Off-Topic Thursday: “One More Disney Day” at Disneyland
|Arriving at Disneyland.|
Many articles have been written in the last week about the One More Disney Day event 2/29-3/1/12 in Disneyland and Walt Disney World, but I’m going to add my story anyway. I won’t go into hour-by-hour details, but here were some of the highlights.
My brother-in-law, Stuart, and I arrived at Disneyland at 5am on February 29. They were giving out free commemorative ear hats to the first 2,000 guests, but we knew we didn’t have a chance of getting those. See, the park opened at 6am, but people had begun lining up at 10pm the night before. All 2,000 hats were spoken for by sometime between midnight and 2am. That was fine with us, though. We were there to enjoy the day, not to get merchandise.
The day started out pretty crowded (especially if you were trying to get a locker or hit one of the most popular attractions), but after an hour or two, it settled down a lot. Modern Family was filming in the park that day, but for the most part it didn’t affect us. Between about 7am and 8pm, here were the attractions we got to experience:
- Fire Engine (Main Street U.S.A. vehicle)
- Haunted Mansion
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Indiana Jones Adventure
- Jungle Cruise
- Gadget’s Go Coaster
- Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin
- Alice in Wonderland
- Casey Jr. Circus Train
- Mad Tea Party
- Storybook Land Canal Boats (3 times)
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
- Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
- Space Mountain
- Star Tours (2 times)
- Calling All Drummers
- Mickey’s Soundsational Parade
- The Magic, The Memories, and You
We could have done every open attraction easily, but instead we chose to repeat favorite and to take our time.
It got quite a bit busier in the early evening hours, though. There are around 800,000 – 900,000 Annual Passholders, and—not surprisingly—a large percentage of them thought, “Hey, I’ll go to Disneyland after work and maybe do the overnight thing”. You could see waves of people coming down Main Street by 6:00. By 10:30 or so, they were restricting admission due to capacity issues. To compare to the list above, this is what we did from 8pm – 6am:
- Storybook Land (2 more times)
- Jungle Cruise (1 more time)
- Star Tours (1 more time) – Of the 3 rides, 2 of them were identical and 1 of them had only one difference (the first planet was different.
- Disneyland Railroad
- it’s a small world
- Billy Hill & the Hillbillies
- Picture with Darth Vader & Stormtroopers
- Picture with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, & Daisy in pajamas
Obviously we got much less done in those later hours. That didn’t bother us, though, since we were expecting the heavier crowds. We accepted the probable reality of long lines and planned accordingly.
There are two contrasting perceptions that are interesting to me. Many of those like Stuart and me who had been there all day and thought logically about the probability of longer lines and heavy overnight crowds really enjoyed ourselves, and it seemed to us that the mood of the crowd overall was upbeat. In general, those who came much later in the day thought the crowds were horrible, people were rude and angry, and they had a miserable time. I’m not sure exactly what to make of that, but I did notice it.
Sure the lines were long and people were tired overnight, but it was such a fun, unique, and special experience we chose to savor it and to focus on the good stuff. Besides, Mickey & friends in pajamas—who doesn’t love that?! From my understanding there was some un-Disney-like behavior (pot smoking, rave-type atmosphere in places, and people being very belligerent), but we didn’t experience or witness any of that personally.
By the end of 24 hours (actually 25 1/2 by the time we finished), we were exhausted, but quite proud of ourselves.
- We stayed in Disneyland Park for 24+ hours.
- We stayed awake for all 24 hours (we dozed for less than a minute in it’s a small world, but that’s all).
- We had no artificial stimulants before or during that time. No coffee. No tea. No Red Bull, Monster, or 5-Hour Energy. Nothing but willpower and adrenaline.
Thanks to riding Storybook Land so many times, I even have 6 or 7 new ideas for Faith and the Magic Kingdom blog posts. Currently I’m planning to turn 5 of them into a July series in honor of the park’s anniversary.
Below is a slideshow of many of the photos we took that day including one of us taken each hour of the 24 (except the 7am hour, when we forgot to do it).