Planning some spooktacular fun at Disneyland Resort’s NEW Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party? Read on to get the BEST Oogie Boogie Bash tips, ensuring that your special Halloween Party night at Disney California Adventure is as magical as possible. Between the new, immersive trick-or-treating trails, the live entertainment, the Disney villain characters (including Oogie Boogie himself), and all the fun Halloween details, these tips will help you plan your Oogie Boogie Bash experience and maximize your special party time. Halloween Time at Disneyland is always a fun time to visit, but the Halloween Party (requiring a separate ticket) is an extra special thing. For many years, Mickey’s Halloween Party has been the source of the fun! But this year, Disney changed things up and moved the party over to California Adventure with a new name & theme: Oogie Boogie Bash: A Disneyland Halloween Party. The whole theme fits SO well after the Halloween additions to California Adventure that were made in 2017, including the giant Oogie Boogie who welcomes guests to the park this time of year.
About the Oogie Boogie Bash
As we mentioned above, the Oogie Boogie Bash is Disneyland’s Halloween Party, happening on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday nights from mid-September through October 31st. I had the pleasure of attending the opening night on September 17th and LOVED it! Your party ticket (a separate purchase from regular park tickets, starting at $110) gets you into the bash, running from 6pm – 11pm on party nights. Do note though that the party ticket allows guest to enter the park up to 4 hours before the party starts (at either 2pm or 3pm depending on the day).
When you arrive at the park with your party ticket, you’ll be given a wrist band to signify your party admission. Guests without wrist bands will be required to leave the park at 6pm. In addition to all the regular park attractions, you’ll find all the special Oogie Boogie Bash attractions & entertainment (detailed below), guests of ALL ages can dress in costume, and party tickets include free Photopass downloads (plus MaxPass access during your time in the park)! Unfortunately, tickets for the 2019 Oogie Boogie Bash are already sold out! If you’re interested in attending next year, be sure to buy your tickets early!!! This year, party tickets went on sale in April!!! So, you definitely need to plan ahead if this is something you’re interested in attending! For those that already have tickets for this year (or those planning ahead to next year), be prepared for a spooktacular time! There is SO much fun stuff to check out during the party, so read on to get all the best tips below!
Oogie Boogie Bash Tips
With only 5 hours of special party time, it’s best to go in with a plan! So, hopefully these top 10 Oogie Boogie Bash tips will help you prepare for the party and maximize your time so that you have the BEST time ever!
1. Don’t buy a park ticket on party day!
Your party ticket gets you into the parks at either 2pm or 3pm (depending on the date of your party). So, save your money and plan a relaxing morning. Sleep in. Hang out at the hotel pool. Spend some leisurely time at Downtown Disney. I’d recommend this plan for any group of travelers, but ESPECIALLY for families. It’s going to be a late night and the party is busy. Good busy, but busy nonetheless. You want the kids to be able to enjoy as much of it as possible(for as long as possible). So, take it slow that morning and skip the parks!
2. Pick the right costumes.
First up, it’s important to note that costumes are NOT required. But I certainly think it makes the night WAY more fun! This is especially true because adults are normally NOT allowed to wear costumes inside Disney Parks, but the Halloween party is the exception to that rule. So, it’s really fun to take advantage of that party privilege. Also, I’ll just throw in there that while Disney themed costumes are not required, it’s my personal preference if you’re going to dress up. All the fellow Disney fans and cast members really seem to enjoy the creativity of the Disney costumes especially. To help you decide, we have a whole list of awesome Disney group costume ideas! As you choose your costumes though, you need to account for two key things: Disneyland’s costume rules AND the weather. The fall weather in Southern California is VERY variable. It could be VERY warm, especially in those late afternoon hours before the sun goes down. This was certainly the case on the 17th (the 1st party night), and I was VERY thankful that I wasn’t in a bulky, hot, polyester costume. On the other hand, fall nights there can sometimes be rather chilly – at least requiring a light jacket. So, it’s best to consider costumes that could be layered easily if needed and aren’t overly bulky or warm. For instance, our Monsters University costume theme with furry costumes probably wouldn’t be the best choice. Instead, something like our Jake & the Never Land Pirates costumes might be a better option! Also, do remember that there are a strict set of rules that guests must adhere to. And, there are stricter rules for adults (like no masks) than for the kids. So, you want to double check your party tickets and FAQ’s for Disney’s full, up-to-date list of costume rules. In general though, the basics are shown on the Oogie Boogie Bash sign photo above. Keep it family-friendly and safe!
