Thanks to the incredible kindness and generosity of some friends, the Lady of the Manners was able to attend one of her all-time favorite annual events, Bats Day at the Fun Park. An event that combines two of the things that are incredibly dear to the Lady of the Manners: goths and Disneyland!
Yes, really. The Lady of the Manners is a huge, HUGE fan of Disney theme parks, and visiting one of her favorite places in the company of crowds of other spooky-minded folks is one of the best things ever.
Bats Day started back in 1999, when the promoters for the goth/industrial/deathrock clubs Absynthe and Release the Bats combined forces to organize a meet-up for local goths who wanted to go to Disneyland, with a turn-out of around 80 people; the meet-up the following year had over 200 people, and the numbers have just keep growing. The event now includes a separate fancy dinner and a dance night of spooky music, and the “Black Market” vendor fair is full of gorgeous items to tempt you into opening your pocketbook before you find yourself in the merchandising mazes of the park itself.
To be very clear: Bats Day is in NO WAY an official event associated with the Walt Disney Company. But park management is aware of the annual gathering of the black-clad masses: all the Nightmare Before Christmas and Haunted Mansion merchandise are fully stocked, purple and black cupcakes and bat-shaped cookies featuring Mickey Mouse’s familiar face appear in the bakeries, and cast members at the park wish people a Happy Bats Day.
Bats Day is, well, magical. If you’re someone who doesn’t like Disney and/or is not thrilled at the notion of facing the swarms of humanity at a theme park, then going to Bats Day is not for you. But for many goths, a group outing to Disneyland is a dream come true — and not just for the perkygoths! Bats Day is one of those rare multi-generational goth events, where entire families of spooky folks can spend time together. There’s the traditional Bats Day group photo in front of the Castle:
A photo meet for the babybats:
And the joy of meeting up with other goths whom you hardly ever get to see!
JameyB from Spooky Inc., with the Lady of the Manners.
In the Lady of the Manners’ opinion, one of the ideas at the heart of goth is to have a sense of wonder, of longing to be transported (if just for a little while) to a fantastical world where experiences are heightened. And while some people are strongly dedicated to the nihilistic, I wear black to match my tortured soul, the world is ashes side of the goth subculture, there are a lot of goths who appreciate the more whimsical side of dark wonder, too. Plus, Disney villains! Maleficent! The Evil Queen from Snow White! Many, many goths started their lifelong appreciation of a darker aesthetic after their first viewing of a cartoon with a charismatic villain. Not to mention that the contrast between one of the world’s most popular sunny vacation spots and hordes of black-clad goths roaming around is a visual treat.
Speaking of the sunny SoCal weather and the layers of black clothing many goths prefer: the Lady of the Manners suspects that one of the top questions Bats Day attendees are asked is “Aren’t you too warm, dressed like that?” But most of the gothy types that the Lady of the Manners saw were all wearing lightweight fabrics and carrying parasols to bring a shady spot wherever they went. The Lady of the Manners herself spent the weekend living in lightweight lace dresses over black sundresses in natural fibers, an enormous sun hat, and copious amounts of powder sunblock. (With the occasional stop to soak a handkerchief in cold water and tuck it into her bodice.)
The Lady of the Manners loves, LOVES Bats Day, and is grateful beyond words to her friends who made the trip possible for her. It was a magical time, and she very much hopes she can manage the time and finances to return for future gatherings. After all, she made the trip to her spiritual home only fifteen times (during this visit, anyway), and that obviously isn’t enough, because the management still hasn’t offered her the rental agreement paperwork!
Hurry back …