Guide to Halloween Time at Disneyland

Halloween Time at Disneyland occurs in 2014 from September 12 until October 31, 2014. During HalloweenTime, the hard ticket Mickey’s Halloween Party will be held most Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays in October, and two dates in September. Mickey’s Halloween Party tickets range in price from $56 to $77, depending upon the night and whether you qualify for an Annual Passholder discount. Click here for the full party schedule for 2014. Entertainment during the Halloween Time at Disneyland season is included in the cost of regular theme park admission.

For those considering visiting during Halloween Time at Disneyland, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that the standard offerings during the Halloween season in Disneyland are superior to those in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. The decorations are better, the entertainment is superior, the seasonal snacks are more plentiful (and most are absolutely delicious), and there are two attractions at Disneyland that receive Halloween overlays (plus extra entertainment in Big Thunder Ranch), versus zero at Walt Disney World. The bad news is that hard ticket Disneyland’s Mickey’s Halloween Party is inferior to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, crowds are not light (still better than summer) during Halloween Time at Disneyland like they are in the fall at Walt Disney World, and there are no other fall offerings justifying a visit to Disneyland Resort specifically during the Halloween season, versus Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, which is also a big draw during the fall at Walt Disney World.

With all of that said, we think Halloween Time at Disneyland is an incredible time to visit Disneyland. In fact, after Christmas at Disneyland, Halloween Time at Disneyland is our absolute favorite time of the year to visit. The only reason Christmas gets the edge is because all of its entertainment is included with the normal cost of admission, and Disney California Adventure gets into the fun during the Christmas season, too. But Christmas is a separate topic for a future post!

For now, let’s get started with HalloweenTime at Disneyland, taking a look at its offerings and sharing some of our tips and reviews for Halloween Time at Disneyland. (more…)

Disneyland Off-Site Hotel Review: Candy Cane Inn


Candy Cane Inn is a popular Disneyland Good Neighbor hotel, located on Harbor Boulevard. It’s about a 10 minute walk to the Disneyland Esplanade and about a 10 minute walk to the Anaheim Convention Center. This Candy Cane Inn review looks at its quality and value as compared to other Disneyland off-site hotels, and should give you an idea of whether it’s a good option for you.

Much like Alpine Inn, which we also recently reviewed, Candy Cane Inn is a popular pick for Disneyland regulars. Candy Cane Inn advertises itself as a boutique hotel, and while we’ve stayed at plenty of boutique hotels, this is not one of them. Rather, Candy Cane Inn is a 2 to 3-star motel that offers above-average (for the area) accommodations at reasonable prices, and does so in a reasonably nice setting. It doesn’t fit the bill as a boutique hotel because there’s nothing unique or stylized about it–it’s just an ordinary hotel. This isn’t necessary a strike against it, just something to keep in mind so you know what you’re getting. On the plus side, it has a nice location, often reasonable prices, is safe, and generally is a quality place to stay when visiting Disneyland Resort on a budget.

As there are a lot of questions about the best off-site hotels at Disneyland Resort, and because we’ve stayed at a good number of these “walking distance to Disneyland hotels,” we thought we’d put together some quick-hit reviews of each hotel along Harbor Boulevard and Katella Avenue in which we’ve stayed. You can read our overall comparison of the benefits of staying off-site versus on-site in our Where to Stay at Disneyland post.

As mentioned, Candy Cane Inn has a ton of fans and is one of the most popular Disneyland-area hotel for frequent visitors. It’s even the #3 hotel in Anaheim on TripAdvisor! However, as with Alpine Inn, we don’t quite see all of the hype. It’s a really nice hotel, but we don’t quite view it as the #3 hotel, and wouldn’t give it 4.5/5 stars. (more…)

Top 10 Disney Theme Park Shows & Spectaculars

Disney Parks have tons of attractions, but often overlooked are the live action shows and spectaculars that are not actual rides. There are numerous shows and spectaculars at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney Resort, and Hong Kong Disneyland. Some of these are time-honored favorites, running for decades and still holding strong in popularity. Others are short-lived performances that last only a season or two by design. Much like attractions, not all of these shows were created equally.

Similar to my Top 10 Disney Theme Park Attractions list, I thought it would be fun to put together a list of what I consider the 10 best shows and spectaculars worldwide. As there are far fewer shows and spectaculars than there are attractions, this list was considerably easier to put together without too many snubs, but once again I’m keeping to a strict 10 show limit. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t some snubs, as Disney certainly has more than 10 deserving shows worldwide.

To keep things fair (whatever that means in this context), no seasonal shows are eligible. The main reason for this is because I haven’t seen some of the more obscure seasonal stuff, like the Bastille Day fireworks at Disneyland Paris or the Fourth of July World of Color show. This also disqualifies many of the hard ticket event shows at Walt Disney World that I happen to love, but I don’t think anything that requires a separate ticket should be eligible. Also, only shows and spectaculars that are currently running are eligible. Finally, there’s no specific scoring criteria–this is just how particular shows move me, plus analysis of their complexity, scale, and quality.

