I love Disneyland. Have I mentioned that before?
So of course I wanted to attend Disneyland’s Diamond Celebration 24-hour event on May 22, 2015. We made the drive down to California, and stayed at the Alamo Inn and Suites. It’s on the Katella side of the park, has less expensive rooms, and within walking distance of the park.
Sadly, I had to work the morning of May 22nd, and had to stay in the hotel slaving away on my laptop while the rest of the group went to Disneyland! Around 1:00, I walked over to the entrance. Complete madhouse! The “lines” to get into Disneyland stretched all the way back to California Adventure and then looped around some more. There was no assistance from any cast members as far as I could see, but the crowd was very well behaved for its size.
After a half hour or so, I made it closer to the front gates, where we were told that Disneyland was at capacity. Nobody would be let in unless they had been to Disneyland earlier that day or had dining reservations. What?! My husband, two brothers, and assorted nieces
were already on the Disneyland side. The waiting guests were not happy. The cast members in charge of a sea of people wanting to get through the gates didn’t seem too happy either. A front line of cast members about 75 feet in front of the turnstiles were scanning everyone’s tickets to see if they had been at Disneyland earlier in the day. If they had not, they were told to head over to California Adventure — no one would be allowed to wait outside the gates in the esplanade. I, of course, had not been inside yet, but my whole party had, and I did not want to be separated from them. Eventually, through some stealthy activity, I was able to make it into Disneyland. 🙂 My husband came down to meet me at the gate, and we caught up with the rest of the group in Toontown. I was ecstatic to be in Disneyland and back with my family! I was so nervous I’d have to spend the day by myself in California Adventure while everyone else enjoyed their day riding the classic Disneyland rides and seeing the new parade. 😉 But I made it in, and the first ride of the day was Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin.
Some of the 60th anniversary offerings we tried:
Matterhorn: I don’t like this ride. It is so bumpy it makes by teeth chatter, and forces my back and neck out of proper alignment. But I went on Matterhorn anyway because of the new updated Abominable Snowman. And that part was awesome. Instead of an animatronic stuffed animal growling at you and waving his arms, the monster looks like a real thing now. Pretty fun stuff, but it would be nice if they offered chiropractic adjustments at the exit.
World of Color: Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney: New! This unique 22-minute water and light show is amazing. It includes fire, fog and laser effects, and giant character and movie images projected onto large screens of water and mist. This new incarnation of World of Color is also hosted by Neil Patrick Harris! 🙂 The theme of the show is Walt Disney’s “journey of imagination,” which I found to be much more apropos than other versions of the show. Get your FASTPASS tickets early in the day, which are located over by the Grizzly River Run. Totally worth it!
Paint the Night Parade:
There was a 1:00 a.m. parade, so my brother and I waited in front of Small World for three hours to see it! My feet were killing me by this point, so it was a good excuse to relax, and a good excuse to buy myself a Lady pillow pet. A truly amazing parade and worth the wait! The floats were incredible.
Around 4:00 a.m., my niece Lille and I decided to take a nap in the Tiki Room while the others went on Space Mountain. If you sit in one of the back corners of the Tiki Room, and there are empty spots around you, you can easily put your feet up and lean back a little. (We sometimes sit here in the middle of hot days and take a quick nap.) Feeling slightly refreshed, we walked over to the hub and waited for the rest of our group.
We met up with our party and took some crack-of-dawn pictures in front of the castle!
We were trying to figure out what to do next — only an hour to go — and decided on Alice in Wonderland. This Fantasyland ride had been recently updated and we wanted to see the changes. It looks so much better! I love the new technology and enhancements.
We were all getting a little tired, and wanted to wait in a short line for our last ride of the day. So off to Casey Jr.’s Circus Train! My husband and brothers could not fit inside the animal cage portion of the train, but my nieces and I squeezed in.
And then it was 6 o’clock! We made it!
Compared to the last two 24-hour events I’ve been too, this one was the best organized and best staffed. The first Disneyland 24-hour event we went to in 2012 was pretty chaotic: long, long lines for churros; merchandise running out; rides with terribly long wait times; cast members seeming overwhelmed. Still, it was really exciting to be there for the first 24-hour event of its kind. Last year’s was fun too and better organized than 2012, but we were unfortunate enough to witness an assault in front of the castle waiting for the late night parade. (A man struck another man on the head with a big glass mug, which broke, and there was a pool of blood. Not the kind of thing you want to see at Disneyland.) The atmosphere seemed different last year because of the DJ playing loud obnoxious music right in the hub, which I’ll admit is not my kind of thing.
The Disney Diamond Celebration 24-hour Event was, by far, my favorite. The event was staffed with plenty of cast members and stocked with plenty of merchandise. Security seemed to have a strong presence as well. None of the lines were ridiculously long, either. (In fact, we were able to ride most of the Fantasyland rides without waiting. It’s a Small World, for example, had no line later in the day even though the Park was at full capacity.) The Paint the Night Parade and new World of Color show were really great — I’d say those alone were worth the drive down to Anaheim — and the updates to classic rides were excellent. Such a fun, memorable experience, and I hope to be able to do it all over again!