Villains Treat Trail Tips & Character Meet & Greet Spots at 2023 Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party

Villains treat trails and meet & greets are popular things to do during the Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party. Unfortunately, long lines for characters & candy can consume hours of the event at Disney California Adventure. With that in mind, we’ve made this guide covering where to find each spot, average wait times, priorities & strategy, and when to do everything.

The first thing you need to know is that it’s important to plan ahead. That’s always the case with Disneyland, but it’s particularly important for villains treat trails and character meet & greets at Oogie Boogie Bash. If you simply arrive to DCA at 6 pm when the Halloween party officially starts, grab a party map, and head to a meet & greet or treat trail, you’re going to be at a distinct disadvantage.

In part, this is because Oogie Boogie Bash actually starts before 6 pm, with many lines forming during the ‘mix-in’ time that Disney California Adventure is still open to day guests. It’s also because the official party map doesn’t even list which characters and villains appear where. That’s actually good news if you’re reading this before about 5:30 pm on the day you’re attending Oogie Boogie Bash, as it gives you a strategic advantage.

Before we get going, the first thing you need to know is that there’s a reason we’re drawing a distinction between villains treat trails and character meet & greets. As the name suggests, villains treat trails are walk-throughs where you can collect candy. These feature encounter with villains as their highlight, and do not involve posed photos or autographs. (If you’re lucky and there isn’t much of a line, you might be able to get the character to pose for a quick selfie…but that’s rare and not guaranteed.)

Whereas villains treat trails are unique to Oogie Boogie Bash, character meet & greets are the type of thing you’ll encounter all over Disneyland Resort on a normal day. Slow-moving lines where you can meet characters, get autographs, pose for photos, high-fives, and all that. Adding to the confusion, some meet & greets feature villains. Some also have PhotoPass photographers to take your photos, whereas others do not.

Background out of the way, let’s start with some quick words of warning, which is that it’s exceeding difficult for the average attendee of Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party to do everything. Chances are, you won’t be able to meet every single character, do all of the villains treat trails, see the parade, stage show, ride attractions, etc.

The silver lining is that with a bit of strategy, you can come pretty close to doing all of the Oogie Boogie Bash-exclusive entertainment and offerings during a single Halloween party. To that point, for everything you need to know about this event–beyond characters–see our Ultimate Guide to the 2023 Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party!)

No matter what you plan on doing first, start by arriving early well before the 6 pm start time of Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party. Guests can enter DCA as early as 3 pm, which is 3 hours early. This isn’t some “secret” or a “hidden hack.” Disney advertises this, and event attendees line up to enter Disney California Adventure by about 2:30 pm.

Thankfully, you don’t need to line up nearly that early for any of the character meet & greets or villains treat trails. Seriously, getting in line for anything before 5 pm is major overkill and a complete waste of your time. You do need to be inside DCA well before 6 pm, but use that time to get your event wristband, park map & trick-or-treat bag. Following that, have an early dinner and do attractions for a couple of hours.

At around 5:30 pm, head to your first ‘point of interest’ during Oogie Boogie Bash. Our strong recommendation would be prioritizing a high-demand character meet & greet and NOT a villains treat trail (or anything else, for that matter). Against that backdrop, let’s discuss the Oogie Boogie Bash character meet & greet lineup and locations…

Kingdom Hearts (King Mickey & Friends) – Located in the World of Color viewing area (Paradise Gardens Park), this meet & greet features a rotating cast of characters from the Kingdom Hearts video game series. We’ve done this meet & greet every single year of Oogie Boogie Bash, and we’ve noticed it get progressively less popular each year. Presumably, that’s because it’s a niche video game and the diehards have gotten their “fix” in previous years.

Nevertheless, it’s still one of the top 3 or 4 meet & greets at Oogie Boogie Bash, with wait times regularly exceeding 30 minutes. It also doesn’t help that the characters don’t meet during Frightfully Fun Parade, since they’re also in that. Here, you’ll meet some combination of King Mickey Mouse, Goofy, or Donald Duck. Some years, we’ve met two of those characters together; other times, it’s been one or the other.

This is a good choice for your first character meet & greet of Oogie Boogie Bash. If you get in line at 5:30 pm or so, you should be done shortly after Oogie Boogie Bash begins. Alternatively, jump in line right as the second Frightfully Fun Parade ends.