3. Arrive Early (and enter through the Grand Californian)!
To maximize your time in the park for the event, be sure you arrive early. You don’t want to miss any of the party by not showing up until like 5:30 or something. But, I really recommend arriving at least a few minutes before you can get in with your party tickets. So, either around 1:30 or 2:30 depending on your entrance time. Since just about everyone else will want to be maximizing their time though, plan for there to be a line. On opening night (September 17th), we arrived to the front entrance line at 3:05pm. Between the park entrance line and then the party line to get wristbands, we were not done until 3:40pm. Eek! It was definitely a wait (and a hot one at that in the sun)! You can see just a little glimpse of the lines in this photo: In this scenario, we made two big mistakes. First, we should have arrived BEFORE 3pm to get in line earlier. Secondly, we should have entered through the Grand Californian Hotel. As registered guests of one of the resort hotels with hotel key cards, we should have had no problem entering through that park entrance. And, in talking with others, that line was SIGNIFICANTLY shorter. There is a chance that they could choose to limit this entrance JUST to guests staying at the Grand, but I personally haven’t seen that to be the case. So, it definitely may be worth the try.
4. Eat dinner before the party starts
There is SO much to do during the party as it is, so you don’t want to waste any time eating dinner during it! This is one of the reasons to enter the parks early! Plan to get a decent meal (before bellies get full with candy) BEFORE 6pm. For the best options (and proximity to other attractions), I recommend grabbing food in Cars Land or at Pacific Wharf. If you’re a soup fan, then I highly recommend the seasonal soup at Pacific Wharf Cafe. I have NO idea what it has to do with “Halloween time”, but this Bacon Cheddar Ale soup is SO good! Served in a delicious sourdough bread, it’s a perfectly hearty dinner to have before you hit the trick-or-treating trails. YUM! Doesn’t it look SO good?! I wish they served this year round – I’d totally order it again! So, eat some yummy dinner like this and then get ready to party!
5. Get character photos early for best light
There are fun photo opps and characters stationed throughout the park. If you’d like to get at least one or two GOOD photos in during the party, I recommend doing this first. We were in Cars Land near the start of the party and we had virtually NO wait for our cute character photos with our favorite Cars characters in costume. So, if there is a particular character you’d like a great photo with or a particular place in the park you’d like a good photo, plan for that first. You’ll have about 45 minutes or so of good light once the party starts to get your best photos in. Plus, it seemed like most people were getting in line for the treat trails or going on rides than in line for characters right at the start of the party.
6. Hit ALL 5 Immersive Treat Trails (and after dark)!!!
Trick-or-treating has always been a popular part to the Halloween Party. Honestly, at our first party, we didn’t even do too much trick-or-treating because there was SO much fabulous other stuff to see and do (like little wait time on rides even). Plus, coming home with 5 giant bags of candy really isn’t my thing. BUT this year, it’s a MUST!!! Disney really upped their game this year by making some of the treat trails immersive. And they are AWESOME!!!!!! On your Oogie Boogie Bash Party map, you’ll see that there are 10 treat trails in total throughout the park. Of those 10, half of them are immersive and those are the ones that are MUST-DOs! You can totally skip the regular 5 and JUST do the 5 immersive ones (and you’ll still have a FULL bag of candy). And not only are they a must, but the outdoor ones are a must AFTER DARK!
The reason for the after dark recommendation is because the immersive trails are themed, complete with a live villain and special effects (like lighting, fog, music, etc). The whole vibe of the trails in darkness really highlights the special effects and just helps give you a fuller Disney Halloween experience. Here’s the Immersive Treat Trail List with locations so you can plan ahead:
- Mad Hatter at Hyperion Theater
- *Dr. Facilier (the Shadow Man) at Stage 17
- *Oogie Boogie at Animation Academy
- Maleficent at Soarin’
- Evil Queen at Grizzly River Run
*Note: Dr. Facilier and Oogie Boogie are both at INSIDE venues and quite near each other. So, I recommend starting with the immersive treat trails here. It doesn’t really matter if it’s quite fully dark yet for these two trails. So, start with these two and then head on to the other trails once it’s actually dark. Seriously guys, these trails are SOOOooooo cool! And the villains are SO good! The Evil Queen was both creepy and HILARIOUS! The Snow White and Princess jokes were on point! And Maleficent! Oh my…fantastic! I think that trail was my favorite just for the overall vibe, though I really did love them all! The photos don’t even do it justice. These trails were my favorite thing of the night, so they get my pick for the absolute MUST-DO of the party!
7. Don’t wait for the parade
Now, don’t get me wrong here – I am not suggesting that you just completely skip the parade. It’s cute and a little spooky (but nothing too scary for little ones); it has characters that you rarely get to see in the parks; and as the name suggests, it is indeed FUN! BUT…I don’t think you should sacrifice valuable party time in order to camp out to wait for the parade. I saw some people sitting for upwards of 45 minutes before the parade starts for a good seat. And I just don’t think it’s necessary. Yes, there is only 1 showing of the parade, but the route is LONG and there are tons of viewing spots. So, while you might not get a prime seat, you’ll likely be able to find decent viewing even just as the parade is starting.
