I did want to talk about the parade at Disneyland, but first a story. Yesterday we joined Mom and Grawp in a Dynamax battle to fight Mewtwo. This battle was attempted several times because Mewtwo is very powerful and hard to beat. And in the first two attempts, Mewtwo targeted Athena's Pokemon first and wiped it out in one hit. The second time it happened, Mom was prompted to make a comment, which Grawp dutifully repeated to us, "Grandma wants you to know your Pokemon are worthless." We were already grumpy because of other things that had happened, and so we were in No Mood to be trash talked by someone who was supposed to be on our team, so Athena made her displeasure known with a sarcastic, "Thanks, Mom." There may have been a follow-up comment such as, "That really makes us feel good about ourselves," or something of that flavor, but at any rate, Hagger tried to make us feel better by explaining, "I think she just means your Pokemon are weak because they're not at good levels." ...Thanks. That...that really helps.
Well, at least he tried.
But anyway, I wanted to talk about this parade at Disneyland. We finished our work about an hour before it started, but since we'd been sitting for a long time, we were kind of eager for them to get on with it. Not that we had any control over time. I mostly just say that to explain our frame of mind when the parade started, because I want to say the parade finally started...which is to say, after the regular announcements ("in just fifteen minutes!" "in just a few  minutes!"...the latter was a little cruel because it started with, "It's the moment you came for!" and we're like, "...nuh-uh, that moment isn't for another five minutes..."), the music finally started.
It played for several bars with nothing happening and then suddenly there was a big "bwaaaaahh" sort of musical cue as if something extra exciting was there to interrupt the less-exciting goings-on (which, I'll admit, it is difficult to get less exciting than nothing, so whatever was about to happen was sure to top it), and then I looked to the left (where the parade was coming from) and sure enough, suddenly there were dancers there. Looking back, I think it was probably the most magical part of "Magic Happens" (the name of the parade), because I honestly do not remember seeing the dancers (or dance) walk up. In my memory, they were just there.
The music was not in a style I'm used to at all, much less in Disney parades, so at first I was like, "Hrrrrm..." but then I got over myself and I was like, "No, I could get into this." The dancing was also in a style that was new to Disney parades, with a lot of...staccato? movements, but heavily accented ones. It was interesting, but it seemed a little aggressive when done by the movie characters.
The first float featured Mickey in a different colored version of his sorcerer outfit, standing in front of a giant version of the sorcerer's hat, which had lights in it. The charitable adjective is "classic," but my hyper-critical first thought was "standard, cliched, done." He was followed by his classic entourage in costumes done in the same color scheme as his, and we're 90% sure Donald's was inspired by his Court Magician costume from Kingdom Hearts. ...At least his hat, anyway.
Mickey and friends were followed by the Moana float I described on Friday, now with Moana on it! The dancers that came in front of her all had wide ribbons that they twirled to look like the ocean, and the sparkles on their costumes were really nice. That float was followed by a bunch of dancers wearing yellow grass skirts and holding those little coconut things that attacked her in the movie. We haven't seen the movie in a while, so we don't remember what they're called. They also had a mini-float with a dude pretending to play drums. And then there was a float with Maui, which was really weird. Maui moved like a golem, just kind of shuffling from side to side, not really able to move his arms. I would have thought it was a low-budget attempt at animatronics if I didn't know from inside sources that it was a guy in a suit. His float was a representation of the island he was trapped on, I guess? It had glyphs carved into the rocks that lit up sometimes, and that looked cool.
Next was the Coco scene, with a bunch of women dressed up as matadors, and dancing girls at the same time. I was kind of bummed out, actually, because despite my comment about the Mickey float being "done," I really like Mexican dancing girl dresses. ...I like matador costumes, too, come to think of it, but I personally find them to be more attractive on men. Then there was the float which I described on Friday, only this time with Miguel on it. He didn't have aggressive dance moves, because he was pretending to play the guitar.
After that was the coolest part. They had a bunch of dancers dressed up like alebrijes, and they had a giant puppet of the giant jaguar one from the movie. The wings looked a little bit sad when they were closed, but I think they looked okay when they were open. At any rate, it looked really cool generally; I like that kind of puppetry.
The Coco scene was followed by the Frozen scene, which was smaller, I felt. There were dancers--the first (and only) set of dancers with male-female pairs. I really like to see male-female pairs dancing together...but I had a hard time following their choreography for some reason. Maybe it was because I was trying to decipher the costumes...they were a little weird. We didn't look at the float too much, because we still have a visceral reaction to Anna and Elsa, but I would like to take this opportunity to say that we think it was highly impractical of them to unbraid their hair for a journey "into the unknown." Maybe Elsa's ice powers can also condition hair? Not sure how that would work, but you never know. They were followed by a lone Kristoff pulling his cart. It was 85 degrees that day, so we were commenting on the cruelty of having a Kristoff in a daytime parade at Disneyland. But I guess his costume isn't necessarily hotter than, say, Mickey's or Goofy's.
