Disneyland (CA)

What to Expect from 2012’s Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland

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Mickey’s Halloween Party is the Disneyland is a special extra-ticket event held select nights at Disneyland during the Halloween season. The party includes a special fireworks show featuring a fly by of Zero (instead of Tinker Bell), a costumed character cavalcade,  trick-or-treating, dance parties, and more.


When/Where is the Halloween Party? 

Mickey’s Halloween Party takes place in Disneyland on select nights in the fall, typically running from late-September until Halloween. In 2012, the party dates are September 28, October 2, 5, 9, 12, 15, 19, 23, 26, 29, and 31.

Tickets for Mickey’s Halloween Party typically become available in July.

What time is the Party?

Officially the Party runs from 6 pm on some nights and 7 pm on others. The party runs until 11 pm or 12 am, depending on the night. Guests with valid Halloween party tickets may enter the park up to three hours prior to the event’s start time.

Will I need a special ticket to get into the Party?

Yes. Admission requires buying a separate ticket just for this event. It’s not included in any regular theme park tickets or annual passports.

How much do the Party tickets cost?

There’s a range of pricing including discounts for buying in advance. The official Disney website lists the following prices:

Event Dates Advanced Purchase Price per Person Advanced Purchase Price for Annual Passholders Day of Event Purchase Price
Friday, September 28, 2012 — 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. $54.00 $46.00 $64.00
Tuesday, October 2, 2012 — 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. $54.00 $46.00 $64.00
Friday, October 5, 2012 — 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. $54.00 $46.00 $64.00
Tuesday, October 9, 2012 — 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. $54.00 $46.00 $64.00
Friday, October 12, 2012 — 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. $64.00 $64.00 $64.00
Monday, October 15, 2012 — 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. $54.00 $46.00 $64.00
Friday, October 19, 2012 — 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. $64.00 $64.00 $64.00
Tuesday, October 23, 2012 — 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. $54.00 $46.00 $64.00
Friday, October 26, 2012 — 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. $64.00 $64.00 $64.00
Monday, October 29, 2012 — 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. $69.00 $69.00 $69.00
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 — 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. $69.00 $69.00 $69.00

I don’t have a Park Hopper, can I still buy a Mickey’s Halloween Party ticket?

You sure can. Mickey’s Halloween Party tickets are totally separate from regular park admission media. If you have a one day, one park ticket, you’re welcome to visit DCA in the morning and then Mickey’s Halloween Party in the evening using a Party ticket. This would not count as a “Park Hop.”

I see that there’s a discount for early ticket purchase, but do I need to purchase tickets early if I’m not sure about attending the party?

Same-day tickets may be available for some parties on the day of the event, but you should absolutely buy your tickets in advance if you’d like to go to attend. A limited number of tickets are available for each party. The event does typically sell out on October weekends.

Where do I enter Disneyland for the Party?

Depending on what time you arrive at Disneyland, some or all of the entrance turnstiles will be dedicated to Party admission. Look for the signs indicating where to go. When you enter the park with a Halloween Party ticket, a cast member will place a plastic wristband on your arm and hand you a plastic candy collection bag. Also be sure to grab a map/schedule on the way in.

I’m not going to Mickey’s Halloween Party, but I will be in Disneyland during a day when the Party is held. Will they kick me out of the park at 7:00?

Well, no one will forcibly remove you from the park, but beginning at around 7:00 cast members will set up moving checkpoints for wristbands. If you’re not wearing a wristband, then you’ll be directed toward the park exit. Wristband checks occur periodically at the attractions.

I’ll be visiting Disneyland in the afternoon and also attending Mickey’s Halloween Party. Do I have to leave the park at some point?

No. Beginning in late afternoon, several stations will be set up inside the park to distribute wristbands to Party guests who are already inside. Stop by one of the stations, they’ll scan your ticket, give you a wristband, and you can be back to the fun in no time.

It’s a Halloween Party – does that mean costumes?

Costumes are NOT required to attend the Party, but many guests do add to the fun by getting dressed up. There are a few restrictions on costumes (more on that in a sec), but there is no requirement that costumes be Disney-related. Many guests choose to give a nod to Disney in their dress-up (Mouseketeers and pirates are popular choices), but you’ll also see plenty of non-Disney superheros on hand.

Costumes range from just a Halloween-themed tee or pirate eye patch to full on Haunted Mansion ghosts. The choice is really up to you. Personally, I love seeing other guests dressed creatively.

What types of costume restrictions are there?

