This week saw another of the newly instituted Annual Passholder parties at the Disneyland Resort. For APs whose passes are set to expire in the coming quarter, the fine folks at Disney have been organizing a time of celebration and wooing to remind people why they love coming to Disneyland.
In the fall, the party had a decades theme, and this quarter’s theme was holiday fantasy. The event took place after hours from 8:00-midnight in a decorated Disneyland Park.
After checking in and receiving wrist bands, guests were free to galavant around Disneyland in very light crowds. Many rides were “walk ons,” and those that were not had the benefit of being visited by seasoned park-goers, making the lines move extra quickly. The crowd was also largely populated by adults; strollers and kids were scarce.
Although the nightly Christmas fireworks went off before the official start of the event, plenty of other entertainment filled the air. Wintertime Enchantment was a new way for guests to experience Disneyland snow. At three times throughout the night, a brief dialogue played over Main Street while the castle, garlands, and Christmas tree sparkled in time.
The Enchantment lasted about 5 minutes and was capped by a gentle snowfall. In comparison to previous experiences, the snow seemed very sparse. The usual magical blizzard was not to be found.
A Christmas Fantasy Parade roused guests with its high spirits and traditional floats. Unlike at other times during the holiday season, the parade was easily viewable with no wait time. All the characters and dancers gave 100% in their performances for the eager and appreciative crowd.
Throughout the park, rare walkaround characters greeted guests. Esmerelda and Clopin, Pocahontas, John Smith, and Miko, Cinderella’s step-mother and step-sisters, a band of rare villains, the three little pigs and big bad wolf, and the entire cast of Pinocchio were among the special appearances. Even characters from Disney Afternoon and the Country Bears came out of retirement.
Princesses and their princes were also on hand for extended meet and greets at the Fantasy Faire Royal Theater. Passholders queued in one area and were brought to another for personal talk times away from any crowds.
In Tomorrowland, Tomasina rocked the night away.
The only truly long lines in the park were at food vendors. People came hungry after long drives from around the area, and since only a few dining locations were open, guests had extended waits for dinner and snacks.
Overall, the event was well organized and enjoyable, with unique touches that made passholders feel welcome and festive. Announcements of thanks and appreciation from Disney to its guests peppered the night. Special lighting celebrated passholders’ attendance, and every attendee received a holiday gift as they went on their merry ways.