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Theme Park News: Disneyland's new Halloween bash is scary good and Bob Iger is a perfect cyborg
Hello from a world where all people, not just those of us waiting in line at Main Street Confectionery, are ready to celebrate fall! It's officially the spooky season, and with it comes pizza, bugs ... and ankle weights? It'll all make sense soon, and not just because the pain of having three fillings and a minor dental procedure due to popcorn-inflicted damage (workplace hazard!!!) is starting to settle in. Come with me on this Novocain-fueled journey through the unexpected theme park news of the week!
OOGIE BOOGIE BASH: A REVIEW!
It's a bit of a moot discussion point, considering the event is sold out, but for those of you wondering how the newfangled Disneyland Halloween celebration went, I'd say overall, I'm thrilled with it.
Oogie Boogie Bash at Disney California Adventure is a re-imagining of Disneyland's Mickey Halloween Party that moves parks and adds a somewhat ~scarier~ theme and new entertainment, but having the event centered around villains breathes a new kind of life into it. Something about the literal darkness of DCA at night paired with the added emphasis on troublemakers made it a more cohesive and Halloween-y event for me. (Not to mention the creep factor that, ya know, it's literally modeled after a burlap sack filled with maggots.)
Ride-wise, there is more to do at Disneyland during those five party hours — any excuse to hop on Peter Pan's Flight with short wait times is one I'll pony up for — but considering I hadn't been to Mickey's Halloween Party in years because I always felt it was a little better at Walt Disney World, this reimagined version blasts off as its own entry into the Halloween lineup, and I'm all in for it.
Plenty o' rare characters were out for hugging (Claude Frollo! Prince John! Shan Yu!!!), kid-friendly offerings looked fun as hell, and Villains Grove in the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail was impeccably done, even if I'm praying they add baddies into it for 2020. The production value was high, but without the actual villains, it's like an HGTV house covered in shiplap without Chip or Joanna nearby — only half the thrill. If Evil Queen could be creeping through that well-designed walk-through, it would be even more of a home run.
Heading there for the sweets? Treat trails are scattered throughout the park, but those with characters like Oogie Boogie (inside the Animation Building), Dr. Facilier (Stage 17), and my girl Evil Queen (the path behind Grizzly River Run) were favorites, though Maleficent (near Soarin') and Mad Hatter (Hyperion Theatre) are a close second. Be sure to pull to the side and chat with the "face characters," even though employees will likely wave you on and yell to keep on walking. Keeping traffic moving is important, but this is literally what the villains are there for!
Alternative and allergy snacks are offered within the line, too, so I loaded up on apples, carrots, and grapes like a tiny game of complimentary Whole Foods grocery shopping; the treat trail through Fillmore's Taste-In at Cars Land has the best selection of allergy-friendly and healthy bites.
If you're going, my top tips are to bring an extra bag (n00b tip, but still!), rent a locker (for a jacket and to shove your candy in when you no longer want to carry it), and snag a parade spot between Ariel's Undersea Adventure and Paradise Gardens Park about 45 minutes before the parade. (I'd say 30, but the Headless Horseman runs 10-15 minutes before the parade kicks off.) It was a bit confusing to know where everything was, but coming upon surprises was part of the fun. And, of course, the endless candyyyyyy.
IT'S TIME FOR THE THEME PARK COLUMN BOOK CLUB: DISNEY EDITION
Bob Iger's memoir The Ride of a Lifetime dropped today, and tucked between the lines of him outlining how to be a
bawse boss and doing the promo rounds are some unbelievable tidbits, including those divulged in this New York Times piece. A choice quote:
"It turned out, though, that Mr. Iger had a fierce will under that gentlemanly exterior. Early on, he began getting up at 4 a.m. to outwork everyone else and he still does. He sets out his exercise clothes the night before, so he doesn't have to turn on the lights in his closest and thus wake up his wife, Willow Bay, a former Estee Lauder model and broadcaster who is now dean of the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. He leaves out a coffee mug for Ms. Bay and warms up some milk for her coffee before he tackles the VersaClimber."
While reading these excerpts I honestly began second-guessing my entire life. I wake up an hour late daily, spend 45 minutes trudging back and forth to the coffee shop, and can't seem to bother sending an e-mail until it's officially 9 a.m., while this dude is up being a perfect husband at the no-man's-land time of 4 a.m. to brew some coffee and exercise on a VersaClimber. At 4 a.m.!!
