Sunday, June 10, 2012

One More Disney Day

Leap day this year will never be forgotten.  Disneyland came up with the idea to stay open for a full 24 hours to celebrate leap day, and I was there to experience it!  My friend Laura was the one who put it all together and oh my goodness it was so much fun! There was 5 of us that shared in the adventure me, Laura, Bethy, Alexis and Kelsey.  We drove down to California the day of the 28th of February.  When we arrived we headed straight for Downtown Disney to get some dinner.  We decided to dine at the Jazz Kitchen, I had never been there before and was dying to see what it was like.  It was such a fun restaurant!  They had a live Jazz music and so many delicious southern dishes to choose from, I wanted one of everything!  I decided on good old shrimp and grits, it is my FAVORITE southern meal.

Then we headed straight to our hotel to try and get as much sleep as possible before our big 24 hour adventure.  We had heard that they were giving out special leap day hats to the first 2,000, we, being super naive about this whole experience, thought we would have a good chance at getting some if we got to the park at 5 am, 2 hours before it opened.  When we pulled up to the park entrance, we were greeted by this lovely sight, the longest line I have ever seen in my life and we were told there was a line just as long on the other side of the main gate.  I knew there were a lot of Disney lovers out there, but we weren't expect this many people at 5 am!  I wonder if Disneyland was surprised by how many people showed up as well ...
So excited to be at Disneyland at 5 am with so many fellow Disney enthusiasts!
We finally made it into the park around 7:30 am, as you probably figured out were weren't anywhere close to being part of the first 2000 people.  However, we all got leap day pins as we entered.  When we saw the hats on some of the people who had camped out at the entrance for an entire day and night, they acutally turned out to be pretty lame, I thought our buttons were cooler.

SO many people.  Every time I go to Disneyland with the Griffins we arrive at the park about 30 minutes before it opens, I have never ever seen this many people flood main street right at opening.

The castle looked gorgeous in the early morning light

This is such a glorious time of year to visit Disneyland, all the gardens and trees were so colorful and in full bloom!
We headed straight to Fantasy Land to make sure we got to ride Peter Pan before the line got too crazy, that one always seems to have the longest line.  Then we toured the castle, a few people in our party had never done that before so that was fun to share it with them.

After riding a couple rides and touring the castle we decided it was time to get some breakfast.  We chose to eat at the adorable Jolly Holiday Bakery.  I got a hot chocolate, a chocolate filled croissant and a macaroon Matterhorn, which was one of the best American macaroons I have ever had in my life.

Then we headed back through Fantasyland to get to Tomorrowland to ride Space Mountain!  Space Mountain is one of my favorite rides at Disneyland

The Queen peering disgustingly down at all us happy, cheerful Disneyland goers

After a thrilling ride through space we headed over to California Adventure to make sure we were there right when it opened.  California Adventure didn't extend their hours for leap day so they opened later and closed at their normal time.  Our main goal was to get to Toy Story as fast as possible, that line is the worst in the park, it fills up fast and is forever long.  Laura led our party by dance running, technically we weren't allowed to fun, but she was technically dancing so she just kept on going and got us there just in time to beat the mad rush.

Alexis' and my scoreboard.

Then we rode California Screamin'
I can never remember where the camera is on this ride so I can't prepare something funny for the picture.

Then it was time for Churros.  It is a tradition to get a churro every time I go to Disneyland, I haven't missed a trip yet.

Then we enjoyed our time on the Silly Symphony Swings, another one of my favorite, even though I swear it's less then a minute long.

Then we tried out Goofy's Flying Zephyr.  None of us had gone it before, and I don't think any of us will ever go on it again ...

Then Laura introduced us to a hidden, magical treat shop to get lots of yummy treats and chocolate covered pineapple wedges.  Everything here was so so good! I am so glad I now know of it's existence.

Mickey shaped vanilla cake pop.  We also tried a red velvet cake pop.

Then it was time to ride the brand new Ariel ride!  I have been excited to see how this ride is, I have heard so many good things.  It was pretty magical!

Laura really wanted to introduce us to the Sorcerers Workshop and we were so sad to see that it was closed.  But the Animation Academy is in the same building so we decided to wait for the next class since Bethy and I had never even heard of it before and really wanted to try it out.
Our lack of sleep was starting to hit us at this point...

In our first class we learned how to draw Minnie Mouse.  We were all surprised at how good all of our drawings turned out!  What a fun thing to do at Disneyland!  I am constantly discovering new things magical place has to offer even though I go at least once a year.  It is such a awesome place to visit!

We had so much fun in our first animation class that we decided to stick around for the class right after.  In that class we learned how to draw Tiger.  He was a little more difficult ... but still fun

Then we had a fun time wandering through the animators gift store.  They have an animator there who draws personalized Disney characters for you to frame to put in your house or whatever, pretty neat!

Then it was time for Tower of Terror.  I really think that this is my favorite ride at Disneyland, and this time was particularly fun with all my girls!  Lots of screams and giggles.

