Dapper Days, DisneyBounding and More at the Parks – Or, Who Are These People and Why Are They Dressed Like That?

For those of you who have visited the U.S. Disney parks and resorts in the past few years, you may have noticed a real rise in guests wearing unusual clothing there.

And some of you may have wondered – what is that all about?

There are different reasons behind a lot of the matching t-shirts or period clothing or character clothing that you may have seen in the parks.

Families, friends, bridal parties, reunions and more have found it fun and helpful to wear matching t-shirts to the parks to make it easier to stand out, stick together, find each other, and help celebrate their special occasion.

Some larger tour groups and school groups have also started having their members wear matching clothes for similar reasons.

But now there are several days or weekends per year where you may find hundreds or even thousands of people dressing up in a particular way to visit the parks.

Three of the longest-established and largest of these groups would be celebrating Gay Days, Dapper Days and Bats Day.

  • Gay Days: Have you been at the parks and seen an extremely large number of the guest population wearing red shirts? Have you noticed an unusual amount of rainbow merchandise and food offerings for sale? Well, you may have arrived during Gay Days, where many of the LGBT community come together to celebrate. Disney has recently (though unofficially) catered to these weekends with the aforementioned merchandise and food availability. The next Gay Days at Disneyland Resort are scheduled for: October 2-4, 2015. The next Gay Days at Walt Disney World Resort are scheduled for: June 4-7, 2015.
  • Dapper Days: You feel like you’ve stepped back in time, but you’re not sure what time it is? You may be visiting the park during Dapper Days! There is no set time period one must wear for Dapper Days – so long as one is dressed up nicely! Its general origins were to celebrate a more genteel time when ladies wore dresses and heels and gentlemen wore button-down shirts and shined up shoes to go to Disneyland in the early days of its existence in the 1950’s and 60’s.  But this has expanded to embrace everything from a pin-up look (1940’s WWII style to rockabilly) to steampunk (Victorian sci-fi ala Jules Verne) to turn of the century clothing matching Main Street U.S.A. itself! Disney has released a collectible pin to (unofficially) commemorate Dapper Days for the past few years. The next Dapper Day at Disneyland Resort is scheduled for: September 18, 2015.  The next Dapper Day at Walt Disney World Resort is scheduled for: October 3, 2015.
  • Bats Day: You feel like you just walked into a club full of goths.  You may be visiting during Bats Day! A big hint would be a tremendous amount of people wearing black – with an emphasis on leather and lace and a large amount of long coats, corsets and parasols. Disney has also unofficially embraced Bats Day by releasing merchandise and food during these days particularly related to bats or goth fan favorites Haunted Mansion and Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. The next Bats Day at Disneyland Resort is scheduled for: Today! (May 31, 2015)

Other days to find folks wearing fun themed character clothes include Galliday (an unofficial Doctor Who day in the park where you will run into many iterations of the Doctor, his companions and foes) and Harry Potter Day (another unofficial event where Hogwarts students and professors and assorted other wizardly characters cavort amongst the throngs of Muggles). Neither of these franchises are owned by Disney, but there was enough crossover in fandom of people who enjoyed both that their paths happily commingled. I’m not sure about the future of Harry Potter Day at Disneyland though. Once the Harry Potter area opens at Universal Studios Hollywood – will a day at Disney still be deemed necessary?

There are even more days where you may find people dressing up in all kinds of other themes as well. Generally, if you stop and ask folks what they’re dressed up for, they’re happy to tell you about it! Otherwise, it’s just as easy to let them go about enjoying the park in their own way as you enjoy it in your comfy shorts and t-shirts!

The other major factor in wearing something different and special to the parks was the creation of the concept of DisneyBounding. Started by a blogger, the idea became an internet and park sensation that even Disney itself adopted and now celebrates and publicizes. DisneyBounding is a way to stay within the rules of appropriate park dress, while still being a creative way to express your love for Disney and its characters. Continue reading

Performer Spotlight: Dapper Jason @ The Dapper Dans of Disneyland

“It’s amazing to see what four grown men will do to avoid getting a real job…”

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You may have noticed that I started this entry off with a joke rather than a song lyric…

That’s because, aside from Dapper Jason’s lovely baritone when singing with The Dapper Dans of Disneyland, I still tend to think of him most prominently as being one of the funniest guys in the group.

He’s not the broad physical comedian that Dapper Jeremy is – instead Jason has crafted his own Dapper “persona” as the wide-eyed befuddled innocent of the team who gleefully delivers the jokes and naively makes his observations during the sets.  And it always plays just charmingly.

Doing the bunny hop with Dapper Jason!

Doing the bunny hop with Dapper Jason at Easter!

Jason is a natural team player – he never tries to steal the spotlight, but you’ll definitely notice him nonetheless because he’s just so amusing! Continue reading

Performer Spotlight: Dapper Peter @ The Dapper Dans of Disneyland

“You may search everywhere, but none can compare…”

Singing inside on an overcast day!

Singing inside a Main Street store on an overcast day!

With all due respect and appreciation to all of the absolutely amazing singers at the Disneyland Resort… there is one voice that always melts me completely – and that is the simply beautiful tenor of Dapper Peter of The Dapper Dans.

At times, Peter can also be found singing lead – and he’s good at it too. But there is just nothing else like the soaring heights of his tenor singing; and I think it’s forsaking his incredible gift of that pure, clear sound to not utilize him most often in that role.

Peter at Coke Corner at Halloweentime.

Peter at Coke Corner at Halloweentime.

His tone is so unique that I have actually identified it as him singing when I’ve been far down the street or he’s approaching on the trolley but still out of sight. Nobody else sounds like that. He just has an extraordinary unique vocal instrument that touches my heart when I hear him sing. Continue reading

Show Spotlight: The Royal Swing Big Band Ball

“Now you’re singing with a swing!”

The Tim Gill All-Stars at The Royal Swing Big Band Ball.

The Tim Gill All-Stars at The Royal Swing Big Band Ball.

This week, in honor of the start of the 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration at the Disneyland Resort, we’ll reflect on the original park’s past and present with just an extra touch of class – in fact one could call it downright dapper…

As you can probably tell from my Club 33 flashback post, I’m a big fan of those experiences in the park that connect directly back to the days of Walt Disney. And one of the quickest ways to step back into that era is with the long-time tradition of swing dancing at Disneyland on Saturday nights.

What is The Royal Swing Big Band Ball?

This wonderful form of entertainment and recreation has been a staple of the park since 1958 – and even Walt himself was known to occasionally cut a rug to the sounds of famous big bands and jazz musicians back in the day!  However, the event and its venue started with a less regal and more small town feeling that continued for several decades.

Doc Anello and the Swing Machine band performing at the former Carnation Plaza Gardens venue.

Doc Anello and the Swing Machine band performing at the former Carnation Plaza Gardens venue.

So when it was announced a few years ago that the classic Carnation Plaza Gardens location was being transformed into the princess-themed area of Fantasy Faire, a lot of the swing dancers, big band fans, and park history enthusiasts were understandably upset! But it was promised that the swing dancing would return in some form.

There was a bit of a rough road for swing dancing to get back inside Disneyland park. Construction of The Royal Theatre took the venue away for a significant amount of time, during which the dancers were forced out onto a makeshift dance floor in Downtown Disney. I don’t think anyone liked this option, but it was a placeholder until swing dancing could return to its home in the new/old location.

But happily once again you can swing on the dance floor at the rechristened Royal Swing Big Band Ball to the sounds of big band music (or just watch and listen from the sides if you prefer) in Disneyland park and it is a very welcome weekend evening entertainment option!

Who are the performers?

Tim Gill (on the right) stands waiting to perform.

Tim Gill (on the right) stands waiting to perform.

A rotating succession of swing bands plays the standards from the American songbook along with some more modern swing hits as well. The last time I went to visit, I saw The Tim Gill All-Stars and I felt like I’d stepped back in time to a club in the 1950’s or 60’s. They were terrific!

The dance floor here hosts all levels of dancers from beginner to advanced – I’ve seen everyone from parents with toddlers to clearly very experienced swing dancers (east coast and west coast swing) out on the floor. 

Mousertainment Tip: I would advise the swing dance beginners to stay towards the outside edges rather than trying to jump into the middle of the floor where the more advanced dancers are doing their thing.  No one wants to accidentally bump into someone else, so please try to give everyone some space as swing can be a very energetic dance form!

When and where can I find it? Continue reading

Mousertainment Movies: Tomorrowland – An Appreciation

Mousertainment Memorandum: The following is my personal reaction to seeing the movie Tomorrowland this weekend.  This article will talk about the themes of the film and my responses to it, but there will be no plot point spoilers included. The only story points mentioned herein are those from trailers and ads.

Having already done a list of movies I thought were going to be worth seeing in 2015, I didn’t expect to stop mid-year and write a separate appreciation for one of them.  But I’m not sure the media or the public really get what this movie is about and I wanted to shine an extra spotlight on what may very well turn out to be my favorite movie of the year: Tomorrowland.

Now that’s a pretty bold statement considering there are still two Pixar films, a Marvel film and the return of Star Wars happening in the next six months! But this film surprised me in ways I never would have guessed from the trailers and I wanted to make sure that people who would “get” this film know that they should make the effort to go see it.

I personally worked pretty hard to stay spoiler free on this film. I didn’t opt to participate in the D23 Expo 2013 promotional game for the film when that was going on (there was a bit of a hunt that led to the participants receiving one of many promotional “T” pins for the film). I didn’t read details of what hints the filmmakers cryptically dropped there. And as the film’s release approached, I avoided watching interviews with cast and crew or reading reviews of the film.  Though I couldn’t help but be aware of the slightly negative buzz about the film coming from the critics and the public alike.  What wasn’t appealing to people, I wondered?

The only information I allowed myself was to watch the trailers to get a sense of how this film was being presented – which was as a family film with sci-fi and Disney park-related elements. (Which frankly would have been enough to get me into a theater seat!) But even as I watched the ongoing release of teasers and ads, I wasn’t quite sure exactly what this film was about!

There seemed to be something about an idealistic teenage girl, a cynical curmudgeonly scientist, a little girl, and some bad guys chasing them – all while they were trying to get to some magical place called “Tomorrowland”.

Again, that probably would have been enough for me to want to see it, but the later promotions for the film brought in a Walt Disney reference/nostalgia factor making me even more curious. But I still wanted to just see the film with no preconceptions or further information. That got a little harder when a friend saw it before me and wasn’t overly impressed. But still, I was determined to see it for myself and then make a judgement.

And I’m glad I did. Continue reading

Performer Spotlight: Cheshire Cat @ The Mad T Party

“I wanna rock ‘n roll all night and party every day!”

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It’s hard to catch a glimpse of this cool cat when he’s got his head down focused on playing, so sometimes you have to catch him when he’s standing up!

The Mad T Party band in Disney California Adventure simply couldn’t rock out without the Cheshire Cat laying down the beat for them on his drums.

And this cat can play!

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This guy is such a hardcore rock drummer, completely focused on the music as he plays. He’s more of an internal musician in that way – guided by the music rather than concerned with the audience’s reactions to what he’s doing.

Serious and powerful on the drums, I can viscerally feel the difference when he’s playing, setting up the beat and knocking it down. Continue reading

Performer Spotlight: Caterpillar @ The Mad T Party

“Let’s go crazy! Let’s get nuts!”

Jumpin’ Caterpillar!

Jumpin’ Caterpillar!

One of the wildest performers with the BEST energy onstage is this crazy Caterpillar on the keyboard at the Mad T Party in Disney California Adventure!

This guy manages to stay SO upbeat for every show I’ve ever seen him at – jumping and singing and playing along – you can tell he absolutely relishes every moment he gets to make music as part of this band!

Dormouse watching Caterpillar rock out!

Dormouse watching Caterpillar rock out!

A madman on the keys, his zest for performing and musical gusto makes every show he’s in so much fun.  He just makes me happy when he’s around because he’s so clearly always having a great time!

He’s not silly – but he’s joyous and bouncy and utterly excitable – which makes him so irresistible to watch! Continue reading