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Friday, October 22, 2010

Days In The Park Takes The Happiest Haunts Tour

An Introduction:
For a couple of years here at Days In The Park, we've been dying (pun totally intended) to take Disneyland Resort's Halloween Tour, aptly named the 'Happiest Haunts Tour'.  

We'd been hearing about the various tours that were available at The Park, and we had long since decided we wanted this one to be our first, but due to, ahem, monetary issues we just hadn't gotten around to it.  We spent all of the last year talking about it, and as time came near this year, we just didn't think it was going to happen, again.  However, thanks to some serious persuasion on Chad's part, and a loan given to Mark to ensure it happened, October 14th at 5:05pm rolled around with both of us there and accounted for on the tour.  

So without further ado...

The Tour:
Offered as one of many different tours at the Disneyland Resort, Disneyland's 'Happiest Haunts Tour' is a roughly 3-hour trek across areas of both Parks (Disneyland and California Adventure) intended to give you a behind the scenes sneak-peek at some of the most "haunted" areas around The Resort, as well as giving you some information on the various stories and Halloween lore these areas around The Park represent.

Unlike many of the tours offered, the Happiest Haunts Tour begins cutting its swathe across The Parks in Disney's California Adventure, next to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.  We must say, the tour seemed very well organized. Aside from a few technical issues with some equipment (mostly battery malfunction), the setting up and getting under way was as smooth as silk considering there were two different groups (roughly 20 people each) leaving simultaneously.  




Our tour guide Adolfo made sure we were all set up with our gear:  headphones (the guides use a closed mic so others around in The Park can't really eavesdrop too much) and flashing "rave" necklaces (so they could keep up with us and we could keep up with our groups, and so we could all blind each other on the dark rides).  Once we were all set (feeling like a bunch of pack-mules I'm sure) our wily guide let us know we would be visiting some "club" at the top of the Tower for further instructions on where our evening would be taking us.  Floundering completely in the dark there, and not knowing what on earth the "club" Adolfo was talking about could possibly be, we foolishly followed our host into the Tower of Terror building, where we were hustled into the waiting service elevators (completely against our wills, I might add), and given the ride of our lives.


The poor girl in the back looks terrified!  *snicker*

Of interesting note, once we arrived back at ground level from the "club", some nefarious Halloween Spirit had taken away our guide Adolfo and replaced him with this guy, Master Gracey.



Over the course of the next three hours, Master Gracey led us on a romp all over the Disneyland Resort, hitting the high spots of the Halloween Time celebration.  





In all seriousness, though, Master Gracey (as I'm sure the other guides are taught to do) totally made the tour what it was for us.  He was perfect. Whether he was accusing Mark of hoarding candy corn in his pockets and bringing it into The Parks, or whether he was deadpanning cracks about the children in The Parks "actually being goblins" or "that horrible winter holiday" that "disgusted" him so, the guide really makes the tour on this one, folks.  We couldn't have had a better one.  

Master Gracey led us all over The Park:  
  1. Main Street, USA
  2. the Jack o' Lanterns in Central Plaza
  3. Tomorrowland and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy 
  4. Fantasyland and Snow White's Scary Adventures 
  5. Frontierland along with Big Thunder Ranch & Zocalo Ranch and Big Thunder Mountain
And he did so all the while telling tales around the various parts of The Park. We won't give them all away, but some of our favorites included a tale of lost love with the ghost from Ghost Galaxy, a truly terrifying tale of a yeti and his horrible singing voice, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Ichabod Crane,  and the Tommyknockers who inhabit the mines of Big Thunder Mountain.  We also really enjoyed spending some time in Zocalo Ranch in Frontierland, learning more about Dia de los Muertos and other Mexican celebrations.

The Halloween Tree in Frontierland, which Master Gracey hopes one day replaces the "disgusting winter holiday tree" in each of our homes
After your brisk, and it is fairly brisk, walk around Disneyland Park the tour finally ends up just where it should outside of the spookiest locale of all, The Haunted Mansion.  Amazingly enough, at this point our original guide Adolfo reappeared (Master Gracey disappeared without a word or trace) for our final ride of the evening through Haunted Mansion Holiday.  And that's where our tale of the tour ends, and yours begins, should you wish to participate yourself.

Two of the biggest selling points, at least for us, of the whole tour was the fact that you get to see all of the best that Halloween Time has to offer, as well as riding all of the attractions Disneyland is known for during the holiday, all in one shot.  Seriously, who wouldn't want to see all of these places as well as getting basically a front-row pass to these classic Disney Halloween attractions?  You can't help but feel good when you're ushered straight to the front of the line to ride them.

And lastly, though it might seem a bit greedy, we enjoy free things (who doesn't?).  And like so many of the other special things that Disneyland offers, you don't go home from your tour empty-handed.  The rave necklace?  Yours to keep.  The special Happiest Haunts Tour Key on the end of said necklace (which you can only get on the tour)?  Yours to keep.  And they even do your sweet-tooth a tremendous favor with a yummy rice krispy treat shaped like everyone's favorite mouse.

The boy just couldn't resist showing off his goodies

Do you enjoy Halloween?  Good.  Do you enjoy Disneyland?  Great!  Then you owe it to yourself, if you can, to take this tour.  It really does enable you to gain a different, and really neat, perspective of what goes into making Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort what it is.  It comes highly recommended!

If you'd like more information about this, or any of the other Disneyland tours, you can get more information about their full line of tours at the Disneyland website or contact them directly at (714) 781-4400.



Note:
We'd be completely remiss if we didn't give a special mention to that "strange couple" you see in many of our photos.  

Through blogging, and our love of Hidden Mickeys, we met Rosemary and Neil from FindingMickey.com and have kept pretty steady contact with them ever since.  When we mentioned to Rosemary we were planning on doing the tour, and on a whim invited them to join us on the same evening, imagine our stupification when they accepted.

One of the awesome things about blogging is making new friends, and in particular new Disney friends.  It was great to spend a few hours getting to know and hang out with them, and we all had a great time doing it.  

Be sure to check out their website when you have a minute, and be sure to follow them on Twitter (@findingmickey).

That "strange couple" from FindingMickey.com

Getting ready for Tower of Terror with FindingMickey.com








6 comments:

that disney blog said...

looks like great fun!

Days In The Park said...

We had a blast. If you haven't done a tour before, you should!

I think we're planning on trying the Holiday Tour next. :)

Suz Broughton said...

I wanted to go on this tour this year but just ran out of time. Definetely next year. Thanks for the info.
I love your blog! Very detailed and informative, but lots of fun, too! Hope to see you at the park sometime.
I just started my Disneyland blog over at OC Family. I don't know what took me so long to jump in.

Days In The Park said...

Thanks so much! We're glad you like it.

We'd love to run into you, too. :)

ululani said...

Looks like so much fun. And I totally want one of those "ghost relations" keys! I have yet to go on a tour... it's the one thing at Disneyland I don't think I've done yet! I have a friend that is going through the training right now and I told her I'd go on her first one. So hopefully soon I can check it off my To Do list!

Thanks for sharing the pictures and experience with us. :)

Days In The Park said...

It was a lot of fun! The tours in general we think are a really neat idea. My wife and I are planning on taking the Holiday Tour in December, and next year Mark and I want to Walk in Walt's Steps.

You're certainly welcome. We're glad you enjoyed it. :)