Sunday, July 22, 2012

Disneyland Dream Suite - Fantasmic

The evening was passing more quickly than we would have liked. It was already close to 9pm and time for Fantasmic.

The view from the balcony at dusk is very nice.

We headed out to the balcony and Chelle went to the back room to get some directors chairs for people to sit in.  I can't post any photos here since these rooms are now considered "Back Stage", but the rooms are still there and sitting empty except for a few small prints on the walls and some extra chairs.

Personalized just for the Dream Suite guests.

It's almost time for Fantasmic to begin and we're getting excited!

Just inside the doorway to the Frontierland bedroom was a button labeled "Fantasmic".  It dimmed the lights on the balcony and also turned on the speakers to allow us to hear the show.  We also joked that this button would actually start the show!

Jacob recorded a video.  We're talking in the background and singing with the songs, but it was fun for all of us.

It's Mickey!

During the monkey floats, Scott said, "I can dance like that!" and showed all of us on the balcony exactly how to dance like the monkeys.

My favorite part of the view from up here is that you can truly see everything!  The whole area around the Rivers of America is within your field of view.

Is it crazy that in all my times seeing this show, this is the first time I've noticed Maleficent aka Murphy's claws are grabbing on to castle turrets?

Waving to the Mark Twain

My absolutely favorite part of the show!

Truly one of the best seats in the house for Fantasmic!

Shortly after that, the fireworks started.  

It was pretty awesome to think that here we were sitting on the balcony of the Dream Suite watching the Disneyland Fireworks.

Aha!  These chair backs come off!  Souvenir?

No, not a souvenir.  Just a prop for some photos.

Mike's memories - Over the years when I would struggle for a great spot to nestle-in and watch "Fantasmic!", I would notice groups of people comfortably perched on a balcony above Pirates of the Caribbean.  I always scratched my head (not literally) and thought to myself, "How the heck did they score that spot!?"  I thought it had to be a part of an exclusive dinner package with Club 33.  I had NO IDEA what they were really experiencing.
I promised myself that one day, I would see Fantasmic! from that balcony.  I had no idea how it would happen - I just knew that it would happen.  And what do you know?  With a little bit of Disney Magic, my buddy Ruston won a night's stay in the coveted Dream Suite and invited me and my girlfriend to experience the magic first-hand.  Not only did we get to enjoy the shows, but we met a gaggle of awesome new people, which made the experience that much more amazing.
Do I believe in magic?  Yessir... I must admit that I do.  Thanks, Ruston!!

After Fantasmic, it was finally time to push the Kiss Goodnight buttons in each room. 
We started in the Frontierland bedroom.  This time we gathered everyone there and pushed the button on purpose.

Then we filed in to the Adventureland bedroom to push the Goodnight Kiss button there.

And another look at the mermaids.

We headed back to the parlor to get a group photo.  We did a few serious ones.

And then we just started being silly.  

 After that, it was time for the chocolate clock to be consumed.



Next, we broke out the non-alcoholic Martinelli's apple cider.

We toasted Walt Disney and the amazing park and company we've all come to love.

We also toasted Ruston for inviting us all to share this special night with him.

Around 10pm, our phone rings and we learn that Chelle and Karen will be leaving us for the evening and we'll have two more hostesses.

Meet Michelle and Leandra!

It was close to 10:30 and almost time for the 2nd showing of Fantasmic.  Just before it though, we asked if we could have another magical moment in the parlor.

This time Geppetto showed up in the clock face.

And what was once a mirror above the fireplace, suddenly turned into a castle, along with a magic wishing star.

 At 10:30, most of us filed back out to the balcony to catch the 2nd showing of Fantasmic.

After the show, everyone sat down to get a photo on the balcony.

Mike and Janet



Steph and Farman - Nice work pal

Scott and Monica

Oh yeah!

Theresa and me.

