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Monday, 6 December 2010

Bats' Day - the Disneyland invasion

When the gloomiest subculture on Earth meets the happiest place in the multiverse, strange things are almost guaranteed to happen. If your life has so far been incomplete without the sight of a group of Goths in full neo-Victorian regalia spinning around on the teacup ride, then this, my friend, is the event for you.

Bats' Day in the Fun Park, also referred to as Goth Day, Bats' Day in the Park, Bats' Day Out, BatzDay, Dark Park Festival and simply Bats' Day, has grown, like Whitby, from a relatively small meet-up event to something bordering on a global Gothic phenomenon. It started in August 1999 when promoters from Goth/Industrial and deathrock clubs Absynthe and Release the Bats decided to brave the heat and arrange a spooky trip to Disneyland.

In its current form, Bats' Day is actually a three-day weekend event, which now takes place in the month of May (since 2009 - previously it has taken place in November, and, of course, August) so that black velvet-clad darklings are presumably at less risk of melting in the heat, in Anaheim, CA, near Disneyland (obviously). The 2008 Bats' Day took place in November so that attendees would be able to see the Haunted Mansion done up for the holidays. (The Haunted Mansion is the highlight of the park for most Goths. Who would've guessed?)

It attracts darkly-inclined and black-clad types from dozens of countries across the world, including England, Brazil, New Zealand, France and Germany.
Currently there are several main events taking place over the weekend, including the Bats' Day Black Market, a large gathering of vendors touting their creepy wares - clothing, music, artworks, books, collectables, toys and other 'original dark genre items'. Whatever those might be. There is also the Bats' Day Ghoulish Gala (previously known as the Creepy Cocktail Party), a catered hors d'ouevres cocktail party with live entertainment and DJs, and the Nightmare Before Bats' Day Dinner Meet and Greet, a full sit-down dinner event, also complete with live entertainment and DJs.

New for 2011 will be the Happy Haunts Swing Wake, where guests are required to dress... as the dead. This is another hors d'ouevres party, with DJs, live entertainment, cocktails, and even a raffle. Ghoulies and ghosties and quite possibly some long-legged beasties (of the deceased variety) are expected to attend.

Lastly and most importantly, of course, there is the Bats' Day in the Fun Park, the trip to Disneyland proper. There is no official dress code for the event, but attendees are advised to bear in mind that the park is open to everyone as usual during the event, which means that families with small children and granny in tow do not want to see semi-nude Gothlings whizzing by on the rollercoasters. The Bats' Day website also states that Disney officials may ask you to go and get changed if your attire is inappropriate - or (I love this) if you look too much like a Disney character or member of the Disneyland cast. Put your ballgown away, Princess, this town ain't big enough for TWO Snow Whites...
Goths just wanna have fun...
There are several smaller events during Bats' Day itself, including group photoshoots in front of Sleeping Beauty's castle and the Haunted Mansion, and a photo scavenger hunt.

Again like Whitby, Bats' Day is a very family-friendly event, with Gothy parents enjoying the opportunity to bond with their Spooky Kids. I'm sure they attract plenty of stares and attention from the 'normal' park guests, but when Goths are rife in the vicinity, possibly even in the majority, it's easier to relax and focus on the positive attention rather than the negative.

Whilst the event attracts a primarily Goth crowd, Wikipedia lists other dark genres and subcultures represented over the weekend as horror punk, horror rock, rockabilly, psychobilly, black metal, Halloween, hearse societies, Industrial and EBM. So basically, Goth with knobs on, then...

With the 2011 event looking set to be bigger than ever, grab your parasols, babybats and Nightmare Before Christmas bag, and head over to the Bats' Day LiveJournal community for regular news and updates. Oh, and there's the Bats' Day website, of course...



All images: Google Images

4 comments:

la mì said...

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Black_Lilly said...

I would absolutly love to got to this if I had the money to go over to the U.S
Ah, I can dream though...

Nox Artemis said...

This is how I'm gonna get to Disneyland: the place that my parents never took me to when I was little in their parental negligence. >:( I think that's what I'm going to answer to my ma from now on: "Why do you dress like that?" "Because you never took me to Disneyland."

I'm really more enamored to go to Bats Day someday, even more so than Wave Gotik Treffen. It just seems more carefree and fun-loving (how can it not be at the happiest place on earth?) than WGT, which always has this serious, uber-goth vibe around it (again, how can it not be so being the biggest goth festival in the world?). I guess I'll have to go to both in order to properly evaluate... and rock the goth. B)

Anonymous said...

For those of you who live in europe and can't afford to go out California, there is now a Goth Day at Disneyland Paris. The first one was yesterday, and I attended. It was a lot of fun and I got to meet a bunch of new people. There was about 50 to 100 people who came. In the morning we met up, took the picture in front of the castle, rode The Haunted Mansion (called Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris) all together, took a picture in front of it as well. All in all, it was great day, the only down sides being the heat (it was 36 degrees celsius) and the large crowds, but there's already much talk to move it to cooler and less crowded time of year.

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