Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party presales started and concluded earlier this week, while general public ticket sales for the 2023 event were paused after hours of delays. This post takes a look at what happened, compares this to past precedent with ‘recalculating’ and ‘we’re almost in orbit’ messages, and offers some wild theories about the problem.
Let’s start with the presale, which now seems like a relatively smooth process as compared to the trainwreck of the general public ticket release. That started on Tuesday morning, with a limited number of tickets being released for Magic Key Annual Passholders available for purchase.
At no point did the virtual queue drop below the “more than an hour” wait time, and many Magic Keyholders (including us!) waited several hours to purchase tickets (it took me just over 3 hours, and it would have taken Sarah a little over 4 had I not gotten in first). By the time some APs who joined the virtual queue right at 9 am were able to access the ticket page, many dates were already sold out.
Others had even worse luck than that, and were shut out completely. At around 5 pm, while many Magic Keyholders were still in the virtual queue, the message updated to indicate that it had closed because pre-sale tickets had sold out, and to check back when general admission tickets went on sale June 29.
In fairness, some others did report better luck. While some waited in the virtual queue for hours, others were processed almost immediately or had wait times under an hour. Others still reported encountering no virtual queue at all on mobile, and were able to purchase their Oogie Boogie Bash tickets with zero wait. Now that’s real Disney magic right there!
The process for the general public ticket sales started similarly. The waiting room to join the virtual queue opened about 15 minutes early, and the virtual queue itself was activated right at 9 am Pacific. By most accounts, it immediately jumped to a ‘more than an hour’ wait for most people.
Then at about 9:30 am Pacific, the Oogie Boogie Bash virtual queue paused, with the following message displayed at the bottom of the screen: “Ticket sales have temporarily paused and will resume soon. To stay in the queue, please remain connected to the network and keep your browser window open.”
We don’t know anyone who successfully purchased tickets via the virtual queue during that ~30 minute window while ticket sales were open. There were scattered reports of success on social media, and we did hear from several readers who achieved success with that same “loophole” on mobile. (Those are air quotes because it’s not really a loophole–it’s not like they were doing anything nefarious. Glitch might be the better word, but even that isn’t completely accurate.)
By the afternoon, it became clear that there were major issues, and Disneyland closed the virtual queue completely. “The Queue Has Closed,” a message read. Disneyland apologized for the “technical issues” that impacted ticket sales, and indicated that sales were paused while the company works on addressing the problems.
“Guests can visit disneyland.com/oogieboogiebash on Thursday, July 6 at 9 a.m. PT for an update, which may include the date and time when new sales resume. We commit to providing advance notice prior to activating new sales and strive to make the process as smooth as possible. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused. Completed ticket purchases will be honored.”
Ironically enough, we spent the entire day at Disney California Adventure attending a preview of Rogers: The Musical (hence the delay in reporting on this), but kept apprised of the pause while in the park. There was a lot of buzz at that event about the problems with Oogie Boogie Bash ticket sales, with various theories being thrown out.
Usually, the explanation for these problems is pretty uninteresting–a backend system crashes and needs to be reset. That typically happens due to unanticipated high demand–tons of people all inundating the Disneyland.com website at the same time. It’s possible that the same thing happened here, which is what caused the pause.
Similar issues have impacted just about every major product release that has necessitated a virtual queue at Disneyland or Walt Disney World in the last two years. It occurred most recently when 2024 vacation packages were released for Walt Disney World in Florida. For that, the virtual queue was paused for a few hours.
It previously happened with new Annual Pass sales (on both coasts), last year’s Oogie Boogie Bash, and many other things. Specifics aren’t top of mind as I try to block out all of the many hours of my life I’ve wasted in needless Disney virtual queues. (It’s a defense mechanism.) Most of the time, these issues are resolved in about 30-60 minutes. But not for the 2023 Oogie Boogie Bash sales!
As far as theories go, simple “technical issues” that involve processing the virtual queue or payment processing don’t really pass muster. If it were a straightforward problem, it almost certainly would’ve been resolved in line with past precedent. Even if it was a ‘worse’ wrinkle in a type of technical difficulty that’s occurred before, it wouldn’t necessitate this type of delay.
Keep in mind that Disneyland hasn’t even committed to a date for sales to resume. Instead, they announced a date–a week from now–when they might announce a date for sales to recommence. But they didn’t even commit to that! The message specifically says that the update on July 6 “may” include the date and time when new sales resume.
Assuming a new sales date for 2023 Oogie Boogie Bash tickets is given on July 6, it could be as early as July 8, or as late as August 1, 2023–or somewhere in between. (Our guess is that it’ll be another full week later, so July 13.) This alone suggests they’re dealing with something unprecedented, and of a different scale and scope than any past problems.
Personally, I think the most plausible explanation is one that requires an audit of ticket sales or significant changes to the virtual queue system. It’s possible that completed transactions weren’t properly being tracked and counted against capacity or that payment processing wasn’t working properly (we heard from a few people who got through the process, but received a “pending” message rather than a completed transaction). Those types of issues would require more time to address, but I’m skeptical that they’d demand week-plus delays.
