August 17, 2012

Hanging Out at Disney's Mad T Party

Disney California Adventure tried out this seemingly bizarre thing when Tron: Legacy was released a couple of years ago: they transformed one corner of the park into a night club. It was a touch Disneyified, but it had the club vibe nonetheless. You'd walk from a relatively quiet street into Hollywood studios where there was loud music, pulsing lights, dancers on pedestals, glowing mixed drinks, and Flynn's Arcade. The arcade was stocked with 80s games and 80s music emanated from the speakers inside. elecTRONica was only supposed to be around for a limited time, but it was insanely popular. Everyone from kids to teenagers in raver clothing crowded the party area, and the closing date just kept getting pushed further and further out.

Eventually though, the park had to move away from Tron and onto something new. The premise drew in too many people; it had to be repeated. Even annual passholders, who traditionally don't spend money in the park, probably threw down for the expensive drinks. That's where Alice in Wonderland comes in. The trippy characters, the bright costumes and colors - it's a fantastical story waiting to be translated into a neon party event. Thusly, you can experience the Mad T Party nightly at DCA.

My sister loves Alice in Wonderland (and has the tattoo to prove it) so I knew stopping by the T party was a must on our recent visit. We had no idea what to expect. We wandered into the party around dusk and right into the middle of one of many concerts performed by a bizarre band: the Mad Hatter and and Alice were on vocals, a very Billy Idol-esque Dormouse was on guitar, and the Cheshire Cat played the drums. Their setlist matched the oddness - but in a good way! Every performer rocked out, and the crowd was eating it all up. The girls seemed to be going crazy over the Mad Hatter.
We strolled through and decided to come back later when it was completely dark. The area only got more crowded! We caught part of another set, and my sister got some sort drink in a glass that glowed. It might have been the Croque-tini. It was crazy strong; I was not expecting a Disney park to have such generous bartenders. We chilled out on a couple of the colorful and perfect plastic chairs arranged throughout the area and took in the scene. The music blared and as I surveyed the surrounding crowd I quietly applauded the brains who came up with this idea. Children ran around watching street performers (some operated tall birds), older kids and teens hugged the stages and danced along to the music - a couple of guys even had a impromptu dance-off, twenty somethings smiled happily over bright drinks, and I even saw a few people well past their 50s standing around and bobbing their heads to the music.

All ages indeed.
For our final trick, we wandered into what used to be Flynn's Arcade. I suck the most at arcade games, but even so, it was my favorite part of elecTRONica. I was as giddy as a school girl to see it was transformed to match the Alice theme. The arcade games were all in universe, for crying out loud! Once I noticed that I quickly transformed a couple of bucks into tokens (instead of saying "Flynn's," they have a giant fancy "T" and a hat - see this pic) and played Whac-a-Hat, Bandersnatch Ball, and a Queen of Hearts version of skee ball with a clever name I can't remember. It was the most fun.

Since I like Alice more than Tron, the theme really won me over and as I witnessed, it's fun for the whole family.


  1. I was trepidatious about the switch from ElecTRONica, but I think it went well. Aside from the live band, I preferred the previous stage acts to the new ones. Outside of that, I think I like the Mad Tea Party better, by a trifle. Good fun. Forgive a link if you would, but I grabbed some images when I was there to give more of an idea what it's like to be there. I loved the details.

    1. Thank you for the link! I didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked!

  2. Man, I wish they would do something like this at Disney World! Since they got read of Pleasure Island the nightlife there has been totally lacking :-/

    1. That's right! I completely forgot about that place!

    2. Amy: Rumor has it that Pleasure Island is getting Mad T Party!

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