After we met up with Alice, we went back to the car and changed into our costumes--right in the parking lot! Scandalous! Don't worry--there was hardly anybody there and we were hiding behind cars and being discreet and stuff. Amusingly, Gaston ended up being the one wearing the most makeup. And then we headed back to the parks. We didn't go right into the party, because Gaston and Alice wanted to take some time out to renew their annual passports, but it was really interesting waiting in line for that, while there were whispers behind us of, "Gasp! It's Gaston and the triplets!"
Finally it was time to go to the party! As I mentioned yesterday, we were a little concerned because a cast member had warned us that we might be thrown out because of our costumes. He told us a couple had come all the way from New Mexico and weren't allowed to wear their costumes! They are merciless! But we had hope! because we had checked the costume guidelines on the website even before we started construction on them, and we were perfectly within our rights! Gaston was fully prepared to make a big scene if it came down to it. So we nervously approached the ticket barrier.
And they let us in without a second glance. The end.
...of the beginning!
Inside... well, it was pretty much just like going to California Adventure, only at night, decorated for Halloween, and open later, because California Adventure always closes before Disneyland. And with trick-or-treat stations, where we could all get candy and/or "healthy" snacks. Most of the healthy snacks were like little bags of Cheez-Its and fruit leather and raisins. Blaaah raisins. They had Cars pictures on them, which only annoyed us more. But that was a very very minor part of the night, and later we discovered that some of the cast members at one of the raisin stations had gotten very bored, and they built a little community with all the miniature boxes of raisins. It was awesome.
So anyway... oh right, they also had like three party stations. We kind of ignored them though, but the kids with the hula hoops were very cute. Next time we should make Gaston do the hula hoop. No one hula hoops like Gaston.
First we just wandered around to see what everything was like. We got some candy, hit a couple of rides. We came very close to going on Tower of Terror again, but some of the things Gaston had talked about earlier, plus the slightly extra creepy Halloween setup of the entire day had us a little too spooked to be comfortable. But Gaston was flexing when they took the picture, which was awesome. We really wanted to have a Lumiere and a Babette (the feather duster) so we could have them making out for the Tower of Terror photo, but alas, it was not to be. It would have been awesome, though. (There I go, over-using the word "awesome" again...) As we walked out of the Hollywood Hotel (where the infamous Tower of Terror is) gift shop, one of the bell hops said, "Gaston. Thank you for dropping in," to which Gaston replied, "Always a pleasure."
Eventually, we were all hungry, and Alice is diabetic, so it's very important to make sure to eat on time. We all got our food and sat down at the Pacific Wharf to eat. The Pacific Wharf, which is basically like a food court, also happened to be where one of the craft stations was. Maybe it was the only craft station, come to think of it, since I don't remember seeing any others. They were decorating masks. One of the cast members stationed there was bored or something because he was pacing back and forth, twirling masks around his fingers, which were sticking through the eye holes. We watched him make a few laps, then when he got to our end, he suddenly stopped. His jaw dropped and he started walking toward us, pointing. He told us we were the best unit he had seen that night, and we totally needed to go talk to all the characters because they Love that kind of thing.
Right, that's one thing I didn't mention that's different. There are more character-meeting stations. We're not usually interested in posing with the characters, so we usually just walk by and snap a photo if there happens to be a long enough time before the next child walks up. But now that this guy mentioned it, they do like to have fun being in character and interacting, don't they? So we asked him where to find Belle and off we went.
Belle's character station was basically the "princess" station, and at each station, the characters switch off every half an hour. When we got there, it was occupied by Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. I guess it could have been fun to talk to either of them, but we wanted (or Gaston wanted, anyway--I don't know what he sees in that girl) to see Belle. So we waited in line, but when we got to the front, we let other groups go ahead of us until Belle got there. While we waited, a couple dressed as Wendy and the Mad Hatter saw us, and Wendy asked for our picture. Now, according to the costume guidelines, guests dressed as Disney characters are not allowed to pose for other guests, and we told her we weren't sure we'd be allowed. She said, "I'm a Disney character, too, so I'm not supposed to pose either, but... we're really good friends who haven't seen each other in a long time. ...And I'm admiring your really nice Renaissance costumes." So we said fair enough and took a picture with our long-lost friend.
Finally Belle showed up, walking along with Ariel. Gaston saw her and said, "It's about time, Belle!" She made a face at him and Ariel said, "Don't you be mean to her!" Belle was very excited to take pictures with us. We gave our camera to a cast member and had the Disney photographer scan our Photopass card (so we can order any pictures they take at the park online), and talked for a little and Belle said, "Okay, I'm going to face this way, because I don't like you." (I actually made up the reason, since I didn't hear it, but I think it's accurate based on what she did after those pictures.) A few photos were taken, and then she said, "Okay, now I'm going to push you away!" And she was so cute, and in the pictures she's smiling so adorably.
