Carsland was all decorated for HalloweenTime again this year! Scary Car was waiting to greet guests at the Carsland sign. This year they had a plush of the Scary Car, along with a ornament. There was also an ornament of the Dia de los Muertos car.
The graveyard near Mater's was back featuring ominous warnings to travelers. These look better at night, but they're also much harder to read because of the low lighting.
Posters for four Halloween Themed movies were on the garage wall across from Sarge's.
Sarge's pump-can patch was back, along with the giant oil-can spider.
Spooky decor along Route 66.
Mater's Junkyard Jamboree sign and Sarge's tree were decorated with purple lights.
Cute signs and decor in and around Radiator Springs Curios.
The spooky car is again wrapped around the tree...make sure to watch it for a few minutes to see the spooky lights and hear the ominous/ghostly rumblings...
Luigi's tire tower is back, along with the Horn of Plenty! Inside there were pumpkin tires (which ties in nicely to the pumpkin tire straw they're offering at the CS location in Carsland).
Flo's is decorated with spider webs and the spider car is out front.
Ramone's House of Body Art has a Dia de los Muertos car outside and an ofrenda for Doc Hudson inside.
Lightning McQueen and Mater were all dressed up for Halloween.
Even the Cozy Cones were decorated for Halloween!
Stanley had his witch's hat and the Courthouse had eyes!
Plaza de la Familia
The Paradise Gardens Park area of DCA was once again transformed into the Plaza de la Familia, celebrating Coco! There was specialty food items, arts & crafts, the World of Coco exhibit, and a musical show. Inside the gazebo (where they used to have character M&Gs), was a display with art from Coco and some recreations of Santa Cecilia.
Dante was outside, in a display of yellow flowers.
Inside were several groups of art and props. Each had several pictures, plus information about the story of Coco.
The banners hanging across the ceiling had several different images of the characters from Coco.
In the center was a display honoring Ernesto de la Cruz. The old TV played clips from his movies.
Another display, this one focusing on the the Land of the Dead.
Disneyland always releases several souvie type items for HalloweenTime...popcorn buckets, travel mugs, straw clips, glow cubes, etc.
Poison Apple Cauldron - This year's big new premium popcorn bucket was the Poison Apple Cauldron ($20)! The lid lights up and there is even a Hidden Mickey on the top!
Oogie Boogie - The second premium bucket this year featured Oogie Boogie ($18). It's very similiar to last year's design, but the base and strap are much more colorful and Oogie is a brighter green color.
Round Popcorn Bucket - This year, there were two HalloweenTime round popcorn buckets! One for each park. The DL one looks like the travel mug and features Mickey and friends in Halloween costumes. The DCA one has Oogie Boogie and the Headless Horseman.
Purple Poison Apple Glow Cube - This was a Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge exclusive this year. It comes with the Poison Apple-tini ($17).
Green Poison Apple Glow Cube -Last year, this was the exclusive glow cube at Carthay Circle, but this year it is readily available throughout the resort ($5). I did not see the red poison apple glow cube this year.
Green Poison Apple Stein - Another new items for this year, the green poison apple stein looks like the red one, but is green (prices vary, ~$14-$16).
Headless Horseman Straw Clip - Another items that was available last year (not at the start of the season) was the Headless Horseman Straw Clip ($6). Both the horse's eyes and the pumpkin's face light up.
Pumpkin Tire Straw - This was also available last year (not at the start of the season), and is again available in Carsland ($6).
Travel Mug - This year's travel mug features Mickey and friends in cute Halloween costumes ($7.50). It's available at most CS locations throughout both parks.
Haunted Mansion Holiday, 2018
Every year at HalloweenTime, the Haunted Mansion is transformed into the Haunted Mansion Holiday. Jack Skellington and his friends re-decorate the Mansion and move in for a bit. Overall, the 2018 version of Haunted Mansion Holiday looked pretty similiar to the previous versions, with only a few small changes (aside from the Gingerbread house).
