Last year when the Disneyland Resort hosted a 24-hour party, Anaheim was unlike anything locals and tourists alike had really ever seen, at least in recent memory. The streets were jammed, the freeway traffic was at a standstill, and crowding inside of Disneyland was overwhelming. The city and Disney were not expecting to see so much excitement and fuss over a 24-hour party in the middle of the week during off-season, but nevertheless, the people came.
This year, Disney and Anaheim were prepared. Sure, there was some concern when it was discovered that the ‘Monstrous Summer’ kick-off would coincide with a Grad Nite, but Disney worked to alleviate some issues by designating certain areas strictly for grads for specific hours, and also making a note on the entertainment guide of particular attractions that would be down for maintenance at specific times. After all, these rides were not built to run non-stop for 24 hours. Disneyland Resort was ready this year, and it paid off! The events were a success and guests enjoyed themselves thoroughly.
Since there were a lot of guests visiting the parks for the 24-hour period, Disney utilized all of the Anaheim parking that they could for guests, while busing in their dutiful cast members from farther away. Late at night on the 24th, the Mickey and Friends parking garage was full, so guests driving in were directed with signs to the Toy Story lot. Buses were constantly coming and going here and to other parking lots and to the resort, so guests did not have to wait long, if at all, to board. Once arriving at the main esplanade, entering either park or the Downtown Disney area was easy. The resort was busy, but efficient. Lines and crowding represented that of a normal holiday at the parks.
Mike and Sulley were the mascots for the event, and their touches could be found all over the Disneyland Resort, from limited edition t-shirts and cake pops to changing Sleeping Beauty Castle’s colors for a mini lighting show during the night. Over in Disney California Adventure at the Muppet Vision theater, guests could be treated to screenings of Monsters, Inc. – and if you were really lucky, Monsters University, which has yet to debut in theaters.
In terms of general entertainment, over in Tomorrowland Terrace there was a ‘DJ Dance Club’ that the younger crowd really seemed to enjoy. And for those that love Disneyland’s history, over at the new Fantasy Faire stage was ‘Swing Dancing with the Tim Gill All-Stars.’ Disney continued with its usual entertainment offerings as well, but included a special nighttime showing of ‘Mickey’s Soundsational Parade.’ The fireworks show ‘Magical’ returned – perhaps it would have been fun to have multiple fireworks shows as well, but at least Disney launched some off at the initial kick-off of the party at Disneyland’s main gate.
Disney has been embracing twitter, and if you kept yourself socially connected, you could find people from DisneylandToday handing out special buttons for the event. It was fun and interactive, and hopefully Disneyland will do more of that in the future (though they will hopefully not run out of buttons so fast in the future!)
The characters were out to play with guests, too! In Tomorrowland, the ‘fab five’ dressed in their Star Wars best and posed with guests. If you visited Toontown in the late/early hours, you could join a dance party with your favorite characters – in their pajamas! And at the end of the 24-hour period, the characters waved goodbye to guests in their pajamas as everyone headed home or to a nearby hotel to finally sleep.
All in all, the ‘All-Nighter’ was a great success! Disney is one of the few companies that can truly pull off an event like this, and what a special one it was. The weekend was far from over, though, so sit tight for this Disney Anaheim Travel Examiner’s reviews of ‘OPA!’ and ‘Mickey and the Magical Map’ – and don’t forget to subscribe if you would like to be the first to read them!