If you love Disneyland, AND I DO, then it only makes sense to become an Annual Passholder on some level. And even being the lowest mouse on the tiki totem pole, you still get to reap the benefits with all the others. A few weeks back I received an email and postcard in the mail to inform me of a special after hours party for Passholders with anniversary dates within the range of mine. Free to attend, just RSVP on a first come first served basis. In a manic panic I called the dedicated Passholder customer service Cast Member and signed up pronto. I was not about to lose out on this opportunity! Scheduled from 9pm to 1am on a Tuesday night (aka “school night”) was going to be a little rough but I didn’t care. Nothing would stop me from going to this event.
Finally! Yesterday arrived. The day had come! In light of rush hour traffic, I held off leaving home until about 7:45. Traffic was such a breeze I regretted not leaving earlier. I pulled in to the massive Mickey & Friends parking garage just as the fireworks show began. Cool perspective to watch it from your car! Like mystical bombs of fairy dust exploding over your head!
I was giddy with excitement for a late night of Disney fun. The event check in line was more or less nonexistent and I was off like Buzz Lightyear! First stop PETER PAN!!! This ride has ALWAYS been a crowd favorite but after being closed for numerous months of remodeling and updating, everyone’s curiosity has piqued and the lines have been outrageously long according to insider reports. I knew I had to knock this ride out first because it was on the top of my to-do list! I had to stop for a moment and admire the exquisiteness of the Castle. All lit up and glittering with diamonds for the 60th (diamond) anniversary. Breathtaking! Oh Walt, you were a true genius!
Well apparently Peter Pan was first on the list of everyone else who showed up as well. No worries. This is Disneyland. The Happiest Place on Earth. It’s a beautiful, cool Southern California evening and I’ve got all night to play. Thankfully I got in a line to get in THE line right after the fireworks ended around 9pm. It seemed daunting but I only ended up waiting maybe 30 minutes? NOT BAD, not bad at all!
I have to be honest and say that while the sound system and music were greatly improved, the visuals were a bit disappointing. I was expecting Peter and Tinkerbell to be riding alongside of me for all the hype that’s been created regarding the reopening of this ride. It was thoroughly adorable and sweet OF COURSE, but I will admit I liked the old “scenery” better. Oh well, at least I got to experience it first hand without a 2+ hour wait filled with stifling temperatures and screaming tired kids. Next stop…the Mickey Mouse pretzel cart!
How can a pretzel fanatic go to Disneyland and NOT get one of these bad boys, complete with a side order of hot cheese, OF COURSE? Love it! As I sat with my pretzel and cheese for a few minutes, I looked around and was absolutely amazed at how the crowds had thinned out. Basically they close off all the “lands” and as non-event “riff raff” attempts to enter, they are pleasantly reminded that Disneyland is now closed for a private event. So within the first hour, the crowds were gone and it was just us Disney Diehards. Hardly any small children, very few strollers… Was I dreaming?? THIS IS AWESOME!
Mesmerized by the dimly lit up Small World, I headed over in that direction and was greeted by a Cast Member who happily announced, “walk right up, there’s virtually no wait!” Now THAT’S what I want to hear! What is there to say about the Small World ride that hasn’t been said before? Its song and precious dolls of the countries of the world are an iconic symbol of Disneyland and Walt’s vision to bring everyone together to enjoy the fun. Period. My memories of this ride go all the way back to 1975, my first visit to Disneyland. Priceless. Come along on a miniature version of the ride, and remember to sing along with the words…
Ok. Back to business! As I made my way over to Adventureland, I spent a little time around the Castle. Oh the glorious Castle. Where dreams really do come true! Cinderella. Snow White. Sleeping Beauty. All the veteran Disney Princesses. Unforgettable. Timeless beauty and innocence.
Waltzed in to Indiana Jones with a 10 minute wait! Lovin it!! This ride cracks me up! It is definitely one of the best attractions, but way too bumpy for photos while riding. So here’s a little teaser for you.
Wanted to check out the Haunted Mansion but it’s closed in preparation for HALLOWEEN. However, my walk over was not wasted because look who I got to meet!
Pirates of the Caribbean is another must for me every time I visit. A lasting symbol of Disneyland. Those gold-crazy, booze-guzzling pirates! And of course that wacky Jack Sparrow. He is everywhere! Just like Waldo!
After meeting Jafar, I was hooked on the idea of meeting as many of the character as I could in the remaining minutes of the event. So I decided to forego the Tiki Room and headed straight back to Fantasyland to meet Pinnochio and Geppetto! The line was a bit long but SO WORTH IT! Precious little Pinnochio!
One last stop before the night was over…on the hunt to find Chip and Dale in Frontierland. For some reason no one I asked knew where they were. Time was running short so I had to be quick. Walking at high speeds through Frontierland and THERE THEY WERE! I was so happy to meet these two little guys. And while the photographer Cast Members were happy to snap shots with your iPhone, another perk of the evening was that they would take your pass card and all the professional photos will be uploaded within a day or so. Can’t wait to see them!
I can’t believe how fast those 4 hours flew by and how much I did in that time! Wow! I am still glowing with pixie dust and smiles! It was an absolutely perfectly supercalifragilistically magical night at Disneyland and I am here to tell you that the price of your annual pass is worth this one night alone! Thanks for the memories Walt and Mickey! Thank you for this sensational gift that allows us all to let our inner child out to play as if we have not a care in the world. Happy 60th Anniversary celebration to The Happiest Place on Earth!
Good night Walt. It’s comforting to know you will always be around here at the park watching us all laugh, play and have fun! God bless!