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What’s it like to pay a visit to the ‘happiest place on earth’ during the Halloween season? Read on!

Visiting the US over Halloween truly is a next-level experience. From coast to coast, cities and towns come alive with elaborate decorations; pumpkins, skeletons, cobwebs, bats and the spooky spirit of Halloween is EVERYWHERE. You can visit real-life and simulated haunted houses, fill your cart with discount horror and Halloween Ts at Walmart, grab a pumpkin spiced latte at one of 16,000+ Starbucks outlets, see some of the best Halloween yard displays you’re ever likely to and truly embrace full immersion in the spooky season.

Visiting Disneyland at Halloween

So what is it like to pay a visit to the ‘happiest place on earth’ during the Halloween season? Is it worth it for those who prefer life on the darker side, or is it just too damn perky? We found out when we visited Disneyland in Anaheim last October.

Literally from the moment you step foot inside the park precinct, you’re enveloped in Halloween goodness. The entry gates feature favourite Disney characters, made from huge pumpkins, naturally. Main Street is decorated with hundreds of hand carved jack o’ lanterns and autumn foliage, which beautifully sets the spooky scene and you’ll also see some of your favourite spooky Disney characters wandering the streets. If you stay until after dark, you’ll be treated to fireworks on select nights too, and definitely try for tickets to the coveted Oogie Boogie Bash if you want some night-time, but all-ages, thrills.

Haunted Mansion a must!

Any true Halloween fan has got one stop on the top of their list when visiting Disneyland at this time of year, and I’m nervous it won’t live up to the hype, but join the long queue for the Haunted Mansion anyway. I’d been warned this attraction regularly gets overloaded and can shut down for hours at a time, but it seems it’s my lucky day and I get through without too many delays. 

And what an absolute wonder it is! Once inside the mansion, familiar characters from A Nightmare Before Christmas come to life; from Jack Skellington’s towering figure to the ghostly residents of the mansion, every detail is meticulously crafted to recreate Halloween Town.

There’s huge glowing jack-o’-lanterns, dancing skeletons, ghastly apparitions, loads of special effects and atmospheric music; the Mansion perfectly captures the essence of the film, and the season. It’s even well worth lining up a second time (be prepared to wait a lonnnnnng time) to catch anything you may have missed the first time around.  

What else is there?

With the #1 Halloween attraction ticked off, you can relax and enjoy some of the other less-seasonal must-dos. If you’re a Star Wars fan (even if you’re not!) don’t miss visiting Galaxy’s Edge, a sprawling newer section of the park that transports visitors to the remote planet of Batuu. Here you can explore the bustling outpost and encounter iconic landmarks from the Star Wars saga, including the iconic Millennium Falcon and honestly, the attention to detail is impeccable; every element is designed to immerse you in the sights, sounds, and smells of the Star Wars universe.

The best attractions here are the interactive Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run where you assume one of three roles; pilot, gunner, or engineer – and work together to complete a daring smuggling mission. It’s bumpy AF but well worth the queue which isn’t too crazy.

The jewel of Galaxy’s Edge is Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, an immersive attraction that puts you in the middle of an epic battle between the Resistance and the First Order. Again, be prepared to wait a lonnnnnng time in queues to get into this one, but featuring state-of-the-art technology and jaw-dropping special effects, this is an absolute must. It’s like you are right in the middle of a Star Wars set … absolutely brilliant. You can even build your own Star Wars bots and lightsabers here.

Don’t forget the old faves

They might not have the thrill factor of Galaxy’s Edge or the Haunted Mansion, but other attractions such as It’s A Small World, the Adventureland Treehouse, Indiana Jones’ Adventure and the Jungle Cruise, Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad often have shorter queues, and make sure you leave some time to explore New Orleans Square – it’s particularly cool over Halloween. 

And of course, no visit to Disneyland during Halloween season would be complete without indulging in some seasonal treats. And if there’s one thing that Disney does really well, it’s the treats. So stock up before you leave, because you won’t find most of these goodies anywhere else.

Author Andrea Beattie

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