Do you like Disney and Halloween? Are you a fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas? A trip to Disneyland in California during their Halloween season would be perfect for you! 

My daughter, Allie, and I spent four nights at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa in early September to celebrate her birthday. I love this resort! It is the closest resort to the parks and there are entrances directly into Downtown Disney and California Adventure Park making its location very convenient. We got into the Halloween spirit right away as there was a huge edible Oogie Boogie in a cauldron in the lobby.

Disneyland in the Fall

After checking in and leaving our bags with Bell Services, we headed to Disneyland Park for the day. We made sure to go on Haunted Mansion Holiday. The theme is changed to The Nightmare Before Christmas from the Halloween season through the Christmas season. It blows me away every time I see it! The change makes it seem like a completely different ride. 

Halloween at Disneyland

I was excited to see the Disneyland version of Fantasmic! and wanted to make sure that we had good seats. I was able to get us a reservation for Hungry Bear Restaurant Fantasmic! On The Go. This included dinner, dessert, a drink, and one voucher for Preferred Fantasmic! Viewing. I had BBQ Ribs and Allie had Carolina BBQ Half Chicken that came with Bacon Potato Salad, Broccoli, and a S’more dessert. It was all very good. The Halloween Screams with Fireworks were shortly after Fantasmic! so we stayed at our seats and had a great view to watch that also. 

Storytellers Cafe at Grand Californian

Our second day was also Allie’s Birthday and I made it special. We had breakfast reservations for Storytellers Cafe at Grand Californian so she could see Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, and Chip ‘n’ Dale. It was a must to see Pluto, because it was his birthday too!  The breakfast was a buffet and there was a great variety of things for everyone. 

Halloween at Disneyland

Cars Land at California Adventure

After breakfast, we used the entrance from the hotel to California Adventure Park to spend the day there. Cars Land is AMAZING! You feel as though you have just stepped into Radiator Springs. The attention to detail is phenomenal. Cars Land transforms for the Halloween season and it’s definitely something to see. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree changes to Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree and Luigi’s Rollikin’ Roadsters changes to Luigi’s Honkin’ Haul-O-Ween and the ride music for both is Halloween themed. Guests can meet a few of the characters from Cars in their Halloween costumes. We saw Mater dressed as a vampire! 

World of Color

Allie had not seen World of Color so for her Birthday celebration I reserved the World of Color Dessert Party that gave us preferred viewing. We were seated with a lovely couple from New Zealand. The drinks and desserts were good. Allie didn’t eat much of hers and we were able to get a box for it to take back to the room with us. It was a very nice ending to Allie’s Birthday.

Park Hopping

Day three we started out at Disneyland Park to ride a few rides that we had missed the first day. Then, we hopped over to California Adventure for the Oogie Boogie Bash. We were hungry and headed to our favorite quick service restaurant, Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta. We found a table close to the start of the Frightfully Fun Parade route so we would have a seat for the parade without being crowded in. We rode Guardians of the Galaxy Monsters After Dark twice, because we liked it so much! There were several characters walking around. We witnessed a great character interaction when Merlin from Sword In The Stone ran into another Merlin. So funny! *Tip: If you plan to attend Oogie Boogie Bash, purchase your tickets as soon as they become available as tickets do sell out. 

Oogie Boogie Bash

If you’ve been to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World in Florida, you know that you wander throughout the park to find trick-or-treat stops. Oogie Boogie Bash at California Adventure Park in California has Treat Trails. Guests walk a trail of about five trick-or-treat stops for candy. We didn’t walk all of the trails, but some of the ones we did had a surprise in the middle of each trail. We got to see Ernesto de la Cruz performing on stage, Scarlet Witch talking to guests, and Maleficent speaking lines from the movie. Maleficent was awesome! We also walked through Villains Grove. It was about a ten minute walk through different scenes of some of the Disney Villains. Very neat! 

Downtown Disney

Our last day, we slept in and took our time getting ready for the day. We were hungry so we walked through Downtown Disney to eat at our favorite place, Tortilla Jo’s, for some Mexican food. Allie was wearing her I’m Celebrating My Birthday button so our waitress brought her ice cream and we sang Happy Birthday to her. After eating, we did some shopping and continued on to spend the day at Disneyland Park to ride some of the rides that we had missed. 

Disney World or Disneyland?

I get asked a lot which I like better… Walt Disney World in Florida or Disneyland in California. I love them both for different reasons, but I have definitely fallen in love with Disneyland. Disneyland Park is the original park that Walt Disney worked on and walked. Everything is so close and if you are staying on Disney property at one of their three amazing hotels you can walk to the parks. There are no busses to wait on. Disneyland would be a perfect fit for families with smaller children! The rides in Fantasyland are close to one another and not so spread out making for less walking between rides. Park hopping is easier too. It’s about a two minute walk from one gate to the other. 

The character interaction at Disneyland is so much better, in my opinion. You will see characters just walking around. During one visit, we saw Alice & Mad Hatter riding the Mad Tea Party, Peter Pan skipping through Fantasyland, Hook walking along holding a little boys hand, and several different characters walk by while we were taking a break on a bench. Pluto tried to get Allie to walk with him, but she wouldn’t do it. In my opinion, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of The Caribbean, it’s a small world, and Space Mountain are better at Disneyland. Plus, California Adventure Park has Cars Land and Avengers Campus! If you haven’t been to Disneyland in California, you need to go!

Are you ready to book and plan your adventure to Disneyland in California? Contact myself or one of our other amazing Journey Planners to get started!

Thanks to Embrace the Journey Travel Planner, April Watson, for writing this blog post for us. You can learn more about April here.