The goal for costumes is being fun and creative, not frightening. You’ll be asked to change or leave if your costume is too scary or grotesque.

The official language on the tickets states. “Halloween costumes should NOT:

  • Obstruct the guest’s view or interfere with their ability to board/unload from attractions and/or the the Walt Disney World Resort transportation system (including monorails, ferry boats, and motorcoaches).
  • Drag on the ground.
  • Contain sharp or pointed objects or material that may accidentally strike another guest.
  • Be offensive to other guests.
  • Contain any weapons which resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon.”

Additionally, the main Disneyland website contains the following language about general costuming issues:

“Attire that is not appropriate for the theme parks (and which may result in refusal of admittance) includes but is not limited to:

  • Adult costumes or clothing that can be viewed as representative of an actual Disney character.
  • Masks (unless you are dressing up for a particular event).
  • Clothing with objectionable material, including obscene language or graphics.
  • Excessively torn clothing.
  • Clothing which, by nature, exposes excessive portions of the skin that may be viewed as inappropriate for a family environment.
  • Objectionable tattoos.

A Guest is allowed into the parks if her or his hair (or make-up, if applicable) has been made to resemble a Disney Princess or character (for example, after a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique makeover) provided the Guest is not also wearing a costume or clothed to look like the character.” Disneyland is known to be very strict on this rule.

Any other costume tips?

Autumn temperatures at Disneyland are still quite warm. Particularly for the earlier parties, you might encounter temperatures well into the 80s. This is not the time for fuzzy bear suits or full body armor. Think more along the lines of hula skirts and baseball jerseys for maximum comfort.

The Disney powers-that-be like to restrict adult costumes to the Party itself. If you’re coming directly from your resort to the Party, then you’re fine wearing your costume on the bus or monorail. If you’re coming from elsewhere, then your best bet is to change into costume once you’re at Disneyland. If you don’t want to carry your street clothes around, Mickey’s Halloween Party is a great time to invest in a locker rental.

What is the crowd situation like during the party?

As I mentioned, there are a limited number of tickets sold for the event, so you won’t be slammed with crowds if you’re just walking through the park. I’ve personally found the lines for the rides to be quite short during the Party; however other aspects of the event can feel quite intense crowd-wise. More on that in a bit.

Now that you’ve got the business out of the way, can you tell me what there is to do at the Party?

On to the fun stuff! The Halloween Party has several components:

  • Rides
  • Trick or treating
  • Halloween-themed character cavalcade
  • Halloween-themed fireworks
  • Character dance parties
  • Special character meet and greet opportunities
  • Villain’s meet and greet
  • Haunted Mansion Holiday
  • Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy

Are all the rides open during the Party?

Well, not every last one, but most of the rides are fully operational during the Party. In 2011, the following rides were not available to Party guests: Tarzan’s Tree House, Casey Junior, Storybook Land Canal Boats, and Innoventions. All of Mickey’s Toontown is closed during the Halloween party.

Should I go on rides during the Party?

This depends on your priorities. The ride wait times during the Party are usually minimal. If your main goal for the Party is to get some quality Space Mountain time in, then by all means ride on. Disneyland does offer two special Halloween attractions (Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy and Haunted Mansion Holiday), but these are NOT exclusive to Mickey’s Halloween Party.

What’s the Trick or Treating like?

Every guest of the Party, children and adults, will be given a trick or treat bag upon entering the park. You’re also welcome to bring your own bag if that’s more your speed. There will be eight treat stations scattered throughout the park. These are noted on the Mickey’s Halloween Party map and can be found in the park by looking for the special large Halloween-themed “lamp posts.”

As you walk through the park, stop by the treat stations and cast members will add candy to your bag. There are dozens of types of candy available, including everything from off-brand candy corn to name brand mini candy bars. Typically guests report receiving an even mix of sugar-based (Dots, US Smarties, lollipops, Twizzlers, etc.) and chocolate-based (mini Hershey bars, M&Ms, Tootsie Rolls, etc.) candy. Many of the stations will have an alternative treat, such as boxed raisins, to give to guests with food allergies. Be sure to ask the cast members at the trick or treat stations if you have alternative treat needs.

There is no limit to the candy collection. You’re welcome to hit the treat lines as often as you wish. If you’ve got a candy-mad child in your group, this may be his idea of heaven. Here are some things to think about before you invest too much of your time on candy collection:

  • If you’re trying to maintain healthfulness, do you really want to come home with pounds of candy?
  • If simply having candy is your goal, it’s more cost effective to go to the supermarket and just buy the kinds you like.
  • What’s the opportunity cost of spending time trick or treating? Will you miss out on other party activities?
  • Do you come from a culture that does not trick or treat? If so, the novelty of this experience may outweigh other considerations.
  • Anecdotal evidence suggests that the candy distribution cast members become more generous as the evening wears on. You may get a bigger haul if you visit the lines later in the Party.

