It just doesn't get any better than this. Angela & I were virtually in the front row yesterday as the official kick-off of "The Happiest Homecoming on Earth" got underway.
Photo by Jeff Lange
First Stitch rode up on his motorcycle.
Then the Genie from "Aladdin" arrived on the back of a really-for-real camel.
Then Mickey & Goofy rolled up in Herbie.
And then came wave after wave of celebrities. Christine Aguilera, Julie Andrews and Leann Rimes.
Who were eventually joined by Donald Duck, Art Linkletter, outgoing Disney CEO Michael Eisner, soon-to-be Big Cheese Bob Iger and Mickey Mouse.
Here's Mickey Mouse with the once and future kings of the Magic Kingdom.
In spite of a few sprinkles, it was a truly impressive occasion. Proving that -- once and for all -- that when it wants to do it, the Walt Disney Company is still capable of producing magical, memorable moments.
But -- then again -- that's how you get treated when you're a member of the press. Nice seats, right down front.
Now contrast that with what happened to us 11 hours later. When Ms. Ragno and I are officially civilians again, standing there in a sea of humanity on Main Street U.S.A. Waiting for the first official public viewing of Disneyland's new "Remember ... Dreams Come True" fireworks to get underway.
Now I have been inside the Anaheim theme park on a New Year's Eve before. So I know how crowded Disneyland can get sometimes. But I have never seen the park like this before. It was literally body-to-body. You just could not move.
But none of that mattered when Steve Davison's fireworks began filling the sky. This crowd clearly loved "Remember." They even spoke in unison with the various audio pieces from Disneyland theme park spiels that appeared in the show.
But once the fireworks were over ... The theme park became hopelessly gridlocked. We literally stood in the street for 45 minutes, unable to move an inch. While Disneyland officials frantically tried to figure out how to safely funnel these tens of thousands of people out of their theme park.
Mind you, once all of those tents & tables from this week's press event are safely stowed away, I'm sure Disneyland will be a whole lot easier to get around.
But going from being in almost the front row to being just one of the herd ... It made for a pretty memorable May 5th.
Look for even more photographs from my three days at the Disneyland Resort once I get back to Connecticut and start sorting things out. I'm sure that JHM readers are really going to love all the imagery that I'm about to share.
Have a great weekend, okay?