I was incredibly lucky to attend not just one, but two Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween parties this year at Disney California Adventure. The event had its ups and downs, moments of excitement and moments of disappointment.
It was everything in between. There were also plenty of drinks available, as it was held in DCA. In this guide, I’ll share with you what to do and what not to do at Oogie Boogie Bash.
Oogie Boogie Bash takes place on select nights from September through Halloween at California Adventure. The party starts at 7:00 PM and goes until midnight. With a party ticket, you can enter the park 3 hours early, starting at 4:00 PM.
On my first party day, I already had a reservation for Disney California Adventure in the morning. I was visiting with some family from out of town, and we wanted to enjoy the park before the party.
Pixie Pros: Party days are a great day to visit California Adventures. The park is like a ghost town, no pun intended.
If you are already in the parks at 4:00pm you can get your wristband inside. There are multiple wristband distribution locations inside the park, which you can read about in our guide to Oogie Boogie Bash.
I went to the winery wristband location near Carsland, and waited for about 5 minutes to get my wristband. Meanwhile, the lines to enter the park were backed up across the Esplanade all the way to Disneyland.
If you have the opportunity to enter through the standard day line or the annual pass queue, do it. You can avoid waiting for the party entrance and save a lot of time.
What To Do Before Oogie Boogie Bash Starts
Once you enter, you’ll have about 3 hours before the party officially begins. During this time, there are a couple of overlays available and you can purchase specialty beverages, snacks, food, and more. There are also photo opportunities around the park, like those postcard pictures you may have seen.
If you had already been at the park earlier that day, I wasn’t particularly interested in rushing around to rewrite everything. I just wanted to sit back, enjoy the party vibes, and have a good time. I headed over to the Hollywood Lounge to get a drink, but I had to wait for 45 minutes to purchase a beer because mobile order wasn’t available at the time.
It was around 4:30 PM and the next pick-up window was at 7:15 PM, which was too long of a wait for me. Eventually, I got my drink and found a place to sit down and enjoy it.
Meeting the Sanderson Sisters
While I was there, I noticed a line forming to meet Minnie, Daisy, and Clarabelle dressed as the Sanderson Sisters. I knew this was a popular attraction at the party and the line could get crazy long. However, the line didn’t seem that long at the time, so I decided to join it. I figured it didn’t make much difference if I drank my beer sitting on the curb watching others queue or if I drank it in the line by myself.
Unfortunately, once the queue opened and we started moving, I realized that the line was much longer than I had initially thought. There were about six switchbacks hidden behind the Hollywood Lounge building that I hadn’t noticed before. I ended up waiting for about an hour and a half to meet Minnie, Daisy, and Clarabelle in their Sanderson Sisters costumes. I considered leaving the line to do something else. But at a certain point, I had already invested so much time that I felt I needed to see it through.
Later, I found out that if I had waited a couple of hours and come back, there wouldn’t have been a line at all. I walked by on the second night around 8:00 PM and there was nobody there. You could just walk up.
It seems like no matter what activity you choose to do first at the Halloween party, there will be a line. I discuss why this is in my review of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party in Magic Kingdom. Primarily, I think it’s because there’s a lot of time between when guests arrive and when the party officially starts. If they started queuing up with this in mind, it would be more efficient.
On my second trip to Oogie Boogie Bash, I decided to wait until the party started around 7:00 PM to head over.
Trick or treat trails at Oogie Boogie Bash
With the party now in full swing, I decided to move on to the main event for the evening: trick or treat trails. Okay, Buddy Bashes is a really unique Halloween party for Disney because they incorporate the characters into the activities. It’s not like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, where you have to go to see characters or go get candy. Here, you can do both because the characters are at the end of the queue.
Making my way through the trick-or-treat trails. I got to see Oogie Boogiehimself, Cruella de Vil (the new live-action Emma Stone version), Ernesto from Coco, Agatha, and Judge Doom. I did go by the line for Sid from Toy Story, but it was far too long. Also, Sid terrifies me.
All the characters were great, but I think Oogie Boogie is probably my favorite. I like that part of the queue is indoors, and I like the atmosphere in the room around it. It’s not just the character; Cruella is another notable favorite of mine. The stage is decked out in all of her creations. I also like that they represented her origin story instead of the misunderstood character from 101 Dalmatians.
The Judge Doom line was interesting. It was exciting to see Roger Rabbit represented, but at the same time, it was a little creepy. He actually had a cartoon prop that he stuck in the dip while everyone was in line, and that was a step over for me.
Maybe they went a bit too far with that. However, it was so cool to see the representation and the effort they had for him was fantastic. It felt like he just walked off the screen.
Well, it was fun to see the characters in line. Honestly, my favorite kind of interaction with the characters is a quick encounter like that. There were plenty more characters to see at the event.
As I mentioned, I did get to do the meet and greet and get a picture with Clarabelle and Daisy dressed as the Sanderson sisters. It was a super cute picture, but it was very rushed. Again, I recommend going later in the evening if that’s what you want to do.
In addition, you can also meet rare characters like Lotso or Carl from Up. Hans and Jafar were there too. I even saw the evil witch from Snow White roaming around Cathar Circle at the end of the night. Personally, I’m not a big fan of character meet and greets. It freaks me out, but if that’s your thing, there are plenty of opportunities.
In the midst of all the trick-or-treating and character spotting, I decided to take a trip through Villains Grove. This is one of the attractions I was most looking forward to at the Halloween party. It’s a cool little overlay of the Redwood Creek Challenge area, transformed with projections, lights, and special effects to create the atmosphere of a villain’s lair.
