A very Disney Halloween
As Halloween gets more and more popular around the world, even the international Disney parks are getting in on the action—and going all-out. What started out at Disneyland with a small parade and a pumpkin-carving contest has exploded into major celebrations with seasonal decorations, food and drinks, lively parades, and characters in their Halloween costumes. You’ll also find some themed ride layovers, as well as parties after the parks have officially closed for the day. While this year’s celebrations definitely look different due to coronavirus, there’s still plenty to sink your teeth into at all of the parks that are open, and it varies from location to location. For example, here’s how Disney World is celebrating Halloween this year.
Tokyo Disneyland allows guests to dress up
Cosplay and Disneybounding (taking everyday clothes and wearing them in a way that represents a Disney character) are fan favorites at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. During the Halloween season, guests are allowed to wear costumes in these parks, but there are a few stipulations: You cannot wear heavy makeup or masks that hide your true identity, you must dress up like a Disney-owned character, and your costume cannot drag on the ground. This year, due to new coronavirus-related policies, only children ages 11 and younger can wear costumes in the park. Need some inspiration? Here are 14 of the best Halloween costumes for Disney super-fans.
Tokyo Disneyland really loves Halloween parades
While U.S. Disney parks usually hold their Halloween parades at night, Tokyo Disneyland opts for a daytime event. Tokyo’s parades feature Disney characters dressed up in their Halloween best, brightly colored floats, a catchy soundtrack, and lots of dancers lining the parade route. These parades are much more structured than their American counterparts, and guests are asked to sit on the ground if they are in the front row so people behind them can see. Check out these 10 awesome Disney attractions you can only see overseas.
Hong Kong Disneyland decorates with lots of pumpkins
Hong Kong Disneyland is very similar to its California counterpart in how it’s decorated. Pumpkins are everywhere and sometimes feature lovable Disney characters like Pluto, Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, and Minnie Mouse. Even though Hong Kong is one of Disney’s smallest parks, the Halloween spirit is big. Other pumpkin decorations can be found along Main Street U.S.A. on the lampposts and around the park’s gardens. There are even pumpkin scarecrows that guests can take pictures with near the castle hub area. Did you know that a real castle in Germany was the inspiration for Cinderella Castle?
Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion gets a spooky makeover
You know it’s Halloween season at Disneyland in California when the Haunted Mansion gets a layover themed to the Tim Burton movie The Nightmare Before Christmas. Even though Disneyland won’t be open for Halloween this year, traditionally the ride overlay, called Haunted Mansion Holiday, features Jack Skellington and all of his friends from Halloween Town and Christmas Town. One highlight is a massive gingerbread house set right in the middle of the ballroom’s table. Find out 15 things you didn’t know about Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion.
Halloween popcorn buckets are sold everywhere
Disney parks around the world are known for their creative popcorn buckets and sipper cups. These souvenirs are particularly popular at the parks in Tokyo, Orlando, and Anaheim, where fans line up for hours to get their hands on limited-release items. One that bubbles up every Halloween is the witches’ cauldron, but there’s a new color variation every year, making each one collectible. In recent years, Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas and the Hitchhiking Ghost from the Haunted Mansion have graced the popcorn buckets as well. This year, the big seller has been a Haunted Mansion-themed Madame Leota sipper cup, which sold out at Disney World in a matter of days. If all this talk about popcorn has you hungry, whip up these 12 Disney recipes you can recreate at home.
Shanghai Disneyland goes all-out with fall flowers
The main entry plaza at Shanghai Disneyland features a flower bed that looks like Mickey Mouse. In the summer, the park opts for bright reds and pinks in this display, but in the fall, it switches over to golden yellow and dark orange flowers. Around the flower bed, you’ll also find cute pumpkins with funny faces, something that also pops up throughout the park in gardens and green spaces. One big Mickey pumpkin near the castle is a favorite photo spot for visitors because it’s so large and also super cute. Find out which Disney ride is the most popular around the world. (Hint: It’s not Space Mountain!)
