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Live entertainment & enthusiastic cast members made Disneyland Resort's Monstrous All Nighter memorable and fun

Live entertainment & enthusiastic cast members made Disneyland Resort's Monstrous All Nighter memorable and fun

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You'd think -- on the heels of last year's One More Disney Day event (which was when thousands of Disneyland fans spent a lot of Leap Day 2012 stuck in this miles-long traffic jam out on the 5) -- that the Disneyland Resort would then shy away from the idea of staging any more events that would keep one or both of its Southern California theme parks open for 24 hours straight.

But that's not how the Mouse works. To hear Jon Storbeck (i.e. the Vice President of Disneyland Park) talk, last year's Leap Day event was a learning experience. Now that the Resort understood how many Cast Members it actually needed to properly prepare for and then staff a 24 hour-long party like this, this year's "Monstrous All-Nighter" was almost certain to be a success.

"We learned a lot from last year's event," admitted Storbeck during a "Monstrous Summer" press roundtable session this past Friday morning. "And this time around, it's not just the Disneyland Resort that's far better prepared for this 24 hour party but also the City of Anaheim and Orange County. We're all working together to make sure that things go smoothly this time around."


Photo by Jim Hill

And I'll say this much. Disneyland staffers certainly did get started early when it came to crowd control for Friday's all-day-and-all-night party. As Alice and I exited that theme park at 10 p.m. on Thursday after the Fantasy Faire / "Mickey & the Magical Map" press party had wrapped, we found Disneyland Plaza all lit up as Cast Members were carefully laying down tape to mark out a temporary queue area. Which was where would-be partiers (The first of which actually arrived at the Resort at 6:15 p.m. Thursday night) could then stand & wait for the official 6 a.m. start of this event.


Photo by Jim Hill

So did all of Disney, Anaheim & Orange County's advance planning pay off this time around? I'll say this much: I spent much of Friday afternoon & evening driving on the 5. And while the roads in & around Los Angeles & Burbank were (as you might expect) choked with Memorial Day Weekend traffic, around Anaheim it was pretty much smooth sailing. The only time I ever encountered any back-up around the Disneyland Resort was after 9 p.m. on Friday night. Where -- as Alice & I were returning from Buena Park from a belated birthday dinner -- we discovered a line of cars on the Disneyland Way highway ramp. It then took us about 20 minutes to weave our way through all that traffic and get back to our hotel.


Photo by Jim Hill

And what was it like to actually be inside of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park during the pre-dawn hours on Saturday morning? Well, you never knew what sort of creatures you'd encounter. And -- no -- I'm not talking about the baby possum that crossed Alice & my path as we walked past Grizzly River Run.

Even though Radiator Springs Racers had closed at 3 a.m. (A DCA manager explained that this was necessary because RSR was such a huge and complex attraction that it takes 8 hours to properly prep & reset this ride for the next day's business), things were still hopping in Cars Land ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... though Mater seemed to be kind of confused when it came to which holiday was actually being celebrated over the coming three-day-long weekend. Which perhaps explains why -- as this buck-toothed tow truck posed pictures with party-goers -- he kept wishing people "Happy Fourth of July!"


Photo by Jim Hill

Out on Buena Vista Street, dozens of people were queuing up for their chance to post with a "Monstrous Summer! All Nighter" sign that was equipped with clocks. Just so they could then prove to friends & family that they had in fact been inside a Disney theme park at 4:15 in the morning.


Photo by Jim Hill

What impressed me about the way this 24 hour-long event was run was that the Disneyland Resort clearly wasn't stinting. Even at this early, early (or late, late, late. Depending on your chronological point-of-view) hour, the Red Car Trolley was still carrying Guests from DCA's entrance all the way back to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.


Photo by Jim Hill

What's more, there were streetmosphere characters out & about at this hour. Cheerfully interacting with all of the Guests who had come out to take part in the Disneyland Resort's Monstrous All Nighter.


Photo by Jim Hill

I have to admit that I was impressed at how smoothly things seemed to be going at Disney California Adventure that night. Especially when you consider that -- for much of Friday night / Saturday night -- DCA wasn't just hosting hundreds of All Nighters. This theme park was also entertaining thousands of Southern Californian high school seniors. Who had journeyed by bus to Anaheim just so they could then take part in that Disneyland Resort tradition, Grad Nite.


Photo by Jim Hill

And speaking of Disneyland Park ... How was the Happiest Place on Earth entertaining all of those people who had come out to participate in this 24 hour-long party? By doing things like staging a kareoke contest out in front of Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin.


Photo by Jim Hill

People who made it all the way back to Mickey's Toontown could also get their faces painted ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... or they could queue up in the suburban section of this Disneyland "land" ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... to get their picture taken with Goofy ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... or Minnie Mouse ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... who -- in honor of this all-night-long party -- were wandering around this theme park clad only in their pajamas.

And speaking of wandering ... As the sun began to come up in Disneyland Park on Saturday morning, a strolling pirate band wandered the streets of New Orleans Square. Trying to inspire those who were still in the Park to stay awake just a little while longer. That the end was now in sight.


Photo by Jim Hill

Some folks tried to kill time before the 6 a.m. end of this event by sneaking in one last ride on "Star Tours: The Adventures Continue ... "


Photo by Jim Hill

But as for the rest of us, we then made our way down to Main Street, U.S.A. Where Cast Members were lining the street there, waving goodbye to all of those party participants who were already packing it in.


Photo by Jim Hill

What kind of made this fun was that -- as Guests exited Disneyland Park -- they'd then run along this gauntlet of Cast Members and high-five all of those Cast Members on their Mickey hands.


Photo by Jim Hill

And even Jim Storbeck (he's the gentleman on the left in the photo below) got into the act.


Photo by Jim Hill

Now that the sun had finally come up, it was easier to see some of the clever "Monsters, Inc. " / "Monsters University" -themed outfits that Guests had created for themselves. So that they'd then fit right in at this Monstrous All Nighter.


Photo by Jim Hill

But finally 6 a.m. arrived. And as Mickey & friends (still in pajamas, mind you) appeared at the Main Street Train Station to say goodbye to all their company ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... Guests lined up in front of the Disneyland version of that "Monsterous Summer! All Nighter" sign. Just so that they could then prove that they'd been in that theme park 'til 6 a.m. on Saturday morning.


Photo by Jim Hill

As for the rest of those partygoers, they quickly headed for the exit with dreams of a nice, soft bed in their future.


Photo by Jim Hill

Mind you, some Guests didn't actually make it out of that theme park before they then fell asleep ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... but thanks to the energy & enthusiasm of the Disneyland Resort's Cast Members (not to mention the wide variety of live entertainment that was presented over the course of Friday's All Nighter), I would have to say that this 24 hour-long party was a huge improvement over last year's Leap Year event.

But what did you folks think? Surely there were a few JHM readers who made the trip to Disneyland Resort earlier this weekend to take part in the Monstrous Summer! All Nighter. What were your impressions of this 24 hour-long party?

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