Oogie Boogie Bash ‣ Our spooktacular recap of the Inaugural Opening Night!
For the first time in FOURTEEN Halloween seasons, we opted to kick off fall at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California! We've been a few times before and have done just about everything there is to do at their sister property (Halloween comparison blog coming soon), so I thought I knew what we were in for - but I've got to say, I was SO impressed with Halloween at Disneyland. They really go all out!
Oogie Boogie Bash takes place on select nights from September 9th to October 31st, from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m., and requires a separate admission ticket for entry. Depending on the day you go, tickets range from $116 to $169 per person, and have been SOLD OUT for the entire year since late August. Having replaced the coveted "Mickey's Halloween Party," I can see why it garnered such excitement and have to say, it's totally worth the face-price.
Guests are allowed to mix-in to California Adventure night with daytime visitors at 3:00 p.m. We headed down from Paradise Pier Hotel around 4:00, shot for about an hour, then spent every last moment until the park closed (actually, about forty-five minutes after the park closed!) riding rides and trick-or-treating.
For our fellow Halloween buffs who also go all out with costumes, heed this advice! Get your pictures at the beginning of the party, when the makeup's still crisp and before everyone is sweaty and cranky. That way, you can hop on rides and try all of the seasonal snacks without worrying about messing everything up. Taking pictures during the afternoon mix-in can be tricky, because the light is harsh and it boasts the hottest temperatures of the day (which is why we usually don't go in until 5:00 or 6:00 p.m.) but shooting early opened up the entire party for us to experience all Oogie Boogie Bash had to offer, without feeling like we had to rush to cram it all in.
And speaking of pictures, let me just tip my hat to the Disney Creative team, who took all of these photos! We were invited as special guests for the opening night of Oogie Boogie Bash, and they made everything so magical for us. (Thank you, thank you, thank you!)
All of the PhotoPass pictures are included with your ticket entry, and photographers are scattered throughout the park, from mix-in to close, for group and character shots. Many classic Disney characters are in costume party attire, rare characters are out greeting guests, and some were even actually available for pre-covid-era pictures and hugs! Awww, the inching back to normalcy.
Immersive Trick or Treat Trails
In my opinion, the coolest thing about the bash was the immersive trick-or-treat trails. Each one featured a rare character interaction including Agatha from Wanda Vision, Sid from Toy Story, Dr. Facillier, The Evil Queen, Maleficient, (the new) Cruella (eeeeep!), Tim Burton's Mad Hatter, and even Oogie Boogie, himself. Each character was perched on an impressive custom set and im-proved to trick-or-treaters as they passed by to collect their candy. The only thing I can compare the interactions to is the Fat Lady at Haunted Mansion in Disney World - though the sets themselves rivaled that of a stage show. The ad-libbing talent and the amount of work and detail that when into each trail.... it was just... *chef's kiss*.
And not only that - but they gave you SO much loot! Not just candy, but Jack Skellington tattoos, bags of chips, apple sauce, graham crackers, and grapes! We actually had to dump our treasure trove into Kennedy's backpack, halfway through the evening, because our treat bags were filled to the brim.
Decor and Attractions
California Adventure is all decked out for Halloween with daytime decor, but another thing we were impressed by was all of the special party decorations and lighting at night. For instance, the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail transforms at dusk into "Villains Grove," an enchanted forest featuring mystical lights, sights and sounds. The line for it was pretty long, but it was nothing like we'd ever seen before - mostly akin to a walk through experience of the Once Upon A Time Castle Projection Show. We also noticed at the DescenDANCE party that some of the decor from Club Villain had made it's way to the stage!
Most of the regular attractions stay open for the party, PLUS Guardians of the Galaxy - Monsters After Dark is back for the season. Cars Land also gets a makeover, becoming the town of Radiator Screams, with seasonal ride updates at Luigi's Honkin' Haul-O-Ween and Mater's Graveyard JamBOOree. My suggestion is always to keep your eye on the app and skip any long lines during prime time. Usually, during either parade and after the first parade is over, the line-times cut in half. This year, we were able to ride everything we wanted, and hit the trails, and watch the parade, and eat dinner, because Disneyland did such a great job limiting capacity. The only line I can recall exceeding twenty minutes was Radiator Springs Racers, but Kennedy and I went through as single-riders and were able to walk right on!
Frightfully Fun Parade
We were also so happy to see the "Frightfully Fun Parade" - which was a long time hit at Mickey's Halloween Party in Disneyland, and found its new home at the Oogie Boogie Bash for the first time this year. It's also the first parade that's returned to Disneyland Resort since the pandemic and I think I can speak for both Kennedy and I when I say it was worth the two year wait.
Because there are fewer guests at the party than during the day, finding up-front viewing spots appeared to be pretty easy. But if you're like me, and tend to gravitate towards costumes that aren't sit-on-the-curb friendly, book one of the dining packages. We decided to do the ten p.m. seating of the Oogie Boogie Bash Dessert Party at Sonoma Terrace; a little Oogie-bougie for some, but I would never do it any other way. It cost an additional $84 per guest (no special pricing for children) and included reserved, table seating along the beginning of the parade route.
Once we were seated, our servers brought us both our individual desert platters, which included a red velvet bundt cake, orange creamsicle rice crispy, chocolate meringue mousse (mine and K's favorite), dark fudge cake pop, raspberry mini streusel, and a bunch of gummy centipedes. It also included unlimited vodka, rum, beer, wines, and other non-alcoholic beverages. Kennedy loved the festival fall punch, which she described as a sour strawberry-lemonade.
As you can see from the (very grainy) pictures (*kicks self for not bringing an external flash), we were seated in a private, fenced in terrace directly adjacent to the parade route, that was blocked off on our side to guests.
A slightly more affordable option is to book the Oogie Boogie Bash Dining Parade Package, which includes a 3-course prix fixe meal earlier in the day, and gives you return seating to reserved viewing areas for the Frightfully Fun Parade. These appeared to be group seating. The price for adults is $55 and $40 for children ages 3-9.
Costumes and Ticket Information
Not as many people were in costumes as I would have expected, but there were a couple of really impressive groups - and a lot of Oogie Boogie's! Costumes are subject to Disney guidelines and should not be obstructive or offensive; please check special event costume guidelines at https://disneyland.disney.go.com/faq/parks/dress for restrictions.
Although the party is sold out through the website, I was told that you might have some luck day-of, at the ticket-booth, or from the concierge, if you are staying on property. If not, be sure to mark your calendars for July 2022, when next-season's tickets are expected to go on sale. While I'm sure the limited availability is owed in part to social-distancing guidelines, the tickets did sell out in about five weeks this year, so better to get them sooner than never!
*Tickets not required for Guests ages 2 and under. Tickets are non-refundable and may not be resold or transferred for a commercial purpose. Offer and event elements are subject to restrictions, change or cancellation without notice.