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What to do for the 'One More Disney Day'?

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Published: January 30, 2012 at 11:20 AM

We're one month away from Disney's "One More Disney Day" Leap Day promotion - 24 hours of Disneyland and Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom on Feb. 29.

Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland

I'm torn on how effective a promotion this will be for Disney. It's just one day, after all, and on a "school" day at that, when relatively few families of Disney fans will be able to get away for a trip down to Disney World or Disneyland for the event. So I suspect that the attendance will be almost entirely locals - people with annual or seasonal passes, generating no additional admission income for Disney. Some might book hotel rooms for a night or two around the event, but I don't see this "Disney Day" generating any more in-park revenue for the company that a typical summer day would. Sure, it's nice to convert a Wednesday in February to a high-attendance day, but whatever additional income that brings in will be nothing more than a rounding error in Disney's budget.

So what is the value of this stunt? Publicity. The 6am-6am operation at Disney's two top theme parks will attract TV and newspaper reporters, as well as writers from every Disney-fan and theme park website. And all those stories will be drawing the public's attention three months before the start of summer vacation, when many families are considering their summer plans. So it's not the extra money that Disney makes on Feb. 29 that's driving this promotion. It's the extra money that Disney can make from the publicity around Feb. 29.

Hey, we'll play along. But how? That's what I want to talk about today. What should be our coverage angle for Feb. 29?

Here's my idea, and it's deceptively ambitious: Use the 24-hour window to try to visit every attraction at Disneyland. Keep in mind that there are 40 rides and shows at Disneyland, not counting the parade, Fantasmic! or fireworks. (Or Matterhorn, which will be down for refurbishment on Feb. 29.) That's just 36 minutes per attraction. And on a day when many at Disney are expecting to hit park capacity.

Disney's published calendar for Feb. 29 for both Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom lists no special entertainment for that day in either park - just the evening parade at Disneyland and the afternoon parade and Wishes at the MK, same as the day before and after. The calendars also note, ominously for this effort, that "select attractions, entertainment and services will be available" on that day. I'm taking that to mean that everything in the park won't be open for the full 24 hours.

So is a clean sweep of the park even possible? Is it worth trying? Is there a better idea for experiencing the 29th? Does anyone want to volunteer to cover the Magic Kingdom, since I'll be in Anaheim? Does anyone in Southern California want to join in for part of the day?

Have at it, in the comments.

Readers' Opinions

From 71.52.28.174 on January 30, 2012 at 11:24 AM
I'd love to volunteer for Florida!
From Dominick D on January 30, 2012 at 11:25 AM
Whoops, sorry. I wasn't logged in. So I'd love to cover Florida!
From Victoria Jurkowski on January 30, 2012 at 11:34 AM
I was already planning on hitting every attraction in Disneyland that day. And even if I can't, it's going to be super cool just being in the park in the wee hours of the morning. Hitting every ride will be a challenge though. I don't know whether Disney has already planned out which rides will be open when, but even if they have the man power to run everything, with such a long and crowded day rides will inevitably be breaking down left and right and who knows how long it will take to get them up and running again. The best planned day could fail because one ride was broken at the wrong time.
From Robert Niles on January 30, 2012 at 11:41 AM
It's one thing to devise a plan to visit all the top attractions in the park, but it's something else entirely to come up with one that includes *every* attraction in the park. Given that's impossible at Disneyland in a typical day, I've never bothered to try. So I'm putting some thought into a strategy for these parks for the 29th.

As has been mentioned, we don't know which rides will be closed when during the day, complicating things. But a 6am start is essential, and I'm thinking that one should start on the non-Fastpass rides in Fantasyland, such as Pan in Disneyland. Thoughts?

From 74.82.64.160 on January 30, 2012 at 11:53 AM
I am willing to hit up all of the Disney Parks in one day (starting in Japan and working my way west), if Disney will cover my expenses.
From Erica Spencer on January 30, 2012 at 3:11 PM
My husband and I had the same idea, but we'll be here at WDW. We're already planning our strategy - I don't think it will be as bad as Disneyland, since so many of our attractions are closed right now due to Fantasyland expansion. I've never pulled and all-nighter, not even in college, so it's going to be an interesting experience, to say the least. We're staying on property, so we don't have to drive after being awake for 24 hours! LOL!
From N B on January 30, 2012 at 3:39 PM
Robert, I would love to hear about the marathon and how many rides you were able to get on. I posted a rather similar and ambitious idea a few days ago for USF. Every ride and show in both parks by 4 PM (with Expess, of course).
From 99.138.94.15 on January 30, 2012 at 7:03 PM
Have some fun. Time for a blog update and a tweet for every ride and the time you do it.

And during it, you are going to need some serious food. If we get to eat around the world at Food and Wine, you can eat around the world.

