Theme Parks: Oogie Boogie Bash

Professional image of the ‘Oogie Boogie Bash’ overlay to California Adventure’s exterior. Copyright goes to Disney, Disney Parks, and professional reviewer photographers..

Hi! It’s Annie!

I feel like most will either think that it’s too early to talk about this or too late to talk about it. After all, it’s only September and the tickets for this event have already long sold out. But, right before quarantine hit, I actually was able to attend this event. Just the once of course and I’m not planning on going back this year. Personally, I am still extremely wary of large events. Especially ones that sell out completely, such as this one. But I did still want to talk about it because there was a lot that I loved about it when I went. People are well aware at this point that this involves trick or treating in a more safe environment than what you could usually find and special interactions with characters. But there’s even more to it than that and even more details to talk about. So I’m going to talk about my own experiences with the event and some of my favorite parts of it!

Character Meet and Greets:

A lot of people expect character meet and greets to mostly happen with villains at these types of events, but that’s something that unfortunately doesn’t happen much anymore. The lines for villains, especially if they are rare characters, became so unmanageable that Disney decided on an alternative for the regular meet and greets. I’ll get back to that later, because this is about the characters that you can actually meet. Or at least, the characters that were available to meet. If you are a video game fan, specifically a fan of ‘Kingdom Hearts’, I’m sure you’ll love this one. At one station, that probably has the longest line of any character meet and greet, you can meet ‘Kingdom Hearts’ Goofy and Donald who switch shifts throughout the night. I personally met Goofy, which is exactly what I wanted. Goofy is one of my favorite Disney characters. And Goofy’s shield does not prevent him from giving you giant warm hugs. You can also spot rare characters such as Baloo in his ‘Talespin’ outfit. I will say, that actual meets are not part of this year’s Bash. You can see the characters but you can’t actually approach them as you were able to before.

Trick or Treat Trails:

This is one of the highlights of the night, so this was a must do. Because these trails are not only about candy. Each trail is themed after a popular Disney Halloween character or Disney villain. And that means that each villain is present at their own trail on a themed stage, where they are talking to guests below. The major villains are all present, such as the Evil Queen and Maleficent. But you also have ones you don’t usually see. My sister and I had an entire conversation with Dr. Facilier that made my night and Ooogie Boogie with his giant gambling wheel is an event in itself. But quite possibly my favorite trail was the Mad Hatter’s from Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’. The Mad Hatter sat elegantly at a tea table, often babbling cheerfully. But every once in a while, his tone and demeanor would darken completely and he would begin talking in a Scottish accent while only speaking in riddles, truly taken over by his madness. I’m a giant ‘Alice in Wonderland’ fan, so I absolutely loved this unexpected addition. Either way, you’ll find more treats than just candy on these trails.

Rides and Events:

Most of the rides remain open for the time that you’re there and there are plenty of shows for you to watch as well. The last year this event took place the parade was the ‘Boo to You!’ parade, which I am very familiar with. So I skipped it. I had other priorities, so I can’t say I am very familiar with the events at this Bash specifically. But I know the parade this year will be the ‘Frightfully Fun Parade’, and there are sure to be differences! Though the addition of Disney villains and ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ characters will definitely still be part of the show. Most of the rides stay the way they are, with a couple exceptions. Namely, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout’ becomes a ‘Monsters After Dark’ version of the ride. It’s a more silent (though there’s still a fun song) and a more thrilling version of the ride. I would say that this overlay for Halloween is just as good as ‘Ghost Galaxy’ is as an overlay on ‘Space Mountain’. While most of the other rides remain the same, you have the added thrill of riding all of them at night.

Villain’s Grove:

This was my favorite part of ‘Oogie Boogie Bash’. In the redwood area of ‘California Adventure’, there is walkthrough attraction for the Bash. It has been completely remade to be the ‘Villain’s Grove’. It’s still family friendly but slightly creepy all the same. But more than that, it is wonderfully immersive. The trail begins with a walk through dimly lit candles, and the reflection of stained glass on the ground. As you make your way through this you hear the unmistakeable whispers of “guilty”. An amazing start to the grove and an amazing nod to Judge Claude Frollo. Throughout the grove you find more nods to villains. Some of my favorites included the vibrantly lit garden that reflected the tastes of the Queen of Hearts. This also included the eerily disappearing smile of the Cheshire Cat. The green lit stone reflecting hyenas marching to an instrumental of ‘Be Prepared’ for Scar was also another favorite of mine. If you pay attention you may be able to spot some of Dr Facilier’s “friends”. But the in between for these sections is also amazing. In between each of these sections is star lighting with small whispers, and only after watching this for a while will you be able to realize that among the stars are the whisps from the Pixar movie “Brave”, guiding you to your fate. The immersive nature of this attraction is really what made it a stand out for me.

While I’m not going to recommend going to this now (I’m certainly not) maybe it would be something to look forward to in the future. The detail that went into this event is amazing and beyond what I originally expected. Especially ‘Villain’s Grove’ which I wasn’t expecting to like as much as I ended up liking it. And recalling these events is getting me more into the Fall spirit. So happy Fall everyone!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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