Halloween Has Arrived at Disneyland

| September 23, 2010

The first day of Autumn is behind us and Halloween Time has come to Disneyland! On Friday September 17, Disneyland changed gears into Halloween mode. In recent years Halloween Time did not arrive until late September, but this year Disneyland made the move early. Opening weekend of Halloween Time had some gorgeous Southern California weather, which for me meant a chance to get a lot of great photos. Enjoy!

Question: How does one get a photo of the hub and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle with no guests in the photo?

Answer: In my case it was by being at the very front of rope drop at the end of Main Street before the park opens!

As you enter Disneyland you are greeted with pumpkin versions of several favorite Disney characters.

Main Street has lots of Halloween Time decorations.

Many of the Disney characters were dressed up in seasonal costumes.

Aside from the Halloween Time decorations, Disneyland adds “overlays” to two major rides. Since 2001, Disneyland has transformed the Haunted Mansion ride into “Haunted Mansion Holiday” by adding a “Nightmare Before Christmas” overlay. The overlay stays in place all the way through the New Year. In order to do this Disneyland has to close the ride for two-and-a-half weeks in September to add the overlay, and then again in January to remove it. For those who have never experienced Haunted Mansion Holiday, the normal Haunted Mansion theme gets handed over to Jack Skellington. A new soundtrack is played and every scene is transformed.

In years past Disneyland has usually closed Haunted Mansion on the Tuesday after Labor Day (the Tuesday after the first Monday in September). In order to offer Halloween Time earlier this year, Haunted Mansion was closed in late August.

As a side note, last November I visited Tokyo Disneyland and had the pleasure of seeing their Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay as well. It is very similar to the overlay at Disneyland in California, and apparently just as popular with the locals in Japan. Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World does not offer a Haunted Mansion Holiday – likely because their greater out-of-town guest mix would not tolerate as well closing a significant ride for five weeks out of each year to install and remove an overlay.

In 2009 Disneyland introduced a new overlay for Space Mountain. This transforms the ride into Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. On the inside of Space Mountain the soundtrack changes and many of the visuals change. The launch sequence is very different and the ghost follows you throughout the ride.

Adding the overlay this year took five days; this year Space Mountain was closed for the five days prior to September 17.  The overlay will stay in place through Halloween and come down in early November. Using last year as a guide, Space Mountain will close on Monday, November 1 for two or three days to remove the overlay and restore Space Mountain to its normal self.

At nighttime the outside of Space Mountain also changes for Ghost Galaxy, with projections on the mountain itself. It is fun to watch the mountain transform as shown in this video.

Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy

Personally, I have never cared for Haunted Mansion Holiday. It is a fun diversion – especially for frequent visitors to Disneyland. But the whole Nightmare Before Christmas thing has never done a whole lot for me. On the other hand, I really like Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. While not as good as the regular Space Mountain in my opinion, it does add a Halloween flavor and makes Space Mountain feel like a different ride. Similar to Haunted Mansion Holiday, Ghost Galaxy especially appeals to frequent park visitors.

Halloween Time also means special holiday treats and merchandise. Pooh’s Corner has Mickey Pumpkin apples, among many other delicious treats.

Some random Halloween Time photos:


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Category: Disney World

About the Author ()

I live in Colorado and have four sons in college and high school. By day I am a mechanical engineer. I have visited the Disney resorts in Paris and Tokyo. I grew up near Disneyland and started going there before I can remember.

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