit-down protein before the party starts. A 5:30 p.m. dinner at Carnation Cafe or Cafe Orleans is a great way to fortify yourself for the long night ahead.

There is a Mickey’s Halloween Party Dinner Package available at Blue Bayou in New Orleans Square. For $69 (or $29 for kids), you get a 3-course prix-fixe dinner, and a voucher for reserved viewing for the Frightfully Fun Parade. No discounts are available for this dinner package.

Tell me about the parade.

The Frightfully Fun Parade features Jack Skellington, ballroom dancers and gravediggers from Haunted Mansion, Dr. Facilier from The Princess and the Frog, and many other Disney villains. Frightfully Fun Parade is a huge improvement over the former Mickey’s Halloween Party-exclusive parade, Mickey’s Costume Cavalcade. Some would argue it even rivals Magic Kingdom’s popular Boo To You Parade. The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow kicks off the parade. The parade is great and takes the sting out of the high price tag of the party.

Based on previous years we expect the parade will start near ‘it’s a small world’ at 8:50 p.m. and at Town Square on Main Street at 10:30 p.m. As with all parades, depending on where you’re situated on the parade route, it could take 15 minutes or more for the parade to pass your location. The exact parade route is noted on the Mickey’s Halloween Party park map. About 10 minutes before each parade the Headless Horseman will ride down the parade route.

Make it a priority to claim your spot early if you want to see the Frightfully Fun Parade. Last year I observed most of the parade route filling up as the party started, even though the parade was hours away. Do not underestimate Disneyland visitors willingness to wait for things. This is not Magic Kingdom, Disneyland guests have no problem waiting multiple hours for parades and fireworks. Also, do not assume the second parade will have less crowds. Most spots for the second parade of the night were gone immediately after the fireworks ended. I recommend knocking out two birds with one stone. Get a spot for the first parade somewhere on the right side of Disneyland’s hub. Then immediately after the parade ends, get as close to Sleeping Beauty Castle as you can to watch the fireworks.

We have full video of the Frightfully Fun Parade on our YouTube page:

What about the fireworks?

A special “Halloween Screams” fireworks show is run at 9:30 p.m. The show lasts about 12 minutes. Good vantage points can be had anywhere along Main Street, but the best is in the hub. You’ll want to get as close as possible to Sleeping Beauty Castle to see Jack Skellington’s ghost dog reindeer, Zero, fly by on the route Tinker Bell uses during the usual fireworks.

The actual fireworks in the sky are fairly standard for Disney, but the music and narration take on a decidedly spooky tone. The show is hosted by Jack Skellington and Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas. There is audio from the Haunted Mansion attraction (Grim Grinning Ghosts). If you have a child who is fearful of loud noise or creepy tones, then hop on a ride during the fireworks and skip this part. Personally, I think this is one of the best fireworks shows Disney has ever produced; it is not to be missed. Seeing Zero fly around the castle is amazing. Halloween Screams also utilizes the same projection technology used during the Disneyland Forever fireworks show. One section of the performance showed spooky cobwebs on Sleeping Beauty Castle, while another section featured the sinister singing wreaths from Haunted Mansion Holiday. These projections are one of the highlights of the show.

We have full video of the Halloween Screams on our YouTube page:

IMG_8531
Zero’s appearance in the Halloween Screams fireworks.
The fireworks make heavy use of projections. In the Cruella de Vil segment of the show you can see dalmatian spots on Sleeping Beauty Castle and on the buildings on Main Street.

What is the Toontown Pre-Party?

The Pre-Party is held inside Mickey’s Toontown. At 5 p.m. (during 6 p.m. party nights) or 6 p.m. (during 7 p.m. party nights) the entire land is closed off and cleared out of regular park guests. During the Pre-Party, guests have access to Roger Rabbit Car Toon Spin and Gadget’s Go Coaster. There are also character meet and greets and two candy trails. The characters available include: Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Chip & Dale. All of them are in special costumes that are exclusive to the Pre-Party. The Pre-Party ends one hour after the regular Halloween Party start time and then Mickey’s Toontown closes for the rest of the night.

dsc00125
Several characters are out in special Halloween-party-only costumes during the Toontown Pre-Party.

