Halloween Hoopla at the Disneyland Resort

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Buena Vista Street, Disney Parks, Features, In the Parks

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Published on September 20, 2012 at 8:43 pm with 17 Comments

Grinning pumpkins glare from window sills of Main Street USA.  Ochre bunting along the roof lines and awnings.  Yes, it’s Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort.  The special Fall festivities began on September 14th and will run through October 31st. Disneyland Park is carrying the lion’s share of the special themed offerings in the resort that include the usual attraction overlays like Haunted Mansion Holiday and Ghost Galaxy, and the new Halloween Carnival Jamboree in Frontierland.

Main Street, U.S.A.
The Pumpkin festival has arrived and Main Street is alive with autumnal merriment.  Red, orange and yellow bunting cover the buildings while pumpkins are nestled into every corner.  This is the “Boo” type of Halloween that Disney offers so well and excels at.

Grim Grinning Pumpkins

The Mickey Pumpkin Photo op has taken its rightful place at the center of Town Square.

Dark leafed sprays puff from the flower baskets in the hub.

Character pumpkins surround the Partners statue.

Ghost Galaxy
Ghost Galaxy returns with the same amount of spooky fun it has always had.  This is a fun overlay.  We really love it.  We can even excuse the relatively forgetful soundtrack.  But once again, nothing is new.

Looks normal here.

Green lighting  and a buggy monitor above are the extent of the themeing in the queue

Disney, could you please consider adding a few little things to this to freshen up this overlay?  The key ingredient for anything scary is surprise.  If we know what is coming, how will there be any real effect? Haunted Mansion Holiday gets a new Gingerbread house every year, why cant we get a little more theme in the queue,  some surprise projections in other areas, or perhaps switching the side the final scare comes from.  There are some low-cost ways to goose things up a bit. Perhaps our readers have a few ideas to share.

Haunted Mansion Holiday
Jack Skellington returns to deck the halls of the Haunted Mansion with his own brand of Holiday cheer.  The annual makeover has now become a holiday tradition that many look forward to year after year.  At least this Halloween treat still holds a few minor surprises.

In conjunction with the release of the new film Frankenweenie an additional grave has been added to the pet cemetery.

Good ol’ Sparky, we knew him well.

The others look just as maudlin as we’d expect to find them.

The carriage is all decked out.

Inside, the foyer is delightfully creepy

Jack wishes all a pre-emptive Happy Holidays!

The Gingerbread house is a tall slender structure this year.

And here’s a nice surprise, it features a new pepper’s Ghost effect of a train


Halloween Carnival Jamboree
One truly delightful surprise of this year’s Halloween festivities is the charming new Halloween Carnival Jamboree.  Fashioned after the homespun, roadside carnivals and side shows, the Jamboree is situated back in the Big Thunder Ranch area of Frontierland.

Vintage looking signs guide guests towards the back of the park.

In front of the Big Thunder Ranch BBQ the surreys are all covered in Fall props

The cabin is now called the Scare-Dy-Crow Shack and is populated by those creepy but fun scare crow figures.

The arena is all awash in orange and black.

Billy Hill and the Hillbillies play to the crowds that wander in.

They even have Candy Corn Cotton Candy. Neat!

Conjure a Villian – In a pretty interesting and creative solution, the normal villains walk that appeared on the Small World Mall was rendered homeless after the the popular Princess meet and greet moved in there.  So the entertainment team brewed up a new meet and greet concept with a villainous twist and included it in the Halloween Carnival Jamboree.

Princesses with precedence.

Entering the tent one hears ominous music.

Banners outside advertise which villains might appear.


Halloween Tree
Whimsy has turned to sentiment with the return of the small Halloween Tree in Frontierland.  The tree honors Ray Bradbury (who passed this year) and reminds us of his fun, creative mind.

Zocalo Park
Also back is the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) themed Zocalo Park.

In other, non Halloween, news the Mad Hatter is currently under refurbishment.  Guests exiting the Opera House are directed through the entrance doors.

Things are still under wraps at City Hall.

Here is the latest from the Fantasy Faire Village.  Most of the structures are now shrouded behind screens.

Meanwhile the Casey Jr. Circus Train and Storybookland Canal boats are still down with their sudden, unexpected refurbishment.

Work continues on the exterior of the Tomorrowland Pizzeria.

Disney California Adventure has taken a subdued approach to Halloween, with one notable exception.

DCA’s big Halloween addition is the traveling Frankenweenie exhibit that is currently on display in the courtyard of the animation building.  Even if you aren’t interested in seeing the film, this is a fascinating look at the artistry that goes into creating a stop-motion animation film.

