Our Halloween party plan for Oogie Boogie Bash offers a step-by-step itinerary for minimizing time waiting in lines for trick-or-treat trails, maximizing character meet & greets, seeing Frightfully Fun Parade, and avoiding crowds at Disneyland Resort’s hard ticket spook season event.
For those who are unfamiliar with it, Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party is held at Disney California Adventure on select evenings. The after hours event is held on roughly two-dozen nights from early September through October 31. This Halloween Party is a limited-capacity, separately ticketed event that adds family-friendly fun for guests of all ages the opportunity during Halloween Time at Disneyland.
Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party offers an opportunity to enjoy the park’s attractions, Halloween-themed entertainment, costumed character meet & greets, and more. If you want the basics of the event, details, and whether it’s worth attending, see our Ultimate Guide to Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party. This is an itinerary, focused solely on maximizing time at the event for attendees…
Even with this Oogie Boogie Bash Party plan, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to do everything there is during the Halloween party. There’s a lot of entertainment and pretty much everything has a line or wait time. And we’re talking just the special entertainment and character greetings, plus some Halloween attraction overlays like Guardians of the Galaxy — Monsters After Dark or Luigi’s Honkin’ Haul-O-ween or Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree.
If you want to be able to ride regular attractions, you’ll have to make some compromises and cuts. This is especially true if you plan on doing multiple meet and greets, as characters can consume several 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.
We just want to keep expectations in check so you go in with a realistic idea of what you can accomplish during Oogie Boogie Bash. With that out of the way, let’s start the evening!
Arrive Early – Purchasing admission to Oogie Boogie Bash gives you access to Disney California Adventure for up to 3 hours before Oogie Boogie Bash — A Disney Halloween Party begins. The party itself runs for 5 hours, with special Halloween-themed entertainment, attractions, character greetings, and more.
With this in mind, we recommend planning to get to Disneyland Resort’s parking structure by 2 pm. Figure it’ll take almost an hour for getting parked, through security, over to DCA, and through the turnstiles. There are lines for literally everything, from the parking garages to park trams to getting wristbands for the event. All of this waiting adds up and takes time–arrive early to ensure that doesn’t cut into the event time.
Enjoy Spook Season at DCA – If you enter the park between 3 and 4 pm, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy all-day Halloween offerings at Disney California Adventure, from meet & greets to ride overlays.
Costumed characters appear around Carthay Circle who are not out during Oogie Boogie Bash. If you’re into ride overlays, prioritize Cars Land “Haul-O-Ween” and Guardians of the Galaxy — Monsters After Dark once that starts operating for the afternoon and evening.
Sanderson Sisters (Hollywood Land) – Far and away the most popular character meet & greet of Oogie Boogie Bash features Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck and Clarabelle Cow dressed up as the Sanderson Sisters from the movie Hocus Pocus.
You will want to line up for this no later than 5:30 pm–probably earlier if you’re attending one of the Halloween parties in late September or October. We explain everything you need to know about beating the crowds in How to Meet the Sanderson Sisters at Oogie Boogie Bash.
Bruno (Grizzly Peak) – We’re gonna talk about him. (And make the cheesiest, played out joke–because what is this blog if not a repository of cheesy jokes?!) Bruno from Encanto is another highly popular meet & greet at this year’s Oogie Boogie Bash. The performer here is phenomenal, but this face character gives us serious Hiro Hamada vibes. (IYKYK.)
The best approach to meet & greets is always front and backloading them, but we’re recommending that you deviate from that slightly here–assuming you want to do 3 popular meet & greets over the course of the evening. What we found is that there was a slight lull after the first wave of guests met Bruno, and although his line will be shorter at the end of the evening, that would mean sacrificing another big character combo.
Another savvy time for meeting Bruno is immediately after the first Frightfully Fun Parade passes Paradise Garden Park. If you’re not interested in Villains Grove (or slot it into your itinerary elsewhere), it’s a good time to meet Bruno. His line won’t get much shorter than it is then.
Treat Trails (Throughout DCA) – Treat Trails offer oversized cauldrons full of candy, healthy snacks, and more. We are not particularly keen on candy, so we grabbed the apple sauce, carrots, cranberries, and other options each time we passed through the trails. If we wanted candy, we could’ve absolutely cleaned up, as each trail offers multiple distribution points.
The Treat Trails change a bit each year; here’s the Oogie Boogie Bash Treat Trail character lineup:
- Agatha Harkness (WandaVision)
- Cruella (Cruella)
- Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)
- Ernesto de la Cruz (Coco)
- Mother Gothel (Tangled)
- Oogie Boogie (Nightmare Before Christmas)
- Sid (Toy Story)
- Madam Mim (The Sword in the Stone)
- Dr. Facilier (Princess and the Frog)
For most of these, the only “strategy” to speak of is not doing them too early. The lines for these are always worse early on, as people overestimate demand and/or are hungry and want some candy.
With that in mind, there are a few things worth knowing. First, the least popular Treat Trails are those featuring Maleficent, Mother Gothel, Madam Mim. To a lesser extent, the same is true for Dr. Facilier and Sid. This says less about the characters (except the lady from Sword in the Stone–but props for the nice deep cut) and more about their locations.
While you should do the Treat Trails in whatever order you encounter them–backtracking costs you more time than it saves–you still might consider starting one one or two of those four.
