I took my 9 year old on Friday, and I found it very crowded, but expected it. This was our first Halloween party, and our first holiday at the parks. We found the parks very crowded all week, and were a little disappointed, but dealt.
I forgot my phone so I didn't have a clock on me, so I messed up some. We queued up to meet Jack and Sally just before 7, waited about 30 min, and by the time we made it to the front of the line, Jack was gone. So Sally sat down with my daughter, who was dressed up as Sally, and had a huge visit. Then she took her for a walk down to the Haunted Mansion looking for Jack, and came back with her for more photos. That alone was worth the price of admission!! After that my daughter wanted to trick or treat, so we did, but then I messed up the timing for fireworks. We watched from small world mall, then slowly made our way around the park to Main Street station where there were almost no lines for villains, so we met all of the villains and watched the parade to end our evening.
Yes, it was a busy, crowded night, but we had fun. If I did it again, I would plan a little differently...and grab a map! We had no idea there were so many characters out, but over the whole week, she met more than she had expected. We spent the whole day in the park before the party, so we did rides then, and a couple more that night, but we did everything my daughter wanted, and that's all that matters.
I have no base for comparison, but I was happy with our experience, and I came from the same part of Canada.
I was there on Oct 5 and was honestly shocked at the amount of people who were smashed into that park. This particular Friday was the first to sell out, and it was PACKED, i.e. just as crowded as Christmas Vacation. The lines for the candy, the characters, and the rides were enormous. Word got out, and the place simply felt overrun.
Touring Plans would also do well to adjust their crowd predictions to account for party nights where huge numbers of party goers show up at 4 PM before the non party crowd has left. By 5 PM, the overall crowd was about a NINE, not a 5 or a 6.
I also went to the party on the 12th, and having gone to parties for the past two years it DEFINITELY seemed way more crowded than what I had previously experienced. My friends and I didn't really do the candy stations, mostly rides, the fireworks, caught the second parade, and going around the park getting our photos with the villains (the stormtroopers in Tomorrowland got a kick out of my group's costumes, we went as a pair of chi-blockers and Amon from the show The Legend of Korra XD), but walking around the park got difficult, particularly around NOS and the hub area when it got close to the fireworks starting. I definitely plan on coming back next year, but maybe op to choose an earlier date in October or September to try and avoid the crowds.
Wow, I almost always have a great time at Disneyland, but my last trip it was so hot and crowded I left early. That was a couple of weeks ago, and it's still hot. Heck it's 94 degrees on October 17th. This is the longest summer of my life, and I used to live in Hawaii. I hope it cools off in early November when I return to Disneyland to celebrate my 60th birthday.
We went the first year and had very similar experiences, the worst being the crowds especially compared to the previous DCA offerings. The one saving grace and best tip we received was to go all the way back to Critter Country and work our way backwards throught the treat lines. We were essentially going against the crowds and didn't have any issues until we got to Fantasyland. That being said, it wasn't a good value for the money IMO and won't do it again.
We did the Christmas party at WDW and never had any issues with crowds, lines, etc. That's not to say they don't have that issue, just not something we experienced. Plus free cookies and hot chocolate everywhere...very nice perk.
Yeah, I agree about the heat. I know from being born and raised in Santa Barbara that we can get long drawn out indian summer-type weather, but visiting this year at the DLR was insane. And that insane heat has been around for about a month. I dunno what's going on, but I sure don't like it!!! It was the worst heat that I have had in SoCal since moving away from the coast. I am still cursing mother nature for adding such hot weather to my vaykay!
I already posted in the other thread about these parties not being fun so I won't go into too much detail. I was there on this night as well and had a way better experience than you did. I am sorry you had a bad time. What we did is hit Space mountain first at around 730 the line was 25 mins. After that we hit candy stations for 2 hours until the fireworks then got some villain pictures and then finished off the night with POTC and HmH. Because we go so much to DL we don't try to get on every attraction during the parties. we go to the parties to just hang out dress up and have fun.
