Theresa - My cheeks hurt from smiling so much!
Not that much of a complaint I guess.
Right at Midnight, we walked back to the room.
"Aha" you might say. "You said you never won Year of a Million Dreams hats, but you're wearing them in this photo."
Interesting story behind that. We never did win anything from Disneyland during the Year of a Milllion Dreams, but I like to collect Disney hats. I probably have 50-60 Disney hats (I've never really counted and that count probably be a whole other post by itself), and after not winning anything during the Year of a Million Dreams, I went to eBay. Why back in 2008 I felt the need to buy 4 hats, when I only needed one, I'll never know. But it sure worked out great when we were trying to figure out what to wear that night.
Waving to the camera
Apparently Mickey, Minnie, and Duffy were watching TV while we were gone.
The beds were turned down and robes were laid out.
Along with a Suite Dreams card.
Same for the Adventureland bedroom.
Then we went and got changed for one of the best parts of this experience. Just being in the room would be more than enough. On top of it though, we were going to get a 2 hour guided tour through the park after dark. In earlier emails they had told us that other groups have gone wandering around in their PJs. We didn't plan this part out so well and just decided to wear our hats plus the robes.
How many free Diet Cokes have you had tonight Jacob?
Hostesses Michelle and Leandra invited us to join them on a wonderful after hours tour. We were given a choice of weapons to arm ourselves with (perhaps we're taking Kingdom Keepers as fact instead of fiction...). Ruston got a lightup sword, Jacob took a pirate saber, Theresa took a Magic Wand, and I took a whip.
We then rode the elevator down to the park level.
We started our journey in New Orleans Square. It was weird seeing the park so empty.
We walked to the train station and learned that the building opposite the tracks is also shown in another attraction. In Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, in the Two Brothers segment, when the 2nd brother's coffin is at the train station being shipped back home, this is the building they're in front of. We also listened to the telegraph typing out Walt Disney's welcome speech.
We continued towards Haunted Mansion and paused for a quick photo.
Michelle told us to try to push on the gate. It was open! Go ahead on in!
We took turned petting the invisible horse and feeding him invisible apples.
We were led to the side to take a peek at the Pet Cemetary.
Then we just had fun taking a few group shots around the mansion.
A totally empty queue.
Pardon me, we're your neighbors just up the street. Can we borrow a cup of sugar?
You don't usually find this area very empty. And I can't remember if I've ever seen it with the lights on. Ruston is trying to pull off the Haunted Mansion Butler look.
But then changes into normal Ruston again.
Here we learned that the chandelier here has 6 arms, on those 6 arms are 6 branches, and each branch has 6 crystals. 6 - 6 - 6 hmm.
Just outside Splash Mountain, we've definitely found our Laughing Place.
We walked along the front of the Rivers of America. Jacob had to get a photo with his pirate sword in front of the Pirates Lair sign.
All during this time, pickup trucks and other trucks (fuel/propane), were driving around on the paths people normal walk on. I'd love to show you photos, but I was specifically forbidden to take even a single photo of these vehicles or any other areas that were considered back stage.
The Mark Twain was lit up beautifully and parked right at the dock for us.
At this point, Michelle ran off and we wandered through Frontierland with Leandra for a couple minutes. Michelle came back and told us to follow her, she'd just arranged for us to go see something special.
She led us into the Golden Horseshoe that was completely empty except for us. "Would you like to sit in Walt's box?" she asked. "Um, yes please."
"Would you like to go up on stage?" "Uh, yes!"
Striking a dramatic pose.
Doing the can-can
And a final bow.
It was really strange seeing the castle area completely empty.
We're all taking a quick nap on the benches surrounding the castle.
Then we posed for photos.
And even got our Hostesses to join us.
Alright Ruston, try your luck.
Jacob maybe.... No?
Joe? No, still?
Theresa's got an idea. How about a little fairy magic.
How many grown adults can you fit into a teacup? Answer: 4 but not for very long.
We got a photo in front of the carrousel. At this point, I'm thinking they're starting up all these rides, and keeping all these lights on just for us.
Next we went over to Toontown where we were locked inside and stuck for the rest of the night! No, not really.
But we did go over to the Jolly Trolley and since it was after dark, they let Theresa drive us up and down the street. We only parked it right here to get a good photo... really.....
We asked if we could visit Mickey in his house, but were told he was sleeping.
