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'If KISS played at the Star Wars Cantina': Disneyland’s forgotten '80s rock band is finally getting its due

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Aug 18, 2020, 6:19 PM EDT (Updated)

Hello, fellow coaster heads! Disneyland Resort and its surrounding SoCal theme parks still aren't open because the pandemic is still bad, with California confirming almost 6,500 new cases earlier this week.

But at least we've got a treat coming our way in the world of theme parks. It's no Minnie-themed caramel apple, but hey, it's pretty close. Here's this week's theme park news:

STOP, DROP, AND ROCK 'N ROLL

There is only one theme park story you need to hear this week, and it’s my adamant recommendation that you all cancel your plans (lol, 2020) and watch Live From the Space Stage: A Halyx Story when it debuts on Thursday.

For a single summer in 1981, this out-of-this-galaxy, loosely Star Wars-inspired rock band Halyx played every weeknight on Disneyland’s Tomorrowland stage. Pronounced hay-licks, the experimental group, which was put together by Disney Records, is the subject of a phenomenal new Indiegogo-funded documentary produced by Defunctland’s Kevin Perjurer and impeccably directed by Matthew Serrano.

Halyx is the deepest of Disney cuts, a bona fide diamond created over the course of decades of being piled beneath forgotten Disneyland history. Despite being a theme park reporter who writes a weekly column and has called herself an "expert," I had never heard of this Disneyland rock band — and there’s a good reason why. Supposedly the band members and producers themselves were stunned the documentarians found anything at all, let alone enough to craft an entire film.

Somehow, it's flawless. The footage is delightful, the interviews are hilarious, and the detail is incomprehensible. How does a fan remember a concert they saw at Disneyland nearly 40 years ago, a true blip over the course of one’s Mickey Mouse memories? Because Halyx, unbeknownst to so many of us until now, is truly unforgettable once you’ve seen what they do:

The Star Wars-inspired nature of the group is inescapable — this little time capsule takes place the summer after The Empire Strikes Back was released — and while I don’t want to lessen this brilliant masterpiece to an SNL Stefon cliche, A Halyx Story really does have everything: Mickey Mouse Disco, yak hair, leather, all of it.

When you hear someone in a documentary say they looked for a bass player who could be something akin to a cousin of Chewbacca, you know it’s special. This is the greatest movie ever made, and I had more fun watching the first five minutes of it than I did the entirety of The Rise of Skywalker, and I'm not afraid to say it!

When being in 2020 feels as awful as it did yesterday and will tomorrow, take this pleasure-filled rocket to the cosmos on Defunctland’s YouTube channel starting Thursday, Aug. 20. You won't regret it.

MOTHER NATURE COMES FOR THE PARKS

Remember two weeks ago when all that weird stuff happened on Spaceship Earth and Living with the Land and Splash Mountain? And last week, how it’s a small world got the bizarro treatment too? Well, this past week, it happened again, as WDW and Universal’s coolest new rides were both unexpectedly struck down by forces of nature.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios appeared to have closed on Tuesday following a stunning lightning strike that hit either a nearby lightning rod — all of which are put in place for park safety — or something close to it. The ride did later reopen, but Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort wasn’t as lucky. The beloved new coaster, which is in high demand among theme park guests, went down last Tuesday as well, following a “backstage” behind-the-scenes fire that took the ride offline for the majority of last week.

I don’t want to keep drawing attention to how much weird is going down in Orlando, but it’s weird! 

TWEET OF THE WEEK

It. Never. Gets. Old. SIVAKO!

LINKS! LINKS! LINKS!

Great people, great podcast!

- Just some friendly advice.

- Who would have thought the pandemic would get so bad you'd all be into Halloween Crocs?

- Disney World's latest coffee shop is extremely lucrative.

- All signs point to Disneyland not being open by Labor Day.

- The death knell of Halloween Horror Nights never stops ringing.

- The audio announcements playing at Walt Disney World have now been updated to request guests keep their masks on for photos. (Considering people in my feed are still skirting the rules and taking theirs off for selfies, I'm all for it.)

- Shanghai Disneyland is increasing its capacity from 30 percent to 50 percent.

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