Oogie Boogie Bash is a Disney Halloween Party at Disneyland Resort’s California Adventure (DCA) theme park in September and October. This guide reviews the event, share photos, info & tips, and whether it’s worth the money. (Updated July 25, 2020.)
First, some unsurprising news courtesy of the OC Register: without so much as a reopening date set for Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, Oogie Boogie Bash has officially been called off for 2020. The event takes months of planning, and much of that simply cannot occur right now. Disneyland hopes to bring the event back in 2021.
This was pretty much a foregone conclusion, and we assumed that Oogie Boogie Bash would be cancelled months ago due to the composition of its offerings and heavy reliance on entertainment, which has been cancelled at other Disney parks that have reopened, including Walt Disney World. It’s still unclear whether Disneyland will even be open this Halloween season–a topic about which we speculate in our When Will Disneyland Reopen? post…
If you’re still interested in Oogie Boogie Bash, perhaps for 2021 planning purposes, continue reading. For more info on what’s included with standard Disneyland and DCA park admission, consult our Ultimate Guide to Halloween Time at Disneyland. As for this special event, we’ve already attended and share thoughts on the experience in Photos & Review: Oogie Boogie Bash Party Report. That covers what we were able to accomplish, highs and lows of the party, and more photos in addition to what’s here.
We feel it’s worth offering a comprehensive review so you can determine whether you should attend Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party. Before we get to the strategy, review, and “is Oogie Boogie Bash worth the money?” question, we’ll start with an event overview and some basics.
Last year, Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party was held on 20 nights: September 17, 19, 22, 24, 26, 29; October 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24, 27, 29, and October 31. Tickets ranged from $100 to $145 depending upon date, and whether you qualify for an Annual Passholder discount. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased directly from Disneyland Resort online.
Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party officially begins at 6 p.m. and runs until 11 p.m. However, entry to Disney California Adventure Park before the party is included with Oogie Boogie Bash ticket, beginning 3 hours before the party starts on most Tuesday and Thursday nights or 4 hours on Sunday nights, plus October 29 and 31. This makes the total DCA park time 8-9 hours, depending upon the night.
If the Halloween party happens in 2020, we’d expect dates, duration, and pricing to be very similar. Entertainment and everything else that follows could change very significantly. That’s something to keep in mind while reading the rest of this post–what’s covered here is what happened last year.
Note that Disneyland Halloween party tickets typically sell out quickly. Last year, Oogie Boogie Bash is already sold out for every single date as soon as the first night occurred. In the past, it’s been possible to score last-minute or same-day tickets even when the party is sold out online by calling Disneyland at (714) 781-4636. Your luck may vary with this method, but it doesn’t hurt to try. (If you need regular park tickets, check out our Guide to Buying Discount Disneyland Tickets to save money.)
Additionally, Guest Services at the three official Disneyland hotels typically have same-day tickets for guests staying at those resorts. Keep in mind that both of these strategies are very hit or miss, so don’t bank on either working. In the past, we’ve had good luck and bad luck with both methods. Once, I bought a last-minute ticket on Craigslist, which I would never recommend to anyone else; fortunately, I didn’t get scammed.
Oogie Boogie Bash Entertainment Info
The primary entertainment at the Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party is World of Color – Villainous! This brand new incarnation of World of Color is exclusive to Oogie Boogie Bash, and does not run on non-party nights. In this nighttime spectacular, Oogie Boogie is host, and a new original theme park character named Shelley Marie is the star.
In World of Color – Villainous!, Shelley Marie is a nine-year-old girl trying to decide whether to dress up as a princess or a villain for Halloween. This loose narrative framework is used to take Shelley Marie on a dark journey, encountering the Wicked Queen, Ursula, Dr. Facilier, Hades, and finishing with Maleficent.
As with all versions of the show, World of Color – Villainous utilizes dancing water fountains, lights, lasers, projections, and special effects. It’ll be familiar to anyone who has seen the other versions of World of Color, albeit with a more story-driven approach.
Next, the Frightfully Fun Parade. This parade debuted a few years ago during Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland, and we really enjoy it. Frightfully Fun Parade is similar to Boo to You Parade at Walt Disney World, albeit it shorter and a tad darker.
Despite the shorter duration, we think that Frightfully Fun Parade is very strong, and it does a ton with an economy of parade units and floats. What’s featured here is really good and has direct ties to Halloween. There are also some notable differences in the characters featured.
