As a huge Disney fanatic, any excuse to make the trip out is a good one but Halloween at Tokyo Disney Resort is especially alluring. While I tend to favor Disney Sea over Disneyland, I will ALWAYS pick the latter when it comes to Halloween theme. It is true that both Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea provide their own unique tricks and treats for the season, but Disneyland is where the cosplayers come out to play and provides the perfect illustration to Walt Disney’s own words, “adults are only kids grown up, anyway.”
On select days in September and October (this year was September 8–14, and October 26–November 1), Tokyo Disneyland opens is gates not just to children to come in costume but adults as well. And these cosplayers go all-out for Halloween. Costumes are elaborate and often times handmade by the park patron themselves. They vary from direct adaptations of Disney princesses, to genderbent, to interpretations of animal characters as humans, to replications of favorite parade costumes. As long as it is Disney and follows park guidelines, everything's a-okay!
Official rules regarding cosplay :
- Guests in costumes other than Disney character costumes will not be admitted.
- Entering the Park in full Disney character costume is allowed only during the 14 days mentioned above (children ages 11 and younger excepted).
- Guests are asked to refrain from wearing costumes that cover their face (including costume make-up, fake scars or injuries and beards), that include sharp, long or dangerous objects or parts, that make it difficult to walk or that are overly revealing.
- Guests may not wear Tokyo Disney Resort Cast Member costumes.
- Guests are asked to refrain from using the restrooms, wheelchair-accessible restrooms, or storage locker areas both inside and outside the Park for changing clothes.
- Guests may be required to take off parts of their costume during shows if they block other people’s view.
- Guests may not be allowed to enter the Park if their costume goes against safety or theme policy.
This year, it came as no surprise that there was a sea of Elsa’s and Anna’s gathering in front of Cinderella’s castle. But the most commonly seen costumes on the day were not just those belonging to the “standard” Disney princess line-up. In fact, there was a surprising amount of Honey Lemon from Big Hero 6, including a group of 10 - yes, 10 - friends who all came together in the same costume. Mary Poppins and Maleficent were also quite popular as were groups celebrating all the characters in Peter Pan.
Families made a day of it as well, the most impressive being a bridal Ariel and Prince Eric with their 8 month old daughter dressed as Melody (from The Little Mermaid and The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea respectively), and it was not just those young in years who were showing off their sewing skills. A charming group of older women, mid 50’s and early 60’s, came together dressed as Princess Aurora, Prince Phillip, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather from Sleeping Beauty, Belle from Beauty and the Beast, and Snow White from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. These women were especially cordial and carried with them little trick-or-treat bags filled with candies they had bought inside the park to hand out to children - and willing adults.
One of my favorite places and MUST DO’s whenever I visit Disneyland is the Disney Drawing Class. These lessons are entirely in Japanese, but even those with zero Japanese language ability will be able to follow along as there are TV monitors showing exactly what the instructor is doing and two assistants who walk around and help guide those who are struggling. Located close to the main entrance in the World Bazaar area on the left hand side, the Disney Gallery is an attraction suitable for all ages. Not only can you browse the museum of original Disney sketches, models, and sculptures, but for a mere 500 yen a pop you can take a standard 30 minute drawing class to learn how to draw Mickey Mouse or another Disney character (advanced classes are an hour and cost more). For Halloween there is even a special class to learn how to draw Maleficent!
In true Disney tradition, there is a parade that goes all the way around the park. True to the decorations, the theme of the parade is a Halloween Fair featuring a variety of pumpkin characters. The costumes are bright and colorful and Mickey Mouse and his friends look very spirited in their attire. Each of the floats is meant to represent a different booth at the fair that comes pairs with its own unique pumpkin character. During the three stops the parade makes, there is special guest interaction with the dancers where everyone performs a special chant and hand dance to make all the Halloween treats tastier and the fair more lively. The fireworks display, Night High Halloween, pits Disney Halloween themed music - including homage to the original Fantasia’s Night On Bald Mountain - against the backdrop of fireworks. The Haunted Mansion ride is also entirely taken over by the characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas and stays that way until the New Year.
Interesting to note is that there was a special emphasis placed on a lesser known Disney character, Danny the Black Sheep. Danny appears in the 1949 film “So Dear to My Heart” and was seen all over the park from decorations to Halloween goods. It is no secret Japan has a thing for cute characters and this little black sheep sure is that!
Any holiday season at the Tokyo Disney Resort is spectacular, but there is nothing quite like experiencing Halloween at Tokyo Disneyland - especially if you choose to become a part of the experience yourself and come dressed as your favorite Disney character! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!