Yester California Adventure at Yesterland

Glow Fest

at the Hollywood Pictures Backlot

a part of Summer Nightastic!
Glow Fest at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Karen Weiss, 2010

It’s 2010 at Yester California Adventure. Sunshine Plaza and Hollywood Pictures Backlot have been transformed into Glow Fest.


During the day, colorful banners and columns leave no doubt that something is going on. The area really comes to life at dusk. And, at night, it becomes an outdoor nightclub.

Glow Fest at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

Hollywood Pictures Backlot with a colorful overlay

The overlay decor doesn’t fit in with the era of most of the architecture of the Hollywood Pictures Backlot. Then again, there are so many contradictions in this part of the park that it really doesn’t matter.

Glow Fest at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

“Glow Face Paint and Glitter Tattoos”

Although the main Glow Fest activities begin at dusk, there are a few extras during the day—including a temporary face painting booth and a temporary merchandise spot selling light-up souvenirs.

Glow Fest at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

Sunshine Plaza Stage

As the sun goes down, dancers and world music performers draw you to the stage in front of Sunshine Plaza’s giant sun icon.

Glow Fest at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

Off the stage, into the audience

Glow Fest doesn’t seem like typical Disney fare. Perhaps that’s because Disney hired outside creative firm—Kreate, Inc. of Marina del Rey—to produce it.

Glow Fest at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

Colorful Glow Fest Dancers

Glow Fest at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

Fun to Watch

Glow Fest at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

Bollywood Step Dance

The highlight of the stage show is the Los Angeles-based Bollywood Step Dance troupe. Yogen Bhagat, the troupe’s director is a dancer and choreographer trained in India. He works as a full time civil engineer for Los Angeles County, but somehow also manages to find time to present authentic Bollywood dance performances at the park seven nights a week.

Glow Fest at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

Bollywood Step Dance Troupe

According to Yogen, “It is an honor to be able to bring Indian culture and Bollywood to Disney parks, especially as Disney embraces cultural diversity. Since visitors from all over the world will attend, I want to present various Indian styles and also add fusion elements to the performance.”

The Bollywood music is infectious and the precisely choreographed, expertly performed dances are a joy to watch.

Glow Fest at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Karen Weiss, 2010

After dark

When the sun goes down, the activity shifts from Sunshine Plaza to the boulevard at the Hollywood Pictures Backlot.

Glow Fest at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

Interactive projections of the sky wall

The painted sky at the end of the boulevard becomes a screen for projections of street activity in an ever-shifting array of neon colors.

Glow Fest at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

Glow swords for sale

Of course, there’s merch for kids. This is, after all, a family theme park.

Glow Fest at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

Hungry?

Who would expect outside food truck vendors inside California Adventure? Well, they’re here!

Head over to Louks Greek Gourmet truck for a Gyro. If you’ve seen Orange County-based Louks elsewhere, you might not recognize the truck here. It’s been wrapped in bright colors to fit in with the look of Glow Fest. You also might not recognize the prices. The Gyro that’s $5 when Louks is parked away from the park goes for $8 here. Add Fries—your choice of Original, Tzatziki, Feta, or Honey Feta—for $5.

Glow Fest at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

Thirsty?

Unlike the older park across the Esplanade, this park has never been shy about selling alcohol.

Glow Fest at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Karen Weiss, 2010

Colorful drinks in colorful cups

So order a Martini and a Mojito. Or should that be a Glowtini and a Glowjito?

Glow Fest at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

VW van themed to the event

Dance until park closing—or just watch the performers and guests dance in street. In either case, it’s a fun way finish you evening at Yester California Adventure.

You didn’t even need a FASTPASS.


Glow Fest premiered at Disney California Adventure on June 11, 2010. The idea was to give park guests a place to go before their FASTPASS time for World of Color—a fun place where they could be away from the huge fountain show.

Instead of relying on the Disneyland Entertainment Department, management chose to turn over the task to an outside company.

Everyone expected Disney California Adventure to have a hit on its hands with World of Color—and it did. But the park also had a second hit with Glow Fest. On June 15, 2010, longtime Disney watcher Al Lutz published a MiceAge article about the new additions to the park. He included this surprising paragraph:

World of Color ranked very high on the scale of 1 to 10 that the Disney Research CMs use to poll visitors, and the overall response to World of Color was pegged at 8.5, a very high rating for a show swimming in hype. Glow Fest, however, came in with a solid rating of 9 on the same scale of 1 to 10 that first Friday night, officially moving to first place in the list of new offerings DCA has this summer. The TDA [Team Disney Anaheim] executive team was stunned, and they instructed Guest Research to continue the same polling throughout the weekend to make sure that wasn’t just a fluke. And consistently, Glow Fest is being ranked by DCA park visitors as being just as good as, or slightly more entertaining, than World of Color.

Glow Fest only ran until September 6, 2010. However, idea of a nighttime party with music, variety entertainment, dancing, and alcohol remained part of California Adventure—although the location was pushed further back into the Hollywood Pictures Backlot (which became Hollywood Land). First came ElecTRONica. Then came Mad T Party.


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Updated July 26, 2013.