As an Out of State Theme Park Guest (whether you are traveling from out of state, or from Canada, you only get one shot to have a good time vs. Southern California residents who can go several times); reluctantly (because I still feel being up charged @ Disneyland / DCA is a crime) I tried 2010's Mickey's Halloween Party @ Disneyland .... & I enjoyed it because I started my day @ Disneyland / DCA around 9am getting as much enjoyment as I could until 3pm. Then, I went back to the Hotel to nap, change into a costume & re-enter Disneyland about 5:30pm (about 30 minutes before Cast Members start checking for wrist bands) so I could obtain my wrist band & trick or treat bag @ the location inside Main Street (the ONLY improvement in 2011 was that this was changed to the Main Gate where it should've been in the first place) ...
2010 worked because
A) All rides were in operation
B) Team Anaheim kept the crowds @ 12,000 - 18,000 with plenty of Cast Members to handle the event
C) There were themed photo ops all over 110% in control by Cast Members that kept waits around 10 - 15 minutes
D) The trick or treat lines were steadily moving regardless of their length (5 - 10 minute waits, plenty of candy given)
E) The atmosphere (kept for 2011) was fantastic
F) Plenty of Characters in Halloween Garb
It I had pet peeves?
A) The train stops running before the fireworks start & remains closed for too long
B) Fantasyland never actually re-opens (I blame it on the logistics of fireworks & parades)
C) Certain Shops closed early (especially in New Orleans Square by 9:00pm) which sucked
D) When Cast Members get tired? The Customer Services disappears (give these Cast Members needed breaks)
E) Impossible to find a Sit Down Restaurant table (get a bite to eat before 5:00pm or you're screwed)
I returned for 2011's Mickey's Halloween Party and it was 110% awful because
A) Pirates closed for rehab (closing this ride on busiest nights in New Orleans Square = Epic Fail!)
B) Haunted Mansion Holiday Queue / New Orleans Square in general was too crowded
C) Character Meet lines were too long (Sally & Jack became a 2 hour wait in line due to zero control by Cast Members)
D) Trick or treat lines without Characters in Costumes (no Halloween themes around them for Character photo ops)
E) Matterhorn was permanently down, the queue line for Space Mountain twice as long
F) Event was oversold (@ least twice the crowd from 2010)
G) Train ceased operation after 9:00pm and never went back into operation (ouch! said my feet)
I had more pet peeves then good experiences for 2011 and it was not worth the up charge! Conclusion? I will not be attending another Mickey's Halloween Party ever again (In fact? I boycott the idea of up charging for experiences - such as parades and fireworks - which should already be there to experience after you've paid to get through the Main Gate, as well as Characters in Holiday Costumes that should already be apart of a theme park guests experience; or paying extra for a trick or treat bag that tired & overworked Cast Members didn't want to put candy in). Being a Single Rider does have its privileges, but it didn't stop me from noticing all the irritates faces around me for the Firesworks & Parades (too crowded to enjoy and / or see anything in 2011)!
To be fair, as much as I am loyal to Knott's Berry Farm for their Halloween Haunt? Their 40th Anniversary event this year wasn't 110% (in fact? it was the worst Haunt I've attended in 27 years), but that's being reserved for another thread. I guess we can all agree your time @ any Theme Park can be "hit or miss" (2010 was a hit, 2011 wasn't, 2012 should've been better) ....
whatever you do in October, I wish everyone a Happy Halloween -
As a local, I don't think I'll ever do one of these here again.
In WDW, I love going because it's such a rare treat. Went this year and crowds weren't bad - but if it's you're only day in the park, you do have to rush around and not eat if you want to see and do everything.
Gosh, it seems like just yesterday they tried to revive this event by bringing it to DCA in....what, about 2003 or so?
And yes, it was $15 that first year for APs. heh
attended the Friday Sept 28th DL's halloween party and will not be doing it again. In 2010 I attended WDW's halloween party and thought it was excellent so it was a no brainer when i had the chance to be at DL for the event. Well, what a mistake. It was so crowded in NOS that I didn't feel safe. The only section of the park that wasn't packed was Main Street - it was empty as all the lands were packed. I went to Town Hall to tell them how I thought that it wasn't safe in NOS, but they didn't want to hear it and told me to email DL. I did that upon my return home to NJ.
I think the only way to enjoy DL during the Halloween party is to not expect anything - you never know what restaurants will be open (I asked and got different answers each time), you cannot predict lines for attractions as they are always changing and the posted wait times are wrong, you can't sometimes know what you are waiting in line for as the lines are so disorganized.
The best part of my DL Halloween was sitting at Cafe Orleans at 6:30pm watching the crowds as I ate. That was it. All down hill after that.