In Shanghai, every character wears a special outfit
Dressing up during Halloween has become a huge trend at the Disney Parks in Asia, and because of that, every character now has a special Halloween outfit. This includes the Duffy and Friends characters, who are very popular at the Tokyo and Shanghai parks. (In case you were wondering, Duffy is Mickey’s handmade teddy bear, given to him by Minnie, and the two go on adventures together and make friends.) Typically, Duffy, Mickey, and other favorite characters are dressed up like vampires, witches, fairies, or other make-believe things. Visitors often wait in lines for hours at the international Disney parks to meet characters in their spooky outfits. Did you know that you can’t meet these nine Disney characters in the parks anymore? And for a change, this development actually has nothing to do with COVID.
Halloween treats abound
While Disney parks all have different menus, there is one constant: Every park offers scrumptious Halloween goodies for guests to sink their teeth into. Some favorites from around the world include candy-corn cotton candy, Mickey mummy macrons, and villain-themed steamed buns. If trying these treats is on your must-do list, make sure the ones you want are available all day and not just during the park’s Halloween party, which happens after-hours and requires an additional ticket. While the Disney parks are not having any of their usual after-hours celebrations this year because of coronavirus, some of the best treats are still available during the day at the parks. While we’re on the subject, check out these 12 Disney food secrets you didn’t know until now.
Disney World hosts Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
In normal years, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Disney World is the hottest ticket in town. This after-hours event features a special firework show, a themed parade, trick-or-treating, ride overlays, seasonal food items, and characters in their Halloween best. It’s also the only time guests can meet the uber-popular Jack Skellington and Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Plus, since there are smaller crowds, visitors get to go on more rides than they would during a normal day at the park—all while enjoying everything the party has to offer. Don’t miss these 14 hidden gems for grown-ups at Disney parks.
Disney California Adventure’s Cars Land gets a seasonal transformation
It’s rare that an entire land at a Disney park gets a holiday transformation, but Cars Land at Disney California Adventure seems to be the outlier. For Halloween, each of its attractions (except Radiator Springs Racers) gets a Halloween-themed layover, and it gets fully decked out with spooky decorations using chains, tires, and traffic cones. Even the residents of Radiator Springs, like Lightning McQueen and Mater, get an upgrade. Beyond Disney’s gates, these are the 21 most popular Halloween costumes for 2020. (Spoiler alert: You’ll find some Disney favorites on that list!)
Hocus Pocus is a big draw
In addition to The Nightmare Before Christmas, the classic Halloween movie Hocus Pocus gets top billing at U.S. Disney parks. In fact, at Disney World during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, guests can watch a stage show in front of Cinderella Castle featuring the Sanderson Sisters called the Hocus Pocus Villians Spelltacular. The show features the iconic song “I’ll Put a Spell on You,” as well as all of the Disney villains, and it always draws a big crowd. Get into the spirit at home with these 36 best Halloween movies for kids. (Hocus Pocus made the list, of course!)
Disneyland Paris embraces a scarier vibe
Disneyland Paris taps into its darker side for Halloween—as dark as you can get for a Disney property, anyway. Typically, the pumpkins that line the area around Big Thunder Mountain Railroad have sinister faces, and as you can see in this picture, the goal isn’t always to achieve that warm and fuzzy Disney vibe. But, of course, there’s also plenty there that evokes a typical Disney Halloween experience. Garlands of leaves and pumpkins line Main Street U.S.A., and character pumpkins can be found near the castle, just like at some of the other Disney parks around the world. Spooky brambles also go up around the Disneyland Paris castle, and stage shows feature villains. To bring a little of Disney’s Halloween magic to your own celebrations, you’ll want to get one of these Disney pumpkin decorating kits—no carving required!
Disneyland Paris really hypes up Jack Skellington
At Disneyland Paris, Jack Skellington is the star of the show. The Halloween parade not only features him and Sally but also hints at the following festive season—Nightmare Before Christmas–style. On the float, you’ll find candy canes striped with green, red, and white peeking out from underneath a pumpkin patch filled with hay and dirt. Guests also love meeting Jack Skellington, and the line is long even first thing in the morning. This year, all character meet-and-greets, including with Jack and Sally, have been modified as selfie spots to maintain social distance. Next, find out what you need to know if you’re planning a trip to Disney right now.
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