Hey everyone, it’s Kimberly from PackedwithFun.com, the official blog for Get Away Today. We specialize in Southern California vacations and I love sharing insider travel tips and tricks here on “Or So She Says.” I love to celebrate Halloween at Southern California theme parks; it’s a great time to go when it comes to the weather and crowds. Now, just to be clear, I love Halloween, but I don’t do scary. I know there are a lot of people that love to be scared to death, and if that’s what you’re looking for, Southern California is the place for you, too. Each September – October, the major theme parks celebrate the holiday and the events range from G-rated fun for the whole family (my personal cup of tea) to good luck going to sleep at night for the next month or so. Since October is a really popular travel month due to U.E.A. and other fall breaks, I wanted to share a brief overview of what you can expect during Halloween at Southern California Theme Parks:
Disneyland Resort: Halloween Time and Mickey’s Halloween Party
Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort is easily one of the most popular times to visit the parks – and is my personal favorite time to go. The weather is perfect and Halloween Time is as family friendly as it gets, and is included with your regular theme park admission. Haunted Mansion Holiday, Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy, and Tower of Terror all have Halloween holiday overlays that dress these classic attractions up for the holiday. The Pumpkin Festival on Main Street, Big Thunder Ranch Halloween Roundup and Disney Characters wearing their costumes are other favorites you can only experience during this time of year. If you love sweets, you’ll love the Halloween themed caramel apples (I swear, they taste even better during Halloween), Mickey bat cookies, Mickey pumpkin rice crispy treats and other yummy goodness. This year, Halloween Time officially begins September 12 and goes through Halloween night. If you’re traveling a little bit earlier, you’ll miss the holiday overlays in the rides, but you’ll probably get to see some of the decor as it goes up. I love it!
Travel tip: If you want to experience Halloween Time, go during September for fewer crowds (see pic above) and better deals. Right now, Get Away Today has Adults at Kids’ Prices on 3-day and longer Park Hoppers for travel in September and 3rd, 4th and 5th night free Anaheim area hotel specials.
In addition to Halloween Time, the resort hosts Mickey’s Halloween Party, a separate, private ticketed event held on select nights September 27 – October 31. Mickey’s Halloween Party includes a special Halloween parade, Halloween Screams fireworks show, select attractions, and tons and tons of Halloween candy. Disneyland Park closes at 7pm on the nights of Mickey’s Halloween Party for guests that don’t have tickets, so you’ll want to make sure you check the calendar as you plan your vacation. Disney California Adventure Park and Downtown Disney District will stay open a little later on those nights, or it would be a great time to do a Character Dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen.
SeaWorld San Diego: Halloween Spooktacular
SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular is another family-friendly affair that becomes more popular each year. The festivities take place during the weekends only during September 27 – October 26 and include a Halloween themed version of Sea Lions LIVE, costumed characters and trick-or-treat stations. Admission is included with regular ticket admission. Keep in mind that this year is SeaWorld’s 50th Anniversary, and they have an awesome new Explorer’s Reef and are surprising guests daily with special experiences and merchandise. When I visited in March, we got randomly selected to see the animal rehabilitation center and saw a seal that was about to be released after being rescued and a baby dolphin with its mom. It was so memorable!
Each Saturday night in October and select Friday nights (the 10th and 17th only), LEGOLAND stays open late for Brick-or-Treat. LEGOLAND is designed for kids ages two – 12 and Brick-or-Treat exemplifies that. There are costume contests, LEGO themed treat stations, Halloween themed entertainment, like the “Boo Crew” and a fireworks display. Select areas of the park also stay open, but most of the attractions are closed during the festivities. Admission to Brick-or-Treat is included with your regular park admission – score!
Knott’s Berry Farm: Knott’s Scary Farm
Knott’s Scary Farm was named the “World’s Best Haunted Theme Park” by Top Haunts Magazine. Or in other words, you couldn’t pay me enough money to go here… scary! On select nights September 25 – November 1, when Knott’s Berry Farm closes, Knott’s Scary Farm opens. Intense haunted houses, twisted and terrifying mazes, and scare zones transform the entire park into a nightmare. This year they’ve added Special Ops: Infected, an interactive zombie hunt, the Tooth Fairy and Voodoo. I get chills just thinking about it. Knott’s Scary Farm requires separate admission and is not recommended for anyone under 13. It is hugely popular and does sell out, so if you want to get scared beyond belief, get your tickets asap! But don’t worry, if you go during the day, it’s back to family friendly! You can explore the newly refurbished Camp Snoopy, ride adrenaline pumping roller coasters, and try some famous fried chicken and boysenberry pie. That’s where you’ll find me!
Universal Studios Hollywood: Halloween Horror Nights
We all know that Universal Studios Hollywood makes movie magic. But, on select nights (dates will be released any day now) Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights uses the same special effects to make horror movies come to life after the park closes. New mazes will feature An American Werewolf in London, Dracula: Untold Reign of Blood, THE PURGE: ANARCHY, Syfy’s Face Off and From Dusk Till Dawn. You may have seen a clip on Ellen last year of a couple of her staff members going through the AMC’s The Walking Dead maze. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth watching – it’s also the closest you’ll get to me stepping foot in the maze! Watch the clip on Ellen here. If that looks appealing to you, that is returning to Halloween Horror Nights this year as well. Because of the intense nature of Horror Nights, children under 13 are not recommended. Separate admission is required. And just like Knott’s Scary Farm, if you go during the daytime, you’ll find all of your favorites like the new Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, Studio Tour, Jurassic Park – The Ride and Transformers 4D – The Ride without the scary additions.
If you’re thinking of celebrating Halloween at Southern California theme parks, we’d love to help you plan it. Book at www.getawaytoday.com or call our vacation experts at 855-GET-AWAY. Be sure to mention promocode: OSSS10 to save an extra $10 on any 2-night or longer Southern California vacation with a two ticket minimum.