Although we weren’t knocked out by Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, we’d been kinda curious about Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party since the time our dinner reservation at Tony’s Town Square got us a sneak peek at the party without a ticket.
When Disneyland announced that it was moving its Halloween party from California Adventure to actual Disneyland that year, we suddenly became interested in that one for the first time, and soon I’d hatched a plan to try the parties on both coasts—in costume!
I’d been trying to think of a Disney character Patrick could be and retain his beard (not easy—have you seen the grooming standards for cast members?). We were so enamored of Tokyo Disneyland’s Tower of Terror that its bearded proprietor, Harrison Hightower III, seemed like a natural choice.
Our Inspiration Pictures
I just wasn’t sure how we’d do the costume, since neither of us is good enough at sewing to make an entire suit. I didn’t really get inspired to try it until I chanced upon a ring that was a ringer (ba-da-bump!) for the jewel in Hightower’s cravat.
For some reason, acquiring that one piece opened the floodgates of creativity, and I was off on a hunt for the rest of the costume pieces. Spats, gloves, and white dye for Patrick’s beard were the easy part. We spent a morning in Downtown LA’s Fashion District scouring menswear stores for a purple double-breasted suit—no small feat, considering that double-breasted suits of any color have been out of style since the late ‘90s. All the shop owners kept telling us to go see this one guy; when we got there, he rooted around in the dusty racks at the back of his store and turned up THE PERFECT SUIT—not only was it double-breasted and purple, it was exactly Patrick’s unusual size! All that was left was to find red and gold checkered material for the trim and the fez, which took a bit of doing, but I eventually found success in an upholstery fabrics shop. (Later I was looking closer at that second inspiration picture and realized that Hightower’s coat is actually a floor-length dressing gown or overcoat, not a suit coat. But, really, we got pretty dang close, considering!)
The next element was re-creating Shiriki Utundu, the idol who leads Hightower to his doom. This was easy for Patrick cuz he builds and performs puppets for a living. The idea was to make Shiriki Utundu a puppet and stuff one arm of the suit so that Patrick could secretly perform the idol while it appeared he was just carrying him. The seamstress we hired to create the collar, cuffs, pocket flaps and fez for the costume also helped us cut a hole in the shirt and suit coat for Patrick to get his arm through. He designed the puppet based on this bobblehead toy we’d brought back from Japan.
It was a no-brainer that Constance, the black-widow bride from Haunted Mansion, would want to hook up with a high-roller like Hightower, so my costume choice was easy. It was also pretty easy to assemble once I stopped looking for actual Edwardian wedding gowns (too small… and expensive!) and started looking for 1980s Edwardian-revival Gunne Sax dresses on eBay and Etsy. The trick was to find just the right lace on the bodice. When I did, all I had to do was add a tea-dyed lace collar and long petticoat (to lengthen the skirt). I’m not crazy about how dark the petticoat turned out or how white the cheap lace boots looked though… I made a veil out of tulle and a plastic comb the way they tell you to in budget wedding books. Then I got strands of fake pearls to represent each of Constance’s husbands and a hatchet for bumping off Hightower. I think I mentioned in the last update that I added a Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings purse at the last minute (thanks to Merchandise Guest Services’ hotel delivery!) to hold our tickets, IDs, and other stuff that I usually make Patrick carry (with only one useable arm, he was off the hook this time).
Getting into this getup while on vacation meant bringing a huge suitcase. Patrick dyed his beard and eyebrows while I wrestled with my hair and cursed my decision not to hire Patricia LeJeune to do it for me! I can’t remember how we got to the Magic Kingdom to meet the Roots, so lets pretend it was by golden chariot. We were very excited to have our first MNSSHP experience be with the Nate & Jensey because they are pros and could show us the ropes.
Now, if you will indulge me, I have one hundred million bazillion Root photos to show you…!
That year, the Disney Parks Blog was posting shots of the best MNSSHP costumes every week, and we were bound and determined to be included. So we vowed to stalk every PhotoPass photographer we could find. Afterward, we were dealt a crushing blow each week as we failed to turn up on the blog (turns out they only used night shots and we got tired of photog stalking around dusk. Boooo!).
This was the first time we were asked to pose for pictures with other guests. We were so flattered! What we didn’t find out until later was that most of them thought we were cast members!
As we made our way through Adventureland, the Roots got recognized by a friendly pair of DISers (we, of course, were COMPLETELY unrecognizable!). I am kicking myself for not writing down their names—if you’re out there, I’m sorry!!!
Adventureland was the perfect backdrop for an adventurer such as Harrison Hightower. Let the mugging commence!
So this was when we finally figured out that people thought we were cast members. This entire family took turns posing with us, and then someone—maybe the cast member in this first shot?—told them we didn’t work for Disney, and they apologized profusely. But we didn’t care! Any excuse to ham it up for the camera…
Only a handful of people actually knew who Patrick was supposed to be, and most of them were cast members. Including this one!
…And this one!
Patrick really enjoyed being in character. He would ramble pompously about his wealth and his treasures and show off Shiriki Utundu.