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Sue Kruse
Little Monsters on Main Street
Every once in a while, I get to go to something special at Disneyland, something non-commercial that is pure enjoyment. Last night was one of those times. Each year Disneyland throws a little trick or treat soiree for the cast memberís children. Maybe, Dear Readers, youíve heard of it, its called Little Monsters on Main Street.

My name tag for the evening...
My name tag for the evening...

I started the evening waiting for my friend Carroll and his cute little ninja clad neighbor, Zach to arrive. Our arranged meeting place was near the Mickey and Friends friendly escalator. I arrived early, didnít want to keep a five year old waiting. Zach and company arrived late. Well, you know, he is five, five-year-olds always need extra time to get from here to there. Thatís to be expected isnít it? So I made the best of a forty-five minute wait. I watched the parade of costumes.

Honestly, it was the most entertaining thing. Never have I so little minded being kept waiting for so long. At first there was a small trickle of parents and costumed kiddies. Soon the trickle grew to a flood and it seemed as though tiny costumed revelers were coming from everywhere.

There were tiny princesses all decked out with sparkly slippers and magic wands. Cadres of army men (and women) marched along side of Pokemon characters, Pumpkins, Pooh Bears and Eeyores. There was a tiny Beast and dozens of Belles, Hooks, and Peter Pans. Aladar the dinosaur was a popular costume, as was Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. I would say I saw several Woodys, but that just seems wrong, so I wonít say that. I think my favorite costume of the evening was a miniature Mary Poppins smartly dressed in her Jolly Holiday ensemble. She was practically perfect in every way.

When our little group was neatly assembled, we waited with several hundred other fine folks for our turn to board the tram. The children all seemed quite excited. Wouldnít you be if you got to trick or treat at Disneyland? I know I would. In fact, I think thatís a fine idea for next year, an adult trick or treat party at Disneyland (all right, a kid or two can come along as well). Oh wait, in the foggy mists of my mind I do seem to recall an evening when I got to dress up as Mary Poppins and trick or treat at Disneyland. I think they called it... letís see, what was that? Oh yes, Mickeyís Halloween Treat. How I would love for that particular Halloween treat to return. It was a nice evening of fun Halloween revelry with no scary or gory stuff, a pleasant alternative to the regular Halloween celebrations that abound.

Coupons insure everyone gets their treats
Coupons insure everyone gets their treats

Back to the topic at hand, however... I thought the entry to Little Monsters was slightly disorganized. The children needed to obtain their trick or treat bags before entering the park. The bags were located at a station set up to the far right hand side of the entry gates. When we arrived there was no one directing folks to the bag station. We headed to the entry and were promptly told we needed to trudge over and get in the bag line. As we got a little closer to that area, there were plenty of cast members directing traffic to the bag lines. It would have been nicer to have them spread out a bit more, but this was a small thing I guess.

Zach and his little friend Jacob waited with Zachís mom while Carroll and I grabbed their nametags and trick or treat bags. Now Dear Readers, you would expect a plastic bag with the Little Monster logo printed on it, wouldnít you? Thatís what I thought weíd get. But Carroll put forth the magic blue ticket that would gain the bags and was rewarded with two lovely cloth, pillowcase size bags, beautifully printed with the Little Monsters 2000 logo. It was a very nice touch I thought, so much so, that for a split second I contemplated knocking Zach and Jacob down, grabbing the bags and running. I am mostly kind though and usually well behaved, so I didnít do this (even though Zach and Jacob were completely indifferent to the fact that the bag was quite splendid and therefore wouldnít have missed them).

The bestest part of the night, treats!
The bestest part of the night, treats!

Treat bags in hand and little ninjas in tow, we headed into the park. If youíve never been to Disneyland after hours then you have missed something that I consider special. Itís not so much the privilege of being in Disneyland after hours that I am talking about, itís the beauty of the park when very few people are there. It is especially beautiful at night. The tourists are all gone and thereís a calm to the street. The shop doors are closed, some, like the arcade, are downright barricaded with a garage-door type barrier pulled down to close the shop.

Look! It's Beast!
Look! It's Beast!

