Ever since the premiere of Disneyland Resort’s Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween party back in 2019, I’ve been a huge fan of the event. Through the years I’ve attended various versions of Disney Halloween parties, but Oogie Boogie Bash is my favorite. For that reason, I recently produced an event where I had the opportunity to sit and chat with some of the folks at Disney Live Entertainment who created the mega-hit Halloween party. What I didn’t realize going into that conversation was how rich the backstory is for Oogie Boogie Bash, and how much thought went into it. Disney Live Entertainment show director Jordan Peterson shared the following details during our conversation about the backstory for Oogie Boogie Bash.
Up until Oogie Boogie Bash, Mickey was always the host of the Halloween party at Disneyland Resort. Oogie Boogie was watching this happen from afar, and felt it wasn’t right. Oogie Boogie considers himself to be the king of Halloween, so he stole the party from Mickey Mouse.
In a lot of the marketing for Oogie Boogie Bash you’ll see or hear the phrase, “The spell is cast.” The spell they’re referring to is Oogie Boogie’s spell inviting the Disney villains from their worlds into ours. In the process, Oogie Boogie literally ripped chunks of their worlds into ours, as is evident by the different trick-or-treat trail displays. A lot of them are designed to look like they’re bursting through the ground. Edges of the platforms are broken, and other signs of destruction can be seen, as a bit of damage was done during the spell and journey.
A lot of the trick-or-treat trail villains can also be seen with a throne. That is because Oogie Boogie has divided Disney California Adventure into different realms where each villain can rule over their sections.
Although pieces of their worlds came through the ground, the villains themselves came into our world a different way. That is where the story of the absolutely stunning Villains Grove comes into play.
The villains came through a portal at the back of Redwood Creek. Unfortunately, this portal is not something that guests can see as part of the Villains Grove experience. I personally hope it is added in future years. As the villains walked through Redwood Creek, their presence twisted the forest. As we walk through Villains Grove, we can hear echoes of voices reciting villain’s famous phrases. These whispers are actually coming from the caretakers of the forest, known as “wisps.” The wisps heard the villains uttering these phrases while traveling through, and now echo their sentiments throughout the forest.
As you exit Villains Grove, guests walk through a bright light. This is the moment where the wisps of the forest awaken you from the nightmare you’ve been lulled into. The wisps have been watching you during your Villains Grove journey and want to make sure you return home safely. This reawaking scene is internally known as “The Resolution of Dawn” and was inspired by the Ave Maria sequence in “Fantasia.”
Each of the villains on their trails have their own backstory as well. In the case of this year’s popular addition of Ernesto de la Cruz, he is cursed to sing his song every minute of every hour of every day, for the rest of eternity. In the set design at this location, you can see the roses are dying, the marble statues are cracking, and the façade is falling apart all around him as so much time has passed.
I love the rich storytelling that has gone into the creation of Oogie Boogie Bash. I hope to see more of it made known to the public in future marketing. I even think it would make a great children’s book.
To hear more about the story and creation of Oogie Boogie Bash, give a listen to the latest episode of “Dizney Coast to Coast” podcast featuring the live panel discussion.
Did you pick up on any of this backstory when visiting Oogie Boogie Bash? Do you have a favorite part of the story? Leave a comment and let me know.
Jeff DePaoli is a producer and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles. He can be heard as the voice of Disney Trivia on Alexa as well as the host of “Dizney Coast to Coast,” the ultimate, unofficial Disney fan podcast. Get your FREE gifts of “America’s Hidden Mickeys,” “On the Rohde Again,” “Theme Park Comfort Kit,” and more at DizneyCoastToCoast.com. DePaoli’s opinions are his own and do not necessarily represent Attractions Magazine.