Mickey's Halloween Treat - Disney's California Adventure - October 5 and October 31, 2007

October 5, 2007

The husband and I were going to Mickey's Halloween Treat at DCA. This would be our third year attending the event, but this year, I was going to the event directly from work, so I had a very different experience. Normally, I would be at the resort earlier in the day, but this year, for the event that started at 7:30pm, I got off the 5 freeway offramp at about 7pm - and came to a dead stop. Apparently, lots of other people were also coming to the event after work, and many of us were getting there at the same time. From the time I got off the offramp to the time I managed to cross Harbor Blvd. was about 15 minutes. For anyone else who's coming to a Halloween Treat on a weeknight, keep in mind that you'll encounter a lot of traffic the closer it gets to event start time.

The husband had been saving a place in line in front of the DCA gates, and I had planned to join him, but when it was clear how late I'd be, I told him we'd just go in late, so he met up with a friend of ours and waited for me in Downtown Disney. He had bought me a chili dog from Coke Corner (so we wouldn't waste time at Halloween Treat with having to find dinner - he'd already finished his), so I ate that as they chatted. We met up with other friends for a while before the husband and I bid farewell to them and headed off to Halloween Treat. By this time, it was probably close to 8pm, and the lines to get in had cleared so we just went straight to the turnstiles and picked up a map and got scanned in. Right after you go into the park, there are tables where you pick up your treat bags. The treat bags this year were about half as big as the ones from previous years, but it made a lot of sense. With the bigger bags, the candy has farther to fall, so more chance of breaking the bag. The smaller bags were easier to carry around. One side of the bag has a DVD ad for POTC3, and the other side has a DVD ad for "Ratatouille". We perused the map for a while just to get an idea of what might be different from previous years and noticed that a new treat trail had been added inside the Animation Building. I had also brought a different container with which to trick-or-treat, and I had also brought bigger bags into which we could empty out our containers as they got full.

We headed off for our trick or treating by heading in the direction of Soarin first and then basically making our way around the park. Most of the CMs seemed much more generous with the candy this year, except for the CM who gave me one single piece of candy. In previous years, you usually got two or three pieces at once, but this time, they were giving out almost a handful at once. One of the things I like about Halloween Treat is that they generally give out the name-brand candy. This year's official sponsor was Hershey's Kissables, so there were many stations that only had that. My assortment of candy received for the evening included fun-size M&Ms, giant lemonheads, different flavors of Wonka Laffy Taffy, different flavors of giant Now and Laters, different sizes of Tootsie Rolls, Baby Ruth miniatures, fun-size Snickers, different flavors of Toosie Fruit Rolls, Smarties, different flavors of Tootsie Roll Pops, Butterfinger miniatures, fun-size Twix, Crunch miniatures, different flavors of Starburst, different flavors of Jaw Busters, Sixlets, Nerds and Dots. There were other candy that I saw in various bins (like Clark bars) that I didn't end up getting any of. Most of the stations also had healthy alternatives, including little bags of carrots or apples or little boxes of raisins with "Cars" characters on them or Smooshed Strawberry Organic Fruit Flat ("Flat. Fruit. I like Flat Fruit." Oh, sorry.)

We went through the treat trail that goes behind Grizzly River Run as well as the one in Redwood Creek. When we got to Golden Screams, there were a number of characters out at that time, including Bowler Hat Guy from "Meet the Robinsons". He was great. We then made our way to the Paradise Pier area. There is some Halloween Treat merchandise at Sideshow T-Shirts. The t-shirts are basically the same as last year except they have an additional "2007" screen printed on the front. I didn't see sweatshirts this year. They also had the same photo frame as last year. There are also a couple of pins (including one with ghost Mickey). They have a new light-up baseball cap with the Halloween Treat logo with various bits/outlines that blink on and off. The midway games were again free this year, but it was a little crowded when we were there, so we decided to skip them.

The princesses photo op is again at the top of Paradise Pier, right outside the Cove Bar. The Mickey and Minnie photo op has been moved off the Grizzly trail and is being held in the ampitheatre by Golden Screams. The villains photo op is in under the Palace of Fine Arts dome right outside Golden Screams, and characters from Playhouse Disney as well as Pooh characters have a photo op in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot right in front of the backdrop next to the Hyperion.

