8 Reasons You Should Visit Disneyland in Fall

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

8 Reasons to Visit Disneyland in Fall

(Photo credit: Canva.com)

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, park goers can expect pleasant strolling and line-waiting weather during autumn. As a mom who has visited Disneyland many, many, many times throughout all seasons, I can tell you from experience that amusement park meltdowns seem to decrease when temperatures drop.

The Halloween Tree at Disneyland ~ 8 Reasons to Fall in Love with Disneyland in Fall

The Halloween Tree at Disneyland (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

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 fall. This is especially true if you can 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. Less crowds means shorter wait times and more enjoyment for all!

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)

3. Mickey's Halloween Party.

Disneyland entices fans to visit in September and October with the popular, separately ticketed Mickey's Halloween Party. It takes place on 17 select nights leading up to the holiday. (Make reservations early!) Party goers 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.)

Halloween decorations at Disneyland ~ Why Visit Disneyland in Fall

Halloween decorations at Disneyland (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

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 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.

Through November 2, Zocalo Park features a musical trio of skeleton figurines as well as brightly colored flowers and other decorative items commemorating the occasion. Stop by for Calaveras-style face paintings, offered daily from 10 am to 6 pm. Or, savor the Pumpkin Flan and other traditional Mexican treats sold exclusively at the nearby Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante.

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 glitz and celebrations at Disneyland in fall (starting on November 10 in 2016). 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 will be 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!

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 fall. All opinions are mine, as always. This story includes affiliate links. Your purchases help keep TravelMamas.com a free resource for readers like you!

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About Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments

  1. The weather is absolutely the best part of Disneyland in the fall for me. In the summer time, all of that concrete and sunshine will bake you like a tourist cake!

  2. Catherine Sargent says:

    I would love to visit Disneyland in the fall. I would prefer to go when it is cooler and less crowded. I need to plan on going the next time I am in California.

  3. Oh God I am an adult but still can’t wait to visit Disneyland one day! Fall there looks amazing! I bet all this halloween decorations look fabulous !

  4. My son would love this as he is a huge fan of Jack Skellington.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Meagan – My kids used to find Jack Skellington scary but now that they are a little older, they love him and “The Nightmare Before Christmas”!

  5. I would love to go to Disneyland in the fall! The summer is so hot and makes you want to spend less time in the park and more time at the pool. I would love to see the fall decorations too!

  6. It sounds like fall is the perfect time to visit Disney. Mickeys Halloween Party is supposed to be spectacular.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Mickey’s Halloween party is so much fun! A word of caution, though, if you’re not attending the party…the park closes early those nights.

  7. We’ve done Disney World twice in the fall and loved it both times. I was hoping to get to Disneyland next fall to see The Haunted Mansion all decked out. Fingers crossed we can make it happen!

  8. Great points! I’d be super happy to visit Disneyland this fall. The Halloween festivities alone would draw me in!

  9. We’ve done most seasons at Disneyland, but I can’t remember any Thanksgiving. I need to plan a trip to check out the November fun.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      I haven’t done Thanksgiving yet, either. In fact, writing this story I thought, “Hmm…I might need to make that happen!”

  10. Visiting Disneyland in the Fall is definitely top on my bucket list!! It looks so magical and fun!

  11. It sounds like Disney in the fall is exactly the kind of family vacation I would love-less crowds, and all the Halloween festivities sound like such fun!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      I think I may enjoy Halloween more now that I have kids. It’s less stress for me but I love all of the costumes and family activities!

  12. Even though Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth, it seems like everyone is just a bit more cheery when the temperatures drop. We love watching the candy makers making candy canes in the windows on Main Street during the Christmas season.

  13. I think you are right. We’ve never tried visiting Disneyland in the Fall, but I guess this would be the best option to avoid those long lines. We’re sure to enjoy the trip and the park more.

  14. Sounds like Fall would be such a great time to head to Disney. I wouldn’t want to be super hot while out in lines, etc so the Fall would be perfect to go!

  15. Reesa Lewandowski says:

    I have been wanting to visit Disney in the fall so bad! It looks so pretty!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Fall decorations at Disneyland are really fab. I hope you can visit in fall someday soon!

  16. I never thought about visiting in the Fall but i have went in the Winter. FL is never cold really so I am sure its perfect weather!

  17. #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.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

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

  18. OurFamilyWorld says:

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

  19. I agree. All great reasons to visit in the Fall. We went in November a few years ago and it was perfect.

  20. Lighter crowds for sure. It’s why my kids and I visit later in the year.

  21. christina aliperti says:

    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.

  22. 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!

    -Carrick

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      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!

  23. 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.

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