Halloween and Disney may not seem like two things that go together, but Hong Kong Disneyland pulls it off at this year’s Disney Halloween Time.
Given that Disneyland is known as the “happiest place on Earth”, there’s only so much darkness they can bring in.
Instead, Disney Halloween Time is perfect for those who simply enjoy all things autumn: think Mickey-shaped pumpkins, seasonal costumes and a colour scheme of orange and green.
Being a night-time festival, the Halloween attractions don’t start until later in the day, and are kept to three areas of the park: Main Street USA, Adventureland and Fantasyland.
For the biggest thrill, head straight to the first stop on the Halloween trail, Maze of Madness: The Nightmare Experiment Continues on Main Street USA.
Maze of Madness is a creepy tour through a mad scientists’ laboratory, where typical Disney cuteness becomes a lot less cute. This year’s ride follows on from last year’s, but with a fresh update for 2017; be prepared to see well-known settings from Disney films given a dark twist, and even beloved Disney characters taken hostage.
Guests might find themselves part of the show, too, as one or two are led away by characters along the route … we assume (at least, we hope) they made it out safely. The tour does seem to end rather abruptly, though; we were expecting it to finish with a bang and were surprised when we found that we’d already reached the exit.
Maze of Madness isn’t too scary, nor is it trying to be. What you can really enjoy are the clever ideas and impressive designs. You can’t deny that Disney knows how to put on a show.
Once you’ve found your way out of the Maze of Madness, you’ll have to wait until around 4pm for the villains to come out for character meet and greets in the Halloween Time Festival Gardens in Fantasyland.
We weren’t sure if they were worth lining up for, but ended up being pleasantly (or should we say wickedly?) surprised. There’s nothing sweet about Cruella de Vil, the Queen of Hearts, and the other villains you’ll meet there. They are 100 per cent in character and all the more entertaining for it.
Over in Adventureland, the Pirates of the Caribbean Ghost Trail is another chance to meet your favourite characters, but you’ll need to keep a lookout for them. As the paths fill with mist, you might spot a few ghostly pirates wandering around, and even Captain Jack Sparrow himself.
Luckily, we were given a tip-off by a cast member that he’d be turning up around 5.30pm. This encounter is a lot more laid back than the villain character meet and greets: Cap’n Jack was more than happy to hang around and chat with his excited fans.
Disney Halloween Time features two parades: the one in the day time, Mickey’s Halloween Street Time Party, again follows more of an autumn than Halloween theme, with Mickey and co. appearing in festive new costumes.
The villains make their grand entrance later in the evening for the spookier Villains Night Out! Chapter 2 parade. This is more or less the same as the night parade last year, but with the pretty cool addition of The Little Mermaid’s Ursula to the line-up of characters.
The Disney Halloween Time attractions make an exciting addition to the park and are sure to put you in a festive mood. And for those who already know the park inside out, the Halloween season offers a fun change of scenery.
Now to start counting down until Christmas …
Edited by Nicole Moraleda