Halloween News From Disney Parks, Universal Studios, and More Fan-tastical Destinations

Halloween News From Disney Parks, Universal Studios, and More Fan-tastical Destinations

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is on, Stranger Things are afoot at Horror Nights and Six Flags gets Saw games.

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Constance Hatchaway Haunted Mansion Bride Walt Disney World
Image: Disney Parks

It’s time to start planning those Halloween haunt and theme park event trips before they sell out. Seriously, if you think it’s early talk to anyone who was unable to secure tickets to Disneyland’s Oogie Boogie Bash, all the dates of which are no longer available—unless you score tickets from folks who can’t make it. Take some solace that in the Star Wars universe, Ahsoka will be appearing soon at Galaxy’s Edge, at least!

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Thankfully, if you’re vacationing in Orlando you’re still able to book tickets for Disney Parks’ annual Halloween event Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. This year’s event will feature the return of Jack Skellington as the master of scaremonies along with an onslaught of treats, and character meet and greets. Over at Universal Studios Orlando Stranger Things Vecna merch has made it’s way into the parks for this year’s Halloween Horror Nights. The Netflix series will have a presence on both coasts, with annual pass members at Universal Studios Hollywood getting a special opportunity to do a special tour of the epic season 4 haunted house. Additionally, the Southern California haunt scene ramps up with Knotts Scary Farm’s 50th year looking back on pop culture icons like Elvira and Weird Al, who both got their start at the mother of west coast haunts. Warner Bros. is finally getting back in the game as their Conjuring and Saw universes are popping up at select Six Flags Fright Fests, while over in Las Vegas Escape It opens Chapter 2 of the escape rooms inspired by WB’s recent horror franchise adaptation of Stephen King’s It.

Here’s the spooky latest on cinematic experiences, Disney Parks, Universal Studios, and other fan-tastical destinations!


This event roundup, which includes activations for major studio projects, was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of writers and actors currently on strike, the films and TV covered here wouldn’t exist.

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Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World

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Joining the Boo to You character parade and the Sanderson Sisters Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular is the Jack Skellington-hosted macabre projection and fireworks show on Cinderella’s castle, exclusively at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Oh—and there’s a ton of spooky themed treats on the menu’s across the park, too. The event runs from August 11 to November 1, 2023. For more info visit here.

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Nightmare Before Christmas Popcorn Bucket Exclusive

Nightmare Before Christmas Popcorn Bucket Exclusive

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This Mayor vehicle popcorn bucket inspired by the one in the film features Shock, Lock and Barrel. Available at Disney Parks for a limited time.

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More treats

More treats

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Pro-tip: eating all that black dye has some consequences on the way out.

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Disney Parks Halloween merch

Disney Parks Halloween merch

Image for article titled Halloween News From Disney Parks, Universal Studios, and More Fan-tastical Destinations
Image: Disney Parks

It’s now available in park stores at the parks and online for those upcoming trips—though does anyone else prefer to buy at the parks to commemorate whatever occasion you’re there for?

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Meet Encanto characters Bruno and Mirabel

Meet Encanto characters Bruno and Mirabel

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Starting September 15, Bruno from Encanto will debut on the Magic Kingdom’s Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade at Walt Disney World Resort which also features Mirabel, Miguel from Coco, and Elena of Avalor. His debut ties into the start of the resort’s Hispanic and Latin American Heritage Month celebration, which runs September 15 through October 15 for a month of festivities called “Together We Are Magia.”

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Tiana’s Palace at Disneyland Opening Date Revealed!

Tiana’s Palace at Disneyland Opening Date Revealed!

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It’s almost here and look at the facade like it’s straight out of The Princess and the Frog! Disney Parks announced that Tiana’s Palace is going to open on September 7th offering New Orleans inspired cuisine that homages Tiana and the film.

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Minnie as Winnie Sanderson Popcorn Bucket Exclusive

Minnie as Winnie Sanderson Popcorn Bucket Exclusive

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Find her at Disneyland.

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Meet Ahsoka in Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland

Meet Ahsoka in Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland

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To tie into the debut of Ahsoka on Disney+, you can meet Ahsoka herself at Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland starting August 23. That post Star Wars: The Last Jedi timeline in the land of Batuu is gone, gone.

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Spooky treats to eat your feelings over Oogie Boogie tix

Spooky treats to eat your feelings over Oogie Boogie tix

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Fear not, lots of Halloween goodies will be available at the Disneyland resort even if you’re not going to Oogie Boogie Bash this year.

