I arrived at Disneyland in not the best “happiest place on earth” mood. Getting there had been a pain, mostly because I hadn’t fully understood the Shinkasen/how transfers would work out. This meant I didn’t get there until the afternoon which wasn’t what I had planned. Plus I was lugging my suitcase with me. So my first stop at Maihama station was to find the storage lockers and stow my suitcase and backpack. There are also lockers at the edge of the park but I figured since I was leaving via the subway this was probably the best.
Because I was later than planned I lowered my expectations by a lot. I only had two goals for the day to write it off as a success; lunch at the Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall and to ride The Nightmare Before Christmas version of the Haunted Mansion. I had purchased my ticket ahead of time via Voyagin. All I had to do was print out my ticket and go straight to the gate to scan the bar code. This meant I got to skip the line to purchase tickets but also meant I didn’t have a cute ticket to keep.
My first stop was The Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall which was on the other end of the park in Fantasyland.
There was a rather long line when I arrived but it ended up going pretty quickly. Not because it moved fast but because my mood vastly improved by being in line with a small mermaid who, with her parents support, was practicing her English with me. It was precious. Especially when she tried to swipe all the cakes from the display.
The Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall is set up as a cafeteria style buffet. You get a tray and then tell the staff what you want to eat or grab it from what has been set out and then pay before heading off to your seat. This makes it easy for everyone to find something they want to eat. They start with salads, then move onto desserts followed by main courses and ending with starches (white rice/bread) and drinks. I got a yogurt desserts and the meat patty with tomato brown sauce.
The dessert came with a souvenir cup. I didn’t have to worry about washing it out since the actual dessert is in a tiny plastic cup inside the souvenir cup. It was decent food, though I hadn’t planned on getting what was like a burger as my meal. There’s English on the menus and replicas of all the food which should make choosing easy. There are also kids sets available. Because I was there during a non-peak busy time (I didn’t know this at the time but there was a parade happening) I was able to pick my own seat, but sometimes during busy times you’ll be lead towards a seat. There also is not a tray return so just leave your stuff at the table when you’re done.
After lunch I went straight for the Haunted Mansion. Because the parade was just ending there wasn’t much of a line so I managed to get through pretty quickly. For the fall and winter they redecorated the Haunted Mansion.
It was a lot of fun, with music from The Nightmare Before Christmas playing and tons of characters added to the ride. This apparently also happens at the Disneyland in California.
It amazed me when I got off the ride how I had managed to knock out both of the things on my to-do list nearly immediately. So I looked at my map again and the event guide. The park is broken up into 7 sections; Fantasyland, Critter Country, Westernland, Adventureland, World Bazaar, Tomorrowland and Toontown. There were two Halloween events: Halloween Pop’n Live and Night High Halloween. Since it was almost time for the show I found the parade route and sat on the ground near the people who’d been sitting around for nearly an hour to get a good spot. (There’s also special designated spots for visitors with wheelchairs)
It was a fun parade to watch, though if you want a good spot I suggest claiming it early and then having something to protect you from the sun while you sit and wait. Maybe also get some popcorn to snack on while you wait for the show. They’ll teach you different moves to interact with the parade, which seemed to be a lot of making ghostly noises, holding out your hands to scare off monsters, and then spinning your towel (if you had one) around in the air.
What I really liked about visiting during the Halloween season was that so many people were dressed up. I couldn’t tell who worked there and who was the character cast while walking around, it was so cool. It was an additional fun thing to check out while walking around trying popcorn and riding way more rides then I had expected. I was pretty surprised at how quick the lines moved for me. I was able to hit up every ride that I had even a mild interest in. There was no wait for the Pirates of the Caribbean which is connected to the Blue Bayou Restaurant which made for an interesting start to my ride watching people sit down to candlelit dinners and I’m sure for an interesting meal hearing cannon’s blast off and pirate shanties. I also visited the Enchanted Tiki Room: Stitch Presents “Aloha E Komo Mai!” which in order to enjoy the show I was given a little device that translated all the Japanese into English for me. The only thing that had a long line for me was Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek! which according to the signs was about a 50 minute wait. I also managed to see part of the “Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade Dreamlights” while eating pizza outside Captain Hook’s galley. What I learned was that during parades or big performances it was the perfect time to get in line for rides.
There were also Halloween specials of food, though a lot of places where I found it were sold out. But I did manage to get two pumpkin snacks. The list of these and where they could be found were in the Japanese Halloween guides but not available for English. I just stumbled upon them.
The other thing I was looking forward to was the Night High Halloween which was suppose to be a fireworks musical performance at the castle. When I arrived it was insanely packed, with all seating on the lawn already full and people crowding around. It was…disappointing.
Up until the show began they played all sorts of “Halloween” music, from Descendants to the “Monster Mash” and then when the show started it was basic Halloween projections (ghosts and skulls) onto the castle with the occasional firework going off towards the left. It was four minutes long. In my event guide that was the last show. So, a bit disapointed, I just wandered about hitting up any last ride I wanted and then towards later in the evening while I was riding the Carousel I heard fireworks go off and what sounded like fire machines and music and realized that my event guide had lied and that the “Once Upon a Time” show happening which I’ve heard is much better and completely missed.
Overall I had a great time. There was less Halloween things then I had expected. I also knew that there was special popcorn flavors but not that there were special churro flavors, so I think next time I’ll make sure I have the Halloween guide even though it’s in Japanese and eat more churros. I think Halloween season at Disney is my favorite.
I ended up staying until the park closed around 10pm and then finding my way back to the train station (I had to ask for directions because it was dark out and following the crowd had sent me in the opposite direction).