Disneyland Resort spent February which is Black History Month honoring Black culture and heritage. It used to be only held at Walt Disney World in Florida. For those who are not familiar with this piece of history, February was chosen as Black History Month primarily because it coincides with the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, both were very influential figures in the emancipation of slaves.
As to the reason why they’ve chosen to host the celebration in Anaheim, CA a spokesperson said that it was a result of ongoing conversations that they have about how they can boost what they have always been doing at the theme parks such as the Celebrate Gospel which has been around for a decade. Their aim is to take the things that have represented their longstanding commitment to inclusion and storytelling, and amplify them, which can be perfectly exemplified by Celebrate Soulfully.
In Downtown Disney, there are live nightly entertainment featuring funk, Motown, R&B, reggae, jazz and Doo-Wop. At Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen you’ll hear jazz pianists at their best. You can also drop by Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa for live music in the lobby.
If you are into art, you can watch chalk muralist Marcella Swett, Disney Live Entertainment’s senior production artisan create an incredible, vibrant chalk-art installation. It’ll break your heart however once you realize that this amazing piece of art will eventually get washed away.
There was also some cool art created by emerging Black artists Bianca Pastel, Bee Harris, and Arrington Porter. And of course there’s Post 21 cart with an array of merchandise from businesses owned by the Black community, and goods for sale at WonderGround Gallery, Lovepop and Pelé Soccer.
If your kind of celebration entails lots of food and drinks, the Grand Californian provides you with an opportunity to order from a special menu which you will find at the Hearthstone Lounge. This exclusive menu includes wines, spirits and beer from Black-owned businesses, an array of evening appetizers inspired by New Orleans selections, while Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen also serves creole dishes including the famous Louisiana crawfish spring rolls, NOLA BBQ grits, and the ever-popular sweet peach tea.
“Celebrate Gospel” was held on 2 consecutive Saturdays with a show on the Fantasyland Theater stage. Performers like the award-winning singer/songwriter Kierra Sheard and Jonathan McReynolds joined community choirs along with The Singers of Soul, and an acapella act Sacred Groove.
With numerous Gospel acts out there to choose from, the selection of groups performing was a result of the Disneyland Resort’s good relationship with the community of Southern California.
In the end, you’ll probably agree with me that the best part of any trip to a Disney Resort are the memories that stay in your heart. Celebrate Soulfully may only last a month but the memories do stay with us for a very long time. I hope that this event is going to be the first of many.