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Pixar Place Hotel progress

Pixar Place Hotel progress

Image for article titled Halloween News From Disney Parks, Universal Studios, and More Fan-tastical Destinations
Image: Disney Parks

We have visitors from the EAC! Starting August, guests staying at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel can keep cool at the hotel’s Finding Nemo themed water play area compltele with Crush’s Surfin’ Slide. The Pixar Place transformation is due to be complete by Winter 2023.

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Avengers Vault coming to Avengers Campus

Avengers Vault coming to Avengers Campus

Image for article titled Halloween News From Disney Parks, Universal Studios, and More Fan-tastical Destinations
Image: Disney Parks

There’s going to be a new MCU collectibles station for all your mighty hero needs. The Avengers Vault is set to open in mid-September at Disney California Adventure.

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Halloween on the High Seas

Halloween on the High Seas

Image for article titled Halloween News From Disney Parks, Universal Studios, and More Fan-tastical Destinations
Image: Disney Parks

Through October 2024 the Disney Cruise line will offer a season of spooky fun sailings to bring Halloween to guests on select cruises across the fleet. There’s added entertainment, costume fun, celebrations and themed food and drink. For more info check out Disney Cruises online.

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Disney Cruise: Disney Treasure Reveal

Disney Cruise: Disney Treasure Reveal

Image for article titled Halloween News From Disney Parks, Universal Studios, and More Fan-tastical Destinations
Image: Disney Parks

The Disney Treasure, Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship will be unveiling more about the new liner on Wednesday, August 30 at 11 a.m. ET during a grand virtual reveal on the Disney Parks Blog!

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Netflix’s One Piece Seaside Fan Celebration

Netflix’s One Piece Seaside Fan Celebration

ONE PIECE | Official Trailer | Netflix

L.A. outdoor theater company Street Food Cinema and Netflix team up for a special screening of One Piece, the new live-action adaptation of the popular anime. Register here for tickets to go on Thursday, August 24th at the Santa Monica Pier. The event will feature private access to rides and games at Pacific Park starting at 6 pm with a special screening of the show’s first episode at 8 pm. They encourage fans to dress up! RSVP required.

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Jigsaw brings more Saw to Six Flags

Jigsaw brings more Saw to Six Flags

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Warner Bros. is finally featuring more horror IP at Six Flags Fright Fest. Previously Saw will be leading mazes at a number of Six Flags locations including:

Six Flags Magic Mountain in Ventura, CA

Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, NJ

Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, IL

Six Flags Over Georgia in Cobb County, GA

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Alamo Drafthouse Presents Fantastic Fest

Alamo Drafthouse Presents Fantastic Fest

Fantastic Fest 2023

The annual genre film fest just announced their 2023 lineup which will open with Legendary’s The Toxic Avenger starring Peter Dinkladge. Other major titles include Paramount+’s Pet Sematary: Bloodlines, 20th Century Studios’ The Creator, NEON’s Eileen, Netflix’s The Fall of the House of Usher, HBO’s 30 Coins, Bleecker Street’s The Origin, and Shudder’s V/H/S/85! The festival will take place at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar in Austin, TX from September 21st - 28th. Badges are available now at FantasticFest.com.

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Escape It in Las Vegas

Escape It in Las Vegas

Escape It logo Las Vegas, Nv
Image: Egan Escape Productions

Visit Derry in Las Vegas, Nevada at Escape It, 2 escape room experiences with over 30 rooms inspired by WB’s most recent franchise adaptation of Stephen King’s It. It’s open year round and you can actually visit it now for early Halloween fun in the summer if you’re looking to for more to do on the strip like on getting the shit scared out of you by Pennywise. Escape It Chapter 1 and 2 lures you into the world and horrors of Derry as experienced by the Losers Club. There’s also props on display, merch and midway games to enjoy. The experience is open Wednesday to Sunday with reservations required For more into check out the official site.

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Knotts Scary Farm 50: Weird Al Origins

Knotts Scary Farm 50: Weird Al Origins

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No, no it’s not a maze but we wouldn’t be opposed. Knotts Scary Farm recently shared images of Weird Al performing at the annual haunt event in 1987 and a little bit of lore here, the parody song performer got his start playing shows there! As we draw closer to Scary Farm: Nightmares Revealed the announcement event next week, we can’t help but cross our fingers that Al might make an appearance to celebrate the haunt’s milestone.

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Knotts Scary Farm and Elvira

Knotts Scary Farm and Elvira

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Amazing horror performer and personality Elvira got her big break at Knotts Scary Farm. That’s the Mistress of the Dark had a comedic light boo-rlesque revue show at the event which ran off and on since the 80's. While she retired the show a few years ago, we can’t help to think maybe it will be back for the 50th?