Blah, blah, blah. A lot of rules for something that’s supposed to be lighthearted and fun, right?! As this is a multi-continent list, it’s not like this top 10 has any functional utility anyway…it’s more geared at being a fun conversation piece for Disney theme park fans. I had a lot of fun doing the Top 10 Attractions list and reading all of your feedback, and I think it’s a lot of fun comparing and contrasting all of the different parks in a non-demeaning manner (in other words, posts that constructively look at interesting similarities and differences, not posts that, to paraphrase, say “OMG, WALT DISNEY WORLD IS THE BEST EVER. DISNEYLAND TOTALLY SUCKS.”).

With that said, here’s the list in no particular order!


Disneyland Off-Site Hotel Review: Alpine Inn


Alpine Inn is a popular hotel near Disneyland Resort and the Anaheim Convention Center. It’s approximately a 15 minute walk to the Disneyland Esplanade (I’ve seen it advertised as a 10 minute walk–I walk very quickly and there’s no way I could do that walk in 10 minutes) and about a 5 minute walk to the Anaheim Convention Center. Because of its proximity to Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, and the Anaheim Convention Center, it’s a very popular hotel, especially during events like the D23 Expo. Alpine Inn is a 2 to 3-star motel that offers basic accommodations at near-budget prices, with a fun theme. It’s affordable, safe, and overall a quality pick if o stay when visiting Disneyland Resort on a budget.

As there are a lot of questions about the best off-site hotels at Disneyland Resort, and because we’ve stayed at a good number of these “walking distance to Disneyland hotels,” we thought we’d put together some quick-hit reviews of each hotel along Harbor Boulevard and Katella Avenue in which we’ve stayed. You can read our overall comparison of the benefits of staying off-site versus on-site in our Where to Stay at Disneyland post.

In the Disney fan community, you’ll find that Alpine Inn has a ton of fans. Even TripAdvisor has a ton of absolutely glowing reviews (I rarely trust TripAdvisor because it’s too easy to manipulate). Sarah and I aren’t quite as high on this motel. Sarah, especially, doesn’t think it’s all it’s cracked up to be. I am a little more favorable to it, although I don’t fully get the hype, either. (more…)

Tips for Buying Discount Disneyland Tickets

Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets by Buying from Authorized Third Parties (AAA, Costco, etc.)

Looking to save money on your trip to Disneyland? Given the ticket prices following the most recent Disneyland ticket price increase in May 2014, this is a rhetorical question–we doubt anyone wants to spend more money than necessary. Lucky for you, discount Disneyland tickets can be found through a variety of vendors, including online, at Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotels in Anaheim, AAA, Safeway, Costco, online, and authorized websites. If you live in SoCal (and proof of residence), special offers are sometimes made available to SoCal residents during times when attendance is predicted to be light. So if you’re a local, you might be in luck.

AAA, Safeway, and Costco have small standard discounts of a couple dollars per ticket. From time to time, Costco stores on the West Coast will offer a gift card with purchase (this is never offered online and was last offered in-stores in March 2013). If you live on the West Coast and this is available when you’re planning to purchase tickets, it’s by far the best deal. Currently, for the best deals we recommend buying safely and securely from Park Savers, an authorized seller of Disneyland tickets with the best prices that we’ve found (for an authorized seller).

Unfortunately, the discounts available on Disneyland tickets are not all that significant–usually between $2 and $15 per ticket–as compared to amount of money you can save on Walt Disney World tickets. But everything you save adds up, plus you save vacation time when you buy your tickets in advance from a Disney-authorized third party ticket seller!

Where you shouldn’t buy tickets is as important as where you should buy them. While Disneyland authorizes a number of third parties to sell its tickets at slight discounts, there is a huge black market for bootleg and partially used “rental” tickets. You might be familiar with this because Disneyland’s crackdown on these tickets has garnered national media attention. Whatever you do, do not buy Disneyland tickets on eBay, Craigslist, or on the side of the road near Disneyland Resort. Any ticket “rental” is a scam, and you will be throwing your money away. Disney Cast Members will not have any sympathy for you if you’re caught with these “rental” tickets, and you will have to purchase new tickets at the gate, at full price. Not exactly a fun way to start a vacation.

Much like Walt Disney World, Disneyland offers tickets with a “hopper” option (the ability to visit both parks in the same day) and one-day, one-park tickets that don’t allow hopping. Unsurprisingly, non-hopper tickets are cheaper. As of early 2014, 1-day non-hopper tickets are around $92, whereas hopper tickets were over $100.

Here are my thoughts on which tickets you should purchase… (more…)