Halloween at the Parks

"Halloween Screams-A Villainous Surprise in the  Skies"
Courtesy Disneyland Resort


This year, as every year, southern California theme parks are pulling out all the stops for their Halloween promotions. Disneyland has brought back its Halloween time Celebration for both parks at the resort. Universal Studios Hollywood is inviting guests into the worlds created on screen by its horror films, and Knott’s and Six Flags are reviving their scare zones and haunted mazes. But for the sake of the article, we will focus on the first two in depth.

Disneyland’s  Halloweentime Celebration

Scare level: Family

Appropriate ages: Any age, so long as they’re young at heart

Cost: $62 kids and $72 adults for one day, one park

Fun rating: 5 Stars out of 5

What to expect: Family fun at the “Happiest Place on Earth” for all ages, with the only real scare sure to get a fright out of kids being Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy.

Let me paint you a picture: Disneyland Resort in Anaheim is alldecked out in fall decorations as guests walk under the train station on Main Street, U.S.A. Mickey is dressed up in his Halloween costume along with all his buddies, and they greet the excited children who run up to meet them and get an autograph. Roughly 300 individually carved, unique pumpkins line the shop windows and upstairs displays. And at the flag pole, a huge

Pumpkin Mickey head lights up at night. Surrounding the Partners statue in front of the castle, several pumpkins are carved with characters from Disney movies that have attractions featured in the park.

Over in Tomorrowland, Space Mountain has taken a new course through the cosmos–straight into a haunted nebula with a monster that chases the space ship for the whole ride.

Jack Skellington is back at the Haunted Mansion for a holiday nobody can forget. From Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack and the residents of Halloweentown have invaded the Haunted Mansion in New Orleans Square for a holiday treat. “But when Halloween creates Christmas, you might see a few flaws.”

And at the end of your day, Jack is in the skies over the castle on Main Street as Master of Scaremonies along with his ghost dog, Zero, to bring guests a fireworks show that’s playfully wicked and fun. Starring some of the best (and worst) Disney villains including Jack’s nemesis, the Oogie Boogie Man.

So goes the Halloween celebrations at the Happiest place on Earth.

This is a family level scare. Kids will love seeing Jack Skellington dressed as Sandy Claws in the Haunted Mansion. Big Thunder Ranch offers barbecue family style food served in a harvest and Pumpkin Farmer setting with activities and crafts for the kids. For teens and adults who think Disney has no real scares to offer, try Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy. There is a sign out in front of the line that warns how scary it is. Personally I am 20 years old, and I screamed louder than anyone else in the space ship.

This is a fast fun ride with a haunted nebula that chases you through your intergalactic journey. Definitely not to be missed.

And the fireworks show at the end of the day is a perfect way for kids young and old to end their day. Jack Skellington leads the show through as Zero flies over the castle, but the best part is that Jack is there to talk to us. A huge balloon is inflated just before the show so that Jack and his villain friends can appear to us and talk to the crowd. If you only see one fireworks show for Halloween this year, make it this one.

Overall, Disneyland is great. No huge, wet-your-pants scares, but fun all the same. 5 out of 5 stars.

More marks next week…