Mickey’s Halloween Party is an event at Disneyland in California held September 23 – October 31, 2016. This post previews the 2016 parties, with tips to make the most of the event, what you can expect, and whether it’s worth the money in the first place. The 2016 dates for Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland have now been released, with the party set to occur September 23, 26, 28, 30 and October 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 24, 26, 29, and 31, 2016.
Tickets are now on sale, and range in price from $72 to $99 for the most popular dates. That’s per person, for the event party ticket only. Keep in mind that you can enjoy many seasonal offerings at Disneyland without attending this event; for more info on what’s included with standard Disneyland park admission, please read our Ultimate Guide to Halloween Time at Disneyland.
October 23, 2016 UPDATE: We attended the 2016 Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland, and found the event to be much improved this year. For our thoughts on the event, plus photos, and strategy, please check out our 2016 Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland Recap post. Continue reading this post for general info about the event, answers to FAQ, and more!
The big addition to the 2016 Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland is the Frightfully Fun Parade. This parade runs only during the hard ticket event, and is a really cool. If you’re on the fence about attending, this is a potential game-changer for the party, and we’ll have more on it below. Additionally, the Halloween Screams Fireworks and Ghost Galaxy will return, and the Headless Horseman (a popular feature of the Florida parties) will make his debut at the 2016 Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland.
Although I’ve already typed “Disneyland” several times (and probably will several more times for emphasis), this article is not about the Halloween Party in Florida. For that, see our Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Tips & Tricks post. The general public confuses Disneyland and Walt Disney World enough as it is, so I’m not sure who thought it was a good idea to have the names for these parties be so similar. To make matters worse, when the Florida party is advertised, it’s often shortened to Mickey’s Halloween Party…I guess because they want people to think it is So Scary?
With that said, let’s take a look at what’s on the schedule for the 2016 Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland in California…
Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland Info
A lot of people don’t seem to understand how these special event ticket parties work, so I want to break it down in simple and concise terms: you have your regular park tickets for Disneyland, and you have special event tickets for Mickey’s Halloween Party, and there is no overlap between the two. A regular park ticket doesn’t get you into Mickey’s Halloween Party, and an event ticket for Mickey’s Halloween Party does not grant you regular admission in the morning (it does allow you to enter 3 hours before the party starts, as noted above).
This is a pretty common question, so let’s illustrate with a few examples:
- You’re visiting Disneyland on a date when the Halloween Party starts at 6 pm. You arrive at 9 am and want to stay until 10 pm. You must purchase BOTH a regular ticket for Disneyland and a Halloween Party ticket.
- You’re visiting Disneyland on a date when the Halloween Party starts at 7 pm. You arrive at 4 pm and want to stay until midnight. You only need to purchase a Halloween Party ticket (remember, the 3 hour rule).
- You’re visiting Disney California Adventure on a day when the Halloween Party starts at 6 pm. You arrive at 4 pm and want to stay in Disney California Adventure until it closes. You must only purchase a regular park ticket–Mickey’s Halloween Party is in Disneyland, not DCA.
There are a bunch more scenarios that could play out, but hopefully you get the gist of it. If not, feel free to ask about your situation in the comments. Many nights are already sold out and if that’s any indication, more will sell out, so we strongly recommend purchasing tickets in advance if you’re planning to go to Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland.
One of the big plusses of Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland for many guests is the opportunity to dress in costume. There are limits to the costumes you can wear, but it’s basically common sense stuff like ‘no weapons or sharp objects’ and nothing offensive.
Here are some baselines: don’t wear anything offensive or grotesque, don’t wear anything that completely obscures your face, and don’t form a line signing autographs and taking photos with other guests if you’re dressed as a Disney character. If you lack common sense and wouldn’t have intuitively realized these things without me telling you, I’d recommend carefully reading Disneyland’s rules for the party.
You also should keep in mind that although Southern California can get cool at night this time of year, it’s still California. Dressing as the Beast probably isn’t the best of ideas. That is, unless you want to sweat off some weight to offset all the candy you eat. We have a Tips for Disney Parks Halloween Costumes post that covers some ideas for what to wear…and what not to wear.
If you look at the Mickey’s Halloween Party page on Disneyland.com, you’ll notice it has a lot of entertainment and stuff listed. This Halloween Party sounds great, you’re thinking! Not so fast, cowboy.
