Have you ever walked into a room and instantly felt swept away by its energy? This is the sentiment that greeted me when I first set foot on the Royal Theatre dance floor (known as Fantasy Faire during the day) near Sleeping Beauty Castle one night when I first attended the swing dancing festivities at Disneyland Park, held every Saturday starting at 7:30 PM and running until 11 PM (baring rain and other foul weather).
When I told my grandmother that I was going to go swing dancing at Disneyland, she looked at me skeptically and asked “Now what is it you kids call swing dancing these days?” Well, she would have loved knowing the truth at this event: true swing dancing with the energy, the dress, the throwback of it all. Even though there are people in modern attire, you still feel transported back to an earlier time with the nostalgic mystique of it all.
The Royal Swing Big Band Ball is literally all that and more From the minute the venue entered into my view, I could hear the sounds of Swingtown, the Disneyland big band pouring out of the crevices of the place. When they say ‘big band’, they really mean ‘big fun’. With their swingin’ sounds, this group creates the atmosphere of the 40’s and 50’s with ease and gets you just in the right mood to get your swing-dance groove on.
In this place, no one is too old or too young, too inexperienced or too professional to join in. Odd couples of old and young, experienced and amateur, grace the floor with their flying feet. And what a blur of feet it is: those things are everywhere, followed by the arms and hips. Even Elvis would be jealous of those swiveling hips. Look at ’em go, everyone flying around in a masterfully unplanned choreography that is executed just right. Here, as long as they’re moving in time and having fun, everyone looks like a pro.
And the people. The people are just dolls, to use the old vernacular. Asking a stranger to dance is not out of place in this friendly joint, where all people want to do is have fun and cha-cha. Among some of the people I met that night included long-time dance aficionados Chuck and Cynthia who were kind enough to show a few of us first timers some moves so that we could actually step out on the dance floor. Within that night, I saw a fun time to be had by all and joined a new little family.
This night tradition that started with Walt survived and has stayed all these years because of the fun it still brings to those who know about it. Now that you do, lace up those shoes and experience a magical time that Disneyland has to offer you without fear of being asked to “remain seated please.”
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Have you stepped foot on the dance floor at the Royal Swing Big Band Ball before? Are you happy swing dancing still happens at Disneyland? Would you recommend the event to a first-time visitor? Share your thoughts in the comments!