But the party was a lot of fun. We didn't make it into the park before the party started, sadly, but not entirely for lack of effort. It's just that when Gaston and Alice arrived, it was about lunch time, and they hadn't eaten yet, and Gaston thought hey, it's a Disneyland kind of day, let's go to a themed restaurant and have lunch at the Rainforest Cafe. We like the Rainforest Cafe, and we never did make good on that promise to ourselves to get a volcano cake the next time we got a new title to translate (we made that promise just about right before we got the Noragami assignment). So off we went, forgetting that the reason Mom had such a bad time the last time we went to Rainforest Cafe is that it took approximately forever to get our food. And so it took approximately forever to get our food once again, which resulted in us being late to the party.
That wouldn't have been an issue, either, though, since the party consumes a fair amount of energy without spending extra time at the park, but we were hoping to have our Gaston meet the park's Gaston and see what kind of interaction they might have, and when we asked one of the cast members that had an "ask me about characters" button, she said she hadn't heard anything about the official Gaston being at the parties. Well fie. On the bright side (speaking of fie), when we were waiting to go into the park, we saw a couple dressed as Yzma and Kronk from the Emperor's New Groove (she had a really cool feather collar thing; easily the best Yzma I've seen so far), and Kronk turned out to be the guy who used to play Mr. Jones at the Royal Theater. So that was neat.
Mostly there were two notable things about the evening. First, we got to meet Belle this year, with Gaston in his new wig. We all started posing for the picture with Belle in the middle, and Gaston was all, "I'll stand right here in the middle," since obviously he's the center of attention, and Athena was standing on the other side of Princess Aurora, who was helpfully trying to keep the group together and suggested to Athena, "Why don't you stand in the middle, too?" and that gave Belle the brilliant idea, "Why don't you all stand in the middle?" so then she put me and Alice between her and Gaston. The especially funny thing (to me, anyway) is that I was kind of preoccupied at the time, so I did wonder vaguely, "Why wouldn't the star of the movie want to stand in the middle?" which was very much in character, because it was the same as wondering, "Why wouldn't Belle want to stand next to Gaston?"
So then Gaston moved to the other side of me and Alice, and we think Belle tried to move again, but eventually we took the picture, and it was all great fun.
The other thing worth noting was the new Halloween parade. It started with the Ride of the Headless Horseman, which I guess is supposed to be a separate thing from the parade because we had to wait about a billion years after the horseman left before the parade came along. I don't know why that bothered me so much, but it did. Something led us to believe that they were part of the same thing, I guess.
But anyway, it was a pretty cool idea. They had a rider dressed as the headless horseman, riding a beautiful draft horse, about which I commented, "But it's supposed to be black." And Gaston was like, "It was black," and Alice was like, "No, it looked chocolate brown to me," and I was like, "Well, I just happened to take a video of it; why don't we take a look?" So we watched the video and it looked very brown in the video, but Gaston still insisted it was black. It might have been a lighting thing, but we checked the video on the Disney Parks Blog later (the one that talks about how they trained the horses), and in daylight, the horses looked like a really dark brown. But maybe it's not very easy to get black draft horses, so now that I'm not in critic mode, I'm a little more forgiving...except for the whole, "Yeah, right, because Disney can't find a black draft horse," thing, but I don't know. I just don't care that much anymore.
What I do care about is the horseman's costume, which was not in any way accurate to the Disney movie. In the movie (The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad), the Headless Horseman wears all black with a red cape. This horseman was wearing a revolutionary era outfit with a brown coat. I think whoever designed the costume had seen the Sleepy Hollow TV show more recently than The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. That's okay, Disney, I'm sure you had a hard time getting a copy of that. You should call me next time and I'll lend you my DVD.
...I get a little grumpy about that kind of thing. I mean, if it looked like an adapted version of the movie outfit, it would be fine, but...
Anyway. So it started out pretty cool, because suddenly the lights along Main Street started flashing like lightning, and the announcer came on and said something about the Headless Horseman. And then the horseman rode by in his revolutionary era outfit and brown coat, carrying a jack-o-lantern (because it's his head, of course). And the horse was beautiful, and the shoulders weren't so obviously adjusted to be above a real person's head, although we personally think it could have been better... Thinking about it, the coat instead of the cape would have been a way to deal with the whole shoulder issue, which is exactly why it could have looked better.
But it was still a cool concept, and maybe it will be improved next year.
It also would have been spookier if he had been followed by a host of happy haunts, but we had to wait a gazillion years before they showed up. We weren't too disappointed when they did, though. We actually didn't really like it at first, though. They started with a creepy song that was punctuated by creepy children's laughter. Gaston thought it was a nice touch, but we are so over the scary children thing. And then the first half of the parade was Nightmare Before Christmas, which is another thing we're so over. But it was actually Halloween Town, and not the residents of Halloween Town trying to make Christmas, so we definitely appreciated that. It started with the mayor driving his car, and he was followed by a bunch of vampire dancers. I really liked the girl vampire costumes, too, and their choreography was pretty cool, involving a lot of sudden movements like they were about to pounce on somebody.
