[Let me preface this post by stating that I did NOT, in fact, make it the full 24 hrs. Just a mere 14.5. Don’t judge!]
I arrived at the Disneyland Resort on Thursday the 21st, and after a quick stop in World of Disney headed straight to meet our recently reappeared Hatbox Ghost. The Haunted Mansion is one of my favorite attractions, and this is something I’ve been hoping for/anticipating since the D23 Expo in 2013. Hattie (as you may have seen in pictures or videos) is everything I hoped he would be. He does look pretty fancy among all his older pals, but he’s absolutely awesome. Afterwards, Danielle and I met up to recaffeinate, then headed over to meet the fresh faced Harold (or “Scarold” as I like to call him now). The guy is definitely not the same sweet snowman we’ve come to know and love! Harold’s new makeover will probably deter my Matterhorn-loving 6 year old. We not only got to ride the Matterhorn four times in a row, for the first ride through we had the privilege of sharing a bobsled with one of the Imagineers responsible for it’s makeover.
Disneyland was closing early for the media event preview of ‘Paint the Night’ and ‘Disneyland Forever’, so I grabbed a BBQ Pork Po Boy & Bacon Jalapeno Potato Salad from Jazz Kitchen Express in Downtown Disney and headed back to my hotel. If you enjoy food with a little kick, I highly recommend this meal!
1:30AM rolled around on Friday, my dad and I got up and got ready headed over to Disneyland. By the time we reached the lockers, the XL sizes outside the park were sold out. We arrived on Main Street at 4:30AM to a dance party (or should I say, an attempted dance party). The initial efforts to pump up the crowd were a little rough, but by 5:30, the crowd was pumped!
The rope drop was actually pretty mild. No pushing or shoving, and Cast Members of all ranks were greeting guests. It was a way better experience than I expected. My dad and I headed over to Matterhorn and only waited about 50 minutes. It’s hilarious having talked to people since coming home and them asking “Were the wait times, like, 180 minutes???” Honestly, Matterhorn was the longest wait that we (personally) encountered all day for rides. I did see some of the wait times increase as the day went on, but all in all they weren’t horrible. The lines for food were almost worse, which doesn’t help when people are getting hangry (hungry/angry, it’s a real thing!)
After Matterhorn, we hopped on Indiana Jones because the wait was a mere 40 minutes, but it felt much quicker. The makeover on Indy is AMAZING!!! I won’t give away any spoilers, but you must must ride it. There’s a lot of new life added to it that makes it just as/even more exciting than when it first opened. Absolutely worth the wait.
We ended up park hopping at this point because we were starving, and food lines in Disneyland were getting a little ridiculous. The crowds in DCA were minimal and quite pleasant. We did some rides and such, hopped back over to Disneyland, and that’s when things started to get hairy. Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and some other rides were down at this point, and people were getting grouchy.
Main Street began to get more crowded, and those saving spots for the nighttime spectaculars since 9AM didn’t help. If you went into any area with tables (Fiddler, Fifer, & Practical, and Hungry Bear specifically) all the tables were taking by guests having a snooze. I wish I could have gotten a picture, but I was very focused on coffee/food at this point.
At 3:30PM we made the mistake of park hopping again. We, among many other guests, were told that we would be allowed to re-enter Disneyland because we had already been through, but this wasn’t the case. When we tried to go back around 6PM we were told Disneyland was at capacity and now closed. There is quite a debate over whether or not it was true, but we chose to end our night at this point. I would definitely do a 24 hr event again but these are my tips for those up for the challenge:
- Get a good nights rest! Other wise, you will not make it.
- Bring snacks. Hanger is real.
- If you’re going to park hop, do it early, then don’t leave the park you want to stay at after 12PM.
- Take time to relax. Grab a Dole Whip & a bench.
- Don’t bring small children. Just don’t. I was so scared for other people’s poor little kids during this trip. I couldn’t ever imagine having my kiddos during an event like this!