Welcome to another wonderfully spooky Halloweentime at Disneyland!
From September 2nd all the way through October 31st you can enjoy the sights, sounds, and most importantly tastes, of the Halloween Season at Disneyland. This year had some recurring favorites (check out my blog post from last year), as well as some exciting new treats. Here are the highlights:
Downtown Disney / Merchandise
There's so much shopping to do, and so little time! If you're not visiting the parks this trip, or need a break during the day, Downtown Disney has brought back Pluto's Pumpkin Pursuit yet again for another year of fun! Search the shops and restaurants for character inspired pumpkins, tracking where you find them, and redeem for a prize! This year's prize in an adorable mini pumpkin sipper.
If you're looking for a seasonal drink, Ballast Point is the perfect place to relax, get a drink, and maybe catch a game. For the fall they have a crisp pumpkin cider on tap- Hallowed Jack by 2 Towns Cider.
As far as merchandise in the park, seasonal popcorn buckets and sippers are likely to sell out fast. I was lucky to get my hands on the Zero and Mayor's Car Popcorn Bucket as well as the Poison Apple Sipper, but the Mickey Skeleton Popcorn Bucket continues to elude me.
A fun surprise for pin traders- some stations will have mystery pins in little coffins!
This station was outside Elias & Co.
First I have to address the viral Tiktok sensation, the Garlic Cheese Bread from Edelweiss Snacks. This was introduced during the Halloween Season, but based on it's popularity I would hope it's here to stay. After the first bite I could confirm- WORTH THE HYPE.
Halloween Seasonal Foods
Starting off strong, we have the reliable Jolly Holiday Bakery. Every season the bakery outdoes itself with the most delicious pastries, sandwiches, and breakfasts. My two favorites from this year were the Apple Crisp Croissant and Pumpkin Chai Cream Puff. Both were messy but so yummy! The croissant was such a pleasant surprise, it was filled with real apples and the pastry was flaky.
One item to avoid is the Red Pepper Cheese Fries from the Hungry Bear Restaurant. As you can probably tell from the photo, these were a huge disappointment. The cheese didn't taste any different than regular nacho cheese, and they were not worth the cost. There are plenty of other worthwhile items around the parks for $8 or less.
If you're at the Hungry Bear, I would recommend the Chai Spiced Pumpkin Iced Tea, but get food anywhere else!
At the The Golden Horseshoe this Halloween you can enjoy a Pecan Pie Sundae that is the perfect treat. Layered with butterscotch and candied pecans, this one's a real gem. Treat yourself!
Recently Disneyland Macarons have been a little too sweet for me, so I did not try the Alien Vampire Macaron from Alien Pizza Planet, but they did have a hearty seasonal pasta that is a great last minute dinner option. I always recommend their pasta over their pizza and this was another winner- Rigatoni with Sausage and Tomatoes.
Now open- Tiana's Palace is a new quick service restaurant in New Orleans Square based on Tiana's restaurant in The Princess and the Frog. Here you can enjoy southern style Creole and Cajun meals, including fresh House-Filled Beignets. If you're looking for quick service, but not typical theme park food, this is the place. I tried the House Gumbo with a side of Cornbread. While the gumbo was delicious, I think there could have been more rice to make it more filling for a meal. The
chicken was cooked well and the flavors made up for it. The cornbread was a sweet moist cornbread, which I really enjoyed. The interior is absolutely beautiful and well themed to fit into the land. Once Tiana's Bayou Adventure opens it'll really tie the theming together.
The number one new drink I can recommend from Disneyland this year is the Pumpkin Cheesecake Cold Brew from Red Rose Tavern. I don't typically recommend the food here, but this cold brew was incredible. The foam topping is thick and creamy, and compliments the bold cold brew perfectly. It's on the sweet side, but not overly sweet like some Disney coffees can be.
An absolute MUST DO this time of year is Haunted Mansion Holiday. This Nightmare Before Christmas layover is very popular so expect longer lines, especially after dark, but trust me- it's worth it.
Halloween Screams is the nighttime fireworks spectacle at the castle and throughout Main Street. The show features music, fireworks, and projections of various villains from Disney films. Since the displays continue down Main Street, there is plenty of optimal viewing spots.
The cutest sights this time of year are all of our favorite characters in Halloween Costumes!
The best spots to catch Mickey and his gang are near the entrances of both parks. For a limited time you can also find Jack Skellington near the shops of New Orleans Square.
You might even be able to draw your favorite characters in costume at the Animation Academy in California Adventure!
Disney California Adventure
Halloween Seasonal Foods
Most if not all of the treats at California Adventure that were new to try this year were drinks- the only food I have to note this year is the Pumpkin Bundt Cake from the Cappuccino Cart. I personally ate this for breakfast, but it is definitely more of a dessert. It was small enough to enjoy yourself, or share with a friend. The pumpkin cake was perfectly moist. Also at the Cappuccino Cart, the Strawberry Matcha is a seasonal drink that is worth trying if you love matcha! The strawberry is very sweet, so it mostly adds to the sweetness of the matcha instead of complimenting it, but it's still enjoyable.
San Fransokyo Square
San Fransokyo Square is now open where the Pacific Wharf used to be, and it's a welcome upgrade for Big Hero Six fans and Foodies! The new design is vibrant and full of Easter Eggs for fans of the film, and you can even meet Baymax! Cocina Cucamonga and other popular food stands have remained the same, with just a touch of retheming. Some new additions include Aunt Cass Cafe, and an entirely new menu for Lucky Fortune Cookery.
The highlights include Yaki Udon with Karaage-inspired Crispy Chicken (so tasty and filling, full of flavor and a perfect ratio of chicken, noodles, and veggies), a Baymax Macaron (although very photogenic, this is way too sweet), Beef Bulgogi Burrito (also tasty and filling, but not as flavorful as the udon or the ramen, the rice chips on the side provide a lovely crunch) from Lucky Fortune Cookery and Caramel Cream Cold Brew (shockingly not sweet at all, if you love coffee you'll love this- and what a cute sticker), Shrimp Katsu Sandwich (a little dense, the coleslaw adds a nice lightness, but overall very bready), and Baymax Sourdough (adorable) from Aunt Cass Cafe.
California Adventure is the place to be for drinks this year, with a variety of seasonal beers and cocktails, as well as non-alcoholic options.
One of my personal favorite breweries in San Diego, Bivouac Cider, is temporarily available at the Cozy Cone. Their Cats Paw Pumpkin Cider is the perfect fall cider.
Another cider, more like dessert, that I can't recommend enough is at Clarabelle's Hand Scooped Ice Cream. There are two options, both delicious, but I recommend the Apple Strudel Float, which comes alcoholic and non alcoholic. The caramel crumble rim is just a delight.
During this Halloween season Disney's Paradise Gardens Park is transformed into Plaza de la Familia where you can see mini parades, musical performances, and take in the decorations inspired by Pixar's Coco.
One of California Adventure's best kept secrets is the unofficial lighting ceremony in Cars Land at sunset. During Halloweentime the typical "Sh-Boom" is interrupted by "I Put A Spell On You". Cast members gather around to dance and celebrate the neon lights in a fun spooky way.
As always, the Halloween decorations in Cars Land outshine all other lands. You can find Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater in costume, several rethemed rides, and incredible photo ops at every turn.
Happy Halloween Everyone!