Anyway, Mickey's Halloween Party.
It started when Gaston and Alice arrived on Sunday night. They informed us that Alice's parents did indeed have costumes, but her mother chose not to be a Silly Girl; instead, she made a Lumiere costume out of an old star costume she had for her kids (or grandkids?). That being the case, Alice had been planning on being the third Silly Girl, but since her father was going to be Maurice, her parents really liked the idea of having Maurice and Belle and parents have a lot of pull, so Belle won out. This was mostly only annoying to Alice, because if she had known earlier on that her parents would insist that she dress as Belle, she would have been prepared with a cape and new shoes. That being the case, we spent our pre-party intermission at a local shopping mall getting shoes to match Alice's Belle costume. This is how we found out that there's a chain called The Walking Company (or something like that), which seems like the perfect place to get shoes for costumes that are going to be worn while out walking for long periods of time.
Once the shoes had been acquired, we went to Alice's parents' RV to eat pizza and get dressed for the party. This is probably where I would have posted the first pictures. Alice's mother had made a Maurice wig from scratch, which was pretty impressive even if it did look a little bit like Doc Brown (whose name I only know because Back to the Future Day was so recent; we've still never seen those movies, but only because we have so many other things to do, and no access to them except to buy them from Amazon). He also had a smock with plastic tools. The Lumiere costume was a gold dress with a white lampshade hat and white gloves. I personally think the one Athena and I made was better, even if Gaston was comparing the two by saying things like, "The problem with the last one was..." He's biased and doesn't have a great memory for details, especially when he's biased. But the second generation Lumiere looked pretty good.
Our party adventures were almost cut short because Athena and I had forgotten to print our tickets and nobody wanted to go back to our apartment to do that, so we used Alice's phone instead. And we are completely illiterate when it comes to smart phones, so it was definitely an interesting challenge. We almost couldn't get the second ticket scanned! Aaaah!
But that crisis was overcome through patience and letting Alice mess with the phone, and then we were at the party! Waaaaaahooooooo!!!
First we went to get the Annual Passholder exclusive treats, which were much like the ones they gave out last year, only this time the backpack was navy with a Disneyland 60th anniversary logo on it, and the rice crispy treat was much smaller (this is a good thing, because they were so sickeningly sweet last time that smaller portions will definitely make them easier to eat).
Oh, and I forgot to mention: Gaston's wig looked pretty amazing. He told us later that he got it by calling around to different wig shops to see who might be able to provide an adequate wig, and the woman at the place he got it said, "Come on in and we'll see what we can come up with." So he went to their store with lots of Gaston pictures on his phone, and they styled the wig exactly to match Gaston's hair...which turns out to be less straightforward a style than you might think. Ain't it always the way with cartoon hair? We ran into a Jack Sparrow cosplayer later who complimented him on his stalliontail (not a ponytail).
That was a fun encounter: Jack Sparrow was investigating a large pile of treasure that had been set out for decoration by the pirate pals meet and greet, and he had an adorable little girl with him. A bunch of pirates came along (one of whom looked a lot like Mayor McGillicuddy (or however it's spelled) from the Laughing Stock Company shows) and gave her a chocolate coin for being so cute. Gaston started talking to her and asked her, "Is your dad Jack Sparrow?" She remained shyly reticent while her father(?) whispered, "Captain Jack Sparrow." Gaston replied, "Oh, sorry 'Captain,' I didn't see your ship." "I'm in the market, as it were. For that one," he said, indicating the Columbia Sailing Ship, which was docked by the meet and greet area. Then there was a brief discussion about the Columbia not being very seaworthy and/or being cursed to run 360s around Tom Sawyer's Island.
Anyway, after we got our Annual Passholder treats, we headed over to the Fantasy Faire, because that seemed like the best place to get a group photo, and because that's where we should have been able to meet Belle. So we looked at the Disney princess meet and greet and, noticing the absence of the princess in question, we asked when she might be available for pictures. The cast member told us that, unfortunately, of all the eight princesses that would be attending that night, Belle was not one of them. What. Oh well, we had our own Belle this year. We still think it would have been fun to take our picture with them, but there were distractions that prevented us from saying, "Come on, let's just say hi!"
