Bats Day In the Fun Park Founder Noah Korda on Getting Official Disney Recognition, Who'd Win in a Fight Between Tim Burton and Walt Disney, and His Confection of Choice From the Park

Categories: Q&As
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Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
Click here to see more images from Bats Day 2010!
This weekend, Goths from around the globe will converge on one of the most unlikely spots: The Happiest Place on Earth. Officially known as "Bats Day In the Fun Park," this annual event celebrates its 13th year in 2011, and Bats Day's organizer Noah Korda couldn't be happier . . . and yes, we know how ironic that sounds.

What began as a fun day out for Korda and a small group of like-minded friends in 1999 has now become a highly anticipated, epic Goth pilgrimage. It's so epic the number of attendees descending on Disneyland this weekend is expected to be close to 5,000. That's a whole lot of black clothing, folks. And Mickey Mouse ears.

Korda caught up with us to talk about the event's past, its future, and who would win in a fight between Mickey Mouse and Jack Skellington.


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Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
OC Weekly: This year marks the 13th year of Bats Day, and it's gotten to be a huge event over the years, yet Disney still won't recognize it as an official "day" in the park. Do you think they'll ever give it the official nod?

Noah Korda: As far as I know, Disney doesn't make any of these unsanctioned events an "official" Disney event. Officials actually do recognize Bats Day In the Fun Park, but they don't support it. This year, I was told that Disney did have the event listed in the "Special Events" section on its website, so I think that was a pretty big nod to me.



If they ever do make it an official event, will you do everything in your power to ensure that no one shows up?

Uh . . . why would I want to do that?


This year, you've added the event "Bats Day Happy Haunts Swinging Wake: A Costumed Celebration." What can attendees expect?

"The Bats Day Happy Haunts Swinging Wake" is only one of the many events that happen during the weekend of spooky fun. This year, there are four events for the weekend: "The Nightmare Before Bats Day," which is a formal dining event; "The Bats Day Black Market," which has more than 60 spooky vendors; "The Bats Day Happy Haunts Swinging Wake: A Costumed Celebration," at which attendees join in the realm of the supernatural as the spirits gather for an evening of music, magic and merriment; and, lastly, "The Spooky Trip to Disneyland," also known as "Bats Day In the Fun Park."

We try to change things up every year. This year, we wanted to do something really cool for the 13th year of Bats Day, so we added the "Bats Day Happy Haunts Swinging Wake." This is an event for residents of the spirit world. Madame Elle and her assistants will be on hand to assure that no mortals will be allowed entrance. The only way foolish mortals can attend is to disguise yourself in suitably macabre garb to avoid detection, and you must possess a Death Certificate. In other words, it's a ghostly themed costume party, and you're all invited! Just remember that no mortals are allowed, so you better come in disguise.
 

Is it getting harder and harder to organize the event each year, especially with how large it has gotten? Does organizing it feel like a full-time job yet?

Actually, not at all. Every year, new challenges arise that make the event fun and new, but that is what makes it fun. It does take about a good nine or 10 months to put this event together, so sometimes it does seem like this is a full-time job, but I love doing it. Plus, I have a really good team that helps out.

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Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
Parasols a plenty. Click here to see more images from Bats Day 2010!
The line that separates the Goth crowd from the Disney crowd is much thinner than one might expect. It's easy to point out the differences in the groups, but how do you see the groups being related?

The one thing I see that is related between the two is the love for Disneyland, though we may see a lot more of the darker side of it.
 

Who would win in a fistfight to the death (in their primes, of course) in each of these match-ups:

Tim Burton vs. Walt Disney: I would have to say Walt. I look at it like this: Tim was the one who trained under Walt after coming from CalArts, where Tim learned his craft.

Amanda Palmer vs. Sleeping Beauty: This would not be a fair fight because Sleeping Beauty would already be out cold.

Jack Skellington vs. Mickey Mouse: I think this would be a draw. They are pretty much both super-powers.

Trent Reznor vs. Randy Newman: It would be Randy because he'd start to sing one of his songs, and then Trent would want to go kill himself.

Bela Lugosi as Dracula vs. Gary Oldman as Dracula vs. Tim Curry in this video: Vampires are not real. ;)


This has nothing to do with Bats Day, but aren't the churros in the park the fucking best? Or are you more of a turkey-leg man?

Nah, give me the dark-chocolate honeycomb from the Penny Arcade or a Dole Whip.


Having started Bats Day in 1999, especially on the heels of Columbine and the ridiculous and completely unfounded hysteria that followed it, I'm sure people in the parks were much less accepting than they are today. In the beginning, were you met with rude comments and looks, and has that subsided over the years?

First off, the kids who did the shooting at Columbine were not Gothic. They were not into Goth. They wore trench coats and had problems all of their own. People really have to get off this Columbine kick. It was a terrible thing that happened, but did Goth have anything to do with it? No.

When this event first started, it was just a park meet at Disneyland that was started by two Goth dance clubs, one of which I was running. As far as I know, Columbine was not even in the picture or a factor when we did this. It was just a day to go to Disneyland with all the people we hang out with at these clubs. The group was much smaller back in 1999; there were only about 90 of us, so it was nothing like how it is now.

