Disneyland After Dark: Throwback Nite

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What better way to start off my blog than with a post about the Happiest Place on Earth? My vacations to Disneyland are something I look forward to year around (no matter if one’s planned for the future or not), so when Disney announced that they would be hosting (aka capitalizing on) their very own version of Dapper Day, I was over the moon. As the first in what is supposedly to be a series of events that take place after park closing, we all knew little of what to expect – only that we knew we had to go; and since the first date fell only a week after my little sister’s birthday, my roommate and I took the opportunity to give her the proper Disney bash she’s never had because we always go a month later on my birthday.

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Disneyland’s first After Dark event was described as a “Step back in time to the ‘50s and ‘60s for a taste of the classic after-dark experience at Disneyland,” and so we approached the event as a replication of their 1950s “Date Nite” events where guys and dolls would dress their best to experience the park at night with swing dancing and bands adding that little extra something.

With excitement, anticipation, and a dash of worry, the three of us planned our outfits (opting out of in-your-face Disneybounds for the first time in years in favor of being era-accurate), and made the drive from Arizona to California. Morning of, I woke up at 4:30 am to brush out my roommate and sister’s hair to give them updos I had yet to practice on their hair, but came out beautifully: a poodle on on Lauren’s once stick-straight hair, and a half-poodle on Julide’s a la Annette in “Babes in Toyland.”

After a 30 minute standstill at the parking lot to get in, we walked up to the parks only to realize that it opened two hours after we had assumed (shame on us!). We decided it wasn’t such a tragedy (and I willfully ignored that I had just woken up at 4:30 am when we were going to be in the parks until 1:30 am) and took the opportunity to snap some photos.

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My roommate, Lauren, who’s fashion sense is modern (and generally leans toward ’40s when she goes vintage for an event,) ended up opting for the most beautiful silk taffeta 1980s does 1940s/50s gown that I still envy her for. While I’m not generally a fan of ’80s-does, this one won my heart and flattered her tall frame perfectly. It also easily made for the best photographs because of its long, full skirt, and reflective material. We topped her look off with a new 3-strand pearl necklace, gold heels, red lips, and a pair of my purple rhinestone earrings to give her that red carpet glow.

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My sister, Julide, who tends to lean towards 1950s found a perfectly fitting (and fitted) dress of black with pink embroidered flowers, and topped off the look with a pink satin 1960s hat, pink lips, pink 1950s gloves, a shrug from Pinup Girl Clothing, and the cutest flats around. While Lauren was the glamour gal in the group, Julide was definitely the epitome of the cute party girl who would’ve attended Date Nite.

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In my search for an outfit, I landed on a 1950s party gown in this stunning shade of green. Since I wanted it to feel more special than my usual Disney attire given the event at night, I added some perfectly matching green gloves to the equation, my own 3-strand pearl necklace, gold heels, and a little frog brooch to my glove to give a nod to Tiana.

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Of course, the direct sunlight proved too intense for the pale shade of green I was wearing, but that didn’t stop me from snapping more images!

After a good amount of time spent taking photos, we finally made our way into the Happiest Place on Earth.

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The day went swimmingly and aside from not going on Space Mountain (a definite first), it was the perfect day.

We met some of our favorite characters…

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…and even played hide and seek with Peter Pan (the love of my sister’s life) before she was swept away by Hook in a waltz (the new love of her life):

I threw in a fast outfit change (since the under bust of my dress was too tight, making the bodice shove my shoulders down painfully):

Saw the elusive Belle in her town gown rush by without being able to talk to her (as usual…how do I meet her, dammit??), so settled for second best and posed with her statuary and ate in her restaurant:

We went on Small World which was still decked out for Christmas and none of us had ever experienced it as such – and it was MARVELOUS. We, of course, rode the teacups – a feat my sister and I quickly realized was much more difficult when only two people were turning the wheel and one was practically useless due to gloves:

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And before we knew it, it was time to pick up our event passes and exclusive park maps, and reign in the normal operating hours by watching Fantasmic! (the first time we’ve seen the show since it was revamped). Side note: the map was absolutely adorable, and in retrospect, we missed out on a lot of things due to exhaustion.

I quickly changed back to my original outfit when I realized that my beautiful Belle gown had a large hole starting by the zipper in the hour between park close and the official start of the event, and off we went for a night time of fun.

Although we were exhausted after 12 hours already spent in the parks, being greeted by the peppy ’60s party tunes coming from a stage set up by Walt’s statue and seeing the decade-specific wardrobe put that bit of spring back in our steps. After wandering around Mainstreet for awhile greeting new chums and generally taking in our surroundings, we quickly shuffled through the huge crowd gathered in front of the castle to find a spot for Disney’s “Fantasy in the Sky,” a replica of the firework show that first started playing in Disneyland in 1958. It was a happy moment, being surrounded by fellow ’50s lovers, and although plenty of guests weren’t dressed up for the event, enough were to make it feel truly special. From Hairspray-inspired ’60s looks, to poodle skirts, to true vintage, all interpretations of the decades ran rampant and it felt like home.