I love the precious couple in the back .... such a romantic moment
By now it was time for our lunch reservations at the one and only Blue Bayou!  I love eating there, it's like being back in New Orleans.  New Orleans Square was still all decked out in all its Mardi Gras fabulousness which was fun to see

We decided that having a party full of happy people was more important then staying in the park for the full 24 hours.  So after lunch we decided to head back to the hotel for a small afternoon nap to gear us up for the loooong night ahead.  We came back to the park to discover that hundreds of more people had shown up for all the night festivities.  Later we found out that the park was over complicity which is 80,000 people, I think there was about 80,600 people there.  As you can imagine it was chaos at every turn.   We still had some fast passes for Star Tours so that is where we headed since lines for all the rides were 40 or more minutes.

There was an awesome dance party going on in Tomorrowland that lasted all night long, it was pretty fun!

Special things were happening all over the park for this first time ever leap day event.  One of the specials was all the restaurants added new items or brought back old favorites to their menus.  We wanted to try and make it to all the restaurants to sample their special leap day offerings, but alas the crowds filled up every single restaurant so we couldn't even get in to any of them!  We did make it to the Village Haus in time to get their special, which was a chili cheeseburger.  This item had been on their menu for years and was taken off for some random reason, so it was pretty cool that they brought it back for one more day!

It was impossible to get an appetizing picture of this burger, but I assure you, it was oh, so delicious.  We all gobbled them up faster then you would ever believe. 

After dinner and a few failed attempts at finding a ride with a reasonable line the majority of our party decided to call it a night and head back to the hotel.  Bethy and I were determined to stay in the park as long as we could stand it.  We waited in line for the Haunted Mansion since that is usually a fast paced line.  When we finally made it on to the ride we noticed they had sped it up!  We zoomed past all the rooms and could barely get a good look at all the cool things that make that ride so fun to ride, we thought that was kinda weird.  But they must of sped up all the rides to try and get the masses through faster.

As we were wandering around trying to come up with a game plan, we noticed the line for Splash Mountain was like 5 minutes!  We figured it was because no one wanted to get wet since it was so freezing outside, but I had brought a couple of trash bags so we figured we wouldn't get all that wet so we decided to go for it!

We noticed that this ride had been sped up as well, and we got absolutely soaked on those teeny tiny bumps they have leading up to the main drop, our trash bags were a total fail.  But we figured it would all be worth it once we hit the big drop and got to take a fun memorable photo on leap day.  Right when we were coming up to the huge hill right before the drop .... the entire rides breaks down ... for good, and we had to be escorted off the ride!  I have never experienced this in Disneyland, or any theme park for that matter.  We had a crew member come and help us out of our log and they had us wait until they got everyone off in our section.  It would have been cooler if we were by something cool on the ride, all that was near us was a bunch of big mushrooms.  We were kinda mad that we had gotten soaked to the bone and didn't even get to go down the big drop!  

Both of our pants were super wet, which made walking around in the freezing cold night air so awesome .... We were compensated and got a fast pass that was good at any ride in the park, so that was pretty cool.  They had stopped doing the fast passes around 8 or 9.  We decided that we would use our pass on Indiana Jones.  When we finally got to Indiana, we had to take about a thousand detours because every other thing had been closed down, we were told that the ride had been shut down and might reopen later but they weren't makin any promises.  So we decided to go to Big Thunder Mountain to use our fast pass, on our way there we saw that Alice in Wonderland had no line so we thought, sweet!  Not sweet, that ride had broken down too and wasn't scheduled to reopen until 4 or 5 in the morning.  Disneyland was breaking down!  Luckily Big Thunder was working and we got to use our pass to go straight to the front of the line which was pretty sweet.
After big thunder we went to It's a Small World, and it surprisingly had no line and was still running!  Small World never disappoints!  So we went on a little cruise around the world.

New Oreleans Square at 2 am, complete madness.

After Small world was when we tried going to all the restaurants to try other special leap day menu items and were told that every single one was booked until 6 am, which was when the park was going to close down.  So we decided to get Micky Mouse pancakes, always a delicious classic Disneyland meal.  Then we headed over to check on Indiana Jones to see if it had reopened.  They were reopening it right as we were walking by and people were running to get in line.  We pushed our way as far up as we could in the crowd.  We still had to wait for like 30 minutes, but we eventually got on!  I do love that ride, it's pretty cool.

By now it was about 3 or 4 in the morning, we weren't super exhausted and could have kept going but the crowds were so hard to try and navigate through and all the rides were either broken or had 90 minute lines so we decided to throw in the towel and go home and get some sleep.  Our adventure lasted 22 hours, which is pretty good if you ask me!  Below is main street at 3 in the morning, so many crazy people!

I loved every second of this trip and am so glad that we all made it happen!  We got up about nine the next day and drove all the way home.  It was a quick little trip, but we fit in as much Disney fun as possible!  Leap day 2012 will go down in history as the funnest leap day ever!!

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