First, we decided to get a picture of our group, because the sun was setting and I was a little worried about what the pictures would look like in low light. So I thought we might as well get the picture first, and when that was over, we spotted an adorable couple dressed up as Prince Ali and Princess Jasmine. That turned out to not be an uncommon couple's costume this year (we suspect someone posted a Prince Ali pattern on Pinterest or sold the costume on Etsy, because they all looked the same), but I didn't know that at the time and they were just so cute I had to get a picture! So I rushed after them and asked! And they asked in return if we should go back to the Fantasy Faire area for a better backdrop.
Well. Hello, if you're going to care about the backdrop for Aladdin and Jasmine, you want to go to Aladdin's Oasis in Adventureland. When I said we had to go to Aladdin's Oasis, they said, "Where's that?" What. Well let me show you. So I took them all the way to Aladdin's Oasis (it's not that far from where we were, but it's not that close, either), which, sadly was closed so we couldn't get a picture of them next to the miniature Cave of Wonders, but I was able to get a picture of them under the entrance to it. And then they were able to line up and get their picture with the Genie and the official Jasmine, so we left them to that and since the rest of our group had finally caught up to me by that time, we decided to keep going along that path and do some trick-or-treating.
...And that's pretty much what we did for the rest of the night, mostly. At one point we got on the train, and we got off on Main Street just in time to see the changing of the villains. The villain meet and greet is right at Town Square, and they have a fancy procession every time they switch out who's doing the meeting and greeting. First, they have four ghostly guys carrying candelabras leading a horse-drawn carriage (carrying the new villains), which is followed by some ghostly women...and the Tremaines. I don't know why they weren't in the carriage (which had Maleficent, the Wicked Queen, and Cruella de Vil). But anyway, it was really neat, because the candelabra guys were So Serious.
We stood around and watched Lady Tremaine interact with some guests, hoping our self-proclaimed extrovert Gaston would jump in (he didn't) until something happened that had never happened to us at Mickey's Halloween Party before. It started to rain. Actually, it was sprinkling a little up to that point, but this is when it started raining hard enough that they decided to send all the villains and their fancy makeup and costumes inside. So we took shelter under some awnings for a little while until we decided it was a good time to go on Pirates of the Caribbean.
When we got off the ride, we discovered that they had moved one of the treat trails to the relatively better sheltered streets of New Orleans Square, which happened to be right by the Pirates exit. So we got some more candy! (Also, the rain had pretty much stopped by then. It had mostly stopped before we even got on the ride, prompting Gaston to comment to the people in line ahead of us that that was "an Orange County downpour." They responded, "Oh really? We're from Seattle. We spent all day wondering what that yellow thing is in the sky.) But the really fun part about this treat trail is that it went right by the lobby to the Blue Bayou (the famous restaurant inside Pirates of the Caribbean), where they were having a special dinner experience that Athena and I really wanted to go to but didn't, not because it was $150 per person and we wouldn't have wanted to eat anything on the menu, but because the rest of our party wasn't feeling rich enough for it and we didn't want to ditch them.
But the point is, as part of the experience, they had girls dressed up as ghosts (including the tightrope walker from the Haunted Mansion portraits). Two of the girls, who I guess were on break from whatever they were there to do, were killing time by standing at the lobby glass doors, holding candles and looking outside creepily. Our Maurice is a bit of a prankster, so he left the treat trail line and took advantage of their inattention to sneak up on the doors and scare them. He was very successful in his endeavor, and one of the girls, we're told, leaped back at least two feet. As our group (still in line) slowly approached the windows, the same girl noticed Gaston and started getting flirty. Then about a second later she saw Maurice and the change in attitude was astounding. She got all stern and "come here foolish mortal so I can give you a piece of my mind." It was fun, but I'm more on her side as far as the scare thing.
And for the rest of the night we mostly just went around getting candy (except for when we were watching the fireworks, and when we were waiting for the fireworks, which were delayed due to technical difficulties). We also went on the submarines, where one of the cast members asked how many people had been demanding that Gaston sing throughout the night. He was the first, actually, but of course Gaston was happy to oblige. He always goes with the Gaston solo from the song "Belle", which was fun for us, because it's immediately followed by the Bimbette solo (Bimbette is the movie name for the Silly Girls), so we got to join in.
People would comment every so often (mostly cast members), "You're missing a Silly Girl!" When that happened, I would start to pretend cry at the tragic loss. I think one of the most fun instances of being recognized was when we stopped to take a picture of a group of people that was all wearing fancy hats designed to look like the Adventureland attractions, and suddenly everybody walking by noticed Gaston and his crew. We heard a couple of Japanese tourists reacting, and one of them took a second to process and said, "Aa, machimusume (oh, town girl)." She recognized us! Woohoo!