We walked past the Matterhorn, then the lagoon and into Tomorrowland. As we walked under the monorail beam, we noticed a "Caution: Low Clearance" sign. Interesting the new things that come out at night.
We passed a few people power washing the walkways. I'm surprised all this evaporates by morning. A quick shot in front of Space Mountain, strategically place in front of some pickup trucks that we weren't allowed to photograph.
We marvelled at how empty the whole area was. Usually Tomorrowland is so crowded. We spread out and posed all around.
Just as we started to walk by, the Astro Orbiter started spinning. I swear they're doing this on purpose for us now.
Next we headed to the Partners statue.
Thank you Walt Disney and all the other cast members who make Disneyland such a special place for us!
Just as we turned to start going down Main Street, all the lights turn off and the utility lights turn on. Aww. No cool empty Main Street pictures. We even tried waving our wand and swords at it, but still no luck. Then Michelle said, "Hold on." and walked away talking on her radio.
We continued to Main Street to get some photos anyway.
And our very next step after the photo above, the lights came on. Magical!
It was so amazing being all alone in the park.
Ruston - At one point during the after-hours tour we were told of a story about when Walt’s grandchildren would stay overnight in the park, and ask to him about the different feel of the park during these hours. I also noticed, and commented that most of these areas felt so much smaller when we were alone in them. I guess Walt would tell his grandchildren the difference is the people. Disneyland really only comes to life when there are people enjoying it and appreciating the magic. The same held with my stay within the suite. Certainly, it was the most beautiful hotel room I’ve ever seen, but being able to share it with my friends was what put this experience over the top for me.
A few individual pictures.
And for some reason Jacob felt like sleeping in the middle of Main Street.
Jacob memory - On the tour, being able to be completely silly, dressed in a bathrobe, and sleeping alone, in the middle of Main Street U.S.A., will always be a highlight. Who cares how the picture turns out, I was there, it was fun!
So we all decided to join him.
We turned around to look at the castle and maybe get one more photo.
And click... someone turned the lights out.
But we took a photo anyway.
We walked over to the Jolly Holiday Bakery and spread out among the tables and all had imaginary tea.
Then just smiled for the camera.
We walked to Adventureland and grabbed a photo. While we were here, Michelle said, "I'll be right back."
"Follow me." Michelle said. We're going to head inside the Tiki Room. Sweet!
Ruston - I loved that during our walk through the park, Michelle would disappear, and then call us over for a secret look at a ride entrance. Leandra and Michelle both seemed as excited as we were to see this stuff.
No music was playing or anything, but all the lights were on so we just sat and took in the detail. We even sang a little "Let's All Sing Like the Birdies Sing" while we were there.
Our final stop in Adventureland was Indiana Jones.
And with that, our 2 hour around the park tour was over. In one word: Amazing.
Leandra and Michelle were very patient while we took a few photos to remember the night. We had a fantastic time with them leading us all around the park. Thank you both so much!
It's 2:30am and it's time to head inside.
For one final treat, Michelle said, "You been up the normal entrance to the Dream Suite. How would you like to take the entrance that Walt would have used?" Of course we would!!!
If you remember from one of my earlier posts, this is a stairwell at 21 Royal Street. It's a roped off staircase that leads to a balcony. That balcony then connects to what was once a hallway in the Disney Gallery. No photos sadly, again because it's considered backstage, but here's a few from the outside.
So, what happened the rest of the night? Did we sleep? Tune in next time!
Click here to go to Part 8 - Back at the Dream Suite 2:30am to 11:30am
Part 1 - Two Months of Anticipation
Part 2 - Breakfast - 9am to 2:30pm
Part 3 - Welcome to the Disneyland Dream Suite 2:30pm to 4:30pm
Part 4 - Dinner 4:30pm to 7pm
Part 5 - Friends Arrive 7pm to 9pm
Part 6 - Fantasmic 9pm to 11:45pm
Part 7 - Our After Dark Disneyland Tour 11:45pm to 2:30am
Part 8 - Back at the Dream Suite 2:30am to 11:30am
Part 9 - Exploring the rooms of the Dream Suite - Parlor
Part 10 - Exploring the rooms of the Dream Suite - Frontierland Bedroom
Part 11 - Exploring the rooms of the Dream Suite - Adventureland Bedroom
Part 12 - Exploring the rooms of the Dream Suite - Master Bathroom
Part 13 - Exploring the rooms of the Dream Suite - Balcony and Patio
Part 14 - Exploring the rooms of the Dream Suite - Hallways and Hostess Area