Kenny and Michael

... plus Ruston

Ruston and Michael

Ruston and Bruce

Bruce and Roger

At 11pm, there was another magical moment in the parlor.  I didn't get video of it at that moment but here's another video from later on.  The clock face shows Cinderella and Prince Charming.  Then you hear "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes".  After the two figures in the glass case start dancing and the glass slipper lights up.

From there, most people retired to the patio to lay out in the chairs and chat with each other. 

Unfortunately, the evening had to draw to an end.  We were told earlier that our guests had to be out before the park closed.  Around 11:45, everyone started to file out.

Good night Dream Suite.

Goodbye Ruston!

Those of us who were still left lined up on the stairs to get a group photo.

Paula - Words cannot express how much I appreciated Ruston asking me to be a part of his special evening there.  All of the furnishings and magical nuances everywhere were absolutely astonishing.  Needless to say, getting to spend time in the Dream Suite was the experience of a lifetime!  I really felt like Cinderella when I was there because I was dreading the moment when the clock would strike midnight and my evening would be finished.  There are so many wonderful things to experience, from the French Provincial style furnishings in the main room to the two bedrooms which are themed to Adventureland and Frontierland.  I loved everything about being there, but I think watching the fireworks with everyone and seeing the train go around the Frontierland Room were at the top of my list. 
One of the most amazing elements of the suite was the bathtub in the Master Bath which includes a stained-glass window, music, and stars which light up on the ceiling when you flip on the appropriate switch.  Without a doubt, however, the highlight of my evening was getting to watch the FANTASMIC! show twice out on the balcony which overlooks the Rivers of America, high above the crowds, without someone’s head blocking my view.  Needless to say, it was an evening filled with wonderful surprises and I am so grateful to have been invited to be part of such a special and truly magical evening.  Many thanks again to Ruston for inviting me to be a part of his special night, the memories of which will undoubtedly last a lifetime.

I asked Scott to share some of his thoughts on the night.
Scott - It was everything I would expect from Disneyland. Amazing and not over the top. There were so many awesome things and so subtle that they didn't distract. Sitting on the balcony watching the first Fantasmic took me back to the original reason why I got my Annual Pass. I was young enough at heart to be lost in a place like this, but old enough to appreciate it. I haven't felt that for some time here. I feel like it has really become about bottom line and not about the quality of the show.  I know in part it is because I am jaded and in part because the quality has slipped a little.  I felt old school again in the Dream Suite with old friends and new.  Can't wait to see all the pictures, thanks Joe for taking them.  Thanks to everyone for being so fun. Thanks to Monica for including me and special thanks to Ruston for allowing us into your special night.
Scott is sad to be leaving.

Who's awesome?  This guy is awesome!

Good Night!

I asked everyone else if they wouldn't mind sharing their thoughts on their time in the Dream Suite.
Bruce - My stay was just magical. The constellation tub (oh how I long to lounge in there), the swan faucets, the magical hour chimes of the living room clock, The Jolly Roger shadow floating across the moon, even the $2,000 garbage bins and the incredible Disneyland Dream Suite stationary. It was all so richly detailed and beautiful. Capped off by our seemingly hour long photo shoot taking a group photo. The longer it went, the more wild it got and the more fun I had doing it.

Watching Fantasmic from the balcony really touched me, but the real showstopper for me was the fireworks. It was a new show, we had a phenomenal view and private speakers for the soundtrack. It was the moment when all the magic and unique specialness of the day really hit me and I truly felt moved to tears. Close friends and new friends enjoying a truly unique experience. That one moment above all the others resonates most with me.

The day was winding up and we all retired to the courtyard. Lounging, talking, watching the fireflies and admiring the lanterns. It felt like a perfect way to end this truly memorable day. A day that I’ll always remember for its new experiences, unbelievable beauty and good friendships.

Steph and Farman - Thank you, Ruston, over and over again for including us in that special evening!  We are so honored you thought of us, and have been re-living the night as we tell others about what fun we had with you and everyone else.

Ruston made it so special from the beginning, from the "secret mission" emails and text messages, to the lovingly hand-crafted Mickey-ears clues (I still have ours!!)!  As soon as we grabbed ours from the locker, it really set the tone for what an amazing evening we were in for.  Ruston really captured the thing I love the most about Disney and the parks - it's all about the little details that show the extra effort made to make you feel special! We excitedly made our way to the ticket-taker at the Main Street Cinema to discover our clue for our password (Marceline, MO),  and I just realized now that it didn't even occur to me to cheat and Google it, so intent were we on our "mission" (I only did so now to make sure I spelled it right)! With password in hand, we speed-walked to the grand staircase and made our way up!  We pressed the button and panicked a little when we couldn't hear a response of any kind!  "Oh no!" we thought, "are we going to be locked out?!"  "Just yell 'Marceline, Missouri' into the speaker!" said Farman.  So I did - a couple of times, but still no answer. Luckily, just then, we heard a loud click.  We were in!!

A couple of others have mentioned the awe they felt as soon as they walked in the door - I have to say it was the same for us.  I think my jaw dropped and stayed that way for most of the evening.  It reminded me of the first time I set foot in the Disney parks - there was just so much to see and experience everywhere (the faucet was in the shape of a swan!)!  Thanks so much to Joe for capturing it all in photographs - it's been so fun to go back through and be reminded of everything.

Fantasmic from the balcony vantage point was incredible - seeing it from there TWICE was the best!  Every time I think of the show now, in my mind's eye, it's from there.

Farman's favorite part of the evening - and I have to wholeheartedly agree - was the palpable excitement in the air of the entire group.  For me, feeding back on everyone's grins and giggles really made me feel like a kid in the biggest candy store ever - and it's that feeling that made the lasting impact on both of us.  So thank you to everyone for just the raw excitement and no-holds-barred little-kid fun that put the evening over the top and made lasting memories for all of us! :)  It was so great to meet you all - hopefully we run into you all again soon. 

And a final, giant, THANK YOU to Ruston - we recognize that this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and are so honored you chose us to spend it with you.  Thank you so much.

Monica - We were amazed at every perfect detail.  It truly was an experience that made me feel not only lucky to be one of the select few to experience it but also so happy to work for a company that took such time to create something so magical for everyone who came through.  Anytime we found something new we gasped and gazed in complete awe.  One of the best parts was being able to experience it with other true Disney fans who really appreciated it.  My favorite part however?  The bath tub…yeah, I may have snuck a quick pic inside…

As the night ended, Scott insisted we ask about staying since the occupancy we were told was 6.  Obviously, we didn’t but we did manage to take one last pic (despite everyone waiting outside for us to go).  I kinda love this picture.  A lot.  It kind of looks like it’s a reflections of us as little kids…exactly how we felt that night.

Click here to go to Part 7 - Our After Dark Disneyland Tour 11:45pm to 2:30am

Part 1 - Two Months of Anticipation
Part 2 - Breakfast - 9am to 2:30pm
Part 3 - Welcome to the Disneyland Dream Suite 2:30pm to 4:30pm
Part 4 - Dinner 4:30pm to 7pm
Part 5 - Friends Arrive 7pm to 9pm
Part 6 - Fantasmic 9pm to 11:45pm
Part 7 - Our After Dark Disneyland Tour 11:45pm to 2:30am
Part 8 - Back at the Dream Suite 2:30am to 11:30am
Part 9 - Exploring the rooms of the Dream Suite - Parlor
Part 10 -
Exploring the rooms of the Dream Suite - Frontierland Bedroom
Part 11 -
Exploring the rooms of the Dream Suite - Adventureland Bedroom
Part 12 -
Exploring the rooms of the Dream Suite - Master Bathroom
Part 13 -
Exploring the rooms of the Dream Suite - Balcony and Patio
Part 14 - Exploring the rooms of the Dream Suite - Hallways and Hostess Area


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