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L.A.’s hottest immersive theater ticket The Willows

L.A.’s hottest immersive theater ticket The Willows

Every fall that JFI Productions puts on The Willows, it sells out quickly. The CreepLA creatives tend to alternate between this and their other Halloween immersive haunt show. I’ve only ever done CreepLA and miss The Willows every time it runs because nabbing tickets is so complex.

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So what is The Willows about? It’s described by JFI as “an interactive psycho-drama” that “casts visitors as dinner guests at a sinister Los Angeles mansion” continuing to set up it’s premise, “Tragedy has struck the Willows family, and guests are invited to their home to celebrate the life of a dearly departed friend. Drinks flow and dinner is served, but the night quickly takes a bizarre turn. It seems as though sinister forces are at work inside the house - and within the family. The maid insists she saw a dark figure stalking the home - was it a prowler? A spirit? A figment of her imagination? The friendly family facade begins to crumble, and, soon, guests are taken on a twisted, fully interactive thrill-ride where they aren’t just witnessing a story unfold: they’re living it.”

This year JFI Productions is extending the run of The Willows from September 15th through November 19th, with added performances scheduled Thursdays through Sundays. Tickets start at $200 and the experience is for the 21+ crowd.

Get tix before it sells out here.

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Stranger Things house lights-on tour opportunity

Stranger Things house lights-on tour opportunity

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Pass members can RSVP for special walkthroughs of the Stranger Things season 4 Horror Nights house if they’re apprehensive about doing the real thing with the monsters.

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Terror Tram is back at Universal Studios Hollywood

Terror Tram is back at Universal Studios Hollywood

Terror Tram...The Exterminatorz | Universal Studios Hollywood

I feel bad if you have a thing about bugs or trypophobia.

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Evil Dead Rise Horror Nights Hollywood

Evil Dead Rise Horror Nights Hollywood

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Based on the latest Evil Dead gorefest, this house will only be featured at Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights.

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Holidays in Hell is back at HHN Hollywood

Holidays in Hell is back at HHN Hollywood

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This house makes the most wonderful times of the year into nightmare fuel. I love it.

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Will HHN Hollywood have a live-show?

Will HHN Hollywood have a live-show?

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Horror Nights creative director John Murdy took to twitter to confirm the news that there will be a live show. Our guess is that it’s likely that the Waterworld stage area will be used—as the Special Effects show theater is now gone and hopefully so are the Jabawockeez dance troupe. We’ve been begging for a spooky themed live-show for years from Horror Nights and hope this will be the year. Will it be hosted by Beetlejuice and a throwback to his Graveyard Revue? Or maybe a waterside Creature from the Black Lagoon show? Let’s light a circle to manifest monster goodness.

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Will the real Chucky please stand up?

Will the real Chucky please stand up?

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Also on Twitter X Murdy confirmed that Chucky actor Brad Dourif will be reprising his role for the haunted houses at HHN.

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Stranger Things Vecna Merch

Stranger Things Vecna Merch

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The thirst for Vecna is going to come back isn’t it? Keep the scareactors playing him and Eddie in your thoughts and not your grasp! No touchie!

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HHN Orlando Terror Treats

HHN Orlando Terror Treats

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And there’s more deadly desserts revealed for Horror Nights Orlando, which you can try alongside a selection of their savory options by opting to pre-game at their Taste of Terror offering at an additional charge.

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HHN Orlando Vamp ‘69: Summer of Blood

HHN Orlando Vamp ‘69: Summer of Blood

Haunted Tales: Vamp ‘69: Summer of Blood

The retro era inspired vampire scare zones are some of the best, to follow up Vamp ‘85 from HHN 28, we’re getting a 60's inspired tale of a psychedelic psycho killer on the loose at a music festival. Can’t wait to see this story in action on the streets on HHN and how it ties into Mr. Oddfellow, this year’s mysterious icon.

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HHN Orlando Bloodmoon: Dark Offerings

HHN Orlando Bloodmoon: Dark Offerings

Haunted Tales: Bloodmoon: Dark Offerings

I love listening to these companion podcasts to learn the rich backstories of the original house IPs on my flight to Orlando or even in the queue of the house.

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Haunted Tales: The Darkest Deal

Haunted Tales: The Darkest Deal

Haunted Tales: The Darkest Deal

And another one!

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Listen to the official Islands of Adventure scores

Listen to the official Islands of Adventure scores

The Call to Adventure / Main Theme | Universal Islands of Adventure Official Soundtrack

The whole throwback playlist is available on YouTube.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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