Other than candy, what are my food options during the Party?

There are no table service restaurants seating guests once the Party starts. However, if you’re seated at a table service before the start of the Party, you’ll be allowed to finish your meal at a normal pace. You won’t be rushed out.

There are a number of counter service venues open during the Party. In recent years these have included: The Plaza Inn, Jolly Holiday Bakery, Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor, Refreshment Corner, Royal Street Veranda, Bengal Barbecue, The Golden Horseshoe, Stage Door Cafe, and Tomorrowland Terrace. These spots give you a range of options from sweets to salads. Check out the restaurant menus for specifics.

It seems silly to me to use a substantial percentage of your valuable Party time for a full meal. To take best advantage of the Halloween offerings, consume your sit-down protein before the party starts. A 5:30 p.m. dinner at Carnation Cafe or Cafe Orleans is a great way to fortify yourself for the long night ahead.

Tell me about the parade.

Mickey’s Costume Party Cavalcade starts near It’s a small world at 8:15 and 9:15 p.m [Correction: This year the Cavalcade takes place at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.]. As with all parades, depending on where you’re situated on the parade route, it could take 15 minutes or more for the parade to pass your location. The exact parade route is noted on the Mickey’s Halloween Party park map.

Crowds will begin lining up along the route about 30 minutes before the start of the parade. Keep in mind that Disney doesn’t call this a parade, it is a “cavalcade.” What’s the difference? This is not a full blown parade, it features only three floats. Most of the characters walk the parade route.

 Photo © Disney
Photo © Disney

A special “Halloween Screams” fireworks show is run at 9:30 p.m. The show lasts about 12 minutes. Good vantage points can be had anywhere along Main Street, but the best is in the hub. You’ll want to get as close as possible to Sleeping Beauty Castle to see Jack Skellington’s ghost dog reindeer Zero fly by on the zip line Tinker Bell uses for the usual fireworks.

The actual fireworks in the sky are fairly standard for Disney, but the music and narration takes on a decidedly spooky tone. The show is hosted by Jack Skellington and Oogie Boogie from Nightmare Before Christmas. There is audio from the Haunted Mansion attraction (Grim Grinning Ghosts). The castle itself is primarily bathed in blues and greens. If you like fireworks, by all means have at it. If you have a child who is fearful of loud noise or creepy tones, then hop on a ride during the fireworks and skip this part. Personally, I think this is one of the best fireworks shows Disney has ever produced, it is not to be missed. Seeing Zero fly around the castle is amazing.

What is a “dance party”?

In 2010 and 2011 there were two character dance parties running throughout the Party: Buzz Lightyear’s Intergalactic Space Jam, taking place at the Tomorrowland Terrace in Tomorrowland, and Club Skellington at the French Market in New Orleans Square.

During the dance parties, DJs spin dance tunes and characters are available to boogie with guests. If you’re not shy, it’s possible to get in some time dancing with the characters. Beware, that the volume can be quite intense and keep an eye on the kiddos. It’s dark and confusing with lots of mood lighting and other guests trying to get time to boogie next to Jack and Sally.

Can I meet characters during the party?

Absolutely! Not only can you meet characters, but many of them will be wearing Halloween costumes themselves. The 2012 Mickey’s Halloween Party character greetings included:

    • Friends from Aladdin – Aladdin’s Oasis
    • Jack & Sally – French Market
    • Winnie the Pooh & Friends – Critter Country
    • Disney Pirate Pals – Pirate Wharf (Frontierland Dock)
    • Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto – Big Thunder Rance
    • Disney Villains – Town Square, Main Street USA
    • Disney Princesses – Near It’s a Small World
    • Disney Fairies – Pixie Hollow
    • Phineas & Ferb – Innoventions
    • Toy Story Pals – Big Thunder Rance
    • Merida – Near It’s a Small World

Note: This list is may change, this post may be updated when the Halloween Parties start.

The lines for the character greetings, particularly Jack and Sally, can become very long, very fast. Even at the start of the Party, you may face wait times of an hour or more. If character photo opportunities are important to you, but sure to factor wait times into your planning.

What’s new this year?

Nothing is new this year but some of the character meet and greets have been moved. The Disney Villains were formally located in front of It’s a small world. The princesses have been moved to the villain’s former location due to Princes Fantasy Faire construction.