 

Can I meet characters during the party?

Absolutely! Not only can you meet characters, but many of them will be wearing Halloween costumes themselves. These were the characters that met during the 2018 party.

    • Tightrop walker and Constance Hatchaway (from Haunted Mansion – New Orleans Square, in French Market’s seating area
    • Jack & Sally – New Orleans Square, near Pirates of the Caribbean exit
    • Winnie the Pooh & Friends – Critter Country
    • Disney Pirate Pals (Peter Pan, Wendy, Captain Hook, Jack, and Redd) – Pirate Wharf (Frontierland Dock)
    • Mickey and Minnie – Frontierland, in Rancho del Zocalo seating area
    • Disney Villains (Maleficent, Evil Queen, Hades, Lady Tremain, Wicked Step Sisters, Jafar, Queen of Hearts, Ratcliffe, and Cruella de Vil) – Town Square, Main Street USA
    • Disney Princesses – Fantasy Faire
    • Star Wars characters – Star Wars Launch Bay, Tomorrowland
    • Friends from The Jungle (Baloo, King Louie, and Terk) – Adventureland

The lines for the character greetings, particularly Jack and Sally, can become very long, very fast. Even at the start of the Party, you may face wait times of an hour or more. If character photo opportunities are important to you, be sure to factor wait times into your planning.

DSC07097
Fans of Disney Villains will love Town Square during the Halloween party.

What’s new this year?

New for 2018 is a meet and greet featuring characters from Haunted Mansion. The tightrope walker (which Disney has given a number of names over the years, including Sally Slater, Daisy de la Cruz, Ally Gal, and Lillian O’Malley) and Constance Hatchaway (the bride from the mansion’s attic). These two characters meet in the seating area of French Market in New Orleans Square. Another new thing for 2018 is an annual passholder exclusive trick or treat trail located inside Starcade in Tomorrowland. 

 

 

How might weather impact the Halloween party?

Tickets are non-refundable and the Party goes on rain or shine, even if there’s rain. Some of the Party activities may be postponed, curtailed, or cancelled, but the Party itself will continue. But let’s be honest: it never rains in Southern California. While rain probably won’t be a problem, wind will. Disneyland Resort frequently cancels fireworks due to winds at higher elevations.

Is there any special Party merchandise?

Of course there is. Disney will sell Halloween-themed merchandise throughout the parks and hotels from late August until early November. There will also be some items sold exclusively at the Parties. Typically this will include a shirt. Since the exclusive merchandise only appears during the Party, you can usually find it at or near the registers where the cast members can most easily keep control of it. Try the Emporium for best selection. 

What should I do first during the party?

The first step is deciding what your priorities are. Are you there to meet characters? Do you want to focus on the unique entertainment? Is collecting a year’s worth of candy your main objective? Do you want ride time with low lines? Each of these scenarios needs a different touring strategy. Once you have have your priorities set, it’s easy to choose a plan.

Jack and Sally have the longest line during Mickey's Halloween Party.
Jack and Sally have the longest line during Mickey’s Halloween Party.

What tips do you have if meeting characters is my main goal?

If meeting characters is your main goal you might want to hunt them down before the Party officially starts. Remember, Disney will allow you to enter the Party up to three hours prior to the start of the event. If you do want meet characters before the Party starts, the main draw will be Jack & Sally and the Disney Villains. During the day, Jack & Sally can be found meeting near the Haunted Mansion Holiday entrance.

Is Mickey’s Halloween Party worth it?

