Even a thick morning fog couldn’t subdue the Disney magic in the air as hundreds of fans showed up to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World long before the crack of dawn to mark the beginning of One More Disney Day. In honor of the extra date for Leap Year, Feb. 29, the park is open for a full day – 24 hours – concurrently with Disneyland Park in California, a first-time event for Disney Parks.
The Magic Kingdom celebrated the beginning of the extra long day with a performance of the daily opening welcome ceremony on the Main Street Train Station. Other than a brief mention of One More Disney Day by the mayor of Main Street USA, the ceremony was essentially the same that’s seen every morning at the park, though normally performed after the sun has risen.
Video: One More Disney Day welcome ceremony at the Magic Kingdom
But what made it special were the fans in attendance, each sporting special One More Disney Day Mickey Mouse ear hats and buttons, given out to passholders as they passed through the turnstiles. It wasn’t a shoulder-to-shoulder, densely-packed crowd, but certainly a large showing considering the welcome moment began just before 6 a.m.
(It wasn’t nearly as large as the thousands who lined up as early as 10 p.m. last night at Disneyland in California with the hopes of snagging a pair of limited-edition Mickey ear hats that were being given out there. Morning reports show lines wrapping all the way down to nearby Harbor Boulevard, which made me happy I was at Walt Disney World instead.)
Prior to the welcome ceremony, Mickey and Minnie Mouse were also on hand, dressed in their pajamas, ready for a full day and night of fun.
Following the welcome, guests poured down Main Street USA to find the park was clouded in a haze, with Cinderella Castle barely visible in the distance. It was indeed a castle in the sky, making for an excellent and rare photo opportunity.
As the sun rose, dim lighting and fog provided a stunning view of Cinderella Castle not unlike a painting.
Though many were hoping to see a beautiful sunrise light up the Magic Kingdom sky, the foggy morning was also a unique sight worth rising early for.
The fog provided a perfect ambiance for The Haunted Mansion, one of the many attractions that will be open throughout the 24-hour day.
Speaking of The Haunted Mansion, this pair wore to the park homemade, hand-painted shirts featuring some of the classic ride’s more ghoulish ghosts:
Most streets of the park were uncrowded this morning, slightly damp from both the mist swirling in the air and having recently been cleaned after the park closed last night at 9 p.m.
The longest lines were for guests looking for breakfast as well as those interested buying the commemorative One More Disney Day T-shirts, embroidered Mickey ear hats, and watches. Many were already wearing the shirts from the moment they bought them.
Plenty of transportation was out along Main Street USA, though with the relatively light crowds, not all of it was being used – which made for more great photo opportunities.
As I headed out of the park around 7:30 a.m., Cinderella Castle had almost disappeared from view as the fog grew thicker.
The park’s entrance was mostly empty as I left this morning, thousands of guests will surely enter throughout the day, as it turns into just another theme park day.
But tonight, the after-hours crowd will begin to arrive, many planning to show up wearing pajamas (some already did this morning), ready for an all-nighter in the park.
The Magic Kingdom will remain open until 6 a.m. tomorrow, March 1, 2012.
If you’re planning on enjoying the late-night hours in the Magic Kingdom tonight, join me for an Inside the Magic meet-up at 2 a.m. in front of The Haunted Mansion! Details are at this link. RSVP is not required, but helpful. See ya real soon!
More photos from One More Disney Day at Walt Disney World: