Last night, we attended the Disney Vacation Club 25th Anniversary Party at Disney California Adventure. Despite Game 7 of the World Series probably keeping more than a few people at home, the event was pretty popular. We certainly had a great time.
I believe admission to the event began at 5 p.m., with the actual party beginning at 8:30 p.m., after World of Color. We intended upon arriving at 6 p.m., but I think we ended up getting inside the park at around 7:15 p.m. Gotta love California traffic.
Despite his efforts to kill us not that long ago, we met up with Guy and Jenn Selga…because we still like her, and they are sorta a package deal. After wandering through Grizzly Peak, Paradise Pier, we had dinner at our go-to, Paradise Garden Grill. Knowing that there would be unlimited free churros and ice cream, I opted for only the Greek Salad. This salad is exceptional, and a solid portion size for $9.
Following dinner, we headed back by California Screamin’ to wait out World of Color. As the show started, I noticed Cast Members were already giving out free ice cream to DVC Members at a cart in the dark behind us.
With no line and 20 minutes, I was able to eat 3 Premium Mickey Bars before World of Color ended. Kids, heroes aren’t born. They’re built.
Once World of Color ended, a meet and greet began roughly where we were standing, and we were the first in line to meet Daisy and Donald in preppy, nautical attire. They looked cute, and the interactions were fun. Donald attempted to “instigate” a fight after I kissed Daisy’s hand. Clearly, Donald did not see what I did to those Premium Mickey Bars, or he would’ve known not to trifle with me.
We headed through Cars Land and over to Tower of Scrims for a photo op with Bellhop Goofy. Neither Sarah nor I had ever seen Bellhop Goofy before, but Guy claims he meets/met at Tower of Terror occasionally.
I don’t know if it was the sugar from the ice cream…or maybe she just was hyped to meet Goofy, but Sarah had a level of enthusiasm that is normally reserved for the cute snacks in Tokyo Disneyland.
Our next stop was the Rescue Rangers. This line was considerably longer, but it was the Rescue Rangers! Like all kids of a certain age, I was absolutely obsessed with the Rescue Rangers as a kid. Not only did I watch the show religiously, but I had a surplus of their toys, and even built Rescue Rangers “scenes” out of LEGO.
Most oddly, I had this beige Rescue Rangers jumpsuit that I wore all the time. It basically looked like a cross between a Boy Scout uniform and mechanic coveralls with Rescue Rangers patches on it. I really wish I had a good photo of this (Google only yields a bunch of Gadget photos since she wore a jumpsuit, I guess), because it was totally preposterous. I can’t believe my parents let me wear it.
In any case, I was stoked to see the Rescue Rangers again. (I had also seen them at the Animal Kingdom Party in September–I still plan on doing a report on that.)
Next stop was Darkwing Duck. He was the last character on my Disney Afternoon “list” (at least of ones who are within reason–I know some others exist, but the chances of me ever seeing them are unlikely). Again, I was super pumped.
After that, we headed into the Disney Jr. building, where we encountered the mother lode. Not only were beanbags set up on the ground with old Disney Afternoon shows playing, but there were characters there playing games!
It was a veritable who’s who of rare characters, with Professor Ludwig Von Drake (ump diggy diggy ump papa!), Max Goof, and Launchpad McQuack. None of them had any lines, either.
This was great because not only could you get photos with the characters, but you could also play games with them! We had a ton of fun in here, and this reminded me of the Country Bear dance parties at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Since the characters aren’t overwhelmed by guests, they’re free to have fun, and really goof around.
I wish something like this were scalable, because this is by far my favorite way to interact with characters. It’s a much more memorable experience than going through a line, posing, and moving along. Unfortunately, it only works when demand is low, and I doubt that’s what Disney would want of regular character encounters in the parks.
I have a good time meeting characters, but I’m not really as into it as some people. There are very few meet & greet situations that make me giddy, but this event included several of them.
If it’s done right, I think the DuckTales reboot is going to spark a Disney Afternoon renaissance. A lot of people my age who grew up on these shows now have kids of their own, and are perfect targets for further reboots. If the number of adults without kids in line for these characters was any indication, there’s a ton of nostalgia that Disney can tap into.
My big concern is that Disney will try to “modernize” the shows in ways that are unnecessary. I don’t really care for the rough/edgy (I think) look of Mickey & friends (who are now in a perpetual emo state) in the new Disney cartoons; I hope they don’t go this same route with DuckTales (based on this preview art, I think the jury is still out). It seems to me DuckTales is something many parents are going to introduce to their kids, and “hooking” the parents is going to be more difficult if the reboot looks and feels unfamiliar.
I can only speak for myself, but what I want with new Disney Afternoon material is fresh stories with familiar characters. I don’t want or need the characters to look different or “hip.” In fact, any differences in tone or feel of the show is more likely to push me away. For adults like me, these cartoons are a chance for a trip down memory lane. That doesn’t work if they don’t evoke memories of the original show.
Once again, I sound like the old man shaking his fist in the face of ‘progress’, but I have general disdain for all of the efforts (best evinced by all of Mickey Mouse’s “new looks”) to make classic characters trendy. Young kids don’t give a damn about trends. Grown adults don’t, either.
I don’t know if Disney is aiming at teens or another “coveted” demographic, but how many of those supposedly hip people are going to buy into Mickey Mouse being trendy, anyway? (I see hipsters and young folks sporting vintage Mickey attire, anyhow.) For a large portion of the population, the word “classic” has a positive connotation.
Once again, I’ve veered off topic, but now you know how I feel about making classic Disney characters trendy. Not that you cared to begin with, but like most angry old men who randomly air their grievances, I don’t really care whether you care. 🙂
After all of the Disney Afternoon stuff, we headed towards Grizzly Peak Airfield, where we picked up churros at a couple of different stands. It’s been years since I’ve had a Disneyland churro–it’s not normally a snack I think to buy with some many more complex alternatives. Sometimes, though, the tried and true, simple snacks really hit the spot. That was definitely the case with these churros, although after a few of them, I felt like my teeth were about to rot out.
Then we met Aviator Minnie. I sure miss Minnie’s Fly Girls. The holiday season would be the perfect time to bring it back. While it always played to decent-sized crowds, it was in an unshaded area, so watching it on a hot summer day could be brutal. There’s typically no issue with that type of sweltering heat in the winter.
From there, we headed to Paradise Garden Bandstand, where dueling pianists were playing. These musicians were incredibly talented, and we enjoyed a few songs before heading on.
At 11:10 p.m., it was time for World of Color. Ken Potrock, SVP of Disney Vacation Club & Adventures by Disney, introduced the show and indicated that they hoped to do more events in California and by saying that we were about to see a special version of World of Color for the event. Those weren’t his exact words, but the implication was clear that this was not the normal version of the show.
My first thought was that they’d be offering a preview of Season of Light. Awesome. When the show started as normal, my hopes were raised–maybe they would be showing the pre-premiere version?! A few minutes in, I figured it was probably just the regular show. I know Disney people are trained to use slick marketing-speak, but in a crowd of Disneyland regulars, your audience knows that’s just BS. All you’re doing is over-promising and under-delivering.
Before that announcement raised my expectations, I was pretty excited to see “just” the regular show. We moved to California nearly 2 years ago, and when we arrived, Winter Dreams was playing for the holidays. After that, World of Color went down for refurbishment. I believe there was a short window during which the regular World of Color ran before Celebrate debuted with the 60th Anniversary, but I never saw it. Consequently, we had not seen the OG version of World of Color in over 2 years.
In any case, it was really good to see the original World of Color again. I didn’t care for Celebrate, nor was I a big fan of the Frozen-fest that Winter Dreams became in its second year, so I had not made seeing the show a priority the last couple of years. The original version made me remember why I loved the show so much, and really made me look forward to what is (hopefully) another well-done version with Season of Light.
As an added bonus, the wind was blowing away from the seating area, so we didn’t get wet at all in the front row. I’ve never had that happen!
All things considered, this was the best Disney Vacation Club 25th Anniversary event that we attended. They each have been solid, but the room of Disney Afternoon characters playing games made the evening. Disney Vacation Club has definitely been putting effort into these parties, and it’s nice to see DVC showing that it cares about existing Members. I’m optimistic that these events won’t end with the 25th Anniversary, and I’m looking forward to what DVC does next, particularly in California.
Did you attend the 25 and Beyond Bash at Disney California Adventure? What did you think of the event? Are you a fan of the Disney Afternoon? Are you planning on doing another Disney Vacation Club 25th Anniversary party? Please share any questions, tips, or additional thoughts you have in the comments!