8. Watch the late showing of Villainous!
Unlike the parade, there are two showings of World of Color: Villainous! And I recommend hitting the second one. The show is FANTASTIC (I love the World of Color shows) and I think it has enough fun elements to hold most kids’ interest. However, at just over 20 minutes long (you actually can head over to Mom Endeavors on Instagram and catch almost the entire show on my IgTV channel), I don’t think it’s best to do the 9:00 showing. That showing is right after the parade, which means many people just stay on the parade route for World of Color (which also means it’s busier). Plus, it’s sort of right in the middle of the party and kids might be getting tired. So, if you’ve got kids, I recommend pushing through some other more interactive activities (or rides) and then hitting Villainous to end the night. Little ones will likely fall asleep in the stroller, so you can enjoy the show. And, that showing tends to have far fewer crowds meaning you don’t have to arrive as early for a good spot!
9. Be prepared to pick & choose attractions
As you might be gathering from all the details of this post, it is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to do every single thing offered at the Oogie Boogie Bash in the time allotted. Those 5 hours go by FAST! And there is simply too much spooktacular fun to be able to do it all. So, it’s best to prepare ahead of time (by reading posts like this – thank you!) and going into the event with a plan.
In addition to all the awesome things I’ve listed so far, there’s also some really fun shows this year. First up is DescenDANCE in the Hollywood Backlot area- a fun dance party show, perfect for kids, tweens, & teens that are fans of the Descendants movies. The dancing in this show was AMAZING! But if the Descendants aren’t your thing, then this might be one thing to skip. Similarly, there’s an adorable show for the younger kids in Disney Junior Dance Party theater: Mickey’s Trick or Treat. It’s a perfect show for families with young kids (definitely for the under 10 crowd, especially perfect for the preschooler/kinder age group)! And with multiple show times throughout the night, it’s definitely something you can try to fit in. But, if you don’t have young kids, this show is probably one to skip. Then of course, there’s the fact that ride lines will be shorter. Plus, there’s the trick-or-treat trails, the parade, World of Color, character photo opps, fun food, etc. So you are going to HAVE to pick and choose what you do. You might sacrifice rides to do more of the special opps. (In fact, I didn’t do a SINGLE ride once the party started in order to experience as much as possibly for this post). Or maybe you’ll take advantage of short ride times (with MaxPass) instead of doing the parade or shows. Just know this going in and have your top priorities in mind as you go through the night so you aren’t disappointed.
10. Consider skipping Villains Grove with kids!
Redwood Creek Challenge Trail is transformed into Villains Grove for the Oogie Boogie Bash. It’s a mystical, hauntingly beautiful walkthrough – like a Disneyfied version of some sort of spooky Halloween maze. And truly, it’s visually STUNNING. The effects and lighting and sounds are fabulous! In fact, I was mesmerized walking through some of the enchanted areas like this one pictured below. So, why would I consider skipping it? Because there is nothing interactive or engaging about the walkthrough – no activities, no trick-or-treating, no characters to be found, no photo opps. And because of that, it’s something you might consider skipping if you’re there with kids – especially since time is so limited during the party anyway.. Teens might enjoy it from a visual standpoint. And as an adult, I certainly did. But, when the immersive treat trails are almost just as cool and WITH candy & characters, Villains Grove just doesn’t measure up. If Disney added a few candy stations in here and/or some characters, I think it would really change my recommendation. But as it is for now, I think it’s one you could skip with kids. Also, the line for this was INSANELY long at various points throughout the night. Like I’m talking crazy long! DO NOT WAIT IN A CRAZY LINE FOR THIS EVEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE KIDS! We waited until close to the end of the night to jump in line, which was significantly shorter and moved quickly. So, if you’d like to see it, I recommend waiting and doing this one close to the very end of the night.
Overall Oogie Boogie Bash Thoughts
I loved Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland, so I was honestly a little unsure about how well I would like this party and whether or not I thought I’d find it to be “worth it”. After all, $110+ tickets add up quickly for a family. BUT, I can honestly say that I LOVED the party and the whole vibe at California Adventure. The immersive treat trails were hands-down the highlight of the night and I hope this is something Disney continues for years to come. In addition, I found the park to be easy to navigate and not too crowded overall. Plus, you’ll leave with a whole big bag of treats if you’d like! And it’s the GOOD stuff.
Tip: If you have food allergy or “too much sugary candy” concerns, Disney has you covered for that too. In addition to all the different candy options, there were alternatives like various types of chips, Craisins, GoGo Squeeze, baby carrots, apple slices, freeze dried apples, and more. So, be sure to request those items on the trails if you want to go easy on the candy! So, it’s definitely a fun Disney experience and worth the price of admission! No matter how you choose to spend the evening, I think you’re sure to have an Oogie Boogie BLAST! 😉 If you’ve been to the party, let us know your best tips, thoughts, or must-do’s in the comments below!
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