Mickey’s Halloween Party and the Frightfully Fun Parade at Disneyland
As a sort of sequel/companion to my Disneyland Halloween Time Highlights post, I’m talking about Mickey’s Halloween Party, which I attended on Friday October 7, focusing mostly on this year’s big draw for the event, the Frightfully Fun Parade.
This is my first time ever attending a special hard ticket event at any Disney park, so I don’t have any frame of reference to know how good, or not, this event was. Thus, these are truly just my own personal opinions. Part brain dump, part guide, part review, I’m discussing the main draws that are exclusive to the party, and a few of my thoughts at the very end.
Warning, this is a very long (~1500 words) and image heavy post!
You can, of course, find all of the information on Mickey’s Halloween Party on Disneyland’s official website. Briefly, the party runs on select dates from September 23 to October 31, and costs $70-90. As of this writing, all tickets are sold out, so this post is mostly a review for those who want to relive the experience with me, an overview for the curious who are not attending, or a sort of guide to those who are considering this event in the future.
So without further ado, let’s get to the fun part!
FRIGHTFULLY FUN PARADE
Disney fans, including me, love shiny new things, and this year’s big new draw is the Frightfully Fun Parade (introduced on the official Disney Parks blog). “Hosted” by Jack Skellington, the parade is fairly short, running approximately 20 minutes, and features villains old and new, as well as a Haunted Mansion unit that might be my favorite part of any parade, ever.
These pictures are from both the 8:30 (which starts at Small World and ends at Main Street Town Square) and 10:30 parades shown together, which is why in the photos the parade will alternate going up and down Main Street.
The Headless Horsemans provides an ominous start to the parade, silently passing with a glaring Jack-o-Lantern.
A few minutes after the Headless Horseman has heralded the start, Zero leads the way with the marquee.
Then comes Jack and Sally greeting guests.
Next, the Haunted Mansion comes to “afterlife” with one of the coolest parade units. Considering the Haunted Mansion is one of the most beloved attractions in all of Disneyland, expectations are probably quite high, and I think Disney did a fantastic job. One of my favorite parts of the ride is the ghostly ballroom dancers, and the performers who lead the unit in their ballroom attire bring that to life beautifully.
The Hitchhiking Ghosts have caught a ride on the float, which features the mansion. The windows look beautiful, the video screens are even clearer than the screens in Paint the Night.
Following the Mansion are the Groundskeeper (sans greyhound) and gravediggers.
Be sure to keep your eye on them as the sparks literally fly when they scrape their shovels into the ground.
I really cannot say enough about how much I loved this part of the parade.
Next comes the “Shadow Man” from The Princess and the Frog, Dr. Facilier, preceded his friends from the other side.
The grand finale to the parade is the giant float featuring several classic villains. Ahead of the float are the Queen of Hearts, Captain Hook, and Governor Radcliffe. The Queen of Hearts was especially entertaining, coming to the spectators and demanding they bow and kiss her hand.
The float features Lady Tremaine, Anastasia and Drizella, Hades, the Evil Queen, Jafar and Frollo on opposite sides of the float, and Cruella de Vil providing the finishing touch at the end. It also features Maleficent in her dragon form.
Personally, I enjoyed it a lot more than Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, though it’s not quite as great as Paint the Night. I’d heard mixed reviews, many saying it was too short. Having that in mind, my expectations were pretty reasonable and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
After the 8:30 parade, it’s about a half hour wait for the Halloween Screams Fireworks. With the Santa Ana winds, it’s possible there could be cancellations.
There are projections on the castle, but not on the Main Street buildings. I thought the fireworks were good, but not one of the best fireworks shows Disney has put on. It’s more of a secondary feature to the headlining parade, in my opinion.
The Cadaver Dans were not featured on the official Disney website, but they were one of my other favorite parts of the night.
The “fog” has rolled in over the Rivers of America giving it a beautifully eerie and spooky atmosphere, and the Dans float through the mist with a variety of songs including “This is Halloween” and Halloween variations of their standards. I could watch the Dans – Dapper or Cadaver – all day long, so this was definitely one of my favorite parts of the night.
Undoubtedly one of the main draws for Disney fans is the chance to meet characters in fun costumes, as well as the villains. I’m not huge on meeting characters generally, but considering it’s part of the fun of these events, I made it a point to a visit few.
The lines were fairly long, but moved quickly, especially later in the evening after the second parade. The villains we saw included the Evil Queen, the Queen of Hearts, and Cruella.
Unfortunately I completely failed here. I don’t have any usable photos of the villains meet and greets.
Of course, it’s not Halloween without trick-or-treating, and there are many Treat Trails throughout the park, at least one in each land. You’ll get a Halloween Party map which shows where the trails are. But the treat trails are easy to find, look for the giant Mickey ghost head.
I did not go through all of the treat trails, and the ones I did I visited mostly in the last hour when the lines were shortest and moved the fastest, and I still got a large bag of candy that should last the rest of the month (although with my sweet tooth, I don’t know…). I saw a few families with multiple large grocery bags bulging with candy, so you can definitely get quite a loot if you’re committed.
If you’re really in it for the candy, the trick seems to be to go through the treat trails with a smaller bag (which Disneyland provides when you check in at the entrance) and the Cast Members will be pretty generous and fill them quite a bit, then when you exit the treat trail, empty the smaller bag into a larger bag and start again.
Since it’s pretty basic candy and you’re paying for the overall experience, I suggest waiting until the end of the night and going to any trail you happen to be passing by. It’s not worth the time spent during the middle of the party to wait in those lines when you could either be in line for an attraction or getting a great spot for the parade.
While the party generally starts at 6 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays or 7 pm on Fridays, the ticket allows admission starting at 3 hours before the party. The crowd on the date I attended (Friday, October 7) was very high during the day, with long wait times at all rides, especially Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy and Haunted Mansion Holiday.
Once the park closed for the party, the crowd became much more manageable. Considering the demand for these events weighed against the price of admission, Disney capped the number at a good amount – crowded enough to be busy and bustling, but not so much that it was uncomfortable, even in the middle of Main Street for the fireworks.
As for whether or not I think this event was worth the price… The tickets cost $79 for Mondays and Wednesdays (with Annual Passholder discount available), $89 for Fridays (no AP discount available), and $99 for the weekend leading up to Halloween and on Halloween Day (again no discount). Disney raised the price this year and did not include parking in the cost, so that’s another cost to factor in. That is a fairly high amount for a party that only lasts 5 hours, or 8 hours if you count the early admission.
Price is a tricky thing to consider, as everyone views it differently. There are too many factors that go into deciding whether or not it’s “worth” it. Are you a passholder? Would this be your one visit to the park this year? Is it part of a larger vacation? Do you even like Halloween that much? Etc.
My friends and I (all of us are passholders) had a great experience and a lot of fun. That said, unless Disney announces some big changes or new offerings, I will probably pass on this event for the next few years.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Have you attended Mickey’s Halloween Party before? If you’ve been before and are going again this year (or already have gone), I’d love to know how you think this year compared to previous years. Or if this will be, or was, your first Halloween party, I’d love to know what you thought of it.
Oh! And if you found this post helpful or interesting, please consider sharing it by using one of the social media buttons or simply giving it a “like.” As always, thank you so much for visiting and taking the time to read!