Let me start off this post by saying, Mickey’s Halloween Party was a blast! This was both Brittany’s and my first time attending the event, but I am certain it will not be our last. For those of you unaware, MHP is a special ticketed event that takes place at Disneyland Resort on select nights in September and October. Simple right? A nice Halloween offering from Disney. Well here’s where it gets tricky… Mickey’s Halloween Party is not the same as Halloweentime at Disney, and even more importantly it’s not Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party either (that event is exclusive to WDW Florida). Why they choose to name all these events so similarly is beyond me, but for the record this review is specifically for Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA.
Now while we both had an amazing time there are a few things that I want to make clear before I spam you with photos of us and Disney Villains. First off I definitely would say this event is not for everyone. Many of the things we did during the party were things that could be done during the day without buying the extra ticket. We saw the value in the exclusives and even now after the event we believe it was money well spent. The focus here is definitely on the atmosphere. If you’re not the type of person to watch the parades and stand in line for character meet-and-greets this probably isn’t for you. More on this later.
Secondly, yes you do need a separate ticket to go to the party, even annual pass holders will be shelling out some extra cash for the festivities, and the extra offerings may not add up for everyone. Now as of this year the ticket allows you to enter both Disneyland and California Adventure three hours before the party starts and it even comes with unlimited Disney PhotoPass as well to make the most of your time. For people like us that value doesn’t make any difference at all (our annual passes would let us in for those three hours anyway and we already have the MaxPass feature as well), but for many people that could be a huge selling point.
If you’re a local without an annual pass for example, or someone visiting who wasn’t really planning on going to the parks for more than one day anyway, it’s kind of perfect. Since most people at the party are there for the exclusives and the characters, I can say from experience that the rides in Disneyland really don’t get any longer than a 30 min wait during the event. You can enjoy all the added ambience of Halloween at the happiest place on earth, sneak past all the crowds for the rides, and even bring home some nice photos all for one price.
Finally, I should probably let you know that whether or not you are interested in going to the party, it is all sold out for 2017! The dates sold out insanely fast this year, rumor has it that while the prices were raised they did lower the number of tickets sold for the event as well. I was in fact very happy with the crowds and wait time, so I think this may be true. We were able to snag tickets over the phone directly from Disney as tickets were selling out. I personally wouldn’t recommend buying them aftermarket (eBay has plenty of tickets for sale still). I don’t trust that every ticket posted there is real to begin with and while I was happy to pay the regular price, I don’t know if the value is really there to pay double the price.
So if you’re still intrigued about our adventures, already have tickets to the party, or just want to live vicariously through us please keep reading, because I can’t wait to share our amazing evening with you! But if you’re bummed the event is sold out feel free to leave us here and I wish you luck in grabbing your tickets next year (I am definitely gonna grab them sooner myself next time as well). For those of you continuing with me feel free to snag a bowl of candy and turn on the Hocus Pocus soundtrack, because it’s time to party!
Brittany and I actually spent the day enjoying the regular Halloween festivities before the party, but for a look into that feel free to check out our Instagram feed, I won't be focusing on "non-party" activities in this post. So for all intents and purposes our Mickey’s Halloween Party experience began with us changing into our costumes in the parking lot. For us personally, being able to wear a costume in the park was the absolute biggest selling point of MHP. Of course young children can always dress up as Jedi and princesses in the disney parks, but for those of us 14 years or older it’s usually not allowed. The only thing that is more fun than taking pictures with your favorite villains is doing it in costume.
Once we got in the park we headed straight for the back. The event didn’t start until 7pm, but we entered around 5:30pm so we could go to the “pre-party” in Mickey’s Toontown. Toontown closes for regular park goers around 5pm and they basically use it as a staging area for the event. So while most people are filtering out of the park for the day you can meet Mickey, Minnie, and friends all dressed up in their own Halloween costumes!
We missed out on Mickey in his Zorro costume, but Brittany was excited to meet Donald because they matched so well. In the hour before the official start time of the event we got to do three character meet-and-greets which is pretty good for a large event like this. We were able to meet Pluto and Goofy back to back really quick because we were basically the last in line for Pluto so as soon as we were done with him, we just had to get back in the same line. Mickey, Donald, Minnie, and Daisy are staged by the main center of Toontown so we lined up for that early, but really if you want to be in and out real fast, Goofy and Pluto are sort of off to the side and generally draw a much smaller crowd. Lucky for me Goofy is my favorite of the Sensational Six!
As the pre-party was winding down we headed for New Orleans Square because we wanted to show Jack and Sally our costumes. Now this is what made the Halloween Party so important to us. The Jack and Sally meet-and-greet and many others are not exclusive to the party, you can do them during the regular park hours this time of year. But for us dressing up was a huge part of it and we wanted to get the most out of our MaxPass photos and meet as many characters as we could in costume. We didn’t plan it, but our purple/black theme matched incredibly well with most of the characters!
