All Hallows’ Eve is rapidly approaching, but there’s still time left to experience the tricks and treats of Oogie Boogie Bash, this year’s brand-new after-hours Halloween event at Disney California Adventure.
For many years, the Disneyland Resort held its Halloween parties inside the original Disneyland Park. But, in 2019, the spooky celebration has been shifted across the esplanade, gaining all-new shows and experiences along the way. So, whether you’re a veteran or a first-time visitor, you’ll want to follow these handy tips to scare up the most fun during your evening of evil indulgence.
1: Buy Early, Arrive Early
The Oogie Boogie Bash runs on select evenings through October 31st, and the event is officially sold out for the rest of the 2019 season, but you can try calling (714) 781-4565 to see if any additional tickets are available. If you were lucky enough to secure admission, you’ll want to arrive well before the scheduled 6 p.m. start time because your ticket allows you to enter Disney California Adventure up to four hours early.
That perk will allow you to enjoy an afternoon performance of A Musical Celebration of Coco before the party starts. While this live show, located at the Plaza De Familia at Paradise Gardens, is not actually part of the Oogie Boogie Bash, this tribute to the heartwarming Pixar film is a great way to honor Dia De Los Muertos.
Watch this full video of A Musical Celebration of Coco at Disney California Adventure:
A final word of warning: Be sure to pack some extra patience because lines at security and the turnstiles can be especially long on event nights. In addition, you’ll need to receive a wristband that allows you to remain in the park after the day guests are ushered out. They can be obtained at the park entrance or near the Blue Sky Cellar. Lines at the front may look much longer, but luckily they move fairly quickly.
2: Plan Your Night Around the Show Schedule
Most of Disney California Adventure’s attractions run during the Oogie Boogie Bash, and some—like Guardians of the Galaxy, Mater’s, and Luigi’s—offer unique seasonal spins on the standard ride.
But let’s face it—you’re attending for the exclusive entertainment, which means you want to check the show schedule immediately upon arriving, and plan your evening around it.
On the Hollywood Backlot stage, you’ll find the Decendance, an interactive dance party themed after the popular Descendants movie musicals. The films’ stars appear on video screens, while a team of live performers leads the crowd in a series of simple line dances.
For the finale, a Maleficent dragon puppet is paraded through the crowd. This show will be a big hit with tweens who are already obsessed with the franchise, but it is probably disposable for anyone over the age of 18.
Mickey’s Trick & Treat aims at an even younger demographic with not-so-scary storytelling and audience participation for the preschool set. This is basically a Halloween-themed version of the Disney Junior show that normally plays in the Disney Theater, and it’s unlikely to enthrall older kids.
That leaves the parade and water show as the must-see entertainments at the Oogie Boogie Bash. The Frightfully Fun Parade features characters from Nightmare Before Christmas and the Haunted Mansion, along with all your favorite Disney villains. The floats aren’t quite as elaborate as those used in the year-round parades, but vibrant lighting effects and the characters’ creepy personalities more than make up for it.
The parade only runs once per night, but, with a route stretching all the way from Paradise Gardens Park to Hollywood Land, there is plenty of room to find a good view; we snagged a great spot near Carthay Circle less than 20 minutes before step-off. Be sure to show up early enough to catch the Headless Horseman, who trots through the streets in a pre-parade 10 minutes prior to the big procession.
Watch a complete run of the Oogie Boogie Bash Frightfully Fun Parade, including the Headless Horseman pre-parade, in this video:
Last, but definitely not least, is Villainous!, a special version of the World of Color fountain show that can only be seen during the Oogie Boogie Bash. The show introduces a new character, 9-year-old Shelley Marie, who needs help deciding which Disney villain she wants to dress up as for Halloween. Favorite baddies from Hades to Ursula make appearances, singing remixed versions of their signature songs.
While we still like the standard World of Color a bit better, Villainous! is a wickedly wonderful addition and a definite highlight of the event. The show is performed twice a night, but be aware that if you attend the second showing, the party will be over by the time the show concludes.
The good news is that FastPass is not required or even offered during the event, so you should have little problem slipping into the viewing area shortly before showtime; look for spots along the bridge to Pixar Pier for a great perspective on the production.
Enjoy these highlights from the Villainous! show at Ooogie Boogie Bash:
3: Don’t Be Shy About Stocking Up on Sweets
After the shows and parade, the immersive treat trails are probably the most popular part of the Oogie Boogie Bash. You’ll find five of them scattered around the park, each hosted by a different Disney villain. The character performers at these locations are highly interactive and make the wait for your handful of sweets pass swiftly.
The event is sponsored by Mars Wrigley, so expect to receive M&M’s, Snickers, Skittles, and other familiar candies in snack-size packages. If you have allergies or other dietary issues, be sure to ask about allergy-friendly options, including gluten-free cookies and applesauce packets.
Even if you aren’t a chocoholic, make sure you fill up a sack or two—you’ll be all set with supplies for Halloween night when trick-or-treaters start ringing your doorbell!
4: Save the Best for Last
We ended our evening at Oogie Boogie Bash with a walk through the Villains Grove, and I’m glad we did because everything else would have been a letdown after this amazing immersive experience. The Redwood Creek Challenge Trail has been transformed into a dreamlike wonderland of mist and color, filled with subtle references to classic Disney villains. It isn’t a haunted house, as none of the evil-doers are physically present to pounce on you, but their eerie essences are apparent in the form of immersive soundscapes and digital projections.
Villains Grove far exceeded our expectations, and it’s truly unlike anything we’ve previously experienced at a Halloween event; we hope Disney brings it back even bigger and better for future Oogie Boogie Bashes. It’s best experienced well after sunset, and large crowds can spoil the intimacy, so plan on stopping by during the final hour of the event.
Take a stroll through the Villains Grove in this video tour of the attractions:
All in all, we had a great time at the new Oogie Boogie Bash and plan to return again in 2020. However, with tickets for the evening event costing even more than a regular one-day ticket, it’s a shame that they shut down the party at only 11 p.m. If it ran until midnight or 1 a.m., it would be a much better value. With only 5 operating hours, you’ll need to take full advantage of the pre-party afternoon admission in order to get your money’s worth.
For all there is to see and do at Disneyland, check out The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland by Seth Kubersky with Bob Sehlinger, Len Testa, and Guy Selga Jr. All Disneyland fans should also check out The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney’s Dream by Sam Gennawey.