Saturday, May 24, 2014

24 Hour - Rock your Disney side event at Disneyland

Note: I'm writing this after just getting back from the 24 hour event at Disneyland. In the last 40 hours, I've slept for 2 hours. If you see any glaring mistakes, sentences that don't make sense, or anything of that sort, you'll know why. 

Way back in March, Disney announced plans for a 24 hour event at both Disney World and Disneyland. Not only would it be a party, but fans would also be invited to "Rock Your Disney Side" by showing up in costume. Normally adults aren't allowed to enter the park in costume, unless it's a special event, like a Halloween party, but for this event, guests were encouraged to come in costume. Come May 23rd, the day was finally here!

Luckily for me, I didn't have to work on Friday. I got to the parking structure right around 9am.
I was a little concerned about how crazy the parks were going to be. When Disneyland hosted a 24 hour event in 2013, they brought traffic in Anaheim to a standstill while cars backed up onto the freeway and surrounding surface streets. Disneyland tried to alleviate congestion by offering compensation for carpoolers with 4 or more passengers, a free Toy Story button and reduced parking charges. When I arrived, there was no line to get into the structure and only a few cars in each queue. Looking good for the day so far.

Trams were also not too bad. With both sides running, I only had to wait for one cycle before boarding.

The park opened at 6am this morning, allowing people to line up at midnight. Lines to get in the gates weren't bad, but it was still pretty crowded once you got in the gates.

Happy to finally be an annual passholder again.
So about the costume. You've seen it before a couple times. Once at the 2011 Minnie's Moonlit Madness when Ruston, Jacob, Theresa and I did a scavenger hunt around Disneyland, and a second time at the 2011 Mickey's Halloween Treat party. Well I'm definitely a fan of the early 90s Disney Afternoon and Ducktales was one of my favorite shows. The Beagle Boys were always trying to break in to Scrooge McDuck's Money Bin, but never had much success. Yes, that's Beagle Boys plural. We'll just have to wait and see if any more show up today.

Main Street was pretty empty for being before 10am. I'm sure we'll see some crowds before the end of the day. Now what are you going to do when you have 24 hours to spend at Disneyland? Why ride rides of course! My plan going into the day was to see if I could ride every ride at Disneyland. My first stop was a fastpass for Space Mountain so off to Tomorrowland I went.

While walking there, I saw a group of people surrounding someone taking pictures and getting autographs. I didn't recognize him, so I asked another person standing around. They said it was Drake Bell, a young actor and musician, known for his work on the Nickelodeon show Drake & Josh. He was there meeting fans when I went to get my fastpass and still there after I got it and came back. Nice job Drake Bell. I saw a lot of happy faces. 

After a quick stop for a photo in front of the castle, I headed in to Fantasyland to try to knock out a few quick rides. Once I got there, I saw quite a few other people with the same idea. Peter Pan even had extended queue ropes up which pushed the wait time to 40 minutes. Time to re-plan.

Okay, so if Fantasyland is busy, I need to knock out some other rides before their wait times skyrocket later in the day. First stop, Matterhorn... and it's closed. Bummer, alright, over to the other side of the park. Big Thunder Mountain is recently back from a lengthy refurbishment. I get there... and it's closed. Okay then. Let's get a water ride out of the way. Depending on the weather today, Splash Mountain could get really busy. I make my way to Critter Country and see that amazingly it's closed too! There isn't even water running down the large drop at the end.
And that's when my plans for the day changed. Time to just enjoy the day at the park with no real mission other than to enjoy myself. Along with that, I decided to download the MouseWait app on my phone to show me the wait times and ride closures around Disneyland.

Using the MouseWait app I saw Star Tours was only a 35 minute wait. While in line for the shuttle, one of the cast members commented on my costume saying how she loved the Disney Afternoon when she was little and that she remembered when Toontown first opened and all characters were there including the Gummi Bears, Rescue Rangers, TaleSpin, and Ducktales characters including the Beagle Boys. She remembered getting their autographs and all they wrote were their prisoner numbers and not their names. 40 minutes later, I was off the ride. 

Not surprisingly you exit through the gift shop. Here's where I saw the first really unique costume of the day. Kuzco from Disney's The Emperor's New Groove isn't represented much in the parks so it's fun to see someone coming as that character.