The Pacific Wharf area has been turned into Pirates Wharf, with many pirate-related personnel there, including Captain Hook. There are also crafts and other things for kids and adults to partake in. There are also pirate photo ops there too.

We stopped in front of A Bug's Land to watch and talk to the talking scarecrow hanging around at the entrance. There's one treat station right outside the entrance and another one inside the land itself, but the one in the land had a really long line, so we skipped it.

We then headed into the Hollywood Backlot and first headed into the Animation Building. The first treat station is at the entrance to the Beast's Library section, with more treat stations along the way. I thought it was a good idea to have the treat trail there because it takes you through a section that many people might not have seen before, including the library itself (I haven't seen the transformation of the Prince's picture/falling petals on the rose in a long time, so I have to go back and see that again soon.) and the stations where you can sing popular Disney songs and hear them played back. The only problem I saw is that while all of the other treat stations each had two CMs working them, the stations inside the Animation Building each only had one, which made for longer lines. It also didn't help that just a bit ahead of us throughout the trail were a group of about 8 tweens who would each recite a litany of 3 or 4 exact candy pieces they wanted at each station which the CMs felt compelled to follow.

After exiting, we headed to the Batlot Bash since the dancing/music that they play in the little theatre there (right outside the Monsters, Inc. ride) is my favorite every year. Mr. and Mrs. Incredible and Frozone were there, and they were a lot of fun to watch. We sat and watched everything for a while before heading over to Tower of Terror. After visiting the nearby treat station, we sat to watch the sound and light show from the hotel. Over the course of maybe 20 minutes, you hear bats and see them climb the tower, you hear a phone ringing, you hear guests laughing and enjoying a party, and on two occasions, one shorter and one longer, you hear thunder and see as lightning hits the tower. It's really cool. This year, there's also a luggage rack in front of the tower that's spotlighted so makes for a good photo op. It has the Halloween Treat logo and one particular hat box for a very familiar mouse. After sitting for a while, we decided to go on Tower since the sign said it was only a 13 minute wait, which is what it usually says when the wait time is negligible. It turned out to be a much longer wait, probably more than half an hour, because the line moved very slowly. They were only running the library on the right, and they were only loading the bottom section of the shafts in the middle and the right. But it was still a lot of fun. One thing to note is that if you have an open container to hold your candy, be sure to close it or put your hand over it on the ride. I had my hand over the opening of my container, and as we'd drop, I could feel the candy rising to touch my hand. If my hand hadn't been there, there would have been candy all over the place.

In previous years, there's been a small show with the characters in the Sun Plaza at the very end of the night. This year, for the first time, there's a cavalcade, so at about 10:15, we found an empty table with seats in front of the Burbank ice cream store and waited. The cavalcade consists of one lead sign that announces the title as the "Mickey's Trick or Treat on the Street", and there's one float on which sit Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto, all dressed for Halloween. There are two individual huge Mickey pumpkin trick or treat containers that are being pushed along and then a closing title sign. There are also a lot of witch dancers accompanying the group. They all stop and sing a couple of different songs, and on some of the songs, kids are invited onto the street to participate. The signs and floats are all decked out with candy corn, and even Pluto sports a collar that's studded with candy corn. The showstop lasts maybe 10 minutes and is pretty cute. There's also a song written specifically for the cavalcade, but the song really didn't do anything for me

The event officially ended at 11:30, but after the cavalcade ended at about 11pm, we decided we were done and headed over to Disneyland for a little bit. Remember that if you're an adult who wore a costume to Halloween Treat, you won't be permitted into Disneyland while still wearing that costume.


October 31, 2007

My second trip to Halloween Treat this year was with a friend, partly to celebrate her birthday. After a lovely dinner at the resort, we headed over to DCA and got to the gates at about 7pm, half an hour after the event started. We knew that we'd be arriving a bit late but had decided it was worth it to properly enjoy our meal. By that time, there were really no lines at the entrance gates, so we breezed right in.

There was a DJ at Candy Corn Acres, and there were characters there, so we stopped to watch and ended up staying there for a while, party because the characters (including Pluto and Emile) were fun to watch and partly because I loved the music they were playing - lots of 80s stuff. At one point, the DJ announced that Pluto would shortly be putting on a show, and I wish I'd followed my instinct to pull the camera out and put it on video. After a bit, Pluto was poised for his show - and the DJ put on the song "I Will Survive". Pluto proceeded to act it out, as if he was singing the lyrics, and he was dancing to it as well. It was absolutely hysterical, and the crowd loved it. He was *so* good. And yes, I still know every single word of the song. Did I mention I'm a child of the 80s?