Oogie Boogie's Bash, September 22, 2019
The annual Halloween party was held over in Disney's California Adventure this year. We attended the third Oogie Boogie's Bash of the year. While there were some similarities to Mickey's Halloween Party (MHP), there were also some major changes. As always, our focus is usually on the live entertainment, parade, fireworks (or in this case, WoC), trick-or-treating, and soaking in the atmosphere.
Overall, this party had some good elements (immersive treat trails), some interesting elements (Villains Grove), and some disappointments (WoC). In general, we felt that the party was lacking and we hope that it'll return to Disneyland next year.
This year's OBB map featured Oogie Boogie on the front and had the usual information about where things would be available.
There was signage out in the Esplanade letting guests know that DCA would be closing at 6:00 pm for the party and that the party was sold out! There were also signs just inside the ticket gates to DCA.
Along the walkway, there was also a sign reminding guests about the costume rules for OBB. It's generally the same rules in the past years.
Another sign let guests know that Mars Wrigley was this year's candy sponsor. That was both good and bad...good because there were a lot of popular/familiar candy, but it also meant that most of my favorites were no longer being given out!
This year, the costumes felt like there was a very different vibe. In the past, most guests seemed to embrace the "child-friendly/family-friendly" guidelines. This year, there were noticeably more costumes that veered into the creepy. There were also a lot more guests dressed up as Oogie Boogie (and he's on the creepy-side). The most common costumes seemed to be Jessie, Starlord and Gamora, and Sally. It also felt like there were far fewer guests in full costumes, a lot more guests that were in bounding-style costumes, and a lot less children. This party had a more teenagers and up trend, opposed to MHP where there were a lot of families with small kids.
The check-in process is very different from MHP. Guests could enter DCA using any of the ticket gates. The CM would take your photo and issue you a cardstock ticket. Then you took that ticket to the check-in area just inside the main gate to get your wristbands, trick-or-treating bag, and guide map. The line for the event check-in was very long at 3:00 pm (when the mix-in period began) and very disorganized. The CMs were giving out wrong information, there wasn't always a CM at the end of the line (so there was a lot of cutting in because the line ended up going almost all the way across the front and switching back several times), and the switch backs were not marked.
There was also a check-in location at Blue Sky Cellar. This location as much better organized. You could take your digital or printed ticket with you, get the photo taken and cardstock ticket printed, and then pick up your wristbands, trick-or-treating bag, and guide map all in one line/location. If you're already in the park, I highly recommend you go this route.
The bags features Frozen 2 on one side, and Maleficent 2 on the other side. The bags were the same size as last year (9" tall, 7" wide, and 3" deep).
There were two types of treat trails at this year's party. One was just a normal mulit-stop treat trail. The other were "immersive" trails. There were candy stops, but there was also a villain interacting with guests. These aren't traditional meet and greets; the villain was usually on a stage and doesn't sign autographs or pose for photos. Guests could snap selfie-style photos. Early on the CMs made an effort to make sure guests kept moving, but towards the end of the party, they weren't pushing guests along.
The treat trails were marked with creepy looking Oogie Boogie inspired ghosts.
The Evil Queen was in the treat trail behind Grizzly River Rapids. The entrance to this trail is near the entrance to the attraction and it ends over near the Villains M&G.
Maleficent was in the treat trail next to Soarin. The entrance to this trail was through the Soarin' FP machine area and it ends near the plane (almost the same location as the start).
Oogie Boogie was in the treat trail in the Animation Academy. He was cool to see.
The Mad Hatter was in the treat trail in the Hyperion Courtyard. The entrance is under the marque at end of Hollywood Blvd (by the forced perspective street). He was kind of the odd one to me; I don't really think of the Mad Hatter as a villain per se. He's definitely odd, but I thought the Queen of Hearts was the "villain" in the Tim Burton movie. Anyway, when we got there, he was not there (the chair was there, but it was empty). Just before we left, he returned. So it does seem like the villains might be absent from their trails at intermittent times.
Dr. Facilier was in the treat trail at Stage 17 (next to Philharmagic). The entrance is next to Monsters Inc.
Overall, the immersive trails were a nice addition to the parties. The lines moved pretty quickly, but it was still possible to get a photo of the villain. They did interact with guests and it was pretty fun to see. This is one element that I hope they keep.
