By: Nicholas Pell Remy Casillas has been working for Disneyland's food-service vendors since April 2012. It's not just a job, though; his obsession for Disney rivals his passion for ska music. And three years ago, he combined the two to create the annual theme-park outing It's a Ska World After All.
Following the same pattern as other such subcultural Disney outings as the rockabilly-oriented Rock Around the Park and the Goth granddaddy of them all, Batsday, which is entering its 16th year, It's a Ska World After All will invade the park on Oct. 20. The only thing "ska" about the event is the attire and interests of the participants. Disney-philes will don their Ben Sherman and Fred Perry shirts--or at the very least clothing promoting their favorite bands--and hang out and make new friends as they share their love for the genre and the Mouse.
There is, of course, an ethos behind the event beyond just a shared love of ska: Casillas wants the event to promote an opposition to bullying, violence and racism. Participants will stand as a positive example of the community for everyone at the park. "I want people to know that we're just like everyone else," he says.
In the future, he wants to get a local ska band to play, but, thus far, the timing hasn't been right. Since securing an all-ages venue in Southern California is difficult, on Oct. 19, people will get together at the Shakey's Pizza across the street from Disneyland. Casillas picked the location because it's family-friendly, allowing ska-loving Mouseketeers to bring their kids along. The next day, participants will meet at 1 p.m. at the Sleeping Beauty's Castle. "By that point, people have been hanging around, talking to each other," Casillas says. Next on the agenda is riding Star Tours together. After that, most of the day is dedicated to going on rides with your new best friends.
Throughout the day, participants will compete in a "Skavenger" Hunt. Via Instagram, "[We'll] send out a clue to where one of us is in the park," he says. For example, last year, "I'm next to a house with 99 ghosts" was tweeted in reference to the Haunted Mansion. The first person to find the right location gets a prize from one of the event's sponsors--Brutus Trimfit clothing, Tres Noir Sunglasses, Wrong Way Kids Clothing, plus ska record labels such as Stomp Records, Steady Beat Recordings and Megalith Records.
Casillas, who was bullied at school, eventually wants the event to grow into a social club, one of the groups of Disney enthusiasts who mob the park together. Think of them as akin to a motorcycle club, but in Mickey Mouse ears. Casillas is currently shopping around for the right nonprofit charity against bullying to align with his future social club, MARPS (short for Mouseketeers Against Racial Prejudice).
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Thus far, the event has seen a moderate, but growing success. The first year, around a dozen people showed up--not a bad turnout for such a niche event. The second year saw 40 people. "We try and go above and beyond what we did last year," he says, projecting this year's attendance will be between 80 and 100.
"If we ever reach 200 people," he says, "I'll probably have a heart attack."