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Disneyland California Trip Report and Updates Part Two - Mickey's Halloween Party
DisneyDan  Tuesday, October 18, 2011 7:51:14 PM
Hi all,
In this second part of my Disneyland California trip report I am going to talk about the Mickey's Halloween Parties.

For the past few years we have been visiting Disneyland Paris and WDW for Halloween. Due to this (and other reasons) we had never visited Disneyland California for Halloween before, so this year, we decided we would!

I have already talked about the regular daytime Halloween offerings at Disneyland in part one, so this report is just about the ticketed parties.

We attended two of the Mickey 's Halloween Parties last week (Tuesday and Friday) and are very glad that we did.
The first one on Tuesday was ridiculously busy, and actually Disney had oversold the tickets that night (we found out from CM friends).

The parties last for five hours and include characters, fireworks, a cavalcade (mini parade), two dance parties and trick or treating.

Our first priority on the first party night was to meet Agent P at the Carnation Gardens stage.
It became immediately obvious from just standing there waiting that nobody (cast that is) really knew what was going on until the last minute.
Eventually they got the line sorted out and we waited for the first set at party start, for Phineas and Ferb, as they switch out with Agent P.
We managed to get them fairly quickly as we had waited before party start time to line up, and then went straight back round in the relatively short line for Agent P's arrival.

Agent P

The line continued to grow, but with a good starting strategy, we had him by 7.30pm.
From there we basically went around getting everything done that we could manage. It was incredibly busy, and lines for everything were extremely long. In fact, the trick or treat lines (which we weren't bothered about anyway) were longer that the popular attraction lines. I cannot fathom why people are willing to wait for half an hour at a ticketed event, wasting precious time (and $60) on getting a bag of Skittles of a Milky Way bar!
Anyway, as well as Phineas, Ferb and Agent P, we did manage to meet the Stormtroopers, see the Buzz Lightyear dance party (minus Buzz this night! Just the Buzzettes and Green Army Men), the Piratepalooza dance party (all characters present), Winnie the Pooh (he has a new outfit this year) and Tigger and Duffy.

Stormtroopers

Winnie the Pooh

Duffy the Disney Bear

We did watch the cavalcade twice, and that also requires some forward thinking. I suggest getting a place at least half an hour before, though it is possible to arrive up to about 20 minutes before, you may not have the best view.
The problem with this middle section of the party is that right after the cavalcade you need to then wait for the fireworks, and if you are really interested, right after that the second run of the cavalcade again, it takes up a lot of precious time as you do need to make sure you get good places well beforehand.
A tip that we discovered is that if you see the cavalcade on the east side of Central Plaza, you can then basically scoot over to right in front of the Castle and hold out there until the fireworks start.
The cavalcade itself is nothing to get too excited about, but is neat to see if you like to see the characters in different costumes, like us.
Mickey and the gang are all there, Stitch, the Country Bears, some princesses, a lot of performers (more than I care for - why not just have more characters?!), Miss Piggy, Baloo and King Louie and a probably a few others I can't recall right now.

Mickey's Costume Party Cavalcade

Mickey's Costume Party Cavalcade

Mickey's Costume Party Cavalcade

Overall I liked the cavalcade, but it does need more main floats besides the first and last ones, and the pumpkins, and needs more characters. Most of the characters are on the ground, and the best float is the last one with Mickey and friends. Hopefully over time they will build on it, and it will become even better.

The fireworks are very neat, and are similar to HalloWishes in the Magic Kingdom. They share a lot of the same soundtrack, except for California they have Jack Skellington narrating through parts of it.
There are also a number of other really neat things that these fireworks have over WDW. There is a large balloon that sits to the left of the Castle (hard to explain, but go with it!) that they project things onto. It functions as Jack's head, and also features some other characters though out the presentation.
The biggest addition, and the best one is Zero the ghost dog who flies above the Castle! Using the same technique that is used for Tinker Bell during her flights above Disneyland, Zero stars at the beginning of the show, and near the end.

Halloween Screams - A Villainous Surprise in the Skies Fireworks

It is probably the coolest of the three Castle "fliers" that they have (the other being Dumbo during Magical), and along with the superior fireworks and the Jack head, makes for Disneyland's Halloween fireworks a must see.

The dance parties were good if you are into dancing the night away at a ticketed event, but do feature some good characters. Over in Frontierland there was the Pirate Palooza featuring Donald, Goofy, Pluto, Chip and Dale all dressed in their pirate outfits. It was never too busy to get an ok picture of them, but as with all the Disney dance parties at any park, if you want your picture with the characters then you need to get in there and dance with them, as they will not stop and pose.
In Tomorrowland Buzz, hosts his party, and it also features a number of Green Army Men and the Buzzettes. For some reason, in our multiple attempts to get him, Buzz seemed fairly infrequent at his own party, but after about the fourth time of trying we did find him.
Again, you need to get right in there and dance with the character to have any hope of getting a photo.

On the second night, it seemed to be much less crowded, even though it was Friday, and we had much more success with characters.
We managed to meet Woody, Jessie, Mickey, Minnie, Agent P (yes, again!), Peter, Wendy, Hook, Jack Sparrow, Aladdin, Jasmine, Genie, Pooh, and Eeyore.

Woody

Aladdin and Jasmine

On all nights (in the two we attended and on hearing from others), the craziest lines were always for Mickey and Minnie, Jack Sparrow and Jack and Sally.
On the second night we knew we wanted to get Mickey and Minnie in their Halloween costumes (they are different to the day time Halloween ones), so like we had for Agent P before, we lined up before the party started to get near the front. It worked well and we were done with them just after 7pm. We then went right to the Pirates Wharf area and as the party had just started managed to get Peter Pan, Wendy and Hook.

Peter Pan, Wendy and Captain Hook

They switch out with Jack Sparrow, so after meeting them we went right back in line again, and when they finished their set, Jack came out.
Using this strategy we managed to get Mickey, Minnie, Peter, Wendy, Hook and Jack all within the first forty five minutes of the party!

Lines for Woody and Jessie weren't too long the second night so we got those done fairly easily, then managed to meet Eeyore in Critter Country, again because of a shorter line.

We did see both cavalcades again, but instead of waiting for the fireworks we decided to use this time to meet some more characters (it was in this time in fact that we got Woody and Jessie).
While wandering up thorough Fantasyland the fireworks started, and we knew we might be able to grab of shots of Zero. What was great was that it was fairly quite up there as a lot had been roped off due to the fireworks, and we managed to stand more or less right under where he flies and grab some amazing shots of him overhead!

The only characters we did not get to see at the parties were Jack and Sally and the villains as their lines were always insane. We did meet them in the day time in the park though, and they are in the same locations and the same characters so it made no difference.
What is strange is that for some reason at the parties their lines were four times as long as in the daytime, and yet they are the same characters! Even at the villains meet they don't bring out anyone special, just the same as always. Again, it makes me wonder why people spend time doing that.

Throughout the park they set up the trick or treat trails, which were always marked by inflatable signs. Other things included inflatable ghosts, spooky/Halloween music throughout the park and difference projections and lighting. There were also some scarecrows around Central Plaza - real life ones! They stood on their posts and would call out to guests and interact with them, usually in a comical way.

Scarecrow at Central Plaza

I thought this was a nice touch and really added something to the randomness and atmosphere of the event.
Overall the effects were pretty neat, but maybe could have done with a bit more to really set the mood and create the atmosphere.

Ok, that's all for now. This report is quite long and I don't have time to write about the Soundsational event tonight, so I will do that over the next two days instead.

Dan.

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