Mrs BD and I were able to take in the SHAG Cocktail Hideaway event on Friday. We came up from San Diego, stayed at the Candy Cane Inn, and made it part of a “parent’s” weekend, enjoying DL during the day, and a slow leisurely trip back down the coast on Saturday with brunch in San Juan Capistrano.
We arrived at the Paradise Pier Hotel at 6:30, parked in the structure out back, and picked up our registration packets without delay. A nice surprise was finding that we were each being given a set of the announcement postcards, in addition to the personal photos and the parting gift. We then had our picture taken, again without delay, in front of SHAG’s map of Disneyland. A few steps away was the merchandise room and the process to gather up all of the goodies we purchased was fast and efficient. Our haul included a shirt, two mugs, two serving trays, two sets of coasters, the memory book, and a set of petite prints. Nothing is to be resold, but a few things are gifts. We carried everything to the car and then returned to the hotel’s lounge for a drink to start the night as we awaited the opening.
At 8pm sharp, they pulled back the curtains, opened the doors and we all entered…the Cocktail Hideaway. It was a dark room with tall tables scattered about. Candles on the tables did much of the lighting. Around the room were various pieces of SHAG art, most highlighting parts of Disneyland, some simply the kind of SHAG kitsch we’ve come to love. As you might expect, everything was very colorful.
Against two walls were food stations offering a variety of fruits, cheeses, and breads. Two festive dessert tables contained some delicious sweets: a lightly glazed puff pastry in the usual Mickey shape, bonbons containing a slightly sweet purple mousse dusted in cocoa, a pink strawberry flavored concoction that reminded us of a Hostess Snoball, only much better, and cups of something that we never did get around to tasting. Two bartenders on opposite sides of the room served a variety of drinks including three different martinis (apple, melon, and lemon), a decently made cosmopolitan, and beer and wine. Servers roamed the room for most of the night offering some very good hor’s doeuvre. There was rock shrimp combined with a spicy herbal accompaniment placed on baguette, empanadas served with a spicy cream sauce in a martini glass, tuna tartare with a spicy (note the trend here) relish in a pastry cup, and sausage and (what else?) spicy tomato sauce on a bitesize pizza round. We think. As the night wears on and we eat and drink, memories become somewhat fuzzy and we don’t write things down. What we do remember is that everthing was quite good and plentiful.
In one corner of the room was the band and a dance floor. Named The Swingin’ Shagateers, this trio played jazz and light background all night. Our entertainment director for the evening was an attractive young woman dressed in a tour guide outfit and was accompanied by two other singers. Throughout the night, they would come out and sing a Disneyland favorite, changed in a way that only the Shagateers could pull off. Within a few minutes of opening, SHAG was introduced to the group, and he immediately made his way to the line for drinks. My kind of guy, no doubt about it.
And that set the theme for the night. We ate, drank, and mingled. There were many Resort people there. Some were obviously making sure that everything was going well, others simply enjoying the party and we wondered if they were there to round out the guest list. I didn’t count the number of people, but it looked like there were less than one hundred total. It didn’t seem crowded or oversold in the least. The wait for drinks was reasonable most of the time and sometimes non-existent. There was always a server nearby offering food.
SHAG was constantly talking with people and roamed as best he could given the tendency of guests to surround him. Most were polite, yet there were a few that needed a good dose of manners. He dealt with all in the same good natured way. Many photos were taken and not once did he appear to tire of it. If he had a handler, it wasn’t obvious other than when he backed into a table and spilled his drink, only to have it replaced by somebody within less than a minute. Our conversation with him lasted a few minutes, which was fine. He let us in on the background for a particular piece of his work that we own, and realized out loud that he had never told anybody about it until this evening. We were most appreciative of that as his works are definitely conversation starters in our house.
About 10:00, we went out to get our parting gift. We expected it might be something related to the five lands, and it was. Each guest was given a randomly selected image encased in acrylic. We hoped for Tomorrowland and/or Adventureland (the crowd favorites) but received Main Street and Fantasyland. No complaints here, though, because a gift is a gift, and hey, they’re cool. The original pieces, being offered for $10000 each, were on display as well. They’re truly gorgeous. As bright and colorful as the prints are, the originals take on a life all of their own. Back in the lounge, some guests were trying to trade gifts, but I suspect not many actually changed hands. Those who held the desired lands were little tempted to trade.
With less than 30 minutes left in the evening, one last musical treat was to be had. As the Shagateers started bopping to The Main Street Electrical Parade, the crowd clapped (and snapped; that's hip you know) with delight. Little did we know that the best was truly left for last. Parading through the room comes none other than Cinderella’s ballroom dancers and those patriotic Americans, all lit up with electrical lights. The crowd hooted their approval as the dancers danced and the patriots high kicked and saluted their way through the number. When it was over, we made our way back to the car, and out of the lot (without having to pay, I might add, as the gates were open), back to the hotel we were staying at.
All in all, it was a shagtastic night. Kudos to Disneyland and the event folks for giving us a fun time.