So we went to Disneyland on Wednesday. We stayed at Gaston and Alice's place Tuesday night, where they added a few finishing touches to their costumes, and I mentioned that we needed a picture of the two of them as Lady and the Tramp eating spaghetti. That's when we found out the tragic diagnosis that Gaston is gluten-intolerant. And it was too late to make a fake plate of spaghetti as a prop. Oh well.
We made the long trek to Anaheim the next morning, and after having lunch at California Pizza Kitchen, we all changed into our costumes and went to Disneyland. Oh, it was so nice to be back after so long.
Our first stop was the new Fantasy Faire area that opened in May. Not only had we not seen it, it had Gaston's favorite new feature--the...theatre...thingie that they do. We somehow managed to not learn the name of it, probably because we didn't get an entertainment schedule. After confirming what time the next show would be, we took a look around. It was a pretty nice area, decorated to match the rest of Fantasyland (it used to be a part of Main Street), and they played Medieval arrangements of music from the various princess movies.
Gaston and Alice recently got into the hidden Mickey search, so they wanted to show us the Mickey hidden in the Fantasy Faire. It's hidden so well that, even though they already knew where it was, they had to get a cast member to help them find it again, and the cast member had to use a flashlight. It's hidden in one of the rafters over the walkway leading to Frontierland. As we all stood there looking at it, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider walked by, having just finished a meet & greet shift. They came up from behind, and as they passed, Rider tapped me on the shoulder and said, "My compliments on your hair-length, young lady." That's when I knew we were getting off to a good start.
Also, Rapunzel noticed us and said, "How cute! It's the Siamese cats and Lady!" Gaston spoke up indignantly, and she said, "I didn't see you!" in the tone of voice of someone who's annoyed at being yelled at for something she couldn't have helped. I think that's probably a pretty good summary of how most of the night went as far as costume recognition--if Gaston got too far away from us, everyone thought he was a rabbit. (It's not his fault. The Tramp really has tall ears!) When we decided to make Lady and the Tramp costumes, we were 85% sure no one would recognize us, so we were pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong. And since it was such an unusual idea, the people who did recognize us made sure to let us know, and we got lots of compliments on our creativity.
Soon it was time for the show! Before it started, the stagehandmaidens came out to tell everyone how to participate in the show. When something really good happened, we were to throw our hands in the air and shout, "Huzzah!" And when something really bad happened, we were to shake our fists and shout, "Fie!" Oh my goodness, it was super fun. I don't understand why nobody else did it nearly as much as we did.
There are two shows that they do at this theatre, and we happened to be there for Beauty and the Beast. With all the shouting, we were kind of bummed that we were no longer in our Silly Girls costumes, but that's life, I guess. The tale is told by Mr. Smythe and Mr. Jones, who have a kind of vaudevillian style of doing things, and it's all very amusing. They played the parts of Gaston, the Beast, and some of the enchanted objects, and they were joined by Lumiere (an animatronic/marionette candelabra (more research required)) and their royal guest, Belle (of course). Belle did a pretty good job matching the voice from the movie, but she was a little more giggly than I think the real Belle would have been. And when she was critiquing Mr....I'm not sure who played Gaston, but when she was critiquing the portrayal, she seemed more apologetic than I think the real Belle would have been. (The vaudeville guy was too non-muscular and too short--the stagehandmaidens helped him fix this by following him around with a pair of melons (held up behind his arms to represent biceps) and a box (for him to stand on).)
And then we all got to sing Beauty and the Beast, and there was a big battle between Gaston and the Beast, and it was all good fun. And we got to see Belle's new in-park dress, which is made of velvet, and is a rather pale yellow.
After the show, we didn't have time to see the other big addition since our last visit to Disneyland--a big, high-budget show called Mickey and the Magical Map. We weren't too broken up about it, because we saw a preview online and weren't really impressed, and more importantly, we have faith that we'll be going back to Disneyland someday. So we went on Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy and Pirates of the Caribbean instead. I'm not sure how those were the two rides we went on, since they're on opposite sides of the park, but there you have it. (After some thought, Athena figured we went on Ghost Galaxy and then thought about going on the other "Halloween" ride, Haunted Mansion Holiday (actually a Christmas attraction), but the line was longer than Gaston liked and there were no fast passes, so, since we were in the area, we went to Pirates instead.)
It was funny in line to Pirates, though, because we kept overhearing stuff like (as people walked by), "Is this a ride?" And from some people behind us, "What is this ride?" "Well, it used to be Pirates of the Caribbean..." At that, I had to interrupt and say, "It's still Pirates of the Caribbean." Then I left her to continue her explanation of how now because of the movie, they've added stuff like Johnny Depp. I didn't point out to her that it's actually Jack Sparrow, not Johnny Depp, but I did mumble to our party about it. The especially funny thing about it is that when we got off the ride, we were walking by the queue area again and there were some cosplayers taking pictures. I was like, "Oh cool, it's Jack Sparrow and...Penelope Cruz!" It took me a while to remember that the character's name is Angelica.
Soon it was time for the regular Disneyland guests to leave and the official Halloween Party to start. Once again we found ourselves at the Fantasy Faire, and it was almost time to start the princess meet and greet. The line wasn't very long, so we decided to wait. We waited for a while, then wondered why the meet and greet, which was supposed to start at six, had not started at 6:10. A cast member told us the princesses were taking longer than expected to get ready. Tiana was already there waiting, and no one was surprised that she has good time management skills, but we all expected Snow White to be more responsible. Somebody suggested that she was trying to pull Belle away from her book, and we all agreed that that was a reasonable explanation. (When I told the story later, Sarah said she thought Belle would be more responsible, too, but if it was a really good book, we think that's where Belle's priorities would be.)
In the meantime, we were told multiple times by different cast members that the princesses would be switching shifts at 6:30, so we might not get to meet the princesses we saw while we were in line. We were also told there would be six princesses taking turns there, so we asked, since there are officially eleven princesses where were the other five? Well, Jasmine was over in Adventureland with Aladdin and Merida was over by It's A Small World. "So Mulan and Pocahontas got snubbed again?" we asked. The cast member thought about it and said, "...Maybe...not?" She didn't want to tell us who the other three princesses would be, but later when it was almost time to make the switch, someone else told us that we could either be the last group to see Belle, Snow White, and Tiana, or the first group to see Mulan, Pocahontas, and Rapunzel. Well what do you know. (Not a good night for Ariel, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella fans, though.)
We chose to see the princesses who were already there, since Belle is Gaston's favorite and he cares the most. Sadly, we didn't get to talk to them much, but Tiana was impressed that we made our own costumes.
Next, we went to Frontierland, where someone else recognized our costumes and was really excited because she's a makeup artist and would love to do makeup for costumes like ours. We exchanged contact information and talked for a while until we got kicked out (politely) because we were standing in a place that was supposed to be a combination treat trail / character meet & greet. And then we went to Main Street, where we decided the line was too long to meet the villains (even though Hades was out, and we were all very impressed at how tall the costume was).
So instead, we headed over to the little porch area on Main Street that we decided was the perfect place to take Lady and the Tramp pictures. On the way there, I was gratified again to hear a cast member notice our costumes: "It's the Siamese cats! ...And Lady and the Tramp!" So we took pictures of Gaston and Alice, and as they came down the porch steps, Gaston noticed that very cast member and said, "Hey! You put us in the parade two years ago!" And she responded, "Guess what! I'm about to do it again!"
There was much rejoicing.
After that, we mostly just went through treat trails collecting candy until it was time for the fireworks show. We got sooo much candy. There was an amusing incident involving other cosplayers while we went through the treat trail we had previously been kicked out of. Someone a little ahead of us was dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow, and he looked almost exactly like Johnny Depp. Gaston said he had to check and make sure it wasn't really him, because apparently rumor has it (or Gaston just thinks it's a very Depp thing to do) Depp will put on the costume, come into the parks, and mess with guests' heads. But we were amused because one of the cast members was all, "You look just like him!" and he (reading the cast member's nametag) was like, "And you look just like Zach!" Sparrow talked to us, too, because he had seen us all night and not been able to figure out what we were dressed as. He finally guessed when we started singing the Siamese cat song.
After the fireworks, we headed over to the parade meeting area, where we met the other guests who had been invited to be in the parade. There was a Captain Hook and Wendy, and a Belle, Ariel, and lunchlady. Then the cast member in charge came by to give us instructions...and we were all interrupted by a female Gaston cosplayer who just had to get a picture with Belle. The Gaston cosplayer was joined by an Ursula, so the Ariel in that group held us up longer by needing a picture with her, and then our Gaston held us up by needing a picture with Girl Gaston. Fortunately, he'd been in the parade before, so we just went on with the instructing without him.
