The simple Disney passion is no longer enough; numerous Disneyland fans in America are gathering in what they call “social clubs”: true Disney gangs in which the members wear matching denim vests, patches and tattoos.
(Photo Credit: micechat.com)
For some of us, Disney is much more than a film studio who built its glory thanks to famous cartoons. It is an institution, a different world with its own rules, like a big universal family… nearly a religion. If you are thinking like that, you’re not on your own. Here is proof with these Disneyland Social Clubs in the US, taking cues from motorcycle clubs.
The website Ozy.com shed the light onto these peculiar gangs you can see walking in the streets of Disneyland in Anaheim, California. They are numerous coming to “the happiest place on heart” with matching outfits made according to some rules: According to Ozy, “the groups wear matching denim vests with the club’s name and logo on the back in custom made patches designed by members. The vest fronts may feature the member’s name and their favorite character or attraction.”
Now, how do you find the club name? Do like the Jungle Cruisers, the Hitchhikers, the Wonderlanders or even the Walt’s Misfits : pick a name that is related to your favourite attraction or themed land.
The Neverlanders are acknowledged as the first Disneyland social club ever, and today there are more than 20 clubs existing and differenciating one another with their denim vests, tattoos, piercings and influenced by other subcultures: Rockabilly, punk…
L. Aggro Harrington, a member of the most visible and largest club the Main Street Elite, explained the reasons behind this gathering:
We wanted to meet people who wanted to go to the park as much as we did. People who were like us: young parents into movies, music, fashion, tattoos and body mods.
One of the most popular Main Street Elite’s artwork; featuring Mickey Mouse in tattoos. A graphic identity taken from the psychobilly, garage or punk communities (Image Credit: Main Street Elite)
The sense of welcoming
The club members are real Disney fans and are said to be all inclusive, not elitists.
Indeed, in these clubs, there are no gender, age and sexual orientation discriminations; there is only few rules: to be passionate about Disney and to be able to attend the meetings at the park, be respectful of other members, other clubs, and of the park itself. The club members are like family, they help and support one another.
To enter one of these clubs, you are designed as a “prospect” and you get a trial period.
Clubs non grata?
However some people working at Disney don’t particularly appreciate these clubs. A Disney cast member told NPR: “They definitely make other guests uncomfortable when they’re groups of younger ones. But there are also families that come. [The clubs] have gotten so big that they have every kind of guest you can imagine now.”
In the meantime, these clubs are just for Disney lovers, who want to share their passion and hobby with people. If they are using some of the bikers dressing codes – bikers clubs which are no longer scary – it is just to differentiate themselves from the rest and also to recognize each other, to look like a united club and to have fun. Besides that’s why the Disneyland parks exist isn’t it? To have fun.
If you wanna know a bit more about these quite special tribes, you can follow the Hitchhikers on Instagram, or go on the Disney Geekery website or on the Main Street Elite’s tumblr.