Thursday, July 9, 2015

Disneyland's 24 Hour Celebration// May 22-23, 2015 // (A Very Late) Trip Report

        This past May was the first time that I've ever been able to attend a 24 hour event at a Disney park, so you can bet that I was not going to miss it. It turns out that I couldn't go for a full 24 hours, but my best friend Megan and I were there from 1:00 PM to 6:00 AM, and those 17 hours were some of the craziest I've ever had.
        May 22nd also happened to be the day that we had to move out of our dorm room, so that morning was spent loading up our cars and cleaning, and then making the 45 minute drive to our hotel on Harbor Boulevard. We settled into our room, each had a snack, and then headed for the park. We had tried to plan out some of what we wanted to do, but even with that preparation we were nervous things wouldn't go very well. As soon as we got onto Main Street, it was apparent that we should have been even more nervous.
So realistic.
        People were already lining up for the Paint the Night parade, with their blankets spread out across the vast majority of the route. We immediately went to get Fastpasses for Space Mountain, and got even more evidence of how crowded it was when the return time was already for 1:30 AM. With that on our minds, we rushed to get in line for the just refurbished and re-opened Matterhorn. The wait was somewhere around an hour and half, and I'm glad we did it to start the day because later on there was no way we'd have had the patience for it. Once we got into our bobsled and started our ascent, though, it was clear that the wait was worth it. The Matterhorn is one of my favorite rides, so I was more than a little skeptical of the changes, but just seeing that animation through the ice on the climb up the hill was enough to make me solidly a fan of the updates. The new figures of Harold were amazing too and the photo opportunity nearby was a perfect way to cap off that first leg of our day.
        At that point, we were both hungry and decided that it was now or never to go get the special macaroni pizza that was being served at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta in California Adventure. It was fantastic, so fantastic that I forgot to take a picture of it, but let me assure you, pizza topped with macaroni, bacon, and pesto is one of the most amazing things you could ever put into you mouth. Now, we felt pretty good about ourselves at this point, and as we headed to the front of the park so that we could go back to Disneyland. Once we were out of DCA, however, and in a giant line that wrapped around itself in the esplanade, we started to panic. They were only allowing reentries, and only ones who had been inside of Disneyland before 2:00 PM. We barely made it, but we did, and we couldn't even be mad about how crowded Main Street was.
        Taking note of how crowded the whole of Main Street was, though, we decided to abandon our plan of seeing the first showing of Paint the Night, and try for the the second one at 1 AM instead. We were still trying to figure out how we would see the fireworks as we headed off for Big Thunder Mountain. For the rest of the evening, we did rides, so many rides. The lines were surprisingly short, probably because everyone was already waiting for the parade and terrified to leave their spots.We rode Big Thunder, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Jungle Cruise in just a couple of hours. Then we went to the 7:15 showing of Mickey and the Magical Map, the last showing of the day.
        Maybe it was because it was the last show, maybe it was because it was the start of the sixtieth anniversary, maybe it was because only people who love the show bothered to show up that day, but that showing of Mickey and the Magical Map was by far the most fun and magical that I've ever seen. Everyone, the crowd and cast, was so happy and energized. Everyone was singing and laughing and cheering. It's frankly indescribable just how joyful that half an hour was.
        After we left the theater, we did a grand tour of Fantasyland--well, of most everything in Fantasyland that isn't a dark ride, anyway. We hit the tea cups, we soared with Dumbo, and we rode our white horses around the carousel. All of this was at dusk, and it truly felt like there was pixie dust in the air.
        The panic was starting to set in, though, that we still hadn't figured out how we would see the fireworks. We desperately wanted to see them on Main Street and take in the new projections and everything else that came with the new show, but given that the parade would be there we didn't know how we would do it. In this confusion we got in another ride on Big Thunder, and then wandered into the Emporium. We figured that, if nothing else, we could shop. We took advantage of the slow crowds inside of the store to wander and actually found a pretty decent deal on some 60th anniversary totes. The parade started up outside, and we stood by one of the doors, half admiring merchandise and half watching the show over the heads of the people on the sidewalk outside. While there, we figured out what we would do. We stood by that doorway for the entirety of the parade, and as soon as it was over, we joined the crowd rushing into the middle of Main Street. Our view was surprisingly good, and all we had to do was wait.
        The Disneyland Forever Fireworks show is my favorite thing about the Diamond Celebration. The music selections are fantastic and flow together so well. The songs come from throughout Disney's history and even included some that I never would have guessed. (That Nemo sequence!?!) Standing in that crowd and singing along with everyone was spectacular, and tiring, and maybe made it okay that after the last pyrotechnic Megan and I immediately rushed to the sidewalk and claimed our spot for the second showing of Paint the Night, which would start three hours later.
        During our wait for the parade, we enjoyed coffee and humorous Cast Members, both of which were greatly needed. It also gave me a chance to take some artsy pictures of our Space Mountain Fastpasses, because how often do you get a Fastpass marked for 1:30 AM?
        I'm not going to lie, Paint the Night is not my favorite, it seems a little too jumbled and the style of many things (like Belle's float) aren't really up my alley, but in that moment, after waiting for hours and having had a very stressful and busy day, it was fun. It was just the kind of release we needed. Also, it happens to feature my three favorite princess all as a part of one float, so it gets bonus points for that. Our experience of Paint the Night was also special because we witnessed it have to stop, as Goofy, true to form, dropped his paint brush and had to wait for a Cast Member to retrieve it. In the end, it took them somewhere around ten minutes to do so, so we got Goofy hamming it up right in front of us for an extra hunk of time.
         The rest of the night/day were kind of a blur. We went to Space Mountain, adventured with Indiana Jones, and got pastries at the Jolly Holiday. One of the things that we definitely wanted to do during our 24 hours was meet one of the big 5 in their pajamas. We headed over to Toon Town and got in line for Minnie. What then ensued was a monstrous wait that nearly broke us. I never like to complain about CMs, they have very hard jobs especially during special events like that. However, the two who were supposed to be handling Minnie's meet weren't doing their job, and so what should have been a forty minute wait, was more like two hours. They allowed everyone from large groups to take pictures individually and to take their own separate pictures of just Minnie (who rotated with Donald and Daisy at one point). It was nightmarish. The end picture was okay, but they had allowed it to go on for so long that when it was finally our turn, Megan and I each had rushed experiences with hardly any interaction.
        From there we went for a delirious ride through Storybookland on the canal boats, and then one last spin on the carousel. With about an hour and half until six, and with the sun slowly rising, we went over to New Orleans Square and rode Pirates for our last attraction. Then, we took a few last pictures, and then went to Town Square for our send off.
        Later, after going back to our hotel and each passing out for most of the day, Megan and I heard about the nightmare stories of those who never even got to go into Disneyland that day. I feel so grateful that I was able to go to the 24 hour celebration, that I got to be there for the kick off of the Diamond Celebration, and that I got to do it all with my best friend. There were many things that I wish I could change about that trip, but also loads of memories that I will fondly remember forever. All in all, it was a pretty great way to spend 17 hours of my life.

No comments:

Post a Comment