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5/24/13 - My thoughts and observations from the Monstrous Summer All-Nighter
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5/24/13 - My thoughts and observations from the Monstrous Summer All-Nighter

Hello all,

Today was an early wake up call with the kickoff of the Monstrous Summer All Nighter happening at 6:00am! This event consisted of both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure being open for 24 hours. I stayed for the first 14 hours of the event, I did not do the overnight hours. For most of the day the crowds tracked as would be expected for a holiday weekend. Things were heavy but not quite Christmas busy yet. As the sunset the masses continued to arrive at the parks and that was about when I left. From the overnight reports I read it was busy but not nearly as bad as the leap day problems. I decided long before heading down to Anaheim that I was not spending the night. I have chaperoned a handful of Grad Nites over the years (plus attended mine) so I have spent all night in the park. I did see quite a bit of overnight entertainment on the schedule that may have been fun to experience but the long drive home or cost of a hotel room for another night countered and I opted not to participate. So I only did 14 hours


Trip logs and mileage reports are in the Park Miles section.

Thoughts and Observations:

  • All Nighter Notes:
    • I woke up just before 5am and was out the door and walking down Harbor Blvd toward the parks by a 5:10am. I was unsure what to expect but was prepared to run into massive lines since some guests had been seen lining up before 10pm last night to be first in line. As I approached the shuttle area and turned toward the parks things looked surprisingly calm. The security lines were flowing smoothly and the Esplanade had a good number of guests in it waiting for the parks to open. I say a good number because it felt busy and alive but was not grid locked or over crowded. Those there all seemed to be having a great time and enjoying themselves. The first several thousand guests received a free set of eye glasses (I heard they ran out about 20 till 6am). You could purchase the same glasses inside the park for $16.95.

    • There was a 15 minute warning given by Mike and Sulley then they returned near 6:00am to do the final countdown. The countdown was a very brief audio and then fireworks for the final 10 seconds. Both parks went off at the same time so you could not really see both. I opted to look toward DCA since it was a clear shot and no Monorail beam in my way. I would have liked to have seen some interplay between the parks so you could look back and fourth. But still a fun way to kick off the opening. Also an appearance by the Monsters University gang would have been nice to see vs just their voices.

    • I headed to Disneyland first and the energy on Main Street was great. There was a large receiving line of cast members and characters lining Main Street and high fouring guests as they rushed in. Not quite sure why the first guests were rushing since they had 24 hours to go but they were!

    • At 7am Mike and Sulley came on the park PA system on Main Street to announce the end of the first hour. I assumed they would do this each hour. I do not recall hearing any others though.

    • The first couple of hours the parks were extremely calm. We walked through Disneyland and then over to DCA for a loop through Cars Land. Same thing all was quiet. I decided to move my car from my hotel to the Mickey and Friends garage in case traffic got bad later figured it would be easier to leave from there than deal with Harbor Blvd. I was shocked it took me under an hour to walk to the hotel, check out, drive to the garage, park, and take a tram back to the park. I was expecting it to be a two hour excursion. The garage traffic was flowing smoothly and there were plenty of cast members as well as police on hand to help with traffic when I drove by.

    • As the sun set the number of guests entering the parks continued to rise. The crowds were still relatively mild compared to say Christmas season but definitely picking up and heading that way as I was leaving around 8pm. I did not see any reports of the parks having to close or of massive gridlock so I think the preparations and precautions Disney took worked. Also the novelty of staying overnight in the parks may have worn off a bit. You cannot keep going to the same well.

    • They did offer a lot of entertainment over night. I would have liked to have seen more event specific during the daylight hours for those of us who are not night owls!

  • There was an Annual Passholder event going on today too, three showings of Mickey and the Magical Map were going to happen this afternoon. There were signs (and I think tweets) announcing this. We walked over and received wristbands with no problems, as did others in our group an hour or so later. The event was run much like the others, you show up, they scan your pass, and you received a wristband for the show time of your choosing. We went to the 2:00pm showing. About 1:30 we showed up and there was a large mass of guests waiting to enter. We queued up and headed in for the show. This was the first Annual Pass Preview so I was curious what the audience reaction would be. They were much more vocal and into the show than the media last night. They cheered throughout and sung along in several spots. Will be interesting how the general public response will be.. but from the reactions the Annual Passholders enjoyed it! I also really enjoyed seeing it a second time and being able to take in some of the elements I missed the first showing due to trying to take pictures, video, and tweet!

  • Back in the parks I found out about a Monsters University screening in Downtown Disney, but I had missed the distribution of the wristbands (I was limiting my phone usage in an attempt to conserve some battery for later in the day). Luckily thanks to Jeanine and later Gary we were all able to get wristbands to the screening. They announced the distribution via twitter. The event took place at the AMC Theaters in Downtown Disney. I originally found it odd that Florida was having a Meet Up and screening and not Disneyland, but guess they opted to wait till the day of here. The screening was to start at 11am, we showed up just before 10:30 and walked in, found a seat, and relaxed. A cast member was doing trivia and giving away some hats, etc.. to keep us entertained then at 11am the trailers started. They asked us not to share plot details so just some impressions:

  • They showed trailers for the Lone Ranger, Bears, and Planes. Planes looks like it is going to be an interesting movie, the more I see of it the more interested I am. Not so much for the story, but to spend more time in the World of Cars (and Planes), it just looks fun.

  • The Blue Umbrella short accompanies the film. I thought this was ok. I would put it in the middle of the pack in terms of the Pixar shorts on my list.

  • Then it was time for Monsters University. As you probably gathered from the trailers, etc.. this is a prequel to Monsters Inc and shows up how Mike and Sulley became friends and scarers. I enjoyed the film. It was no where near as entertaining as the original in my mind, but some of the Monster overlays, jokes, etc.. were great. The story itself was just ok to me. As with many follow-up films it is hard to capture the magic of the original. Only a couple have lived up to the original.. Toy Story 3 was a really odd case where the third film lived up to the original. I put this film more in line with Cars 2.. I enjoyed revisiting the world and characters I knew and was entertained along the way.

  • I spent some time just roaming around the park taking pictures of the Monstrous All Nighter special menus, etc.. as well as checking out some of the recent projects around the parks. The number of safety railings, ropes, etc.. that have popped up thanks to OSHA is interesting. Hopefully this temporary additions are integrated more quickly than the Alice in Wonderland ones! I thought the new exit ramp at the New Orleans Train Station exit was a potential bottleneck too. I understand the need for wheel chair access but with strollers and guests exiting it sure looks too narrow to me. Seems there should be two ramps.. one for wheel chairs entering and one for guests exiting.

  • The Pixar Play Parade now features the Monsters University gang leading the parade. The new audio track, overlay onto the previous Monsters units, plus additional characters was fun to see and a natural tie in for the film. Here is a video of the opening:

  • I finally found time to take in a showing of Aladdin. The Magic Carpet had returned several months ago and it has been on my list but for one reason or another I never seem to have made it in. The new carpet seems to not go as low as the original, but that just may be my faded memory. The Genie was on a roll and really feeding off the audience which is always fun. I saw the show celebrated its 10th anniversary, seems like it is time for something new. But the repeatability is decent thanks to the Genie!

Interesting Web Finds/Notes:
Below are some interesting links, notes, and rumors I found/stumble across/or have been informed of since the last Geekspeaks column.

Be sure to check out the picture update that goes with this Geekspeak column, it can be found in our Disneyland Resort Pictorial Update section

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