Disneyland has a lot of stuff during the Halloween season, and most of what’s listed is included in regular park admission on any ordinary day. Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy are standard this time of year. Same goes for character meet & greets, although you can expect more characters out than normal during Mickey’s Halloween Party.
One new thing for last year’s Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland is the Mystical Spirits of the Blue Bayou, a ~3 hour premium dining experience hosted by Dr. Facilier during the party at Blue Bayou that costs $150 on top of the party ticket.
Yes, you read that correctly…$150 per person, on top of the ~$70+ party ticket, and you miss most of the Halloween Party while partaking in the meal. Frankly, if you have the kind of money that you’re seriously considering this, the rest of this post is probably not for you.
With the new Frightfully Fun Parade, Disneyland is getting a full parade for Mickey’s Halloween Party in 2016, which is a huge addition. Here’s how Disney is describing the parade:
- Jack Skellington the Pumpkin King brings greetings from Halloweentown, as characters from “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” appear to celebrate Halloween.
- Grim, grinning ghosts come out to socialize when Disney’s iconic Haunted Mansion attraction comes to “afterlife,” with swirling ballroom dancers, ominous gravediggers and a trio of hitchhiking ghosts.
- Dr. Facilier from The Princess and the Frog, uses his mystical powers to summon the Shadow Men from the bayou to loom large over his strange and twisted Voodoo parlor, and the mischievous Disney Villains appear out of the darkness, ready to stir up some trouble. A dark and dungeon-like lair takes over the parade route, bringing with it a wicked gathering of villainy from Hades and the Evil Queen to Jafar, Cruella and more!
Each of the bullet points is a single parade unit, featuring at least one float and performers. This is a very significant addition that really alters our take on Mickey’s Halloween Party.
While this parade is not on par with the Boo to You Parade, we really liked it. The floats are cool, the music is really catchy, there are some talented performers, and great costuming. We highly recommend watching the parade twice during Mickey’s Halloween Party!
Beyond the parade, the other things unique to Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland are the Halloween Screams fireworks, dance party, and trick or treating (there’s also the Cadaver Dans, which for some reason Disneyland doesn’t tout on the site).
So…should you do the party? Let’s take a look…
Is It Worth It?
In our Ultimate Guide to Halloween Time at Disneyland, I suggested that Mickey’s Halloween Party is probably not worth it. That was based on previous years when the primary draw was trick or treating and the fireworks (which are prone to be cancelled if there’s wind). It was before this year’s price increase–but also before the addition of the Frightfully Fun Parade.
Keep in mind that value is all a matter of perspective. If you have significant financial means and won’t feel the sting of the ticket cost, or just really love Halloween and want to splurge on this, it very well might be worth it for you.
I come at Disneyland’s Halloween Party and its value with the baseline of its cousin in Florida. Disneyland fans claim superiority to the parks in the swamps in a number of ways, but Mickey’s Halloween Party is not one of those ways. The Florida Halloween Party is superior to the California Halloween Party in several ways.
For starters, there’s the main entertainment: parade, stage show, and fireworks. The Boo to You Parade is arguably the best parade running in Florida, and is so good I make a point to watch both runnings of it on any given party night. In the past, Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland only has had a cavalcade, which was a joke as compared to the Boo to You Parade.
This is a huge upgrade over the previous Mickey’s Costume Cavalcade, but not quite on par with the Boo to You Parade. It is shorter, but still very good. Regardless, we view this parade as a game-changer for Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland, as it finally has a near-complete roster of exclusive party offerings.
Then there’s the other entertainment. The Florida version has a new “Hocus Pocus” stage show that is seriously awesome, plus roaming entertainment, dance parties, and more. Disneyland’s Halloween Party has the Cadaver Dans and a dance party. The Cadaver Dans are pretty awesome, but not enough (plus the dance parties) to compete with what Florida’s version offers.
The Halloween Screams fireworks are another strong selling point of Disneyland’s Halloween Party. These fireworks received an upgrade last year with new projections and seeing (spoiler alert) Zero fly around Sleeping Beauty Castle is pretty cool. This show doesn’t use the same amount of pyro as the HalloWishes fireworks in Florida, but no Disneyland fireworks show does. All things considered, Halloween Screams is a solid show.
