By Brady MacDonald
10:45 AM EDT, September 28, 2013
The initial pitch to transform the Haunted Mansion attraction with a Halloween overlay based on "The Nightmare Before Christmas" didn't receive a warm reception from the Disneyland brass.
Tim Burton's quirky stop-motion animated musical fantasy seemed too dark and twisted of a holiday theme for the classic Disneyland dark ride.
Thirteen years later Haunted Mansion Holiday is the cornerstone of Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland, with hour-plus lines throughout the season.
The transformation of the Haunted Mansion takes three weeks every year with crews adding decorations, animations, props and large set pieces inspired by the 1993 movie. Each year a few new elements are added -- from the pumpkin mountain to the ballroom tree to the gingerbread house.
Disneyland takes the same approach with the annual Halloween festivities, incorporating a couple new elements to an event that largely stays the same from year to year. This season the Monsters U dance party at the Tomorrowland Terrace joins the lineup with a "family-friendly frat party" hosted by scare students Mike and Sully.
The up-charge event is the one time of year when visitors can wear costumes while trick or treating at candy stations located throughout the park.
Other attractions returning this year to Mickey's Halloween Party include:
* "Halloween Screams" fireworks spectacular hosted by "master of scare-omonies" Jack Skellington, star of "The Nightmare Before Christmas."
* "Mickey's Costume Party" parade with Disney characters dressed in Halloween costumes.
* Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy, which adds ghostly special effects and a creepy soundtrack to the indoor roller coaster.
* The Cadaver Dans singing quartet performing on a graveyard-themed raft on the Rivers of America.
* A Dia de los Muertos tribute with a traditional skeleton display and brightly colored altars festooned with marigolds and sugar skulls.
* Disney villains posing for photos while strolling along Main Street U.S.A.
* Halloween crafts and pumpkin carving in Big Thunder Ranch.
Tickets for the evening-only event range from $59 to $74. Mickey’s Halloween Party dates include Oct. 1, 4, 8, 11, 15, 18, 21, 23, 25, 28, 30 and 31.
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