After watching the characters and their interactions with guests for a while longer, we headed down the main road towards the wharf. We looked at some of the pirate stuff going on there, but there wasn't that much going on (though I was surprised to see Jack and Sally walkarounds there for photo ops), so after having a good look at Donald in his pirate costume, we headed to Golden Screams. I had mentioned to my friend that Bowler Hat Guy had been making appearances, so we went to see if he was there. We never did end up seeing him that night. The first time we went by, the Evil Queen and Jafar were under the dome, with Cruella and the Queen of Hearts (who I told my friend I refer to as Fred Flintstone in drag because that's what I think she looks like - she just stared at me) on the grounds nearby. We then headed for the treat stations and then stopped and watched Mickey and Minnie, who were doing their photo op in the amphitheatre. For some reason, a renegade scarecrow was hanging out there, talking to the guests who were either waiting in the picture line or just watching Mickey and Minnie.

We then proceeded to Paradise Pier and hit the treat stations there, stopping to play some of the midway games. Neither one of us made a basket, and I managed to actually knock down two things with the ball toss, while she knocked down one. Going further up, we saw Snow White and another princess (I forget which one) at the princess photo op outside the Cove Bar, and then we saw Aladdin and Jasmine at their photo op outside the entrance of Ariel's Grotto. We then headed back over to the Golden Screams theatre, where Lady Tremaine and her equally wicked daughters were there. I can't even begin to deal with them anymore.

After that, we went through the treat trail behind Grizzly River, where, I saw *the* best costume. We were walking along, and then Vader flew by me in a TIE fighter. I had to say to them, "Great costume!". They said thanks. My friend asked if I wanted a picture of them. I'm hesitant to ask strangers for pictures, but then I figured if you're dressed up at an event like this, you pretty much expect it, so I ran after them and asked. They were very obliging. Originally, I was just going to take a picture of Vader, but the Jedi was told to get into the picture by someone in their group. So even though she was from the wrong movie, I asked the girl in the Queen Amidala outfit to be in the picture as well.


The front view of the group.
However, you can't really see what's on either side of Vader.


A side view of what was on either side of Vader.
And with Vader's lit red lightsabre, it looked like the TIE fighter was either shooting or being shot at.


After that, we went back to do the treat trail through the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail - and apparently, half the people at the event that night decided 5 seconds before us to do the exact same thing. It took quite a while to even get through the entrance, and then we were pretty much in stop-and-go traffic for the duration of the trail. We then headed over to the Soarin' area so she could look at/take pictures of Lightning McQueen and Mater.

We headed back through Sun Plaza, where we stopped so she could get a better look at all the candy corn stuff, since it wasn't nearly as crowded now, before continuing to the Hollywood Backlot and the treat trail in the Animation Building. After then hitting the treat station near Tower of Terror, we decided to ride Monsters, Inc. since it was a fairly short wait. We sat in the last row, and she had her camera out during the ride. When we got to the end, Roz made a comment about, oh, another camera, I love having my picture taken, and then saying "cheese", extending out the syllable. My friend was paying attention to something else, so Roz said, "You in the back row, I said, 'cheese'", so my friend dutifully pointed the camera at Roz, who then said thank you. That was pretty funny.

By now, it was about 9pm and time to head for Sun Plaza again to stake out seats for the cavalcade. I knew she'd want to get a better view than I'd had on a previous visit, so I tried to remember whereabouts the float stopped. We ended up sitting on the ground behind some people just about directly facing the entrance to Candy Corn Acres. We chatted, enjoyed the music (more 80s, including "You're the One That I Want"!) and also enjoyed watching the little kids dancing to the music. There was a little Jasmine and a little train engineer who were just too cute. The cavalcade eventually made its way to us, and it was fun watching them. I'm still not terribly fond of the "Treat on the Street" song, but the characters and other performers had a lot of energy so it was great to watch. By the time they were done, it was about 10:10.

Here's a video of the entire cavalcade show (16.5 mb).