Finally, it's leap day. Celebrate it with the Theme Park Insider Jump Rope Party on your Tom Sawyer's Island at noon (but not the boat though that could be a great story for the next edition of your book). Why should Disney have all the fun. It's TPI time for fun also.

From TH Creative on January 30, 2012 at 7:11 PM
I am VERY close friends with Mickey -- who is already actively compiling intelligence regarding the event.

To say the least, this is gonna be a MONSTER day for yours truly. Our troupe will be on hand at the park's opening. While I will attempt to hit every attraction my primary objective will be to compile the definitive collection of Jungle Cruise photos.

After the three o'clock parade, I will bounce out of the park and make my way over to the West End at Downtown Disney. I have tickets to see Flogging Molly blow the doors off the House of Blues.

After getting my celtic-blam-blam on I will swallow a gallon of coffee and a half-dozen Red Bulls and rocket back to the Kingdom. After midnight I intend to marathon the Jungle Cruise.

After the park closes at 6 AM on March 31st I will head home.

From Robert Niles on January 30, 2012 at 7:17 PM
"We were somewhere around Schweitzer Falls, on the edge of the Jungle, when the drugs began to take hold..." - From Fear and Loathing in the Magic Kingdom by TH Creative. Published March 1, 2012.
From 97.104.194.146 on January 30, 2012 at 8:47 PM
Magic Kingdom is much easier with Dumbo closed as that could shave anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour from your day.

If your there promptly at 6am and focused on the rides that could hold you up: Speedway & Haunted Mansion due to lack of Fast Pass and accordingly Fast Passed Peter Pan Jungle Cruise and the Mountains, did the shows Country Bear, Presidents, Phillarmagic, CoP, Stich & MILF after lunch when its busiest you shouldn't be concerned about being there after hours.

As on the proper off season days Magic Kingdom sweep is attainable without the 24 hour timeline.

From Anon Mouse on January 30, 2012 at 9:33 PM
It will be a Desperate Disney Day. I went to the 24 hour Captain EO premiere over 20 years ago. It wasn't fun. Even though I should enjoy it while in my twenties, I didn't have the energy to enjoy it. Sleeping is what you're going to do. Being slightly drowsy is almost like sleep walking in the park. I couldn't wait to leave when the sun was coming up.

I felt the same when on Grad Night. My school class was emptying out at around 1 am, but we had to wait until morning before the bus was given permission to leave the parking lot. What a joke.

Best to get a hotel room, preferably at the Disneyland Hotel so you can crash.

From 184.88.73.13 on January 31, 2012 at 3:28 AM
"'Schweitzer Falls?!'" Niles you poor bastard! Wait until he sees the friggin' hippos."
From TH Creative on January 31, 2012 at 3:29 AM
"'Schweitzer Falls?!'" Niles you poor bastard! Wait until he sees the friggin' hippos."
From Zena Sharpe on January 31, 2012 at 5:40 AM
I'd love to be there but will unfortunatley be in freezing cold UK :-( The excitement of 24 hrs Disney overload! I would be there from 6am and would really try to stay till 6am the next morning.
Fell out with husband this morning because I was dreaming of Disney, then he woke me up! Not happy with him!
From Victoria Jurkowski on January 31, 2012 at 3:17 PM
I would actually start with the rides most likely to break down, AKA Tomorrowland [whenever I'm there, something in Tomorrowland is almost always broken]. I would save Fantasyland for 3 AM when all the children are sleeping. Also, I just might have to bring along my diabetic friend with her guest assistance card so I can cheat the lines... ;]
From Andy Bullard on January 31, 2012 at 7:10 PM
My wife and I plan to get to Magic Kingdom before 6 am for rope drop. We then plan on riding every ride in Magic Kingdom that is also in Disneyland (and open and as many others as we can). After that, we plan to head to the Rose & Crown in EPCOT for a pint. Then off to the Orlando Airport around 4 for a flight to LAX at 645. We will arrive in LAX at 930 or so, hoping to be in Disneyland by 11. The plan there is to ride every ride in Disneyland that we rode in the Magic Kingdom that moring (and hopefully others). Stay in Disneyland until they kick us out, sleep for 15 hours and eat dinner on March 1 at Napa Rose. About the best 48 hours we can come up with.
From Manny Barron on January 31, 2012 at 11:45 PM
^^ Wow that is just simply amazing.
From Tracy Bates on February 3, 2012 at 7:21 AM
My wife wants to go to Florida for this. I don't know if we're going to try to do every attraction, though. That would be a lot to cover.

Personally, I'd rather go to the parks that won't be open 24 hours since they will probably be much less crowded than usual. Seems like the last few times we've been, we always end up in the magic kingdom, which is great, but I'd like to see EPCOT and animal kingdom, too.

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