New Orleans Square also had an annual pass holder exclusive Magic Shot with Zero so we did that as well. I would say stopping at the AP photo was really the only mistake we made during the event. The line was crazy long since it was only an hour into the event. When we passed by later there was literally no one waiting so if you’re going to be attending I would definitely recommend holding off until the end for that.
The Frightfully Fun Parade is one of the things exclusive to the party and it is really spectacular. I think it probably could do with one or two more floats to compete some of the other Disney parades, but a parade that starts with the Headless Horseman chasing townsfolk down Main Street and ends with Maleficent in dragon form is definitely a step in the right direction. While Mickey and Minnie start the parade off the villains quickly steal the show. Everyone from Dr. Facilier to Hades shows up to bring a little wickedness to the festivities and it is a real treat to watch.
Many people will tell you to line up for the Frightfully Fun Parade an hour in advance, but personally I see no reason to do that. Not only does the parade run twice during the event, but it’s genuinely not that crowded. I really believe they did a great job of not over selling the event. We had a whole game plan going into the night because we weren’t sure if we would get to do everything we wanted, but we ended up doing even more than we planned and never stood in a line longer than we expected. We were actually able to sit down and eat dinner and still grab street-side spots only 20 min before the parade started.
As soon as the parade ended we booked it down towards the castle to grab a good spot for the Halloween SCREAMS fireworks show. Calling it a fireworks show is definitely an understatement. Not only are there fireworks and straight up pyrotechnics, the entire castle is masked with 3D projection and becomes the real star of the show, along with Zero and his glowing nose flying through the air. Both the parade and the fireworks are a big selling point for the exclusive ticket, and we were super impressed by both.
As the lights came back on after the fireworks we headed for the front of the park where a rotating cast of villains take their turns for photos and autographs. There’re two areas where the villains have official meet-and-greets with a Disney photographer, but the rest of them will just be wandering around the area and you can very easily stop them and chat and get photos as well. We only stood in line for Maleficent for about 5 mins, but we were also able to hang out with Dr. Facilier and the Evil Queen. The way the villains interact with not only the guests, but each other is so awesome. They flawlessly intertwine movie references and jokes into their dialogue and they never rush you. They spend plenty of time making each and every person feel like a part of the action. I’ve always been impressed by the disney character actors, but the villains really took it to a whole other level for me.
By this point in the night we had accomplished all of the “must-do” activities on our list. We even ate some Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake and picked up one of the exclusive Mickey’s Halloween Party Pins. We knew we wanted to ride Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy and Haunted Mansion: Holiday, but since neither ride is exclusive to MHP we weren’t super stressed to get them, but in the end we managed to have plenty of time to add them to our festivities. On the way to Space Mountain we somehow ended up in the middle of the Pixar Pals Dance Party! We promptly danced the night away with some Supers and helped Mike and Sully out with their conga line, but most importantly we found out where Frozone’s supersuit was!
The Ghost Galaxy version of Space Mountain is much scarier than I expected. Not like terrifying, but gruesome is definitely a word that comes to mind. It’s a blast like usual, but the Haunted Mansion Holiday steals the show as far as the Halloween themed rides are concerned. It’s not just like they add a few decorations to the existing ride, it’s a full overhaul of the ride and even changes the plot to align with The Nightmare Before Christmas. Dozens of animatronics are added to the experience and everything from the famous elevator paintings to the hitchhiking ghosts feels new. Well actually the hitchhiking ghosts aren’t present Oogie Boogie and his sinister presents bring the ride to a close instead.
We still had about an hour of party time left, but by then we had legitimately done everything we wanted to do and more. So after grabbing a final snack (according to Brittany, the S’mores churro is definitely worth trying) and some last minute photos with “Mickey” we were on our way home with big smiles on our faces. Well I think Brittany was mostly happy with being able to take her Rapunzel wig off.
Brittany and I can not recommend checking out Mickey’s Halloween Party high enough. It was the absolute perfect way to spend our first Halloween in California together. We love Disney wholeheartedly and we don’t just go to run around and get on as many rides as possible. We take in the atmosphere, we meet characters, we trade pins, and we just love being there. We also LOVE Halloween and love making costumes so for us getting tickets to MHP was a no brainer and we are already looking forward to next year. If you’re the type of person who just wants to hit all the rides as fast as possible and doesn’t like when Main street is blocked off for a parade, then this probably isn’t the best event for you. While we felt the ticket price was well worth it, for some people, especially if you have a big family, there are many other ways to enjoy Disney and its fall offerings without the extra cost.
Stay tuned for our article on the regular Halloweentime offerings at Disneyland and California Adventure. We’ve already experienced some of them, but we’ll be back in the park again soon to gather even more info!