Bats Day goth tradition adds dimension to Disneyland
Disneyland went “dark” recently, but the Anaheim theme park was not closed, nor were the lights turned off.
On the contrary, it was a typical bustling day at “The Happiest Place On Earth,” but added to the mix were about 6,000 people from toddlers to seniors who were clad in black clothing and “Nightmare Before Christmas”-inspired outfits for Bats Day on May 31.
Since 1999, Bats Day has been a convention-type event at Disneyland allowing goths — those who shun the sun and favor black clothing, vampire lore and 1980s dark wave music — to swarm the park for meet-and-greets.
A staple every year at the event is the group ride on the Haunted Mansion and the group photo in front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle.
Bats Day founder Noah K., who does not disclose his last name, said the event has grown thanks to social media.
“I’ve noticed that it seems like there was a lot more of a buzz about it this year online,” said the 44-year-old Van Nuys resident. “You’ve got your core group of people who have been coming forever, and then there are the new people. For a couple years, it was about 4,000 or 5,000 every year, but the event has just grown.”
Noah said he started the event when his Los Angeles-based goth club and another club in Long Beach started going to Disneyland together, making for a group of about 90 goths.
“I’m a big fan of Disneyland, so I just wanted to make this fun and started doing scavenger hunts and stuff like that,” he said. “We did some spooking and scared the normals. Now, 17 years later, 6,000 people come to the park just for the Bats Day event. It was never meant to be what it became, but it’s cool that it did.”