After deciding to skip the trick or treat stations on Main Street, we headed toward Adventureland. Main Street glistened with its lights all aglow. The reflection of the lights in the windows on Main Street gave it an even more magical quality. All this was polished off by Sleeping Beauty Castle. It was lit with purple lights that seemed to effortlessly change into pinks and deeper purples as we watched. It gave the castle a confection-like quality that was enhanced by the music playing over the loud speakers.

I didnít hear it at first.

"Listen," Carroll said.

I paid closer attention.

"Who was that speaking? The tune, itís familiar."

Carroll smiled.

"Ahhhh, yes! Bing Crosby singing about the Headless Horseman. I love that song."

We made our way though the winding paths of Adventureland, stopping at the various stations where Zach and Jacob each added bounty to their bags. My favorite was the HaHa Groaner. Stacks of boxes of this charming toy awaited delivery to eager hands. The HaHa Groaner (I think I am enamored of it just because of the name) is a dandy little device. It looks like a friendly yellow plastic hammer that emits noises when you hit something with it.

Ha Ha Groaner
Ha Ha Groaner

Parents everywhere love this kind of toy.

We moved deeper into Adventureland, past Indy, past Tarzanís Treehouse, stopping to collect another treat from a long haired pirate, arghhhh. We rounded the bend near Riverbelle Terrace that would put us near the Rivers of America and I began to feel a bit like Jack Skellington, "Whatís This! Whatís this! Thereís magic everywhere." The river, Dear Readers, was shrouded in and spewing forth fog. It was delicious. It was glorious. I loved it.

And it was probably for the Haunted Mansion event that was taking place at the same time. Thirty lucky (and $2000 each lighter) folks were in there right at that very moment partaking of a very special dining experience. I sure I turned a shade of Maleficent green with envy just thinking about it. Carroll and I left Zachís mom with Zach and Jacob visiting the Mae West treat giver (actually it was more like we abruptly ditched them) and took off to see how close we could get to the Mansion to see what we could seeÖwhich was nothing. The Haunted Mansionís lighting was glorious though,

"Look at the attic, do you see?" Carroll asked.

It had a reddish glow and there were colors of cool blues and greens bathing the faÁade of the old house.

Enough of the wallowing in self pity that we have not the means to attend that kind of event, we had two five year old waiting to get to the next trick or treat station. Carroll and I rejoined Zach and Jacob and set out for Fantasyland, stopping to look at the photo opportunity near Sleeping Beauty Castle along the way. The line was a bit long, and there were more treats to be had, so photos were vetoed. Zachís mom, being the clever person she is, posed the boys to the side of the photo area and snapped a quick picture.

Photo Opportunity
Photo Opportunity

Since all the rides in Fantasyland were open for the Little Monsters (that was a nice touch donít you think), Carroll and I took the opportunity to sneak a ride on Mr. Toad while Zachís mom took the boys on the carrousel. There were two people in line, a sight one rarely sees. And... hell was especially toasty. It was nice.

The boys hit all the stations In Fantasyland and we were off to Tomorrowland. There was a parade of costumes on the Tomorrowland Terrace stage, the Autopia was running, another photo opportunity was available and... there was a huge line for popcorn. No wonder, popcorn was .50. Yes Dear Readers, you read that right, fifty cents. Drinks were a dollar. I had to take a picture of the sign. I thought it was amazing.

Is your jaw agape?
Is your jaw agape?

By now, we had trouped all over Disneyland, the boyís bags were full and they were getting hungry and a little tired. Carroll took them to the last treat stations near the hub while Zachís mom and I stood in that line for drinks and popcorn.

Ninjas demand only the best in treats...
Ninjas demand only the best in treats...

The boys had their refreshments, made a quick bathroom stop and we headed for the treat stations we had overlooked on Main Street. While Zachís mom took the boys to the Opera House station (where they snagged a nifty fuzzy yellow hand puppet), Carroll and I bought a couple of souvenirs of the evening for a friend.

And that Dear Readers, is Little Monsters on Main Street. It was fun (the kids in their costumes and the glee they exhibit was so enjoyable). It was festive (the park looked beautiful, the cast members all wore Halloween costumes and really seemed to enjoy handing out treats to the kids, and you just canít beat hearing Nightmare Before Christmas music and Bing Crosby singing in the park).

And, I think the real treat... was to have been there.

 

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