As a Disney local with celiac disease, I’m sharing with you my best tips for a carefree and festive gluten-free Disneyland Halloween!
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Important! This information is based on my own experience as of the date of this post. Please consult with a cast member at food carts and a chef or manager at Disney dining establishments for the most up-to-date information. Disney uses the term “Gluten/Wheat Allergy Friendly” not the term “gluten-free” and includes a disclaimer regarding its allergy-friendly offerings. Disneyland does not have dedicated gluten-free kitchens, so there is some degree of risk of gluten exposure, as in any shared kitchen. Disney takes steps to prevent cross-contact, but read the disclaimer for yourself and ask questions of cast members.
1. Avoid (most of) the seasonal food offerings.
Let’s get this part over with. Or go ahead, and skip to the fun part… #2 the Halloween treats you CAN have.
Sadly, most Disneyland seasonal offerings are not gluten-free. This includes fall and Halloween treats and sweets. Don’t be too disappointed. Disney redeems itself with tips #2-10 on our list!
Email responses from Disneyland’s Special Diets (the department in charge of food allergies and dietary restrictions, including the gluten-free diet) will provide general instructions to consult with a chef or manager when you arrive (excellent advice).
Unfortunately, they will not give suggestions on which of the treats might be safe or could be modified to be gluten-free, but will caution that ingredients and suppliers can change at any time.
If you happen to be dining at a particular location with a seasonal offering, it would be worth a conversation with a chef or manager to see if that item might be safe or modified to be safe, such as the Ghost Pepper Nachos at Lamplight Lounge and Pumpkin Ale Hard Float at Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream.
Otherwise, chasing down the list of seasonal treats will be a frustrating waste of your precious park time.
There’s a better way to safely join in on the Halloween & fall fun…
2. Enjoy these seasonal twists on safe, gluten-free treats:
Halloween Cotton Candy
This year there are a few types of Halloween cotton candy.
The purple and green cotton candy in the Mickey Mouse spiderweb wrapper has a gluten-free logo on it. Miss E was a fan and said it tasted like grape and green apple! Be sure to double-check the label when you purchase.
The cotton candy shaped like candy corn did not have the gluten-free label and had the ambiguous “natural flavors” listed in the ingredients, so we passed.
Ice Cream with Halloween Sprinkles
Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream in California Adventure and Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor in Disneyland Park offer hand-scooped ice cream with sprinkles. In our many visits, the sprinkles, including seasonal sprinkles, have been gluten-free. Always talk to a manager, ask them to scoop your ice cream with gluten-allergy protocols, get a cup, and confirm if the sprinkles are still safe, as Disney cautions that suppliers can change.
Halloween Popcorn Buckets
No gluten ingredients in these plastic buckets. Most locations sell these buckets with popcorn, which is gluten-free and ubiquitous throughout the parks. Some locations include cotton candy with the bucket purchase, so be sure to select one of the cotton candies with a gluten-free logo on the label.
- Halloween Popcorn Bucket (traditional shape)
- Mickey Mouse Skeleton Bucket
- Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas Mayor’s Car Bucket
- Zero Bucket
Halloween Sippers & Mugs
Order your drink in a collectible cup or with a Disney accessory:
- Donald Candy Corn Sipper
- Alien Straw Clip
- Halloween Traveler Tumbler
- Iridescent Black Poison Apple Mug
- Lock, Shock and Barrel Straw Clip
- Maleficent Bottle Topper
- Glow Cubes: Mickey Mouse-shaped Pumpkin Glow Cube and Worm’s Wort Potion Bottle Glow Cube
- Mike Wazowski Pumpkin Bottle Topper
- Minnie Mouse: Hocus Pocus Halloween Dress-up Sipper
- Vampire Tow Mater Straw Clip
You will see these seasonal buckets, sippers, and accessories at stands and restaurants throughout the parks. Some items are even available through mobile order at specific quick service restaurants. The Disney Parks Blog has a comprehensive list of where to find each product near the end of its Disneyland Halloween Food Guide.
Keep in mind that seasonal items are especially popular with Disney-philes and may sell out. Popcorn stands can have insanely long lines if the bucket is an in-demand one.
Blood Orange Agua Float (Dole Whip)
New for 2023! A Halloween Dole Whip treat that’s gluten-free! This float is sold at the Tropical Hideaway (near the Jungle Cruise) and contains blood orange agua fresca with strawberry Dole whip. Both the agua fresca and Dole Whip are gluten-free. I have not confirmed that the orange candy decoration is gluten-free, so ask the cast member to show you the ingredients (they were happy to do so when I asked about the candy on the Christmas float) or skip the candy.
3. Focus on reliably gluten-free, fan-favorite sweets!
- Dole Whip: You can mobile order this popular treat in the traditional pineapple flavor outside the Tiki Room in Disneyland
- Or just around the corner at the Tropical Hideaway (between the Tiki Room and the Jungle Cruise), you’ll find pineapple Dole Whip swirled with flavors like mango and watermelon. We usually ask cast members to divide this treat between two or three cups, leaving plenty of room for more treats later!
- Mickey Bars are everywhere and are fabulously gluten-free. (Note: the Mickey ice cream sandwiches are not gluten-free.
- Chocolate Covered Bananas are sold at the ice cream carts with the Mickey Bars and are labeled gluten-free.
4. Go on the rides with Halloween overlays.
Most of your Disneyland Halloween fun will not be food-related. Disneyland goes all out with setting the mood for the season, from sounds, sights, and smells. Take full advantage of the Halloween overlays on these rides:
- Haunted Mansion’s Nightmare Before Christmas – As you would imagine, the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay is perfect for Halloween and Christmas. Disney agrees with you. If you miss this one at Halloween, you have time to catch it during the Christmas season!
In California Adventure:
- Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree
- Luigi’s Honkin’ Haul-O-Ween
- Guardians of the Galaxy — Monsters After Dark – You can ride two different versions of Guardians of the Galaxy in one day. Jump on the regular Guardians of the Galaxy anytime before 2 pm. (It closes from 2-3 pm, while Disney “flips the switch”). Return after 3 pm for the “Monsters After Dark” overlay.
- Haunted Interactions with Magic Band+ – Guests with a Magic Band+ can use their bands to interact with the Headless Horseman statue in California Adventure.
5. Get gluten-free goodies at the Oogie Boogie Bash Treat Trails.
The Oogie Boogie Bash is a privately ticketed event at Disney’s California Adventure. It is sold out for 2023.
Admittedly, Walt Disney World knocks it out of the park with its system for handling allergy offerings in its Treat Trails at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, so I won’t even try to compare the two. In my experience, though, Disneyland does a really good job.
There are Treat Trails to satisfy your sweet tooth. Most of the regular candy is gluten-free. Use the Halloween candy list from the Celiac Disease Foundation to brush up on your knowledge of which candy is gluten-free before you go. There are also gluten-free non-candy treats like apples, carrots, and Pirates Booty handed out as part of the regular treats. In most cases, Miss E and I were able to select safe candy from the options they were handing out. Additionally, if you let the “candy cast members” know you need allergy-safe candy, they will give you an allergy option, like gummy bears or Enjoy Life brand treats.
If you want to get the most out of your time in the park, arrive (with the crowds) at 3 pm. Just pack your patience, and be prepared for everyone else arriving at the same time and a likely SoCal fall heatwave. It’s a great time to enjoy the Halloween decorations, take some photos, and go on a ride or two.
Definitely use this early entry time to eat dinner, before all park visitors without tickets to the Oogie Boogie Bash pour out of the park and the party officially starts before 6 pm.
When the Oogie Boogie Bash starts, it’s time to hit the Treat Trails, visit with Villains and Characters in Halloween costumes, take advantage of shorter ride lines, and watch the Frightfully Fun Parade.
6. Halloween Time Photo Op!
Take photos with Disney characters in Halloween costumes and in front of the Halloween decorations throughout the parks.
In California Adventure, Cars Land has the most creative Halloween decorations made from tires and orange traffic cones. The Headless Horseman on Buena Vista Street in California Adventure is a great photo op during the day, and even better at night.
Head to Disneyland’s Main Street Pumpkin Festival where you’ll see hundreds of pumpkins. This is the best spot to snag a Disney Halloween family photo… in front of the giant Mickey Mouse jack-o-lantern.
Another fun photo op is the Dia de Los Muertos decorations in el Zocalo Park, which is conveniently located by Rancho del Zocalo Restaurant, a great place to take advantage of tip #7…
7. Mobile order from the Gluten/Wheat Allergy-Friendly Menu to save time.
Pre-celiac, I would often pack snacks to take to Disneyland, saving money on our weekly visits. Once my daughter and I were diagnosed that went out the window. In my new world of BYOF (food), Disney was one of the few places where I did not have to haul food for the day.
Truly, the most magical place on earth. With very few exceptions (a few stands or carts, for example), you can eat anywhere in Disneyland.
Gluten-free at Disneyland was already magical back in the early days of Miss E’s celiac diagnosis but Disney has managed to find a way to add more pixie dust!
Disney introduced (and then expanded) Mobile Ordering! Not only can you eat almost anywhere in the parks, but you also don’t have to talk to anyone, wait around, or hold up any lines to get your gluten-free food. A few clicks and your gluten-free food is ordered and ready at the same time as the rest of the family’s, but on a separate tray, of course!
The whole process is extremely user-friendly. Here’s how it works:
Download the Disneyland app.
Click “Mobile Orders”.
Then, click on “Create New Order”.
You can then select an arrival window to pick up your order at any quick-service restaurant you choose. In the example below, I chose the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe on Main Street in Disneyland.
Click on the Allergy-Friendly icon. It is a triangle with a fork in the middle and is labeled “Allergy-Friendly”.
All of the Allergy-Friendly Menu options pop up. Select “Gluten/Wheat Allergy-Friendly” to see the gluten-free options at that restaurant.
Select a menu item.
Choose options (such as sides or a drink), and add the food to your cart.
Before finalizing your payment, confirm that you ordered your meal from the allergy menu. It will say “Gluten/Wheat Allergy-Friendly” in front of the item name.
When you select an item from the “Gluten/Wheat Allergy-Friendly Menu” it is automatically tagged for an “allergy” (or celiac disease), which means it is handled by the chef, with allergy protocols in place.
Your food should be handed to you by a manager or chef and will include an allergy pick (see photo). I always confirm that the food is “gluten-free for an allergy” when I pick it up. If you do not see the allergy pick, do not eat it!
Pro tip! For my orders, I personally hit the “I’m here” button in the app early, about 15 minutes before I am actually at the restaurant. It takes more time for Disney to safely prepare an allergy order, and I have been noticing wait times of 15-30 minutes or more.
8. Pop in the shops for all of the Halloween merchandise.
I am perfectly content with a Halloween glow cube, but If you want more than seasonal sippers and popcorn buckets, you are in good company. Disney devotees take their Disney merch seriously, and Disneyland does not disappoint.
The shops are bursting with adorable Halloween-themed merchandise available from glow-in-the-dark outfits and Halloween Mickey ears to an adorable Groot Halloween candy bowl and Howl-o-ween doggy gear. And, of course, Disney costumes for Halloween!
Plus, on a hot afternoon, you will love the shops’ air conditioning.
Want to show up at the parks already wearing your Halloween Disney gear? Shop online before you go at:
9. Don’t miss “A Musical Celebration of Coco“.
Plaza de Familia is a little treasure tucked away in the far corner of Disney California Adventure. If you aren’t looking for it, you might just miss it, unless you happen to be heading from Goofy’s Sky School to the Incredicoaster.
In the Plaza de Familia, you will be immersed in all things Coco. During Disney’s Halloween time, you get the added bonus of “a Musical Celebration of Coco” which is a street show performed multiple times per day, with music, dancing, and life-sized puppets.
Plus, it is right by the Paradise Garden Grill, the perfect place to order gluten-free street tacos or tamales. You’re welcome!
10. Stay for the Halloween Screams Projections (& Fireworks on select nights).
Halloween Screams is a must-see! If you have never seen a Disney nighttime show, they are immersive. You are surrounded by music and lights, from projections on the castle and Main Street shops to breathtaking fireworks. There really is nothing quite like it anywhere, except, well, in other Disney parks.
Halloween Screams includes Jack Skellington, Zero, and some of your favorite love-to-hate villains. The projections are daily during the Halloween season, but the fireworks are only Friday-Sunday, weather permitting.
If you have tired toddlers, find a spot a little closer to the beginning of Main Street for a quicker exit. If you have the energy to spare, the crowd thins after the fireworks, and the lines shorten.
11. Dine at Goofy’s Kitchen Halloween.
New for 2023, Disneyland is adding a special Halloween overlay to Goofy’s Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel. You’ll find additional menu items, characters in Halloween costumes, themed music, and Halloween decorations.
The chefs at Goofy’s Kitchen are excellent with gluten-free diets and allergies. To avoid cross-contamination off the buffet, request a chef consult. The chef will prepare your food safely in the back.
As you would guess, there is a lot of excitement around this new dining experience, and reservations are booked solid.
I recommend signing up for the free MouseDining service. Enter Goofy’s Kitchen (or any other table service restaurant you are struggling to book) to get notifications when there is a dining reservation available for your party size, day, and time.
Have a Magical Halloween Time at Disneyland! Download my FREE Disneyland Gluten-Free Food Planner to get organized before you go.