Mickey’s Halloween Party is basically an institution at Disneyland. Every year, a bunch of evenings starting in late September, leading up to October 31st (which, needless to say, is Halloween), the California theme park opens its doors to young trick-or-treaters and their families for a fun, wholesome, thoroughly Disney Halloween experience. This year, for the first time, Disneyland theme park is trying out the Pirates League as part of its seasonal Halloween experience. Walt Disney World in Orlando has had the Pirates League become an annual available activity since 2009, and should the Southern California theme park deem it successful, it too will make it available every year. Here’s hoping! We thought the Pirates League was the hands-down highlight of Mickey’s Halloween Party.
Tickets to Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland include complimentary parking, admission to Disneyland Park (Note: this is not a Park Hopper pass), photo ops with various Disney characters — with unavoidable lines — and Halloween Screams fireworks show just for party guests. Also included are fast passes to Space Mountain and the Haunted Mansion, trick-or-treat stations, and Mickey’s Costume Party Cavalcade, which is a Halloween parade just for the guests of Mickey’s Halloween Party.
This can be a lot to manage for first-timers; the theme park is famously busy around Halloween, and crowds can be overwhelming to the unprepared. The Digital Disney Moms have some great tips for dealing with Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland. Getting to the theme park early is great idea (and considering the vagaries of Los Angeles traffic, heading out early helps offset any nasty freeway jams you might encounter). There are other good tips in their post; I’d add that splurging on an overnight stay at a Disneyland hotel will help with exhausted kids and parents after the fireworks show. By the way, it was pleasing to see healthy treat options like raisins mixed in with the mini chocolate bars the kids received while trick-or-treating at Mickey’s Halloween Party.
But about that Pirate’s League…
My daughter and her friend were excited about it, and changed their costume plans from some cartoon characters to pirate lasses just for the activity. Participating in the Pirates League doesn’t necessitate dressing up as a pirate. It sure does make it more fun, though.
Pirate transformation begins in New Orleans Square, which is right next to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. How fitting! Children’s pirate names are chosen for them with the roll of some dice, and off they go to the makeup chairs — er, transformational captain’s seats. The Disney team members here all speak with pseudo-Irish pirate accents, and genuinely seem to be enjoying themselves as much as the children. As a parent, it’s fun to watch and to listen to the easy banter between the characters and the kids. Disney does every thing so well when it comes to immersive, fantasy-based activities, and this is no exception.
Kids can choose from scruffy pirate looks and “pirate empress” looks. My daughter and her friend both went for the more feminine option. However: don’t call my tough daughter a “pretty pirate princess” or she’ll run you through with ‘er cutlass, arr! Once the makeup is completed, kids gets pirate’s kerchiefs, big hoop earrings, sashes, and plastic swords. The amusing pirate’s oath is given and repeated, and they are given official-looking maps.
Children 3 years and older can participate in the Pirates League, but I’ve got to admit, I can see how this would be really enticing for teenagers as well. That’s a hard age group to please, as anyone with a teenager can attest, but the currently cool cache of pirate-themed attire for Halloween (and pirate talk) is a cultural phenomenon. Disney is brilliant to build on the popularity of Pirates of the Caribbean in this way; it makes it more personal for each person, to engage in this element of the pirate experience. A personalized Disneyland experience makes for an even more memorable trip there.
Reservations on Mickey’s Halloween Party nights will fill quickly, if this activity is as popular as I think it’ll be. Call 714-781-STYLE to make your reservation. And while you’re at it, make a reservation for the Pirates League! It will be a terrific addition to your family festivities at Disneyland for the Halloween season.
Thank you to Disneyland for providing me with four passes to Mickey’s Halloween Party and the Pirates League experience.