Bruno from Encanto – If you leave the Kingdom Hearts meet & greet and walk towards Grizzly Peak, you’ll see this character as you walk right towards him–no need to talk about him! (Okay, we’re actually gonna talk about Bruno, too…)

Bruno from Encanto was a highly popular meet & greet when he was added to last year’s Halloween party. Notice that’s past tense. We were absolutely shocked to see Bruno without much of a wait (maybe 20 minutes, max?) at the 2023 Oogie Boogie Bash. My bet is that’s because the new character smell has worn off, and the first event of the season always has a bunch of bloggers and repeat guests. So my guess is that Bruno’s lines will get longer over the course of the Oogie Boogie Bash season.

Regardless, a good time to meet Bruno will be right after the Kingdom Hearts characters if you do those first. Alternatively, you should be able to make it to Bruno during or after the second Frightfully Fun Parade. (Catching him after the Kingdom Hearts characters at the very end of the night is possible, but it’s playing with fire.)

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.

This is the most obvious first pick for a character meet & greet. 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.

During the 2023 Oogie Boogie Bash, we tested a different approach. Although doing this at the beginning is objectively the smartest move, we were absolutely miserable last year waiting in the scorching sun. So this year, we decided to jump in line towards the tail end of the first Frightfully Fun Parade.

Our thinking here was not only that most attendees would be watching Frightfully Fun Parade, but also that the parade route would “block” access to this area. That was correct. We jumped in line when it was at its shortest point during the party, and our wait time ended up being around 45 minutes. Far better than the reported 3+ hour waits we heard about last October! (Another option would be a similar strategy, but lining up during the second parade–just be aware that the line could be cut early.)

Rare Characters (Carthay Circle) – This can be a tricky one due to its location at the very front of the park–catching people as the arrive late or leave early. The characters here are almost all rare, with examples including Merlin, Blue Fairy, Hades & Meg, Captain Hook, Sheriff of Nottingham, Hans, the Hag, and others I’m probably forgetting. This is a really eclectic spot, with characters changing not just every year, but throughout the course of the event during a single year.

The organization of these lines leaves a lot to be desired and you never know who is going to appear at what time–making it difficult/imprudent to line up before a character arrives. These meet & greets also close in advance of Frightfully Fun Parade, as they’re essentially in viewing areas. Most of these lines aren’t too bad, but some (like Hades & Meg) are way worse than the miscellaneous meet & greets below.

Misc. Meet & Greets (Throughout DCA) – In addition to the specific ones we’ve highlighted above, there are a number of character meet & greets around Disney California Adventure:

  • Marvel Super Heroes in Avengers Campus
  • Pixar Pals in Pixar Pier
  • Radiator Springs Residents in Cars Land

These can be done pretty much whenever, with lines being shortest towards the end of the evening. With that said, you have to do something during the first half of the party, and moderate priority meet & greets are a pretty good option.

The only line we found to be even moderately long is Lotso from Toy Story 3, and that’s because he’s a new addition for the 2023 Oogie Boogie Bash. It wouldn’t surprise me if even Lotso has a <15 minute line at subsequent Halloween parties this year. (Carl Fredricksen and Russell also appear in Pixar Pier at the 2023 Oogie Boogie Bash; I don’t recall ever seeing them before, but could be wrong on that.)

With character meet & greets out of the way, let’s turn to the 2023 Oogie Boogie Bash Villains Treat Trail lineup and locations…

Judge Doom (Soarin’ Overflow in Grizzly Peak Airfield) – The marquee addition to the Villains Treat Trail lineup for the 2023 Oogie Boogie Bash is Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Disneyland Resort first teased with a video showing an A1 Solvents barrel of turpentine with green goo inside with shoelaces hanging out. That kickstarted the hype, which ran all the way to the start of the first Halloween party.

We want to start by giving a huge kudos to Disney for even making this happen. It’s really remarkable that any characters from Who Framed Roger Rabbit are appearing at Oogie Boogie Bash–the movie has been subject to a bitter rights dispute for decades, which has resulted in several stalled sequels. Even Hollywood power players haven’t been able to make it happen, and Roger Rabbit has slowly faded from the parks.

Just sharing that so everyone reading this appreciates the great lengths to which Disneyland went just to bring this Judge Doom treat trail to fruition. I don’t have any inside info, but I’m guessing it has taken literal years to make this a reality. The good news is that Disney Live Entertainment and everyone else involved did not squander the opportunity. Judge Doom is one of the top 2 characters at the 2023 Oogie Boogie Bash, and is an absolute must-see.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the character, Judge Doom is portrayed by Christopher Lloyd in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? His ‘weapon’ of choice is the Dip, an infamous chemical he created to kill cartoons. This is relevant for a couple of reasons. First, the actor’s portrayal of Judge Doom is absolutely spot on. He looks, sounds, and behaves like Judge Doom. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think it were a younger Christopher Lloyd up there.

