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If you think it’s too soon to start booking theme park Halloween events, think again. This year, some celebrations will start as early as August, so we’ve rounded up this year’s Halloween-themed events at Disney, Legoland, SeaWorld and Universal parks.
Disney For the happiest haunting on Earth, look no further than Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park. This separately ticketed event offers more treats than tricks, with grinning ghosts and Disney characters dressed in their Halloween best.
“This year, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party starts even earlier, with parties beginning Aug. 25 and running on select nights through Nov. 1,” said Cal Almaguer, vice president of domestic travel industry sales for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. “Guests of all ages can join Disney’s happy haunts for a night of trick-or-treating and costumes.”
Returning to the Magic Kingdom this Halloween are the “Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular” stage show, featuring the kooky Sanderson sisters from the Disney film “Hocus Pocus”; Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parade; and the Happy HalloWishes Fireworks show.
Meanwhile, in Anaheim, Calif., hundreds of hand-carved pumpkins can mean only one thing: Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort , which runs from Sept. 15 through Oct. 31.
Available to all park guests with their admission ticket, Halloween Time has become one of the most popular seasons at Disneyland because it marks the arrival of Haunted Mansion Holiday, the Disneyland-exclusive Halloween overlay starring the residents of Halloween Town from Tim Burton's “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” This year, the annual Haunted Mansion Holiday gingerbread house will feature a 7-foot-tall Oogie Boogie cookie.
Another popular annual Halloween attraction returning to Disneyland in 2017 is Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy, when the attraction will once again be taken over by a sinister cosmic phenomenon that launches riders into a haunted section of the universe. Guests should also check the dome’s exterior for ghostly projections.
For the first time, Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort will bring tricks and treats to Disney California Adventure Park, as Cars Land will get a “Haul-O-Ween” makeover. The citizens of Radiator Springs will decorate their homes for the season and dress up for “trunk-or-treating,” and Cars Land attractions will also transform into Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree and Luigi’s Honkin’ Haul-O-Ween.
At Mickey’s Halloween Party, guests of all ages are invited to come in costume and trick or treat in the ultimate neighborhood: Disneyland Park. The separately ticketed event provides hours of Halloween fun, including character greetings and a special Halloween-themed fireworks spectacular. Another first this year is that clients can visit Disney California Adventure as well as Disneyland during the three hours prior to the event.
LegolandAt Legoland Florida Resort, an all-day Halloween event on select dates in October includes larger-than-life Lego models, Lego build activities, exclusive Lego character meet-and-greets, a costume parade, trick-or-treating and a Halloween-themed fireworks show.
“Now in its sixth year, our Halloween Brick or Treat event is included with all forms of park admission and promises lots of spooky, kooky fun throughout the theme park,” said David Brady, senior public relations manager for Legoland Florida Resort.
At Legoland California Resort, the park will be open until 9 p.m. on Saturday nights in October (plus the last Saturday night in September) for Brick-or-Treat Party Nights. Guests will be able to enjoy a Ghost Cruise adventure, Lego pumpkin patch building and trick-or-treating throughout the park. Plus, Sea Life Aquarium will also have treat stations and decorations, and Legoland Hotel will join the fun with its own Halloween party on Oct. 31.
SeaWorld Each year, guests in San Antonio, San Diego and Orlando, Fla., can celebrate SeaWorld's Halloween Spooktacular! event. Additionally, SeaWorld San Antonio also has Howl-O-Scream for a more frightful evening.
Spooktacular runs on weekends from Sept. 23 to Oct. 29 at both the Orlando and San Diego parks. During the daytime event, which is included with admission, kids can wear their spookiest costumes and trick-or-treat throughout the park. In San Diego, the whole family can enjoy “Clyde & Seamore’s Big Halloween Bash,” a not-so-spooky Halloween-themed sea lion and otter show. In Orlando, sea-themed arts and crafts and a Spooky Dance Party await.
In San Antonio, families can enjoy Spooktacular from Sept. 29 through Oct. 29, included with park admission. Guests can take part in daytime activities such as a hay maze and kid-friendly Halloween shows. But families should beware: At 7 p.m., the ghouls and goblins at Howl-O-Scream invade the park for a scary nighttime event. With extreme haunted houses and intense scare zones, Howl-O-Scream is not advised for children under the age of 13 — or for the faint of heart .
Universal This year marks the 27th year of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando Resort. On 34 select nights from Sept. 15 through Nov. 4, Universal Studios Florida will be overrun with monsters, mutants and zombies.
“This year, Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights will be the longest and most intense in event history,” said Patrick Braillard, creative development show director and writer for Universal Orlando. “Our guests will become victims of their own horror film, with haunted houses based on terrifying legends in pop culture, plus twisted original content they won’t find anywhere else.”
Bringing iconic horror films and television shows to life is a Halloween Horror Nights tradition, and this year is no different. Among the nine immersive haunted houses and five terrifying scare zones is the introduction of an all-new house themed around Stanley Kubrick’s iconic film “The Shining.” With so many intense and creepy moments in the movie, the creative team knew it was an obvious choice to add a Halloween Horror Nights twist to the psychological thriller.
“After watching this movie for the first time, I remember saying, ‘I would never go into room 237,’” said Charles Gray, show director for Universal Orlando. “So, of course, we're going to take you there.”
A themed attraction around FX’s “American Horror Story” televisions series is returning to Halloween Horror Nights for a second year. An all-new house will take advantage of the event’s largest floor plan — the uber-maze — to bring three terrifying seasons of the horror anthology to life: “Asylum,” “Coven” and “Roanoke.”
The team at Universal Studios Florida has re-created the environments — and, more importantly, the scares — that fans of “American Horror Story” expect, including Dr. Arden’s grotesque experiments from “Asylum,” the wrath of the descendants of the Salem witches from “Coven,” and the horrific story of the Millers from “Roanoke.”
And, speaking of the Millers, the creative team at Universal Studios Hollywood is dedicating an all-new maze to the “Roanoke” installment.
“Because of the multitude of terrifying layers that come to life [in the ‘Roanoke’ storyline], we are devoting our entire maze to uncovering every twisted detail,” said John Murdy, creative director for Universal Studios Hollywood and executive producer of Halloween Horror Nights.
Starting Sept. 15, Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood will begin an exclusive “Terror Tram” experience on the Universal Studios backlot. Combined with film-production-caliber mazes and terrifying scare zones, it’s no wonder the event is considered to be Southern California’s most extreme Halloween experience.
Travel agents should note that Halloween Horror Nights is not recommended for children under 13.