For the first time ever, Disney's California Adventure Park offers a magically haunting and immersive Halloween experience.
Disneyland's annual Halloween event is assuredly a different animal from other Halloween theme parks. Instead of mazes filled with jump scares and actors clad in bloody post-apocalyptic clothing, Disneyland Halloween Time offers fireworks, a pumpkin festival, and thematically altered versions of their rides and attractions. There is also a separately ticketed event on select nights: in years past, it was a Mickey Mouse costume party at Disneyland Park; this year, however, Disney enters the immersive experience fray for the first time with Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party, held at Disney’s California Adventure. The result is a beautiful piece of devilish wonderment - a unique and welcome entry into the immersive landscape.
There are several attractions exclusive to Oogie Boogie Bash: a parade, treat trails, a costume party, and a new World of Color show, Villainous. Best of all, the Imagineers have transformed the Redwood Activity Trail into a magical “haunting” experience called Villains Grove. There are no treats. There are no characters. I can best describe it as "Disney Villains meets Descanso Gardens." You walk through a rainbow fogged-filled tree hollow into a magical world populated by Brave’s will-o-the-wisps and seas of candelabras. Strange new age music trickles down from speakers hidden in the trees as you meet computer-generated images of the Cheshire Cat, the Red Queen, Scar, and Dr. Facilier from The Princess and the Frog. The effect produced is that of beauty and wonderment. Electric bolts of lighting trace their way down trees. Myriads of blue galaxies swirl through the leaves of the redwoods. There is nothing scary going on. The intent is immersion, and damn if it doesn’t work like a charm.
Villain’s Grove can only be experienced by purchasing a ticket to Oogie Boogie Bash - Disney Halloween Party. If you’re not into trick or treating at Disneyland, this singular experience is not worth the hefty $150 ticket (though the Halloween version of Guardians of the Galaxy - Monsters After Dark is pretty cool). Nevertheless, I am looking forward to more things like this from the happiest place on earth. It’s nice to see Disney get into the immersive walk-through maze game.
Villains Grove Rating
Disney enters the immersive experience game with their first foray into what can be described as a Halloween maze. Though Villain’s Grove weaves a seductive and beautiful atmosphere with light and sound, it may not be worth the steep $150 ticket on its own.
Tickets to Oogie Boogie’s Bash – A Disney Halloween Party have sold out, but Disneyland Halloween Time continues daily through October 31 in Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure. The address is 1313 S. Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, CA 92802. Call (714) 781-4565 for more information, or visit the official webpage.