With only 20 minutes left, we decided to head for Bug's Land, which we had previously skipped. The treat station near the entrance and inside were both still open, so we got more candy. We also noticed that they had started their Christmas decorations as a silver ornament by Flik's Flyers and a trio of ornaments closer to the entrance had already been placed. She hadn't seen them last year so enjoyed their addition to the landscape. By this time, it was very close to closing time, so we headed out and as we were walking through Sun Plaza, "God" spoke and thanked us for coming as I kept saying "now get out".

I don't know if we just encountered more gatherings of people, but it seemed more crowded this night than when I'd been there on the 5th. I think I had expected it to be not that crowded since it was actually Halloween night, and I figured people would be trick-or-treating elsewhere, but it seemed like a lot of families/parents have decided that it's too risky to trick or treat in neighborhoods anymore and were taking advantage of the fun and safe trick or treating that the event offers.

The candy selections were of course the same as on the 5th, but the CMs were much more generous with the candy, since it was the last night of the event. Whereas they might have normally given 2 or 3 pieces of candy to each person, they were giving out handfuls (probably 5 or 6) even from the beginning. I liked the smaller bag that was provided, but it did start to fill up quickly. And I couldn't believe that I had forgotten to bring a separate bag, which I normally do, precisely for the reason of having somewhere to transfer the candy. When our bags eventually got completely filled, we stopped at the store across from Soarin and asked for merchandise bags, which the CM gladly gave us. We dumped our full treat bag into a merchandise bag, and by the time we hit the treat trail at the Animation Building, we each only had a few pieces of candy in the treat bag. At one of the stations, one of the CMs noticed, made a comment about how empty my bag was and proceeded to give me about 3 or 4 handfuls of candy, with us laughing the whole time. There was one other station we were at where I noticed the CM giving candy to the kids in front of me, and he actually took hold of the side of the bag with one hand and used the other hand to scoop about 5 or 6 handfuls into the treat bag. He did the same to me, giving me about 4 handfuls. I saw another kid in an adjacent line who had a bigger treat bag, and the CM was giving double-handfuls of candy to him. When we were leaving at the end of the night, my friend noticed that they had additional carts at the exit, so we decided, what the heck, and went through those too, getting a few more handfuls. By then, our merchandise bags were so full and heavy. When I got home, I actually weighed it - 16 pounds.


My "loot", practically filling a plastic tub.


For comparison's sake,
the tub next to the popcorn buckets that you get at the El Capitan with VIP seats,
for anyone who knows how big those are.


In addition to candy, they also had sliced apples and small boxes of "Cars"-themed raisins and flat fruit, like on the 5th. I was surprised that unlike the 5th, I didn't see any carrots. We ended up finally finding them - they were at the treat station inside Bug's Land. I'm not sure if anyone else had them because we skipped one or two stations because the lines were too long. They also had an additional item that I hadn't seen on the 5th, and we had hit every station then - Fuji apple crisps. I haven't tried them yet.

It was fun to see the various costumes that people had. There were of course a lot of cute kids - I loved the kid who was dressed as a Rubik's Cube. And there were actually quite a number of "Star Wars" characters, which surprised me a bit. Earlier in the evening, I'd seen a fighter pilot (dressed in the orange jumpsuit) with a pregnant Padme, and my first thought was "You're not from the same films." We happened to be in line somewhat behind them at Monsters, Inc., so I got to think about it some more. And then I realized that I didn't know which fighter pilot it was - I don't think you can tell simply from their individual uniforms, so it was entirely possible that it could have been Luke - in which case, Luke was hanging out with his future mom - who was at that moment, still carrying unborn-Luke and unborn-twin-Leia. My head hurts.

It was also the Halloween Treat where I was stalked by Waldo. Does anyone even know who he is anymore? OK, other than my friend, me, and the two people who decided to dress as him. My first sighting of Waldo came when we were still in Downtown Disney. I saw him again later inside DCA, but my friend noticed it was a different one because one was wearing a white shirt underneath the signature striped shirt and one wasn't. And all through the night, we were often in the same vicinity as one or the other of them. My friend commented later that we didn't see them at the cavalcade. I had to tell her that I did see one just after the float had pulled away, but I just hadn't pointed it out.

We definitely had a great time, the plethoras of Waldos notwithstanding.



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