For real, though, do you guys know how hard VersaClimbers are?! I do, because there's a studio near my house dedicated entirely to them that I attempt to frequent yet live in fear of and regularly scream into the West Hollywood sky about it being a death cave torture zone to which I am unable to drag myself without throwing a small pity party!!! I mean, I kind of love it and Mark Cuban invested so you know it's the real deal, but still. Will I be returning in the final days of a 10-class package with a spring in my exhausted step because I want to be as fit as Bob Iger and have also been eating Three Mouseketeer bars on the regular from Oogie Boogie Bash? YES, but don't expect me to be sweating or sweetly warming up milk for my husband at 4 a.m. I'm nobody's bitch until the sun has fully risen.
OKAY, enough about how I envy-glared at Iger's schedule and impeccable posture, let's get back to biz. The book is now out — I was unable to power-read before this column went to print — so I'll raise a flag if I catch anything on the audiobook when I listen this week. Still, some revelations have come forth from the must-read Times piece, including a horrifying penis-related incident, an epic Michael Eisner dig, and these:
Bob Iger really did try to purchase Twitter. And frankly, his reasoning for why they didn't is absolutely understandable: It's too nasty.
Bob Iger is very good at talking about the weather, even years after his work as a meteorologist. (What a party trick!)
Bob Iger claims he's never read the book DisneyWar, about Eisner's time at Disney. Honey, please. Not a chance!!! As much as writers and creators desperately try to avoid it, one can't help but read the comments — and when the comments are a nearly 600-page book, you read the book! If someone wrote a proclamation about me and my co-workers you can be damn sure I'd read it cover to cover ... but then probably lie and say I didn't ... so in that case, well played, Iger. Well played.
Bob Iger doesn't eat carbs, save for pizza. Why isn't this perfect man running for president again!!?!?!
Move quickly and you can see the stellar CEO in conversation with Brian Grazer in Glendale on October 1. If there's a Q&A session, please ask him what time he goes to bed because as a friend pointed out, a glass of wine at Napa Rose + a 4 a.m. wakeup time means he absolutely does have those superhero powers he so vehemently denied.
SOMETHING I THINK ABOUT A LOT
When I saw Selena Gomez spent Sunday night at Hollywood Horror Nights, my first question was WAS SHE WEARING ANKLE WEIGHTS? Yes, when the starlet snapped a photo in the parks last year — backstage and likely near Soarin' given the popcorn box sold near the Hyperion Theatre, whatever I wasted way too much time mapping it — she did it with cute little ankle weights around her sneaks:
Even more noteworthy is that she's done it on subsequent visits! Twice!!! A true hero with uncharted bravery, considering I was so sore from Thursday's Disneyland trip that I could barely walk the next day and refused to get out of bed. Wow, what a woman.
THIS IS THE TWEET, THAT'S IT
Photo courtesy of the great Derek Burgan.
If you know what this means, welcome to our particular corner of crazy.
If you don't, hug your pets, children, and family close, and savor your free time well spent on hobbies beyond these.
LINKS! LINKS! LINKS!
- Disney's Skyliner debuted to employees today, and it looks FUN AS HELL. As a former New Yorker I never thought I'd get this excited about public transportation, but from backstage glimpses of Epcot to its very own coffee stand, it's the first thing I'm running to when I'm back at the parks next month.
- Catherine Powell, who oversaw Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, and Disneyland Paris, is no longer with the company.
- A small and welcomed update to last week's rant.
- See kids, this is why we don't do drugs.
- I had a lot to say about It's A Small World after a trip to Oga's Cantina so I went back on later that day and I still contend there is one doll with a very shiny face that is deeply unsettling.
- Still on the fence about the iPhone 11? Praise be for TechCrunch's review with photos exclusively taken at Disneyland.
- Disney's Grand Californian just announced their new replacement for Mandara Spa, set to open in 2020. (Remember: you get five hours free valet parking if you have a spa appointment!) Unsure about committing to Disney+ for two or three years? Monthly and annual subscriptions are now available. (If you, like me, are waiting for a Hulu and ESPN bundle, that's still on the way.)
- This Downtown Disney holiday beignet bar + gingerbread house situation seems like the ideal family holiday event TBH??
- Heads up: no link, but The Walt Disney Company's fiscal year is coming to a close, so keep an eye out for things ... happening.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBCUniversal.