Imagine low crowds, short lines and special entertainment at Disneyland. That is a Disneyland After Dark Event.
Disneyland is a favorite. In not one, not two, but three of our bucket lists we posted last week, Disneyland was a listed as a bucket list stop. Military families have had the advantage for several years of Salute Discount at the Disney Parks in the US. This multi-day park hopper pass is a great deal. But if your family does not have three or four days that they can spend in the parks, a Disneyland After Dark event is a great way to see the parks.
Disneyland After Dark events are themed, separate ticketed events. This past May, the Star Wars inspired “May the 4th” events were held. The cost is typically around $100 with the event occurring from 6 pm until 11pm or midnight depending on the park closing time. With these separate party ticket events, you can enter the parks three hours prior to the party occurring. This means you can have 8-9 hours of park time with that ticket. This isn’t the standard full day that you would get with a park hopper, but these limited ticketed events mean that the crowds are much lower than regular hours. So, you can accomplish more in that short time frame than you might be able to do during traditional opening hours. If you or your child have special needs or anxiety, the lower crowds may be a much more manageable experience. There is no smoking at these events, so if you or your child has severe asthma, this is also an event that may appeal to you vice avoiding the smoking areas.
May has passed, but fall is coming. Bring on the pumpkins and cooler temperatures! This means that Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland is coming. There are 15 Halloween Party events this year occurring in September and October. These events sell out quickly, so if you are looking to go – check out available dates here. Like the Star Wars May the 4th event, the parties start at either 6 pm or 7 pm depending on the party date and you can get in three hours before the party event. The Halloween Party ticket is a park hopper, meaning you can go to both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure (DCA) to check out the Halloween food, decorations and themed rides. DCA does usually close earlier than Disneyland, so plan accordingly.
There are discounts for annual pass holders for certain dates of the Mickey’s Halloween Party. Otherwise, the tickets are all the same prices. While there are military discounts for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World, there are no current military discounts for Mickey’s Halloween Party.
Everyone with a paid ticket (those under 3 are free), gets a trick-or-treat bag. #milmomadventuretip: Bring an extra bag to take home your haul. We hit up about half of the trick-or-treat stations and went home with a reusable bag full of candy plus the bags they handed us. The treats are a mix of candy and healthy treats – dried apples, cold sliced apples and cold carrots were the offerings last year. Cast members would let you choose between the candy and healthier option if it was available. We took advantage of people in the candy lines to get on rides with very short waits (read: pretty much walked on and we got to ride several rides over and over without getting off).
If you are an adult who has always wanted to come to Disneyland in costume – this is your time to shine! Adults are welcome to wear costumes, in fact, it is encouraged. No masks or weapons though (for kids and adults), and no full-length gowns to the ground, and in the words of Edna Mode – “no capes” (below the waist). Check out the costume guidelines here.
Is photography your thing? At these events you will be able to get stellar pictures of the parks and rides. Once the little was asleep in the stroller at the latest After Dark event we attended, this MilMom got to walk around a totally abandoned-looking New Orleans Square and take night shots. No photoshop required to remove people and had plenty of time to pose shots. This is something I never expected to be able to do in the very popular park.
#milmomadventuretip: Bring caffeine with you for the adults. If you drink coffee or soda pop is your thing, bring it with you if you can. If not, most locations selling special Halloween-themed foods will have coffee or soda for purchase as well. There will be loads of Halloween-themed food too. Make sure to check out the Disneyland website to know what to expect in regards to ride changes (Space Mountain and Haunted Mansion get a ghoulish overlay), fireworks and parade schedules and costume guidelines.
Are you going to a Halloween event near you?
What do you have planned for a fall season adventure?