As soon as I entered, I was greeted with an eerie ambiance that transported me into darkness and intrigue. The attention to detail was astounding, with every display meticulously designed to represent different Disney villains.
Walking through Villains Grove was like stepping into a twisted fairytale. The path was lined with eerie lights that cast haunting shadows across the surroundings. Sinister music filled the air, intensifying the sense of foreboding. It was a truly immersive experience that captured the essence of the Disney villains perfectly.
One of the highlights for me was the section dedicated to Alice in Wonderland. As I ventured further into the grove, I stumbled upon a scene straight out of Wonderland itself. The Cheshire Cat’s mischievous grin glowed in the darkness, while the Mad Hatter’s hat sat atop a table adorned with peculiar trinkets. It was a whimsical nod to a character who straddles the line between hero and villain.
Although the wait time for Villains Grove was around 30 minutes, it felt much shorter due to the captivating atmosphere. The Imagineers truly outdid themselves in creating an immersive environment that pulled me into the world of Disney villains. Each display was thoughtfully crafted, showcasing the unique traits and personalities of the characters. From Maleficent’s imposing presence to Ursula’s tentacles reaching out from the shadows, every detail was designed to transport visitors into the depths of villainy.
While Villains Grove was primarily a visual spectacle, I couldn’t help but wish for a bit more interactivity. It would have been exciting to encounter some drive-by characters or stumble upon trick-or-treat stations hidden within the grove. These additions would have elevated the experience and added an extra layer of excitement. Nonetheless, even as a light show, Villains Grove was a mesmerizing experience that shouldn’t be missed.
Is Villains Grove Worth the Wait?
If you find yourself in the Grizzly Peak area and notice that the line for Villains Grove is moving swiftly, I highly recommend taking the opportunity to explore this unique attraction. The combination of projections, lights, and special effects creates an otherworldly atmosphere that will leave you in awe. However, if you have limited time during the Halloween party, I would suggest prioritizing other activities that offer a more interactive experience. Villains Grove is a fantastic addition to the event, but it may not be the absolute must-see attraction.
Frightfully Fun Parade
As the night was winding down I made my way back over to Hollywood Boulevard to stake out a spot for the parade. One of the best tips for attending any of the Halloween parties is to go to the second parade. This is especially true in California where you don’t have to worry about the weather. You should be good to go with the second parade.
I staked out my spot pretty early, about an hour before the parade began. I had gone through most of the trick-or-treat lines and Dylan’s Grove, and hit all of my top priorities for the evening. So, I got myself an adult beverage and went to secure my spot.
I was glad that I got there early because when everything started filling up for the second parade, it started to get crowded on the curbs about 20 minutes before the parade. People were still walking up even at the last minute.
You do have to be careful when you sit down to stake out a spot early like I did, though, because the ropes aren’t always out. You don’t want to lose your spot because you have to move. Just be aware of where you are sitting and ask a cast member if you want to be certain if you are in a safe spot.
The Parade Rocks
The parade at Oogie Boogie Bash is the Frightfully Fun Parade. It is led by not just the Horseless Headman, but also Ichabod Crane. The scene starts with Pickle Bud Crane carrying his lamp and running down the road away from the Headless Horseman in Sleepy Hollow, who is out to find a head.
This is immediately followed by the hardest working person at the Halloween party, who has to clean up after the horse that the Headless Horseman rides. If you go to a Halloween party and see this person in the parade, be sure to give them a nice round of applause for what they’re doing, because it’s probably the worst possible job you would want to have.
And then, the true parade kicks off. I’m really not much of a parade person, but I make an exception for nighttime parades. Maybe it’s the nostalgia of the Electrical Main Street Parade, or maybe it’s because it’s the end of the night and people need a good excuse to sit down and still experience some magic. For me, nighttime parades are where it’s at, and this one did not disappoint.
Each float or parade unit represents a different character or franchise from Disney, starting with Mickey and Minnie and going through many different iterations, finally ending with the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, which is always my favorite.
It’s worth noting that the floats from The Nightmare Before Christmas, the Mayor’s car and the Jack and Sally float, are particularly impressive. Anything from The Nightmare Before Christmas is a must-see during Halloween and Christmas.
I also love the Dr. Facilier float and the creatures on stilts. The spirits that come out before it are so creepy, it gives me the creeps every time. But the float itself is a work of art. It has carved faces all over it, and the tree is magnificent and beautiful.
Final Thoughts About Oogie Boogie Bash
I had a great time at Oogie Boogie Bash. I must say, the second night was even better than the first. The second night, which was on a Thursday, seemed to have more people, but I felt like I was able to accomplish and see a lot more.
The Halloween vibe at Disney California Adventure (DCA) is unique and enjoyable. The playlist was on point and the costumes were amazing. It was a great experience for everyone, especially with the addition of drinks, which is unique to DCA.
One important takeaway is that during the first half hour to 45 minutes of the party, there were long lines for everything. Other party guests had been queuing up since they were allowed to enter the park three hours earlier, causing congestion. For future events, I may consider not entering the park before the party starts. With the late hours of the party, I would prefer to sleep in and arrive later to fully enjoy the party activities.
There is a lot to see and do, so it’s important to have a plan and prioritize what you want to experience. Familiarize yourself with the event and what it offers. The ticket costs $160 per person, so it’s likely you have already done some research.
However, if you’re preparing to attend, it’s a good idea to do a little more and make sure you know what’s important to you and what attractions are available. Keep in mind that there aren’t many signs indicating the Halloween-themed areas or the trick-or-treat trail, so knowing what’s there beforehand is crucial.