How might weather impact the Halloween party?

Tickets are non-refundable and the Party goes on rain or shine, even if there’s lots and lots and lots of rain. Some of the Party activities may be postponed, curtailed, or cancelled, but the Party itself will continue. But lets be honest, it never rains in Southern California.

Is there any special Party merchandise?

Of course there is. Disney will sell Halloween-themed merchandise throughout the parks and resorts from late August until early November. There will also be some items sold exclusively at the Parties. Typically this will include several styles of tee shirts, trading pins, and a Vinylmation. Since the exclusive merchandise only appears during the Party, you can usually find it at or near the registers where the cast members can most easily keep control of it. Try the Emporium for best selection.

How do I know what’s right for me?

The first step is deciding what your priorities are. Are you there to meet characters? Do you want to focus on the unique entertainment? Is collecting a year’s worth of candy your main objective? Do you want ride time with low lines? Each of these scenarios needs a different touring strategy. Once you have have your priorities set, it’s easy to choose a plan.

What tips do you have if meeting characters is my main goal?

Almost every single Halloween party character is available during regular park hours, including the “fab five” in their special Halloween costumes. If meeting characters is your main goal you might want to hunt them down before the party officially starts. Remember, Disney will allow you to enter the party up to three hours prior to the start of the event.If you do want meet characters before the party starts, the main draw will be Jack & Sally and the Disney Villains. Jack & Sally can be found near the left side of the Haunted Mansion Holiday entrance. The Disney Villains can be found in Big Thunder Rance.

Is Mickey’s Halloween Party worth it?

Personally, I strongly dislike extra ticket events. I think they are a waste of money and a exist only as cash grab on behalf of Disney. Almost everything offered for the Halloween Party is also part of a regular park admission, minus the fireworks, character cavalcade, dance parties, and candy. Is this worth almost $70 to you? To maximize the return on your dollar, think about:

  • Being present for the entire event. Think of it this way, if you pay $69 for your ticket and you stay for a full five hours, you’re spending $13.80 per hour for your entertainment. If you only stay for three hours, then you’re spending $23 per hour for your entertainment.
  • You’ll have the most “Halloweenish” experience if you focus on events/activities that are unique to the Party. Big Thunder Mountain is the same Big Thunder Mountain with or without a Mickey’s Halloween Party ticket. The Halloween Screams fireworks can only be seen at the Party.
  • The lines for the trick or treating are rarely long, particularly later in the evening. Try working in your candy collection when you see a short line on the way to another activity.
  • While some guests will line up for the fireworks 45 minutes or more before start time, to me this is a waste of quality touring time. (And time is money.) Unless you absolutely must be right up front, you can arrive for the parade just a few minutes in advance.
  • Multitask when possible. If you’ve got to wait around for a parade to start, use this time for your food consumption.

More information, and ticket options can be found on the official Disneyland website.

Here is the map of the 2012 Mickey’s Halloween Party:

Please click to enlarge

So happy haunters, are you planning to attend Mickey’s Halloween Party this year? What are you looking forward to most? What do you usually skip during the party? What are your touring strategies? Let us know in the comments below.

10/3/12 Update: I attended last night’s Mickey’s Halloween Party and have some pictures of the event to share with you:

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Guy Selga Jr.

Disneyland writer for TouringPlans.com and co-author of the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland. Also a Disneyland local and appreciator of Disney theme park history. Twitter and Instagram: @guyselga

25 thoughts on “What to Expect from 2012’s Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland

  • I have to tell you…I have been looking for lots of info on the halloween party all over the internet…this is BY FAR the best post. THANK YOU!

    • Guy Selga, Jr.

      Thank you so much for the kind words. I’m glad it helped. Also, I just updated the post with this years parade times and character meet and greet information so be sure to check it out!

  • is this worth the money for older teenagers?

    • Are your teenagers in to meeting characters or waiting in the trick or treat lines? I ask because this is essentially what the Halloween parties are all about. I’m going to assume the parade or too “kiddie” for most teenagers, but I do think any age can enjoy the special Halloween fireworks. If your teenagers are only in to rides than they’ll experience slightly shorter waits on most attractions during Halloween party hours.

  • Is peter Pam, Wendy, and hook not present this year?!? 🙁

    • Guy Selga Jr.

      Hook is present in Town Square during the Halloween party. During regular park hours Hook is with the other villains in Big Thunder Ranch. I did not see Pan and Wendy during the Halloween party.
      Jack Sparrow is available in Frontierland at the Mark Twaine dock. Jack Sparrow’s line can get long, so you might want to wait for him early if you want to meet him.

