2016 Halloween Time Highlights at Disneyland
Fall is now in full swing at Disneyland, which has been decorated with its beautiful overlay that brings an autumnal feel to the parks. With Halloween still a few weeks away, and a lot of fall-related festivities to experience, I thought I’d share a few of the seasonal offerings that I’ve tried so far (with further updates to this post if subsequent visits this month result in any experiences worth sharing here).
A few weeks ago, the official Disney Parks blog published this year’s lineup of Halloween related treats available at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure with everything listed by location. There are a lot of fun things to try, plus tried-and-true staples such as the Bat Mickey Cookies and Rice Krispies Treats.
There are so many choices that it can be overwhelming if someone made it a mission to try them all. However, I dislike pumpkin (blasphemy!) so that conveniently narrows down my choices to a much more manageable selection.
COOKIES AND CREAM MOUSSE COFFIN CAKE (French Market Restaurant)
This adorable cake featuring Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas, was, for me, definitely the must-try highlight of the seasonal offerings. It’s in the $6 range and is large enough for 3-4 people to share after a meal (or 1 hungry person with a sweet tooth). It has the great cookies and cream flavor and is not overly sweet nor too heavy. Definitely recommend this!
BUTTERSCOTCH BEIGNETS (Café Orleans and French Market Restaurant)
I have always preferred the beignets at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney, which are fluffier and doughier than the ones inside Disneyland. The butterscotch flavor is good, but the beignets themselves are still a little tough and not as good as those at Jazz Kitchen. I’d probably give these a pass and make the trek out to Downtown Disney for the good ones if I really wanted beignets that badly.
VANILLA AND ORANGE SOFT SERVE ICE CREAM (Paradise Pier Ice Cream Co.)
You can’t go wrong with soft serve, and the vanilla and orange swirl is exactly the flavorful meeting of fruity and sweet ice creamy goodness you’d expect. I’d recommend this, especially on a hot day, which is still quite common in October in California.
They need no introduction or explanation from me, but I feel like I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy and the Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion overlay.
SPACE MOUNTAIN: GHOST GALAXY
The queue for Space Mountain is a little more interesting than normal, or even during the Hyperspace Mountain overlay, as the dome has been given really cool lighting and sound effects, which are actually pretty eerie and add some atmosphere to a queue that severely lacks it.
I’m not quite sure if this is something they added this year, or if my own powers of observations are just so poor that I completely failed to notice the effect last year (highly likely), or perhaps I just plain forgot (also very probable). I do find the ghost-alien-thing pretty creepy, especially for Disneyland, but it’s hard to really think of anything at Disneyland as truly frightening.
HAUNTED MANSION HOLIDAY
The Halloween-Christmas hybrid décor is beautiful, as always. The outside looks similar enough to years past, though I’ve already admitted my terrible observational skills and poor memory so it’s highly likely that there are changes I just haven’t noticed.
My first experience with the holiday overlay was in its first year in 2001, and I remember disliking the whole thing. With the Haunted Mansion being the classic that it is, and also a personal favorite, I thought it was wholly unnecessary to a ride that was already perfectly themed for Halloween. After I rode it again last year, I had to admit it was much better than I remembered, though also highly likely much improved in the 14 years since I first saw it. While I still prefer the classic Haunted Mansion, I admit that I like seeing the differences and improvements they make each year.
The unveiling of the gingerbread house each year is always fun. Each year is different and it’s always interesting to see what the Imagineers come up with, and they never disappoint.
This year’s highlight is definitely the addition of Sally, who stands near the beginning of the cemetery scene on your left, gazing out at Jack Skellington who stands at the entrance gate to the cemetery. She is very well done, but half of her body is hidden by a gravestone so it’s easy to miss the cute little leg kick she does; be sure to look back before your Doom Buggy turns away completely. (Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get a usable photo of Sally.)
Have you experienced Disneyland during Halloween Time? What is your favorite thing to do or eat at the parks during this season?