Every year I tell people that I do not think Mickey’s Halloween Party is worth the money. We get a lot of feedback from attendees that ranges from people saying it was a waste of money, all the way to people saying it was a highlight of their trip. Almost everything offered for the Party is also part of a regular park admission, minus the fireworks, parade, and candy. Is this worth $95+ to you? To maximize the return on your dollar, think about:

  • Being present for the entire event. Think of it this way: if you pay $105 for your ticket and you stay for a full five hours, you’re spending almost $21 per hour for your entertainment. If you only stay for three hours, then you’re spending $35 per hour for your entertainment.
  • You’ll have the most “Halloweenish” experience if you focus on events/activities that are unique to the Party. Big Thunder Mountain is the same Big Thunder Mountain with or without a Mickey’s Halloween Party ticket. The Halloween Screams fireworks and Frightfully Fun Parade can only be seen at the Party.
  • The lines for the trick or treating are rarely long, particularly later in the evening. Try working in your candy collection when you see a short line on the way to another activity.
  • Multitask when possible. If you’ve got to wait around for a parade to start, use this time for your food consumption.
  • Parking is not included in your Mickey’s Halloween Party ticket.
  • Photopass downloads are included for free with Mickey’s Halloween Party tickets.

More information, including ticket options, can be found on the official Disneyland website.

Mickey’s Halloween Party 2018 Map

So happy haunters, are you planning to attend Mickey’s Halloween Party this year? What are you looking forward to most? What are your strategies, must sees, and must skips? Let us know in the comments below.

Guy Selga Jr.

Hi, I'm Guy Selga. Researcher and blogger for TouringPlans.com. Disneyland local and appreciator of Disney theme park history. I proudly represent TouringPlans on the west coast. Twitter: @guyselga

11 thoughts on “Updated: Disneyland Mickey’s Halloween Party 2018 Planning Guide

  • August 20, 2018 at 2:08 pm
    Permalink

    As an additional tip to get full value out of a party admission, do it on a day you aren’t paying for a regular ticket. If you enter the park 3 hours before the party you’re getting 8 hours of park time for $100-130 which isn’t that far from a full price single day ticket in terms of hours or dollars and with that you get the Halloween exclusive parts of the evening too.

    We have APs this year but our traveling companions on our upcoming trip will not and we encouraged them to reduce their ticket package by one day and we’ll enter the park early for the party but take the morning off or spend it in DTD or checking out the resorts. This saved them about 1/3 of the party ticket price by removing a day from their ticket package.

    • August 23, 2018 at 3:22 pm
      Permalink

      This advice applies to Disneyland’s Halloween parties, and to the Halloween and Christmas parties in Orlando. You won’t feel the sting of buying the party ticket quite so badly if you’re attending the party *instead of* paying for normal admission.

      That is, buying a party ticket and a one-day ticket for DCA is not dramatically more expensive than buying a two-day (non-hopper) ticket.

    • September 21, 2018 at 11:47 am
      Permalink

      Good advice. Thanks

  • August 23, 2018 at 3:16 pm
    Permalink

    Quick tip: if you are arriving to the park in the hour before the party starts, there will be long lines at the entry turnstiles dedicated to admitting party folks. If you are an annual passholder, or if you have a “real” ticket, you can save a lot of time by entering the park through one of the normal turnstiles, then picking up your wristband and treat bag from one of the in-park distribution stations.

  • September 20, 2018 at 7:33 pm
    Permalink

    Question: Can you still catch the train from the Main Street station? It looks like the characters meet there, but can you still get on the train when the party starts? Thanks!

    • September 21, 2018 at 11:48 am
      Permalink

      During the party the Main Street train station is closed to new guests, but guests on the train can exit. All the other train stations are open during the party.

  • September 24, 2018 at 3:08 pm
    Permalink

    Hi Guy,
    Does the MHP ticket work as a park-hopper? If so, can we come and go all night? I know last year we were able to access Disney’s California Adventure a few hours before the party and then enter Disneyland. Do you know if they’re doing that again this year and if we could re-enter DCA later in the evening?
    Jack

    • September 26, 2018 at 12:51 pm
      Permalink

      Yes! Here’s what the website says:
      Tickets are valid for admission to Mickey’s Halloween Party and to Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park (subject to Park operating hours) beginning 3 hours prior to the start of the party.

  • September 25, 2018 at 6:03 pm
    Permalink

    Hi Guy
    I heard there was a special trick or treat location for AP members. Is it true ? If so where is it?

    Thanks

    • September 26, 2018 at 1:11 pm
      Permalink

      Yes, the post mentions the AP trick or treat trail located inside Starcade in Tomorrowland.

Comments are closed.