Halloween Time at Disney California Adventure: 2018 Recap

Disney California Adventure, Anaheim, CA

Happy end of Hump Day, folks! Today, we really start ratcheting up our Halloween season coverage, because the vast majority of updates the next two months will involve spooky attractions all across Southern California (and maybe even one from NorCal).

Today, we start off with some family-friendly fare by checking out the return of Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort! We’ll split this coverage into two parts, the first of which visits Disney California Adventure. Last year, DCA really upped its Halloween game by greatly expanding the theming and autumn overlay to include Cars Land, Buena Vista Street, and new attractions in Hollywood Land and what is now Paradise Park. The amount of new content is thus much less this year, but the Halloween decorations were so well done that the park doesn’t really even need anything brand new to still be a Halloween draw!

Oogie Boogie Takes Over Buena Vista Street Again

Well, well, well, what have we here? Buena Vista Street has gone batty and has fallen under the spell of Oogie Boogie. The land has a nice purple hue aesthetic, and plenty of bats everywhere, leading up to the photogenic “bats out of the belfry” topper at the Carthay Circle Restaurant tower. Plus, the Headless Horseman statue is back next to Partners, and at night, an eerie soundscape gives a devilishly spooky ambiance to Buena Vista Street and into Hollywood Land!

Plaza de la Familia at Paradise Park

Over by the Paradise Garden Grill terrace area, Coco has once again filled the area with the spirit of Día de los Muertos and the theming of the hit Pixar film. There is a beautiful display illustrating scenes from the movie and explaining the significance of this Mexican holiday, plus some nice photo ops. During the daytime, musical entertainment can be found at the Paradise Gardens bandstand, including occasional appearances by the Mariachi Divas. Plus, A Musical Celebration of Coco brings great energy, song, and dance to a 15 minute retelling of Coco the movie.

Halloween Time Eats

Disneyland has also discovered that seasonal food items can be a big draw to the local demographic, and Halloween Time has brought new treats to the limited time menu. Similar to the special dishes created just for Pixar Fest, there have been new menu items at locations across both parks for Halloween Time. Most of them are sweets and desserts—which makes a lot of sense, of course—but there are plenty of savories too. And like Pixar Fest, there is a seasonal food guide pamphlet that guests can pick up at various dining venues around both parks.

If you want more food download, our friends at Disney Food Blog have additional coverage of the Halloween Time food. Go check it out! Our friend, Heather, at Disney Food Blog, has also been posting about Halloween food on her Instagram too.

Dark Hollywood Land

In Hollywood Land, the Guardians of the Galaxy attraction returns its Monsters After Dark overlay this year. This wildly popular alternate version of the ride debuted last year to great acclaim. It’s a sequel to the regular ride. After breaking out of the Collector’s fortress, the gang has accidentally left Baby Groot behind, so everyone needs to go back in and save the little tree while all the monsters have been set loose as a result of the Guardians’ prior escape. It’s a thrilling experience a little bit “scary,” but quite enjoyable. The transition occurs daily in the late afternoon, and it has its own separate Fastpass distribution.

In addition, over at the Disney Junior Theater, Vampirina will be making her debut at the show inside. I guess she’s a Disney Junior Channel character. So if you have small children, yay?

Haul-O-Ween at Cars Land

Finally, in Cars Land, Haul-O-Ween has once again fallen upon Radiator Springs and Ornament Valley, as the Cars folks have decorated their town with a charming display of “autumnotive” visual puns and Halloween decorations. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree has received a Halloween overlay as the Graveyard JamBOOree and alternate set of soundtracks, while all the locals down the main drag have been dressed up in their fall spookiest.

The magic really comes alive at night, when the neon comes on after a playing of “ShaBOO,” lighting Radiator Springs up in eerie luminance. Christmas at Cars Land has been so well done, and it’s nice to see Halloween get its fair due in DCA’s best land. It’s absolutely fantastic.

That wraps up California Adventure’s Halloween Time ambiance. We’ll continue with the Disneyland side in the second half of this update, which—if you can’t tell—is basically just a bunch of eye candy. I’ll also take the time to shameless plug my Disney photo blog, which has photos just like this and more, for Disney fans who enjoy Disney park photos.

Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort runs now through Halloween night. All of these decorations are part of normal admission and do not require the special ticket of Mickey’s Halloween Party. It’s great to see the fresh looks that still retain the spirit of warm, fuzzy Halloween. So even if they’re not “scary,” they’re still part of what makes this season the most wonderful time of the year!

Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.