Frightfully Fun Parade begins with the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow carrying his flickering jack-o-lantern. He heralds the arrival of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse who lead the cavalcade of characters. (This year, Cheshire Cat joins the mix!)
After that, the highlight of the parade appears: Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, who brings greetings from Halloweentown, as characters from “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” appear. Following that, Grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize and bring Disney’s iconic Haunted Mansion attraction to life.
From there, Dr. Facilier uses his mystical powers to summon the Shadow Men from the bayou to loom large over his strange and twisted Voodoo parlor in one of the parade’s spookier units. Finally, the mischievous Disney Villains appear out of the darkness, with a dungeon-like lair and a wicked gathering of villainy including Hades, Evil Queen, Jafar, Cruella, and more.
While those are the flagship entertainment offerings for Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party, there are a few other noteworthy additions. First, the new Mickey’s Trick and Treat show.
This interactive stage production in Hollywood Land is aimed at small children. It offers them the chance to join Mickey Mouse and friends as they throw a Halloween party with dancing, not-so-frightening scary-tales, and candy.
Another interesting addition is Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, which becomes Villains Grove. This is a wondrous and ethereal world of Disney villains, completely transformed with lighting, projections, sounds, and special effects, creating a haunting, dreamlike (or does that make it nightmare-like?) environment.
Villains Grove is one aspect of Oogie Boogie Bash that Disney is really hyping, and it’s basically Disney’s twist on a standard Halloween walk-through maze you might find at other theme parks in Southern California. The primary difference here is that the environments are accomplished entirely via ‘flip of a switch’ technology that creates a dramatic day/night difference at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail.
There’s also the new DescenDANCE, a dance party in the Hollywood Land Backlot. This is inspired by the popular Disney Channel Descendants and is a popular offering with families and tweens.
As the DescenDANCE begins, a spell is cast, summoning the greatest dance crew from the Isle of the Lost to throw down and lead everyone in moves set to songs from the “Descendants” movies. After that, the Backlot DJ continues to spin tunes and invites everyone to step onto the dance floor into the night.
As usual, there are treat trails throughout Disney California Adventure, where guests may enjoy trick-or-treating. The main DCA treat trails feature iconic characters including Mad Hatter and Oogie Boogie. Additional treat trails offer oversized cauldrons full of treats.
And of course, there will be character meet & greets with Disney characters, including villains. Expect to encounter some rare characters and seldom-seen costumes for fan favorites, such as Goofy or Donald Duck from Kingdom Hearts, Disney Afternoon favorites, and Mickey & Minnie in exclusive Halloween outfits.
A lot of people don’t seem to understand how these special event ticket parties work, so to be crystal clear: a regular park ticket will not grant you admission to Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party.
You must purchase the special event tickets to stay in Disney California Adventure once Oogie Boogie Bash begins. Yes, this means potentially buying two tickets for the same day if you want to stay from park opening until closing.
On the other hand, a party ticket alone does grant you admission to Disney California Adventure a few hours before the event officially begins. It’s also cheaper than a 1-day park ticket for several dates.
This is a big reason why the Halloween Party is so popular with locals in Los Angeles and Orange County who are not Annual Passholders–it’s a less expensive way to see the Halloween offerings with lower crowds and at a cheaper price. Even though it’s not the whole day, it’s a good value if you’re a local who is not an Annual Passholder.
The downside to this all is that the event is in DCA instead of Disneyland, and early entry is only in DCA. This means you cannot experience Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge with just an Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party ticket, or any of the other Disneyland classics, including Haunted Mansion Holiday or Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy.
This is a big loss, and one we think will cause a lot of locals to balk at party tickets this year. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves–more on this in the “Is Oogie Boogie Bash Worth It?” section below…
One of the cool components of Disney’s Halloween Party for many guests is the opportunity to dress in costume. There are limits to the costumes you can wear, but it’s basically common sense stuff like ‘no weapons or sharp objects’ and nothing offensive. If you need further guidance, I’d recommend reading Disneyland’s costume rules.
You also should keep in mind that unlike Florida, Southern California can get cool at night this time of year. We’ve worn heavier costumes to Disney’s Halloween Party–the kind that would be unbearable in Florida–and were perfectly comfortable thanks to evening breezes. We have a Tips for Disney Parks Halloween Costumes post that covers some ideas for what to wear…and what not to wear.
Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party Strategy
One thing you’ll want to keep in mind is that it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to do everything there is during Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party. We’re talking just the special entertainment and character greetings, let alone the regular Halloween attraction overlays like Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark or Luigi’s Honkin’ Haul-O-ween or Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree.
This is especially true if you plan on doing multiple character meet and greets, as simply doing the Kingdom Hearts and Disney Afternoon characters can consume over 2 hours of your party time. If you don’t plan on meeting any characters–or plan on doing the less popular ones–you’ll have far more flexibility.
Here’s our Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party Itinerary based upon what worked (and didn’t) for us at the party we attended…
- Enter Disney California Adventure 3 hours before the event, and do attractions at your leisure. Prioritize Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark and the Cars Land “Haul-O-Ween” seasonal attraction overlays if you want some Halloween fun.
- If Halloween character meet & greets are a priority, do the ones around Carthay Circle starting 1 hour before the official Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party start time.
- Line up for Kingdom Hearts, Disney Afternoon, or Classic Disney Friends meet & greets immediately before the official party start time.
- Finish character meet & greets thirty minutes before the Frightfully Fun Parade steps off.
- Grab a parade spot near Paradise Garden Park for a low crowds location or facing Carthay Circle Theater for a photogenic spot.
- After the Frightfully Fun Parade, rush to the next high-priority meet & greet you missed or Villains Grove Trail at Redwood Creek.
- Do the Treat Trails, prioritizing Oogie Boogie, Mad Hatter, and Dr. Facilier (all of whom are in Hollywood Land).
- Grab a front zone viewing spot for World of Color – Villainous by entering near Golden Zephyr roughly 30 minutes before the second showing.
Now, a few notes about that strategy for Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party…
Frightfully Fun Parade only has one running during Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party due to the long parade route at Disney California Adventure. As with all parades at DCA, viewing areas are significantly busier at the front of the park in Carthay Circle and Hollywood Land.
Viewing from near where the parade steps off is ideal for seeing it. This also gives you the opportunity to bounce to your next stop while most guests at Oogie Boogie Bash are still waiting for Frightfully Fun Parade to get to them. The downside of this location is that the lighting is harsher and the backgrounds are boring, making it a less photogenic location.
Meet and greet wait times are fairly consistent throughout the party, with less popular characters seeing shorter lines at the end of the night. Rare characters will have consistently long lines throughout, which is why we’d recommend lining up for the Kingdom Hearts or Disney Afternoon characters shortly before the party officially begins.
Once those characters come out, passers-by will queue up, and those lines will balloon. Other popular character meet & greets include Mickey and Minnie near the Villains Grove entrance, the rare characters like Blue Fairy in Carthay Circle, and villains at the rear entrance/exit of Grizzly Peak.
Attractions will have short waits throughout the party. Once regular day guests cycle through, you can expect peak wait times to be around 30 minutes, and that’s for popular rides like Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark and Radiator Springs Racers.
If you’re going to do attractions, consider doing them during the parade or the first World of Color.
Speaking of which, World of Color – Villainous has two showings. It will have dramatically lower crowds for the second showing as very few guests will want to see it twice. The second showing ends as Oogie Boogie Bash concludes, making it a good stop for the end of the night.
Linger as you leave the World of Color – Villainous viewing area to capture photos of the ambiance in Cars Land and Buena Vista Street.
Now, if you’re still wondering whether you should you do the party, we’ll try to help you answer that question…
Is Oogie Boogie Bash Worth It?
Value is all a matter of perspective. If you have financial means and won’t feel the sting of the ticket cost, or just really love Halloween and want to splurge on Oogie Boogie Bash, go for it.
Despite some opening night hiccups, we enjoyed Oogie Boogie Bash and previously have had a blast at Disneyland’s other Halloween Parties, and have never regretted attending. If the event is not a splurge for you, it’s unlikely that you’ll regret it.
In terms of Oogie Boogie Bash itself, there are two flagship pieces of entertainment, atmospheric enhancements to Disney California Adventure, characters, and a few minor entertainment offerings. You’re probably looking at around 3-4 hours of Halloween-centric entertainment that’s unique to this event.
Additionally, there are the core attraction offerings of Disney California Adventure that you can experience before Oogie Boogie Bash begins. If you want to break it down, we’d assign the following values to each component of the event: $25 for World of Color – Villainous, $25 for Frightfully Fun Parade, $25 for other entertainment and ambiance, and another $25-50 (depending upon the night you attend) for early access to DCA. That’s assuming you can do around 6-8 attractions in those 3 hours–or about $5-8 per ride.
