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If you’re unable to score a coveted FASTPASS to World of Color at Disney California Adventure, never fear, you could dance on over to the Hollywood Pictures Backlot for Glow Fest instead. Or you could skip Glow Fest and be just as happy.
To placate those waiting for later World of Color showings, Disney has cooked up Glow Fest, “a new summer street party that features live music, performers, and interactive fun!” (Disney’s words, not mine.) Located in Sunshine Plaza from 6-8:30 pm, the party then moves into the Backlot until park closing. The Sunshine Plaza portion currently features dancers attired in strange neon clothing and then a second act of Bollywood dancers. The Backlot section involves all the performers dancing on stages along the street to weird remixes of songs that didn’t need to be remixed in the first place.
Glow Fest would be less obnoxious if the set-up wasn’t present during the day, but unfortunately most of it is out all day long. The first view you get when you enter California Adventure is of the tacky rainbow Glow Fest stage in Sunshine Plaza. In the Backlot, giant speaker and lighting towers line the street, all covered with trippy neon patterns. The bars in the middle of the street thankfully don’t come out until nighttime, but once they do, the Backlot turns into a free flowing alcoholic party,or as free flowing as alcohol can get with an average price of $10 a drink.
The nighttime street party was created not by Disney, but by an outside vendor, and I sincerely hope that this is the reason for Glow Fest’s tackiness. Everything from the entertainment to the food comes from the outside. The current extra food option is a food truck in Sunshine Plaza that serves Greek food, whipping up such delicacies as gyros and Greek yogurt. And when I think of California, Greek food now shares my thoughts with Bollywood dancers.
What really bothers me about Glow Fest is that it seems like a college party or a rave, except there are kids, teenagers, children in strollers, and old people along with the partiers. That spectrum of people would be alright together if there weren’t any alcohol, but the fact that some people are having a little too much fun is weird when kids are present. Maybe I see Glow Fest in such a negative way because I am not of legal drinking age- maybe the whole thing is tolerable when you’re a little tipsy. Thankfully I won’t have the chance to figure that out, as Glow Fest is scheduled to run only through August 22nd.
In the end, Glow Fest is confusing. Why is it here? Isn’t the idea of Glow Fest what California Adventure is moving away from? I like the juxtaposition of bars in the middle of the street on top of the new track for the Red Car Trolley. Glow Fest is just about as far as you can get from the future plans for the Backlot and Sunshine Plaza. It seems like these lands of California Adventure are getting the nightclub party vibe out of their systems before they turn into a classy representation of Los Angeles in the 1920s. I still don’t know how I feel about California Adventure’s complete makeover, but at least something like Glow Fest won’t have a place to happen again in the future.
What do you think of Glow Fest? Do you enjoy the party atmosphere or are you, like me, put off by its weird vibe?