Bats In A Theme Park

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I spent all this last weekend down in the OC. Specifically, in Anaheim for Bats Day. What started seven years ago as a couple of goth groups meeting up at the Magic Kingdom, and a total of ninety people, has ballooned into a three-day event that ends with over three thousand goths meeting up at – where else? – the Haunted Mansion.

I was shocked to hear how big the event has become. It’s so big now that Disneyland actually unofficially recognizes it. It will never be a Disney sanctioned event, but the park management have acknowledged it, and have actually told the organizers that the goths are the best-organized and most well behaved of any large group that come to Disneyland – including the church groups. And, because they like us, they promised to have more villians out for the goths.

We were in the park by 11am on Sunday, later than we’d planned, but we hadn’t gone upstairs from seeing Voltaire until almost one-thirty in the morning. And before noon, only a few small groups of goths – mostly goth families – were in the park. But by the time we got in the Space Mountain line at 2pm, half the line was dressed in black, and we kept seeing clumps of goths hanging out in New Orleans Square. And when the the photos were taken at 8pm, the line from the Haunted Mansion went back through New Orleans Square as far as the Blue Bayou and Club 33.

I also have to admire many of the other goths who did not, as I did, forgo costume for comfort. I get heat exhaustion easily, so I was one of the lesser of the evils, and wore an American Apparel shirtdress with striped socks, and only red-and-black devil horns to really indicate that I was part of the Bats Day goth hordes. But there were hundreds of people who, in the spirit of dressing up and of fantasy that Disneyland represents, had dressed up in full goth. Full goth outfits – whether they be neo-Victoriana, cybergoth or rivethead – are not particularly temperate. And even though many people had parasols (especially the black lace kind) to keep off the sun, it couldn’t have been easy to go though the hot day in the park in those elaborate outfits. Not without one’s makeup melting right off one’s face. Such is the downside of a major goth event being in the outside environment in Southern California.

Goth day aside, it was also my birthday weekend. (28, in case you wanted to know) I was celebrating with six of my friends, and I had a blast doing it. We sang along on Pirates and screamed on Space Mountain, and whistled in proper Artoo fashion on Star Tours. We made Snakes on a Plane jokes on Indiana Jones, and bounced around humming the Haunted Mansion music (OK, that was actually just my boyfriend, but that’s his favorite ride, because the hanged corpse at the start appeals to his sense of the macabre.). It was a ridiculous amount of fun. And I do have to give the Disneyland staff credit, because every time someone wished me a happy birthday (yes, I did have the birthday sticker), they really sounded like they meant it.

Next trip is for Hallowe’en, for the Nightmare before Christmas theme. I, and my season pass, will be there. Will you?

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