As we waited backstage for the parade to start, we got to see all the parade performers getting ready to start. They (or some of them) like to come up and say hi to the guests (us), and some of them like to try to sneak up and scare us. Sully and the monster with the sock on his back tried to do just that, and then somebody pointed out that there was a sock on his back--to prevent him having a meltdown, the parade lead said, "No, no! That's just his costume! Great costume, buddy!" And one of the guys on stilts came by to identify everyone's costumes.
The parade was fun, but I was always worried that I wasn't being appreciative enough of the parade-viewers' costumes. (One of our instructions was to point out costumes we liked, because the whole point is to make people feel good about dressing up, we think.) Gaston was really good at it, though. He saw someone sitting on the curb and shouted, "Whoa, you look just like a Disney cast member!" And the cast member grinned and gave a thumbs-up. XD
After the parade, we were over by It's A Small World, and there was Merida, greeting her last few guests of the night, so we got in line. She asked us our names, and we were glad that we knew our characters' names this year. (Last year was a little awkward--the Silly Girls don't have individual names!) One of her cast members (the photographer or the character attendant) asked her if she recognized us, and she said, "Yes, this is Lady, Lady's friend, and the cats!" It was so cute how she said "cats" with her Scottish accent. She told us that her mother had told her our story (because of course Gaston got upset that she didn't know his character's name), but she wasn't paying attention, and that's why she didn't know.
Interlude: Another fun incident involving the Tramp's name happened in New Orleans Square, when we ran into Sexy Frollo. (More on sexy costumes later.) She saw us and yelled our characters' names: "Si! Am! Lady! ......Tramp--I didn't wanna say it!"
Interinterlude: Oh my goodness the sexy costumes. There were sexy costumes with varying degrees of short skirts all over the place--Frollo was actually one of the more modest (if more wrong). The delightful irony of it all is that not all the young women dressed as Disney princesses liked showing that much skin--and their princess of choice was Princess Jasmine.
So back to talking with Merida. We have a picture of her and Gaston attempting (possibly succeeding) some traditional Scottish dancing, but we don't remember what started it. We also don't quite remember how we got on the subject of her little brothers, but she was complaining about how they only listen to her mother, and she has to watch them sometimes, but they never listen to her. Gaston asked where they were, since usually they have bear figures pop up behind her. She said it was past their bedtime, and Gaston was like, "Yeah, but they're probably running around naked somewhere in the park." One of the other cast members looked scandalized, but we were all like, "Yeah."
And to encourage Merida, Gaston told her that in a couple hundred years, they'd invent something called duct tape, which would make her life much easier. She was thrown for a second, then she rallied and replied, "My brothers are bears, not ducks." Instead of explaining that it's not actually "duck" tape, Gaston decided to just make the whole thing less confusing by saying, "They make bear tape, too! *shifty eyes*" A cast member said no they don't, but he insisted. Merida asked if it was easy to make, and Gaston, figuring all you had to do was draw bears on the duct tape, said sure. Then, in a very Merida overconfidence, she said, "I can probably make it myself."
It was all very cute, and it almost made me like Merida. I still don't though. (But I like that Merida.)
By then we were all exhausted, especially since we'd all bought new dress shoes for our costumes, so we went back to the hotel and crashed. The next morning, Gaston and Alice took advantage of their annual passports to go on Ghost Galaxy again (and retrieve our complimentary parade photos), and the two of us went shopping in Downtown Disney, where we found a Mickey Mouse pin that made me go, "Whaaat!" He was wearing his Organization XIII coat! Real live Kingdom Hearts merchandise at Disneyland!
...We actually weren't 100% sure that's what it was, because the pin was small enough that the details could have been fudged. See, we suspect the reason we can't get Kingdom Hearts stuff at Disneyland is that the video game designers guard the property with extreme jealousy. Frankly, we applaud them for it, because they treat the Disney characters way better than Disney sometimes does, but we still like to support Kingdom Hearts when we see it. So we bought the pin out of principle. A careful inspection of the receipt indicated that this particular pin is listed as Kingdom Heart MM pin. ...Not sure why there's only one heart there (either the person listing it isn't familiar with the property, or they're trying to use loopholes, or something else entirely), but we're okay with it for now.
After that, we left Disneyland and came home. The end.
Today I'm thankful for lots of people recognizing our costumes, getting to be in the parade again, getting to see the Fantasy Faire show, getting lots of those peanut chews that we really liked last year, and once again having Disneyland kettle corn.