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PHOTOS, VIDEO: Villains Grove Walk-Through at Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party 2019 at Disney California Adventure

Well, well, well, what have we here? Welcome to the first ever Oogie Boogie Bash at Disney California Adventure! We’re lurking through a night of spine-tingling treats, bone-chilling merchandise, and thrilling entertainment! We’re taking a stroll through Villains Grove, a new walk-through experience taking over Redwood Creek Challenge Trail for the event!

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Posters of Disney villains line the queue for this walkthrough experience. The wait looked long, and when we got in line they told us it was an hour and 45 minutes, but we were in within 20 minutes.

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(Also, the Cheshire Cat, who is definitely a villain. You can also see him below next to some nondescript character.)

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Then you enter Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, and the eerie display begins.

villains grove sign

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Please note that the Maleficent was part of our group. There are no character meet-and-greets in Villains Grove, but there are some incredibly immersive displays. There’s also no candy in Villains Grove. Candy-seekers should look for the Treat Trails elsewhere in the park. As you wind through the trail, you’ll see a series of themed lighting and vignettes themed to each villain.

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Maleficent’s display features projections of rose thorns on the rocks in the area, as well as a spinning wheel effect that looks great.

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But soon, you’ll encounter the Cheshire Cat… when you can see him, that is.

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villains grove cheshire cat

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Once you’re properly disoriented, its off to the rose garden of the Queen of Hearts.

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And here’s something that’s that should bring a smile to even her face: thanks to some simple lighting, the roses paint themselves!

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And once you’ve left Wonderland, you’re on the savannah… and is that the march of hyenas I hear?

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It was funny seeing the existing trail signs juxtaposed with the spooky motifs, but it all still worked really well.

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The geysers are a nice touch. It really helps bring Scar’s lair to life.

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Then it’s time to head down to New Orleans to pay a visit to Dr. Facilier… and his friends on the other side.

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There’s a reason they call him “the shadow man.” The floor projections in this scene are amazing.

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Mirror, mirror on the wall, have we entered the forest where the Wicked Queen lurks?

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And to wrap things up, there’s an otherworldly enchanted garden. It doesn’t seem themed to any particular villain, but it is really immersive.

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The pleasant music and flowers suggested the triumph of good over evil. (I mean, this is Disney, we’re talking about.) Some of the little moving lights in this experience reminded our group of the willow wisp vibe from Brave.

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After walking through the fallen log that these flowers are projected on, it’s back into the light and the park.

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A few people in our group compared it to a zoo lights type of experience, which is fair, but Disney’s level of quality elevated the experience. We really didn’t want to leave! It’s like Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights, full of great visuals, but no one scares you and everything is beautiful. It wasn’t scary, but it was suspenseful. People half-expecting characters or some kind of interactions will be somewhat disappointed, but we weren’t. It’s particularly enjoyable to take in with a group, though a solo trip can be fun, too. The full audio and visual package really works for this experience. There are sections with fog and dim lighting, but nothing dangerous or difficult. Walking the trail itself does take longer than a Treat Trail, but it’s a great walk, and the experience is worth it.

We should reiterate that there are no actual characters in this, and besides the Dr. Facilier and Scar projections, everything is very subtle, and that’s what makes this really work.  Between this and the fun new World of Color “Villainous!” nighttime spectacular, plus meeting and greeting Kingdom Hearts characters, Oogie Boogie Bash is worth it.

You can check out the new walk-through experience in our video below!

  1. The symbols on the map correspond to the movie. In order it goes: Hunchback of Notre Dame, Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, Lion King, Princess and the Frog, Snow White, Brave, and Moana (the last two seem kind of overlapped, with the lights possibly representing both will o’ the wisps and water. The flowers are from Te Fiti’s transformation.)

    Very clever, I’m disappointed to have missed out. I hope they bring it back next year!

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