The normal treat trails didn't have much in the way of decorations, but the one inside the Bakery Tour building had some creepy images covering the glass windows.
World of Color: Villainous
This was billed as one of the main offerings for OBB. I think it had promise, but the story kind of fizzled out. Unlike other version of WoC, this one had a storyline, but it was kind of incoherent at times and bit rambling. Essentially, it's the story of a 9 year old girl trying to decide if she wants to be a villain or a princess for Halloween. She ends up meeting several villains to learn about being a villain. Personally, I think if most kids (or adults) had her experience, where the villains tried to kill or trick her, it wouldn't make them want to be a villain. So I don't know what that says about this little kid...
Villain or princess?
The first villain she meets along the way is the Evil Queen and the Magic Mirror. There are dancing skeletons, a creepy skull, and the poison apple. She ultimately falls into the cauldron to escape the Evil Queen, which is a pretty good segue to the next villain...
Next up is Ursula...who wants her to sign a contract! This sequence features singing Poor Unfortunate Souls (I'm not sure what you call the worm like thins that Ursula turns mer-people into).
After that, she meets up with a range of villains, including Hades, Dr. Facilier, Chernabog, Jafar, and others.
In the end, she decides to be a dragon and it turns out her mother is dressed up as Maleficent.
We watched the second showing of Villainous and were able to find a great viewing about about 10 minutes before hand. I'd guess the viewing area was about half full, so it's definitely not something you need to arrive to early for. The water cannons didn't really add much to the show, but the fire effects were pretty cool.
Overall, I think WoC: Villainous will appeal to those that already love WoC, but it's unlikely to wow those that are more ambivalent. It was nice to see them try to tell a story, but the story itself needed more work. So, while WoC: Villainous is the "big" entertainment offering, it's kind of lack-luster. It made the lack the Halloween Screams all the more noticeable. The only major benefit to WoC: Villainous was that the crowds were pretty low so you didn't have to commit very much of the party time to finding a good spot to watch the show. I'm glad we watched it, but if comes back next year, it's not on the "must do" list.
Frightfully Fun Parade
The Frightfully Fun Parade is still cute and this was probably the highlight of the party. It's the same parade as last year, with the exception of the Cheshire Cat at the end (instead of Vamprina). We got a spot next to Bayside Brews about 15 minutes before the parade stepped off. There were still plenty of viewing spots along the route with less than 30 minutes to go. The route is longer than at DL and that seems to make a huge difference. Unless the sold more tickets for later parties, guests don't really need a dining package for this parade.
The parade starts with the Headless Horseman. He holds the pumpkin in his right hand, so if you want to see the pumpkin, be sure to be on the right side of the route (although, I do think you can see it from the left side too).
The parade starts with Mickey and Minnie and the float with the parade name.
Next up is Nightmare Before Christmas. While I like the parade, I can understand how this sequence can scare little kids. One child near us (I'm guessing about 3 or 4 - he was in a stroller) started crying at this point.
Jack was having some trouble with a pumpkin on his float and a technician had to come over to fix it!
Zero is one of my favorite parts of the float.
Next up is the Haunted Mansion sequence. The three Hitchhiking Ghosts, along with the Gravedigger and his dog are on the float.
Dr. Facilier is on the next float, with his friends from the other side.
The last sequence is lead by a group of villains. The float features Maleficent in dragon form and the Cheshire Cat on the back!
Thanks for all the details! I'm not feeling sad about skipping it this year (I'm not into the creepy side of Halloween, and doing it last year at Disneyland was just right) but it was fun to see what they did with it this year!
New this year is the Villains Grove. It takes over the Redwood Challenge Trail area. This seemed to have consistently long lines. It's essentially lights, mist/fog effects, sounds, and projections, so I would wait to go until after it's fully dark outside. The map at the front of the Grove gives guests an idea of which villain is represented by each area of the grove.
Along the walkway (where the line forms) are posters featuring the villains that inspire the grove.
The first area is inspired by Judge Frollo from Hunchback of Notre Dame. There are bells tolling and lots of candles.
