Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Disneyland - Banana Ball

In 1986, I believe, I saw a flier announcing the "Banana Ball" while sitting in the break area upstairs behind the Adventure/Frontier offices.

The Westside used to sponsor an off-site party at the Orange County Fairgrounds which involved tent rental, large amounts of beer, and a large number of Cast Members from across the Park.

It was absolutely famous among Cast Members of the era, for reasons most of us are unable to remember (doh!).

Any sort of jungle or tropical-related dress was welcomed. I recall many hats with vegetation sprouting from them and leis and coconuts aplenty adorning most of the attendees.

It was our own not-so-secret, secret get away from the strictures of a summer schedule at the Park. No management. No unruly guests. No rotations.

Just us.

Oh, and there was beer.

I would liken it to a Westside Mardi Gras.

The Banana Ball was shut down years later. Probably for good reason---Disney did not want to even accidentally be associated with such an event, if for liability insurance reasons alone---not to mention the extreme potential for bad press.

I just remember it was fun, a little crazy and filled with people I knew and loved from the Park.
I can't seem to find my Banana Ball '86 t-shirt. Darn.

To all the West-siders who put on quite a party back in the mid-80s---Cheers!



Anonymous said...

Well Mike, better late than never. I completely missed this post while working in Honolulu (again) last week. I'm sad to see no one has posted comments regarding the Banana Ball. I know I made it to the one in 1974. And for the life of me, I don't recall where it was held. However, it started out as a rather classy, low key, JC sponsored event..at least it was back then. Put together by the likes of Jim Pruitt and Joel Halberstadt (author of "Jungle Drums"). We wanted to distinguish ourselves as rather high-brow types opposite of the Canoe/Indians which sponsored Custer's Last Stand. My date (who worked Country Bear Jamboree) and I played the part of characters straight out of the musical South Pacific. From your description, it appears it morphed over the years into Custer's. Now THAT was the big bash of the year...held at the Union Hall in Santa Ana. A real free for all with hundreds in attendance and beer, wine and music flowing freely in large quantities. A real Mardi Gras.

James said...

Mike, Enjoyed your post about the Banana Ball. I recall through the haze of the era that those of us on the East Coast (WDW) participated in the very same ceremonial bacchanal for many years eons ago as well (late 70's - early 80's). EXCELLENT party, coming from someone who did not work at JC, but drove boats nevertheless (Watercraft @ WDW). Good to see y'all still conversing (as we are 30+ years later!).