There’s also trick or treating, but you can grab a bag of candy from the CVS on Harbor Boulevard for like $5 and bring it to the park if you’re so keen on candy. Now, if you’re looking for a pretext for gorging yourself on Reese’s Pieces, attending the Halloween Party and having to eat a lot of candy in the name of getting more value out of your party ticket sounds legit.
I’ve heard some people say they think Mickey’s Halloween Party is worth it solely so they have a safe environment to take their kids trick or treating. No offense, but this is ridiculous. Yeah, there are some areas of Anaheim where I wouldn’t want to be out at night…but Southern California is a big place, with a lot of affluent areas.
Drive less than 30 minutes from Disneyland and you can be in a safe, ritzy neighborhood for trick or treating. You know, the kind where every house is giving out King Size candy bars. These type of places were like dragons or unicorns when I was growing up–you assumed they were mythical but really hoped they were real. Well, children of the world, I’m pleased to report that we have dragons and unicorns in California. (That really ought to be the next “Visit California” ad.)
There are some scenarios where Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland might be appealing. This is mostly going to be for 1-day tourists. If you only want to visit Disneyland for a single day (or slightly less), this is cheaper than a 1-day ticket. Lines for attractions are typically shorter, so if you only want to hit the highlights, it should be easy to accomplish if you arrive 3 hours before the start of the party and stay until the very end.
Note that for 2016, the party ticket does not include parking. This is a change from previous years, so make sure you factor in this (potential) cost before purchasing your tickets.
Likewise, if you’re visiting for multiple days, you might be able to justify Mickey’s Halloween Party from the perspective of one less day on a multi-day ticket, doing something else in the morning (Downtown Disney or the beach, perhaps) and then heading to Disneyland for the Halloween Party. In this scenario, you’re not paying much of a premium for the party ticket, either.
If you are dead-set on going, do something else in the morning of Mickey’s Halloween Party and only visiting Disneyland in the evening on a party night and saving your regular park tickets for other days. While the party itself only runs for 5 hours, guests may enter Disneyland 3 hours before the party starts, which means 8 hours of entertainment total.
In an ideal world, we’d recommend getting a 3-day Park Hopper ticket and spending at least 4 days at Disneyland Resort, with the morning of the Halloween Party spent doing the Goofy’s Kitchen character breakfast at Disneyland Hotel followed by a couple of hours in Downtown Disney, before heading in the park that afternoon and using only your Mickey’s Halloween Party ticket that day. It’s a good way to stretch your vacation dollars and make the cost of the Halloween Party a little more palatable.
With all of that said, we have to admit that all of the above is a look at whether Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland is worth it on paper. As I have learned over the years from attending Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, a big draw is the atmosphere and different vibe the park takes on. There’s special background music, unique lighting & effects, and other guests dressed in costumes give the Halloween Party a palpable energy. This is a true X factor.
A ton of people absolutely love this about the party. I also have to admit that most people are not going to be able to choose between the California and Florida versions of the party, so it doesn’t matter if the Florida version is better. If you live in Southern California or are vacationing to Disneyland for Halloween, this is probably a moot point for you. The good news is that, regardless of the party’s quality, Halloween Time at Disneyland is excellent.
If you’ve read this post in the past, you might recall it having been a lot more harsh, as I stated that Mickey’s Halloween Party was not worth it. As I’ve mentioned, the Frightfully Fun Parade is a (potential) game-changer for 2016. While ticket prices have increased and parking is not included this year, the prospect of a good, unique Halloween parade gives the party a lot more appeal for us. I’m still not sure Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland is worth the money. The new parade is what pushed us over the edge and convinced us to purchase tickets to Mickey’s Halloween Party, and give it a chance. Hopefully Mickey’s Halloween Party finally lives up to its potential this year!
If you’re heading to Disneyland for Halloween Time at Disneyland, we have tons of posts to help you plan, including our Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets, a look at Disneyland Area Hotel Reviews & Rankings, our Unique Packing List for Disney Trips, an index of our Disneyland Resort Restaurant Reviews, and a number of other things in our comprehensive Disneyland Trip Planning Guide!
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Do you disagree with my assessment of Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland? Are you a fan of the party? Will you be attending this year? Already have your costume made for it? Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share your thoughts on these questions, or anything else, in the comments!