Second, Judge Doom actually has the Dip on stage with him and he uses it about every 5-10 minutes to kill a cartoon shoe. It’s pretty amusing that Walt Disney World does everything possible to keep its Halloween party not so scary and fun for all ages. Meanwhile, Disneyland is out letting villains murder terrified footwear every few minutes live on stage. Joking aside, below is video so you can decide for yourself whether this is too intense for your family:

We debated lining up for Judge Doom at the start of the event, but ultimately opted against it because we assumed (rightly) that diehard Disneyland fans would disproportionately do this first. As a result, this had an absurdly long line that stretched back to Carthay Circle before Oogie Boogie Bash started. It had to have been a 30 minute wait in the beginning, if not longer.

Our guess is that this will die down with subsequent Halloween parties, but will still be bad early on throughout the season since it’s new to a lot of annual attendees at every single Oogie Boogie Bash. When the line is long like this, Cast Members necessarily need to keep it moving and will push guests through to avoid congestion and overcrowding. So not only will you wait longer, but you’ll have an inferior experience.

Instead, we did the Judge Doom Treat Trail a few times after the halfway point of the 2023 Oogie Boogie Bash we attended. There was never any line when we did it. Not just that, but only small crowds had gathered to watch Judge Doom’s performance, which was allowed by crowd control Cast Members (off to the left side) because it wasn’t busy.

Consequently, we were able to watch Judge Doom for over 5 minutes on each occasion. He was nothing short of fantastic, going through both scripted lines and improvised dialogue with guests in attendance. During one visit, he spotted guests dressed as Jessica and Roger Rabbit, hassling them and continuing to riff based on what they said. It was awesome–a highlight of the event. Point being, we highly recommend heading to Judge Doom later in the evening and spending some time to watch his performance. Disney hit this one out of the park!

Yokai (San Fransokyo Square) – We regret to report that the other addition for the 2023 Oogie Boogie Bash is not nearly as good. Yokai, the villain from Big Hero 6, meets in the recently reimagined San Fransokyo Square, in the same spot as the Baymax meet & greet (during the day).

Yokai’s dialogue is pre-recorded, and his spiel seems like it’s 5 minutes long, tops. Maybe it’s longer, I’m not really sure, but the topics quickly become repetitive, redundant, and (honestly) grating. I love Big Hero 6, but this just misses the mark, especially when contrasted with the far superior Judge Doom (or almost any of the other treat trails, for that matter).

This never had much of a line. If it does for whatever reason, you can easily watch Yokai’s entire spiel while sitting at tables in San Fransokyo Square. I heard everything he had to say…and then some…while waiting for someone to use the restroom. Sadly, I hope he’s a one and done, and not brought back for the 2024 Oogie Boogie Bash.

Ernesto de la Cruz (Hyperion Theatre) – We mentioned above that Judge Doom is one of the top 2 treat trails. This is the other one that’s next level. (I’d probably rank Ernesto de la Cruz #1, but they’re totally different to the point of being incomparable.)

Ernesto de la Cruz from Coco debuted at least year’s Oogie Boogie Bash, and he absolutely stole the show. This year, he’s been moved to the outdoor queue of the Hyperion Theatre, which was an absolutely brilliant move from a crowd flow perspective (it makes us feel a little better about losing Rogers: The Musical).

Mercifully, a dedicated viewing area for Ernesto de la Cruz has been added behind the treat trail, allowing guests to stick around and watch his musical performances. He highly recommend doing exactly that. I honestly don’t know which I enjoy more, seeing Judge Doom kill a ‘toon on stage, or Ernesto de la Cruz kill it singing “Remember Me.” Why not both?!

With this new viewing area, you can pretty much see Ernesto de la Cruz whenever, but a good option is watching Frightfully Fun Parade from in front of the Hyperion Theatre, and then doing this Treat Trail after the parade passes. (Alternatively, do it after meeting the Sanderson Sisters.)

Cruella De Vil (Hollywood Backlot Stage) – In the same general area as Ernesto de la Cruz and the Sanderson Sisters meet & greet is Cruella De Vil from the live action remake. The actor here bears an uncanny resemblance to Emma Stone, and I feel like that’s the only reason this still exists.

