A couple of weeks ago, I focused on Hong Kong Disneyland’s temporary attraction Journey to Halloweentown where I went into detail about the spooky trip to see Jack Skellington and the gang. In this article, I would like to go into more detail about all of the offerings at Hong Kong Disneyland and whether I think it’s worth it to come to HKDL during the Halloween season.
Each year, Honk Kong Disneyland gets a Halloween make over. For the past few years, it has been your standard Halloween fair: pumpkins, scarecrows, Mickey and Friends in different costumes, and a larger emphasis on Disney Villains. All these things are still in place, but wait … there’s more.
To celebrate 25 years of The Nightmare Before Christmas, the whole park is Nightmare-afied this Halloween with Jack and friends scattered throughout the park. It only takes one look at the front gate to see that The Nightmare Before Christmas is ever-present this year. Giant statues of Jack and Oogie Boogie sit on the roof of the turnstiles welcoming Guests. Not only are these impressively big, the detail on the figures are excitement-inducing for Nightmare and non-Nightmare fans alike.
Once through the ticket gates, the flower Mickey has been switched to autumn columns for the season adding another layer to the fall atmosphere. Halloween music emanates throughout the entrance to the park and leads Guests under the tunnel and into Main Street, U.S.A.
Like most of the Disney Parks across the globe, HKDL’s Main Street, U.S.A. is decked head to toe in Halloween decorations. Each side of Main Street, U.S.A. is covered in Halloween colors and the classic giant Pumpkin Mickey sits at the train station end of Main Street, U.S.A. I love walking into Main Street at the best of times, but walking into Main Street when there is a cornucopia of Halloween decor makes Main Street, U.S.A. even more impressive.
Mickey and Friends are usually out in Meet and Greet locations throughout Main Street, U.S.A., and this is no different during Halloween. However, instead of their usual costumes, this year Mickey and Friends are dressed in a Halloween/Steam Punk hybrid that I think is really cool. As well as Meet and Greets with Mickey and Friends, Jack and Company have taken up temporary residency in the Annex, a small building next to Town Hall.
At the castle (currently a construction site) end of Main Street, U.S.A, there are more pumpkins and scarecrows. There is also a creepy display representing some of Disney’s most famous villains as you have a snake, cauldron and magical mirror ominously looming atop a stage that is utilized for the Halloween parade offerings.
This is where HKDL starts to come into its own for the Halloween celebrations as they stretch into other areas of the park. Fantasyland Gardens in Fantasyland is chocked full of Halloween goodies. Throughout the gardens there are several Trick or Treat stations where Guests receive Disney themed candy throughout.
Guests can also make and decorate their own candy bags. If this wasn’t cool enough, there are several Meet and Greet stations throughout the Fantasyland Gardens. In the daytime, it is Pooh and friends in adorable Halloween costumes, and in the evening it is a litany of Disney Villains. From The Red Queen, to Cruella, to Hades. This year, Fantasy Gardens is the perfect place to visit your favorite “bad guy.”
As you can tell, this is very popular and the queues for these characters can get quite lengthy. However, it is a great unique experience, and I was beyond excited to meet Hades, a character I had never met before.
Some of the criticism given to other Disney Parks during Halloween is the fact that Halloween seems to affect just Main Street, U.S.A. This isn’t the case at HKDL as there are several themed areas throughout the park. My favorite decorations in the park have to be just outside of Toy Story Land. At the entrance of Toy Story Land sit some of the mutant toys from Toy Story and Halloween themed toy decorations. Granted, these decorations have been present for the last couple of years. Yet, they’re still pretty cool to look at each year.
As well as these extra decorations and Meet and Greets, HKDL gets a Halloween themed pop up attraction each year. These attractions are normally walk-through “scare based” attractions. The last few years they’ve centered around the concept of The Nightmare Experiment where some of the scariest Disney movies come to life. This attraction received criticism for being a little too scary and not “Disney” enough.
This year the walkthrough attraction is titled: Journey to Halloween Town and is a trip to Halloween Town, the home of Jack Skellington. I went in-depth on this attraction in another article a couple of weeks ago, so if you want to read more about the attraction please check that out. I will say that this is my favorite of the pop-up attractions I have experienced and is certainly something I would like to see stay in this location for the foreseeable future. At least until Christmas.
On top of all of this, there are two Halloween parades that occur throughout the day during the Halloween season. Mickey’s Halloween Time Street Party happens in the late afternoon and is a short parade involving Mickey and Friends wanting to celebrate Halloween. This parade is cute, but a little short. It is also worth noting that the parade stops in front of the stage for a brief period of time. Thus, if you are watching the parade at any spot after the stage, you may miss an important part of the parade.
The highlight for many people this year has to be the evening parade: Villains Night out: Chapter 3. As the title eludes, this is the third installment of the Disney Villains Halloween parade. Some of your favorite villains make their way down Main Street, U.S.A with their minions in tow. This parade is similar to previous years, but now features Maleficent. Although not the most lavish in terms of parade floats, this parade offers an eerie and enjoyable experience, equipped with great details and cool projections. This parade is a treat to see and something very impressive to watch.
Along with all of these extras there is the usual plethora of exclusive merchandise and Halloween themed snacks.
As you can see, HKDL has a lot to offer this year. Moreover, unlike the American Disney Parks, all of the Halloween fun at HKDL is included in the price of admission. I’ll repeat that… all the extras are already included in the price of admission!!!
When people ask me what the best time to come to HKDL is? I immediately say during the Halloween season. Part of that is due to the fact that it is a little cooler now in Hong Kong, so the park is a little more bearable. The other factor in this is obviously Halloween itself. I think HKDL really pulls it out all of the stops when it comes to Halloween and is an event that should not be missed.
What do you think? Have you experienced Halloween in the Disney Parks before? What park celebrates the spooky season the best? Feel free to continue the discussion in the WDW BOX People Facebook group.
(All photos are from the personal library of Daniel Morris.)
To learn more about Daniel and read his recent posts for the WDW Radio Blog, visit his author page by clicking the link on his name at the top of this post.