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October 26, 2016
The Halloween season has returned, bringing with it ghouls, ghosts and zombies. Houses in the neighborhood are decorated, pumpkins are carved and faces are painted. But the holiday is not often considered a chance for travel; kids usually have school activities tied to Halloween and anyone older might not remember the magic of the day fondly enough to set aside time for a road trip.
However, Halloween is one of our favorite holidays at America’s theme parks. With an entire cast of characters in the spirit of the day, and plenty of resources available to transform spaces into truly frightening playpens of the macabre, there may be no better place to take in the atmosphere of the season than one of these amusement parks – each one a part of a fundraising auction travel package available through Mitch-Stuart.
In Southern California, Disneyland is putting costumes on costumes for the month of October, with Mickey and Minnie Mouse, among others, wandering the park in their own Halloween outfits. Pumpkin King Jack Skellington and Sally from “A Nightmare Before Christmas” also wander the premises. But the big attraction of 2016 is actually a closing, rather than an opening: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is on its way out, giving way to a “Guardians of the Galaxy”-themed ride next summer. This is the last year to ride the elevator drop while listening to the spookily-soothing voice of Rod Serling.
On the other side of the country, meanwhile Disney World Orlando has a different take on the holiday, with some of the traditional villains of Halloween recast. Zombies find their voices with the Cadaver Dans, a barbershop quartet of the undead. The Sanderson sisters of Disney’s “Hocus Pocus” mix potions, shadows and some of their evil friends to create the Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular show. And the fireworks show, a traditional favorite of a visit to Disney World, gets a makeover during the season, becoming HalloWishes and incorporating more of Disney’s catalog of antagonists.
But no amusement park may make a bigger commitment to All Hallow’s Eve than Knott’s Berry Farm. The Anaheim-adjacent theme park transforms each year into “Knott’s Scary Farm,” with mazes and monsters at every turn. “Scare zones” act as themed immersive atmospheres; this year’s include “Carnevil” and “The Hollow.” Mazes and rides also take on a creepy feel, and even dining gets a Halloween theme, with a “boo-fet” available each night before Knott’s opens (the scares are the roaming monsters, not any mystery meats). The park has even put together a less-intense experience, Knott’s Spooky Farm, for families with younger kids; it’s open during the daytime on weekends.