The next area is inspired by Maleficent. A vine jungle grows on the rocks and you can see Maleficent in dots of light in the back. (Aside: The dot of light effect is pretty neat, but I couldn't help but think of Avengers and Thanos. The villain dissolves into a bunch of sparkly dust...)
The third area starts with the Cheshire Cat and then features the Queen of Hearts in a rose garden. They also pump out rose scent in this area.
The fourth area is inspired by Scar. There are "steam" vents and hyena projections.
The fifth area is inspired by Dr. Facilier. The best view of the swirly projection is from the top of the steps as you leave the area.
The next area is inspired by the Evil Queen. There are lights on trees and the Old Crone (in sparkly dots) is projected in the back. There is also lightening effects.
The next area is a fallen tree trunk with a flower and vine projection that grows. I think this is supposed to be the wisps from Brave.
The last area, as you exit, is supposed to be the trees from Nightmare Before Christmas. We had to ask the CM at the entrance/exit, because I couldn't figure out that one.
Overall, Villains Grove is a cool idea and interesting to see. It's definitely something different and worth checking out, but only after it's full dark.
There were a lot of less common characters meeting guests at OBB. We saw Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham meeting guests near GRR (at the end of the street that leads to Little Mermaid).
We saw Rescue Rangers Chip and Dale at the Grizzly Airfield meet and greet (across from Soarin'). They switched off with Baloo and Don Karnage from Talespin. The chipmuks seemed very popular.
We saw Phineas and Ferb in Pacific Wharf.
Kingdom Hearts (Donald and Goofy, meeting seperately) were on the main walkway by the waterfall. Woody and Bo Peep were meeting together on Pixar Pier Promeande (where the Orchestra usually plays).
The candy was both good and bad this year. It was sponsored by Mars, so all Mars candies. It seemed like there were less filler candies (i.e., candy that few people have heard of), but most of my favorites were no longer available (they must have been Hershey candies). There were M&Ms (regular, peanut, peanut butter, and caramel), Snickers (regular, almond, crispy, and peanut butter), Twix, 3 Musketeers, Milky Ways (regular and caramel apple), Dove Milk Chocolate, Starbusts, Skittles, Lifesaver Gummies, Maltese Balls, Graham Crackers, Goldfish, Fruit Crisps, Applesauce, Carrots, and Apple Slices.
Merchandise was both good and bad. They're trying to limit party merchandise to only the party-going guests so that it'll last longer. That means nothing is being put out until 6:00 pm and you need a wristband to buy it. However, we were at Rushin' River Outfitters a little after 6:00 pm and it took them 30 minutes to get the merchandise put out. There was only two CMs setting up the merchandise (which included putting things out and taking the stuff away that was being moved out). They were moving things one or two at a time, and kept re-arranging things. There was no reason why stuff couldn't have been folded and prepped in the back before 6:00 pm, so that it could have been ready to go at 6:00 pm. The good news is that it seems like everything was still in stock at that point.
I didn't check at the BVS shops, but I know that Starbucks was doing a "hard" close at 6:00 pm to non-party guests. So if you aren't going to the party and need a Starbucks drink, be sure to be inside Starbucks before 6:00 pm.
OBB had some good elements, some okay elements, and some disappointments. Some of it can be chalked up to having the party in a new park, but other things seem more like poor planning or perhaps a deliberate attempt to change the demographics/vibe of the party. I did really like the immersive treat trails and Villains Grove was a cool idea, but WoC: Villainous was a disappointment. I think the biggest change is that 5 hours seemed to be more than enough time to do everything, unless you were trying to meet all of the characters. In our five hours, we managed to see WoC and the parade, check out Villains Grove and all of the immersive treat trails, and watch the Descendants Dance Party and still have some down time to try to soak in (the limited) atmosphere of the party. The absence of things like the Cadaver Dans, the scarecrows, and Halloween Screams were noticeable and reduce our enjoyment of the party. Also, the shift in the general atmosphere from "family-friendly" to "slight creepy" wasn't something we were expecting (although we probably should have given that it was called Oogie Boogie's Bash).
Overall, I'd probably go back next year if they opted to do OBB again, but it would be for only one party and it might depend on whether anything new was being added to the party line up.