After the fireworks spectacular, we branched out into other areas of the parks (primarily Fantasyland), and were greeted by the swing band playing near Small World. While we waited in line to ride the Storybook Land Canal Boats, we watched as varying levels of couples took to the dance floor, and then spotted an incredibly rare character greeting guests just off to the side – the Blue Fairy! Since we had picked up our wristbands and event brochures earlier in the day, we had known that the “classic” characters we were promised ahead of time would include people from “Sleeping Beauty,” “Pinocchio,” and “Sword in the Stone.” Although we were shocked that Snow White and Cinderella weren’t represented in the lot, seeing the Blue Fairy almost made it better. Once we’d made our way around a bit more, we finally found the Blue Fairy again and waited to meet her.

Her gown was absolutely stunning and I fell in love with her 60s bouffant and elegant hands. She was definitely one of the most beautiful characters in the parks, and waiting for the PhotoPass photographer to show up didn’t seem such a trial when we could watch Merlin wandering around giving sage advice to park guests.

Although we didn’t manage to meet Merlin (so little time!), we did manage to find Aurora again…and this time, with her Prince! I was bemused but happy to discover that in order to walk up to the pair, one had to ask permission for a photograph. With difficulty, I mustered up the will to do so, and we got our images. We’ll ignore how far away I was standing from Phillip because my nerves got the best of me! What can I say? I’ve never met a character wielding a sword before.

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After meeting characters, we decided to take advantage of the photo ops set up all around the park depicting original attractions:

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Even if we were absolutely exhausted by the time 1 am rolled around, we felt the usual sadness sink in as we had to make our way to the exit. The music still playing was difficult to leave behind – even more so than usual knowing that official 1950s events in Disneyland would be few and far between. We felt that the extra $90 spent on a mere 4 hour event was easily worth it, with the fireworks show, the rare characters, the dancing, and just seeing everyone wandering around.

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Next time, we plan on trying to find a way to go two days so that the previous day can be spent at the parks, leaving the day of the event free so we can recharge and move a bit faster when the event was actually happening, but this was a lesson we learned at Mickey’s Halloween Party and failed to follow through with already, so who knows? If you were unsure about investing in this event due to cost, I would say that it’s definitely worth it. While Dapper Day brings out more cosplayers and eras of vintage, being able to experience the 1950s IN the parks feels completely different. I doubt anyone would argue with a few extra hours tacked on at the end, a few more characters, and maybe even a mini parade (something closer to what the Halloween party does, and who knows, perhaps they’ll develop the event as time goes on,) but the immersive feeling was certainly unique and made it worth every penny.

Did you attend Disney’s Throwback Nite?  Let me know your thoughts!

Best,

Miss Lark Bahar

This is Halloween: Adventure in the Great Wide Disneyland

Hello everyone!

As those who follow my Instagram are well aware by now, this past Monday was spent at the happiest place on Earth, Disneyland! When a friend from Long Island decided to pay a visit due to a school holiday, we figured what better way to celebrate than to take our first vacation since February? A trip to Disneyland (and vacationing in general) has been long overdue, and as my roommate and I have only made it there during Halloween-time once before, we felt this would be the perfect opportunity to try out Mickey’s Halloween Party with its special new parade. And who can turn down being able to trick-or-treat as adults?

As no Disney trip is complete without Disneybounding these days, we opted to make use of the bounds my roomie and I were originally going to showcase when we visited in August: Sorcerer Mickey, and one of Madame Upanova’s dancers from Fantasia. The perfect warm-weather bounds!

To emulate the ostriches, I opted for pairing my black Marilyn top from Le Bomb Shop with a vintage skirt of mine from the Instagram shop FarFromHereVintage. With the off-white of the skirt paired with the Western pattern ringing around, I felt the representation was as close as possible with this kind of character. It was then only a matter of accessorization.

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The cornucopia brooch, velvet necktie, earrings, and large hair bow were obvious choices to emulate one of Madame Upanova’s dancers (although I debated being the pink ostrich prima ballerina, Madame Upanova herself, I decided it wouldn’t be as “me” with the color-scheme). The two difficulties rose from deciding what to do with my shoes. I knew I wanted to try walking around in a pair of my old pointe shoes, but figured this wouldn’t last long, so ordered a back-up pair of lace-up flats from Nine West with great reviews to change into when my feet gave up. Plus, this bound was a great excuse to color a pair of my pointe shoes my favorite color! Sharpie-ing them blue and sewing on new ribbons helped fill up some time waiting in line for a concert on Saturday.