After the Frozen scene, they had the finale. It kind of irked us, because it was like Mickey, big scene from a movie we didn't like, big scene from a movie we hated, scene from a sequel to a movie we hated (we haven't seen Frozen 2, so I guess there's a possibility we wouldn't hate it, but...), and *achoo!* a bunch of movies we liked tossed together in a finale salad! In the parade's defense, the finale did have four floats...well, three mini-floats and a big one. They were preceded by a seemingly random assortment of Disney characters, which was a bit of a bummer for me, because face characters usually have boringer choreography. The assortment did seem to have a method to it, namely that the characters were all magical, except for Aladdin, which I guess was there to keep the Genie company. They also had Peter Pan and Tinker Bell (they've fully given up on attempts to use forced perspective to make her seem in any way smaller than Peter...except by casting maybe a taller person as Peter, which is a separate problem for the boy who never grew up), the Fairy Godmother (who had some beautiful embellishments on her cloak), and the Blue Fairy (whose dress was a lovely shade of blue that was darker and brighter than in the movie, and also used pleated fabric everywhere for some reason (including for her wings)).
The mini-floats were a pumpkin coach with Cinderella in it (just kind of bobbing to the music), a castle tower with the anvil from the Sword in the Stone, and a recreation of the human transformation scene from the Princess and the Frog. The scenes all looked really great, and I liked the costumes for the Sword in the Stone...except that I think Merlin's tunic was too short. I mean, I think it's the kind of costume where you look at the movie for reference and you're like, "Oh, that's shorter than I remembered!" but I still think it looked weird, especially because his choreography was such that his knees were showing all the time, and I don't think you see Merlin's knees very much in the movie. But the Wart had a really great scarf with silvery sparkle threads woven into it.
The Princess and the Frog float was my favorite, though, possibly because I just really like that shade of green. Despite all the promotional blog posts indicating that there was going to be a lot of magic happening in this parade, our hopes that they would somehow depict Cinderella's transformation from rags to ball gown, and that they would show Tiana and Naveen changing from frogs to humans, did not come to fruition. I mean, I can see where that would be difficult to pull off in a parade that's not Dreamlights, but there was a time when Disney Imagineering would have been up to the challenge. But considering the fact that the whole parade seemed to have the scenes get smaller and smaller as it went on, it kind of seems like they had a bunch of grand ideas that they got started on...and then they had to keep scaling back when corporate told them the budget was running out. Nevertheless, the Princess and the Frog mini-float looked really good, with a tree that had Spanish moss hanging from it, and two railings along the ground that revolved to look like the water spiraling up like it did in the transformation scene. It was a really neat effect. The railings were covered in flowers, too, so we definitely get the vibe that Disney decided to do the parade when a bunch of People Whose Opinion Counts were involved with making the Disney Rose Parade float one year.
And finally was the finale float, featuring Sleeping Beauty. It was designed to look like a golden castle, and in front there were rotating platforms carrying Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. And in the back, there were Prince Philip and Princess Aurora, in her "color changing" gown. If I hadn't had my hopes up for something else, I probably would have thought it was really cool. The dress was made out of shiny material, and woven such that when the light hits it from this angle, it's blue, and when it hits it from the other angle, it's pink...kind of a redder pink. So basically, instead of changing from pink to blue and back, it was just constantly pink and blue, because the folds of the fabric guaranteed that the light never hit the whole dress the same way. And for some reason, they had an under layer that was all pink (again with pleated fabric for some reason), and slits in the skirt, so she could pick up the top layer and whirl them around in her oddly aggressive choreography and show us that the dress is now all pink? I guess?
I don't know. It was an okay parade, I guess. It looked like they put a lot of thought and care into the actual construction of the floats, and that was nice. And it turned out to be pretty short, which is a really good thing these days, because when the parades go on too long, they have to have super long pauses between scenes to let the excessive crowds get through, and then the parade drags on and on and is less fun than it would be on less crowded days (which no longer exist). So yeah. There was so cool craftsmanship, but we didn't love it as a whole. On the bright side, it means we can avoid the madness from here on out.
Oh! One more thing I have to mention, that doesn't have anything to do with Disneyland. When we went to the grocery store yesterday, our friend in the florist department gave us each a bundle of daffodil stems. She told us to put them in water and by tomorrow (which is now today), we'd have some bright happy daffodils to look at! So we did, and oh my goodness, they're so cute! We always saw daffodils in cartoons, and we even saw some on campus at BYU, and we thought they were so cute, but also had this vibe like they're not really a thing. But now we have some (at least for a few days) and they're the best!
Today I'm thankful for our lovely bunches of daffodils, getting to see the fancy new half-parade at Disneyland, our curiosity being satisfied so we don't have to face the madness to see it again, getting to try some hot cocoa rolls (like cinnamon rolls, only with chocolate instead of cinnamon), and getting to trade Pokemon with Grawp to evolve some guys and fill up our Pokedex some more.