Athena wanted a picture with Ariel, so we went on to talk with her, and she was very very cute, too, talking about what good friends she is with all the princesses. Then she said to Gaston, "I've always wanted to ask you. Did you ever get salmonella poisoning from eating all those eggs?" Classic. Our only regret was that Gaston didn't think until later to reply with, "I don't know. Did Eric ever get salmonella from kissing your fishy butt?" (Apparently by that time Gaston had realized that he was a Disney character surrounded by children and needed to tone down his language.) But Gaston's not known for his quick intellect, so it's probably alright. When we told Celeste and Sarah about it later, Sarah said he should have made it mercury poisoning instead. Bwahaha.
We did some more exploring and candy-obtaining and found ourselves in... the area that has all the Bug's Life stuff. Not A Bug's Land, the area in front of it. I never remember all the areas for California Adventure (and yet I know all of them perfectly for DisneySea, where we've only ever been once... easier to remember, I guess). Anyway, that's where they had Cruella de Vil stationed. Gaston wanted to ask her if she had any ideas on what to do with this beast pelt. While we were in line, one of the cast members warned us that Cruella would have to leave for a meeting with her parole officer any minute, but not to worry--Lady Tremaine and her daughters would be there to take her place. Fortunately, Gaston did manage to talk to Cruella, but unfortunately, very few of us caught the conversation. It was mostly just ideas of what to do with fur--vests, hoods, etc.
While they were conversing, the Tremaines showed up. When they arrived, Cruella said to Lady Tremaine, "Let me introduce you to this fine young man I've just met." Lady Tremaine was very much a lady, and very good with the conversation. She immediately said to Gaston, "I hear things didn't work out with that Belle person." Gaston replied, "Yeah, she's kind of up on herself. Doesn't realize she needs a real man--me." Then she introduced her two eligible daughters, and Gaston kissed each of their hands. When we took the picture together, Lady Tremaine graciously stepped out to make room for the rest of us. She was amazing and in character and just wow. That kind of thing is exactly why we love cosplay.
The really funny thing, when we were talking to the characters, was that even when we were just talking, the photographers kept snapping away. Unfortunately (but not unexpectedly) the best pictures were taken on the park's cameras, and we have to pay if we want to get them. Sad.
After talking to the villains, we noticed that there were some scarecrows hanging around talking to people. One of them was talking to a little boy and said, "So are you really the Blue Ranger, or are you just cold?" Then he saw us and started singing, "Nooo ooooone fight like Gaston, no one fights like Gaston♪" XD
We went back to the animation building, because one of the rooms in there is Beast's Library, and we wanted to take it over. We happened to walk into the building as the giant screens were playing the "Belle" segment of Gaston's movie, so of course we all started singing along, and from that moment all the cast members in the building loved us. As we walked the trick-or-treat station gauntlet, one of the cast members said "Bonjour!" so we all replied with the same, Gaston adding, "Whatever that means!" This was especially funny because when I was reminiscing about it later, Gaston laughed at it like he was just hearing it for the first time. Apparently sometimes he gets so deeply into character that the character takes over and he does things more by reflex than consciously.
Finally, we went on Soarin' Over California, where we met a couple of Newsies, and when we got out, we were going to try to get some more Ghirardelli's chocolate. Oh yeah, most of the candy was pretty average trick-or-treat candy--Tootsie rolls, Now N Later, Laffy Taffy, jawbreakers, etc. with the occasional Reese's, Snickers, Butterfinger, whathaveyou--but there were two stations giving out nothing but Ghirardelli's chocolate. Sadly, they only had dark, but we like dark chocolate, so it's okay. At almost every station, Gaston asked, "Don't you have any more candy for the greatest hunter in the world?" One of the chocolate guys said, "I do if you get back in line," so that's just what we did! Ha!
Right, the reason we didn't get anymore before the night ended. Well, the party was just about over, for one thing. But for another thing, there was this group. This amazing, envy-inspiring group. They had... let's see... Jasmine, Peter, Wendy, Pocahontas (who was incredibly gorgeous), I think a Mulan?, Tiana, probably some more characters I'm forgetting, and most importantly, human-form Beast and Belle. And their costumes were incredible. Of course, Belle wanted a picture with Gaston. He saw her prince and said, "Not so scary now, are you?" then something about how he didn't have claws anymore. And all the Beauty and the Beast characters posed, with the prince making an interesting scared face and the two of us and Alice looking very angry and jealous. As the rest of the group watched, they noticed all the facial expressions and were like, "Oh my gosh, I need a picture of that, too!"
After the party, we went back to Gaston and Alice's apartment, where Alice, exhausted, went right to bed and the rest of us stayed up until almost three talking. Such are the dangers of getting a sci-fi geek talking about Star Trek.
In summary, it was super awesome, but mostly because of our choice of costumes, and the guy playing Gaston. We had so much fun, we all decided to just wear the same costumes again next year.
Today I'm thankful for being the awesomest villain group of the night, having a great time interacting with characters, that adorable Ariel, that one cast member's Best Reaction Ever, and a big candy haul.