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Ruminations: Just Another Walk In The Park

Ruminations: Just Another Walk In The Park

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Ah, to be in Anaheim now that spring is here...



Roger and friends at Disneyland.

It's no secret that getting in to Disneyland for the May 4th Press Event was one hot ticket. Those lucky enough, such as Jeff and Angela to have Media credentials for the event did not lack for stories, as you've seen.

And if you were one of the 2500 Annual Passholders who won a pair of tickets for the day, it was you and a guest to take in this rare opportunity.

Or you could have won what seemed one of the thousands of tickets (and travel packages) offered in various contests through the outlets of the Capital City media empire or other promotional opportunities.

And then there were all kinds of guests of Disney...including the celebrities in attendance for the special evening festivities.

So when the final tally comes in, there were one heck of a lot of people in a theme park that was closed for the day. Probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000 of Mickey's closest friends...

Well, boys and girls, I was one of those folks, too. Thanks to the generosity of Michele Smith, I was officially a Guest of Disneyland for the event. Oddly enough, this was the first press event I have ever attended for Disneyland. Oh, I've been at the Park on various incarnations of July 17th or merchandise events, but nothing like this ever before.

Now folks of my age (somewhere south of the magic number of 50) might recall a time when Disneyland was actually closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Yes, it's been a few years since that last happened. Even with the Pirates movie premiere event, the Park was not closed. It may have closed early on that day instead. Those "closed" days even were lampooned in a movie about a family vacation you might recall from a while back.

So? Yes. It was special. And when I first heard about the plans for the event, I knew I wanted to be there. Bright and early Wednesday morning, my mother and I made the flight down from the Bay Area. (Hello? Jet Blue? $35 each way, thanks to advance purchase!) A quick trip down Lakewood Blvd to the carpool lanes of the 91 and the Five had us in Downtown Disney before 0900.

With my pass in hand, I entered the Park along with a few folks. All seemed relatively calm. Outside the berm, that was... Once inside, wow!!! People everywhere. And I do mean, everywhere. With the preview of the Parade of Dreams set to step off from the Small World Plaza, folks had been busy finding their place to watch from. So, I took in the surroundings and did the first thing that came to mind. I boarded the first train out of Town. Town Square, that is...

You might recall that I have a fondness for the Disneyland Railroad. Okay, so it's a bit more than that. Watching the train arrive at the Main Street Station always takes me back to my first visit, but never before quite as literally as this. Departing I was one of about twenty people aboard. At the Frontierland station, most of those disembarked, leaving myself and one other passenger aboard. No one boarded at the Toontown station, and I noted the Parade on it's way, the last float having just passed It's A Small World.

But when we got to the Tomorrowland station, the other passenger stepped off, and there was no one waiting on the platform. You guessed it. I had the train all to myself. (For the train geeks, it was Holiday One pulled steam locomotive #3, the "Fred Gurley".)

Now I've rolled the miles by, sitting by myself on the rear platform of a railroad business car, on the rear of an Amtrak train. But this time, it was different. Very different. Just as Walt Disney used to enjoy the Park and his railroad by himself, here I was doing the same thing.

Cool does not begin to describe how neat this ride was...



Just me and the train crew...

I did make it back in time to see the Parade of Dreams arrive at the Town Square, and I'll share photos of it with you in another tale.

A couple of other neat things I enjoyed included riding through the Haunted Mansion virtually by myself (at least ten Doombuggies ahead of me and behind me were empty; and what became my game of the day - "Where in Disneyland is Matt Ouimet?" It seemed that every time I turned around on Wednesday, there was Matt! I know he likes to walk the Park and see what's going on, but this was crazy! I must have seen him in a least two dozen different places, including on the dock at the Jungle Cruise greeting the arrival of the golden boat -- full of Disneyland alumni!


Matt Ouimet chats in the foreground, with Michael
Eisner in the background preparing his remarks for the
official opening of "Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters."


So that's a sample of my adventures on the day Disneyland was closed. I'll be back next week with more tales and more photos! Tune in!


 

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