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8 Reasons You Should Visit Disneyland in Fall

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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 visit Disneyland in fall.

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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 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.

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 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 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!) 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 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.

Starting in September and running 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. 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 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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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.

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 originally went live in October 2016 and was updated and reposted in August 2017. This blog post includes affiliate links. Your purchases help keep TravelMamas.com a free resource for readers like you!

About Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama

Colleen Lanin, MBA, is the founder and editor-in-chief of the popular travel blog, TravelMamas.com. She is an expert in travel with kids and without. As the author of the book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents how to make the most of traveling with babies and children. Colleen loves sharing tips on hotels, cruises, spas, theme parks, and global lifestyle topics. When she is not traveling the world, she lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments
  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. Carrick | Along for the Trip says

    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!

  3. 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.

  4. Kita Bryant says

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

  5. Camesha | Mama Motivator says

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

  6. OurFamilyWorld says

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

  7. #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!

  8. 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!

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