The fall season at Disney Parks is nothing short of magical. Especially for those who may not be able to experience a classic fall season due to where they live, the Disney Parks offer a unique take on fall and Halloween. But which U.S Disney Park is best for Halloween? Well, we are here to share all about Halloween at both parks, so you can decide for yourself. And of course, we will let know who wins in the battle between Walt Disney World vs Disneyland for Halloween.
Halloween at Disney Parks
Regardless of which Park you’re visiting, Halloween at Disney is a ton of fun. Usually starting in August, guests can enjoy characters dressed in their Halloween costumes, fun Halloween treats, and plenty of Halloween and fall decorations. Read on for a quick guide to both Walt Disney World and Disneyland during Halloween. And find out who we declare the spookiest of them all.
Halloween at Walt Disney World
Fall at Walt Disney World is almost ironic. Much of what people love about the fall months, the crisp autumn weather that is, just doesn’t exist in central Florida. But that’s ok. It does start to cool down ever so slightly, and if you can manage to get yourself out of bed early enough, you can almost feel a cool fall breeze. October tends to be slightly less humid than September, but we won’t sugarcoat it. It’s still really hot. Last year during our October trip, it was in the 90s the entire time. So, you just accept that you chose to vacation in a location hotter than the sun and move on. It’s fine!
Aside from the weather though, Halloween at Walt Disney World is a blast! Magic Kingdom gets all dressed up for the occasion. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party starts in full swing in August. And Halloween treats start to pop up around the parks and at Disney Springs. This year, Epcot will join in the fun for Pluto’s Pumpkin Pursuit during the International Food and Wine Festival, starting on September 8, 2023.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is the main event at Walt Disney World. Complete with Halloween Character meet and greets, some of which are rare to begin with, a Castle Stage show, the Boo To You Parade and a spooky fireworks show as well. This is a ticketed event, so not only are tickets limited, but they are also not included in regular park admission. Since this is where most of the Halloween magic happens at Walt Disney World, if you love Halloween and want to experience it at Walt Disney World, this event is highly recommended.
Aside from Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, there aren’t a ton of other happenings at the other parks. You can usually find some themed snacks, but you won’t be likely to find much in the way of decorations or other activities outside of Magic Kingdom. You can see the full guide to Halloween at Walt Disney World here.
Halloween at the Walt Disney World Resorts
Walt Disney World doesn’t really do much on its own for Halloween at its resorts. But one of our favorite activities at Walt Disney World for fall is visiting Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. The campers here make this resort one of the best places to stay at Walt Disney World during Halloween. Campsites and cabins are often decorated with Halloween decor. And taking a golf cart drive, or even a stroll around the campground, to see them all is a great way to spend an afternoon or evening if you want to see them all lit up!
If you’re able to be at Walt Disney on Halloween day, Fort Wilderness campers actually put on a Halloween Parade, complete with decorated floats and golf carts. In general, Disney limits the number of guests they allow on the property during this event. So if you’re not staying here, you may not be able to witness this. But if you are, it’s a fun one to see!
In addition, last year in 2022, Halloween masterpieces made of chocolate started to grace some of the resort lobbies. Most notable was the chocolate Haunted Mansion piece at the Grand Floridian. It was stunning and we are hoping to see more of these types of things come to the resorts at Walt Disney World during Halloween.
Halloween at Disney Springs
Disney Springs has its own little taste of fall and Halloween. Fall Into Magic at Disney Springs is mostly about the snacks, but you’ll also be able to see some fun decorations around the area as well. You can read all about Fall Into Magic at Disney Springs here.
Halloween at Disneyland
Disneyland takes Halloween to a whole new level. Both Disneyland and California Adventure get decked out for the fall season. With Disneyland being a little more “fall” and California Adventure being a little more “Halloween”, you can get a taste of whichever vibe you prefer.
Oogie Boogie Bash at Disneyland
Oogie Boogie Bash is the main Halloween event at Disneyland. Held at California Adventure Park, Oogie Boogie Bash requires a separate ticket for entry. And this event is so coveted, tickets can be pretty tough to get. Be prepared for waiting in the queue for many hours, and get ready for the website to crash. Yep, it’s that popular! That being said, it’s well worth the effort. Complete with Trick or Treat, unique character experiences, the Villains Grove, The Frightfully Fun Parade and more! Read all about Oogie Boogie Bash here.
Free Halloween Fun at Disneyland
One big advantage and it’s a big one, that Disneyland has over Walt Disney World at Halloween is the amount of free Halloween fun that can be had without a special event ticket. Disneyland and California Adventure both offer a multitude of Halloween snacks throughout the season that are not just limited to Oogie Boogie Bash. You can see Halloween Cavalcades at Disneyland during the daytime. And there are a lot of opportunities for Halloween Clad Character meet and greets. This is especially great because not only can you really get a good Halloween experience without paying extra, but you can get it at both parks. Cars Land in DCA gets all decked out in its Halloween best. And even the Haunted Mansion gets an amazing overlay for the Halloween and Christmas seasons featuring Jack Skellington.
Halloween at Disneyland Resorts
The Grand Californian is truly a sight to behold during any time, but specifically during Halloween and Christmas. At Halloween, they have a huge Oogie Boogie Display made completely from treats! And there is also a little treat shop where you can purchase little Halloween snacks inside the lobby as well. Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier both get dressed up for the season. And you can find all the details about the Disneyland Resort Hotels at Halloween here.
Walt Disney World vs Disneyland for Halloween
Both Parks have their perks when it comes to Halloween. But for us, Disneyland takes the win here. Even though Disneyland is considerably smaller than Walt Disney World, there are more free things to see and do. And both of its parks, Disneyland and California Adventure, have something to offer guests during spooky season. Which means you don’t have to choose to get your dose of spooky fun. They also have more Halloween-clad characters around the Parks to be met. And outside of party hours to boot. They also have more themed snacks that are available to day guests. Disneyland just does it better! And this is coming from someone who listens to the Boo To You Soundtrack all year long.
Whether you’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World or Disneyland for the Halloween season, you’re in for a treat!
Melanie Renee is a photographer, writer, designer and mom. Visiting Disney destinations since 2010, she is also an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. When she's not creating her next coffee recipe, or designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's seeking beautiful sunsets and planning her next trip .