I was having a hard time getting friends to join me for this 24 hour event, but a few still came. First up was a co-worker of mine, Judy. The Matterhorn was back up and running, but there was a 40 minute wait. Luckily single rider is always an option here and we happened to be seated on the same car.

I learned two things riding the Matterhorn today. First, that if I raise my hands on this ride, they can and will hit the ceiling. Subtract just a little bit of skin from my knuckles from that.

And second, that I hate these new sleds. Sitting anywhere but the front seat and my knees bang against the seat in front of me.

I asked Judy what ride we should go on next and her favorite happened to be very close by. It's a ride I don't go on very often, but still fun. It's the Storybook Land Canal Boats.

After the ride, I saw another very unique costume. It's Robin Hood!

Because T gets motion sick, I rarely get to so on the Tea Cups. Judy doesn't get sick on them though, so that's our next stop! I've been noticing a bunch of setups for TV cameras around the parks. Shame I can't see what's being broadcast today, but I'm happy to be in the parks.

Walking back towards the hub at noon it's still not too crowded and I'm a little surprised.

After waiting in the longest line I've ever been in for Jungle Cruise, 25 minutes going upstairs and snaking around like crazy, we made it on. We got a good skipper and it was a great trip on the world famous Jungle Cruise.

By 12:45 it was time to use my fastpass for Space Mountain. I've only got one of those, so I left Judy shopping and left for Tomorrowland. I've never been on Space Mountain with the lights on, but I had a fun experience this time. Just a few rockets in front of me was a couple with Tron outfits that had glow strips. I watched them zip around just beneath me all around the mountain and it was awesome!

Another couple that went all out. She's even got Diablo on her staff. Bet they're glad it didn't get too hot today.

Judy had heard me talk about not being able to ride Splash Mountain earlier and when we saw it was running again was open to go on it.

Looking down from the top of Chickapin Hill into the park. Still not too crowded.

And we didn't even get that wet. Nice not to have to walk around in wet shoes for the rest of the day.

Look who showed up! Beagle Boy number 2! Pirates was next on our list. I see the line for Pirates continuing to grow and grow throughout the day. While Pirates is usually a good at swallowing people, today I saw the wait time balloon up to 40 minutes.

You knew we'd never get through a day in Disneyland without going on Theresa's favorite ride, right?

Though half the time, I suspect it's the candy at the end she's wanting.

This Maleficent apple looked amazing, but for my treat today, I chose a chocolate covered pineapple slice. Mmm! After this, T and I had something we had to take care of, so we told Judy goodbye.

I had been dreading this next part of the day since I got here. T and I had bought vouchers for annual passes earlier in the year at the old price that we were redeeming today. You can use them to enter the park like normal, but sometime during the day, you have to exit the park and go to the ticket booths to finish getting your real annual pass. I was imagining a madhouse outside the parks with long lines to get in. After talking to a friend who had exited the park to head to DCA and came back though, she said it wasn't bad at all.

I didn't get a chance to look at this on the walk in this morning. Olaf the snowman from Frozen is making his appearance as a Olaf the sandman.

It actually didn't take very long at all to get our official passes and we were ready to head back into the parks. The queue at the turnstiles was only 4-5 people deep and we were inside.

Now with my new partner, Theresa and I headed to Buzz Lightyear. Quite a few people in costume wanting to get a photo with Tinker Bell. This Sally got a thumbs-up from me.

Buzz was only a 20 minute wait or so. It was even more special for me because I beat Theresa which doesn't happen very often.

Some of the happiest ducklings ever I'd imagine.

We wandered into Fantasyland from there. Now that I have a partner, we're getting a few more comments on our costumes. A few people needed hints for who we were, but there's always that "aha" moment they get when they recognize something from their childhood that made them smile that I really like.

A look at Fantasyland at 5:30pm.

Well look who it is! Kelly came out all the way from Arizona to Rock her Disney Side.

Time for a quick spin on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

It's getting close to 6pm and T has to head home to take care of Baby Boy Flowers for the rest of the night. I really appreciated her letting me come to the parks and spend the day. Meet my next buddy for the day, my co-worker Shannon.

First up, another round of Astro Blasters.

