Crowds flood the late hours of One More Disney Day at Disneyland
Published: March 1, 2012 at 12:18 AM
At 7pm, I waited 10 minutes to ride Big Thunder Mountain, and when I exited, I noticed the line had gotten shorter than when I'd gotten on.
By 9, the line for Thunder was well over an hour, snaking around Frontierland.
At 8, I saw that half the rides in Fantasyland I still had yet to do for the day were walk-ons, so I started with them, waiting for the longer waits to go down. After two rides, I saw that the lines weren't getting smaller - they were getting longer. And fast. I switched plans, and got in line for Snow White and Pan, saving the castle and the carousel for my final rides of the day. By then, the carousel was a four-ride wait.
After then waiting another 15 minutes to buy a churro (!), I pushed my way down Main Street, against a flood of people coming into the park. When I exited the park, I saw every window open at the esplanade ticket booths, and the entire queue filled with people waiting to buy admission tickets.
Disneyland had just announced that the park was now full - and that it would not admit additional visitors until more people had left the park.
That wasn't stopping the hundreds of people queued at the security tables from waiting. Or the three full trams of people we passed on the drive back to the Mickey and Friends parking garage.
Or the cars (and school buses!) that filled every lane entering Mickey and Friends. Or the cars that backed up all the way to Ball Road. Or even the cars that backed up all the way onto Interstate 5.
Yeah, that escalated quickly.
Perhaps we should have known when many of us started see tweets from Orlando describing huge crowds there in the mid-evening, after reports of few or no crowds in the Magic Kingdom all day.
Several readers had asked me during the day how the crowds at Disneyland were. And I reported the same thing that all the other people Tweeting in the park were saying - the park's got lots of people in it, but they're moving through the park well and the wait times were minimal.
Perhaps all those reports encouraged many Disney fans who'd been on the fence about One More Disney Day to come on down. Well, it appears that they all did, and in doing so, blew the whole thing up.
By 8pm, people were laying down blankets along the Rivers of America for the 1am Fantasmic! show. At the same time, more than a couple dozen others were queued up already for the 200 spots in the 11:45 "midnight snack" at Big Thunder. And while you couldn't find a wait time over an hour all day before 8, after 9 it was hard to find any attraction with a wait under an hour* (Okay, there were some - see the comments).
So I guess I got out in time - having accomplished my mission of riding every attraction at Disneyland (save for the ones down for refurbishment, of course.) If you stayed at Disneyland or the Magic Kingdom overnight, please leave your observations in the comments. I'd love to hear how it went.