Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Time at Disneyland

My birthday this year, which I celebrated at Disneyland thanks to their unprecedented "Free Entry on Your Birthday!" promotion, marked my first foray into Halloween Time at Disneyland. According to Disney, "Halloween Time" is very specific period of time - September 25th through November 1st, to be exact - so my mid-October birthday happened to fall right in the middle of the festivities.

First and foremost, I would like to commend Disney for finally giving the spookiest of holidays its proper due, which is no doubt attributable to the continued momentum of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. (If the clothing choices of tourists are any indication, Jack Skellington may well be eclipsing Mickey Mouse in terms of popularity.) Disneyland now does Halloween proper, trotting out a mouth-watering array of seasonal treats, decorating the front entrance and Main Street USA with pumpkins, allowing famous villains like Cruella De Vil and Maleficent to "take over" the park, and even altering a few of their most popular attractions.

The most notable ride overlay is the Haunted Mansion Holiday, which injects a little bit of the ghoulish glee of Nightmare Before Christmas straight into the macabre elegance of the classic Haunted Mansion. I still prefer my Mansion the old-fashioned way, but HMH is exceedingly well-done, and the eye to detail is as astounding as one would expect from Disney. This year, the park also unveiled a brand new seasonal look for Space Mountain, called Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy. Essentially, various images of a ghostly creature that kind of reminded me of the Mummy (Brendan Fraser version, not Boris Karloff) are projected onto the walls and ceiling of the ride at key points. Space Mountain always rules, and this was a fun addition, but it is nowhere near as immersive as the Haunted Mansion overlay.

In addition, there are some truly awesome Dia de los Muertos decorations in Frontierland, as well as a new fireworks show, "Halloween Screams." If you've ever wished that it was Zero (Jack Skellington's beloved ghost dog, of course!) flying around the castle instead of Tinkerbell (and who hasn't, am I right?!), then this is the show for you. All in all, Disneyland's Halloween Time is a fun contribution to the October madness that prevails at southern California's theme parks, but it's certainly not going to scare anyone - Disney seems content to leave that honor to their brethren in Buena Park and Universal City.

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