For my hair, I finally ended up settling on a large, loose poodle-do instead of a ballet bun as it would help create the space for me to pin my bow in standing up without worry that it might fall off or fall limp. The whole thing was then topped by a gorgeous hand-painted, embellished parasol specifically painted by a friend for my bound.

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We decided to spend the first half of the day in California Adventure to save money before hopping on over to Disneyland at 3 (when the special Mickey’s Halloween Party tickets allowed entry). While we probably would have stayed at Disneyland the whole day normally, the heartbreaking impending erasure of The Tower of Terror made us commit to going there. So after styling four gals’ hair in the morning (everyone opted for wet sets this trip, so I was essentially running a salon), we made our way to the parks.

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We started our adventure by immediately booking it to Tower to grab our fast passes for the ride we’d never be able to experience again, and took the chance for a few photo ops along the way. Happily enough, the marquee on the wall had Fantasia listed as the feature film!

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How adorably 20s does my roomie look as Sorcerer Mickey? And my lil sis was really rocking that Ursula bound in my black vintage dress. After a few photos with fast passes in hand, we picked up our friend from LI (who was bounding Merida and happens to hate drop rides and coasters) and we made our way over to our favorite game ride, Toy Story Mania.

Due to poor planning, we had already hit about three hours by the time we were done with the ride, and my feet were in excruciating pain. Not only could I not go on pointe, but I could barely walk because of the pain in my toes and my ankles (how did I use to do this for hours??? I blame the concrete! And…that I haven’t been en pointe in about 8 years). We stopped for one last photo op…

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I tried to bite the bullet and prepared to go up en pointe so I could have at least ONE photo showing off…

…but failed miserably and ended up just going for pretty ballet arms instead.

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Since the lockers my change of shoes were stored in were on the other side of the theme park, after about 10 minutes of teeny-tiny baby steps of pain, I gave up and my roomie and sis went to grab the shoes for me. Taking the pointe shoes and all the toe tape off and slipping into cushioned flats was a blessed relief and I was happy to walk again.

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Next step (ha!) was to go make use of our Tower of Terror passes and ride our beloved ride one last time.

It was a bittersweet experience to say the least. Particularly with the sign already off of the building and all but one of the cast members already out of character.

Our friend caught us as we walked out, and we took a quick farewell photo before moving on to explore the park a bit more and then switching over to Disneyland.

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Halloween-time….finally!

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Definitely our happy place, and it certainly shows! So happy, in fact, that I finally took my outfit out for a much needed twirl!

We took these last few photos before rushing to find one of the more deserted restrooms and changing into our “costumes” for the Halloween Party. I opted for my Belle look that’s previously made it’s appearance on my blog in my week of closet Disneybounding as some felt it to be too costumey for a normal bound (and was too hot for daytime wear in Disney anyway). My roomie went as Prince Adam (as she’s not the princess type and we couldn’t afford to buy new clothing for the event anyway), the visiting friend went as Ariel, and my lil sis went as Snow White. After the most hectic Disneyland experience of my life (why did I commit to a hair change???), we emerged as our new characters.

After the heat and stress of changing, we stopped for another photo op to try to relax and cool down, and take advantage of the light before it disappeared.

Adam woo-ed me with a kiss on my hand.

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And Snow of course needed to visit her wishing well.

But meanwhile, Adam continued to work his magic and swept me up into a dance.

Ariel, being the restless girl she is, tried to book it back to the sea while we were all preoccupied. Can’t take her anywhere!

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So we pulled her back and tried to teach her how to properly pose for a portrait.

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My hands were itching for the book I’d left back at my locker!

Then the day dissolved into darkness and we opted out of taking photos to focus on our hectic night ahead. We rushed around doing all we could do in the short amount of time we had but ended up missing almost all of our favorite rides from poor planning (a hectic trip indeed – Disneyland without teacups? Space Mountain?? Indiana Jones??? unheard of!). The one notable ride was of course the Halloween-must, Haunted Mansion. Decked out just as wonderfully as I remembered it being years ago, the experience was hauntingly enchanting. And that new Sally animatronic was absolutely stunning! My biggest regret is not being able to go through more than once.

All in all it was a wonderful, though poorly planned, experience. The new parade of villains and seeing everyone dressed up definitely makes the cost worth it and we now plan on making Mickey’s Halloween Party a must next year. I’m already antsy to head back and wishing our trip had lasted longer than it did.

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So farewell for now from Belle, Walt, Mickey, and I!

Love,

Miss Lark Bahar