They were followed by a float with Jack Skellington and Sally, to which Alice and I both made the same comment: "Her hair should be yarn." The Disneyland Sally costume looks really nice, and the wig is beautiful and so shiny...but it's not accurate to the character. She's a patchwork doll and her hair is made of yarn, not silky nylon. But the way she stood on the float matched her posture from the movie really well. ...Although I'm actually not qualified to comment on that, because I haven't seen The Nightmare Before Christmas since before the last time I saw The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. The float also had Jack's house doing a forced perspective thing, and it reminded me of Kingdom Hearts in its exact replica-ness. (Mostly because we've played Kingdom Hearts waaaay more recently than we've seen Jack's movie.)
That float was followed by a bunch of dancers who we guess were supposed to represent the ghosts dancing in the ballroom in the Haunted Mansion, but they danced more like zombies than ghosts. The costumes were nice, though. They preceded the Haunted Mansion float, which of course had three guys dressed as the Hitchhiking Ghosts on it, and this I think is my biggest complaint about the parade. None of the ghosts were allowed to smile, but one of the things that makes the Hitchhiking Ghosts so scary is their smiles that make you wonder if they're being friendly or thinking about killing you. Also we didn't see any hitchhiking gestures, but I'm willing to chalk that up to that part of the choreography being in a part of the parade that we didn't see due to timing and location. The solution to that though would be to add more hitchhiking to their routine, because it's kind of their thing.
The float looked really cool as it was coming up, though. It had a model of the Haunted Mansion, only with really big windows, which were screens projected scenes from the ride. As it came up, it showed ghostly images of dancers, which looked really cool, but as it got closer it changed to other things like Madame Leota, and of course I'm not going to begrudge the parade of Madame Leota (she's iconic), but the art style she was done in didn't really match my idea of the Haunted Mansion aesthetic. But maybe I was just caught off guard and if I see it again I'll understand it more.
After that is when the parade got really good. The Haunted Mansion float was followed by the gravekeeper--the one living person in the whole Haunted Mansion attraction. In the ride, he's holding a lantern and shaking in his boots, so that's pretty much what he did in the parade, too, only he was being followed by zombie(?) grave diggers. Their choreography involved being very menacing toward him, and also hitting the ground with their shovels. That took us by surprise, because of the noise it made. But then it got even cooler, because they would spin around, and at the same time they would scrape their shovels on the ground to make them spark. Well no wonder this gravekeeper guy is so scared.
At one point during the choreography, the diggers have him surrounded, but he manages to break free of them and run away from the Haunted Mansion float...only to be confronted by Dr. Facilier's friends from the other side. They were big and scary and on stilts. We didn't see much of their choreography, though, because we were still watching the grave diggers.
And of course these "friends" were followed by a float with Dr. Facilier himself on it. They got Keith David to record some lines, and the guy playing him was really into the part. He was energetic and smiling, and it was great. In the words of Naveen, "He was very charismatic!" That was by far my favorite part.
He was followed by some Disney villains on foot (the Queen of Hearts, Governor Radcliffe, and...and...Captain Hook, I think), and they were followed by a float with a bunch of other villains on it. None of them were Gaston, though, so it was all kind of, eh. Oh, except for Hades. The Hades costume they have at the parks is really pretty impressive. Not actually on fire for the hair, though. But the fingers are long and creepy. And it's ridiculously tall.
And then the parade was over, and we were like, "Hey, that was pretty fun."
Other than that, we just wandered around getting candy and going on the occasional ride. Some of the treat trails had character meet and greet detours, and one of them featured Donald Duck, Pluto, and Dale...but no Chip. We asked what the big idea was, and the cast member told us Chip went to get acorns, and we were like, "Excuse me? Chip does not get acorns. Chip makes Dale get acorns for him. Don't you understand that Chip is the brains of the operation!?" He made no effort to explain the odd behavior.
There were two costume groups that deserve special mention. First, there was a Pocahontas group featuring the little girl as Pocahontas (naturally), and three adults who may or may not have all been related, but the man in the group was Chief Powhatan, and he looked really good in the costume, and the two women were Pocahontas's friend Nakoma and Grandmother Willow. They looked amazing. The other group actually did some Fantasia cosplay, with a little boy as Sorcerer's Apprentice Mickey. We first saw them from behind, and we were looking at the two women's wigs, and we were like, "That hair... I know I've seen that hair..." And one of them seemed to be wearing a leotard top with strategically placed flowers, so we were sure it was some kind of anime thing, and then Athena finally remembered--they were centaurettes! From the Pastorale sequence! And she knew she was right, because as soon as she guessed aloud, "Centaurs?" they turned. And they looked so cute! I took a picture of them, but the lighting wasn't great and I broke my camera again so I was using my iPad and I don't know how to use the flash on it (or even if I can). The man in the group was Yen Sid.
And that concludes our Mickey's Halloween Party report for this year.
Today I'm thankful for another lovely Halloween party, getting to see the new parade, strawberry water ice (sometimes you just have to go with the classics), having lots of candy, and finally getting to have a volcano cake. It was delicious.