Although the movie on the screen was Beauty and the Beast, on February 6 annual passholders were singin’ in the rain at Disneyland. It was the second night of a month-long series of such events, and even the damp southern California weather couldn’t quench their enthusiasm.
Beauty and the Beast was the first of four free Annual Passholder Sing Along Under the Stars events, held in the Big Thunder Ranch. Other Disney animated classics presented each week in February are The Little Mermaid (Feb. 12 and 13), Aladdin (Feb. 19 and 20), and The Lion King (Feb. 26 only). Entrance is gained with a wristband, distributed free starting at 2:00pm in Frontierland, just inside the entrance. Each sing along includes free popcorn and drinks, as well as fun and games before the show starts.
On Thursday, February 6 a fairly long line formed on Big Thunder Trail, as wristbanded annual passholders patiently waited for the doors to open at 5:30. Farley the Fiddler stopped by to entertain the crowd, as storm clouds scudded across the sky. Anxious guests were assured that, barring a deluge, the show would go on.
Once inside, there were plenty of folding chairs set up, and everyone was able to find a seat. In a charming gesture, greeters handed every attendee a glow rose as they entered. Free popcorn, hot cocoa and bottled water were distributed at the back of the arena. An onstage hostess beguiled the crowd with trivia and games as everyone made their way into the seating area in an orderly fashion.
Before the lights went out (sunset, in this case), there was an onstage contest for six lucky children plucked from the crowd. Asked what their favorite film was, each replied, “Frozen,” which delighted the crowd, and even more the Disneyland staff. Then it was time for some friendly competition. One group of three displayed the manliest Gaston pose, while the other gave out their most ferocious Beast growl. Winners, chosen by audience applause, were each awarded a plush Mickey Mouse.
While this was billed as a sing along, the hostess and her helpers explained that this was much more than just a matter of singing. It is not for nothing that Disneyland promises to “plus” every guest experience. The crowd was given tips on other ways to interact with the film. Every time the rose appeared on screen, everyone was to hold aloft their glowing rose. At the sight of Belle, guests would clutch their heart. The sight of Gaston brought on muscle flexing. And each on screen appearance of the Beast prompted fearsome growling.
Just before the movie rolled, the hostess introduced a very special guest. The crowd went wild at the appearance of Princess Belle herself. Of course, the Beast was there to join her. And then Lumiere and Cogsworth took the stage for a picture perfect photo opportunity. After saying goodbye to the stars of the film, the screen brightened with the familiar sights and sounds of Beauty and the Beast.
Despite the rain, it was a lovely evening with old friends, on screen and off. Some guests were actually making his their second night at the sing along. And it is likely that they will be back for the rest of this month’s offerings.
Full details about the Annual Passholder Sing Along Under the Stars movies may be found here: