For the first time ever, Walt Disney World kept the gates of the Magic Kingdom open for a full 24 hours. What a special way to spend that extra day of this leap year!
I have a weekday season pass, so I can go to any of the four Walt Disney World theme parks pretty much anytime. I thought it would be a fun to check out the Magic Kingdom on this special day, this extra day of the year, to see what it would be like and who would be there.
Now, I’m not one of those diehard, mouse ear-wearing, pin collecting Disney fans, so I wasn’t there at 6:00am with plans to stay the whole 24 hours, although I’m sure there were many people who did just that. They were probably the ones walking around in their pajamas and fuzzy slippers. No kidding, I saw several people dressed like that.
11:30pm – Arrive at Magic Kingdom.
I was very surprised to see so many people still at the park. And not just adults. There were little kids wide awake and raring to go. I did catch some people sneaking in a few yawns, though. Most of them were weary parents.
Some of the rides still had long wait times. But since it was a special day, I waited 30 minutes to ride something I had never ridden before, the Astro Orbiter. Flying high in a spaceship – whoohoo! From there, back down to earth on the PeopleMover. It was kind of a long wait for that too.
It had been quite a while since I’d seen Mickey’s PhilharMagic 3-D movie, so caught that. Took Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride. And then ventured into the Enchanted Tiki Room. I can’t even remember the last time I saw that show. But I tell you, it’s pretty surreal watching those animatronic birds at 2:00am!
Before heading out, rode Pirates of the Caribbean, which was only about a 5 minute wait. The Haunted Mansion is always a favorite, but the wait was 35 minutes, even at 2:30am. And believe it or not, at that time of night/morning, the wait for Peter Pan’s Flight was 40 minutes.
A special commemorative t-shirt saying “I Took a Leap and Didn’t Sleep. I Pulled an All-Nighter at the Magic Kingdom” was for sale, but when I was ready to buy one, they were sold out. The shirts would be available online, but only through March 1, 2012. I put my order in!
3:30am – Leave Magic Kingdom
So, a mere four hours of extra magic for me. But it was a fun experience. If this turns out to be successful for Disney World, which I’m sure it was, there are plans to do it again in four more years. Let’s start the countdown…
Dates of Visit: February 29 – March 1, 2012