The line for this can be long, but it’s manageable after the parade. We’ve noticed that Cruella sometimes disappears for brief breaks. On the plus side, she also poses for selfies and photos when things slow down a bit. (No guarantees on that, though.)

Agatha Harkness (Ancient Sanctum in Avengers Campus) – Now that WandaVision is old news, the Agatha Harkness treat trail is not nearly as popular as it once was. Still, you might encounter a line here towards the beginning of the event.

By hour two of the 2023 Oogie Boogie Bash, the wait here was never more than 5 minutes long. We also think this treat trail looks better with the Ancient Sanctum lanterns illuminated, but if you’re trying to take phone photos or videos, you may beg to differ and favor it during daylight hours.

Madam Mim (Bountiful Valley Hideaway Near Cars Land) – Madam Mim is the villain of Disney’s 1963 animated feature film, The Sword in the Stone. Mad Madam Mim is a wicked, old witch who relishes in the misery of others. She believes herself to be the greatest wizard of all time, but her magic is rivaled by her nemesis, Merlin.

This synopsis brought to you courtesy of Google, which I still have to search whenever I write about Madam Mim because I constantly forget whether she’s from the Sword in the Stone or the Black Cauldron. (Sorry, I’ll surrender my Disney fan card now.) Madam Mim is fantastic, and I really appreciate Disneyland doing such a deep cut character. With that said, because she’s so obscure, the line never tends to be too bad.

Oogie Boogie (Inside Animation Building in Hollywood Land) – The titular villain of Disney California Adventure’s Halloween party, it should be no surprise that Oogie Boogie has one of the most popular treat trails. That’s especially true early on in the evening, when his line can spill outside the building.

On the plus side, the character himself being hidden from view does lead to slightly shorter lines, and Oogie Boogie is “old news” among annual attendees by this point. Editorializing a bit, I’d also add that all of the face character villains are better than the fur character ones in these scenarios, as the latter cannot improvise or interact with guests in any meaningful way. Still, you shouldn’t miss Oogie Boogie if it’s your first time–after all, it is his event! Just go in the second half of the night.

Sid (Pixar Pal-Around in Pixar Pier) – Like how the actress in the Cruella treat trail nails the likeness of Emma Stone, it amazes me how this adult Sid actor somehow looks like the kid from the animated Toy Story movies. It’s truly impressive. Even more impressive is how the actor hits the right notes with the mannerisms of Sid, and heckles guests in line.

I can’t explain why, but Sid was far and away the most popular treat trail at the 2023 Oogie Boogie Bash we attended. The first time we saw it, the wait was easily 15 minutes, which is really long by treat trail standards. Even at the very end of the event, Sid still had a line. This one seems to get progressively busier with each passing year.

Mother Gothel (Grizzly Pass) – The villain from Tangled is tucked away in the quiet bypass behind Grizzly River Run. Because this area is secluded, there’s seldom much of a line, giving you ample opportunity to interact with Mother Gothel, if you so desire.

This is a great option to do after Judge Doom en route to Pixar Pier, as you’ll avoid the crowd and congestion for Villains Grove. (Grizzly Pass quite literally living up to its name!)

Ultimately, hopefully this helps you plan your strategy for character meet & greets and villains treat trails at the 2023 Oogie Boogie Bash. One final thing to note is that we (obviously) do not attend every single Halloween party. That would quickly get ridiculously expensive! However, we’ve been doing this annually since back in the day when it was Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland, and have done every single Oogie Boogie Bash since the inaugural event.

From that, we’ve learned a ton…including that there’s still a lot of inconsistency and variability. While things should generally be consistent over the course of the event, what we experience in early September could be slightly different than what you encounter in late October. Just something of which you should be aware as you plan the characters you want to meet–and everything else you’ll do during OBB. With that in mind, if you want a comprehensive itinerary for the event, see our 1-Night Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party Plan!

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 many other SoCal cities!

YOUR THOUGHTS

Have you attended the 2023 Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party? Which character meet & greets and villains treat trails are your top priorities? Did you meet the Sanderson Sisters or Kingdom Hearts Disney Pals…or were those lines too long for you? What about Bruno, Lotso, or other rare characters with more moderate lines? Do you disagree with any of our advice? 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!

9 Responses to “Villains Treat Trail Tips & Character Meet & Greet Spots at 2023 Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party”
  1. Caity September 12, 2023
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