With absolutely zero technical expertise or inside info to offer an informed opinion, the theory I like is: reseller bots. That Disneyland’s system got hit hard by an automated attack, and Disney IT quickly flagged the problem, but does not yet have a solution to prevent pirates from purchasing. Yes, this is vaguely conspiratorial…and also an explanation that is rathercharitable towards Disney IT. (Rather than just letting the bots buy tickets and prices explode on the secondary market, Disney IT is heroically attempting to battle the buccaneers!)
It also makes some degree of sense. Despite being prohibited, there has been a cottage industry of ticket reselling for these events for as long as I’ve attended them, dating back to Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland. It used to just be for October 31, but gradually expanded to the couple of nights before that in late October.
Disneyland Halloween party reselling was a small-time side hustle with a handful of sellers and limited number of tickets on eBay and Craigslist. It wouldn’t surprise me if it were mostly being done by fans looking to recoup the cost of their own ticket. Based on what I’ve seen, it was hardly a sophisticated enterprise.
However, eBay pirates have proliferated in recent years. Couple that with the fact that all dates for Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party sold out in record time last year, and the event has sold out every single date for every year of its existence. Disneyland diehards might hate to hear this–especially in light of how much prices have increased on special event tickets over the years–but Oogie Boogie Bash is clearly underpriced as compared to what the market will bear.
That presents a potential opportunity for actual, large-scale resellers who normally deal with sneakers and concert or sporting event tickets to step in and enter this space. They have a pretty good idea that all dates are going to sell out, and that demand will be far higher come August and beyond.
Ultimately, that’s just the (conspiracy) theory that I like the best to explain the pause of 2023 Oogie Boogie Bash ticket sales. Again, I have zero inside info or the technical expertise to make a claim like this. It’s just a shot in the dark and probably wrong. Whatever the actual explanation is, I don’t think it can be a straightforward one.
Disney has experienced this type of issue all the time on both coasts, and it’s usually resolved in 30-60 minutes and, until now, always had been remedied in a few hours. So whatever happened here has gotta be bad–worse than normal and/or unprecedented.
To that point, nothing here is meant to excuse or defend Disney for dropping the ball yet again on another product release. The reason we’re not applying Occam’s razor here is because Disney IT has so many technical difficulties that a clear pattern has emerged–and this defies that.
The fact that this happens so consistently and predictably should alone speak volumes. We aren’t trying to minimize or invalidate anyone’s anger or frustrations. Go ahead, get mad. You should be annoyed that Disney does not seem to value your time.
Even if the explanation here is more nuanced and differs from the “normal” technical difficulties, the fact remains that this happens far too often and it’s beyond frustrating that Disney hasn’t felt the need to fix whatever underlying issues exist that cause this to occur with such frequency.
For practical planning purposes, I will offer one piece of actionable advice: whenever ticket sales do resume for the 2023 Oogie Boogie Bash, be prepared to purchase bright and early on drop day. Intentionally or unintentionally (my guess is the latter), Disney has created a ‘hypebeast’ kind of situation with Oogie Boogie Bash, where scarcity and FOMO are huge drivers of demand.
With other drop day releases, we’ve taken a laid back approach and recommended waiting out the crowd rather than hassling with the headaches of buying on day one, as there was no real reason to do so. This is true of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, among other events and offerings at Walt Disney World. Those things will not actually sell out for weeks, if not months. That’s doubly the case with pent-up demand exhausting itself and interest returning closer to normal levels.
That is not true of Oogie Boogie Bash, which the hype machine is only making more popular. There is zero reason to believe that tickets to this Halloween Party will be available a week after they go on sale, and every reason to believe that they will somehow sell out faster than last year (that was the case with the pre-sale!).
Even if all dates don’t end up selling out on day one–and that’s certainly a possibility–it’s also unknowable at this point. That alone makes waiting a huge gamble–and one that we would not recommend taking. (And in fact, we did not take that risk ourselves–we already bought Oogie Boogie Bash tickets, but have yet to purchase MNSSHP tickets.)
Accordingly, we’d recommend packing your patience and preparing to do this whole thing over again sometime in mid-July 2023 or whenever Disneyland resumes ticket sales for the 2023 Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party. If you want to be notified ASAP when that date is announced, subscribe to our FREE email newsletter for updates.
Have you had issues with Disney IT and ‘recalculating’ pauses with Oogie Boogie Bash or anything else? Did you manage to purchase tickets to this Halloween party? Were you stuck in the virtual queue for hours, or did you manage to buy via the ‘loophole’ while it was open? Any theories, conspiracy or otherwise, for the long pause before a new Oogie Boogie Bash sales date is announced by Disneyland? Once tickets are re-released, will you be buying ASAP, or are you burnt out on this whole process? Do you agree or disagree with our assessments here? Any questions we can help you answer? 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!