Is It Fun To Be A Fan?
Short answer: BLOODY YES. But alongside the soaring high’s there were some unhappy low’s and I thought I’d give you some info on the event!
So first of all, what was #FanDaze? FanDaze was promised to be an event for the fans. What would this include? Well, FanDaze was described as an exclusive party at Disneyland Paris filled with one-off memorable events, including:
– talks with Disney Imagineers, animators and other legends
– a new parade
– 2 new shows
– Meets with over 70+ characters, most of whom were rare or unusual
– Limited edition merch
– the unveiling of a character never before seen at the parks.
Now, the above sounds intriguing to most Disney fans, I’m sure, but the main reason I was digging the FanDaze was one of the shows featured Max Goof. I have had a crush on Max Goof since I was about 6. I am a Max Goof STAN. When it comes to Disney, I am a font of trivia, obscure knowledge and critique, but mention Max Goof and something primal takes over and I just devolve into a squealing child. There really is no explaining it. (True story: in the absence of Pinterest/Google/any official resources, I spent HOURS of my life pausing my VHS copy of the film to sketch Max and then put these homemade drawings on my wall. Girl needed posters, okay?)
Anyway, so Max. The second reason I wanted to go is some of my all-time favourite Disney films are among the least represented in the parks. Apart from the Goofy output, most of my fave Disney moments occur in the 1940s packages which are barely acknowledged as even existing by Disney these days. (Fun fact: my favourite film of all time is Fantasia.) So the option of ANY sighting of ANY of those characters was incredibly appealing to me.
Not being in the Disneyland “loop” I actually only heard about the event after reading a single sentence on the Max Goof Wikipedia page during a routine check of the info (oh what, like you’ve never been there). Disneyland Paris did a piss poor job of advertising the event, and even once it was on everybody’s radar, the details were incredibly slow to come out.
Many people have documented the confusing and frustrating period that followed so I won’t go into all of that here. Suffice to say, despite the lack of confirmed information, the cost of the packages and the limited availability, I was still holding out for a standalone ticket. When they finally got released I sprang into action and managed to get one of the Earlybird standard tickets (saving myself €13 in the process).
Annoyingly, it then all went quiet on the FanDaze front. I received multiple e-mails from DLP confirming the ticket and what-not, but as for anything related to the timetable for the night, the programme of events and so on, nothing. Eventually this information became public just a week or so before. I don’t think people would have minded the lack of info too badly if they had known what to expect overall, but given that FanDaze was the inaugural party, it was an unknown to everyone, and clear information would have been dearly welcome.
The Event Itself
I’m going to talk about each aspect in more detail, but essentially: IT WAS GREAT. Imagine walking around the park with Disney characters popping up every 100 meters or so, people excitedly running from place to place, zero queues for all the rides, and guests almost exclusively in either Disneybounds or at least, FanDaze ears. I loved seeing so many people Disneybounding (side note: TDR is like that every day), and it was so nice to feel like you were among people who were freaking out to the same level you were. As an adult at Disney, you can sometimes get the odd weird glance from a parent with small kids or something – not enough to tarnish the experience, but enough that you need to ignore. But at FanDaze everyone was in the same boat.
I’m actually not a massive meet person, or at least I wasn’t until FanDaze (more on that later). The meets were very well organised, and the method of having a meet and then allowing the character to face a designated spot for photos was GREAT. It meant no chipping in on anyone else’s time and we all got the photos we wanted. However, the Frozen meet was absolutely rammed (no surprise) and I heard similar things about the Heroes & Villains area which I personally didn’t brave.
None of it was vegan and it was essentially all snacks. THUMBS DOWN. Also, everybody was exhausted and knackered by the end of the night – I think most of us did a full park day in advance of FanDaze (which was 8pm-2am). Not providing adequate provisions was a real shame as I’m sure most people would have been a lot perkier had they been able to feed themselves. (As it was, I just sang along to the 1:45am rendition of I2I alone in a circle of confused and silent guests).
Firstly: the merch itself was really heavily focused on Oswald & Ortensia. Oswald has a massive presence at TDR: I’d seen Oswald ears, Oswald t-shirts, Oswald lanyards and so on in practically every shop when I was there in Feb. (I actually mention this in my TDR story). As Max was featured prominently in the promo and the Max: Live show was clearly the biggest expense show-wise, I was hoping there’d be some Max merch and would have gladly thrown my cash at Disney in exchange for a Max hat/Max hoodie or whatever. But tragically no! What was advertised was the sum total and I was pretty bummed out about that.
Secondly: the access and sale of the actual merch. No word of a lie: shambles. DLP decided to release some of the merch to the general public the day before, resulting in them RUNNING OUT of a few items by the time the actual event rolled around. To advertise exclusive merch and then not bloody have what you’d advertised is shameful. Do better next time Disney!
Hot mess. We actually walked out! I’d consider myself an expert in this field as I spent three years running live band Disney karaoke. Some of my many gripes: the host didn’t know the words. The cast didn’t seem to know what was happening. The awful selection of songs. The out of sync on-screen lyric playback. Oswald and Ortensia literally just on the stage with nothing to do. It felt underrehearsed and poorly-conceived – which is a shame because people LOVE singing along to Disney songs. There was already a swollen schedule of stuff to do so this could have easily just been scrapped altogether to give people time to do something else (like watch Max: Live again).
Dance Your Ducktales Parade
If you’ve seen my IG stories you’ll know about my Scrooge McDuck feelings (Oh my fuck, it’s Scrooge McDuck!). Ducktales is one of the most iconic theme tunes ever written and both Scrooge and Launchpad were mainstays of my childhood. Anyway, this was excellent! It was essentially just a 20 minute dance along to Ducktales, but when a tune’s that good, why wouldn’t you just blast people with it? Also, those duck dungarees? I’ll take 3.
Oh My, Ortensia!
This was a very sweet (and very short) show which essentially just served to introduce Ortensia in her massive car. I have to confess to not knowing a huge amount about Oswald or Ortensia so the fact that the show kind of introduced what both characters were about made much more sense than if it had been a generic kind of song and dance. Also: those twenties costumes!
The Farewell / Closing Parade
This was BRILLIANT. Essentially, every character who had been out during the night just walked past (there were a few cars but no excessive floats or anything). The pace was such that pretty much all of the characters were able to run over to certain fans on the sideline for a hug or an interaction. The whole thing just felt incredibly intimate, and having SUCH an onslaught of characters was overwhelming in the best possible way. Experiencing a parade with only 1-2 people next to you/behind you was incredible!
Well. My word. Max. I. Mu-um. This was honestly one of the best shows I’ve ever seen at a Disney park, if not the best. (And not to brag but I’ve seen some of the iconic shows such as Fantasmic at WDW and TDS and the Tokyo Electrical Parade). The show essentially featured Max appearing and singing Stand Out (in a performance not dissimilar to the A Goofy Movie scene), before being joined on stage by first Goofy, and then a series of memorable character duos: Nick and Judy from Zootopia, Stitch and Angel, Kuzco and Yzma from The Emperor’s New Groove (this section also featured a DANCE-OFF between the two characters), Jose Carioca and Panchito Pistoles of Three Caballeros fame (this section featured a medley of classic Disney bops through the years) and then we returned to Max and Goofy for I2I, including The Perfect Cast.
From a critical viewpoint, Max Live: Gettin’ Goofy With It! was an excellent blend of obscure characters (Panchito HOLLA); rare but well-loved characters (Kuzco in the houuuuse); brilliant song choices (Snuff Out The Light? Shook) and theatrical magic. The use of special effects was incredible; the custom-built stage lit up. There were projections on the Tower of Terror which gave a depth to the show. And there were fireworks, bubbles, jets of water, flames, lights; all employed fantastically. For example; during the Hawaiian Rollercoaster Ride we were engulfed with bubbles and water jets. The choreography was brilliant and the dancers costumes matched the stage (pink, blue and lilac) whilst then donning individual bits of extra attire based on whatever characters/music was happening.
From a fan point of view OH MY GOD HOLY FUCK DID YOU READ WHAT I JUST WROTE. WAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! A Goofy Movie has the most lit soundtrack and to hear it accompanied with ACTUAL SCENES FROM THE FILM was just bonkers. I never thought I’d see Max performing the perfect cast LIVE. Are you kidding? We’d seen Max in his Powerline costume during the promo but I have to admit I was a little concerned we might get a whole show of new songs as Disney is wont to do. Thankfully, the directors only used existing songs. Seeing Panchito and Jose was also amazing as well. They do have a presence at TDR (there’s a whole Mexico area at Tokyo Disneysea) so I wasn’t QUITE as mind-blown as I was seeing Max. One of my favourite things about Max is that he ages. It does piss me off that the extremely limited exposure Max gets in the parks he’s in his Goof Troop outfit. Like, where is late teens valet Max? So to not only see but get to CELEBRATE teenage, A Goofy Movie Max was amazing. I can finally say I understand the people who cry when they meet Elsa or dress up as Ariel and whatever; because getting to see a character I fully stan for was amazing.
The crew were MOSTLY amazing – we spent about five minutes vogueing with the Tower of Terror bellhops. Most of the crew seemed so excited to be hosting the party and this made a really electric atmosphere for everyone. It will be interesting to see if this was down to the unknown aspect of the event or if that same feeling will be recaptured at the next one.
The cast were also exceptional. I was actually trying to do some serious mental maths and work if they had gotten a load of extra cast members in? The sheer amount of characters plus the seperate dancers and hosts needed for each parade/show/the various meets/roaming characters. All of these would have required seperate casts; either the usual cast members working an overtime shift or anyone else extra they could find? Either way, extremely impressive.
The queueing to get in – I’ve been baffled by other people’s recollections of this part of the night. I waltzed over at 7:50 and just walked in as there was no queue? Other people had really bad experiences but my entry was super-easy.
Friends – I didn’t bump into anyone I actually knew, but did make a whole load of new friends on the night! I’ve heard similar feedback from a lot of people. Had there been an open cafe or something then that might have made a good meeting point.
Would I Go Again?
Absolutely! 100% yes – it was an amazing experience, and as it was the first of it’s kind, I trust Disney to sort out the bloopers (most of which occured prior to the actual event). On balance, I thought it was really good value for money considering the amount of unique entertainment. I was on the lowest possible price (as far as I’m aware!) and I would actually have gladly have paid more for the exact same evening but with less people. Overall, job’s a good ‘un and I’ll certainly be back in the future!
Were you at FanDaze? Let me know your thoughts! (Also I’m in withdrawal from that bloody “It’s Fun To Be A FAAAAAAAAAN song and I need to scream it at somebody who understands)