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
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
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.
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.
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 ...
... 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
People who made it all the way back to Mickey's Toontown could
also get their faces painted ...
... or they could queue up in the suburban section of this Disneyland
... to get their picture taken with Goofy ...
... or Minnie Mouse ...
... 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
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
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 ... "
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.
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.
And even Jim Storbeck (he's the gentleman on the left in the
photo below) got into the act.
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.
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 ...
... 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.
As for the rest of those partygoers, they quickly headed for
the exit with dreams of a nice, soft bed in their future.
Mind you, some Guests didn't actually make it out of that
theme park before they then fell asleep ...
... 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?