8 Reasons to Visit Disneyland in the Fall

Running from the Fall Equinox in mid-September through the Winter Solstice in December, autumn makes a fabulous season to visit Disneyland. As summer crowds head back to school and Southern California temperatures begin to cool, holiday festivities take center stage in Anaheim. Check out these eight reasons to visit Disneyland in the fall.

The Halloween Tree at Disneyland ~ 8 Reasons to Fall in Love with Disneyland in Fall
The Halloween Tree at Disneyland (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

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1. Cooler fall weather.

Summertime temps in Anaheim reach 89 degrees Fahrenheit on an average day in August. By November, however, the average high is a comfy 76. For the most part, parkgoers can expect pleasant strolling and line-waiting weather during autumn in California. As a mom who has visited Disneyland many, many, many times throughout all seasons, I can tell you from experience that amusement park meltdowns decrease when temperatures drop.

Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse at Disneyland during Halloween Time ~ 8 Reasons Why You'll Fall in Love with Disneyland in Fall
Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse at Disneyland during Halloween Time (Photo credit: Scott Brinegar/Disneyland Resort)

2. Lighter crowds…mostly.

With the exception of holidays (Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving week, and the two weeks leading up to Christmas), crowds are relatively light at Disneyland in the fall. This is especially true if you visit mid-week when most travelers are at work or in school. Both early November and early December are wondrously uncrowded times to visit Disneyland, typically. Fewer crowds mean shorter wait times and more enjoyment for all!

Halloween decorations at Disneyland in fall
Halloween decorations at Disneyland (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

3. Mickey’s Halloween Party.

Disneyland entices fans to visit Disneyland in fall with the popular, separately ticketed Mickey’s Halloween Party. It takes place on 14 select nights leading up to the holiday. (Make reservations early!) Partygoers enjoy the ooh-and-ahh-inducing “Halloween Screams” fireworks spectacular and the “Frightfully Fun Parade”. All attendees can wander the park’s trick-or-treat trails to gather up candies or healthier goodies, like carrot sticks and crackers. The best part about Mickey’s Halloween Party? Everyone can dress up in Halloween costumes for the event. The party presents the only time adults are allowed to dress as Disney characters within the park each year. (Read Disneyland Halloween costume guidelines here.)

4. Even more Halloween fun.

You need not attend Mickey’s Halloween Party to get in on the Halloween fun at Disneyland. The park celebrates this fall holiday with Halloween-themed decor, specialty treats, and other touches. Even Mickey Mouse and the gang get into the Halloween spirit by dressing up in costumes. Be on the lookout for the Halloween Tree in Frontierland near Golden Horseshoe Saloon. It was inspired by Ray Bradbury’s novel, The Halloween Tree.

Haunted Mansion Holiday ~ 8 Reasons to Visit Disneyland in Fall
Haunted Mansion Holiday begins in September and runs through early January (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

5. Special fall rides.

Both Space Mountain and the Haunted Mansion transform at Disneyland in fall. The roller coaster becomes Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy through October 31. Expect eerie screams, sound effects, and ghostly music plus phantoms popping out to scare riders.

The Haunted Mansion converts to Haunted Mansion Holiday each autumn. The attraction blends Halloween and Christmas à la Jack Skellington from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. If you visit after Halloween, you can still experience the Haunted Mansion Holiday through the first week of January.

Day of the Dead decorations in Zocalo Park ~ 8 Reasons to Visit Disneyland in Fall
Day of the Dead decorations in Zocalo Park (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

6. Day of the Dead festivities.

Join the Día de los Muertos festivities when Frontierland hosts a special tribute to Day of the Dead, or All Souls’ Day. This annual Mexican celebration focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for, and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey.

Starting in September and running through November 2, Zocalo Park features a musical trio of skeleton figurines, brightly colored flowers, and other decorative items commemorating the occasion. Stop by for Calaveras-style face paintings, offered daily. Or, savor the Pumpkin Flan and other traditional Mexican treats sold exclusively at the nearby Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante.