I never noticed any rude comments in the early years. I know that the third year, there seemed to be a bit more of a presence by Disneyland security, but our group also grew by about 500 people. Over the years, I've always heard about that one family from the Midwest who were taken off-guard by us being at Disneyland at the same time they are. But with any large event in a public place, you are going to be meet with some kind of resistance. I know that the Cast Members (Disneyland employees) love the event today. I have been told that a lot of them try to get scheduled to work that day.

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Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
Bats Day was originally in August, but it has since moved around to both November and now May. What was the reason for the move?

Back in 1999, the cheapest annual pass to Disneyland didn't block out
the last weekend in August, and the park still had its summer hours. When I moved the date to November, it was a one-time special event for Bats Day's 10th anniversary. I wanted to do something different; the Haunted Mansion was all decked out in The Nightmare Before Christmas decorations. Now it's in May because it just got too darn hot in August.
 

How many attendees do you expect to be in the park this Sunday?

We think there will be more than 5,000.
 

What's your favorite ride?

The Haunted Mansion, of course.


Your favorite character? 

I don't really have a favorite character. I am more of a fan of the park itself than the characters.
 

There have been rumors that Disney is considering opening a darker, more adult, villain-themed park. If they were to do that, would you consider changing venues?

Change venues?!? Are you kidding?!? I would do another event that would focus around that one.


When it started, Bats Day gave a voice to a group of people who weren't originally represented at Disneyland. Today, 13 years later, if you could parlay the success of Bats Day into another organized annual outing for another group of people, who would you choose?

Actually, I never thought I was giving a voice to anyone. To me, Bats Day In the Fun Park was just about going to Disneyland with a bunch of like-minded people who were into the dark subculture. I've never really thought about giving a voice to any other group. I don't think I should be the person to represent any other voice other than what I am into. I would hope that the people who are in those groups would want to represent themselves.

Learn more about Bats Day here.





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Chris Halstead
Chris Halstead

I write this speaking for none but myself, voicing my opinion(s).

I have been involved in and with the Bats Day event off and on for many, many years.  Either lending advice, an ear, the bands I manage, or my own talents as a DJ.  So I have, I guess one could say, intimate knowledge into the event some of you so openly and willingly see fit as to bash; so what I say isn’t based upon the same “I heard from, who heard from, who heard from, who read it on the internt (ad nauseam)” argument but actually has some fact in which to hold it up.

First of all, I’d like to say that you all should go out and get a life.  I have one.  It’s quite nice and isn’t reliant on drama and pettiness.

I would hazard a guess that none of you posters actually know the Promoter of Bats Day or if you do, then not very well; otherwise you’d not speak as harshly as you do but would understand the whys behind everything he does for Bats Day.  It’s funny to me to hear people say that “Bats Day is not as Goth as it once was”, because he has never claimed it to BE a Goth (exclusive) event.  It has always been an event that celebrates the SUB-CULTURE (be that whatever it is or YOU are into).  It’s meant to celebrate the darker side of the NORM, not be a “We’re Goth! Hear us whimper…oh, sorry, I mean, roar.”  Get over yourselves.  Bats Day is for EVERYONE, from us old school DeathRockers, to the Goths, to the Emos, the Metal-Heads, the SteamPunks and yes, even the Normal people who just like a little darkness in their everyday lives.  It’s about fun, not a day in which to “freak out the normies”.

Now onto another anonymous posting of someone who “heard that many old timers have been alienated by Noah”.  Do you know the reasons why these people were “alienated” orasked not to come back?  Or did you just hear from someone or just bothered to get one side of the story?  I don’t claim to know the other side of the story or even to agree 100% with the reasons why some people are asked not to come back, BUT I do respect Noahs right as the PROMOTER to do as he see’s best for HIS event.  What most of you don’t know, or turn a blind eye to because you’d rather concern and fuel yourselves on drama, is that Noah lives and breathes Bats Day.  He pours his heart and soul into it every day and sacrifices for it.  Yes, I know.  Know one asks him to, BUT that’s the point, isn’t it?  So your friend or a friend of someone’s friend was banded or what have you…there was a reason for it I’m sure. Noah and those who help out truly want to offer the best and safestevent and experience possible. 

One went on to state that Noah was “NOT the originator of the idea”.  Well, ok. That’s true,BUT he was invited to be PART of the original idea AND he has always, always gave credit to those people who came up with the idea to converge upon Disneyland.  I did not go the first year but I am friends with all those responsible and they have no issues, so why should any of you? And to be fair and honest, what’s so original about getting a group of people who go to like clubs together and going to an amusement park anyway? We’ve been doing it for years before anyone thought of giving it a name. And I’d even go as far as to guess that someone did it before that as well.

