Last weekend, I went to the 12th annual "Bats Day in the Fun Park". Though you would never guess it from the name, it's a day where hundreds of goths head to Disneyland California for a day of image-subverting fun. (Seriously, who the fuck decided to call it that? What does that mean?)
The main event of the day is a group photo taken outside Cinderella's castle. This is everyone hustling into position for it. The guy in the purple didn't look like he was gonna give up his spot for anybody.
And this is the photo being taken. Say an edgy alternative to "cheeeeese!" – like "bloooooody!", or maybe "I always identified with Ursula more than Arieeeeeel!"
I couldn't get far back enough to get a shot of everyone, but this should give you an idea of how many people were there. I'd estimate the number of goths present to be: a shitload.
These aren't sold on-site, you have to order them online, so here's a thing I've learnt: Goths are very organised.
This girl can have no idea what is going on. Do you think she looks at Donald and Mickey and thinks they've just dressed up for Disneyland as well?
Unless you're an 85-year-old woman who doesn't own a TV, I'm pretty sure you know by now that goth is as homogenised as any other subculture. They're just totally regular people, except their clothes are silly in a different way to how normal cothes are silly, and they pretend to be into dark stuff. Or maybe some of them really are into dark stuff, IDK. I'm pretty sure those kind of goths are all off in Sweden sacrificing things, not on "Bats Day in the Fun Park".
Aside from the amount of black being worn and the amount of Nightmare Before Christmas merchandise being purchased, the only real difference between the goths and the "normies" I noticed, was that, when a normal-type approached a goth for a photo, the goth would get really, really excited, then look pleased with themselves for a few minutes after.
Like this woman, who I photographed. After I took it, she handed me her business card:
Which was a very odd thing to hand to someone at Disneyland.
Other than that, it seemed like the goths weren't there to storm Sleeping Beauty's Castle, and instead were content to just have their standard Disney fun. Like riding the teacups...
Or surprising nobody by going on the Haunted Mansion five times in a row...
Or, like a shocking amount of other people, being willing to spend 90 minutes lining up to go on Splash Mountain...
Or riding in tiny boats...
Or wearing shirts that are probably a little inappropriate to be wearing right next to a carousel full of tweens, man...
Or wearing way, way, way too many layers for a sunny Californian Sunday in May...
Or shopping for Toy Story merch...
Or listening to music on your headphones while you walk around with your daughter. (You can't tell that's what she's doing when the photo is this size, but I assure you, she is. WTF, goth mum?)
A little later in the day, there was a second photo opp for the kids, presumably so they'll be able to look back on this in ten years and swear they'll never speak to their parents ever again.
Hey there, kids! I'm sorry your parents dressed you like that. Unless you're into it. Then that's OK!
Oh. There was an eclipse, too. Which I suppose is probably why they organised the meetup for that day.
I'm not an expert on photographing eclipses (which you can probably tell from that last image), but I'm pretty sure those aren't gonna come out looking like anything, guys.
There was yet another photo opp for everyone on the steps of the Haunted Mansion at the end of the day. But this was the line, and I was all goth'd out for the day, so i decided to head home.
I did walk past this awesome lookin' woman on the way out, though. I saw a lady literally shield her children's eyes from her as they walked past. Which was pretty amazing.
Long story short: Goth + Disney = A fun day out!
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @JLCT
Curious to learn more about goths? Check these: