Something about the Mouse functions as the great equalizer in bringing people together from all backgrounds. Flirting with fanaticism, there is a prevalent subculture of Disney devotees that remain adamant about uncovering more and more of the mystique that seems linked to the Magic Kingdom. A multitude of cliques, sub-communities, and social circles have developed with the Happiest Place on Earth as the nucleus. From biker inspired denim cuts, to bowties and suspenders, to military cargo pants with 20-eye Dr. Marten’s, there is an unofficial calendar of Disney destination days celebrating cliques from all walks of life. Here is a look at the who, what, and when.
February 28th – March 1, 2015
Likely the best known of the pseudo-Disney holidays, Dapper Days is one of the few niche holidays that Disney has actually acknowledged, albeit very unofficially. The cross section of Mad Hatter Tea Party, debutante ball, and early spring soirée results in thousands of enthusiasts dressed to the nines lining the streets of Disneyland. Bowties, suspenders, pencil skirts, and vintage derby hats, the name of the game here is a sophisticated stroll through Tomorrowland with the only loose rule being to look your very best. Having now evolved into a full weekend of events with a fashion Expo being held at the Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, this is one massive cocktail party in quite a magical setting.
First Saturday of October
Taking cues from the mega Orlando celebration that draws some 100,000-plus attendees to the Floridian installment, Gay Day has been going strong in Anaheim since the late 90’s. Dawning red to unify the over 30,000 participants all congregating in the park, Scavenger Hunts and scheduled meet-ups anchor the daylong Disney party. With surrounding hotels and restaurants loaning their support of the event, the plunge pool party and Couples at Carthay Circle pre-fixe dinner sweeten the deal for ticket holders.
May 31, 2015
An annual tradition nearly two decades strong, Bats Day in the Fun Park initially began as a meet up among industrial/goth and deathrock club promoters, Absynthe and Release the Bats. Scheduled on dates that allowed enthusiasts of the dark to frolic in the dark, the gathering has bounced around a bit, but now happens every May, having morphed into convention of sorts. Complete with a gala dinner, concert and club, vendor village, and art show centered entirely on the Haunted Mansion, there is an abundance of black clothing dotting the Magic Kingdom. From trench coats and knee high military boots, to denim cut vests and sky-high, fluorescent colored Psychobilly quiffs (don’t be afraid to Google it, just spell it right), Bats Day remains uniquely awesome.
You have to appreciate anything that has an accompanying Sock Hop as the official pre-party. Organized by vintage enthusiasts, Monkeys To Go, the Fullerton boutique has managed to create a destination day that pools Rockabilly culture and Disney for one heck of a party. Poodle skirts, leather jackets, and handkerchiefs aplenty, the Elvis-era of Rock N Roll comes to life on Main Street, USA. Coupled with themed events spotted throughout Anaheim, burlesque shows and concerts function as pre and post parties for throngs of park goers in custom hot rods and well-groomed hair. Approaching its ninth year, numbers continue to grow for the upstart community.
Rude boys, scooter clubs, and 2Tone traditionalists now have their own day at Disneyland. Anchored by a universal affinity for Ska music, the roots of reggae and rocksteady are the focal point of a community that takes over the Kingdom every September. Thin braces (suspenders guys, suspenders), Fred Perry polos, and Pork Pie brimmed hats match the countless Vespas lining the parking structure. Particularly niche, the gathering has now reached the fifth anniversary and continues to gain momentum among music aficionados dedicated to a very unique era.