I think that about covers the Halloween Party experience. The next day, we went back to Disneyland, where Maurice had made reservations at the Blue Bayou. It was the non-Halloween Party version, but it was still awesome because in all our years of Disneyland attendance, we'd actually never been there. They were only able to get a reservation for four (we would have happily seen about buying a painting while not worrying about expensive meals we wouldn't eat), but they didn't want to leave us out, so they asked the cast members and managed to get us in with them! And it was really neat and of course I took pictures! (Which will be posted...someday...)
I think the main thing that stood out about it is that the service was ridiculously fast. Our not-in-the-know theory is that it's because the restaurant is very small but very popular, so in order to accommodate as many people as possible without rushing guests, they make sure to minimize waiting to the extreme. Like, we sat down and boom! drinks. Boom! bread. As soon as the bread was gone, boom! entrees. It was amazing. The bread was also really really good. It was like a...tomato cheese bread? I'm not sure, but it was awesome. Athena and I ordered some Louisiana Lemonade, which I only mention because it came with glow cubes--only this time, because it's the 60th anniversary, the "cubes" are actually diamond-shaped, and they light up and change color.
We also opted not to order any entrees, and instead ordered dessert! We got a lemon creme brulee and a chocolate ganache cake, and we split them. And maybe one day I will post pictures of all the fancy food we've had at Disneyland. The plating was not quite as fancy as at the Carthay Circle, but the creme brulee plate had a Diamond Anniversary design painted on it with...I guess it was blueberry sauce, because there were also a bunch of blueberries on top of it...which we gave to Alice's mother.
After lunch, Alice and her parents left while Gaston stayed with us because at some point during all this he had made plans to play hockey with his brother Wednesday morning. He left to buy hockey stuff while we translated a chapter of Persona Q, and then he came back and wanted to return to the park. We agreed because we had had so much sugar (after dessert at the Blue Bayou, we went to Joe's Italian Ice) that we wanted something yummy and savory, namely fried mozzarella. It was a bad idea, because we were already tired enough before we went that we really couldn't afford to expend any more energy, especially if that expenditure involved watching fireworks, which we should have known it would.
But on the bright side! Gaston wanted to get a caramel apple smoothie, which resulted in us going to the Animation Building (it's right next to the smoothie place and a good place to hang out while drinking a smoothie). When we got there, the giant screens had just started playing the "In Summer" segment, featuring snowman concept art from Frozen, and one of the cast members was so cute and so excited to be singing along. I was tired and hating Frozen (as usual), so when he said, "Make me a..." and gestured as if prompting us to complete the line, I maintained my less than happy expression. But then he was just so excited that I couldn't help smiling that someone was so happy. Athena says, "I'm glad you like that song, because you have to put up with it much more than I do."
So he said, "You look like someone who's heard this song enough." I replied, "I never really much cared for Frozen." He said that was fair enough and then asked if we were here for a family reunion. I thought it was kind of an odd question, but I didn't think to ask him why he asked it. My theory is that we were wearing our family tree shirts ("my family tree is full of nuts", with a picture of Chip and Dale) and also possibly he might think that if we don't like Frozen, maybe we're not big fans of Disney in general. We once had someone act appalled when she found out we didn't like Enchanted because, "You're Disney fans, aren't you?" To which our response is, "Yes. Exactly." Which is pretty much also how we feel about Frozen--we dislike both Frozen and Enchanted (similar movies in many ways, incidentally) because we know Disney can do much better than that.
Anyway, after that, the Up segment started playing, and the cast member told us about how one time a guest came in and waited for that segment, at which point he proposed to his girlfriend. She said yes, of course, or he wouldn't be telling the story. Then he went on to explain his idea that there should be cast member training for cases when someone proposes and the other person says no. Like if a guy proposes and the answer is no, you have a bunch of guy cast members come along, take him out for a churro, etc. And call a taxi so they don't have to ride home together.
Anyway, later we watched the fireworks from It's A Small World, and then we sat by the Matterhorn until the park had been closed long enough that they wanted to kick us out. Then we came home and died.
Today I'm thankful for Maurice treating us to lunch at the Blue Bayou, getting to eat at the Blue Bayou for the first time ever, managing to finish our rough draft of First Love Monster in addition to a chapter of UQ Holder, comfort mozzarella, and it being cool enough for Page to use her heated cat bed.