As a total sucker for World of Color and Halloween parades, I can justify at least some of those costs. You might ascribe different values to each component of the event, or elect not to break the cost down on a ‘per unit’ basis. As Annual Passholders, the early entry component has a value of $0, but the value of ambiance is higher.
There’s also trick or treating, which a lot of people really seem to value as it presents a safe and “Disney” environment for their kids to trick or treat. It’s tough to dispute this from a fun perspective, and this year, the interactive treat trails with characters like Oogie Boogie are way more fun than the normal ones.
Seeing these characters has value to us, whereas Halloween candy itself doesn’t have a particularly high value. A bag of candy from the CVS on Harbor Boulevard is ~$5 and you can bring it to the park if you wanted. Nevertheless, the overall experience of these is fun, and you’ll get value out of them one way or another.
There are a lot of other scenarios where the Halloween Party might be appealing. I already mentioned the locals from Los Angeles and Orange County who do not have Annual Passes. Oogie Boogie makes complete sense for this demographic, especially those who love Halloween. It’s a great way to experience a mix of special and regular offerings in DCA without buying a 1-day ticket.
Beyond that, tourists who only have a single day to spend at Disneyland Resort get a lot accomplished during the 8 hours that the Oogie Boogie Bash ticket provides access to Disney California Adventure. You won’t be able to do everything, but those 8 hours are going to have lower than normal crowds, allowing you to accomplish more attractions (if that’s your priority) than you could do in a normal full day in the parks. Plus, this is cheaper than a 1-day ticket.
Again, the downside in both of the above scenarios is that Oogie Boogie Bash only grants access to the second gate. Not being able to experience iconic attractions in Disneyland, or step foot in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, is a tremendous downside. We love DCA, but if we only had ~8 hours to spend at Disneyland Resort one day per year, we’d want to spend literally every single hour of that time in Disneyland, not DCA.
If you’re visiting Disneyland and Disney California Adventure for multiple days, you might be able to justify Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party from the perspective of one less day on a multi-day ticket, doing something else in the morning (Downtown Disney or the beach, perhaps) and then heading to DCA for the event. In this scenario, you’re paying a premium for the party ticket, but it’s almost like it’s discounted.
In an ideal world, we’d recommend getting a 3-day Park Hopper ticket and spending at least 4 days at Disneyland Resort, with the morning of Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party spent doing the Goofy’s Kitchen character breakfast at Disneyland Hotel followed by lunch in Downtown Disney (or heading down to Laguna Beach for the entire morning). After that, head into DCA that afternoon and using only your Oogie Boogie Bash party ticket that day. It’s a good way to stretch your vacation dollars and make the cost of the event a little more palatable.
With all of that said, we have to admit that all of the above is a look at whether Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party is worth it on paper. A big draw is the atmosphere and different vibe Disney California Adventure takes on. There’s special background music, unique lighting & effects, and other guests dressed in costumes give the Halloween Party a palpable energy. This is a true X factor.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you’ll likewise be able to find a way to justify the cost of Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party. With every single event date costing over $100, the price is certainly steep. Moreover, there are a lot of Halloween offerings at Disneyland Resort that are included in the standard price of admission. If you already have APs or regular park tickets, there’s less of a “need” to do this.
For us, special events like Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party are a fun splurge. While we found the first Oogie Boogie Bash we attended to be far from perfect, it was still “worth it” to us–and we hope it continues to improve for 2020. Even if we would have a hard time breaking down the cost to justify it, the bottom line for us is that the parties are just plain fun, and we really love doing them. Your mileage may vary, but that makes Disneyland’s Halloween Party worth the high cost to us!
If you’re heading to Disneyland for Halloween Time at Disneyland, we have tons of posts to help you plan, including our Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets, a look at Disneyland Area Hotel Reviews & Rankings, our Unique Packing List for Disney Trips, an index of our Disneyland Resort Restaurant Reviews, and a number of other things in our comprehensive Disneyland Trip Planning Guide!
Do you disagree with my assessment of Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party? Are you planning to attend the event this year? Are you disappointed that it’s not being held at Disneyland, or are you ready for something different? Already have your costume made for it? Hearing from you is half the fun, so please share your thoughts on these questions, or anything else, in the comments!