Disneyland’s Bats Day weekend kicked off last Friday with the Happy Haunts Swinging Wake, a Haunted Mansion-themed costume ball at the DoubleTree Suites near the park. The event featured live music by local electro-swing band Red Light District (above) and the folky Windows to Sky. There was also a roving magician, a fortuneteller’s booth, and photo backdrops, as well as food, drinks and a DJ between the bands. There was a smaller crowd than I expected, but everyone looked fantastic, even if most costumes weren’t directly related to the Haunted Mansion. There was someone cleverly dressed as the “stretching portrait” woman with the crocodile.
The ghost projections were surprisingly creepy, and I wished there were a lot more – basically just all over the walls. There was also a projection of Madame Leota, the disembodied woman’s head from the ride, and a few of the signature busts were on display. I had hoped for a little more of an immersive experience, but there was probably a limit to how much the hotel could do. (Next time, can it be IN the Mansion??)
Red Light District were very good and had a strong vocalist. Here’s a live clip with the costumed crowd dancing. They included a slick cover of ZZ Top’s “Sharp-Dressed Man” which was appropriate. Windows to Sky are great musicians but decidedly non-swinging, so they were an odd choice for the event in some ways. They played fun covers, however, like “Poor Unfortunate Soul” from “The Little Mermaid” and “As The World Falls Down” from “Labyrinth”. (I think “Dance Magic Dance” would’ve been a better pick, to keep up the energy.) The DJ sets included Joy Division and Siouxsie and The Banshees, so there was something for everyone. Windows to Sky also performed the entire transcript from the Haunted Mansion ride, which was entertaining. “We have 999 happy haunts here, but there’s room for one thousand. Any volunteers??”
More pictures after the jump.