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Halloween Time at Disney features more treats than tricks

Candy maker Candy Pruitt works on spooky treats at Disneyland Park on Sept. 2, 2022.
(Sarah Mosqueda)

In Disney’s 1993 film “Hocus Pocus,” the cynical protagonist, Max, quips that everyone knows Halloween was invented by the candy companies. While that isn’t exactly an accurate description of the holiday’s origins, candy still plays a significant role during the season. In fact, it’s the time of year Disneyland candy maker Candy Pruitt most looks forward to.

“Halloween time is such a magical time here,” said Pruitt. “It starts off with Halloween time and that just extends to the next holiday season.”

Pruitt has worked at the resort for almost 10 years and said she has always had a sweet tooth.

“My name says it all,” laughs Pruitt.

On Sept. 2, at Candy Palace on Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland, Pruitt dipped caramel apples into orange-colored white chocolate to create Mickey pumpkin candy apples. The pumpkin-shaped treat with marshmallow ears resembles the giant Mickey pumpkin at Main Street’s Pumpkin Festival.

Spooky treats at Disneyland Park on Sept. 2, 2022.
(Sarah Mosqueda)

Other confections at Candy Palace include Mickey spiderweb rice cereal treats, Minnie witch candy apples and a Halloween marshmallow wand dipped in caramel and dark chocolate.

Of course, pumpkin spice abounds too. Pumpkin spice churros are available at the Buena Vista Churro Cart, pumpkin-spiced Mickey-shaped beignets rolled in pumpkin-spiced sugar can be found at the Mint Julep Bar, and Red Rose Taverne features a pumpkin cold-brew coffee flavored with pumpkin and vanilla and topped with whipped cream.

Over at Paradise Gardens in Disney California Adventure, the park celebrates the season a different way, with Plaza de la Familia. Guests are invited to explore traditions associated with Dia De Los Muertos by visiting the Mexican Árbol de la Vida (Tree of Life) and writing messages to loved ones on the memory wall.

Mexican Arbol de la Vida (Tree of Life) at Disney California Adventure Park on Sept. 2, 2022.
(Sarah Mosqueda)

“Plaza de la Familia really represents the Hispanic and Latino culture you can see all around the world,” said resort ambassador Mark Everett King Jr. “That resonates with so many different families. It is nice to be able to see stories that you can relate to.”

The storytellers of Plaza de la Familia perform “A Musical Celebration of Coco,” telling the story of Coco in a compact performance that includes Mariachi music and traditional folklorico dancers.

The Storytellers of Plaza de la Familia perform at Disney California Adventure Park.
The Storytellers of Plaza de la Familia perform “A Musical Celebration of Coco” at Disney California Adventure Park on Sept. 2, 2022.
(Sarah Mosqueda)

California Adventure is also where parkgoers can find food and drinks that accompany the performance and celebrate Hispanic and Latin American Heritage Month, which begins Sept. 15.

“I would say the whole menu is pretty exciting,” said Chef Kamilah Robinson of the offerings at Paradise Garden Grill. “One of my personal favorites, though, would be the carnitas burrito.”

The hefty burrito is stuffed with pork carnitas, Spanish rice, pinto beans and salsa verde and comes with house-made tortilla chips. Other traditional plates include green chile chicken tamales, a chorizo quesadilla and sirloin beef tacos served as a trio with escabeche, rice and beans.

Tacos at Paradise Garden Grill at Disney California Adventure Park on Sept. 2, 2022.
(Sarah Mosqueda)

Robinson said the team sourced recipes from cast members in order to capture truly authentic flavors.

“With this menu, we did take feedback and recipes from cast members that they would cook with their families at home and let them have that chance to bring it here. Then, to see it on the menu board is super exciting.”

There are also many nontraditional dishes that Robinson anticipates will become new favorites.

“I think our twist on mole wings are going to be popular, and our carnitas pizza is something different too,” said Robinson.

The mole chicken wings are served in a spicy ancho and guajillo mole sauce, and the carnitas pizza is topped with pork carnitas, chorizo refried beans, mozzarella and citrus cabbage slaw with salsa verde.

Chef Kamilah Robinson presents Mexican food at Paradise Garden Grill at Disney California Adventure Park on Sept. 2, 2022.
(Sarah Mosqueda)

This year it seems spooky season at Disney Parks features more treats than tricks, and that isn’t just a lot of hocus pocus.

Halloween Time runs now through Oct. 31 at Disneyland Park, and Plaza de Familia runs now through Nov. 2 at Disney California Adventure Park.

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