All in all, the point is, stop listening to and fueling drama that may or may not surround the event.  Don’t concern yourself with WHO the Promoter is and WHAT he’s doing.  Just go the event and enjoy it for what it is and is meant to be.  I’ve always had fun, every year I have gone.  If you don’t want to go and can’t get your finger out of the drama pot, then simply do not go and be done with it.  Or better yet, do something more constructive with your time and do your own event and do what you think you can do, which is…a better job at it.

And to those who have yet to attend Bats Day or Nightmare Before Bats Day, don't buy into or let the internet drama sway you from going. It's a great event with a lot of heart and fun. It's a great event in which to explore and discover new people (Goth or not), music and vendors. As with any event or anything in life, it IS what you bring to it!

All the best,Chris HalsteadDJ seraphim

Noah K
Noah K

This is Noah K the Founder/Executive Producer ofBats Day in the Fun Park.  I would liketo apologies for the defamatory, untrue and unwarranted remarks written above,about myself, my family and the event that I run.  It’s a shame that a greatly written article has to be tarnished byanonymous internet trolls who have to try to bring people down to their level.

iLikeRainbows
iLikeRainbows

 I personally think that we should take 'Bats Day' more literal and dress up as bats.. devise flying apparatuses and fly through the park like bats.. Eating various bugs throughout the day.. sadly, knowing Disneyland's love of money and greed.. They will most certainly mark up the prices on said bugs leaving many of us to sneak our own bugs in snack bags into the parks.. :/

Disgusted
Disgusted

Sadly, Noah and his crazy heroine addict girlfriend have ruined what used to be a fun event...this was the first time in 9 years I did not attend..and will never return...He has mixed his personal problems with business and and become a tyrant. He was NOT the originator of this idea but had the money and ran with it. We should start our own day where psychos do NOT call the shots!

Truth
Truth

Sorry, but this event has become nothing but posers, ridiculous "steampunks" and cartoon "goths".  It's run by someone who MANY call "Noahpoleon" and his psycho girlfriend.    I would much rather gather many of my wonderful friends together at Disneyland on a day that is NOT Bat's Day.  This event has become a JOKE, along with the ingrates that run it all.   Their erratic, infantile and self-important behavior and treatment of GOOD people have reverberated out loud and clear.....and FAR.  Hopefully all the sheeple will wake up and realize how pathetic this event has become.

RichardRamirez
RichardRamirez

Have always enjoyed going to Disneyland on Bats Day, its quite fun. Have been for almost a decade.I have never had an interest at all in the friday/saturday events that take place around the park, its always seemed a bit lame and over priced as well, very cheese ball. Now that I hear of this drama taking place, it seals the deal, will never bother participating in any event having to do with the promoter, I'd rather just go to the park and raise hell with an army of friends instead.

How i wish every trip to Disneyland was as awesome as Bats Day, people watching is never as fun on other visits, generally people on bats day wear the goofyest outfits in the most unfriendly weather conditions.. Theres nothing like watching some 250lb Gothapotomus wearing 5 inch moon boots, corset, goggles and piss yellow hair extensions parade around the park in extreme heat like it aint no thing... viva los bats day.

Oldie Mouldie Goth
Oldie Mouldie Goth

Bats Day is not as goth as it once was. It's jumped the shark and now appeals to a wider audience than goths, such as emo kids, metal heads and steampunks. What used to be great transgressive fun to freak out the normies has turned into a slick production and a lot of the old timers who are true to the scene have moved on. I'd like to see the oldschool goth and deathrock influence inject itself back into the Bats Day Disneyland trip.

OC Weekly: "If they ever do make it an official event, will you do everything in your power to ensure that no one shows up?"Noah Korda: "Uh... why would I want to do that?"Noah is being less than honest. I suggest contacting him and asking why he is actively keeping numerous people away from his events this year. Word about his weird behavior has spread around. he has to remember that he is not the scene and he is not the gatekeeper to our scene. WE ARE THE SCENE, Not Noah Korda's 'Bats Day LLC'.

DeadlySerious
DeadlySerious

I heard that too! Many old timers have been alienated by Noah's control freak behavior and his fiance's drama & jr high school antics. Sadly, several of the people that were Bat's Day regulars were dragged through the mud with lies, innuendo and just plan the mean-spirited behavior of the organizers. The ripple affect with friends and family caused many to forego the Black Market & pre-events altogether. Vendors should demand their money back since the "open to the public" Black Market Event was closed to many cash-in-hand customers over his petty personal crap. Homemade signs warning that some customers can and would subject to access at his whim. Complete with hired thug security to remove unwanted guests and customers was pretty pathetic. It is a shame that this nonsense has divided the community!

not there either...
not there either...

"I heard"...is nothing more than hearsay and contributing to the said drama...just my two cents...

i was there
i was there

I know some of the people involved and unfortunately, it's true. I was there on Saturday. Lots of people were talking about it. The atmosphere was different with weird signs saying the black market is a private event, but the website saying it's a public event. Confusing! The organizer needs to make up his mind. Will he allow the public to shop the black market and support the vendors or will he pick and choose who to allow and deny the vendors income? Sad that bats day has become a drama magnet. Probably not attending next year if the organizer doesn't chill out cause I can't stand this drama.

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