There’s still time to celebrate Halloween at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.
As an annual passholder at the parks, I frequent both, but never before have I seen DCA dressed up in character to this degree before.
Disney went all out giving the full overlay treatment to Buena Vista Street, Cars Land and even the brand new Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! ride.
Upon entry during the day, Oogie Boogie from “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” greets guests at the turnstiles and stylish art deco bunting exhibits blacks and purples for Halloween. However, it’s at night that Buena Vista Street is moodiest, complete with a detailed Headless Horseman statue and eerily lit steam emerging from the equestrian nose.
Bats may escape from the tower of Carthay Circle Restaurant, but not all is spooky, of course, thanks to the likes of Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Daisy Duck. The classic characters are still out and about in their playful costumes, dressed as a bat himself, a ghost and a witch respectively.
Also in character for the holiday are Lightning McQueen as a super hero, Mater as a “van-pire,” Cruz Ramirez as a pirate and more over at Cars Land. In fact, this entire section of the park is filled to the brim with new Halloween details that raise the bar on the land’s already wonderful annual Christmas decorations.
Awesome Haul-O-Ween elements include plenty of photo-ops with Scary the “Scare-car” at the entrance and a Spider-Car and cool chainlink web at Flo’s V8 Cafe. All the way down the street at the courthouse, the windows come to life with scanning eyes and inside Ramone’s House of Body Art is a creative remembrance of Doc Hudson a la Dia de Los Muertos.
Without giving any more away, be sure to look everywhere for details galore and hop on Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters. Both attractions have been updated for the season to become Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree and Luigi’s Honkin’ Haul-O-Ween respectively.
Last, but certainly not least, is the evening overlay of Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark for the season. By day, the ride remains the same popular attraction that I reviewed previously, but by night, a sort of sequel storyline completely takes over. Given the queue, pre-show and ride itself are all transformed, the effect is extremely impressive, especially since the attraction changes over daily.
***WARNING: Spoilers Ahead***
In this version of the ride after the guardians initially escape, Groot is left behind for Rocket to return and find him. Unfortunately, by this time, many monsters in the collection have broken free too and riders are enlisted to help distract them.
As such, the queue is creepier than usual in full lockdown mode with alarms going off and red lights flashing. A new video—which was cleverly filmed within the attraction—is played back to chaotically describe why things are in distress mode. Even Rocket gives a whole new spiel in the Collector’s office to explain how we can once more help him reclaim Groot.
The ride is crazier with a new heavy metal “Monsters After Dark” song written by the franchise films’ composer Tyler Bates, updated video and wilder drop sequence with plenty of coveted airtime. It all makes a great attraction even more thrilling.
While the chaos ensues inside, the outside of the building is texture mapped for new projection effects, displaying the building’s electrical power in full force. I, for one, think these wonderful enhancements should stay year-round as they are better than the more static lighting usually in place.
Disneyland is still home to fan favorites Haunted Mansion Holiday themed to aforementioned “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” and Space Mountain – Ghost Galaxy for even more Halloween festivities resort-wide.