  • Also, will jack sparrow be there?

  • When you say “Winnie the pooh and friends” and “Disney fairies” do you mean that all of the characters are present? I saw pictures of pooh, eeyore, tigger, and piglet in the photos, but I’m not sure if it is at Walt Disney world. Thank you are answering my questions.

    • Guy Selga Jr.

      I don’t have pictures of my own but when I was there for the Halloween party all of the Winnie the Pooh characters were out. I’m sorry, I don’t know about the fairies because I didn’t wait in the long line but I assume they have Tinker Bell and a random other faerie like they do during regular park hours.

  • Allie

    I was at mickey’s Halloween party. Just want to let you guys know that Peter pan, Wendy, and hook are there! When jack sparrow is taking a rest, Peter and the rest will take his place.

    • Guy Selga Jr.

      Oh cool! Good to know. Thank you! Hope you had a good time.

  • shelly

    Friends and I are going to the Halloween
    Party at Disneyland on the 15th. It’s
    my first time at Disneyland. I’m hoping
    that Tinkerbell and friends will be there.
    She was my favorite as a child.

    • Guy Selga Jr.

      Tinker Bell and her pixie can be seen every day and every party night at Pixie Hallow. Enjoy your trip!

  • jessie

    hi! i’m going to california for a short vacay this week and my friend told me she bought tickets for us to attend the disney halloween party,with her kids, and that we are gonna wear costumes =) i’m so excited since its my first time to attend their party, and i’ve decided to come as ‘catwoman” as she is my absolute fave! now after reading your blog ( which is very informative& useful btw ), i am a bit concerned, if my outfit is inappropriate 🙁

    • Guy Selga Jr.

      Hi Jessie. I saw plenty of tight-fitting costumes at the Halloween party, but you’re right, you never know what the staff on duty on any given day will find inappropriate. I think you would have a problem if the costume was over-the-top sexy and revealing. But I wouldn’t feel to out of place if it was just a black bodysuit, I saw many costumes like that. If you really want to make sure, I would call Disney ahead of time ((714) 781-4636) and ask if they have any advice.

  • Trying to plan here… you can get in/get your wristband 3hrs prior, but the character greetings don’t start until the party starts? Just want to be clear – or are most of these characters out all day or at least prior to the start? Like Jack and Sally – are they out daily?

    • Guy Selga Jr.

      For the Halloween season some of the characters are out all day, BUT they are in different areas during the day than they are during the party. The villains are out in Big Thunder Rance during the day, and Town Square during the party. Jack and Sally are near Haunted Mansion during the day, they are at French Market during the party. The princesses, Marida, Mickey and friends, Pooh and friends are all in the same spots. Characters like Captain Jack Sparrow and Phineas and Ferb do not appear during the day.

  • liz rasa

    On the days that mickeys halloween party are held after 6pm guests without a mickeys party wristband are not allowed on rides or in any shopping area. Pretty much all areas of the park are closed off to all guests that do not have a MNSSH wristband.You can hang out for the parade and fireworks but thats not so easy when you have children. It would be torture to make your little ones stick around and watch everyone else trick or treat.

  • liz rasa

    forgot to mention around 7pm the weather changes drastically from warm to chilly so make sure you have a sweatsuit, tights undershirts SOMETHING for your kids to put on.

  • Monica

    We were given tickets for October 31 does anyone know if they’ll sell us tickets on day of if event is already sold out? I don’t know how I’m gonna break it to my kids we gotta leave early I want to buy the party tickets but its sold out on the day we were given tickets for regular park admission:(

    • Guy Selga Jr.

      They will not sell tickets on the day of if they are sold out. You can ask the ticket booths on the day you get there just to make sure they don’t have any extras, but as far as I know they are sold out.

  • pam tobeck

    We want to go this year (2013). Does anyone know when tickets usually go on sale?

  • Susan Kennedy

    Absolutely loved all the information I just found here. I have never been to Disney at right time to enjoy the Halloween events. This year I will be in Disneyland and I really want to go. Thanks for all the helpful hints and cool pictures

  • Linda P.

    Great post! Thanks for all the useful tips and information. We’re planning on attending this year. Wondering if you know if all the characters are dressed in costumes during the party or are they the same as they are during the day? Just trying to figure out which character lines we should plan for. Thanks!

  • PrincessDaisy

    July 8th for annual pass holders and July 15th for everyone else


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