Entering the courtyard things are darker.  The normal animation loop that plays on the screens hovering above the space are now cycling the title of the exhibit and an occasional animation.

In the center of the courtyard there is a set of dioramas that display the sets, props and characters from the movie.

At the Attic display, there are switches that turn a number of lighting effects on and off inside the set itself.

The classroom scene is a lot of fun to study.

The teacher looks suspiciously like Vincent Price, no?

And that should do it for this week.  Get out and explore Halloween Time early, as there is plenty to see and enjoy without having to pay to get into the up-charge party at night.  Get there soon though, because before you know it there will be a Christmas tree moving into Town Square.

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

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  • Monorail Man

    Thanks Norman for all the coverage of Halloween Time!

    I’ve heard the Billies have a fun Halloween show going on, can’t wait to see it this weekend. Nice to see that they have some different content, but they still should be in the Golden Horseshoe. They could decorate and spook out the Horseshoe – that would be fun.

    I really like Ghost Galaxy, short of the music. One thing that it really needs is a story. Why are we escaping this giant galaxy, what has it done to us before? Simply adding some light effects in the queue, and updating the preshow video would be a neat touch. Disney is so good at story, yet there is none here. Also, maybe some random projections would be a fun touch. I like that there’s this alive galaxy, trying to get us. It feels very Star Trek (like The Crystalline Entity), and with a little more story – it would be perfect!

  • Bronco21

    Thanks for the update!

    Ghost galaxy really could use a little more additions to it then just turning on the projectors.
    1. Add a crashed spaceship on the roof of Captain EO (the exterior queue of Space Mountain) with giant claw marks in it.
    2. Add a new safety speal video that hints that your mission is to discover what happened to the crew of the space craft seen outside.
    3. Instead of the glitchy projection in the loading area, have a preboarding video with the commander better explaining what your mission is.
    4. New spookier soundtrack.
    5. Replace the final hand projection with a physical claw that jumps out at guests.

  • Zeathos51

    I hope the Frankenweenie exhibit runs through November, thats when I’ll be going. Unfortunately, I’ll be missing Ghost Galaxy so someone please try to post a video of the exterior projections. I love that ride’s holloween theme. Anyways, great update. The decorations look good.

    See ya at the Knotts Haunt.

  • Pingback: Halloween Hoopla at the Disneyland Resort – MiceChat | halloween-download.info()

  • mratigan

    I think space mountain needs theming all together

  • unclemike

    This year’s gingerbread house in HMH is really astounding. The “Ghost Train” is a really terrific effect.

  • EpTxGuy

    Practically perfect in every way. Thank you for another awesome report. It is sincerely appreciated.

  • Gregg Condon

    Great update Norm!!!

    So I either haven’t been keeping up with news or my eyes aren’t working … but what’s the bottom show listed with the Billies and Villains? I can’t read it this morning. :D

    • Sparky

      I think that may be the times for the kiddie “Mask Parade” that is done just prior to the Billy’s performances.

  • Sparky

    Many people may not know it, but there is a Hanna Barbara cartoon movie that came out around 1993 based on Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree. It is now available from Warner Archives as a Manufacture on Demand DVD on Amazon.

  • judearmstrong

    love the pumpkin tree in frontierland. great update, thanks for all the great pics

  • brian11811

    I don’t mind the music, at least the opening. I actually feel scared. They need to make the projection more red, as to not cause light pollution. More stuff as people mentioned, such as the audio once you get in the hallway, and more audio breakup video problems in the loading area. It would cost almost nothing.

  • Algernon

    The Halloween and Christmas overlays are some of the few good ideas to come out of Disney in recent years. Looking at that picture of Space Mountain reminds me of how much better Tomorrowland used to look before they ruined it. It really is ugly now, especially with those paving stones. And what Main Street USA ever had paving stone sidewalks? Forgive me for saying the Emperor has no clothes…

  • ABW

    Thanks for the great update as always. We have to remember that Disney has just invested a lot of money on/in DCA, and the lack of much Halloween festivities should not come as much of a suprise, nor dissapointment. The same goes for Disneyland. Yes, I would love to see more new things, particularly with the attractions for Halloween just as much as the guy next to me. But right, there is so much that is already new within the parks, that it really is not an issue with people like me, who have not been to Disneyland since last year. In addition to the new offerings with Frontierland, I think this more than justifies the “lack” of new Halloween attractions for which there has been some complaining about.

  • DisneyDrums

    What? No Cars Land?

  • The April Fool

    TRUE Disney Fans will make due with alterations and improvements…As long as I get to see her Evilness, Maleficent…I’ll be a H-A-P-P-Y C-A-M-P-E-R!! Thanks for the updates! Looking forward to the Halloween Party on the 5th of October!