I’m not a scream queen, I don’t like scary. At all. But Halloween can be fun and Disney does it without freaking anyone out. This is great for our sensory avoiders, who like to control their sensory input as much as possible. The seekers get thrills too here, so there’s Disneyland Halloween Sensory Fun for everyone, no matter your sensory preference.
Sensory Experiences at Disneyland Halloween:
Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy
It’s already dark in there so it’s a visual perception experience, but now there are a few lighted images of ghosts planted at just the right times. The music is an auditory experience sure to flash you back to the 80’s if you’re old enough, but get your heart rate up anyways if you’re not.
Haunted Mansion Holiday
Jack’s back and he’s taken over the mansion, splattering Christmas throughout. Sally and friends are sure to delight in this spectacular hostage situation, “This is Halloween” plays and gingerbread scent is pumped into your nostrils, so don’t be surprised if you’re suddenly hungry. We hope Jack stays all year!
Paint the Night Parade
If you haven’t seen this yet, it’s pretty impressive. Basically this extravaganza is a modernized, digital light parade on steroids. A mind blowing sensory experience for all. I grew up on the original Disneyland Light Parade, but this is way different with a million flashing LED lights in every color. Since I get sensory overload fairly easy, I had to look away a few times as it’s an incredible amount of sensory input. If your kiddo loves flashing lights or spinning objects, this will be a visual treat. Other’s may prefer to watch behind the safety of sunglasses (it’s that bright!).
The villains are out in full force. Jafar, Cruella, Captain Hook, Maleficent, and of course Jack and Sally are all camera ready for your Halloween villain photo op. Between The Haunted Mansion and Splash Mountain, there is a photo booth where you and your crew can pose as the ghosts from Haunted Mansion. Get a photo pass, but remember that the cast member will take a pic on your phone or camera too.
Disneyland is known for their amazing treats, and they’re consistently awesome during Halloween. Bat cookies, ghost rice crispy treats, and so much more full of orange and black food coloring. Oh my! While these delicious concoctions are sure to make your kids salivate, remember that too much sugar can cause blood sugar to go out of wack, which is terribly hard on our SPD kiddos. Feed them some protein to try to bring them back from a sugar coma.
***Don’t forget Disneyland offers gluten free options, as well as sugar free. They cater to most specific dietary needs. Thank you Disney.***
Mickey’s Halloween Party
For an extra fee (Purchase your tickets in advanced) your family can Trick-or-Treat at Disneyland. It’s a convenient way to enjoy the experience Halloween traditions in a contained and secure environment, which our SPD kiddos thrive in. You can expect little spooks, but not pee your pants and have nightmares for months. The kids will get candy, can dress as their favorite characters, and then enjoy a special fireworks exclusively for Mickey’s Halloween Party guests.
Another benefit is it’s less crowded, so your sensory kiddo may be motivated to tolerate some things they might not otherwise enjoy such as loud fireworks. Bring your noise-reduction headphones!
It’s HOT in Southern California (80s and 90s out folks)
Since I wanted to do my diligent research, I visited the park yesterday to examine the Disneyland Halloween adventures up close and personal, with my kids as my assistant researchers. While we had an amazing time, it was HOT! Please note that the weather in Southern California is still scorching. Please visit my post on the 8 Best Places To Beat the Heat at Disneyland.
Grab a refreshing Dole Whip over by the Tiki Room and re-apply sunscreen often. I saw people with fans that spray water on them to keep them cool – do whatever works to keep your SPD kiddos from overheating.
Teenagers with SPD can have a blast at Disneyland Halloween too. Even if they think they’re too cool to go, I’ve found that once inside the joyful escape that the park provides, they warm to the Mickey and Minnie good time.
We all know that many people love Disneyland and it can get crowded. For a kiddo with SPD this sardined feeling can be especially overwhelming. When kiddos (or teens and adults) get sensory overload, make sure to find a place for a sensory break to give them some downtime (perhaps under Grizzly Bear Cafe). If trying to escape the crowd on the way out from Fireworks, take the passageway over behind Jolly Holiday and it will give you a direct route out of the park (without being in the bullrun).
What are your favorite Disneyland Halloween treats? Has your sensory sensitive kiddo tried something new during this intrinsically motivating season? Do your kids need to recover the next day after a day at Disneyland? I know I do and my kiddos sleep from all the sensory input and walking. Maybe they should change the saying from “Sleeping like a baby” to “Sleeping like they went to Disneyland all day!”
More Disneyland Sensory Tips coming soon! Until then, have a magical day, Jackie Linder Olson