While waiting for the teacups, we spot a very well dress Captain America.

I let her choose the color, thus the purple teacup.

Then another round on the Matterhorn. This time I made sure to keep my arms a little bit lower.

Next was a trip to the Haunted Mansion, and now it's time for a mini-rant. The parks were starting to get crowded, but it's nothing we haven't seen before. There's also a lot of school groups here for the day, and talking to a few of them even some who are visiting from as far away as DC. They're recognizable by their bright colored matching shirts and they usually travel in huge packs. While waiting in line for the Haunted Mansion, a couple kids with bright blue shirts were just in front of us in the line. By the time we got to the 2nd set of switchbacks, 15 other blue shirted kids had "excuse me I'm with those guys" to get in front of us, and by the time we made it all the way through the queue at least 20 people ended up catching up with their group. Alright, rant over. 

One of Shannon's favorite rides at the park is Big Thunder Mountain and she hadn't been on it since the refurb. It was back up and running so after a 50 minute wait, we got to experience the wildest ride in the wilderness.

I checked to see what Kelly and her friend were up to this late in the night and they were about to get in line for Matterhorn. Shannon and I joined them and I took my third trip on the mountain for the day. Man my knees got banged up.

After the Matterhorn, the four of us stopped at Village Haus for a very late dinner. Afterwards we waited in line for Big Thunder Mountain for at least 30 minutes before it went down and everyone was sent away. We settled for a nighttime ride on the Jungle Cruise instead. At this point, the camera didn't come out very much. After the ride, Shannon said her goodbyes and now it's time for me to hang out with Kelly and her friend. For those keep track, this is the four group I hung out with today and it was about to grow again.

On the Micechat forums where I regularly post my trip reports, there hadn't been any official announcements for any meetups in the park during the 24 hour event. Kelly suggested a 1:30am meetup at the bottom of the Hungry Bear and it was great to finally meet in person some of the people who's stories I read on the forums all the time. We had a great time just chatting back and forth for half an hour and we were having so much fun, we didn't want it to stop.

So it didn't stop. We left the Hungry Bear as a group and all went to ride Star Tours together. The 35 minute wait time was actually more like 25, so we were feeling pretty good about that. The time passed way to quickly and we just enjoyed hearing each other's stories. As we exited, we saw Mickey and Minnie dressed up in costumes too and had to go see them.

Group photo!

Everyone was still up for hanging out and Space Mountain was open. The sign was saying it was an 80 minute wait, but that couldn't be right, could it? Walking to the 2nd level we saw the line had a few switchbacks, but I know I've seen worse. It couldn't really be 80 minutes, could it?
Turns out it could. There were so many people coming in with fastpasses, we crawled along. Still we managed to keep entertained and before too long, we were on the ride.
So I'm holding my money bag, hoping I don't lose any dollar bills, Cassie obviously doesn't enjoy bright lights, Erin is a little slow to get her mask on for the photo, Kelly has a Vogue thing going on with her mask, Margy looks to be a little tired (and no wonder, she flew in from Washington on Thursday and was in line at 2am, being away now for who knows how long), Steve and his daughter are just smiling happily.

After Space Mountain, as a group we all head over to the Haunted Mansion for one last ride together. Afterwards we walked to the hub, said our goodbyes, and went our separate ways. It was so awesome to meet everyone and hopefully we'll be able to have another meetup in the future.

I was considering bringing my DLSR to get a morning sunrise shot in the parks. I'm glad I didn't though. That would have been a bit of extra weight and in the end, it was completely overcast in the morning.

Kelly and Erin just had to do one more ride and even though the park was closing in 20 minutes, Space Mountain was still open. We took one more thrilling ride through the galaxy and once we got off, the park was closed.

Lining Main Street were plenty of cast members with Mickey gloves on congratulating guests for staying until 6am and cheering for us as we left. It was a great note to end the day/night/morning on.

It was an amazing day and I'd be back to do it again in a heartbeat. I didn't encounter any real issues besides some ride closures, so compared to the last time Disneyland had an event like this, I'd say it was very successful. Here's hoping next time I'll be able to convince a few more of my friends to join me though!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome!! Love your costume =) I was the part of the TRON couple in Space Mountain ;) That was SO fun!! Hope they do this again next year!