Second, the most popular Treat Trails are those featuring Agatha Harkness, Ernesto de la Cruz, and Oogie Boogie.
Don’t do any of these in the first hour or so of Oogie Boogie Bash. The lines will clear out later in the evening, and DCA is a small enough park that you’ll likely make multiple laps of its core areas during the Halloween party, regardless.
Finally, several of these characters are along the parade route, and thus impossible to access while Frightfully Fun Parade is happening. In particular, Ernesto de la Cruz and Dr. Facilier stop appearing shortly before Frightfully Fun steps off.
Not only is this important to know for planning purposes, but because it exacerbates the already long lines for Ernesto de la Cruz. (Who has by far the best Treat Trail.)
Mickey’s Trick and Treat Show (Hollywood Land) – 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.
Everything on this itinerary is optional, but we really want to stress that with Mickey’s Trick and Treat Show. I think this is cute and fun, but it also could be a bit awkward for adults without kids.
Villains Grove (Redwood Creek Challenge Trail) – 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 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 literal day-and-night difference at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail.
That day-and-night difference is also a problem for those attending earlier Oogie Boogie Bash dates. Villains Grove cannot start operating until dusk, which means its opening time changes over the course of the party season. Early on, it opens at 8 pm. By October, it’ll open by 7 pm. This makes a big difference in terms of its nightly capacity.
Regardless, our strong recommendation is queueing up for Villains Grove shortly before or immediately after the first Frightfully Fun Parade. You could even watch the parade from in front of The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure and make a beeline for Villains Grove as soon as it passes you. We think that’s the best strategy for more aggressive partygoers trying to get the most bang for their buck–and who want to see Frightfully Fun Parade twice!
Ernesto de la Cruz Treat Trail – If you time Villains Grove right, there’s a good chance you can knock that out and get to the Ernesto de la Cruz Treat Trail shortly after Frightfully Fun Parade passes that point of the parade route and the Coco character reappears.
This is located behind Carthay Circle Restaurant with the line beginning at the entrance to Avengers Campus. In our view, this is one of the highlights of the event, and the second-best addition to Oogie Boogie Bash. Do not miss Ernesto de la Cruz!
Misc. Meet & Greets (Throughout DCA) – In addition to the specific ones we’re highlighting here, there are a number of character meet & greets around Disney California Adventure.
These include Marvel Super Heroes in Avengers Campus, classic animated characters in Pacific Wharf, Pixar Pals in Pixar Pier, and rare characters–like Merlin, Blue Fairy, Hercules–in Carthay Circle. Aside from the rare characters, the lines are typically not bad for any of these. Meet them at your convenience throughout the evening, or if you have time to kill before the second Frightfully Fun Parade.
Frightfully Fun Parade (Paradise Gardens Park) – The Halloween parade is the ‘flagship’ entertainment offering during Oogie Boogie Bash. 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, 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.
We recommend watching the second performance of Frightfully Fun Parade from Paradise Gardens Park, across from The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. (Note that for the first Frightfully Fun Parade, we recommended directly in front of the mermaid dark ride. For the second Frightfully Fun Parade, we recommend being opposite the attraction. Different performances call for different approaches.)
Kingdom Hearts Characters (Paradise Gardens Park) – As soon as Frightfully Fun Parade passes, jump into line for the Kingdom Hearts characters in Paradise Gardens Park. This is the reason you want to watch the parade from that side of the route–standing on the other side will put you behind another dozen-plus people in line.
That’s critical because Mickey Mouse comes out after Frightfully Fun Parade is safely out of view (since he appears in that) and Donald remains out with him for a bit after that. Consequently, there’s a window during which guests can meet both characters–whereas those arriving too early or too late only get Donald Duck or King Mickey.
Late Nights on Route 66 (Cars Land) – We are big fans of ending any evening at DCA in Cars Land, and that’s no different during Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party. For one thing, the atmosphere is superlative, and it’s nice experiencing the spookiness in serenity.
For another thing, all other character lines get cut…but not these vehicles. This means that you can meet them right up until the event ends at 11 pm (and sometimes a few minutes after). Apparently, cars are not subject to California’s strict labor laws. Who knew?!
Ultimately, you should be able to have an efficient evening with plenty of spontaneity and fun by following this Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party plan. We really enjoy this Disneyland special event and have had a blast every year we’ve done it thus far.
Oogie Boogie Bash is undeniably expensive, but worth the money to us given all that we’re able to accomplish in a single night. Your mileage may vary, but enjoying the spectacular spook season atmosphere and knocking out so many treat trails, the parade, and seeing so many characters makes the Halloween Party at Disneyland Resort worth the high cost to us. Here’s hoping this Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party itinerary improves your experience at the event!
Planning a Southern California vacation? For park admission deals, read Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets. Learn about on-site and off-site hotels in our Anaheim Hotel Reviews & Rankings. For where to eat, check out our Disneyland Restaurant Reviews. For unique ideas of things that’ll improve your trip, check out What to Pack for Disney. For comprehensive advice, consult our Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide. Finally, for guides beyond Disney, check out our Southern California Itineraries for day trips to Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, and tons of other places!
Will you attend this year’s Oogie Boogie Bash? Which character meet & greets, treat trails, and other entertainment are your top priorities? Already done the event? Do you disagree with my 1-night party plan for Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party? Already planning ahead for the 2023 Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party? Favorite characters you hope to see? Already have your costume made for it? Any questions? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!