Spirit of Dia de los Muertos Celebrations:

  • Musical performances – Miguel, Mateo, and the Mariachi Divas share songs from Coco, accompanied by folk dancers.
  • Life-sized marionettes – Talented puppeteers bring their marionettes to life, dancing with them during the celebration.
  • Dia de los Muertos crafts – Visitors make crafts from a special station.
  • Memory Wall – Guests write down memories of loved ones to be hung on the commemorative wall.
  • Papier mâché figuresCalavera figures appear throughout the park, showcasing how Latin Americans acknowledge and celebrate death.
  • Mexican food – Stop by Paradise Garden Grill for special Dia de los Muertos menu selections, including Mexican street corn, a tres leches parfait, a chicken with mole sauce.
  • Dia de los Muertos altar – In honor of the late Hudson from the Cars movies, this altar can be found at Ramone’s House of Body Art in Cars Land.
  • Frontierland Dia de los Muertos tribute – Look for an exhibit featuring a musical trio of iconic skeleton figurines, brightly colored flowers, and other decorative items in Frontierland in Disneyland.
Top off your Thanksgiving meal at Flo's V8 Cafe in Cars Land with one of their seasonal fruit pies ~ 8 Reasons to Visit Disneyland in Fall
Top off your Thanksgiving meal at Flo’s V8 Cafe in Cars Land with one of their seasonal fruit pies (Photo credit: Disneyland Resort)

7. Thanksgiving at Disneyland.

Thanksgiving is all about family togetherness, so why not gather up your family for a feast Disney-style? If you don’t mind the crowds, this holiday can be magical indeed at Disneyland. Several Disney restaurants offer special Thanksgiving treats and meals. From turkey-shaped sourdough bread to a full-on turkey fest with all the fixings, here’s what you can expect in terms of T-Day eats at Disneyland.

Christmas festivities commence in the fall at Disneyland ~ 8 Reasons You'll Fall in Love with Disneyland in Fall
Christmas festivities commence in the fall at Disneyland (Photo credit: Disneyland Resort)

8. The Christmas season commences at Disneyland in fall.

Halloween decorations and activities are replaced with Christmassy celebrations at Disneyland in November. It’s the most wonderful time of the year…especially when you go in early December before the throngs of holiday visitors.

In addition to a bounty of twinkling trees and sparkling Christmas decorations, you’ll be treated to special holiday shows and rides. Haunted Mansion Holiday continues. And, you’ll find “it’s a small world” Holiday, featuring children from around the world enjoying the distinctive holiday traditions of their countries. Meanwhile Jungle Cruise is transformed into Jingle Cruise, with the captains gathering up holiday gifts and decorations from their riverboats. Especially memorable is the daily “A Christmas Fantasy” Parade, topped off with the magic of “snow” on Main Street USA. Even Santa can’t resist Disneyland in fall!

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Save Money on Your Disneyland Vacation

Want to save money on your Disneyland vacation? Of course, you do! Use discount code TravelMamas to get $10 off any two-night or longer Southern California package (hotel and 2-ticket minimum) when you book through our trusted partner, Get Away Today. Just want tickets? Buy discounted Disneyland Park tickets now!

Consider booking a character meal to add even more magic to your visit. Read our Disneyland character meal reviews to choose the best one for your family.

8 Reasons to Visit Disneyland in Fall

What appeals to you most about visiting Disneyland in fall? Let us know in the comments below!

A Note from The Travel Mama: My family and I were hosted during a recent visit to Disneyland in the fall. All opinions are mine, as always.

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  1. I went to Disneyland on Halloween several years ago. It was so fun to see all the kids in their costumes! Love Disneyland in the fall.

  2. Hi Colleen,

    We had such a great time over Thanksgiving at Disneyland we wish we could do it every year! I totally agree with everything you’ve listed – perfect weather, festive atmosphere, and extra special treats make this a trip to remember. The Haunted Mansion is just the best, isn’t it? We also loved the ‘snow’ that gets sprayed during the nighttime parade. Just a little extra Disney magic that makes this a trip to remember.

    Great Post!


    1. Carrick – I’m glad you enjoyed Disneyland in the fall! I teared up when my kids were little and it started “snowing” on Main Street!

  3. I never went to Disneyland in the fall, but I can see why it’s a good idea. I think the weather would be perfect also.

  4. I never been in Disneyland, This is a magical place for everyone and I want to go there especially this fall season

  5. #1 is enough for me. I love the cooler temperatures! It makes for a more pleasant atmosphere, especially since I don’t like to sweat- something you do A LOT of during the summer in Florida. My family visited the last weekend in November one year and I absolutely loved it.

    1. Summers aren’t quite as humid and hot in California, on average. Still, fall is more pleasant for both destinations if you ask me!