The pumpkin meta is now dominating Disney Dreamlight Valley

Disney Dreamlight Valley - a player points to a bag of pumpkin seeds in a selfie beside Goofy's stall
(Image credit: Gameloft)
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Disney Dreamlight Valley has a meta, and it's pumpkins. More ominously, cunning players have found a way to trap and exploit Dreamlight Valley's iconic citizens in order to score increased harvest margins on their cash crops.

This kind of ruthless economic efficiency is inevitable in farm sims, but still feels slightly surprising in the context of a Disney game. Anyone who's gotten way into the weeds in Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley knows there's an inflection point past which they stop being "casual" and turn into dystopian optimization nightmares. 

Confession: I have a dark history with ancient fruit wine distilleries and turnip stocks and I can see the plump profits of the pumpkin trade in my future.

In the early hours of Dreamlight Valley, planting and harvesting carrots is the way to make money, but as players have realized, pumpkins are the true endgame. They take quite a while to buy, sold at Goofy's stall in the Forgotten Lands biome past the Sunlit Plateau, which both take a hunk of Dreamlight to unlock. Pumpkin seeds cost a steep 275 coins, but each fully grown pumpkin sells for 664 coins. That's a sale that would make Scrooge himself proud.

So naturally everyone is stuffing their village with super-profitable pumpkins. 

my_first_pumpkin_harvest from r/DreamlightValley
pumpkin_spice_season_13_million_every_4_hours from r/DreamlightValley
Disney Dreamlight Valley guides

disney tools

(Image credit: Gameloft)

How to import your avatar (opens in new tab)
Star Path explained (opens in new tab)
Royal Tools guide (opens in new tab)
How to solve the cave puzzle (opens in new tab)
How to make crudites (opens in new tab)
How to make ratatouille (opens in new tab)
How to upgrade your home (opens in new tab)

Seriously, you can't escape pumpkins rights now, and not just because it's spiced coffee season. I've been innocently seeking out build inspirations for my village and I'm inundated with gourd screenshots. Not that I'm mad: Obsessive crop schemes are also valid build inspo. This really is peak farm sim behavior. (Do yourself a favor and read about fellow PC Gamer writer Chris Livingston's great pumpkin disaster of 2017.)

One pumpkin defender's rather detailed spreadsheet (opens in new tab) alleges that the total growth time (four hours) makes them technically less profit per hour than planting asparagus, but that the profit per minute you're actively tending them by planting or watering actually makes them superior. Also, a patch full of pumpkins is just way more satisfying to reap than silly asparagus. 

You can max your cash investment even further by cooking three pumpkins into a grilled veggie platter in your kitchen, but that too is a pretty steep increase in active button pressing. Better to just sell the dang things to Goofy who apparently doesn't mind getting totally price gouged on gourd turnaround.

The big pumpkin exploit

Serious grinders are pushing the pumpkin meta to the max with a handy exploit. It turns out you can really abuse the hangout feature—the one where a tagalong character can reward you with bonus items while you mine, dig, or farm seaweed. If you invite along whichever character you've designated as a farming friend, trap them inside a tiny square of fences, and then harvest a ton of crops in front of their face, then free them, they'll burst into a fountain of sparkling pumpkins to pick up.

@rogue_bui (opens in new tab)

♬ Mad at Disney - salem ilese (opens in new tab)

A ruler exploiting their subjects as magical profit conduits? Why, I never.

Disney Dreamlight Valley launched in early access at the beginning of September and is planned for full launch sometime in 2023. It's definitely possible that the farming exploit and the shocking profit margins on pumpkins will both get fixed in the meantime. Not least because of the huge frame rate drop when receiving all those bountiful bonus pumpkins. For now though, ring in October with as many pumpkins as you please. Those house upgrades won't pay for themselves.

Lauren Morton
Associate Editor

Lauren started writing for PC Gamer as a freelancer in 2017 while chasing the Dark Souls fashion police and accepted her role as Associate Editor and Chief Minecraft Liker in 2021. She originally started her career in game development and is still fascinated by how games tick in the modding and speedrunning scenes. She likes long books, longer RPGs, multiplayer cryptids, and can't stop playing co-op crafting games.