By Charly SHELTON
There are many theme parks around the area that celebrate Halloween in different ways. Knotts has its 40th annual Halloween Haunt, Six Flags has its excuse for a Halloween spook house event – Fright Fest – and Universal hosts its amazing Halloween Horror Nights. All run for the rest of the month.
But Disneyland decides to take a different road for its Halloweentime extravaganza. The family-friendly park offers a more family-friendly approach to scary. Mickey’s Halloween Party hosts kids and their parents who can come to the park in costume to trick or treat around Disneyland, gathering up either candy or healthy treats at each treat station. In addition to the trick or treats, the nighttime fireworks spectacular, “Halloween Screams,” takes place above the castle, a show that is exclusive to Mickey’s Halloween Party.
This party is fun for all ages. It is not scary like many of the other parks. There are no haunted mazes or scare zones. It is just a block party in the best neighborhood ever – Disneyland. Trick-or-treating in Toontown is really something incredible. It makes it less of an amusement park and more of a place where these characters live.
The fireworks and trick or treat party are only on select nights throughout October and are a separately ticketed event, but that doesn’t mean there is no Halloween fun for patrons of the park during the rest of the month.
Jack Skellington is back once again to make Christmas in his Halloween fashion at Haunted Mansion Holiday. Many detractors complain that this ride hasn’t really changed since it was first installed back in 2001. But the one big change that does occur every year is truly amazing. The gingerbread house in the ballroom is new every year. Baked fresh in September, this year’s nine-foot tall gingerbread house is made of real gingerbread and fondant. It depicts Jack Skellington’s house high atop the spire in Halloweentown. Zero the ghost dog flies around the top of the roof and a translucent ghost train steams through a tunnel beneath it. This effect is amazing. It looks as though the ghosts have come alive to celebrate Christmas.
Space Mountain once again is invaded by the Ghost Galaxy, a sentient nebula that terrorizes riders, chasing space ships across the galaxy. This is more for teenagers and adults. It is fast and a little scarier than the rest of the park. There are jumps and scares throughout the ride. The first time I went on it, I screamed like a little girl. It was a little scary. Okay – a little more than scary. Definitely not for the faint of heart. This is the draw for big kids to give them the Halloweentime that they want without having to go to another theme park.
There’s something for everyone at Disneyland – whether it’s trick-or-treating, Haunted Mansion Holiday, Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy or just admiring the Halloween decorations throughout both parks.